Four things to know about an eventful Orioles' first half -

Rich Dubroff

Four things to know about an eventful Orioles’ first half

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

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.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 10, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Stupid all-star game. Who needs it anyway? Can’t wait for Friday to get here. Let’s go O’s!!

  2. douglasmintz

    July 10, 2019 at 8:07 am

    I like trey. He’s not being “penalized” for being a bad defender. He’s not a very good defender and that’s part of the game.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 10, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Douglas, his offensive WAR was 1.9 and his defensive WAR was -1.5. I appreciate your comment.

      • douglasmintz

        July 10, 2019 at 9:00 am

        Thanks rich. And thanks for your great coverage.

        My point is (and i don’t know that you’re disagreeing) he’s not a great defender so it’s not really a penalty. He’d be better if they just left him at 1B I’m sure. But for reasons we’ll covered here, that’s not really an option.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 10, 2019 at 9:20 am

      I appreciate your kind words, Douglas. Hopefully his defense improves in the second half. He certainly works hard enough at it.

  3. DavisHasToGo

    July 10, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I would have thought that the NL would have INSISTED that the AL choose Chris Davis……he’s an anchor. A boat anchor. As long as he is in the lineup, my beloved Orioles are playing 8 against 10. sad.

  4. cb

    July 10, 2019 at 9:26 am

    I haven’t watched the AS game in years. I just don’t care about it.

  5. willmiranda

    July 10, 2019 at 10:50 am

    I’m a fan of Mancini and wish he were officially an All-Star. What he is being penalized for is that he is on a dreadful team playing non-competitive games. There are a number of very good outfielders, and I’ve read no complaints about undeserving ones having been selected. It’s not Mancini’s fault, but he’s never in clutch situations because the games are, in the big picture of championships on the part of the league and emphasizing development on the part of his team, unimportant. Neither is it his fault that pitchers are throwing him hittable strikes because he will make out seven out of ten times rather than trying to pitch around him and give a certain walk. It’s part of the penalty of being on a bad team. Unless your stats are way above those of contenders’, you won’t get recognized. If he were hitting around .330 and/or had about 30 HR’s, he’d get noticed. Means got named because, as mentioned, his WAR jumps out at you.

  6. Le Merlu

    July 10, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    The top 3 WAR earners are all pitchers. And one of them lost 10 games with a FIP over 5.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 10, 2019 at 12:56 pm

      This season, Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout are the top two in WAR.

      • Le Merlu

        July 10, 2019 at 1:08 pm

        I meant the top 3 Orioles, Rich. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 10, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      It’s amazing that they had four legitimate All-Star contenders.

  7. ButchBird59

    July 10, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    The guy that has me excited for the second half is Santander. He has that rare combination of bat speed and foot speed and he definitely used his time in the minors to improve his defense.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 10, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Credit Mr. Duquette for that “D” dive …

  8. CalsPals

    July 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    My wife & I just got our tickets for Friday & Saturday, walked all around Camden Yards, it was awesome, the people working were great, wandered down to Lexington Market & had our first crab cakes, they were great…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 12, 2019 at 9:53 am

      I hope you went to Faidley’s at Lexington Market.

  9. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    July 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    I was hoping Means would get into the game when Hand struggled. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Cora put both Cleveland pitchers Beiber and Hand into the game for the hometown fans. Unlike Cito Gaston who did not put Mussina into the ASG in 93.

    • Camden Brooks

      July 10, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      That still chaps me.

  10. [email protected]

    July 10, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Wasn’t Mike Macina left out of an all-star game

  11. 5brooks5

    July 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    That’s why I so much enjoy this team more than last year. Manny, schoop, Jones, Britton, gausman etc and we actually have a better record. Unreal I hope the padres rue that manny contract as we do Davis’s. Build the farm system develop players and when the cost gets too high let them go. Can anyone name one long term contact that worked out for the team? I can’t think of one

    • CalsPals

      July 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      Early, but I’m guessing Trout’s will work out….go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 11, 2019 at 7:01 am

      How about Adam Jones’ six-year contract, 5brooks?

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