Nate McLouth is on fire

nateswing

The man not only has an awesome walk-up song, but right now, Nate McLouth is providing a huge lift at the top of the lineup for the Baltimore Orioles.

After collecting nine hits in the four-game series against the Oakland A’s, McLouth raised his average for the season to .351. More importantly for the leadoff hitter, he now has an On-Base Percentage of .455, good for second in ALL of baseball. With his eight stolen bases, he has added a dimension to the O’s that they haven’t had since Brian Roberts was in his prime.

McLouth has now reached base in 22 of his last 36 plate appearances. Talk about setting the table!

If you had to be critical, the only negative that can be brought up about McLouth is his inability to hit left-handed pitching.  I don’t even know if I want to use the word inability, but so far he is basically being used primarily against right-handed pitchers.

Manager Buck Showalter recognizes that McLouth has a .222 career average against lefties and maybe the reason McLouth is off to such a great start is because Showalter is only playing him when a righty is pitching.  Still, I will point out that his only homerun this season was against a lefty.

So far he has one start this year when a lefty is on the mound.  I don’t know how long that will continue if he keeps up with the pace he is on.  The team is better when he is in the leadoff spot and setting the table for Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis.

As great of a hitter as Markakis is, when he hits a single, he is for the most part staying at first.  The threat of McLouth stealing impacts what a pitcher does and leads to better pitches for Machado to hit.

Thursday night was a perfect example of the tools McLouth brings to a team and the kind of spark he provides to pick up his teammates.  The Orioles were down 2-0 after three defensive miscues.  It looked like the trip out west, after suffering a tough defeat at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, was taking its toll.

With Nolan Reimold on second, McLouth hits an RBI single.  After Machado pops out, McLouth steals second during Markakis’ at bat.  Markakis then hits a single to score McLouth.  By inning’s end, what looked to be a team needing a good night’s sleep was now on top and never looked back.  McLouth added another stolen base, finished with two runs scored and a walk in the 10-2 victory.

With a starting staff that is having trouble pitching deep into games, a bullpen that will be tired if the trend continues, the Orioles need to score as many runs as possible.  McLouth is a huge reason why the O’s have the second-most runs in all of baseball.

It is starting to come to the point that maybe Showalter should pencil in McLouth at the leadoff spot no matter who is on the mound.

Buck, and the rest of us, will find out if Nate can continue to be “McClutch” even off southpaws.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Phil Backert. Bookmark the permalink.

About Phil Backert

Phil Backert
Phil Backert grew up in Rising Sun, Maryland loving the Orioles, Ravens, and Terps. After going away to college outside Philadelphia and playing baseball for four years, he moved back to Maryland, and currently resides in White Marsh. Phil interned with Sports Talk 1570AM, WNST during college which eventually led...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Hot off the street

Wednesday’s O’s Links: Managing Cal’s PR During 2131 Year

The Orioles have been outscored 17-5 in two games by the light-hitting Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays held 6-0 leads in consecutive games for the first time since 2013. J.P. Arencibia, who was with the O's ...read more

PiR: Time to Give the AAA Guys a Chance

REALITY: The Baltimore Orioles are six games under .500 and are in 4th place in the AL East. PERCEPTION: Last week, I ended this column with “I have not given up hope yet”… well, a week later...read more

Manny Flashes the Leather in First Game at Shortstop

For the record - and I know I'm in the minority here - I see no reason to move Manny Machado from third base, where he's played since he came up to the majors in 2012, back to shortstop, his original...read more

Monday’s O’s Links: Everything is Awful

I wish I had some better news for you, Birdland. Everything is pretty awful. These links reflect that. Jake Arrieta Tosses No Hitter - It Would Have Never Happened Here As if the wheels coming o...read more

THE RUNDOWN: Don’t Question O’s Effort, or Jones’ Leadership

After another brutal week for the Orioles, their playoff hopes have become more of a pipe dream than anything resembling a potential reality. The starting pitchers continue to struggle and the offense...read more

View More