The first half of a most difficult Orioles season is over, and when play resumes on Friday, they’ll attempt to improve on a whole host of negatives.
How bad was the first half? The Orioles were 27-62, and while they’re three games ahead of their record (24-65) after 89 games last year, that still puts them on pace to lose 113 games. That would be just two fewer than their franchise-worst 115 losses in 2018.
The Orioles would have to finish the season 36-37 to avoid losing 100 games.
They began the season with five wins in 10 games and ended the first half with another five wins in 10 games.
In between, they won consecutive games only twice and played 18 straight series without a win.
They used 30 pitchers, including three position players, and allowed 170 home runs, which puts them on pace to allow a major league record 309.
Oriole pitchers have given up five or more home runs 10 times this season, and they’ve allowed 10 or more runs 16 times.
Overall, the Orioles used 46 players, just 10 short of the 56 they used in 2018. When Aaron Brooks, whom they acquired from Oakland, pitches, it will be 31 and 47.
Can the fourth and fifth starters get better? The Orioles have won just five games started by pitchers other than Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner and John Means.
Since the Orioles won the first game of a doubleheader in Chicago on May 1 when David Hess worked 4 1/3 innings, pitchers other than Bundy, Cashner and Means have started 24 times, and the Orioles won just once.
On May 27, Gabriel Ynoa pitched four innings, and Dan Straily followed with another four in a 5-3 win over Detroit. There have been 16 starts by starters not named Bundy, Cashner and Means since, and no wins.
Will the Orioles get the No. 1 pick again in 2020? As of now, the Orioles have the worst record in baseball with a .303 winning percentage, but there are two other American League teams in contention for the top pick next year.
Kansas City, which had the second pick and chose Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., has a 30-61 record, just two games better than the Orioles.
Detroit, which had the number one selection in 2018, has a 28-57 record and a winning percentage of .329, just a point ahead of the Royals’.
Kansas City is the only American League team the Orioles have yet to face this season. They’ll play the Royals August 19-21 at Camden Yards and visit Kauffman Stadium August 30-September 2.
The Orioles play the Tigers, who have lost 25 of 32 after leaving Baltimore with two straight wins in May, four times in September at Comerica Park.
The Orioles could have had four All-Stars. For several weeks, it was assumed that Trey Mancini would be the Orioles’ representative on the All-Star team.
Mancini and the rest of Birdland was disappointed when he was left off the team. John Means was chosen instead.
There’s no question that Mancini should have been picked. Even though he ended the first half with three hitless games, the first time all season he hadn’t in three straight, Mancini still had impressive stats.
Mancini is hitting .291 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs. His on-base percentage is .351 and he’s slugging .517 for an OPS of .868.
His WAR is .8 because he’s being penalized for his defense.
Means, who has pitched just 19 major league games, has a stellar 3.4 WAR, ninth among all major league pitchers and just behind the 3.7 for the All-Star Game starters, Houston’s Justin Verlander and Los Angeles’ Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Besides Mancini and Means, a case could have been made for Hanser Alberto, who was waived twice in 2019 and whose .309 average is just outside the major league’s top 10.
The infielder’s bat against left-handed pitchers has stood out. Alberto is hitting .412 against left-handers, but just .234 against right-handers. His WAR of .9 is a bit higher than Mancini’s.
There was also an argument for Cashner, who has an excellent WAR of 2.7 thanks to his 9-3 record and 3.83 ERA.
Perhaps the two best starts of Cashner’s season were the final two of the first half, but they came after the team was selected.
Means didn’t pitch, and it was the first time an Oriole didn’t play in the All-Star Game since 1975 when Jim Palmer, the team’s only selection, didn’t pitch.