Excuses, excuses – yeah, but this is a good one
Andy MacPhail has some quality talking points (no sarcasm intended). Among my favorites is “Grow the arms, buy the bats.” However, it may be time to add a new one to the list.
Last week, MacPail said the following in an MLB.com story about the Birds: “One of the things that gets lost is that we were over .500 (46-43) outside the division last year and over .500 (13-12) outside this year,” MacPhail said.
[Note: The latter number took a hit after the O’s recent West Coast swing. The team’s 2009 record outside the division now stands at 14-17. ]
You can only play the “We compete in the A.L. East” card so many times; however, MacPhail is wise to direct attention toward the bigger picture. It’s simple, but true: the O’s would be a more competitive outfit in another division.
Consider the Orioles’ demonstrated success in recent years against the A.L. Central, where two of their former division opponents circa 1993 (the Tigers and Indians) now compete.
Since their last winning season in 1997 (excluding this year), the Birds have compiled an overall record of 791-989, “good” for a .444 winning percentage. During that same period, the O’s are 215-210 against the A.L. Central, better for a .506 winning percentage.
From 1998 through 2008, a very dark period for the home team, the O’s have had only three losing seasons against the Central. In 2009, they are 8-5 against the Central. In fact, no Central team has a winning record against the AL East so far this season. The Royals are tops with a 7-10 record while division-leading Detroit has managed only four wins against 10 losses.
Meanwhile, last year’s division winner, the White Sox, finished the season 15-26 (.366) against the East. The Indians were the only Central team with a winning record against the division in 2008 at 20-15.
The O’s vs. the AL Central by Year
(The 2006 ALCS Champion Detroit Tigers finished 16-17 against the A.L. East.)