The Baltimore Orioles are still slumping through the second half of the season, falling into second place of the American League East division. They trail the Toronto Blue Jays (66-51) by half a game with a 65-51 record.

Baltimore was so good in the first half of the season, building a huge lead over the AL East. But while the Blue Jays have gone 15-11 since the All-Star break, the Orioles have gone the other direction, losing 16 games with just 13 wins since the break.

Baltimore Orioles starter Dylan Bundy throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Baltimore Orioles starter Dylan Bundy throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

It would be easy to blame the Orioles’ starting pitcher rotation for the slump; that’s been the weakest area on the team this season. But the rotation has actually improved statistically over the last 29 games. Baltimore’s pitchers have allowed just 3.4 runs during the second half of the season, nearly two fewer runs than their runs-allowed average of the first half.

The problems for the Orioles is now stemming from what’s supposed to be the strongest area on the team: the offense. Baltimore’s batters were averaging more than five runs per game before the break, but has only averaged 3.5 runs since.

Baltimore Orioles' Chris Davis reacts after being called out on strikes during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis reacts after being called out on strikes during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Power batter Chris Davis has been slumping more than anyone on the team. He’s only hit two home runs over the last 29 games after hitting more than 20 in the first half of the year. Even home run leader Mark Trumbo has slowed down, hitting only five home runs since the break; he had 28 pre-All-Star game.

It’s not unusual for any team to run out of gas during the second half stretch of a very long baseball season. Every team in the league is fatigued now with more than 115 games played so far in a 162-game season. But with only 46 games left, Baltimore has to find a way to fill the tank back up on its high-powered offense or risk losing the division title.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor