Baltimore Orioles at the Quarter Pole: What's Hot and What's Not

Chip SpanglerContributor IIIMay 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 19:  Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 19, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

For the Baltimore Orioles this year, a lot is hot. The expectations were that the Orioles would have yet another bad season, and based on recent history, such predictions made sense. But so far, they are wrong.

While it's still only May, the Orioles have finished 25 percent of the season. And more is going right than is going wrong for the birds from Baltimore.

What's hot? The Orioles ...

  • are 27-14, two games ahead of Tampa Bay for first place in the AL East;
  • are battling with Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Texas for the best record in baseball;
  • hold the best record in the American League;
  • have a series record of 10-3-1;
  • are the best road warriors in MLB at 15-5, including a nine-game road winning streak;
  • have not lost more than two games in a row since April 11;
  • are 6-2 in extra inning games;
  • are 13-1 when Adam Jones hits a home run;
  • have the most home runs in MLB, and seven different players with at least five HR;
  • have one of the best bullpen ERAs in MLB;
  • have won 19 of their last 26 games overall;
  • have won 16 out of 20 games (.800) that are decided by two runs or less;
  • have won 21 out of 25 games (.840) when they have scored at least four runs;
  • have won 20 out of 21 games (.952) when their starting pitcher delivers a quality start;
  • have the best closer in baseball (Jim Johnson), who is 15 for 15 in save opportunities;
  • can end up with 90 wins if they play .525 ball the rest of the way.

While many things have gone right for the Orioles, not everything is perfect in birdland.

What's not hot? The Orioles ...

  • are worst in the AL (by percentage) at allowing inherited runners to score;
  • have committed the most errors in the AL;
  • have several good players (e.g. Lindstrom, Reimold, Britton) on the DL
  • have the second-most innings pitched by a bullpen in MLB (in part because of extra-inning games);
  • are near the MLB average for team batting average;
  • have the most strikeouts (batting) in MLB;
  • have grounded into the most double plays in MLB.

While the Orioles have a few things to work on, they are playing competitive baseball and surprising a lot of people. They have been very competitive in the brutal American League East, which is the only division in baseball in which all teams have a positive run differential.

There's still a lot of the season to be played, but Baltimore is doing well.