Hrm, well this is curious. After finding that the Oriole batters weren’t especially dazzling so far this season, one might have expected to find that the pitching has been above average at worst.
With the O’s sniffing at the heels of a .500 record, the pitching staff has a cumulative ERA+ of 89.
For the less statistically-minded amongst us – an “average” ERA+ is 100.
Granted, that number goes up if we throw out the likes of Mike Gonzalez (50 ERA+), Josh Rupe (66), Troy Patton (10) and Clay Rapada (46). And, the just-recalled Alfredo Simon has looked good in limited action so far. (Just don’t cross him.) Moreover, just looking at the team-wide statistics hides the excellent production of Zach Britton (a whopping 168 ERA+ or, if you like your baseball stats from the Teddy Roosevelt Administration, his 5-2. Dude clearly knows how to win). Still, aside from young Zach the only other starting pitcher with an above averge ERA+ is Jeremy Guthrie (114), and Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman have been just awful.
So, if it ain’t the hitting, if it ain’t the pitching, what’s accounting for the near-.500 record almost a quarter of the way through the 2011 season? The defense? Eh. Maybe, but I’m not smart enough to analyze and interpret defensive metrics so we’ll leave that alone. The Buck Bounce? Eh. Maybe, but I doubt it.
I’m going to apply Occam’s Razor here (wow, that sounds funny, out of context) and go with L-U-C-K. Not only are the players offering, in most cases, no better than league-average production, the club has outperformed its Pythagorean Record by 3 games. As many others have observed on many occasions, though, baseball’s 162-game season is the great equalizer. If the Orioles continue their mediocre production, their W-L record will begin to more closely reflect this.