It’s no secret the Orioles were facing a monumental challenge competing in the American League East this season, facing off against Boston and New York lineups which, quite frankly, were stacked. However with some solid off-season signings, the most optimistic of Orioles fan believed that if everything thing went right, maybe, just maybe they had a chance…
Unfortunately it’s taken just three weeks to realize that, in reality, they don’t.
What we’ve seen over the first three weeks of the season has been nothing short of embarrassing to an organization which its home city holds so much passion and high hopes for. What we’ve seen, is a team lacking inspiration, courage, and a ‘Plan B’.
Waking up on Thursday morning, Orioles fans will be greeted with a site which is actually hard to fathom. Some how, some way, their team has managed to find itself a staggering 10 1/2 games behind the division-leading Red Sox just three weeks into the season. While a tough April schedule was always going to provide a challenge and test the team’s character and ability, nobody expected this carnage. As they say, pennants can’t be won in April, however they sure can be lost. In the case of the 2018 Orioles, despite so much of the season still remaining, it’s hard to see how they can challenge after giving a superior team such a large head-start.
Some of the numbers through the first 18 games are alarming:
- The team is hitting just .215, the third worst average in all of baseball behind the Indians and Rockies.
- With two out, the team is hitting a miserly .192. Only the Phillies have achieved worse.
- The team has a 4.75 ERA which is ranked 26th in all of baseball, behind the White Sox, Reds, Royals, and Marlins.
- The team is allowing 1.52 walks/hits per inning, second worst to only the White Sox.
- The bullpen has allowed runs in 16 of 18 games – that’s 89% of the time.
- The team has, somewhat uncharacteristically, made 12 errors in the field, the seventh most in the major leagues.
- The team has lead on 14 separate occasions this season, yet has just five wins to show for it.
Even more alarming is the fact that this team, dating back to the end of last season, has now lost 32 of its last 41 games – no team in baseball comes close to such a dismal record over that stretch.
The lack of inspiration and willingness to fight and gain an upper hand, then keep it, is what has really showed. The team continually falters in clutch moments and there’s and they’re unable to put teams away when opportunities present.
It’s widely accepted that this ongoing spell of cold weather will never suit a home-run or bust team, however the continued reliance upon the long ball is beyond a joke. The team simply does not have the ability to string together hits or manufacture runs on a consistent basis. In total, the they’re scoring just 23% of the time they head to the plate – 39 of 171 innings. Further, the 199 strikeouts in 18 games sees the team on pace for 1,791 over the course of the season – something no team in baseball’s 150 year history has ever come close to achieving.
While the collective numbers are of great concern, the number of individuals producing sub-par performances is just as worrying:
This afternoon the Orioles face off against the Tigers to close out the three-game set in Detroit. When they do, they’ll be looking to save themselves the embarrassment of being swept by what many expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball. If they find themselves in the loss column once more, it will be a very long, damp-spirited flight back to Baltimore where one of the best pitching staff’s in the American League awaits, the Cleveland Indians. One senses more pain awaits.