Tag Archive | "AL east"

In Orioles’ storybook season, a few stand out for me

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Orioles’ storybook season, a few stand out for me

Posted on 05 October 2012 by Glenn Clark

It has certainly been a “storybook” season for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. No matter how their postseason run ends, there will be memories that will last for a lifetime.

I had an itch this week to compile a list of the top ten storylines for the season. It wasn’t an easy task, but here goes.

10. The ultimate reclamation

It isn’t SO crazy to think a team would have given OF Nate McLouth another chance in 2012. The former Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star was at least playing Major League Baseball, even if he hadn’t had a particularly good season since 2009.

Lew Ford was another story altogether. Ford went a full five years between Major League at-bats before being called up to Baltimore after ripping the cover off the ball at AAA Norfolk.

McLouth has been a significant contributor since being called up in August, taking over the every day LF spot and batting leadoff since Nick Markakis got hurt. Ford hasn’t contributed quite as much, but has come up with three big home runs when inserted into the lineup against lefties.

It has also lead to Tweets like this throughout the season…

9. “Why Not Again?”

Perhaps not the most significant story of the year, the story of Steve Johnson has likely been the most heart warming for Charm City in 2012.

I pulled this picture from Steve’s Facebook page…it’s probably three or four years old. I’d be willing to bet that at this point in his life, he’s probably embarrassed by things like this.

A Kingsville native, former St. Paul’s star and son of a former Orioles pitcher (and current broadcast analyst) made some of the more significant starts of the 2012 season. It’s Hollywood quality stuff. Even more amazingly, Johnson picked up his first big league win on August 8, 23 years removed from the exact date his father picked up HIS first victory during the Birds’ incredible 1989 campaign.

The Johnson & Johnson connection wasn’t the only inevitable comparison between the ’89 and ’12 O’s, as the cartoon birds, no name players and general disbelief of the respective campaigns was impossible to ignore. It even had me singing along…

8. What a dumb great trade.

SB Nation compiled reactions to GM Dan Duquette’s decision to deal SP Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado for SP Jason Hammel & RP Matt Lindstrom before the season. Here are a sampling…

This from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was perhaps worse…

For what it’s worth, most of us would probably be forced to admit that we didn’t think much of the deal at the time. Guthrie had been the organization’s only quality pitcher for years and was very popular thanks to also being a stand up individual. How were we to know that Hammel was going to put together an All-Star season (when healthy) and Lindstrom would be a reliable option in the back of the bullpen before helping to land veteran Joe Saunders in a trade? And how were we to know that on the other end of the deal, Guthrie would implode in Denver before being sent to Kansas City?

Certainly the deal has turned out to be quite the feather in Duquette’s cap, as has the signing of SP Wei-Yin Chen-who has pitched to a 4.02 ERA and 1.261 WHIP over 32 starts? The only real question mark for Duquette has been Tsuyoshi Wada, who needed Tommy John surgery before he could make a pitch. The way things are going for this organization, you almost assume he’ll be Stephen Strasburg in 2013. (Okay…not really.)

7. I’m not so sure about this.

“Nick Markakis batting leadoff when he returns? I don’t know…”

I probably don’t need to show you August. Ah hell, I’ll show you August.

Markakis’ effort (before being sidelined in September) was especially crucial following the loss of OF Nolan Reimold, who hit .313 in 16 games to start the season in the role. Without Reimold, the Birds attempted to use a group of players including OF Endy Chavez and even briefly a return of 2B Brian Roberts, but none could hold down the role until Markakis. The Orioles are now hoping Markakis can somehow get back before the season ends.

6. These guys…of course!

While Hammel and Chen were obviously “hits” for the Orioles’ rotation, the other 60% didn’t pan out so well. Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta, former #1 overall pick Brian Matusz and veteran Tommy Hunter struggled mightily over the season’s first few months before ultimately finding their way back to the minors for seasoning (all have since returned and offered solid efforts out of the bullpen).

In their place, the Birds turned not only to the aforementioned Johnson, but more importantly gave the ball to two pitchers have provided a level of stability that could have been expected by absolutely no one, perhaps even themselves.

