How does a team like the Baltimore Orioles lose 70 percent of their games?
In the case of the Baltimore Orioles, those losses accrue by scoring an average of 3.91 runs per game while allowing 5.32 runs per game.
With an average per game run differential equal to 1.41, losing games is a pretty routine matter for the Baltimore Orioles. Giving the other team a nearly one-and-a-half run head start makes winning especially difficult.
For comparison purposes, the major league average for runs scored per game is 4.45, which is about half a run per game more than the Orioles. The major league average for runs allowed is also 4.45, which is nearly a run lower than the Orioles.
Too few runs scored and too many allowed has pretty much been the story of this terribly disappointing 2018 season. A terminally destructive combination of inconsistent or ineffective pitching (starters and bullpen) combined with relatively tepid hitting has led to the dismal 34-78 record.
To gain some insight about what such disadvantageous run differentials actually mean in terms of wins and losses, the following two tables were created. Together they present won-loss records based on the actual number of runs scored and allowed per game by the Orioles during the first 112 games of the season.
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What is shocking is the preponderance of games where the Orioles score four runs or fewer. When a team generates no more than four runs in two-thirds of their games, a lot of losing can be expected. The Orioles have a dismal record of 8-66 in those games.
In fact, the Orioles scored no more than two runs in 40 percent of their games, winning just four of those games while losing 41. This unsurprising result is an indication of the season-long problem of the team’s inability to generate offense.
Better pitching (and defense), of course, would improve these results to some degree, but the Orioles have produced far too many low-scoring games. It would take a starting pitching staff composed entirely of recent Cy Young winners to turn these turkeys into wins.
Better results have been achieved when the Orioles score five, six, or seven runs in a game. In those cases, they have won 14 games against 10 losses, which is a respectable .583 percentage. However, this winning percentage is far too low for games where this much offense is generated.
Finally, when scoring eight runs or more, the Orioles are 12-2, which is likely a realistic result in those types of high-scoring games.
The runs allowed table is almost the reverse of the runs scored table. Orioles’ pitching has given up four runs or more in 70 percent of the team’s games. That’s a lot of games where the pressure is placed on the offense to generate runs in bunches to secure victories.
Not surprisingly, the team’s won-loss record for these games is 15-63, with 23 defeats occurring in games where pitching gives up eight or more runs.
In fact, the Orioles have not yet won any of those eight-plus run games. They are a combined 0-23 in such games, which comprise one-fifth of the total games played.
This points to the inability of the team’s pitching to keep games close enough to give the offense a chance to score enough to win. It also highlights the inability of the offense to overcome (at least occasionally) very bad pitching performances.
Things are better when the pitching holds the opposition to two or three runs. The Orioles’ record in those games is 11-15, which is still shockingly low. It is an indication that the Orioles just can’t generate much offense – not even enough to win low-scoring games.
One small bright spot is that the Orioles are undefeated (8-0) when they hold the opposition to just one or zero runs. However, these eight games represent just seven percent of the total played. More effective pitching would surely lead to an increase in these types of very low-scoring (and easily winnable) contests.
Based on the above information and analysis, it is easy to see how pitching and hitting ineffectiveness has generated a whopping 78 losses for the Baltimore Orioles at this point in the season.