The Baltimore Orioles enjoyed a powerful offensive first half of the season, led by Chris Davis who leads all of baseball with 37 home runs. Manny Machado has advanced his skills beyond his 21 years, providing a .300-plus average with more doubles than came be imagined, along with amazing defense at the hot corner. The Birds may well have the very best defense in the sport – often starting five former gold-glove winners.
But true to the fears of many, it is the starting pitching that has been the biggest challenge. The Orioles have already used 13 different starters. And while the bullpen is a team strength, they have not had the lights-out effectiveness of 2012. Closer Jim Johnson already has six blown saves and seven losses.
Major weaknesses in the lineup have been rotating efforts at second base and designated hitter – both positions where the Orioles are the statistical worst in the AL. Brian Roberts has recently returned and may solve the problem at second, while an intriguing possibility is the pending arrival of Cuban defector Henry Urrutia – who has crushed minor league pitching and is pounding on the door to be called up.
You can check out the complete review of the Orioles first half of the season over at BirdsWatcher.com.