Chris Tillman was at least viewed recently as a significant prospect in the Orioles’ organization. After being acquired from the Seattle Mariners as part of the Birds’ haul (along with Adam Jones and George Sherrill) for Erik Bedard, there was a thought Tillman would ultimately prove to be part of the “cavalry” of young Orioles pitchers former VP of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail regularly spoke of.

But after 2009 (5.40 ERA 1.554 WHIP in 12 starts), 2010 (5.87 ERA 1.528 WHIP in 11 starts) and 2011 (5.52 ERA 1.645 WHIP in 13 starts), it appeared as though Tillman was all but done in Baltimore.

And then this happened.

Of course it did.

Perhaps even more improbable was Miguel Gonzalez, who was all but abandoned by the Boston Red Sox following 2009 Tommy John surgery. Executive Director of International Recruiting Fred Ferreira signed off on Gonzalez to the Birds after seeing him throw just nine pitches (according to SI’s Albert Chen). Perhaps we should have expected the man who discovered Vladimir Guerrero knew what he was doing.

And just like that, Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez saved a rotation and very likely a season.

I feel like there’s someone else we should thank…

Of all of the decisions made by Dan Duquette upon arrival, perhaps the decision to make Rick Peterson (a fixture of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics) the team’s Director of Pitching Development has immediately paid the most dividends.

(5-1 on Page 2…)

Comments (3)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Want to see potential Yankees at Orioles game on Thursday for AL East crown? Here’s ticket info…

Posted on 01 October 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that tickets for a possible tiebreaker game to be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday, October 4 will go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2, exclusively online at www.orioles.com.

Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders who paid their postseason invoice have already received tiebreaker tickets along with their postseason tickets and will be charged only if a tiebreaker is played.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. until noon, 13-game Plan Holders will receive their first opportunity to purchase tiebreaker tickets and all Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders will have an opportunity to purchase additional tickets. Tiebreaker tickets will be available to Plan Holders at the Season Plan Holder discount only during this exclusive two-hour window. A unique passcode will be required and is being sent via email today.

Beginning at noon, in an effort to maximize the opportunity for Orioles fans to purchase tickets, those fans residing in the MASN broadcast territory (which includes Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware and portions of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and West Virginia) will have a chance to purchase prior to the general public.

At 2:00 p.m., potential tiebreaker tickets will go on sale to all fans, including those outside of the MASN broadcast territory.

All tiebreaker game ticket sales will take place exclusively online at www.orioles.com

Comments (0)

Orioles turn back clock 30 years with win to pull into first-place tie

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Orioles turn back clock 30 years with win to pull into first-place tie

Posted on 29 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Upon completing a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox Saturday night to pull into a first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East, the Orioles are in a position they haven’t faced in 30 years.

The last time the Orioles were tied for first place this late in the season was Oct. 2, 1982 when Baltimore pulled even with the Milwaukee Brewers in the AL East on the penultimate day of the season. Entering that final four-game set with the division-leading Brewers at Memorial Stadium, the Orioles trailed by three games and needed a sweep to win the division in Earl Weaver’s final season as manager (before he returned to manage the club in 1985).

After winning the first three games of the series to pull even with Milwaukee, the Orioles fell short in that final game of the 1982 season as future Hall of Fame pitchers Don Sutton and Jim Palmer squared off in what resulted in a 10-2 win for the Brewers. Of course, the stakes were much higher then with no wild card spots and the Orioles needing to win to keep their season alive.

The Orioles enjoyed sole possession of first place this late in the 1983 and 1997 seasons, with no one challenging them in the final month of 1983 and the Yankees getting no closer than two games behind Baltimore in the final week of the 1997 campaign.

In the famed 1989 “Why Not?” campaign, the Orioles began the final series of the season in Toronto trailing by one game and needing to win two of three to force a one-game playoff with the Blue Jays — or win all three to take the division outright — but dropped the first two at SkyDome to fall just short of pulling off the impossible.

