No, this is not a joke. This is not a drill. David Lough could be the key to the Orioles’ playoff push and success in the playoffs. The much maligned left-fielder has been relegated to a role of starting once a week and coming on late into games as a defensive replacement. Expectations of the 28 year old were high coming off of a 2013 season where he hit .286 with 5 home runs for the Kansas City Royals.
Coming into this season Lough was poised to take the place of left-fielder Nate McClouth who left for the Washington Nationals in the offseason, however, a concussion limited him early on in the season and he never seemed to get his timing right at the plate. After scuffling terribly in April and May, Lough was left without confidence and without regular playing time.
Steve Pearce and Delmon Young have pleasantly surprised with their offensive production this season in left field. For a month of the season Steve Pearce was the most productive hitter on a team full of powerful bats. Delmon Young has been effective whenever he has been given the opportunity to play.
However, Pearce’s hot bat has cooled off significantly over the past month and it is unknown how effectively Young would be able to play if he were forced into an everyday role. Also he’s a bit of a defensive liability in left field and Buck Showalter has clearly tried to limit Nelson Cruz’s playing time in left-field.
The Baltimore Orioles as a collective have been in a massive offensive slump since the All-Star break. For as potent as the starting lineup can be they’ve disappointed massively since the pseudo halfway point. Since the break the Orioles are 29th out of 30 teams in batting average (.203) and 21st out of 30 teams in runs (52).
Last year’s home run king Chris Davis has continued to scuffle at the plate all season long. Nelson Cruz has seen a considerable drop off in production since his incredibly hot start to the season. Both Adam Jones and Nick Markakis have seen their batting averages drop into the .280 range after carrying batting averages over .300 for much of the season.
The lone bright spot in the lineup has been Manny Machado as he has progressed back to the impressive form he had for the majority of the 2013 season.
The Orioles have still managed to hit home runs as they rank 4th in the MLB in hr’s since the All-Star break (16). The run-scoring problems stem from their inability to get on base and drive in base runners in key situations.
This is where David Lough enters the situation.
The Orioles need a change. They need a spark, something that can change the momentum.
Since June, though in fairly limited playing time, David Lough is hitting .316 with 2 home runs and 9 runs scored.
It’s tough to sell Orioles fans the idea that David Lough should be in the lineup. Most have made up their mind that he has no value to the team and many have been clamoring for his release since the first month of the season.
Forget April and May. That should have no impact on decisions being made in August during a push for the playoffs.
The Orioles have lacked a player like David Lough in their lineup all season. A player who wreaks havoc on the base paths by his sheer presence on first base. Lough is the best base-stealer on the team currently. He knows how to advance extra bases when it’s needed. He provides much needed energy and a short swing to a lineup filled with free-swingers aiming for the fences constantly.
If the Orioles are fortunate enough to make the playoffs David Lough is exactly the type of player who can make the difference in tight games in October.