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Against Twins, Orioles Expose Their Own Most Glaring Weakness


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Henneman's description of Davis' AB in the first inning of Tuesday's game is spot on. I'd only add that the first pitch Davis swung on at the beginning of the at bat wasn't a strike, either.

To painfully recalculate, the Orioles had runners on second and third with one out before Twins starter Kyle Gibson had a chance to get his bearings. What happened next was almost as hard to explain as it was to watch.

With first base open, it was obvious the right-handed Gibson was amenable to "'pitching around"' left-handed hitting Chris Davis, with the switch-hitting and slow-moving Matt Wieters on deck. When the count went to three balls and one strike, it was obvious Gibson had no intention of throwing a strike -- and he didn't. Unfortunately for the Orioles and Davis, Gibson quickly found out he didn't need to throw strikes to escape what should have been at least a potentially damaging threat.

Two bouncing breaking balls disposed of Davis, who swung and missed at both by a wide margin in a situation that cried out for patience. Along with some others in the lineup, Davis has long been accused of a lack of plate discipline, but that is generally misguided criticism, because it has more to do with pitch recognition than anything. That certainly had to have been the case in this instance, when a breaking ball low and inside would top the list of pitches a hitter wouldn't be looking for considering the situation.

It was probably the worst at bat, considering all the circumstances, Davis has ever had as an Oriole -- or maybe ever.

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Yeah, maybe he missed the playoffs in 2012. There were a whole series of them. I like how he kind of gives Wieters a pass by blaming his AB on Davis.

I thought he was pretty tough on Wieters. However, a strikeout with runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out is worse than a strikeout with runners on second and third and two out, for obvious reasons. Wieters' at bat disappointed me, but Davis's infuriated me. Worst AB ever? OK, that is hyperbole. But it was awful nevertheless.

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Davis isn't the most cognitive hitter and hasn't shown much growth in his ability to read the situation during his time with the team. Jones wasn't either but has clearly worked to grow that part of his game. I think the organizational philosophy going forward will be to add more hitters who understand the situation, count, etc, as evidenced by the draft.

As an aside I think everyone's favorite whipping boy Travis Snider is possibly the best on the team at reading the situation and understanding what the pitcher is trying to do.

The true weakness of this team is not a back end pitcher, it's a lineup that is dependent on the hot streaks of more than a few fill in players. That could be fixed if we see Wieters return to form and Schoop grow as a hitter. It's really amazing how much having a professional hitter like Cruz stretched out this line up last year and hid some weaknesses.

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Henneman's description of Davis' AB in the first inning of Tuesday's game is spot on. I'd only add that the first pitch Davis swung on at the beginning of the at bat wasn't a strike, either.

But remember, strike outs aren't a big deal b/c sabermetrics says so :rolleyestf:

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But remember, strike outs aren't a big deal b/c sabermetrics says so :rolleyestf:

Strikeouts are worse than most other kinds of outs in some situations. Runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out is certainly one of them. No sabermetrician would debate that.

But taking Davis as an example, in the times he has batted with a runner at 3B and less than 2 outs, he has driven home the run 50% of the time. League average is 51%. Although he strikes out way more than most players, on the whole it has not really made him materially worse than average in those situations. The other good things that he does can outweigh the importance of his strikeouts.

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