2021 Baltimore Orioles
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2021 Baltimore Orioles / Franchise: Baltimore Orioles / BR Team Page
Managed by Brandon Hyde
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2021 Baltimore Orioles, picked by most observers to finish last in the AL East, had a surprisingly good start, as they swept the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three-game series to open the season on April 1-4. They outscored their opponents 18-5. The series marked the return to action of OF Trey Mancini, who had missed all of 2020 while fighting cancer. The offensive hero was Cedric Mullins, who went 9 for 13 in the three games as he got off to a very strong start in what would be a breakout season.
The winning did not last long however. On May 5th, John Means pitched a no-hitter in defeating the Seattle Mariners, 6-0, improving Baltimore's record to 15-16. The bottom fell out completely after that though, as the Orioles lost 18 of their next 19 games to finish the month of May at 17-37, already 17 1/2 games out of first place. They won 5 of their first 6 games in June, all at home, but as soon as they hit the road, the losing started again. On June 17th, they lost their 9th straight, which was also their 19th straight defeat on the road. They were a bit lucky in a sense, because at the very same time, the Arizona Diamondbacks were busy setting an all-time record for consecutive road losses, recording their 23rd straight the same day, putting the Orioles' streak somewhat under the radar. They managed to win some during the following home stand, but as soon as they hit the road again, on June 24th, they made it 20 losses in a row by falling 9-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game in which starter Dean Kremer failed to get out of the 1st inning. They finally broke the streak the next day, on June 25th, when they came back from a 5-1 deficit in the 8th against the Blue Jays to tie the game and win it in the 10th, 6-5, thanks to a bases-loaded walk.
In August, they became one of the rare teams to have two awful losing streaks in the same year, when they began the month by losing 15 of their first 16 games, after just being two games below .500 in July. On August 18th, their losing streak reached 15 games, as their sole win was in their second game of the month. What was wrong was readily apparent, as they were giving up runs by the bushel-load: they had allowed 8 runs or more in 11 of the 14 games, and 5, 6 and 6 in the other three. Even if their hitters had been scoring a few runs, there was little hope of winning games given such awful pitching. Their pitchers did better in their next three games, giving up 3, 5 and 3 runs to the Atlanta Braves, but they were still swept to reach 18 straight losses. They finally won a game on August 25th, defeating the Los Angeles Angels, 10-6, after 19 straight losses.
A couple of records shows how poor the Orioles' pitching was, beyond the team ERA of 5.84 and the 258 homers allowed. The Orioles used 23 rookie pitchers, which broke the record of 22 set by the notoriously bad 1915 Philadelphia Athletics, and they were the first team to have six pitchers with an ERA above 6.00 and at least 50 innings pitched: Spenser Watkins (8.07); Kremer (7.55); Adam Plutko (6.71); Keegan Akin (6.63); Matt Harvey (6.27) and Jorge Lopez (6.07). Together, these six men went 14-54.
Awards and Honors
- AL All-Star: Cedric Mullins
- AL Comeback Player of the Year Award: Trey Mancini
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Cedric Mullins (OF)
- Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Ryan Mountcastle (1B)