05 July 2017

The Orioles and Blowouts

It's not just your imagination: the Orioles are getting blown out a lot. So far this season, the Orioles have had losses of 5 or more runs 15 times, good for 18% of their total games played. More disturbingly, though, is that fact that 11 of those losses have come since June 1, meaning that the Orioles have gotten blown out in a whopping 35% of games in the last month. That, unsurprisingly, coincides with their long and painful skid to a sub-.500 record and increasingly bleak playoff chances.

For context, while 15 total blowout losses isn't horrendous by MLB standards this season, with the average team getting blown out about 12 times, it is the worst mark in the division. Toronto has 13 such losses, Boston 11, Tampa Bay 10, and the Yankees an impressive 6. The O's also have the fourth most blowout losses in the American League, trailing only Minnesota, Oakland, and Kansas City.

The trend looks even worse, however, when you look at recent history for the club itself. The 18% blowout mark would represent the worst such season since 2010, in which the team suffered blowouts in 19% of its games.

Year Blowouts % of Total Games
2017 15 18
2016 21 13
2015 20 12.5
2014 15 11
2013 11 7
2012 23 14
2011 28 17
2010 31 19

While it is not necessarily the case that getting blown out in a high number of games means that a team will miss the playoffs (they all count the same, after all), it is certainly illustrative of the overall problems that the Orioles are facing. The pitching staff has largely imploded over the past month, and even the formerly stalwart offensive attack has been mediocre at best. Blowouts are also surely psychologically difficult to deal with and tax an already depleted bullpen. 

The best teams in baseball, simply, do not get blown out very often. This is perhaps an obvious point, but the Orioles are still hanging onto playoff hopes as we head into the break. Strangely, 4 of the top 5 most blown out teams in the AL are within 2 games of the second wild card and the overall mediocrity in the AL means that it is possible that the O's can survive the recent rash of blowouts. Still, maybe a couple closer games wouldn't be the worst? 


Pip said...

The creation of the second wildcard was specifically designed to give hope to bad teams and to stimulate fan bases to continue to buying tickets on the grounds that, "we're still in contention"
The bad teams remain bad, but the carrot has been lowered. It is the Mirage, a deception, And it is not near pessimism that spurs the plea to blow up the team, and listen to offers on anybody of value.
We should keep guys who are of no value to anyone else but who provide reasonable value to us, we should keep guys who have years of control, and we should listen to offers on everybody else.

Jon Shepherd said...

I think that was actually a side effect of what the second wild card was trying to accomplish. The second wild card was largely to provide opportunities to clubs other than the Red Sox and Yankees. 11 of 17 went to those two clubs and 13 of 17 went to AL East teams. Central and West clubs wanted more opportunity.

Pip said...

The intent was to make it possible for more teams to feel like they were in the race for a longer period of time.
It is moved as to where the bad teams were.
And the end result remains the same;
Six or seven teams are pretending that they are still contenders when they are not. The wise teams will realize the truth and act accordingly. At the moment Dan does not seem to be very wise.

Unknown said...
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Jon Shepherd said...

Not really. First was to break up the AL East stronghold and second was to make it more meaningful to win your division. Those were really what pushed it.

MLB system is not like NBA NFL or NHL where you can make the claim that everyone feels like they have a shot.