Thinking About the Orioles and Where Things Stand

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 26: Mark Trumbo #44 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is forced out at second base by J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles to start a double play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 26, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

There's good news and there's bad news.

The good news is that this morning the Orioles are nine games over .500 and it is the final week of June. That hasn't been the case since this exact date in 2005. The bad news, aside from yet another comparison to that horrible doomed year of 2005, is that this morning the Orioles also have not scored more runs than they've allowed. That fact doesn't match up with this date in 2005. The latest point in that season the Orioles did not give up more runs than they've scored was July 28. That was also the last day the 2005 birds were over .500.

The O's haven't played like a team on a 91 win pace, and they haven't even played as well as any of the other AL East teams, all of whom are outscoring their opponents. Looking at the currency of the game being runs, there's not a lot of good news in Baltimore. But, on the other hand, the O's are nine games over .500. You can't take those wins away just because the losses have been worse looking than the wins. Those wins are in the bank.

The reason for the Orioles outperforming their run differential (that is, the difference between their runs scored and runs allowed) isn't that they've been especially adept at winning one run ballgames, or especially prone to losing big. They've outscored their opponents by seven in one run games (13-6), and they've outscored their opponents by one in five-plus run games (10-9). It is the other 35 games (18-17), where opponents have outscored them by eight runs to no avail. In a typical game you can expect the Orioles to score less runs than their opponent, but still win.

That doesn't sound sustainable.

Still, even if we discount the Orioles chances at continuing this run to a 91 win season and say instead they've played like a 81 win team - against a schedule which baseball-reference ranks as the most difficult in baseball so far - that should still make you smile. This is still a team to be proud of, surprisingly enough. With the wins already in the bank, even a return to earth (let's say a 75 win pace, or 41-48) by the O's would net them an 82 win season.

A winning season.

That, to put it mildly, is not nothing.

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