With the MLB owners saying no to a long season, it’s beginning to look like 50 games is the magic number. For Baltimore Orioles fans, this isn’t good news.
In 2019, the Baltimore Orioles were very bad – emphasis on VERY BAD – in the first 50 games.
Unfortunately, the Orioles terrible starts have had to compete with other teams that seem to get going right out of Florida or Arizona.
Looking back at the first 50 games last year is going to hurt. Prepare yourself.
The Orioles finished the first 50 games with a record of 15-35. That’s a .300 average. The AL East division champions, the Yankees, went 33-17 in the same time span. These numbers were compiled by the stats experts at FanGraphs.
In the first 50 games, the Orioles faced AL East rivals 27 times. They saw the Yankees in 12 of those match ups. And, the Yankees won 10 out of 12 times. The Orioles only won two of the series they played in the first 50 games of 2019 – the Opening Day series against the Yankees and the second series of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays.
In 2019, the Orioles were in last place in the entire MLB. The Miami Marlins were at .320 – for a bit of perspective. For a bit more perspective, the Detroit Tigers who finished with the worst record in the MLB in 2019 were 19-31 in the first 50 with an average of .380. They weren’t last in the AL Central either, that dubious honor belonged to the Royals.
The Orioles actually got worse as the season progressed. In games 26-75, they dropped below .300 to a win-loss average of .240. That’s a record of 12-38. During that same time, the Yankees were 34-16.
In that losing stretch, the Orioles faced the Yankees, Astros, Indians, Angels, Red Sox, and A’s. The Tigers, Giants, Blue Jays, and Rockies were in that mix, too. When you look at the teams the O’s had to face, several went on to the playoffs or were in the playoffs in 2018. And, the Angels have Mike Trout and Albert Pujols who combined for four home runs in the three-game Mother’s-Day-weekend series at Camden Yards.
The record for games 51-100 was slightly better, moving the Orioles record up a tick to .320. with a 17-33 record. It was during this stretch that the Tigers began their collapse with a .220 record in the same span.
In games 76-125, the Orioles were 18-32 – .360. And, in games 113-162, the team was back to .320.
The 2019 Orioles looks an awful lot like the 2020 Orioles. And, the 2020 team will be without one of its best players: Trey Mancini. The pick up of Jose Iglesias will help a bit, but it won’t make up for his .291/.364/.535 and 106 runs with 35 of them going over the fence.
Here’s how a few Orioles hit in the first 50 games of 2019:
- Chris Davis: 172/.259/.320 with 5 home runs
- Mancini: .301/.350/.543 with 10 home runs
- Renato Nunez: .223/.277/.434 with 10 home runs
- Pedro Severino: .244/.337/.474 with 5 home runs
- Rio Ruiz: .245/.324/.358 with 4 home runs
- Iglesias (with the Reds): .299/.329./.420 with 3 home runs
The one thing that could help the Orioles is if top players decide to sit out. The Orioles won’t have to face Eastern pitchers: Chris Sale, Luis Severino, or Noah Syndergaard as they all opted to have Tommy John surgery this season. That could help a bit.
And, if the league is broken up into geographic regions, the Orioles most likely won’t see the Dodgers, Astros, or Angels. The Red Sox will look quite different in 2020 – remember Mookie Betts and David Price are in Los Angeles now. The O’s will have to face the Braves, who have a tough lineup, but they will also have to face the Marlins – who seem to be in perpetual rebuild mode.
We will know soon if the MLB will get started. With the recent start-up announcement from the NBA, the MLB is under pressure to prove it can get its act together and put together a product for 2020.