BALTIMORE - The Orioles had scored a single run in consecutive games entering Wednesday night's contest, managing just three hits on Tuesday as a disturbing offensive trend continued.
The team had tallied more than four runs just once in its past eight games and three times in the last 15 as many of the Baltimore hitters have been scuffling. The Orioles, who've been shut out seven times in the past 46 games, were batting .150 with runners in scoring position since June 14. They lead the majors in strikeouts.
"It's kind of stating the obvious that some of our guys are getting themselves out," manager Buck Showalter said. "It's kind of like defending the foul ball. There's a reason why you don't play the left fielder, third baseman, first baseman and right fielder in foul territory. It's the same thing with swinging at balls that aren't strikes. There's no reason to try to work on a mechanic of hitting a pitch that's not in the strike zone.
"That's what happens when you're pressing a little bit and you're trying to get it all back in one at-bat."
Mark Reynolds is batting just .206 with eight home runs after hitting 37 a year ago. Matt Wieters came into Wednesday in a 1-for-23 slump. Chris Davis had struck out in 14 of his past 27 at-bats.
Showalter talked about the work many of them are putting in, but noted that sometimes it's hard to carry that over into games, particularly in clutch situations, and that players need to stay away from "emotional" at-bats. He is a big believer that past performance gives the best indication of future results, but conceded that some changes to batting approaches need to be made with the team preparing for its 98th game of the season.
"It's not 'que sera' and 'this will pass,'" he said. "I'm all about track records, but at the same time we're starting to get into where you kind of shorten the season to 60-some odd games. Yeah, I've seen guys change some things. Believe me, we've tried a lot of things and they have.
"I have a lot of confidence we'll get better."
ABDUCTION REACTION: When Showalter was told about the abduction of Vi Ripken, mother of Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., he could relate to what the Ripken family was feeling.
"I had something similar happen with my mother, years ago," he said. "Crazy world."
Showalter's mom wasn't kidnapped, but she did have to deal with an intruder when the "watchdog" Showalter had given her failed to warn her and she awoke to a terrifying shadow in her bedroom.
"My mom had somebody break in in the middle of the night [and] tie her up with the cord to the radio, she was listening to the game, we were in Atlanta I think," Showalter said. "She took him around and showed him where all the cash was. She kept the cash in the freezer - cold cash. She remembered where she had some other hid so she took him over there, made sure he had enough."
Showalter said his mother didn't avail herself of the gun that was kept in the house and she didn't even call the police immediately, instead going back to sleep once the intruder left and calling Showalter and his sister the next day.
Her assailant wound up being killed a few days later in a shootout as he tried to cross into Mexico, Showalter said, adding that they didn't keep the "watchdog" for much longer.
He expressed relief, from the organization, that Vi Ripken was safe.
"Obviously, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Ripken family," he said.
INJURY UPDATE: Showalter termed trainer Richie Bancells "really upbeat" about the progress being made by injured infielder Robert Andino, placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 16 with a left shoulder injury. The manager speculated that when the Orioles hit the road Sunday night for a week-long swing through New York and Tampa Bay, Andino will fly to Sarasota, Fla., to begin rehabilitation.
"That's kind of ahead of normal schedule with what he had," Showalter said.
He also said Bancells had spoken with second baseman Brian Roberts, on the DL since July 3 with a groin strain, and that Roberts said he was feeling pretty good.
"I'm going to talk to him today or tomorrow and see what the next step is, in his mind," Showalter said.
Showalter also said the damage to minor league pitcher Joel Pineiro's shoulder was more extensive than initially thought. Pineiro's torn rotator cuff was operated on by Dr. James Andrews.
BIRD BITS: The Orioles entered Wednesday night having allowed three or fewer runs in seven straight games for the first time since 2001 ... Last in the majors with a .979 fielding percentage, the Orioles hadn't made an error in five consecutive games ... The Orioles posted one or zero hits with runners in scoring position in 52 of their first 97 games.