The Baltimore Orioles are currently sitting at just two games over .500 at 22-20. But they haven’t had the easiest path to get there.
What if I told you the starting pitchers were a combined 14-17 with an ERA of 4.04? And that closer Tommy Hunter has already lost his job.
Despite all this, the Birds are only half a game out of first place, and also the fifth best team in the American League, and tenth best in all of baseball.
How is that the case? They are a few numbers to point to.
One, the Orioles are once again the best defensive team in the AL, and that is even with their defense being worse than last year so far.
The Orioles are back to having good numbers in one-run games, currently sitting at 10-4, tied with Milwaukee for the best in baseball.
The Orioles also have been pretty good with runners in scoring position as a team, something they have struggled with previously.
And although their stats aren’t great, Darren O’Day, Brian Matusz and particularly Zach Britton have formed a formidable group in the bullpen. Britton is now at closer, but these three helped keep the Orioles ahead in numerous games already.
The best for the Orioles is yet to come. The hitters have not put it together for more than a couple games. The starting pitching has been very inconsistent, yet is starting to pitch much better.
As the entire AL East (and much of baseball) is decimated with injuries, parity looks to be the name of the game this year in America’s Pastime. For the Orioles, consistency can take them to the top.