Dave Roberts: Orioles Changing Outfield Wall At Camden Yards Is ‘Smart Play’

The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles by taking two-of-three from a youthful American League East that went into the series on a hot streak.

It was the Dodgers’ first trip to Oriole Park at Camden Yards since the 2019 season, when that visit coincided with clinching a seventh consecutive National League West title. A few factors have changed in those four years since, both of which played critical roles in each game.

The Orioles now boast a collection of young talent, led by Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez. Other than the players, the Orioles made an effort to adjust results at their home ballpark following the 2021 season.

Orioles ownership decided to change the dimensions at Camden Yards in an effort to limit home runs, and its mostly done the job the two years following. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts viewed the outfield wall changes — particularly in left field — as a shrewd decision by the Orioles, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“It’s different. I don’t know a whole lot about … the thought behind it,” Roberts said. “But for me, it’s a smart play for an organization to keep games closer, lower scoring. You play in the AL East. There’s a lot of bombers, typically in the American League. How do you neutralize organizations with star power offensively? You get a bigger ballpark. You catch it defensively. You pitch. And it seems like it’s working pretty well.”

Pushing the left-field wall back by 26.5 feet, while also making it nearly six feet taller has already reduced the amount of homers. After ranking in the top-three list of stadiums for home runs allowed in 2021, that number has dipped down to the 18th overall.

Roberts watched as the Dodgers lineup slugged nine extra-base hits in their three games against the Orioles, many of which came via the homer. A key stat to observe with Camden Yards is the number of triples hit, as they rank seventh in baseball this season.

James Outman achieved Camden Yards first

Although it was in a losing effort, James Outman became the first left-handed hitter to slug an opposite-field home run since the Camden Yards fence changes were implemented at the start of the 2022 season.

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