The Orioles are 51-36 with a 2 game lead over Boston and Toronto. It is hardly a comfortable cushion; in fact, it’s the tightest divisional race in baseball. The pundits didn’t pick the Orioles to be this good. That said, the season has gone kind of the way that everyone expected. The Orioles have knocked the cover off the ball, and have the second most home runs at the All-Star break ever. They have four guys on pace for 30 home runs, and don’t be surprised if Schoop gets there too.
The bullpen has been phenomenal. The defense has been very good, although with some surprising lapses at times. And, the rotation has been subpar. That’s kind of what people thought it would be. So, the strengths and weaknesses have been kind of what everyone expected. Yet, it’s fair to say that the Orioles, record-wise, are probably better than people thought they would be, as they have been able to survive poor starting pitching and still be a first place team.
Can they continue to win this way? Sure, why not. 87 games is a large enough sample size. Will this formula work in the playoffs if they don’t get better starting pitching? I’m skeptical, but stranger things have happened. I certainly believe the Orioles can make no changes and still win the division. Like everybody else, I hope they make a trade to get a starting pitcher, but don’t expect them to get too aggressive, as they are lacking trade pieces. Actually, they might be able to improve the rotation from within the organization.
More on that in my next blog…