Some criticized the Orioles for not acquiring middle-of-the-order bat this offseason, but so far in this young season, they have gotten excellent production from the third, fourth and fifth hitters in their batting order.
Through 18 games, hitters for the Orioles in those spots have combined for a .356 average with 18 doubles, 14 home runs, 43 runs scored and 47 RBIs. In the weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camden Yards, hitters in those spots went 7-for-11 with three runs scored, a double, a homer and two RBIs.
First baseman Chris Davis and center fielder Adam Jones have done a sizable chunk of the damage, of course.
Davis, who batted fifth in all but one game, leads the team with a .403 average, seven homers and 21 RBIs. He has also walked 10 times. He has a .855 slugging percentage and his OPS is 1.341.
Jones, who has been shuffled between the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, is batting .365 with three homers, 15 RBI and 17 runs scored.
Combined they are batting .380 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs.
Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis have been the other two mainstays in the middle of the order, depending on which leadoff hitter Buck Showalter went with. Wieters is batting .333 with two homers and six RBIs in five games as the cleanup hitter. Markakis has batted third in 12 games, batting .313 with two homers and five RBIs.
No matter who has been there, they have been dangerous.
But the bottom of the lineup has been the opposite, which I guess could help you make the case that maybe they do need that other bat after all. Their No. 6 hitters have batted .188 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Combined, their sixth, seven, eighth and ninth hitters are batting .188 with nine homers and 26 RBIs.
Like I said, the season is still young, though. The end-of-the-lineup hitters will probably heat up at some point and Davis, Jones and the hot middle-of-the-order hitters will eventually cool off a bit.
But those guys have been carrying the Orioles offense so far.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun