Baltimore Orioles: A Comparison Through 44 Games (2012 vs. 2013)

Posted Tuesday May 21, 2013 at 9:37:59 am in Real Sports

The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season. During this losing streak, they've seen their All Star closer blow 3 save changes in a row.

I want to repeat that: blow 3 save chances in a row.

I hope this brings some sort of perspective. Those 3 save chances saw our starting pitchers do the following:

May 14, 2013: Chris Tillman: 7 IP, 1 ER
May 18, 2013: Jair Jurrjens: 5 IP, 4 ER
May 20, 2013: Freddy Garcia, 6 IP, 2 ER

In that span, Jim Johnson's numbers have been horrific.

2 losses, 3 blown saves, 2 home runs, a 30.86 ERA. 9 hits, 2 walks, 1 hit batsmen.

Oh, and his slash line? 643/706/1.143 for a whopping 1.849 OPS.

The reason I say this is because the Orioles were in a position to win each of those games. Their current record is 23-21. With those 3 wins they'd be 26-18. And I'm sure not many would be jumping off a building.

This is (unfortunately) the ebb and flow (as Buck Showalter would say) of a 162 game season, especially one in which the Orioles' All Star closer is struggling.

But there is a precedence for this. Some comparables from last season might shed some light (and optimism).

From June 29, 2012 to July 27, 2012 (a stretch of 12 games), JJ blew 2 saves while sporting a 12.60 ERA. He allowed 22 hits, walked 2, hit one batter. And allowed 16 runs (14 earned).

His slash line during that period? 431/463/510 - 973 OPS. Not nearly as bad as the 1.849 OPS during his current 3 game stretch, but that 2012 stat line was over the course of 12 games.

How did he follow up that rough period? By throwing 14 scoreless appearances.

12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 IP.
128/146/149 - 295 OPS.
Only 6 hits
0 walks, 0 HBP

Quite a turn around. And did I mention that *first* game of that scoreless streak was against the New York Yankees? Well, it was.

Such is a microcosm of a pitcher who relies on ground balls to get his outs. He relies on control. If his sinker isn't sinking (or not on the outside part of the plate), he's going to get hit. JJ will turn it around. He's done it before. It just really sucks right now.

Okay, so what about 6 game losing streaks?

The Orioles had one last year from May 26th to June 1st. In that span, the losing pitchers were:

Strop, Matusz, Hunter, Arrieta, Hammel, and Chen

In case you don't remember, all 3 of Matusz, Hunter, and Arrieta were in the rotation last year.

Let it sink in.

In another words, the Orioles never had the perfect rotation last year. Just like this year. What is making things really hard to take is that the Orioles are patchworking a rotation right now of Hammel, Jurrjens, Garcia, Tillman, and (hopefully) Gonzalez. They're doing everything possible to stay above water while they wait for Wei-Yin Chen to rehab, Tsuyoshi Wada to rehab, and guys like Kevin Gausman to come up.

Such is the life of the Baltimore Orioles.

Such is the life of a Baltimore Orioles fan.

But if you want some further perspective, after that 6 game losing streak in 2012, the Orioles went 3-3 in their next 6 games.

Then reeled off 5 wins in a row.

It's a long season, everyone. And while I'm certainly not happy about the state of the Orioles, it's important to note that they've only played 44 games.

There's still 73% of the season left. That's what makes baseball so great.

Go get 'em tonight, tomorrow....(and the day after that, and the day after that, etc.)

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view