If the Orioles finish the season undefeated during the Showalter regime, they will be a respectable 89-73.
It doesn’t seem entirely impossible since the Orioles began the Showalter era with a sweep of the L.A. Angels of Anaheim in California near Santa Cruz. Jake Arrieta logged a strong 7 and 2/3 and it looked like the club was going to cruise to a 4-1 series-ending victory before Jason Berken gave up a three-run dinger to Torii Hunter in the eighth inning.
For a moment the club seemed destined for familiar losing territory, until Cesar Izturis knocked in Julio Lugo, pinch running for Matt Wieters, to win the game 5-4 in regulation. The Angels put five players in the infield to defend against the light-hitting shortstop.
That would never fly in beer league regulations. Stand behind the cones!
Anyway, the Angels are now two games under .500 at 54-56, uncharacteristically stuck in third in the West. Friday, the Central-leading White Sox will come to town for series two of the Showalter era. The Sox overcame a slow start and are now 62-46. They’ve won eight of their last ten and play over .500 on the road.
Will Showalter Magic continue at The Yard? It’s not as if the team has played flawless baseball. They nearly surrendered the lead Wednesday and Thursday. Brian Roberts bobbled at least two balls on Thursday and looked visibly displeased following the second, an inning-extending mangled double play. Yet, the club has seen a clear uptick in productivity. In this series alone they’ve had 36 hits, a walk off single from a shortstop the Angels didn’t even respect enough to defend with three outfielders. It will be interesting to see how the rejuvenated Birds fare against the likes of Chicago’s Danks, Floyd, and Buehrle.
They’re still a long way from the 89 win season.