The Orioles have made it halfway through this season – 81 games are over – and they are a woeful 23-58.
How bad is that? Well, I’ll do the math for you.
They are on pace to finish 2018 at 46-116.
If the Orioles replicate this first half – and who wouldn’t want that to happen? – they would shatter the modern franchise’s loss total of 107 set in 1988, the year they began 0-21.
They currently have a worse record through 81 games than that 1988 squad (24-57) or the abysmal 2010 club that was 23-58 through 81.
At a 116-loss pace, the Orioles could compile the most defeats since the 2003 Detroit Tigers squad that lost 119.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
Consider that they currently have lost six in a row, the fifth time they’ve dropped at least that many consecutively this year. The Orioles have lost 16 of their last 17 at Camden Yards.
Take out Father’s Day and Mother’s Day and the Orioles haven’t won at home since David Hess’ debut in the first game of a doubleheader May 12.
Hess has pitched in eight MLB games since that quality start against the Tampa Bay Rays and, after Friday’s 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels – an outing in which Hess surrendered six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings – you have to wonder how many more starting opportunities Hess (2-5, 5.94 ERA) is going to get.
“He’s really got to command the fastball,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “If it doesn’t work out there, there’s potential for another role. But we’re looking for starters and he’s showed he can do it.”
Hess struggling is the least of this team’s problems, of course. The offense Friday scored one run on seven hits against unheralded right-hander Felix Pena and three Angels relievers.
Jonathan Schoop is now hitting .197 on the season and Chris Davis, after four hitless at-bats, is back down to .152. The Orioles had to turn to two pitchers making their big-league debuts on Friday night to get 10 outs against Mike Trout and company.
Right-hander Ryan Meisinger – who is from Calvert County and, on Friday, became the 24th native Marylander to play for the Orioles – and lefty Paul Fry did fine, allowing one run in a combined 3 1/3 innings.
There should be more of that in the second half – young, inexperienced players getting playing time. It’s something Showalter noted as a positive after another dreadful loss.
“Well, we’re gonna have some opportunities for some people that didn’t get (them),” Showalter said. “I just think people have a track record … – and I know that everybody might get tired of hearing that; sometimes you don’t play to your track record the whole season, individuals. So that’s realistic — but usually history tells you people seek it a little bit more over the long haul. I’m ready for that. I think we all are.”
The alternative is to take aim at the franchise record for losses and the top pick in the 2019 draft, which the Orioles currently have in their grasp.
Showalter refuses to wave the white flag, though. He can’t. There’s half a season left to play.
But the first half results breed little optimism for the next 81 games. At least for everyone else not in that clubhouse.
“As tough or as bad as things have been for 81 games, they can be just as good the other way around. I was talking to Jon (Schoop) about that today,” Showalter said. “You got 81 games that you struggle and now you can have 81 games that you go the other way. … There’s some really good people in that locker room and I’d really like to see them get a return for what (they’ve put into it). But you can’t will it. You can’t just hope.”