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Looking for signs of improvement as the Orioles head into the second half

The All-Star break means the second half is upon us. Can the Orioles improve on their first half, or is this the way things are going to stay all year?

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The All Star break means the “second half” is officially underway when the Orioles return to Camden Yards to take on the Chicago Cubs. It's not the exact halfway point, but hey, it's close enough. This is as good of time as any to review what the first half looked like and take a peak at what the second half may bring. Right now, the Orioles sit at a disappointing 42-46.

Month by month

The first half started off excellent. The Orioles went 15-8 in April, beating AL East opponents (and the Reds) on the road and at home. The warning signs were surely there. As good as their April record was, they only scored one more run than their opponents in those game, with 101 scored to 100 allowed.

May started out well enough. The Orioles went 7-3 to start the month. From there, they finished 5-13, ending the month 12-16 overall. The O's were only outscored by 6 runs in May, giving up 134 and scoring 128.

The turning point was on May 10th, when they lost on a walk off against the Nationals on the road. Brad Brach gave up three runs in the ninth to lose it. Since that date, the Orioles are 20-35. The plane made it off the runway, but crashed and burned shortly thereafter.

June was the exact same as May with the Orioles at 12-16, but it felt so much worse because the O's were outscored by 62 runs, allowing 186 runs while scoring just 124. The pitching, already falling apart, blew up in spectacular fashion. This was when they tied the MLB record for consecutive games allowing 5+ runs.

The Orioles have started out July at 3-6, so they haven't given too many signs of things getting much better.

Home, road, and division records

So far the team is 25-16 at home. That's despite being outscored at Camden Yards by 12 runs, giving up 194 runs and scoring 182. On the road, the O's are an abysmal 17-30. They are 12-8 in one run games and 9-2 in extra inning games. In games decided by five runs or more (blow outs) they are 8-15 (having bad pitching sucks).

The Orioles have only had luck against the AL East, going 26-20 against their divisional foes. If you take out the 9-3 record against the last place Blue Jays, the O's are just .500 against the rest of the division.

Elsewhere, they have gone 8-16 against AL Central opponents and 0-3 against AL West teams. Much more of the west awaits in the second half. When facing NL teams, they have gone 8-7.

The shrinking odds

After 88 games played the Orioles are being overall outscored by 78 runs. They have an expected win-loss (or Pythagorean record) of 37-51. According to Fangraphs’ playoff odds, the Orioles are at 5.6 percent to make the playoffs currently, down from a high of 46.1 percent on May 9th. You did not need me to tell you that things are bad.

With 74 games left on the schedule the Orioles have only a little time left to turn this season around. They are currently 7.5 games back of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East and 4.0 games back of the wild card spots held by the Rays and Yankees.

That is a lot of ground to make up. Also, according to Fangraphs, the Orioles have the second-hardest second half schedule in the AL based upon their projections. Welcome to life in the AL East. So that’s a lot of ground to make up against tough competition. Not easy to do either.

As far as divisional opponents go the Orioles have six games left against the Red Sox, seven against the Yankees, seven against the Blue Jays, and ten against the Rays. They have a ten game West Coast swing coming up in the middle of August. That month will see them play the AL West teams for essentially four straight weeks with only the Red Sox in the middle.

September has 28 games on the schedule, 23 of which are against divisional opponents. The season finishes with a five game road trip over the course of seven days which includes a two day interlude in Pittsburgh to play the Pirates. Nothing like that hot inter-league action to finish the season off. The final series of the year is a three game set in Tampa Bay.

Sitting at 42-46 the Orioles have a lot of hard questions they need to come to terms with and they need to come to terms quickly. The trade deadline is approaching and the only way this team could justify buying is if they go on one hell of run to start off the second half. They may start selling if this slide continues.

Either way, things look bleak right now, but they could change. There is a whole other “half” of baseball to play.