Since returning to Baltimore in 2004 I've covered the Orioles now for six and a half seasons. Each year like clockwork the team doesn't just take a spiral downward in the second half, it takes a nose dive.
Could this be the first time in years the Orioles have a better second half than first?
Today in the pressbox during the game media members were debating the issue.
Sure, we're able to have that argument because it's fairly safe to say it would be hard for any team to do worse than the Orioles did in the first half of 2010. During the Detroit series at the end of the first half, the Birds hit a season low thirty four games below .500. It would be easy to assume there's no place to go but up from there.
Here's what could go right: The Orioles could get the production they so desperately lacked from their young hitters in the second half. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters played much better at the end of the first half. Even hitters who aren't known for their offense like Cesar Izturis were starting to heat up. Add in fact that the O's finally hit for some power in that Texas series. If that continues the Orioles might be more competitive.
The young pitching is somewhat showing signs of improvement. If Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman can continue to put up the types of outings they did in Texas last weekend, the Orioles will have chances to win. On the Bird's last road trip Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen had their two best starts of the season.
Here's what could go wrong: There are factors that could severely handicap the O's, like the a possible trade of veterans like Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tegada or Will Ohman. Remember how the 2009 Orioles fell apart after Aubrey Huff and George Sherrill were traded mid way through the season?
Hiring a new manager could be a factor as well. If the Orioles do bring in Buck Showalter as is rumored, how will the players respond?
In my opinion the O's will have a better second half if the veterans are not traded and the injured players like Luke Scott, Jim Johnson, and Brian Roberts are able to return healthy. If any of those elements are eliminated, we could have a long August and September. However, at this point, the Orioles need to trade whoever they need to trade in order to improve for the future.