Though focused intently on winning the AL East, the Orioles’ magic number for clinching a wild card spot is down to two with four games to play, all but assuring them of their first postseason berth since 1997. However, the Oakland Athletics’ comeback victory over Seattle Saturday kept them one game behind the Orioles in the wild card race. Oakland holds the tiebreaker over the Orioles via their 5-4 record in the head-to-head series this season, meaning they would host the wild card play-in game on Friday should the Orioles not win the division and the teams finish with the same record.

Should the Orioles remain tied for first with the Yankees, the teams would play a tiebreaker game in Baltimore on Thursday that would be considered the 163rd game of the regular season to determine the division champion. The season series was tied 9-9 between the clubs, but the Orioles own the next tiebreaker to host the game by way of their superior division record. Baltimore owns a 41-27 mark against the AL East while New York is only 37-31 as both clubs play their final four games against AL East opponents.

Regardless of how the next four days play out, the Orioles are tied for first place at the conclusion of play on Sept. 29. They can clinch a spot in the postseason with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Even typing those words makes it difficult to believe for a club from which so little was expected.

But believe it.

And buckle up.

 

 

Comments (1)

Lucky Buck and the Madd Scientist

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lucky Buck and the Madd Scientist

Posted on 12 September 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Despite all of the advances made in the last couple of decades related to baseball statistics and their implementation into game philosophy, despite our ability to explain, predict and define the successes and failures that we see on a night by night basis in Major League Baseball the two most important aspects of baseball success remain impossible to predict or to quantify. Above and beyond all else, success in baseball is and always will be the result of luck and timing.

As Crash Davis taught us all in “Bull Durham” so many years ago, the difference between a .250 and .300 hitter in baseball is just one hit per week; “A Gork, you get a ground ball, you get a ground ball with eyes. You get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week and you’re in Yankee Stadium”. With one hit per week being the difference between good and great, the timing of that hit and the circumstances surrounding it become increasingly important.

 

Of course Seneca, a Roman philosopher who never saw a game of baseball taught is that “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity”. By stacking a lineup full of players with quantifiable and predictable skills you can compel luck and over the course of 162 Major League games you can expect that by stacking the deck in your favor with talent you can also expect that luck to take hold at enough of the right times to be successful.

 

Still, every once in a while a team like the 2012 Orioles comes along and just throws a wrench into everything that we thought we “knew” about baseball. To call the Orioles lucky might be an understatement. Sure, there’s a heart and an intensity to the team that seems to make them successful, but whether that’s the precursor to their success or a byproduct of it is at the least debatable.

 

The Pythagorean crowd has already written off this team’s success as lucky and therefore impossible to continue. Maybe they’re right. Actually they’re probably right, but you could pick any other team in baseball that you want and deem them unlikely to win the World Series (or even to get there) and you’d probably be right.

 

Even the fans that have grown tired of hearing about the luck of the 2012 Orioles are at a true loss to explain their success. While suggesting that the Orioles success this year has simply been lucky is a disservice to those who have performed so well in making it so, explaining it as the byproduct of a manager “hitting all the right switches” is equally insulting. So why have Orioles fans grown so disdainful of anyone looking to explain away their success as lucky, yet so accepting of the notion that it’s Buck Showalter’s uncanny ability to manage the game as the driving force behind the Orioles success?

 

Of all of the major sports in America, baseball may be the one in which the impact of the manager is most minimal. And the brand of baseball typically played in the AL East only serves to further diminish the impact of the manager. Writing the lineup cards and choosing the pitchers is substantially more impactful than simply shuffling a deck of cards or rolling dice, but once those cards are stacked or those dice cast the manager’s impact is over and it’s up to the turns and bounces of the principals to determine the outcomes.

 

As the Orioles battle the Rays in an AL East showdown pitting a once improbable and now perennial contender against an unlikely contender of historical proportions it is and will be sold as a chess match of baseball’s grand masters. Buck Showalter and Joe Maddon seem to get the lion’s shares of the credit for their teams’ successes because otherwise we simply struggle to explain those successes. But do they deserve the credit they get? And at what point does that credit to the manager begin to wear on those actually doing the winning?

