Conventional wisdom is that teams have an advantage playing at home. They’re not traveling and presumably know the ins-and-outs of their home field better than their opponent.
That’s not the case with the 2019 Orioles.
Their 9-28 record at home is easily the worst in baseball, and their team earned run average at Oriole Park is a horrifying 6.38.
It’s always been hard for the Orioles to attract top free-agent pitchers, even those looking for one-year deals because their home ballpark is so hitter friendly.
Opponents have smashed 86 home runs in 37 games, an average of 2.3 homers per game.
Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much of a home field advantage for Orioles hitters. They’re batting .239, a point under their .240 average entering Monday night’s game in Oakland, and they’ve hit 49 homers, an average of 1.3 home runs per game.
“I think it’s just coincidence,” Trey Mancini said. “We all love playing here. I really do think it’s purely coincidence, and I hope we can pick that up because we want to play well in front of our fans, of course, and have people come out to the games.”
Even last year, when the Orioles lost a franchise-record 115 games, they were better in Baltimore than on the road. At home, they were 28-53 while going 19-62 away.
They’ve allowed 10 or more runs nine times at home—in nearly one in every four games and scored in double digits just once.
The Orioles have won just one series at home (April 22-24 vs. Chicago). That remains their last series win. They’ve failed to win their last eight home series (seven losses and one split).
In the homestand that concluded Sunday, the Orioles lost their last five games. It’s their second losing streak at home of five or more games. From April 9-22, they lost seven straight. (They extended their current losing streak to six on Monday night with a 3-2 loss to the A’s in Oakland.)
They’ll return home to play two games with the San Diego Padres on June 25 and 26.
Mancini knows they’ll have to play much better at home. The Orioles lost the last two of three to Toronto and three straight to Boston. After Sunday’s 8-6 loss, a game that took four hours, 44 minutes, Mancini acknowledged the need for improvement.
“I mean, overall, it’s not great,” he said. “I think we’ve gotten away from some things that we did well early in the year, just making some routine plays. We’re making some careless mistakes. We’ve got to clean up a few things in that regard. We’re playing hard and everything, but there are some situations where we’re not doing a good job, whether mentally or physically of executing plays.”
Adding a pitcher: The Orioles selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin from Triple-A Norfolk. Gilmartin, who pitched the last two months of the 2018 season with the Orioles, has starting experience and could be helpful if the Orioles use the opener.
To make room for Gilmartin on the 40-man roster, outfielder Joey Rickard was designated for assignment.
Mancini the lone All-Star contender: Mancini is the only Oriole among the leaders in All-Star voting. In results released on Monday, Mancini remained in 17th place among outfielders with 206,620 votes.
The current round of voting ends Friday at 4 p.m.
Minor matters: Bowie outfielder Yusniel Diaz was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week. Diaz is currently on the temporary inactive list … Frederick infielder Sean Miller, a native of Crofton, was named to the North squad for the Carolina League All-Star Game. He’s the ninth Key to make the team. The game is in Frederick on Tuesday night … Dwight Smith Jr., who is on the seven-day concussion injured list, is scheduled to play two games with Norfolk before joining the Orioles in Seattle, manager Brandon Hyde told reporters in Oakland.
Draft picks signed: The Orioles signed four right-handed pitchers picked in this month’s draft: Connor Gilliispie (9th round), Kade Strowd (12th), Jensen Elliott (19) and Jake Lyons (22).
Twenty-four of the 41 players picked have been signed.