The fact that the team sitting in the basement of the AL East with a 8-20 record and 12.5 games out of first place just 28 games into the season is struggling shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. However, if we dive deeper into the statistics, we find that the Baltimore Orioles are on track not just for a rough season, but for arguably their worst season in over 100 years.
To put it simply, the offense has been atrocious. I’m going to give a few statistics, current through last night, and let you know how they compare to the rest of the MLB coming into today, as well as the last time the Orioles finished a season with that specific statistic being as low or lower than it currently is.
- Batting Average: .224 (T-27th in MLB, worst for BAL since 1910)
- OBP: .294 (29th in MLB, worst for BAL since 1910)
- Slugging: .379 (T-23rd in MLB, worst for BAL since 1990)
- OPS: .673 (T-27th in MLB, worst for BAL since 1988)
- Runs/Game: 3.50 (28th in MLB, worst for BAL since 1988)
The amazing part is that the Orioles currently have these abysmal statistics while also having a player on their team (Manny Machado) with nine home runs, just one homer behind the current league leader. Manny is also contributing a .361 batting average, which should show just how much players like Caleb Joseph (.137), Chris Davis (.167), Tim Beckham (.179), and Anthony Santander (.213) are bringing this team down.
To make it worse, the pitchers, both starters and bullpen players, have been underperforming to say the least. Rotation members Chris Tillman (7.03 ERA) and Alex Cobb (13.11 ERA) have become almost automatic losses for the Orioles, with a combined 1-7 pitching record. In fact, in just three starts, Cobb has amassed an impressively bad -0.8 WAR. Meanwhile, the pitcher currently slated as the closer, Brad Brach, is bringing a 5.73 ERA to the table, while other significant bullpen contributors Michael Givens (4.61 ERA) and Pedro Araujo (4.60 ERA) are also struggling.
I’d be remiss not to mention how injuries have affected this team’s success. The DL currently contains eight players, several of whom (Zach Britton, Tim Beckham, Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo) were integral to the Orioles’ previous seasons. That being said, injuries should never excuse play this poor, and the Orioles are certainly not the only team with injury problems already this season.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to pinpoint the major problem with a team when the major problem happens to be just about every player. The bats are silent, half of the starters wouldn’t currently be in many MLB teams’ rotations, and the bullpen is the worst its been in years. Dylan Bundy, Richard Bleier, and Manny Machado continue to be the only bright spots on a team that looks destined for last place in the AL East, and that very well may compete for the worst record in baseball.