After taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees this weekend the Orioles are back in first place in the A.L. East, percentage points ahead of the Red Sox. A third of the 2016 season is in the books (plus 1-game) and the Orioles have the second best record in the league and fifth best record in baseball.

If the Orioles continue their first 54-game pace, they’d finish 93-69 and that would likely bring post-season baseball to Baltimore. I guess we could go Dennis Green on these Orioles and say, “They are who we thought they were.”  Remember we thought they’d hit home runs, play good defense and have a top bullpen. The biggest concern about Buck’s Birds was starting pitching.

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Let’s review; the O’s have hit 80 home runs third best in baseball.  The defense though spectacular at times has been average. The Orioles 33 errors put them just above the major league average in fielding percentage. The bullpen has been superb with Brad Brach and Michael Givens combining for a 10-0 record and Darren O’Day and Zach Britton lights out in the 8th and 9th innings. The bullpen’s 2.81 ERA is second best in baseball.

Remember that big concern? Well starting pitching is still the big concern and it will determine the fate of this 2016 season. The pitching challenged Boston Braves (way back!) had “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.” These Orioles have Chris Tillman and well Chris Tillman. Kevin Gausman has pitched well but has zero wins and zero run-support. Gallardo is on the DL, Wright and Wilson are young and inconsistent and Ubaldo is a crap-shoot that too often is crap!

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The numbers support what our eyes tell us; the O’s starting pitching is weak. The team ranks 26th in quality starts and the team ERA of 4.10 ranks 17th. That team ERA would be a lot worse if not for the bullpens terrific work. Can this current crop of starters get better? Can a quality starter be added? If the answer is no to both questions it’ll be an uphill battle.

There’s still plenty of schedule left but it’s always fun to take a look at the pace some Orioles have set.

Hitters BA HR/RBI
Manny Machado .308 42/105 on pace for record 63 dbles
Mark Trumbo  .292 54/129 192 K’s
Chris Davis .215 33/87 228 K’s.
Jonathan Schoop  .259 24/93 141 K’s
Adam Jones .236 24/87 123 K’s
Pitchers
Chris Tillman 21-3 record 3.33 ERA 1.18 WHIP
Zach Britton 51 saves 1.11 ERA 0.66 WHIP/1.34 BA against
Brad Brach 15-0 record 0.91 ERA 0.91 WHIP
Mychal Givens 15-0 record 2.05 ERA 108 K’s

 

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I’m not sure that Manny Machado will hit 63 doubles, or Mark Trumbo 54 homers. I’m not sure Chris Tillman will be the Orioles first 20-game winner since 1984 and I’d bet that Brad Brach and Mychal Givens both don’t go 15-0 this year.What I do know is if the next two thirds of the season are like the first 54 games Oriole fans are in for a hot summer.