The Orioles typically play their fair share of games in cold weather in the season’s first month, but this season many of their first 16 games have been played in especially frigid temperatures.
It’s easy to blame the team’s early-season offensive struggles on the weather, especially after a game like Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, in which the Orioles were held to three hits while playing through 34-degree temperatures, 23-mph winds and constant precipitation.
In opening the season with a 5-11 record, the Orioles are averaging just 3.19 runs a game, which is down from last year’s 4.59. Last year, the Orioles also played through several cold games over the first month, but averaged 4.39 runs in April.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the weather,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. “We’ve played very few games with the temperature above 55. And that’s just kind of the way it goes. That’s the old adage, the pitchers have the advantage the first month of the season and it takes the hitters a little bit to get their timing down.
“When you’re battling the elements like this on a day-in, day-out basis, it makes it that much harder. But we can’t make any excuses. We have to continue to work. I said it the other day, you’ve got to continue to trust the process and understand there’s a long season and there’s a lot of baseball to be played.”
The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their 16 games. Sunday’s game was the Orioles’ seventh game in their first 16 that had a first-pitch temperature of below 50 degrees.
But the cold temperatures and offensive output don’t necessarily coincide.
The Orioles have actually had success in cold temperatures. They won three of four games the previous weekend at Yankee Stadium; three of those games were played in temperatures of 43 degrees or below, and the Orioles won two of those, both in extra innings.
Before that series in New York, the Orioles were swept in three games in Houston, and the first-pitch temperature there wasn’t lower than 68 degrees. The Orioles scored two runs or fewer in two of those games, and the ball was carrying extremely well.
It’s easy to say the bats will get going when the weather starts to heat up, and we know that rising temperatures — and the summer humidity that accompanies it in Baltimore — will be welcomed at hitter-friendly Camden Yards by a power-oriented Orioles lineup.
However, the Orioles are off to their worst start since 2010, so they have less time to wait for warmer days to climb out of this early hole.
And this week’s series in Detroit will offer little escape from the cold. The temperature isn’t expected to get above 48 degrees at any point during their three-game set at Comerica Park that starts Tuesday night and concludes Thursday afternoon. Nightly lows are expected to be in the low 30s.