Last week, I introduced the beginning of a Camden Chat 2020 Orioles simulation using Out of the Park Baseball. With the help of readers, I answered the lingering questions from when spring training was put on hold and started in on the first two series worth of regular season games.
The ongoing question of this simulation is, “What is the most 2020 Orioles team we can assemble?” That’s not to say the best Orioles team, as the offseason trades of Jonathan Villar and Dylan Bundy and the lack of any meaningful improvements to the awful pitching staff are a clear sign these guys were not going to be winning much of anything if the coronavirus never came along.
I’d like you to help out by being my co-managers and general managers. As the simulated season rolls along, just about any decision is up for discussion. The fate of the team is in our hands. If the first several games are any indication, that fate isn’t anything good. The good news is that I set the game so that simulated Peter Angelos can’t fire us.
This week’s games
Game 1: Yankees 7, Orioles 5
Our simulated Orioles built a 5-1 lead against the Yankees through six innings, touching up high-priced signing Gerrit Cole for five runs in four innings, including home runs by Chris Davis and Renato Nunez. There are shades of 2009’s Opening Day against CC Sabathia right after the Yankees signed him.
However, the Orioles went scoreless against New York’s bullpen and the Yankees came back to tie it by knocking out John Means with four seventh inning runs. In the ninth inning, Mychal Givens gave up a two-run tater to Mike Tauchman, leading him to take the Opening Day loss.
Game 2: Yankees 6, Orioles 4 (12 innings)
Alex Cobb turned in a quality start with three earned runs in 6.2 innings to begin the season. He left with the O’s trailing, 4-3, with the last run unearned on a Rio Ruiz error. The O’s tied it up when Zack Britton tossed a wild pitch when the bases were loaded, eventually sending the game to extra frames. The O’s got the winning run to second in the 11th but couldn’t score him, then in the 12th, Tanner Scott gave up a dinger to Gleyber Torres and Hunter Harvey gave one up to Gary Sanchez and that was that.
Game 3: Orioles 3, Yankees 2
The 1988 Orioles can pop the corks on their failure champagne. Asher Wojciechowski only gave up two runs in 6.1 innings despite the Yankees getting 11 hits against him. Anthony Santander and Nunez both homered early in the game; Chris Davis scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the eighth after reaching base with a single. He had a two-hit game. Givens rebounded from the Opening Day outing with a scoreless inning.
Game 4: Red Sox 7, Orioles 1
With only five total hits, the O’s never had much of a chance here. Hays had two of them. The lone Orioles run scored when Nunez cracked his third home run of the season. Two unearned runs against starter Wade LeBlanc helped send him to a loss, though with two earned runs allowed in 6.2 innings, that was a third straight quality start from the rotation. Shawn Armstrong gave up three runs in two innings.
Game 5: Red Sox 9, Orioles 0
Former Orioles farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez held the O’s to just five hits in his 8.1 innings. None of the hits went for extra bases. That’s a hard way to win, especially when Kohl Stewart’s O’s debut was the full Tommy Hunter (five runs, all earned) in 4.2 innings. Tommy Milone (2 ER in 2.1 IP) and Miguel Castro (2 ER in 1.1 IP) didn’t help, either.
Game 6: Red Sox 7, Orioles 0
Another game, another goose egg. The sim O’s got ten hits in this one, but nine of them were singles and they just couldn’t get a clutch hit. Santander was on base four times - three hits and one walk. It wasn’t enough. Means allowed six runs on six hits in 4.2 innings, impressive if unenviable efficiency.
Record: 1-5, 3.5 games back of division-leading Red Sox
Our Orioles have the worst run differential in MLB, at -25. Their Pythagorean expected record is also 1-5.
Next up: Three games at Cardinals (6-0), four games at Yankees (4-2)
Decisions for next time
I’d like if you could help me refine the lineups from the default that the simulation began with. Right now, our simulated team is doing this against RHP:
- Alberto (2B), Hays (CF), Santander (RF), Nunez (DH), Smith Jr. (LF), Severino (C), Ruiz (3B), Iglesias (SS), Davis (1B)
And this is the lineup against LHP:
- Alberto (2B), Rondon (DH), Hays (CF), Nunez (1B), Santander (RF), Severino (C), Ruiz (3B), Iglesias (SS), Smith Jr. (LF)
I am open to any change as long as you can argue a good reason why the 2020 Orioles would have done it based on what we suspect about their development priorities. I’m going to run the next several games on Wednesday afternoon, so if you want to influence the next two series, get your thoughts in before that.
What do you want to know?
Out of the Park Baseball provides A LOT of information, more than I could fit into one article. If you want to know anything that I haven’t mentioned here, no matter how small or even unrelated to the Orioles it may be, ask me in the comments below and I’ll do the best I can to answer your question.
Minor league seasons have not begun, so there aren’t any stats to share about those players. I’m happy to post about where a prospect is if you want to know.
Roster changes since last time
Based on feedback in the comments from the last post, I made these moves before beginning the season:
- Mason Williams contract selected to be 4th outfielder; Cedric Mullins optioned to Norfolk
- Kohl Stewart makes rotation as #5 starter; Tommy Milone set as swingman; Travis Lakins Sr. optioned to Norfolk
Current roster at a glance
- Rotation: John Means, Alex Cobb, Asher Wojciechowski, Wade LeBlanc, Kohl Stewart
- Bullpen: Shawn Armstrong, Richard Bleier, Miguel Castro, Paul Fry, Hunter Harvey, Tommy Milone, Tanner Scott, Mychal Givens (closer)
- Catchers: Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco
- Infield: Chris Davis, Renato Nunez, Hanser Alberto, Ramon Urias, Rio Ruiz, Jose Iglesias, Jose Rondon
- Outfield: Dwight Smith Jr., Mason Williams, Austin Hays, Anthony Santander
- Injured list: DJ Stewart (15-day), Trey Mancini and Evan Phillips (60-day)