Take It Easy: Crowley Isn't To Blame Here

July 08, 2009|By PETER SCHMUCK

One of the great things about a sports blog is that it gives the everyday fan an opportunity to react immediately to a game or a news event and publish that reaction for everyone who might want to see it. Of course, that's also one of the bad things about the Internet, because the instant reaction isn't always the most informed reaction.

Take, for instance, a couple of posts Tuesday calling out Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley because the club got only one hit in Monday night's 5-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. I'm sure it's pretty frustrating to watch the Orioles get one-hit by a control pitcher, but there are times when you have to give a little credit to the guy on the mound. Jarrod Washburn was, quite simply, terrific.

Now, for that perspective check I promised. If you want to look at the Orioles' offense over the short term, the club averaged 5.43 runs in the 21 games leading up to Washburn's standout performance Monday night. That's actually pretty good when you consider that the top four scoring teams in baseball - the New York Yankees, Tampa Rays, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox - score a combined average of 5.39 runs per game.

True, the Orioles' overall scoring average isn't that high, but if we're going to react to short-term results, the short-term results for the Orioles' offense are actually pretty good. If you would rather look at the full-season results, the Orioles rank eighth among the 30 major league teams in batting average, seventh in hits and are in the top half of the majors in every major hitting statistic except on-base percentage (16th) and walks (24th). And this was a team that was projected in spring training to finish last in the American League East.

For those who have blindly called for a new hitting coach, I think it's fair to point out that just about anybody who might be better than Crowley probably has a job with a team that's higher in the standings right now. I think I would stick with the guy who developed Nick Markakis and has had some success with Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters and even Felix Pie. I don't think I would choose instead to blame him because veterans like Melvin Mora and Ty Wigginton swing at too many first pitches.

OK, now it's your turn.

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