We all remember when the Orioles started 2017 with a 22-10 record, right? Does that seem like a million years ago or what? Little did we know, that would be the best that we Birds fans would feel about ourselves for the foreseeable future.
I bring up that hot start not to further depress you – though that could easily be a side effect…sorry – but because, if you were to start a “season” with the game after that 22-10 start, then it would have ended last night in Oakland.
It’s been 161 games since Matt Wieters walked off the O’s at Nationals Park, capping off a Brad Brach blown save that moved the 2017 O’s to 22-11. Over the final 130 games of last season, the Birds were a woeful 53-77. That’s 130 games of .408 baseball, a 66-win pace.
A lot of that was exacerbated by an uncharacteristically awful September, in which the O’s were just 7-21. That month was the exception, not the rule – both to 2017 and moreover, to Buck Showalter‘s tenure. With an offseason to reset, gather some much-needed pieces, and start with a brand new slate, the Orioles were sure to be back in the thick of things and playing the kind of winning baseball to which we’ve become accustomed since 2012, right?
They would at least be, to use Dan Duquette’s favorite word, “competitive,” surely.
Yeah, not so much.
The 2018 Orioles look a whole lot like the September 2017 Orioles. Though some of the faces have changed, the results have not…8-24 looks eerily like 7-21.
So, back to the 162-game idea. Add up those final 130 games of 2017 and the first 32 games of 2018, and the Orioles are now a disgusting 61-101 over their last “full season” of baseball.
Did you realize, that during the “Dark Years” of Orioles baseball, from 1998-2011, the team never lost 100 games in a season? The closest they came was 63-98 (not 162 – I’m aware) in 2001. That’s not to say that they didn’t lose 100 games over any 162-game stretch, of course. If we did a similar exercise to the one I’m proposing at the moment, I’m sure we’d find several such instances.
However, that’s not quite the point. Those Dark Years O’s were characterized by some truly awful baseball teams. Interchangeable AAAA players, over-the-hill superstars, and managers nobody had heard of before or ever would again (with a couple exceptions).
These Orioles? They have good players! They have a manager that’s a World Series short of being a shoo-in Hall of Famer! It’s unfathomable that they’ve been THIS bad for THIS long.
That’s what makes this season so frustrating, and why though it’s still “early” as far as baseball seasons go, it feels like it’s not only over, but that it’s been that way ever since the Birds lost the final two games of their first series. We’ve been watching bad, bad baseball for a full season now.
At 8-24, the Orioles would need to win 55 of their final 130 games to avoid 100 losses in 2018. That’s 55-65, a .423 winning clip, which seems an insurmountable hill to climb given their current .250 pace.
And when you consider that they’re likely to trade several of their best players over the next couple months, things begin to look even more bleak.