Baltimore Orioles, Ubaldo Jimenez start with a new beginning

The Baltimore Orioles open up the second half of the season with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound tonight in Detroit. He’ll be opposed by Anibal Sanchez, as the two teams meet for the first time since last year’s ALDS. First off, let’s bear in mind that the Orioles have been in the statistical “second half” for some time now. At 44-44, they’ve played 88 games to this

The Baltimore Orioles open up the second half of the season with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound tonight in Detroit. He’ll be opposed by Anibal Sanchez, as the two teams meet for the first time since last year’s ALDS. First off, let’s bear in mind that the Orioles have been in the statistical “second half” for some time now. At 44-44, they’ve played 88 games to this point.

Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

And with that said, they also sit at .500. That’s a lower mark I think than what most people predicted at this stage. However the Birds also remain only four games out of first, and in a division that’s bunched as close as the AL East nobody is truly out of it. At least not yet – as we progress through the second half that will change. 

I’ve had to re-think this over time, however I still say that baseball will always begin and end with starting pitching. In the final two weeks before the break, the O’s had decent starting pitching – in most games. But it was Oriole bats, or the lack thereof, that was losing them games. So the likes of Jimenez in effect need to keep up what they were doing prior to the break.

And bearing that in mind, the Orioles will obviously come into tonight’s game as well-rested and thus as healthy as they’ve been throughout the course of the year. Buck Showalter said at one point that the next time everyone in that clubhouse would be at 100% would be a month after the season ends. But having the past few days off has presumably given respite to some tired arms, as well as some tired bats.

Jimenez of course will be facing a Detroit team that will be missing Miguel Cabrera – a big part of their offense. This is a series that the Birds might have a good shot at winning, especially given the fact that Comerica Park favors pitchers. Having said that, one thing that pitchers parks do yield is triples. So Oriole outfielders will need to be sure to play the wall correctly, and get balls back in as quickly as possible. 

At .500, there’s little room for error on this Orioles team right now. They need to start the second half in a positive manner and distance themselves from the pack. The bad news is that the rest of the division will be trying to do the same thing. The good news is that the Orioles are still the defending champions in the AL East. Thus their attitude must be if you want to win the AL East, you have to come and get that banner from us.