Comments (1)

Reshuffling The Orioles Deck

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Reshuffling The Orioles Deck

Posted on 11 September 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

When the Orioles and Yankees got together for their 4-game set over the weekend the biggest winner of all might have been the Tampa Bay Rays. After biding their time without Evan Longoria and suffering through their typical case of mid-season offensive anemia the Rays still find themselves in the thick of the AL East race, close to full strength if David Price is ready to return this week as speculated, and ready now to pounce on the Yankees and Orioles who both suffered significant (injury) losses over the weekend while splitting a 4-game series. Meanwhile the Rays took 2 of 3 from the Rangers and prepare to descend on Camden Yards for a 3-game set beginning on Tuesday.

Whatever hopes the Orioles had for the playoffs took a big step backward with the loss of their most credible and consistent hitter and improbable table setter in Nick Markakis. How the Orioles respond now is anyone’s guess, but maybe the loss of Markakis isn’t quite as devastating as it would appear on the surface. While the O’s are much (much, much) better with Markakis than without, the improbable season of Chris Davis continues (and now in a much bigger way it would seem) in Markakis’ stead. Also the Orioles have been unable, since promoting Manny Machado to the big league club, to find an adequate way to take advantage of Wilson Betemit’s abilities against right handed pitching due to his lack of ability in the field and the compelling desire to keep Chris Davis in the lineup.

 

The stacking of the lineup has been the subject of a lot of debate amongst Orioles fans all season, and as clearly the team needs a new answer in the lead-off spot; here’s how I’d stack things going forward:

 

VS. Left Handers

1. SS – JJ Hardy (R) 285/351/453

2. LF – Nate McLouth (L) 210/355/379

3. CF – Adam Jones (R) 296/329/481

4. C  – Matt Wieters (R) 313/388/487

5. 1B – Mark Reynolds (R) 237/368/412

6. DH – Chris Davis (L) 256/287/433

7. 3B – Manny Machado (R) 250/280/542

8. 2B – Robert Andino (R) 210/291/305

9. RF – Lew Ford (R) 365/324/588

 

 

VS. Right Handers

1. LF – Nate McLouth (L) 259/337/444

2. 1B – Mark Reynolds (R) 232/346/487

3. DH – Wilson Betemit (L) 304/360/506

4. CF – Adam Jones (R) 285/336/525

5. RF – Chris Davis (L) 257/316/466

6. 3B – Manny Machado (R) 291/296/494

7. C  – Matt Wieters (L) 213/294/391

8. SS – JJ Hardy (R) 217/256/370

9. 2B – Robert Andino (R) 221/285/320

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Despite wins, Orioles still facing longest odds in AL East

Posted on 01 August 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

Quote from Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager, Kevin Bradley

“With the trade deadline passing Tuesday in Major League Baseball teams are stocking up on talent for their playoff runs. The biggest winners after the trade deadline were the Los Angeles Angles that moved form 10/1* to 15/2, the Los Angeles Dodgers moving from 22/1* to 14/1 and finally the San Francisco Giants that moved form 15/1* to 12/1.”

*Odds taken from 1 week before the trade deadline for comparison purposes

Odds to win the 2012 World Series     

New York Yankees                    19/4

Texas Rangers                          5/1

Los Angeles Angels                   15/2

Washington Nationals                9/1

Cincinnati Reds                         10/1

Detroit Tigers                             10/1

San Francisco Giants                 12/1

Atlanta Braves                           14/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 14/1

Chicago White Sox                    20/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     22/1

Boston Red Sox                        25/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      25/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       25/1

Oakland Athletics                      35/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               45/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      45/1

Baltimore Orioles                       55/1

Cleveland Indians                       75/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   75/1

Miami Marlins                            90/1

New York Mets                          100/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    225/1

Minnesota Twins                        500/1

Seattle Mariners                        500/1

Kansas City Royals                   600/1

Chicago Cubs                            750/1

San Diego Padres                      750/1

Colorado Rockies                       1000/1

Houston Astros                          1000/1

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Orioles still face long odds to win AL East

