The Baltimore Orioles will not win the American League East in 2018.
Nothing about that statement should surprise you. Well, except maybe for how early it became official. The Orioles were mathematically eliminated from the division with Friday’s 19-12 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Wrong kind of history
Baltimore is now 46.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox with 46 games left in their season. According to StatsbyStats, that’s the most games a team has had remaining in its season upon elimination during the divisional era. That’s a time frame spanning 50 seasons.
Major League Baseball first divided the American League and National League into two divisions for the 1969 season. In 1995, the league expanded to three divisions in each league. Throughout that time, no team had been officially eliminated this early in the schedule. Not even the Orioles 1988 team that started the season 0-21.
It gets worse
The official date of Baltimore’s elimination, Aug. 10, is notable, too. It tied the 1932 Red Sox and 1962 New York Mets for the earliest date a team has been eliminated from a division or league race. In that scenario, we’re going back through the entire history of MLB.
With the Orioles' loss today, they've been mathematically eliminated from the AL East race with 46 games remaining in the season, the most in the divisional era.
They also tie the 1962 Mets and 1932 Red Sox for the earliest date to be eliminated from the division/league race.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 11, 2018
Now we’re just piling on
The loss that eliminated Baltimore was pretty embarrassing too. The Orioles once led the game 8-3, and went on to score 12 runs. That’s their third highest total of the season. Yet, somehow, they still managed to lose by seven runs.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, a loss that big while scoring that many runs hasn’t happened in nearly 20 years.
The Orioles have been eliminated from AL East contention despite scoring 12 runs in the loss against the Red Sox tonight.
They are the first team to score 12+ runs and lose by 7+ runs since the Cubs on July 1, 1999 against the Brewers. The Cubs also lost 19-12. pic.twitter.com/D77yt1tXmN
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 11, 2018
The rebuild is on
If we’re being honest, it became obvious months ago, even before the 2018 season began, that this season was going to be rough for Baltimore. That’s in part because of the presence of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the division, and several other elite contenders in the AL. But it’s also due to the Orioles inability to effectively retool an aging roster.
Maybe we didn’t expect 35-81 bad, but we knew bad was coming.
If there’s any solace Orioles fans can take from this dreadful season, it’s that the rebuild has begun in full force. Among those traded ahead of the July 31 deadline were former All-Stars like Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Jonathan Schoop, along with other notable contributors like starter Kevin Gausman and relievers Brad Brach and Darren O’Day.
In return, they got 15 players — 14 of them minor leaguers — and some international spending money to help them establish a new foundation. It’s not pretty now, and it’s going to take awhile to get back on track, but at least they’re trying to create a better future.
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