Infield/DH – Help!
Help me get my feet back on the ground
The “core” players playing the most games here this season have been Wieters, Betemit, Hardy, Andino, Reynolds, and Davis, with only Wieters, Hardy and Andino getting regular exposure at just one position. Wieters is a deserving All-Star representative, former and future Gold Glove winner, and gets a lot of credit for calling a good game, and understanding the young pitchers on the roster. Hardy defensively, is one of the top Shortstops in the league, though offensively is in a funk. The rest of the infield defensively needs to go to the corner with a dunce cap on. Again, poor defense can be overlooked when the offense is cooking. Right now, it’s undated leftovers in the fridge, some of which is a weird green color, and you can’t tell what it is. Brian Roberts was a welcome return, until he failed to produce, got injured again, and found his way back on the DL. Thome is an interesting addition, and it’s still too soon to see how it will pan out. I still go on record and call Andino the best 9 hitter in baseball. He has an odd ability to produce when it’s really needed, and make a difference in the outcome of games.
Outfield – Carry that Weight
Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight
At the beginning of the season, I’d tell anybody that would listen that we needed to trade Adam Jones, because there’s no way he was sticking around, and we should get some prospects for him at the deadline, because he was destined to sign a big contract elsewhere. I’ve never been happier to be incorrect. Jones long term deal, alongside Nick Markakis is a great 3-4 punch. This season, Jones is putting up solid production, and has provided a handfull of walk-off wins (see photo). Without a solid option batting before him, his numbers have suffered, and has really carried the weight for the entire offense. However, with a healthy, rehabbed Markakis returning to the lineup, I anticipate #10 to return to the MVP worthy numbers he was putting up. Likewise, Markakis not playing with a broken bone will increase his production as well. Left field has been an issue at times, with an early injury to a Red Hot Nolan Reimhold. Xavier Avery appears to be the solution for the rest of the season, but creates a bit of a log jam headed into next season. There’s also the question of Davis moving to Left now that Nick is back, and a soon to be healthy Endy Chavez. Lets not get ahead of ourselves, as there are more pressing issues then “Too Much Talent in the Outfield”.
Overall – “Here Comes the Sun”
It feels like years since it’s been here
Overall, does the team have issues. Sure. Do we have the potential to make the playoffs? In our current state, not likely. However, for the first time in a long time, I’m confident the front office will make moves to help strengthen the squad during the final push. We’ve got no more match-ups against the likes of Texas or Anaheim. Sure we play a lot of games against our division, but we’ve played well against the AL East so far this season. Much of our recent slump came because of key injuries, and series against unfamiliar opponents. Last but not least, under Buck Showalter, the Orioles have finished the season strong, putting up winning September records in 2010 and 2011. Being hot down the stretch is key, but with a smart acquisition at the deadline, a healthy roster, and a sprinkle of Orioles Magic, we finish the season 89-73, just sneaking into the playoffs (much in part to the 2nd Wildcard spot).
and I say, “It’s Alright”
@JamesTFinn on Twitter