Your Monday Reality Check: Aw hell, why not?

August 13, 2012 | Glenn Clark

Your Monday Reality Check: Aw hell, why not?

If I understand the way the math works, the Baltimore Orioles’ magic number to clinch an American League Wild Card spot currently sits at 48.

I really felt the need to tell you that because for some goofy reason I sat and worked on it Sunday while I was supposed to be watching the Baltimore Ravens practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Congratulations Birds, you’ve successfully gotten me to take attention away from the Ravens and place it on the orange and black. The moment has actually occurred. I’m blown away.

The magic number is 48.

That means that if the total combination of O’s wins combined with losses (individually) from any other team in the Wild Card race reaches 48 before the end of the season the now 15 year playoff draught will officially be over.

It means the Birds will be playing on Friday, October 5 as part of Major League Baseball’s first ever Wild Card play-in games.

I honest to God can’t believe I’ve just typed all of this.

It’s time to cue the music.

I feel like it’s safe to say that I’ve been as reluctant (if not more reluctant) than anyone in town to accept this as an actual, realistic possibility. And if truth me told I would still say “no” if an assailant questioned my belief that the Orioles make the playoffs with a gun pointed to my temple.

It might seem like a four game split with the Kansas City Royals at home would be an odd time for me to suddenly stand and pledge allegiance to the “Why Not?” bandwagon, but…you know…Machado and all.

My original idea for my weekly “Reality Check” column was to write about the realities of 3B Manny Machado’s hot start (6-16, 3HR, 7RBI in four games). I had planned to say “I hate to be the bad guy, but let’s remember that the most likely scenario is that Machado won’t be able to continue this success for the rest of the season or likely even for the rest of August.”

I had intended to say something along the lines of “American League pitchers will likely end up catching up with Machado, who also won’t have the benefit of facing Kansas City Royals pitching every time out.” I was going to add thoughts along the lines of “let’s not forget that even OF Xavier Avery collected 10 hits in his first eight games after getting called up to Baltimore earlier in the season.”

I probably would have mentioned that in the coming week Machado would have to go up against veteran pitchers like Red Sox starters Josh Beckett (albeit a Beckett that has struggled mightily in 2012) and Clay Buchholz as well as reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. It’s a bit more legitimate than a group of KC starters that included Will Smith, Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen.

I also think I would have mentioned that Machado had not hit .300 in a single month while playing in the Eastern League this season, making a market correction from a very hot start to August seem likely at some point.

That’s what I WAS going to do. But for some reason, it just didn’t stick.

As we’ve repeated ad nauseum during the 2012 Orioles campaign, there is no statistical explanation for why the Birds have won 62 of their first 115 games. Those of us who have been watching understand that the team has benefitted from an incredible bullpen, a number of home runs, great success in close games and expert guidance from AL Manager of the Year candidate Buck Showalter.

That’s why I couldn’t write the Machado column. I didn’t have it in me.

Maybe there IS a chance Machado can continue to make significant contributions as a 20 year old in a lineup that has been seeking an additional spark. The Birds don’t have a full season .300 hitter in their lineup, but they’ve managed to get continued contributions from unexpected places.

Career journeyman INF Omar Quintanilla is batting .328 in just 20 games sense being acquired in a deal with the New York Mets. Veteran (and by “veteran” I mean “washed up”) OF Nate McClouth has eight hits in his first 24 AB’s since being called up from the Norfolk Tides. Even the miserable bat of Mark Reynolds (.211 and just nine home runs in 289 AB’s) provided what proved to be the game winning RBI in Sunday’s win over KC.

I don’t think it can be sustained. I didn’t think it could be sustained two months ago. I was wrong then. Maybe I’m wrong now. I don’t think I’m ever going to understand exactly how all of this has happened this way this season.

So can Manny Machado keep contributing to an Orioles team pushing towards an appearance in the postseason?

What the hell?

Or…why not?

-G

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Cliff Says:

    What the Orioles have done – with what they have this year – has been truly remarkable. Lets hope they can keep it up and at least get into the wildcard playoff game. Which ….. brings a question up to me about the playoffs ……that I hope you guys can answer at WNST….

    Back in the 1981 strike season/split season someone who was apparently a math genius, figured out that if certain things occured, the Orioles could back into the playoffs by losing their last game of the season. I have noticed there are around 5-6 AL teams that could get into at least the wildcard game and I was wondering ….

    Do you think there is any chance of a team making the playoffs by losing a game on purpose? You guys at WNST are a lot smarter in math than I will ever be …(lol).

  2. FREDTERP Says:

    Cliff what are you talking about. FREDTERP

  3. Cliff Says:

    Back in 1981, because of the strike, there was a split season. The playoffs were changed for that year with additional teams being included. Someone with very good math skills calculated that if the records ended up in a certain way; that the Orioles could get into the playoffs by actually losing their last game to the NY Yankees.

    While I don’t think it would be possible this year; I have been fooled before with math calculations. With around 10 teams in the AL possibly getting into the playoffs by either winning their division or by 2 wildcards, I was wondering if by some quirk of math, a team could get into the playoffs by actually losing a game.

  4. eric Says:

    I’ve lost track with all of Glenn’s wrong predictions/proclamations.”W Y Chen isn’t any good. If he was he wouldn’t have been available at a cheap price” “If M Gonzalez was any good he wouldn’t be available to the O’s at a bargain price” “M Machado clearly isn’t ready” Seeing as how Glenn ignored the fact that the Eastern League is a pitcher’s league and Bowie is the biggest pitcher’s park in the league and how B Harper hit .250 in the Eastern league, since none of that fit Glenn’s idiotic ramblings he chose to ignore them. How this clown has a job is the bigger mystery to me.

    (Edit from Glenn: Yep…the Eastern League is a pitchers’ league. That’s where all of the good pitchers are. Not the American League. Solid argument.)

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