It’s okay to be frustrated with the Orioles’ struggles out of the second-half gate, but those struggles do not say as much about the near-term future of the franchise as Peter Schmuck assumes in his article “Now it’s OK to worry about the O’s rebuilding.”
As evidence, consider the second-half fortunes of other franchises that were on the cusp of breaking long streaks of consecutive losing seasons, which suggest that The Orioles’ Second-Half Record Will Not Matter.
The Rays were 32-43 (.427 win percentage) after the ’07 break, an improvement from the 34-53 (.391) mark they posted to start the season but still no great indicator that they would storm the gates of the division’s Evil Empires in 2008.
The Rays lost consecutive series to the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays, respectively, to close out 2007. For the season they were 5-13 against Boston, 8-10 against New York, and 7-11 against the Orioles. The only division opponent who didn’t win their season series with the Rays in 2007 was the Blue Jays, who finished 9-9 against Tampa.
One year later the Rays won their season series with Boston (10-8), Baltimore (15-3), and Toronto (11-7). Only the Yankees topped them in ’08 (7-11).
The Tigers endured 12 straight losing seasons before righting the ship in 2006 and sailing to the World Series. The Tigers’ 2005 record after the break was 29-47 (.382). They ended the season by losing five straight and 13 of 17.
The 2005 Brewers finished an even .500 to end a 12-season losing streak. The Brewers’ 2004 record after the break was 22-53 (.293). They were 5-15 in their last 20 games.
The Royals finished 83-79 in 2003 to end a run of nine straight losing seasons. The Royals’ 2002 record after the break was 29-48 (.377). They were swept by Cleveland, who finished 74-88, to end the season.
Combined second-half record of four teams that went on to break a long stretch of losing seasons the following year: 112-191 (.369)
The Orioles are going to take their lumps down the stretch, but the experience will provide some needed seasoning in a a low-pressure environment for the team’s young players. In other words, use Matt Wieters 4-for-5 night at the plate as reason for optimism rather than looking at another frustrating loss to the Royals as a reason to abandon ship.