Streaky O's bats falling on hard times

Streaky O's bats falling on hard times

BALTIMORE -- The team that streaks together, slumps together.

The Orioles have seen their batting order go cold from top to bottom in recent days, a team-wide power outage that neatly explains their recent woes. Baltimore has lost five straight games, including seven of its past eight and has seen the core of its lineup stand responsible for much of its offensive shortcomings in recent days.

In fact, after a 3-0 shutout loss to Oakland on Sunday, the Orioles have a whole host of difficult statistics to diagnose. Baltimore has scored just 10 runs in its last seven games and is batting .196 (44-for-224) over that span. If you stretch back a little farther, the Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their last 22 games.

And that streak isn't due to the struggles of any specific player. Melvin Mora has gone 26 games without a home run, and Aubrey Huff, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are working on similar slumps. Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott have combined for the team's past 11 home runs, a trend that dates back 12 games.

Just look at the specifics: Markakis last homered on May 21 and has just one long ball in his last 26 games. Huff, the team's cleanup hitter, last homered on May 26 and has one round-tripper in his last 21 games. And Roberts, a two-time All-Star, last homered on May 21, giving him a 21-game stretch with just one home run.

Some of that is just a coincidence, but some of it is a natural cooling off period. Both Huff and Roberts experienced hot streaks before the current cold snap that made them both take a day off on Sunday.

Huff, who is batting just .182 (4-for-25) in his last six games, was torrid over the previous eight games. The first baseman batted .370 (10-for-27) over that span, during which the Orioles went 5-3. Roberts, meanwhile, is batting .080 (2-for-25) during his last six games but hit .393 (11-for-28) in the seven games before that.

Markakis, the team's bellwether on offense, has run into a rough trend of his own. The right fielder is batting just .222 (26-for-117) in his past 31 games, knocking in just 11 runs over that span. Still, despite that extended slump, Markakis has reached base safely in 47 of the 57 games he's played this season.

The team-wide slump is so bad that it's reached prospect Matt Wieters, who's trying to break into the big leagues at a tough time for his offense. The switch-hitting catcher has batted just .143 (4-for-28) in his first eight games, a number dovetailed by struggling backup Gregg Zaun, who has batted .224 (11-for-56) in his past 17 games.

Baltimore will also have to replace shortstop Cesar Izturis, who recently had an emergency appendectomy and will be lost to the Orioles for at least two weeks. That means Baltimore will have to integrate Robert Andino into the lineup a little more, and veteran reserve Oscar Salazar will be on hand to siphon away some at-bats.

So where's the consolation? The Orioles can take solace in knowing that their offense will revive at some point, perhaps during the team's nine-game homestand over the next 10 days. Baltimore will get to face National League teams Atlanta and New York at home, followed by Interleague trips to Philadelphia and Florida.

And if Scott and Reimold represent the team's two hot bats over the last two weeks, Adam Jones isn't far behind. Baltimore's center fielder has slowed down in the run-scoring department, but he's batted .364 (8-for-22) in the team's past six games and .347 (34-for-98) if you track him back to the first week of May.

Perhaps most tellingly, the Orioles won't face another division rival until the end of June. Baltimore is just 10-16 against American League East teams and will play only five more of those games before the All-Star break. The Orioles have a chance to make their own fortunes, but they'll have to start by swinging the bat.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.