Offense Hotter Than Donut Grease, But.......

Bleacher Report Senior Writer IAugust 23, 2008

The Baltimore Orioles offense hasn't been doing well the last two series, but is one of the most surprising aspects of baseball this year. The O's have danger up and down.

Brian Roberts has 32 steals and is hitting .300. He is playing incredible second base, has eight homers and has been incredibly steady.

Nick Markakis has 17 homers and 77 RBI, along with a .302 batting average. He has 14 outfield assists, most for any outfielder in the American League.

Melvin Mora is having a career year. He has 95 RBI, fifth in the AL. He also has 21 homers. His .411 average in the 2nd half is fourth all time behind just Ted Williams, George Brett and Barry Bonds. He even looks more comfortable at the plat than 2004, when he hit .340.

Aubrey Huff looks like he did in his glory days with the Devil Rays. He has 89 RBI, 29 homers and a .300 batting average. He is surrounded in trade rumors, though.

Kevin Millar is only hitting .244, but does have 18 home runs and is playing incredible first base. Also, he is hitting .290 with runners in scoring position.

Luke Scott is surprising people. Last year, he set a career high with Houston by hitting 18 homers, but hit just .255. This year, with a month of baseball left, he has 21 and is hitting .272.

Ramon Hernandez is hitting just .257, but has 14 homers and 56 RBI. He could end up with 20 by the end of the year. To the surprise of O's fans, Ramon is hitting .337 with runners in scoring position.

Adam Jones is injured, but was having a fantastic year. He took BP with the team today He has seven homers, 50 RBI and a .279 batting average. He was hitting just .255 with RISP, but that number was improving.

Juan Castro, an acquired shortstop from the Rockies, is close to perfect defensively and is hitting much better than he was for Colorado. With the Rockies, he had a great .000 average and was 0-for-14. With us, he is hitting just .235, but is surprisingly productive, with one homer and eight RBI. Wierdly, he's hitting .261 with runners in scoring position.

The O's are fourth in the league in home runs, behind just the Rangers, White Sox and Tigers. They are fourth in the league in runs, behind Texas, the Tigers and White Sox. They are sixth in the league in average (.271).

The most surprising thing of all is their ability to score with guys in scoring position. Last year, the O's were horrible at that. Take a look at what the starting lineup's average is with RISP:

Roberts: .271, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Markakis: .322, 7 HR, 59 RBI

Mora: .374, 5 HR, 69 RBI

Huff: .317, 5 HR, 59 RBI

Millar: .289, 3 HR, 47 RBI

Scott: .210, 3 HR, 26 RBI

Hernandez: .337, 3 HR, 44 RBI

Jones: .255, 4 HR, 43 RBI

Castro: .261, 0 HR, 8 RBI

That is all fine and good, but the pitching staff is beyond terrible. They have an ERA over seven in the last two series. Guthrie is the only one doing anything, and he's lost his last two starts.

The bullpen is also bad. They also have injuries beginning to hurt them. Matt Albers is now out for the year and George Sherrill should be out 10-12 more days. Also, Dave Trembley's foolish decision making is hurting them as well. The bullpen is getting worse and worse by the day and continues to fold in big situations.

Soon enough, the O's will have big pitching prospects on the team such as Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Jason Berken, Zach Britton, Zach Clark, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Sean Gleason and Rick Zagone. Until then, the O's need somebody to step up and make it so Jeremy Guthrie isn't the lone consistent starter.