The Orioles have been streaky since the last day of April: the team has gone 9-9, winning three, losing three, winning two, losing three, winning three, losing three, and winning again. Over this stretch Nick Markakis is playing like he is capable of, batting .324. Ty Wigginton has exceeded expectations since taking over for the injured Brian Roberts at second base. Even Corey Patterson is back with the club and has provided a lead off hitter, although it has only been seven games. But dating back to almost two weeks ago, Luke Scott is hitting better than anybody in the league.
In his past nine games, Scott is hitting .455 with six home runs, 11 RBIs and 1.530 OPS. He has 15 hits in 33 at bats during this streak. The moment it was apparent Scott was in the middle of one of his sizzlers was May 13. Down four runs entering the eighth, Patterson hit a solo home run to cut the deficit to three. The Orioles loaded the bases for Scott who hit a grand slam to take a 6-5 lead and win the game.
Orioles’ fans know this streak is typical for Scott. In each of his three years so far with the O’s, he has had a hot spell of a couple weeks to a month where he racks up hits, home runs, and RBIs. There are moments where you know Scott will rip a home run over the scoreboard. There are also times when he is in the midst of a slump that you hope he won’t strike out and at least puts the ball in play.
Look at last year: After his first 26 games Scott hit .264 with four home runs and a .817 OPS—all around average numbers. Then he heated up in May and early June, hitting .465 with nine home runs, 20 RBIs, and a1.616 OPS in 13 games. This brought his line for the year up to a .328 batting average, .400 on base percentage, and a .672 slugging percentage, for a 1.072 OPS. After the All-Star break he hit .208 with a .667 OPS, seven home runs and 26 RBIs in 62 games. He had back-to-back hot/cold streaks in 2008. In June, Scott hit .333 with eight home runs and a1.093 OPS in 25 games. Scott’s 25 games in July brought a slump where he only hit .185 with a .677 OPS.
Scott may always be streaky. With injuries and underwhelming performances from other Orioles, Scott’s power is needed in the lineup. I hope he can become a constant power threat throughout the season instead of spurts at a time. This year, the last thing the Orioles’ offense needs is for Scott to go cold again.