May 29, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) and umpire Andy Fletcher watch a replay during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles are a .500 Team

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What do you mean, “The Baltimore Orioles are a .500 team?”  Well, first, they are; their record right now is currently 26-26. And secondly, that is as good as they are right now. About half of the time they have a well-pitched game, and half of the time they hit the ball decently … so, put that together and you have a team giving you a .500 performance.

Go ahead and think of me or call me negative, but this is the current reality. It is honestly not my nature to be a downer about the O’s, and other than one infamous person whom I’ve historically annoyed by occasional critical statements of truth, the criticisms I’ve gotten on this and other writing platforms about the Orioles is that I have been far more often accused of carrying their water with starry-eyed optimism.

So, if you find me too negative today (and in the vein of starry eyes) let me say that my credentials as a fan of the Baltimore Orioles date back to long before most of you reading this were even a twinkle in your father’s eyes. I personally saw Frank Robinson win the fourth and final game of the 1966 World Series from my seat in right field on that wonderful, sunny October day at Memorial Stadium.

did you think you were signing up for a .500 team in 2014?

But here’s the deal, did you think you were signing up for a .500 team in 2014? After Saturday’s game is in the books, the season will be one-third complete. Did you think that $50 million worth of starting pitcher would bring a record of 6-18 and 4.65 ERA? That is the current pace for Ubaldo Jimenez. If I told you in March that the Baltimore Orioles would have a losing home record at the end of May, would you have believed me?

Yes, there have been a lot of injuries. But like Buck frequently says, “Nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”  Lots of teams have lots of injuries. And didn’t you think that the O’s had enough depth to cover injuries reasonably well?

And here’s more of the deal. If this was 2011, we would be reasonably content with 26-26. Actually, that year at this point the team was 24-28 … so, there’s something—the current Orioles are two games better right now than the 2011 team that ended 69-93. And beyond that, on this date in 2011, those Orioles had a winning record of 15-14 at Camden Yards, as compared to 11-12 so far this season.

Enough of that, let’s turn it around and look at it from the other side. There is more talent here than there was in 2011. One would imagine that Chris Davis will not continue to bat .237 and Manny Machado .216.  Matt Wieters is going to be throwing a baseball today and can hopefully return in a number of weeks. The pitching is unlikely to continue with a roughly 7.00 ERA as they have over the past 15 days or so. The Red Sox and Rays are in worse condition, and the Yankees are only two games ahead. I don’t know what to say about the Jays, nor does anyone else.

Looking at today, it would be really nice to not fall below .500, and everything on paper would (at first) seem to favor the Orioles—yes, a bad sign right there!

Miguel Gonzalez is coming off three consecutive quality starts with six runs allowed in 19 innings. He is 4-3 on the season with a 4.35 ERA. On May 10th he allowed two runs to the Astros over seven innings.

The Orioles will be facing left-hander in Brett Oberholtzer—he of the 1-6 seasonal record with 5.32 ERA. Looks hittable! But, his last start was a quality start and win over the Mariners. I know … I can bring defeat out of the jaws of any victory. But there’s more. His one career start against the Orioles was on July 31st of last year, where he pitched seven shutout innings while giving up only three hits.

But clearly, in 2014, history means nothing! It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world.

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