Baltimore Sports Report: Zach Wilt: Expect More Stolen Bases From the Orioles in 2013
This is a big if in Brian Roberts case, but if he’s healthy and back to where he was 4-5 years ago and the Orioles have a healthy Nick Markakis and Nate McCloth for the whole season with Adam Jones, you move Jones up to the third spot ahead of Nick Markakis and Chris Davis batting fourth or maybe Manny Machado hitting second with AJ hitting third or fourth with Markakis with the other spot, why not run the Orioles more and steal some bases when you have the speed to do it.
The Orioles have the guys who can get on base with the Orioles lineup and all of the power that will be in it. If the Orioles run well, now the opposing pitchers not only have to worry about the guy at the plate who most likely will be a power hitter, but now they also have to worry about the guy on first or second or both. And the pitchers concentration won’t be as good. And if the batter has any discipline at all, you are looking at the pitcher hanging a pitch, walking the batter or even better if the runner doesn’t steal the base, you are looking at hit and run especially with Orioles speed and power.
This is what I call pressure offense when it comes to baseball which use to be common in the National League. Before both leagues fell in love with the home run. Is where you not only put pressure on the pitcher at the plate, you show discipline there and you are only hitting good pitches that you can drive, so you are either getting on base with a hit, or you are drawing a walk, but that’s just the first part. Pressure offense is where you are always looking for that next base, trying to stretch base hits. Because you have the speed to do it, but you are playing hit and run and you are also trying to steal bases.
Conservative offense in baseball is station to station, where you are not trying to stretch hit and not trying to steal. Because you want to conserve as many out as possible especially in an era where you may need to score 5-6 runs a game to win. So it’s low-risk and low-reward, but you don’t lose much out of it except for opportunities to score more. But again if you have discipline, hitters not striking out on a regular basis and you are not running slow hitters, but runners with speed, you put more pressure on opposing pitchers.
Guys with speed and know how to steal bases who get on base on a regular basis. Pressure offense is very effective because you are not worried about getting thrown out because you know you can steal those bases and get those extra bases. And the pressure is on the defense to get you out and the Orioles have the speed to play this type of baseball. The question is do the have the discipline and courage to do so.