How have O's fallen short?

How have O's fallen short?
September 22, 2013, 2:00 am
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(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

As summer steps aside for fall, so do the Orioles when it comes to postseason hopes. At 3 ½ games out with eight games remaining on the schedule and two teams between them and the second wild-card spot, there seems little realistic hope that the O’s can still grab a playoff berth.

So now we enter the phase where it’s time to place blame for their inability to repeat as an October team.

Lots of fingers will point at Jim Johnson. The closer converted 47 of 56 save opportunities. It doesn’t matter that he could end up leading the American League in saves again. Had Johnson matched last year’s save conversion of 94 percent instead of this year’s 84 percent, he would have five more saves. Now, the Orioles didn’t lose every time he blew a save, but even if those five more saves represented just three more wins, the O’s right now would be only a half-game out of the wild card.

Then there was also the club’s inability to cash in with runners in scoring position over the last month or so. While the Orioles’ RISP batting average did drop about 50 points in recent weeks from what it had been all year, there was not necessarily a difference in overall run production. In fact, the Orioles’ average runs per game is higher in August and September than in June and July, 4.48 to 4.23.

And you could also point to a lack of production of the designated hitter spot. That never did sort itself out. O’s DHs hit .231 with a .287 on-base percentage.

In any case, there will be plenty more post mortems to come. Something for you to think about while you’re raking leaves instead of watching the Orioles in the playoffs.