It is a good time to evaluate the Orioles with the truncated season already 2/3 completed. The record for the Baltimore Orioles stands at a surprising 19-21 (including an impressive 9-6 away record), despite most pundits picking them to be one of the worst teams in baseball. It still looks like the wild card is out of reach, but the team has been competitive in all but a few games. An effective closer (i.e. pitcher not named Cole Sulser) would have been able to boost the Orioles over the .500 mark. Certainly the overall team hitting has been fairly consistent with a .261 batting average – ranking them sixth overall in the majors.
The characteristic that stands out to me is their resiliency – given that they started the season with one of the worst rosters in baseball and then continued to lose so many key players for long stretches of time. Let’s make some observations by position groups:
– John Means – (0-3, 8.10 ERA) Their rising star from last year just has not been able to get his feet under him. He has been their poorest performer due to a variety of circumstances that have prevented him from establishing any rhythm – minor injury, death of his father, etc. Despite increasing his fast ball velocity, his changeup has not had the bite that made it his out pitch from last year.
– Alex Cobb – (1-3, 4.33 ERA) Placed on the injured list Sept. 4.
– Wade LeBlanc – (1-0, 8.06 ERA, only 22 innings) Went on the injured list Aug. 25.
– Tommy Milone – (1-4, 3.99 ERA) Fairly effective so that means the club traded him on Aug. 30.
– Asher Wojciechowski — (1-3, 5.17 ERA) At least he has stayed available throughout the season.
You look at the performance of our season opening starting rotation and you have to shake your head at where we ever came up with 19 victories. Fortunately the youngsters that have been brought up in the past week have performed very well. Kohl Stewart was out with an injury in early August.
– Traded away 3 of the key performers with major league productivity: Richard Bleier to the Marlins, Miguel Castro to the Mets and Mychal Givens to the Rockies.
– Anointed Cole Sulser to the closer role where he cost us several games before being bumped back down to lower leverage roles.
– Injury to Shawn Armstrong Aug. 29.
The jury is still out on how the reconstructed bullpen will perform for the remainder of the season.
– Lost our best hitter Trey Mancini to colon cancer before the season began.
– Lost infielder Richie Martin to a season-ending fractured right wrist injury before the season began.
– Lost our current best powerhitter Anthony Santander on Sept. 5 to oblique injury that probably ends his season.
– Starting center fielder Austin Hays put on the injury list on Sept. 1.
– Hot hitting shortstop Jose Iglesias has been battling a leg injury that has caused him to miss significant time.
– Lost Chris Davis on Aug. 21 (OK, that one might be addition by subtraction)
– The Orioles have given a ton of starts to 2 utility infielders that might not make the rosters of most major league teams: Pat Valaika and Andrew Velazquez.
I think Orioles fans have to be pleased with how the team competes and battles each game until the final out. The newcomers that have been brought up have shown some promise and filled in nicely.