Entering the All-Star break, the biggest surprise of the Orioles season isn’t that they’re above .500. It isn’t that they’re in second place. It isn’t even that Jason Hammel has emerged as an ace or that Jim Johnson has become a lights-out closer.
No, the biggest surprise of the season is that despite all that, the Orioles still have a worse record than the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For more than a decade, the Orioles and Pirates have been waging a war of ineptitude. The Pirates got a, uhh, head start by starting their streak of losing seasons in 1993. The O’s lag behind: they didn’t start their sub-.500 streak until 1998.
The two beleaguered franchises own the two longest current sub-.500 streaks in the majors.
With 2012, though, comes hope. At the break, the Pirates hold a three-game advantage over the 45-40 Orioles.
The Orioles have lost 13 of their past 19 games, but the Pirates raise some red flags as well. Pittsburgh came into the break last year with a winning record, then proceeded to lose 22 more games than it won in the second half.
In the head-to-head series earlier this year at Camden Yards, the Orioles swept and outscored the Pirates by 14 runs. So what do you think? Which team will finish with a better record?