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A Look at the Current State of the Baltimore Orioles

An Offputting Opening Night

To open the 2020 MLB season the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox 2-13. It was a humiliating loss. However, it felt somewhat expected given how the team had performed in prior seasons.

Yet the Orioles would go on to win the series.

They would follow the series win, by getting swept by the New York Yankees and then they swept the Rays. Throughout the 2020 season, the Orioles have been inconsistent.

However, they’re currently in a spot that most thought they wouldn’t be in at the start of the year. That spot is a playoff spot.

Through 15 games the Orioles stand with an 8-7 record.

Austin Hayes stated  “When the bats haven’t been there, our pitching staff has stepped up,”  after a wild comeback win Tuesday in Philadelphia. “We continue to pick each other up no matter what. That’s what makes the game fun – when you know that you can trust the teammate that’s next to you. This season has been crazy from the 2-1 games to the 11-10 games. Last year and the year before, we had a lot of one-run games where we couldn’t find a way to pull through and get the win. This year has been a very different story.”

The Orioles are Currently in the Playoff Hunt

A Look at the Current State of the Baltimore Orioles
Anthony Santander gets a hit versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Image courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles.

The 2020 MLB season has been a unique one, to say the least.

One example of this is as of August 12, the Orioles are over .500, which is good enough for a playoff spot at the quarter mark of the 2020 MLB season.

The reason why a slightly over .500 record is representative of an MLB playoff spot in 2020 is the league’s playoff expansion from 12 teams to 16 teams.

In the current moment, the Orioles stand in third place in the American League East. They are sitting behind the Rays and Yankees.

The Orioles would currently be the eighth and final team in the American League playoffs. Yet there are still plenty of positive signs to be seen in the near future.

The Orioles have two more games remaining in their series against the Philidelphia Phillies.

Afterward, they will finish up a three-game series with the Washington Nationals starting Friday. That series includes a game that will be resumed in the 6th inning after thunderstorms came down causing it to get delayed.

In that game, the Orioles were winning by a score of 5-3. Assuming the Orioles can hold on to win that game, even if they only go 2-3 over their next five games they will have a winning record of 11-10 just over a third of the way through the MLB season. Over the slate of a full MLB season, this would equate to a record of 21-19. In that situation, one would have a real cause for optimism even if it did not last forever.

Statistics That Explain why the Orioles are Where They are

 A Look at the Current State of the Baltimore Orioles
John Means of the Baltimore Orioles throwing a pitch. Photo courtesy of Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun.

Currently, the Orioles hold the second-best batting average in the MLB (.260), the fourth-best on-base plus slugging percentage (.792) and the sixth-best on-base percentage (.331). The teams’ ERA stands at 4.43, which is 21st in the league.

Yet that is not a bad number given that in the previous two seasons the Orioles have finished 29th and 30th in ERA.

John Means should be back to full health soon as well. This will drastically help the Orioles pitching department.

Two players have been performing above expectations are Hanser Alberto (.348 batting average) and Jose Iglesias (.395 batting average). Numbers like these to fall back down to earth. However, the 2020 MLB season will be a short one. All it takes is a few statistical anomalies and the team could be playing meaningful baseball come October.

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