Being a numbers geek (not rare among baseball fans – you know who you are!), I have over the years tracked the Orioles with my own system of statistical analyses. I chart in such a way as to give what I believe is a fair system of evaluation of the team – indentifying who (starters, relievers, hitters, defense) is to be credited for wins and blamed for losses. I also chart more standard things like quality starts, etc.
To make this happen, at the beginning of the season I set up a chart by typing in the whole schedule. This is an interesting exercise, as the physical act of doing it makes the ups and downs – the ebb and flow of the season – really come alive. And it is interesting to break down the season into varied sections of quarters (every 40-41 games) or fifths (32-33 games) and sixths (exactly 27 games – corresponding relatively to each month).
Let me share two thoughts that jumped out at me while doing this:
1. The Orioles are facing both a very difficult opening stretch and a very difficult closing segment. The season breaks down this way: the first 32 games, the final 30 games, and the 100 games in between. Let me list it this way:
- 20 of the first 32 games are on the road (including an11-game west coast trip).
- 58 of the middle 100 games are at OPACY.
- 19 of the final 30 games are on the road (includes 16 against AL East opponents).
This would seen to portend that the Orioles are going to have quite a challenge getting out of the gate in the first 20% of the season. Historically, the Birds do not play well on the west coast. But on the bright side, it is maybe good to get this trip out of the way very early in the year. As well, if they are able to win a substantial number of these first 32 games, there is a great opportunity to take a giant step toward an extraordinarily successful season and win total. It is also of value to recall that the 2012 Orioles were the very best of all AL clubs by going 46-35 on the road. That is impressive.
2. My second primary though is this: It is interesting to see what jumps out as “easier” teams versus those times that present the look of a grueling stretch of games. Along with the obligatory games against AL powers outside the division such as Detroit, Oakland, Texas, and the Angels, the Orioles are also playing four games against Washington, along with seeing the Dodgers and Giants. When one puts all of this together while working through the schedule, it makes the 38 games against the Red Sox and Yankees look a whole lot easier. There aren’t any real pansies the in MLB, but those “evil empire” opponents (as historically seen by Orioles fans) just don’t seem to have quite the same bluster as the past.
So it will be an interesting season. Orioles fans should not panic if the team is around .500 after the first 32 games, not should they necessarily make playoffs plans if the Birds have a four-game lead with 30 more to play (with 19 on the road).
So, I’ve admitted to being a geek (“Hi, my name is Randy, and I’m a baseball stats geek” …. “Hi Randy.”) Anybody else out there willing to join the group? The first step is to acknowledge the condition. And you can do that by leaving a comment.