Posted on 10 July 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

Odds to win the 2012 World Series      

New York Yankees                    9/2

Texas Rangers                          5/1

San Francisco Giants                11/1

Washington Nationals                11/1

Los Angeles Angels                  11/1

Detroit Tigers                            14/1

Cincinnati Reds                         14/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                16/1

Atlanta Braves                           16/1

Chicago White Sox                    18/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       18/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    20/1

Boston Red Sox                       22/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   30/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      30/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     35/1

Miami Marlins                            35/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              35/1

New York Mets                          40/1

Cleveland Indians                      45/1

Baltimore Orioles                       50/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    60/1

Oakland Athletics                      100/1

Kansas City Royals                   150/1

Colorado Rockies                     300/1

Minnesota Twins                        300/1

Chicago Cubs                           500/1

Houston Astros                         500/1

San Diego Padres                     500/1

Seattle Mariners                        500/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL Pennant        

New York Yankees                    5/2

Texas Rangers                          5/2

Los Angeles Angels                  6/1

Detroit Tigers                            15/2

Chicago White Sox                    10/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       10/1

Boston Red Sox                       11/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     18/1

Cleveland Indians                      20/1

Baltimore Orioles                       22/1

Oakland Athletics                      50/1

Kansas City Royals                   80/1

Minnesota Twins                        150/1

Seattle Mariners                        250/1

Odds to win the 2012 NL Pennant        

Washington Nationals                9/2

San Francisco Giants                9/2

Cincinnati Reds                         11/2

Los Angeles Dodgers                7/1

Atlanta Braves                           7/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    8/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      12/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              14/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   14/1

Miami Marlins                            16/1

New York Mets                          16/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    30/1

Colorado Rockies                     150/1

Houston Astros                         150/1

Chicago Cubs                           200/1

San Diego Padres                     200/1

 

Odds to win the 2012 AL East

New York Yankees                    1/3

Tampa Bay Rays                       7/1

Boston Red Sox                       15/2

Baltimore Orioles                       10/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     10/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL Central         

Chicago White Sox                    6/5

Detroit Tigers                            6/5

Cleveland Indians                      7/2

 

Odds to win the 2012 AL West 

Texas Rangers                          1/ 4

Los Angeles Angels                  3/1

Odds to win the 2012 NL East

Washington Nationals                4/5

Atlanta Braves                           9/4

New York Mets                          15/2

Miami Marlins                            12/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   12/1

Odds to win the 2012 NL Central         

Cincinnati Reds                         1/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    2/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      5/2

Milwaukee Brewers                    16/1

Odds to win the 2012 NL West 

San Francisco Giants                10/11

Los Angeles Dodgers                8/5

Arizona Diamondbacks              4/1

AL MVP – Odds to Win

Mike Trout (LAA)                       2/1

Robinson Cano (NYY)               5/2

Josh Hamilton (TEX)                  4/1

Miguel Cabrera (DET)                6/1

Jose Bautista (TOR)                  9/1

Mark Trumbo (LAA)                   14/1

David Ortiz (BOS)                      15/1

Prince Fielder (DET)                  15/1

Adrian Beltre (TEX)                    18/1

NL MVP – Odds to Win

Andrew McCutchen (PIT)            4/1

David Wright (NYM)                   9/2

Joey Votto (CIN)                       9/2

Ryan Braun (MIL)                       13/2

Carlos Beltran (STL)                   13/2

Matt Kemp (LAD)                      13/2

R.A. Dickey (NYM)                    7/1

Carlos Gonzalez (COL)               10/1

Melky Cabrera (SF)                    15/1

Bryce Harper (WAS)                  18/1

AL Cy Young – Odds to Win    

Jered Weaver (LAA)                   5/2

Justin Verlander (DET)               3/1

Chris Sale (CWS)                       3/1

David Price (TB)                        5/1

C.C. Sabathia (NYY)                  11/2

C.J. Wilson (LAA)                      10/1

Matt Harrison (TEX)                   12/1

Fernando Rodney (TB)               20/1

Yu Darvish (TEX)                       20/1

Jake Peavy (CWS)                    20/1

NL Cy Young – Odds to Win    

R.A. Dickey (NYM)                    13/10

Johnny Cueto (CIN)                   4/1

Gio Gonzalez (WAS)                  11/2

James McDonald (PIT)              11/2

Matt Cain (SF)                           11/2

Stephen Strasburg (WAS)          15/2

Cole Hamels (PHI)                     10/1

Comments (0)

