Baltimore Orioles: A different city, but much of the same result

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 17: Manager Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles looks on while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 17, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 17: Manager Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles looks on while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 17, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles kicked off a three-game series in Detroit last night. Although they played in a different city, the end results were very much the same.

For the Baltimore Orioles, things are beginning to spiral out of control. After last night’s 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers, they’ve dropped to 5-and-12, and are fading early in the AL East.

Usually, you don’t start looking at the standings until mid-May – and even then it’s typically just for fun – but at this point, it’s hard not to be aware of how far they’ve fallen.

Entering play on Wednesday, the O’s are 9.5 games behind the division-leading Red Sox and just one game better than the last place Tampa Bay Rays.

Along with the Rays (.235), only the Cincinnati Reds (.176) and Kansas City Royals (.200) have lower winning percentages than the Orioles (.294).

It took the team 34 games last season to lose for the 12th time. This year, they’ve cut that in half.

In almost every aspect, the Baltimore Orioles cannot seem to get it together. If they have a good outing by a starter, the offense goes cold. If the offense scores more than three runs, their starters lets them down.

Mix in a few unfortunate bullpen outings and you can begin to understand why this team is as bad as they are right now.

Only six times in franchise history have they started with a record of 5-and-12 through 17 games. It happened in 1954, 1955, 1982, 1984, 1993 and now, in 2018.

Contributing factors to the losing

Given this year could potentially be the last season for the core to be together, you’d be looking at them to etch their name in the history books. They’re on the right track to do so, only, not for the reasons you’d like.

Adding 12 more strikeouts to their resumé last night, they’ve now combined for 189 on the season. I wrote about it yesterday, but the Orioles have struck out more times through 17 games than any team since 1908. They’re also still on pace to rack up the most strikeouts in a season, by far.

Not to mention, the team just isn’t scoring runs. They’ve scored a combined 53 runs on the season, averaging just over three per game. Only the Twins (52), White Sox (51) and Royals (46) have scored less in the American League.

Keep in mind though, the AL Central division has played the least amount of games due to their postponements.

More from Call to the Pen

It’s not just their runs scored that’s near the bottom of the league, either. They’re second-worst in batting average (.215) and on-base percentage (.287) and have the worst on-base plus slugging percentage (.625) of all 15 AL teams.

Hard to find a silver lining

When the team has lost four straight and are plummeting quicker than an Aroldis Chapman fastball, it’s hard to see through the muck. However, so far this season, there have been a few silver linings worth mentioning.

Trey Mancini is one point shy of a .300 batting average. Last night in Detroit, he went 2-for-4, including his first home run since April 2 in Houston.

He has worked his way into the leadoff spot and isn’t going to be bumped from it. In 53 plate appearances at the top of the order, he’s gone 17-for-47 (.362) with two home runs and two doubles.

Andrew Cashner is proving to be a good offseason acquisition for the club. His six-inning start last night was his third straight of allowing three runs or less and even while taking the loss, he kept the team in the game.

He, like Dylan Bundy though, has become a victim of the Orioles lack of run support. In his four starts, the Orioles have scored just two runs while he’s been in the game.

Richard Bleier has become a solid, dependable reliever out of the bullpen. He’s appeared in eight games so far this season, pitching 12 innings.

He’s faced 47 batters and has allowed just one earned run. More importantly, he’s currently posting a 1.000 WHIP and has not allowed a home run this season.

Next: The strikeouts just keep piling up

Next, the Baltimore Orioles will take on the Tigers today at 1:10, in game two of their three-game set. They’ll face off against left-handed starter, Matthew Boyd.

In six games against a left-handed starter, the Baltimore Orioles have hit .230, seven home runs and four doubles. The bleeding has to stop somewhere.