Grasping Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

Thus far this year, the Orioles have shown that even when things are looking good, heart-break is often right around the corner. To wit:

April 6th: Held a lead for 6 innings, and had as high as a 92% chance of winning. Gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth.

April 8th: Held a lead for 5 innings. Were at 75% chance to win to start the 4th frame.

April 9th: Held a lead for just 3 batters, but were at 84.8% to win at that time.

April 10th: Got shut out 3-0, but it was only 1-0 going into the 6th inning and they were still over 50% for a while (due to home field advantage).

April 11th: Held a lead for 7 innings, and were as high as 83% to win.

April 12th: Were only ahead from the first through the second inning, but got up to 72.8% chance to win.

April 13th: Led for 7 innings and were 94.5% to win.

That’s at least a 70% chance to win at some point in 6 losses, at least an 80% chance in 4 losses, and at least a 90% chance to win in 2 of their 7 losses.

Here’s an interesting table from Baseball Reference, on how the O’s have ended each inning:

Inning Ahead Behind Tied
1 3 0 5
2 3 0 5
3 4 2 2
4 4 3 1
5 3 3 2
6 4 3 1
7 4 3 1
8 3 4 1
9 1 6 1
10 0 1 0
Total 29 25 19

As you can see, the Birds have ended more innings with a lead than facing a deficit. That holds for pretty much every point in the game, until we get to the 8th and (especially) the 9th innings.

For innings 1 through 7, Orioles pitchers have a 3.05 ERA and the team has outscored the opposition 23 to 19. After that though, the ERA is 10.73 – that’s 18 runs in 15.1 IP – and they’ve been outscored by 15 runs (18 to just 3).

That’s a recipe for not just losses, but really tough ones. This season it’s been safer and less stress inducing for a fan to just look at the box scores than to watch the games.