The Orioles have surprised everyone in the first half this season. They are above .500 and are seven games behind the Yankees for first place in the American League East.
Although the Orioles had a hot start, they hit a wall when they faced R.A Dickey and the Mets on Jun. 18. Dickey threw his second consecutive one-hitter and Johan Santana was a key contributor to the Orioles second straight shutout.
Since then, the Orioles have only won two series and have been beaten in every way possible. With the cumulative struggles the Orioles have faced, optimism is hard to come by in Baltimore.
In the second half, the Orioles will face teams they had success against in the first half.
The Orioles will face the Tigers, Twins, Indians, Rays, Athletics, Yankees, Mariners, Royals, Red Sox, Rangers, Blue Jays, and the White Sox in the second half. In the twenty series against these teams in the first half, the Orioles won 12, lost seven and split one with the Yankees.
Overall, I see the Orioles having a worse record in the second half. The defense has been one of the worst Orioles fans have ever seen. In fact, the Orioles lead the league in errors with 75 and have the worst fielding percentage at .977. These porous defensive numbers have certainly contributed to the struggles of Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz. Both of which have recently been demoted to Norfolk.
The defense should improve with Nick Markakis coming back from the disabled list. Markakis will help the Orioles build chemistry on the field. This is because Markakis gives them a permanent solution in right field so Buck Showalter doesn’t have to rotate players like Davis and Flaherty in right field.
Markakis will also aid the team offensively. Markakis was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Jun. 1. The offense played relatively well in his absence against the Rays, Red Sox, Phillies, Pirates, and Braves. Scoring an average of 4.6 runs per game. In contrast, beginning with the Mets series, the offense was only scoring an average of only 2.7 runs per game.
For the Orioles to keep winning, they must continue to get production from Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Jim Johnson, and the rest of the bullpen. Without Hammel, Chen, or Johnson, this team would not be in the position they are now. All of which post an ERA under four. Johnson leads the group with an ERA of 1.21 and has recorded 26 saves in 27 opportunities this year.
Zack Greinke is a name that has been surrounding the Orioles for some time. Greinke is still a young player with good stuff. But, the Orioles might struggle signing him to a long-term deal and I don’t think renting Greinke for two months would help the team in the long run. Would it make them better right now? Sure it would but I don’t want to see it happen. Especially with the steep asking price the Brewers would require.
Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado might be part of the asking price. Bundy and Machado are considered two of the top prospects in all of baseball and giving up one of them for a two month rental seems crazy to me.
There are so many factors that will play a big part in the Orioles second half and I don’t see them making a playoff spot. This is mostly because of the series they have against the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, all of which are playing good baseball.