O’ What An Exciting Time To Be A Bmore Sports Fan

Tags: , , ,

O’ What An Exciting Time To Be A Bmore Sports Fan

Posted on 06 July 2012 by melissarubin

Hey hon, how ‘bout dem O’s? It’s been 14 years since we said it and actually meant it! It is still crazy to think that the All Star Break is almost here and the O’s still matter. While we hoped they would play better than last year and a .500 season would have made us happy, they’ve gone above and beyond our expectations. The O’s are currently second place in the AL East, just 5.5 games behind Yankees.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that the O’s and Ravens have ever been relevant at the same time.

Baseball is a marathon and we’re at the halfway point. We need to be careful not to hit the wall, we’ve still got a long way to go. While it is fun to be in the most competitive division in the American League, it can suck when we’re fighting to stay alive. The Yankees are in our way, they are good at getting in our way and it is annoying. So far the Red Sox have been quiet, but I fear that they will start making some noise after the break.

Right now it is truly “Christmas in July” and it is an awesome time to be a Baltimore sports fan. Sports radio hosts and callers are still talking about the O’s and sports writers/bloggers are still writing about them.

We’re a few weeks away from Ravens training camp and so far all has been quiet on the purple front. It is weird that we’re not hearing a lot of buzz about the Ravens (well not yet). While I’m a baseball fan, football is my game of choice and part of me misses the football talk, but on the flip side I’m enjoying and relishing the baseball chatter.

The O’s are still hot and are constantly being tested, but in Buck I trust and I am holding out hope that they will stay relevant and keep the fight alive.

The Ravens, well the Ravens always matter in this town and soon the talk to shift to them, we’ll be chirping about Ray Rice’s contract, Ed Reed’s attendance at training camp and which linebacker shows the most promise in filling in for Terrell Suggs.

O’ it is awesome, I love that I can count down to training camp and enjoy the black and orange at the same time!

Comments (0)

O’s Revival Feels Like An Old Boyfriend

Tags: ,

O’s Revival Feels Like An Old Boyfriend

Posted on 28 June 2012 by melissarubin

Well hello O’s. It is hard to believe that it is June 28 and you STILL matter. Per usual, I just hoped for a season that was better than last year and so far you’re making it happen. Right now you’re in 2nd place in the AL East, 5 games behind the Yankees.

Don’t get me wrong, I still tread lightly and tiptoe around the fact that you could tank at any time. Like last night, I watched you play the Angels and I wanted to scream! You stunk, what the hell happened to you?

Despite the rough patches, I enjoy hearing the buzz about you this season. It is fun  seeing your fans wear t-shirts and baseball caps with your name or the old school bird on them. I haven’t seen that much orange and black in forever.

I love your competitive spirit and your ability to stay in the game (pun intended). You’ve had slumps (and seem to going through another one this week), but you’ve managed to get out of them. Every time I question your ability to stay in the hunt, you prove me wrong.

Your revival this season feels like I’m back with an old boyfriend, figuratively speaking of course. There is something familiar and comfortable about watching you this season. It reminds me of a happy time, a time long ago when we hung out and had fun, before things unraveled and our relationship spiraled out of control and we stopped seeing each other.

I missed you. Sure I have my boys in purple, but our relationship goes way back, we started long before the purple boys came into my life. I like hanging out with you again, it is fun and exciting and I’m not ready to let go just yet. Remember what it was like to matter and how it felt to chase something instead of fighting your way out of the toilet.

I know you have the drive and determination to do this, well at least most of the time, I had doubts watching you last night!

This time I want our relationship to last, I don’t want a summer fling and while I may be chasing a pie in the sky dream, that’s exactly it, a dream, something I won’t give up on. I saw it once in my lifetime and I won’t let the dream die.

