The Orioles' hitters "have no idea what they're doing," right fielder Nick Markakis told The Sun yesterday, in an interview grappling with the question of how a club that looked solidly mediocre and due for improvement on paper has become the worst team of 2010 and potentially the worst team of modern times:
"You need guys in there who have a plan, who have a clue and who know how to execute that plan and get on base. We don't need every guy in this lineup trying to hit home runs. We're paid to get on base and figure out how to score and drive in runs. You look at the Yankees. They have guys who can hit home runs, but everybody in that lineup can get on base."
Markakis said the team's offensive woes shouldn't be attributed to longtime hitting coach Terry Crowley, who is known for advocating an aggressive approach at the plate.
Crowley "has 110 percent nothing to do with the way we are going about our business at the plate or on the field right now," Markakis said. "You can have anybody come here, and you still are going to have a couple of guys who are not going to change their approach and fix it. It's worthless. You can point your fingers here and there, but it is what it is. You're in the big leagues. You have to change your approach on your own. This is the best of the best, and if you go up there clueless, you're going to come back [to the dugout] clueless. It's that simple.
This is nice and diplomatic, but the Orioles are a stain on baseball, and Markakis' defense of the hitting coach makes no sense. Bless Terry Crowley for his years of service to the club as a player and coach, but he needs to have been fired weeks ago. The team is full of players, and especially young players, who are doing everything wrong at the plate, and are getting worse.
Yes, the players are at fault. But if Terry Crowley is not also at fault, then what is Terry Crowley's job, as hitting coach?
The Orioles are awful hitters. No one wants a baseball team to hit the way the Orioles hit. Suppose Markakis is right, and Crowley "has nothing to do with the way we are going about our business at the plate." That would mean Crowley is completely useless.