Baltimore Orioles: Power Rankings and the Way to the Top


May 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (50) is removed from the game by manager Buck Showalter (left) in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Here on the FanSided Sports Network, this Baltimore Wire site is a part of the Locals Division – covering an array of professional, college and other pertinent sports in a geographical region. There are also specific sports sites for each professional team and major colleges as well. In addition, there are general sites for the professional sports.

Our general interest baseball site publishes a weekly power rankings with summaries of the ups and downs of each team. Baltimore Orioles fans may not like the current edition. It is difficult to argue that the top team should not be the St. Louis Cardinals, due to their great start, with the Royals second. Having the Dodgers third might be debatable. But having been walloped pretty good by the Mets and Yankees, we in Baltimore can sadly see why they would (at least for now) get noticed and be fourth and fifth.

The Orioles come in at 19th in this rankings systems. Wow. Just barely out of the bottom third. But before we get as offended as we were by offseason writers who predicted the O’s to have a definitive losing record, let’s be honest enough to understand that their 15-17 record projects to a final total of 76-86.

So where would we honestly expect to see the Orioles ranked, based upon how they’ve played so far? To be truthful, 19th is about right. However, we all know that they are a much better team than what the record indicates. We have reasonable confidence that they are going to play much better and be far more often “in the WIN column” … as we hear on O’s radio. But right now, they are not.

Another sort of rankings system that grades teams with a more complicated formula than win/loss records is seen on the great web site. I say “complicated” … though it is not really so by sabermetric standards, and is called the “simple rating system.” You can see it in the far right column of the standings.

The system gives a score to the number of runs a team is better or worse than the average team, taking into account run differentials and strength of schedule. The Orioles are currently at a positive 1.0, while the Yankees are the best in baseball at 1.5.  If you click on the heading, it will sort the teams in each league in order, placing the Orioles at fifth in the AL. And only the Dodgers in the NL have a higher number than the Birds. In fact, the 24-11 St. Louis Cardinals are worse than the Orioles at 0.9, while of course the Phillies are dead last with a negative 1.9 number.

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So that looks a lot more like where we would expect to see the Orioles. Without doubt, the O’s have had to play many of their games against teams that are performing currently at a high level – higher than expected, perhaps.  But there is no way to put a truly pretty face on the beginning of this season for the Birds. It has been a disappointment in many ways.

Today begins the final push of 130 games remaining. Caleb Joseph said that, in baseball terms, that number is an eternity. Yes, but, we need the see some definitive turnaround. And a good time to start that is right now.

The Orioles today host the Angels for three games before welcoming the Mariners for three from Tuesday to Thursday. The Tuesday game is also the first of 21 games played over a 20-day period. A total of 14 of the next 17 games will be played in the friendly confines of Camden Yards.

So NOW is indeed the time to make some moves and get back to playing well above .500 baseball. We can be irate about rankings and look to sabermetrics for perspective or comfort, but at the end of the day and the end of the season, it is wins and losses that count.

Win. Now.

Next: Miguel Gonzalez - Good Start in 2015

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