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The Orioles could be as bad as the 2003 Detroit Tigers

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The losingest team in American League history might have met its match.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It is difficult to imagine a modern baseball team having a worse season than the 2003 Detroit Tigers. With their dismal 43-119 record, the team surpassed the previous American League losses record that had previously been held by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1919, at 117 losses. They came within only a single loss of having the all-time worst season in modern baseball, a dubious honor held by the 1963 New York Mets.

The Baltimore Orioles are in the unpleasant position of potentially tying the Tigers record. With twelve regular season games left to play, if the Orioles were to lose all twelve, they would end the season with the exact same record as the Tigers did in 2003.

It’s not terribly likely that the Orioles, as bad as they’ve been, will go on a 12-game losing streak, as they have not gone longer than nine games all season without a win, but they do have some incredibly challenging competition laying in wait over the next two weeks.

Orioles remaining schedule

9/17 — 9/19: vs Toronto Blue Jays (Jays have already won the series opener, season record against Orioles is 13-4)
9/21 — 9/23: @ New York Yankees (season record against Orioles 10-6)
9/24 — 9/26: @ Boston Red Sox (season record against Orioles 14-2)
9/27 — 9/30: vs Houston Astros (season record against Orioles 3-0)

The 2003 Tigers had worse luck overall than the Orioles, it seemed, with longer losing streaks (their longest was 11), but they also ended the season on a high note, winning five of their final 12 games of the season. The teams have pretty comparable season stats.

2003 Detroit Tigers vs. 2018 Baltimore Orioles

Team BA OBP SLG ERA FIP WHIP
Team BA OBP SLG ERA FIP WHIP
2003 Tigers .240 .300 .375 5.30 5.01 1.510
2018 Orioles .238 .297 .390 5.21 4.97 1.510

The bottom line is that the Orioles are, on paper, just as bad as the 2003 Tigers as far as overall statistics, but unless they go on an unprecedented losing streak, they’re unlikely to tie the 2003 Tigers record. They are, however, an absolute lock to get the top selection in the 2019 amateur draft.