Although the Baltimore Orioles are getting ready to play their 83rd game Tuesday night, we’ll take a look at them through their first 81 games.
At the midpoint of the season, the O’s were 25-56 and mired in a terrible offensive slump for the first 76 games of the season. The team didn’t even have a home run from any first basemen until game 77.
The pitching wasn’t awful early on, but has gotten progressively worse after being overused in April and May and as injuries mounted.
Here’s a position-by-position take on the first half:
Catcher: Matt Wieters and Craig Tatum
Wieters started out the year extremely well, throwing out base stealers, hitting for a solid average and playing good defense behind the plate, but has steadily worn down after former manager Dave Trembley caught him 15 out of the first 16 games. Tatum has been better than expected offensively. On defense, Tatum is what everyone expected him to be, a very good catch-and-throw guy.
First Base: Garrett Atkins/Ty Wigginton
The Atkins experiment didn’t that work out. That’s all there is to say. Wigginton was the best hitter on the Orioles in April and May, but his pace slowed in June and July. He had only one home run in June and hasn’t hit one in July yet. Scott Moore has also filled in, but has played more second base.
Second Base: Scott Moore/Julio Lugo/Ty Wigginton
I already touched on Wigginton above so let’s look at Moore and Lugo. Moore has been a pleasant surprise since having his contract purchased by the O’s. His defense has been shaky, mostly because he’s not familiar with second base. Moore has hit, more often than not, in clutch situations whether its been as a pinch hitter or just his turn in the lineup.
Lugo hasn’t endeared himself to the fans here, but has been a decent placeholder for whoever the O’s want to bring in next year. He has been hitting lately, but has had problems on the bases, getting picked off several times already this season.
Third Base: Miguel Tejada
Tejada’s defense hasn’t been very good at all in his transition from shortstop to third base. He has had trouble fielding the routine balls, but able to make the routine plays. His bat is also slower than in his first tour with the O’s. His power is virtually gone as well. He hasn’t been what was expected this season, at least up to this point.
Shortstop: Cesar Izturis
Izturis’ defense has come and gone at times in 2010. He has been making the routine, and sometimes spectacular, plays, but has looked lost at different points during the season. Izturis has never been much of a hitter, so whatever they get from him offensively should be considered a bonus. Izturis doesn’t have a home run this season.
Outfield: Felix Pie, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Corey Patterson
Pie has been on the disabled list most of the year, but appeared to be productive before he got injured back in April. Jones has come on offensively recently, but his defense hasn’t been what was expected coming off of a Gold Glove season. Markakis has been the most consistent player on Baltimore in 2010, with the exception of his power numbers being lower. Patterson, in his second tour with the Orioles, has filled in for Pie admirably, but will be demoted to fourth outfield when Pie is ready to play full time again.
Designated Hitter: Luke Scott
Scott is injured currently, but was his typical self before the injury. He was streaky and undependable unless he was in one of his hot streaks. It has come to be what’s expected of Scott, but it shouldn’t be accepted. Scott needs to learn to be a little bit more consistent throughout a 162 game season.
The entire pitching staff, of late, hasn’t been fantastic, but they haven’t been as bad as they have for the last few years, at least not yet. The bullpen started out very well before injuries to Jim Johnson and Michael Gonzalez took their toll. Baltimore’s starting pitchers have been inconsistent. They have had their moments, but have also had their very bad moments. If the O’s want to improve in the second half, their hopes hinge on the pitching staff.
Overall, expect much the same in the second half of the season for the Orioles. This team is obviously bad and there’s no end, at least this season, that they will get better.