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How are the Orioles faring in one-run games in 2013?

We’re not even halfway through 2013 and the Orioles have already lost more one-run games than in all of 2012.

Of course, the Orioles were something special last season, winning 93 games and making the playoffs thanks in large part to a 29-9 record in one-run games, giving them the best winning percentage (.763) in MLB history in that situation.

Back in spring training, I wrote a blog post about whether their one-run success was sustainable. In the post, I cited historical data compiled by Blake Murphy of Beyond the Box Score. Murphy had drawn the conclusion that besides a few exceptions, most teams that had a lopsided record in one-run games -- whether it was a winning record or a losing one -- will move back toward a .500 record in one-run games the following season.

Nearly three full months into the 2013 season, the Orioles are proving Murphy’s point: sustaining it would be highly unlikely.

The Orioles, who lost their first three one-run games back in April, are 11-10 in one-run games in 2013. That .524 winning percentage is solid, but nowhere near their historical 2012.

For what it’s worth, the Orioles are 18-15 in games decided by two runs or fewer, so they are still lucky, clutch or a little of both.

I know what you are thinking, because I thought it also: The Orioles score so many runs -- they are second in baseball right now -- that their record in one-run games isn’t as big of a deal as it was a season ago, when the Orioles had a negative run differential until late summer. But actually, they are on pace to play more one-run games this season. They just happen to be higher-scoring one-run games in some cases.

It will probably take an unprecedented run of one-run victories from here on out for the Orioles to get a winning percentage close to the one they had in 2012 and show that they can sustain success from one 162-game season to the next.

Don’t bet on that happening, but if the Orioles can continue at their current pace or improve on it, they should be cool with that.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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