BALTIMORE -- It’s official. By virtue of the Astros’ 3-2 win against Seattle on Monday night, the Baltimore Orioles have officially been eliminated from playoff contention. Just a year after winning 96 games, they will have to take five of their last six just to finish with a .500 record. It’s a shocking fall for a team that came into the season with seemingly realistic expectations of getting back to the ALCS, if not further.
Prior to Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Blue Jays, who can clinch the AL East with a win in either game, here is a special edition of "By The Numbers" that shines a spotlight on the difference between last year’s AL East champs and this year’s now-extinct Birds, who enter play just a half-game ahead of last place Tampa Bay.
1 -- Number of games this year in which J.J. Hardy has had more than two hits. On the season, Hardy has just 13 multi-hit games, compared to 42 a year ago.
3 -- Number of MLB teams that rank below the Orioles in OPS by left fielders. Baltimore’s .641 is nearly 200 points lower than last year, when their left field OPS of .826 led the majors.
4 -- Number of times the 2015 Orioles have lost five or more in a row. In 2014, the Birds never lost more than four straight. (With a loss in today’s opener, the O’s would have their fifth losing streak of five-plus.)
5 -- Number of times this season Opening Day starter Chris Tillman has had back-to-back quality starts (six-plus innings, three earned runs or fewer). Last year, Tillman had consecutive quality starts on 11 different occasions.
6 -- Number of times in September that Baltimore starters have lasted fewer than five innings, giving them 36 such outings this year. That’s exactly twice as many fewer-than-five starts as Birds’ hurlers had last season (18).
7 -- Difference between the number of Orioles’ losses against the AL East last year (29) and this year (36). That gap is highly likely to widen, given that the Birds’ final six games are against the Yankees and Blue Jays.
8 -- Games lost by Bud Norris last year. Norris, who started Game 2 of the 2014 ALCS, posted a 15-8 record and a 1.21 WHIP that ranked 19th among AL starters. This season for Baltimore, Norris went 2-9 with a 1.64 WHIP before being designated for assignment on July 31st.
9 -- Number of games over .500 the Orioles were in one-run games last season (32-23). This year, they’re two games under .500 (24-26).
10 -- Number of different players who started at least one game in left field for the Orioles, most of any position, led by Travis Snider (37 GS). That’s twice as many as last year, when the O’s used five different starting left fielders, led by Nelson Cruz (60).