In addition to a current losing streak of four games and inconsistent play, the Orioles have another problem that is contributing a lot to some of their losses: They can’t seem to get out of the gate well.
The Orioles have been outscored by their opponents 252-212 on the year. That is a run differential of minus-40. Most of that has come over the first two innings of games, where the Orioles have been outscored by 34 runs.
In the first inning this year, the O’s have been outscored 26-9 and that figure is 36-19 in the second inning. So 85 percent of that negative run differential is coming before some fans get settled into their seats.
Should we blame Orioles’ pitchers or hitters for that? Actually, both.
As a team, the Orioles are batting just .193 and have scored nine runs in opening innings all year. Both of those figures are their worst for any inning. The club’s .227 average in the second inning is next worst of any frame for the hitters.
Meanwhile, on the mound, the club ERA is a respectable 4.33 in the first inning but 5.54 in the second. That second-inning mark is the worst of all nine innings for O’s pitchers.
Here are the ERAs in the first two innings for Orioles starting pitchers:
2.45 - Zach Britton
4.05 - Jeremy Guthrie
4.88 - Jake Arrieta
6.50 - Brad Bergesen
7.32 - Chris Tillman
The two pitchers that have struggled the most early on are now at Triple-A, trying to work out some issues. Maybe it will get better for the pitchers early in games.
O’s hitters have scored just nine runs in the first inning all year. That ranks last in all of Major League Baseball in first-inning runs per game. Here are the teams having the most difficulty scoring early:
0.17 - Orioles
0.25 - Oakland
0.32 - Los Angeles Angels/Washington
0.33 - San Diego
The Yankees rank first in that stat at 0.79 first-inning runs per game and Toronto is second at 0.74.
The O’s need more wins right now and to end their current losing streak pronto. They also need to do a lot better over the first two innings of games which has been a season-long issue for this team.