PiR: Despite Tight Standings, These Birds Aren’t “In It”

Chris Tillman, Orioles pitcher, wipes his brow with his arm.

REALITY: The Baltimore Orioles have only won 32% of their last 40 games.

PERCEPTION: Over the first 33 games of the season, the Birds were 22-11 and had the best record in baseball. Since then, they are 15-27. Which puts them at 37-38, the 15th best record in baseball.

So, what has happened? It’s all about the pitching. Yes, they could do better as a team at the plate, but Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop, and Welington Castillo are all producing. This team’s problems start on the mound.

REALITY: The Orioles pitching staff has the worst ERA in baseball.

PERCEPTION: The Orioles pitching staff has a combined 5.20 ERA this season… that is 30th, dead last in baseball. Only three teams have a team ERA over 5.00.

O’s starters are last in the AL with a 5.79 ERA, which also puts them second to last in MLB.

Baltimore’s bullpen is 19th in baseball and 5th from bottom in the AL, with a 4.38 ERA.

Another telling stat is that the Orioles relievers have pitched the second most innings in baseball (most in the AL), while their starters have pitched the fewest innings in the AL and 3rd least in baseball.

We all know this, but you can’t win games giving up eight runs per game. Think about that for a minute… that’s like little league baseball. Eight runs per game during a 20-game span? It almost seems impossible that an MLB team could pitch that poorly. Pro pitchers should be better than that. Right now, the Orioles don’t have Pro pitchers. They have a bunch of AAA pitchers who are trying, but failing.

16 of the 23 pitchers to take the mound for Baltimore this season have pitched to an over 4.00 ERA. To make matters worse, one of the seven pitchers with a sub-4.00 ERA is on the DL (Zach Britton) and another just came off (Darren O’Day).

You can blame it on the coaches, but we have seen these pitchers each pitch better, which tells me it’s not the coaching, it’s the players not living up to their potential. They just need to simply pitch better.

REALITY: The O’s are 22nd in baseball in runs scored.

PERCEPTION: I know that I said the issues with this team were on the mound, and they are, but there is enough blame to go around. They are only 22nd in baseball in runs scored. And that stat just boggles the mind. 10 times this team has had the bases loaded and no outs, and they have not produced even one hit. That is simply pathetic.

REALITY: Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette said “we are still contenders.”

PERCEPTION: The O’s are 4.0 games back in the American League East, and only 2.5 games out of the American League Wild Card.

For as quickly as they have fallen, it is possible to get it back just as quickly. I understand what DD told FanRag about being a contender. He said, “They have all played to a much higher level” and I think we all agree with that. But which team will we see for the long haul? The 22-11, best record in baseball, team? Or the 14-27, allowing 5+ runs for 20 consecutive games, team? If they come out after the All-Star break and go 20-10, they are right back in this thing, but even with Britton, O’Day, and J.J. Hardy expected back, I don’t see it fixing the issues this team is having.

I love this team and continue to watch nearly every game, but this is not a little slump. This is just flat-out bad baseball. The kind of baseball that we saw for 14 consecutive years in Baltimore. I think that may be why fans are so angry during this 40-game stretch. We have been very lucky to watch some great baseball since 2012, and a team that has produced the most wins in the AL since then.

But the way this team is playing right now reminds us of a place that O’s fans hoped to never see again.

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

2 Cheers on “PiR: Despite Tight Standings, These Birds Aren’t “In It”

  1. avatarB-Moron on said:

    “You can blame it on the coaches, but we have seen these pitchers each pitch better, which tells me it’s not the coaching, it’s the players not living up to their potential.”

    That statement makes no sense. We saw these pitchers pitch better last season. So what changed between then and now? They got a new pitching coach, whose job it is to help pitchers reach their potential. I’m not one to blame coaches, but they can certainly contribute to poor performance. It’s impossible to prove either way, so let’s just hope they figure SOMETHING out.

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