It’s not as simple as saying that Trey Mancini is the only Orioles batter hitting at the moment, but it’s certainly close.
With two home runs in the past three games, Mancini accounted for four of the team’s eight runs in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox.
He was even worthy of the favored Buck Showalter bromide that he has “been a contributor in a time of need.”
It’s as much a credit to him as it is a ding on the veteran lineup he has been shoehorned into as a late-season spark.
September shouldn’t be a time of need for a team that ranked among the league’s most productive all season. But here the Orioles are, being figured out by a week’s worth of division-rival starters who have had time to dissect their flaws and pitch to them.
After four games apiece against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Red Sox, the Orioles are averaging 2.9 runs per game on 6.6 hits per contest, with the list of culprits as long as the daily lineup.
Behind Mancini’s .429 batting average, the only player batting over .300 since the Orioles returned home from an improbable three-city, winning road trip is shortstop J.J. Hardy (.370).
Next-highest is center fielder Adam Jones, who is 7-for-30 (.233). The likes of first baseman Chris Davis (.161), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (.194), third baseman Manny Machado (.200) and right fielder Mark Trumbo (.167) aren’t helping matters at the plate.
Before the game, Showalter took a moment to marvel at the moments earlier in the season — essentially the entire month of June — when everyone in his lineup was firing. It’s more or less the opposite now, though as the precious Mancini noted, this team has been through it before.
“The last few years, they’ve been in these races and they know what to do in these situations,” Mancini said. “I know they’ve had their backs against the walls before, and I’m confident that we can definitely bounce back from this.”