Or: How much blame should “Crow” get for the Orioles’ struggles with the bats?
Day after day, we keep hearing the cries to send Dave Trembley packing. Whether Trembley goes or stays remains to be seen; most estimates have him getting the heave-ho before the end of the month if things don’t pick up with the ballclub. With just about two months done in the season, the Baltimore Sun took a look at the struggles of Oriole hitters, particularly Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters (with a few words for Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder as well). My question is this: are the struggles just growing pains (none of those mentioned is older than 26), or are they just not getting the instruction they need at the major league level? If you believe the latter, then question #2 is this: how much blame should Terry Crowley get and is it time for him to be shown the door?
Crowley has survived five managers and five general managers in his second stint as Orioles hitting coach. In this stint, while he has had some success, he has never been on a winning team. This particular year is looking especially gloomy, given the statistics. In seeing how the young hitters, and even the team as a whole have struggled at the plate during the horrible start to the 2010 season, anyone watching the O’s on a daily basis (there are still some of you out there) has to wonder what the hitting coach is doing to get things turned around. Given that they are in a division where the four clubs ahead of them in the standings currently rank 1-4 in runs scored, maybe it might be time to look at giving someone else a shot as hitting coach. The Orioles seem to go to bat looking for the first good pitch to hit, and often times flail at anything that might resemble a strike, rather than work the count and make pitchers work to get them out. Then again, maybe Crowley is telling them to take that approach at the plate and the Orioles, as currently constituted, just aren’t making the adjustments.
Markakis is quoted in the Sun article defending Crowley against criticism, putting the blame for the club’s hitting woes strictly on the players. Indeed, the young guys are going to have their ups and downs, and fans are getting concerned that the promise and expectations for these young players may not pan out. Yet, it seems that Crowley should get some criticism particularly given the club’s atrocious start at the plate. So how long do you wait? Do you expect the club’s extended hitting slump to start turning around, or should the batting coach be given his walking papers? Or are the problems not with Crowley, but with the players?