The season has been a peculiar one for the club. Going in, nearly all projection models pegged the Orioles as a 78-82 win team with good offense, great relief, and a shoddy rotation. The only outliers were PECOTA and the Depot model. PECOTA was not impressed and put the over/under at 72 wins while the Depot model saw a mid-tier club in a tight AL East talent pool that would be pushed up to 1st (85 wins) with strong personnel control and a strong bullpen.
The first half surprised many as the Orioles opened up a 51-36 record powered by an elite offense and an elite relief corps while making up for wretched starting pitching. It was mocked when people like Keith Law noted in April, May, and June what the Orioles record would be if you ignored their season beginning streak. So it is strange there is no opportunity to mock anyone now when the club has gone 13-14 in the second half, which over a full season would be 78 games. One might expect to hear that the Orioles are showing their true talent level now out of a flukey first half. However, one should shrug at that suggestion.
|1st Half||2nd Half|
|Batting||wRC+||112 (2nd)||73 (14th)|
|fWAR||14.7 (4th)||-0.1 (14th)|
|Rotation||FIP||4.73 (12th)||4.23 (6th)|
|fWAR||4.2 (12th)||2.3 (7th)|
|Relief||FIP||3.86 (7th)||3.62 (4th)|
|fWAR||3.3 (3rd)||1.0 (5th)|
When looking at the above, the immediate concern is how the offense turned into a rotten pumpkin while the bottom tier rotation has almost performed at a first division level. It is not a complete flip, but close to it. What is remarkable is that the second half rotation performance is only a little ahead of where most projections pegged it while the second half hitting is far behind projections and first half performance.
With this all in mind, I think we should feel fairly confidant that that club's batting and starting rotation should even out a bit and produce roughly the same total value in the second half that was produced in the first half. It will look differently with simply an above average offense and an average starting rotation, but the total should come out about the same.
That should be good enough for a playoff spot, though maybe not one that gets a bye from the Wild Card. As it stands, the club is a half game out of first and three games ahead for the final Wild Card slot. Regardless, the next seven or so weeks should be exciting. Your heart should be racing until the club is in the clear, which will be about 3 games + the number of weeks left. Right now, that number is 10 with Detroit, Seattle, and Houston all trying to make themselves relevant.