The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first as of May 3rd. You might think that’s good, but they should be in first by a lot.
On April 28th, they blew a lead in the 9th inning to the Yankees. Brad Brach was pitching, but only because the best closer in baseball, Zach Britton was injured. Not only do they not have a closer, but they had to completely change the use of their bullpen. Normally it would be: starter goes 6, Givens comes in the 7th, Brach pitches the 8th and Britton closes it. They had to change that all up, and use Donnie Hart.
The Orioles’ best starting pitcher, Chris Tillman, is injured. He’s been their best pitcher since 2012, averaging nearly 15 wins since then with an ERA of around 3.75. Besides the solid numbers, he’s one of the leaders of the Orioles, and not having that can really mess up your team.
Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo are arguably the Orioles’ best hitters. But this season, their combined batting average is only .223, their average amount of homers is only 3.33, and their average amount of RBIs is only 11. If they had stats consistent with what they should be, their combined WAR (wins above replacement) would be around 6, which would mean the Orioles would be 22-3.
The only Orioles who are actually hitting are Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones. They have averages of around .285 and around 5 homers. Adam Jones is hitting over .400 with runners in scoring position, and Jonathan Schoop has an OBP of .333 and a OPS of .856.
All in all the orioles are overachieving and underachieving. They could be 22-3, but with their injuries, nobody would be surprised if they were 9-16 instead of 16-9. Another thing to think about is how they are in the AL east, which is the toughest division in baseball with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays.
As of May 8th, Chris TIllman made his return, and pitched 5 innings, 0 runs and only a few hits. With his return they finally have a real a rotation, and Zach Britton returned about a week ago. Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado are all starting to heat up with Machado having 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.
Photo: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Manny Machado) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons