May 22, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (16) throws in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles – Repeating the 2012 Season Approach?

The Baltimore Orioles continue their rare three-game series in Milwaukee tonight against the Brewers, a day after one of the best come-back wins one will ever see.

A couple of the beat writers for the Baltimore Orioles are today commenting on some similarities of this squad with that of the 2012 playoffs team – a season marked by some unusual statistics and lots of baseball drama and wonderful team dynamics. Though these writers include disclaimers that this is indeed a different group, an association can be drawn to performing well in one-run games, extra-innings games, and bullpen excellence.

I would submit that the actual reason to account for such similarities is that the bullpen has performed well (for the most part) and that is what gives any team good numbers in one-run and extra-innings games.

But here is a difference between the two seasons: after 49 games in 2012, the Orioles were 29-20; today they are 26-23. That may not seem like a great difference, but the former is a pace to win 96 games, whereas the latter is pacing for only 86 – which ain’t gonna git ‘er done for playoffs.

For reference, just last year through 49 games they were 27-22, and then they lost game 50. So a win today would put them at the same point as a year ago.

To win today will mean beating Matt Garza – the oft-targeted and desired free agent pitcher of the past offseason. His numbers this season are not honestly that scary, at 2-4 and a 4.92 ERA. What is frightening is his career record against the O’s – 9-1 with a 3.03 ERA. However, the majority of that success is a bit dated and not primarily against much of the current Baltimore Orioles lineup.

Nick Markakis has struggled against Garza as he is 4-for-34, and Nelson Cruz is 0-for-6. However, Adam Jones has eight hits in 21 at-bats including a double and two homers. J.J. Hardy is 2-for-6 and Chris Davis 2-for-8 with a double.

Wei-Yin Chen will be making his first career start against the Brewers. For the season he is 5-2 with a 4.08 ERA. Chen will look to bounce back from his poorest outing of the season last week against Cleveland.

This looks to be a very winnable game for the Orioles who are hitting rather well these days, apart from the recent shutout against them. But expectations about games have very often been tossed upside-down over and over this season.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles

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