How bad is Nick Markakis right now? Seems a funny question considering he’s riding an 18-game hitting streak and has brought his average up to .282. In his last 14 games he’s hit .423. But drill down deeper and you’ll see Markakis’s problems at the plate haven’t gone away. In those 14 games, covering 53 plate appearances, Markakis has walked once. Home runs? Also just one — his power shows no sign of returning. So what’s happened in the last two weeks is that Markakis has taken his terrible season and added a lot of singles. And how did he start hitting so many singles? Unfortunately, it looks like it’s just luck — Markakis’ BABIP in the last 14 games is an insane .447. Those bloop singles won’t keep falling in all year, and you can expect Markakis’s BA to drop back towards its former dispiriting level over the next few weeks.
Bernoulli variables like to cancel: with all the strange business going on this season (bizarrely terrible Markakis, bizarrely good J.J. Hardy, the regression of Brian Matusz, etc. etc.) the Orioles are en route to winning 75 games or so, pretty much in line with pre-season projections.
CJ and I went to the Mallards afternoon game on Father’s Day. For the first time CJ was actually involved with the game; he spent innings 4-8 getting food and playing in the bounce house, to be sure, but after we went back to our seats he demanded to stay to the end of the game, a thriller that the Mallards won 5-4 in the bottom of the 10th after Andrew Barna walked, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch. Barna, who plays for Davidson College during the school year, is blogging the Mallards’ season game by game: highly recommended for anyone interested in a candid view of amateur ball, or what summer in Madison looks and feels like to a college kid away from home.
The bad news is that the “pigsicle” — a thick slab of bacon dipped in maple syrup and served on stick — is no longer served at the Maynard’s Slide-In stand at the Duck Pond. The good news is that it’s been replaced with the “chicken-fried pigsicle,” the same slab, battered and fried and served — on a stick, natch — with a cup of white gravy.
The old Mallards logo has been also been replaced, in favor of this peevish dude. I know, everybody wants a fierce mascot. But frankly, the maximal level of fierceness a mallard can attain is well below “I am a dangerous predator.” I think it hovers somewhere around “You took my parking space.”
It was very cute watching CJ dutifully and somewhat accurately stomp-stomp-clap along to “We Will Rock You.” But I think the Mallards are missing an opportunity by not encouraging fans to sing “We Will Duck You.”