Did the Baltimore Orioles Start their Freefall Early?

Billy AstroveContributor IJune 1, 2008

In the latest installment of the post-Tejada, post-Bedard saga, we find the Orioles, who have been lingering around .500 all season, starting to freefall once again at the start of June. 

After 54 games in the regular season, the Orioles are two games below .500. Baltimore finds themselves in last place in the American League East, and base on history, they are in danger of enduring a huge losing slide, putting them out of contention by June 30.

Through 54 games in 2007, on May 31, 2007, the Orioles were 27-27, and already seemed like they were out of contention, being 10.0 games behind the Red Sox, despite being in second place in the AL East. Unfortunately, by June 20, the Orioles were 30-41, losing 11 out of 14 games. The Orioles were once again down-and-out early.  

If the Orioles are just in a losing funk against Boston, then fair enough. Boston is an amazing team, with young talent in Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. 

However, history shows that the Orioles are either down-and-out early, or lead their fans on by staying close to .500 until July, and then having an even bigger crash. 

Take the 2002 Baltimore Orioles, for example. All year, up until Aug. 22, the Orioles were stuck two or three games below .500, until they finally reached the .500 threshold at 63-63.

Yeah, the Orioles finished the season 4-32. I won't go into that.

Do not get me wrong. I love the Orioles to death, and part of loving them is knowing when they may fall apart. I have followed them since the days of Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson, and Mike Mussina. Before you question whether you love a team, learn their history. 

I expect the Orioles to stay around .500, and pray that they keep winning here and there. It cannot get much worse than 2002 or 2007. It is time to become positive about the team, because there is only room for upward success from such a depressing season. The only problem is that the trend looks about the same as the previous years in Orioles baseball

Lets take a look at the Orioles record through 54 games, and then their final record, from 1998-2007.

Year         54 games                70 games        120 games      final record

1998         25-29*                   34-36*           63-57**        79-83*

1999         21-33                     32-38             54-66            78-84

2000         23-31                     30-40             53-67            74-88

2001         26-28*                   33-37*           51-69            63-98

2002         25-29*                   33-37*           59-61*          67-95

2003         27-27*                   32-38             57-63            71-91

2004         26-28*                   30-40             57-63            78-83

2005         32-22**                 42-28**          60-60*          74-88

2006         25-29*                   32-38             52-68            72-90

2007         27-27*                   29-41             56-64            69-93

2008         26-28*


* .500 or within four games below .500

** 1 game above .500


This pattern has been consistant over the last ten years. It is not discernable what pattern the Orioles will take this year, but I get the feeling that we may be in for another long season.