Baltimore Orioles: 2014 First-Half Report Card

Baltimore Orioles: First-Half Report Card 2014

Manny Machado Baltimore Orioles
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The Baltimore Orioles finished the first half of the 2014 season with a 52-42 record and a four-game cushion over the second place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. The Orioles have played good baseball for a large part of 2014, but the team could still use some improvement to solidify its playoff chances going forward.

Offense: A

Nelson Cruz Baltimore Orioles
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Offense: A

Nelson Cruz Baltimore Orioles
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Despite Chris Davis' absolutely terrible start to 2014, the Orioles' offense has been impressive. Baltimore is ninth in all of baseball in runs scored (405), second in home runs (114) and fourth in team average (.265). The Orioles' offense is led by Adam Jones' .301 average and Nelson Cruz's 28 homers and 74 RBIs. Should Chris Davis pick up his slack, Baltimore could have the best offense in all of baseball in the second half of the season.

Defense: A+

Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles
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Defense: A+

Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles
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Baltimore's defense has been incredible thus far in 2014. The Orioles are tied with the Reds for first in all of baseball with a .988 fielding percentage, and Baltimore has committed the second-fewest errors with 44. Baltimore's pitching hasn't been great, so it's an encouraging sign that the defense is getting batters out when given the chance.

Starting Pitching: C+

Chris Tillman Baltimore Orioles
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Starting Pitching: C+

Chris Tillman Baltimore Orioles
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Baltimore's starting pitching has hurt the team at times in 2014. Orioles pitchers are allowing 4.03 runs per game and only 41 percent of outings have been quality starts. Bud Norris leads all Baltimore starters (minimum 10 starts) with a 3.96 ERA, and Wei-Yen Chen leads the club with nine wins. The Orioles' below average starting pitching has been overshadowed by the team's great offense, but Baltimore really needs an ace to emerge.

Relief Pitching: B+

Zach Britton Baltimore Orioles
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Relief Pitching: B+

Zach Britton Baltimore Orioles
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The Orioles' bullpen has been solid this season, while Zach Britton has taken the closing role and run with it. Britton has amassed 15 saves to go along with a stellar 1.30 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Darren O'Day has also been great for Baltimore, as the middle reliever has a 1.11 ERA in 40.2 innings pitched. Every first-place team has a solid bullpen, and the Orioles are no exception.

Managing: A

Buck Showalter Baltimore Orioles
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Managing: A

Buck Showalter Baltimore Orioles
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It's hard to complain when your team is in first place, and Buck Showalter will be mostly blameless as long as the O's continue to win. His team has a solid lead in the division at the All-Star break, while his offense has been one of the most impressive in all of baseball. As long as Baltimore keeps winning, Showalter's managerial skills get an A.

Jacob Dennis is a writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

The Orioles had a strong finish to the first half of the season, and sit comfortably in first in the AL East. But even with the success, Orioles tickets remain below the MLB average at $69.62.

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