Looking at 81-game math and the rotation

Today provides a unique opportunity. Since the Orioles have played exactly 81 games with exactly 81 more to go, it is that one day that we can simply double some player and team statistics to project what totals they could finish with.

Of course they probably won't exactly duplicate their first-half performance over the next 81 games but we have enough of a sample size now to make those projections with numbers that should at least be in the ballpark.

So, at the end of the season, based on the first 81 games:

* The Orioles will have 88 wins.

* Adam Jones will have 40 homers, which would be the most by an Oriole since Rafael Palmeiro hit 43 in 1998.

* Chris Davis will have 28 homers and 80 RBIs.

* Matt Wieters will have 22 homers and 80 RBIs.

* No Oriole will top 90 RBIs.

* Jones will have 192 hits.

* Jason Hammel will have 16 wins, which would be the most by an Oriole since Mike Mussina had 18 in 1998.

* Jim Johnson would record 50 saves which would set an O's team record, breaking Randy Myers' mark of 45 from 1997.

* Hammel would finish with 199 1/3 innings pitched, while Wei-Yin Chen would have 198 and Jake Arrieta would add 195 1/3.

Some interesting numbers there. If the Orioles can finish with 88 wins, that would likely put them right at about the number they would need to claim the second Wild Card berth. Starting with the 2007 season, the second Wild Card team would have had 88, 89, 87, 89 and 90 wins.

Meanwhile, Chris Tillman's outing yesterday was a real shot in the arm for an O's rotation that needed it. Thanks to Hammel, Chen and Tillman, the O's starting pitching got back on track in the Seattle series.

It has been a strange last 12 games for O's starters:
* A 1.42 ERA in the Nats series.
* Then an 11.42 ERA in six games against the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland.
* Then a 2.42 ERA in the Seattle series.

I know it was just one start and was against a poor-hitting club, but if Tillman can throw the ball like that, with that velocity and command of his secondary pitches, the Orioles will possibly have a third dependable starter to join Hammel and Chen.

Then you look for Arrieta to gain some consistency and perhaps a healthy Zach Britton to get his shot, and maybe the Orioles' rotation will have enough over the next 81 games to make sure the team gets to 88 wins.

That would sure make for a fun second half and would mean we're looking at end-of-season pennant race baseball in Baltimore this year.

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