Breaking down the (subpar) O's offense 

May, 20, 2011
When talking about American League East offenses, there are four teams that hit well enough to win many nights ... and then there are the Baltimore Orioles. Buck Showalter's bunch enters the weekend ranked 22nd in baseball in runs scored, and there are myriad reasons why. The new veteran infield has been a bust, with Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds struggling and J.J. Hardy missing a month following an oblique injury. Brian Roberts seems to be a shell of his former self; Nick Markakis might never get his power stroke back; and Vladimir Guerrero, while hitting .303, is on pace for 62 RBIs and is already being discussed as late-July trade bait.

That said, I'm interested in seeing how this offense performs over the next few weeks, because there's some new blood in town and a few roles might be changing, and that can be a good thing. Here are a few questions surrounding the Orioles offense:

Who replaces Lee?: The team's first baseman just hit the DL -- it's about all he has hit this season -- because of a left oblique strain, and the early word is Luke Scott will move to his spot. Scott is playing through a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and it's showing; while he leads the team with six home runs, a .227 batting average excites no one. Expect Jake Fox to get some starts at first base against left-handed pitchers, but I think we know by now Fox won't emerge as a consistent power threat, despite his terrific spring training.