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Orioles Fans Are Pretty Agitated Right Now

Last night's postponement did Orioles fans no favors after last weekend's sweep by the Red Sox.

It was one frustrating series after another, as the O's have dropped five of six to those two teams up north. Yes, Orioles fans are pretty agitated right now.

Neither the offense nor the pitching staff is solely responsible for Baltimore's slide. But just looking at the hitters, it's hard to see this kind of futility continuing.

First things first: offenses across the league are struggling. In 2019, which was the MLB's last full 162-game season, the Cleveland Indians finished 15th in OPS at .756. This year, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 15th in OPS at just .693. The bottom 10 teams in OPS this season have an average OPS of .6345, while the same teams in 2019 had an average OPS of .7136. 

That's a pretty wide gap, a gap that isn't sustainable.

Yes, I'll grant you that the Orioles' lineup isn't exactly filled with stud sluggers who have track records of bonafide production. But they do have a track record of more production than what we're seeing.

We'll start with Trey Mancini, who already seems to be heating up. He's had an abysmal start to the season, slashing .189/.244/.405 for an OPS of .649. That said, Mancini went yard twice against the Red Sox in their last series. Mancini's career OPS is .816, a number I'd expect him to reach by season's end.

The same goes for Ryan Mountcastle, who's been poor at the plate and in the field. In 35 games last season, Mountcastle finished with an OPS of .878, an impressive debut even in non-pandemic circumstances. Through nine games in 2021, Mountcastle's OPS is just .541.

Even Anthony Santander has had a sluggish start to the 2021 campaign. He's hit two homers, but his OPS is a measly .649.  Last season, Santander mashed to the tune of an .890 OPS before missing the latter third of the season.

While these three players are due to wake up soon, it's fair to expect some regression to the mean from the Orioles' hottest hitter to date — Cedric Mullins. The rangy outfielder ditched switch-hitting and has all of a sudden become a new man. There's no chance that he keeps up his 1.188 OPS that he's sporting right now, but all he needs to do is continue being a table-setting at the top of the lineup.

I know I said this about the Boston series, but the Orioles have winnable games on the upcoming schedule. They've got four against the rebuilding Mariners before hitting the road to face the Rangers and Marlins. I'm expecting the O's offense to begin its ascent by the end of this stretch.

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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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