Excitement filled Baltimore Orioles fans everywhere in 2012 as the team made the postseason for the first time since 1997 and also ended their long stretch of losing seasons. We have finally reached number one on our list, the Orioles inability to pitch with a lead.
Baltimore finished the with a 85-77 record for their second consecutive winning season, but fell short of a playoff spot by six games.
Coming into 2013, expectations, although perhaps too high, were just that for this season's team, so what went wrong?
#1 Pitching with a lead
When you have the offense that the Orioles had, you do not need great pitching to win games, you need average to slightly above average pitching. Baltimore had below average pitching this season, but unfortunately for the Birds, when the offense gave their team a lead, the pitching staff struggled even more.
The Orioles had the seventh worst ERA when pitching with a lead at 3.95, which is a far cry from the 2.71 ERA the Pirates had in 2013 with a lead to top all of baseball. It is hard enough to get a lead, but when you do, the pitching staff needs hold that lead and the Orioles allowed basically four runs for every nine innings they had a lead, that's not good.
Not only are they giving up runs, but they gave up more hits to opposing teams when pitching with a lead than any other team in all of baseball with 626 hits in 599 2/3 innings pitched with a lead and sported a 1.34 WHIP, fifth worse in all of baseball. Baltimore also allowed the fourth most home runs when pitching with a lead with 75 allowed.
So who were the major culprits on the pitching staff?
Kevin Gausman sported a 10.57 ERA when pitching with a lead in 7 2/3 innings, but the most surprising and biggest contributors to the Orioles poor performance when pitching with a lead belongs to Brian Matusz and Miguel Gonzalez. Matusz had a 6.55 ERA when pitching with a lead over 22 innings of work, while Gonzalez owned a 4.39 ERA over 65 2/3 innings pitched with a lead.
To contrast these guys, Darren O'Day and Troy Patton sported the lowest ERA's when pitching with a lead among guys with ten or more innings pitched. O'Day had a miniscule 1.21 ERA over 37 1/3 innings pitched, while Patton owned a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings pitched with a lead.
When you have a lead, it is too valuable to simply give away, and the Orioles inability to pitch with a lead was our number one reason that the Birds missed the playoffs in 2013. What is your number one reason? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
Five Reasons the Orioles Missed the Playoffs
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