Coming off a pair of ugly losses to the Tampa Bay Rays this past weekend, many fans are inclined to lament the Orioles' mediocre May, which dropped the team to third in the American League East standings. Yet, some early-season statistics from last year suggest many similarities between this year's team, currently 23-26, and the 2014 Orioles, who finished 96-66.
Last year, the Orioles entered June with a 27-27 record before a midseason surge vaulted them to the top of the AL East standings. The Yankees were a few games ahead of the Orioles, at 29-25, before falling behind and finishing second in the division at 84-78. The Orioles are currently two games behind the Yankees, just as they were last year on this day.
Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Rays was emblematic of some of the Oriole's batting troubles early this season, but the team in the top half of the American League in some key statistics. The team's collective .254 batting average is sixth in the AL, while it's 57 home runs rank fifth among 15 teams. Last year, the team had a comparable batting average (.262), and three fewer home runs through May despite playing five more games in the first two months of the season.
This year's team has also -- at least statistically -- replicated the 2014 Orioles' excellence in the field. Last year, the team's .986 fielding percentage was the highest in the American League by the end of the season; the team committed just 87 errors. This year, the Orioles seem to be on a similar trajectory, with a .985 fielding percentage and just 27 errors through the season's first two months.
Despite surrendering nine runs yesterday, the Orioles have generally pitched well this season. The team has surrendered just 189 earned runs, fifth in the AL, while the 403 hits the bullpen has allowed are the third-fewest in the AL.
While the team's 3.94 ERA is below average, it is an improvement over last year's Orioles, who had a 4.22 ERA through May.