The Baltimore Orioles have a 22-20 record through the first 42 games of the 2014 Major League Baseball season and are currently just a half game behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East and currently own one of the two AL Wildcard Spots. Oddly enough, the tough AL East has not been the nemesis for the Birds thus far, but it has been the AL Central.
Baltimore has played 16 games against the AL Central thus far this season with 17 more remaining over the course of the season and currently boast a 5-11 record against that division. Incase you are wondering, the Orioles are 17-9 against all non-AL Central opponents this season, including 13-8 against the AL East.
Of the 16 games the Orioles have played against the AL Central, seven (3-4) have come against the Kansas City Royals, six (1-5) have come against the Detroit Tigers, and three (1-2) against the Minnesota Twins, all of which the Orioles have a losing record against. The Tigers are the only team in the AL Central that currently boasts a record over .500 and to be fair to the Orioles, they have yet to play a game against the two bottom teams in the division standings in the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, with the latter coming into Baltimore for four game this week.
If there is a common theme surrounding the O's games against the AL Central it has been their lack of offense. Among the nine different opponents the Orioles have faced this season, the three AL Central teams have held the Birds to their three lowest batting averages against. Baltimore hit .228 against the Tigers, .225 against the Royals, and .231 against the Twins, but keep in mind, the Orioles still have three games to play against the Twins, so that average could go up.
Baltimore has hit 36 home runs this season, but in their 16 games vs the AL Central, the Orioles launched just 9 and scored a total of 44 runs, which equates to just 2.75 runs per game against the AL Central.
On the flip side, the Orioles pitching staff has fared pretty well against the AL Central, outside of their six games against the Tigers. Baltimore's pitching staff boasts a 5.54 ERA against the Tigers, 3.63 ERA against the Royals, and a 3.60 ERA against the Twins.
It is easily visible that if the Orioles want to return to the postseason this year, Baltimore will have to do much better in their next 17 games against the AL Central than they have fared in their first 16 and there is no question that the fact the Birds will not have to face the Tigers again will certainly help.
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