2016 was obviously considered a down year for the Baltimore Orioles. However while not officially, for all intents and purposes they finished in the neighborhood of .500 (37-39) against their division, the AL East. This kind of works against the grain because in general you figure if you can compete in your division, you’re going to win games.
Having said that, the Orioles actually play non-AL East teams for more games than they do division teams. This discrepancy is slight, but it’s there. But how could the O’s finish in that .500 neighborhood in division play, but still end up 18 games out of first place when all was said and done?
It’s actually fairly simple if you think about it. The Orioles are constructed to compete in the AL East. The division has always been about bludgeoning your competition to death. Look at the Orioles and look across the division – it’s just a fact of life.
Whether it’s Davis, Jones, Mancini, Machado, or someone else, the Orioles can hit the ball out of the ballpark. The past few spring games have told us that as well. And that’s how you win games in the American League East. This is true both in the present, as well as historically.
However this is also just another way of saying that Oriole pitching hasn’t held up it’s end of the bargain. The Orioles both win and lose games 9-8 and so forth. Ideally you’d rather win 9-1. Now last year may not be the greatest example off which to look, given that everything kind of went south at once. Odds are against that happening in general. But it did.
So the question is whether or not the Birds would be better off trying to compete with the rest of the league as opposed to the AL East? And my answer is no. If you take ten division wins away does that mean you’re adding 20 wins in non-divisional games? Odds are against it. The best way forward for the Orioles is to maintain their divisional record, and improve their non-division record. If they can do that, they’ll have a better shot at the post season.
The Orioles will resume play this afternoon, traveling to Ft. Myers to take on the Minnesota Twins. Hunter Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Adalberto Mejia. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.