Joke all you want about the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching staff (I know I have this year), but when you really get down to it, they’re not that bad.
No, seriously, they’re not.
The O’s staff this year have pitched to a 3.77 earned run average, their best team ERA in recent memory. Here are their team ERA’s over the past five seasons:
As you can see, their 3.77 is their best over that time.The last time they made the playoffs, which was back in 2012, their ERA was under 4. Also, note that horrid 4.89 ERA, which was dead last in all of baseball by a long shot that year. Yikes.
Anyway, the Orioles are looking much better this year. Their 3.77 mark is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the pack of all teams, but in the American League, it ranks them sixth.
The only team in the AL East that has a better mark than the O’s is the Tampa Bay Rays, who are pitching to a 3.67 mark, but that does them no good considering their offense is mediocre.
The O’s have a better ERA than the Boston Red Sox (3.82), New York Yankees (3.82), and Toronto Blue Jays (4.13). If this keeps up, the O’s should get into the postseason, if not as AL East champs, at least as a wildcard.
Minus Ubaldo Jimenez—who oddly enough is the highest-paid pitcher on the team and also has the highest ERA amongst starters—the starting pitchers have improved since a rough stretch early on in the year. Also, since changing closers from Tommy Hunter to Zach Britton, the bullpen has been very good. The afore-mentioned Britton, along with Darren O’Day, has done a great job of closing out games.
While the O’s make a push towards a playoff berth and an AL East crown, they are looking for another pitcher to help get them over the hump (Please, dear God, don’t let it be A.J. Burnett), but the pitchers currently on the staff should hold their heads high as they have done a commendable job thus far.
Let’s hope they keep it up the rest of the way!
by Andy Mindzak