16 October 2012

The Orioles Had a Topsy-Turvy Post-Season

The Orioles offense was not very good in the post-season - that can't be denied. Almost nobody hit, and they only scored 2.5 runs per game (that obviously didn't get it done). One sort of interesting aspect to the playoffs though, was how topsy-turvy everything went for the O's. Down was up, up was down. To wit:

* This team was largely carried by their historically successful bullpen. That pen had a 2.73 ERA in the playoffs, which is good but (a) not much better than their 3.00 during the regular season, (b) not that impressive given that they had their top guys going (ie, no Kevin Gregg), and (c) against a Yankees team that also stopped hitting. Mostly it was on Jim Johnson - he of the 2-1 record, 51 for 54 on saves, and 2.49 ERA - who went 0-1, with 2 saves in 3 chances and an 8.44 ERA.

* The starting pitching, which was shaky for much of the season, was superb. They had a 4.42 ERA in the regular season, and an ERA of 2.00 in the playoffs. They upped their strike-out rate from 6.9 K/9 to 7.8 K/9, while keeping their walk rate at 3 BB/9 and not giving up a single home run. And Joe Saunders started twice!

* Speaking of Saunders, he struck out 4 or more batters in less than half of his starts for the Orioles (3 of 7). So, of course, he recorded 4 and 5 K's in his two game.

* Offensively, the O's lived by the home run his year - they hit the second most longballs in the Majors, with 214 (about 1.3 per game). In the playoffs they hit just 3 (0.5 per game).

* Who did the hitting also took a decided flip. The worst position for the team this year was second-base, where the assorted players the O's trotted out (mostly Robert Andino and Ryan Flaherty) hit a combined .213/.273/.323 (.596 OPS). In the post-season, Andino hit .417/.417/.500 and Flaherty hit .273/.273/.545 (with a homer) for a combined .870 OPS that was the highest from any position for the team.

* The third worst OPS during the season came from left-field. Nate McLouth hit .308/.321/.462 (with one official homer) to put that position right behind second-base in the playoffs.

* Manny Machado drew just 9 walks during the season, for a 4.4% walk rate. In the post-season he walked twice (8.7% walk rate). He and Matt Wieters were the only Oriole batters to walk more than once.

* Adam Jones had the best offensive season of his career (.287/.334/.505), but did nothing in the playoffs (.077/.074/.077).

It was all pretty weird - and, in many cases, painful - to watch. For most of the season, people were saying "this just can't keep up". And them in the post-season, very few things actually did keep up. But, it should be noted, they were happening in the post-season.

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