You know the old expression: In a baseball season, you’ll win 50 games, you’ll lose 100 games, and it’s the 12 games in the middle that make all the difference.
That ‘s not how it goes, but at this point, that would be an improvement, for your Baltimore Orioles. At 17-39, the Orioles are on pace for a 49-113 season. If that sounds absurd, I would only point out that we expected the team to hit rock bottom long ago, and at each opportunity, they have failed to do so. So I say “why not?” Why can’t this be one of the worst teams in baseball history? That might not have the same ring as the 89 Why Not? Orioles, but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt… so… yay?
Look, this team is bad, but they seem to be bad in new and interesting ways each night, which in its own right may be somewhat interesting to watch. Sure, it may feel wrong to say “how are they going to blow it this time?” But at least you’ll have something to keep you entertained.
David Hess might not be awful.
Three of David Hess’ four starts have been not-disasters. I’m not saying that Hess is the next great Orioles starter (that person probably hasn’t been born yet, right?), but I’m saying he might be not-terrible. Not-terrible enough to hold down a fifth starter job on a team threatening to lose 100 games.
Hess’ peripherals are… not exciting, but the results have been OK. Each time he pitches, I hope that we are seeing a surprise candidate, like a Miguel Gonzalez, rather than a flash in the pan. Remember when we were all excited about Mike Wright (before he was Mike Wright Jr.)? Yes, I assure you – there was a time.
It rained of Thursday.
Well, I don’t know – YOU tell me what I’m supposed to find in the last week of Orioles baseball that isn’t sadness – they haven’t won a game since my last post was published! When the people that cover the team say things like this…
If you are looking for some good news, it's 8:41 p.m. and the Orioles are not losing.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) June 1, 2018
… you know that things are not going well.
The Orioles got rained out of the opener in what would have clearly been the opener of another series win against the Yankees. Right? RIGHT?!?!
But there are lots of good things to say about the rain-out. First, the Orioles failed to lose on Thursday. Second, they will make up the game as part of a single-admission double-header (which are the things baseball magic are made of).
And… I’m done scraping the bottom of the barrel.
The bats are asleep.
The bats have been bad for a while. If you throw out the 9-3 win over the White Sox and the 17-1 victory over the Rays, the story gets much darker. Of course, those games happened, and you can’t throw them out. But, ugh. Just ugh.
In the last 14 games, the Orioles, as a team, have a wRC+ of 63. If you’re not familiar with that stat, Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) quantifies a player’s total offensive value and measures it by runs – a league average player has a wRC+ of 100. So the Orioles? They’re not even close to league average. If you’d like to rub a little salt in that wound, Ryan Flaherty, in 129 plate appearances in 2018, has a wRC+ of 102.
The Orioles’ collective BABIP over the last two weeks is .281. League average is about .300. Their K% is 25% – they’re striking out a full quarter of the time. Their ISO (Isolated Power) is .107 – and this is the team built on the home run?
Sure, 14 games is an arbitrary sample. But for anyone watching this team, it sounds pretty representative, doesn’t it?
Craig Gentry and TOOTBLAN
In Thursday night’s loss to the Nationals (you know, the one which capped off a series in which they scored a total of two runs, allowing themselves to be swept by their MASN counterparts?) Craig Gentry made the second out of the ninth inning, by getting picked off trying to steal third.
At the time, I warned people not to freak out about it. I mean, it’s just one more loss to throw in the pile, and at least it was a new look (back to “are you not entertained?”). But looking back, I think the most frustrating part of it is that the TOOTBLAN proves that the Orioles are pressing – pressing all the time, in sheer desperation not to lose again. Which, of course, results in more losses.
They want to not suck. They just do.