There will be bumps in the road, but you are strong and resilient and I have faith that you can keep going for a while longer. It would be awesome if you gave me something you haven’t given me in a long time…a post season! (a girl can dream…)

ORIOLES MAGIC, continue to make it happen. I’m hungry for it and I know you are too.

Comments (0)

Waiting the hardest part in determining Orioles’ trade deadline fate

Tags: , , , ,

Waiting the hardest part in determining Orioles’ trade deadline fate

Posted on 21 June 2012 by Luke Jones

No one around here is used to the feeling.

With the Orioles hovering right around 10 games above .500 in late June for the first time in seven years, the question has been asked for several weeks and becomes louder with the Fourth of July just around the corner.

Should they be buyers at the trade deadline to not only aid in their push to produce their first winning season since 1997 but also augment the dream of postseason baseball in Baltimore?

We all know the realities.

Entering the season with few expectations, the Orioles continue to play over their heads – statistically speaking, anyway – despite injuries leaving them with one true starting outfielder and a rotation with only two consistent starting pitchers on which to depend. On paper, Baltimore doesn’t pass the eyeball test of a club that’s supposed to be in contention or even entertaining the thoughts of buying at the deadline.

But they’re still right there, creating a difficult but enjoyable decision.

A shallow farm system has few attractive pieces beyond blue-chip prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado. The possibility of dealing the likes of Chris Tillman or Xavier Avery or even lesser talents makes for fun discussion on talk radio and message boards, but opposing teams aren’t parting with impact players without trying to improve in their own right — even down the road. Second-tier prospects still have value, but there isn’t much in the system to really get other clubs salivating beyond Bundy, Machado, or infielder Jonathan Schoop.

To make matters worse, the introduction of a second wild card in each league this year has predictably increased the number of teams believing they have a chance to play in October if they can add a talented player or two for the final two months of the season. Entering Thursday, only seven major league teams were more than six games behind the second wild card spot in their respective leagues.

As strange as it sounds considering the second wild card gives teams like the Orioles a greater chance to taste the postseason, it could also work to the club’s disadvantage in trying to make trades.

The deadline is more than a month away, but it’s all but certain to be a seller’s market with fewer teams considering themselves out of the race and ready to dangle valuable commodities. Contending teams with deep farm systems and a willingness to add payroll will see the best potential deals at their disposal.

So, where does this leave the Orioles?

In order to acquire any notable commodities at the deadline, the Orioles will likely need to take on expensive contracts or two-month rentals. They’re not trading Bundy or Machado and would have to receive something special to part with Schoop. The playoff possibility in 2012 isn’t strong enough to justify selling off their top prospects and turning blind eyes toward the next few years when it seems like the Orioles finally have components of a solid-to-good team on which to build with a potential ace and an impact shortstop in the not-too-distant future.

As dissatisfying as it might sound to fans after waiting the last 14 years for a winning product in Baltimore, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette should allow the next four weeks to play out before deciding to do anything of note.

Some have argued the Orioles will fall out of the race by late July if they don’t try to add players now, but doesn’t that simply support the idea that they’re not ready to be true contenders? There isn’t a single player in baseball the club might add who would be dynamic enough to prevent the potential struggles that would cause them to fall out of contention over a month’s time.

The Orioles have done it for 2 1/2 months, so it isn’t unreasonable to ask for another month of solid play before making a decision to try to pull the trigger.

But let’s pretend the Orioles can remain where they are and stand roughly 10 games above .500 on July 20.

Then, you have to try to make a trade or two to better your club.

After 14 years of disappointment, standing pat would be a tough decision to defend and would send a deflating message to a fan base the Orioles are trying to rebuild after dramatic atrophy over the last decade. At the same time, even the most optimistic supporters of these 2012 Orioles would have a difficult time convincing anyone they’re serious World Series contenders, so some restraint is in order when trying to wheel and deal.

As the roster – and its current performance level — stands now and assuming an early-July return by right fielder Nick Markakis, I can’t envision the Orioles staying in the thick of the race for six months without the addition of at least two starting pitchers and a left fielder. Considering the current state of the farm system and keeping 2013 and beyond in mind, that just isn’t happening.

But some improvement could come from within.

Continue >>>

Comments (5)