If you would have told me in March that the Orioles would have a Wild Card spot and be in contention for the AL East, then I probably would have laughed right in your face. With that being said, the Orioles have a gaping hole in their starting rotation and that has played a big role into why the team relinquished first place.
Coming into August, the Orioles had the second best ERA (earned run average) in the American League, post All-Star break. After the month of August, the Orioles now have the second worst era in the American League, and the fifth worst overall, post All-Star break.
Throughout the year the Orioles had been leaning on Chris Tillman to lead the starting rotation. Sadly for the Orioles, Tillman was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury and after that the rotation fell apart. He did return on Sunday, September 11, to pitch against the Tigers. He got the win, besting Detroit ace Justin Verlander, but still, the shoulder has to be a concern for the remainder of the season. Now don’t get me wrong, the last ten games the Orioles rotation has found their niche, posting a 3.39 ERA during that span. The problem that the team is running into now, is that when the starters perform well the offense disappears, and when the offense scores six runs in a game, the pitching will give up seven runs. All the Orioles need from their starting pitchers is to just keep them in the game. It’s okay to give up one to three runs and pitch six innings every game. I would love if the Orioles could squeeze that out of Wade Miley and Yovani Gallardo! Gallardo has been marginally better of late, but if you watched the game on Monday night against the Red Sox, you know that Wade Miley never made it out of the second inning!
If the Orioles can just get consistent starting pitching, then I don’t see any reason why the O’s will not be in the thick of the playoff race until the very end of the season.