Tag Archive | "AL east"

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Bovada gives O’s, Yanks, Rays same odds to win World Series

Posted on 04 June 2013 by WNST Staff

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

 

Odds to win the 2013 World Series         

Detroit Tigers                            13/2

Atlanta Braves                           8/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    8/1

Texas Rangers                          17/2

Cincinnati Reds                         12/1

San Francisco Giants                12/1

Washington Nationals               12/1

Boston Red Sox                       15/1

Baltimore Orioles                       18/1

New York Yankees                   18/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       18/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              20/1

Oakland Athletics                      22/1

Cleveland Indians                      25/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      25/1

Los Angeles Angels                  28/1

Colorado Rockies                     33/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                33/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     33/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   40/1

Chicago White Sox                    75/1

Kansas City Royals                   75/1

Minnesota Twins                        100/1

San Diego Padres                     100/1

New York Mets                          150/1

Seattle Mariners                        200/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    250/1

Chicago Cubs                           300/1

Houston Astros                         1000/1

Miami Marlins                            5000/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL Pennant          

Detroit Tigers                            3/1

Texas Rangers                          4/1

Boston Red Sox                       7/1

New York Yankees                    8/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/1

Baltimore Orioles                       10/1

Oakland Athletics                      10/1

Cleveland Indians                      12/1

Los Angeles Angels                  14/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     16/1

Chicago White Sox                    40/1

Kansas City Royals                   40/1

Minnesota Twins                        60/1

Seattle Mariners                        100/1

Houston Astros                         500/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL Pennant          

Atlanta Braves                           4/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    4/1

Cincinnati Reds                         5/1

San Francisco Giants                6/1

Washington Nationals                6/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              9/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      11/1

Colorado Rockies                     15/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                15/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   20/1

San Diego Padres                     50/1

New York Mets                          75/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    125/1

Chicago Cubs                           150/1

Miami Marlins                           1500/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL East   

Boston Red Sox                      2/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       11/4

Baltimore Orioles                       13/4

New York Yankees                    13/4

Toronto Blue Jays                     15/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL Central           

Detroit Tigers                            1/3

Cleveland Indians                      4/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Kansas City Royals                   15/1

Minnesota Twins                        15/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL West  

Texas Rangers                          1/2

Oakland Athletics                      2/1

Los Angeles Angels                  7/1

Seattle Mariners                        50/1

Houston Astros                         300/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL East   

Atlanta Braves                           1/3

Washington Nationals                2/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   18/1

New York Mets                          50/1

Miami Marlins                            1000/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL Central           

Cincinnati Reds                         11/10

St. Louis Cardinals                    11/10

Pittsburgh Pirates                      9/2

Chicago Cubs                           66/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    100/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL West  

San Francisco Giants                6/5

Arizona Diamondbacks              3/2

Colorado Rockies                     13/2

Los Angeles Dodgers                8/1

San Diego Padres                     15/1

 

Who will be the first manager to be fired?

Don Mattingly                7/4

Mike Scioscia               9/4

Ron Roenicke                5/1

John Gibbons               7/1

Eric Wedge                   7/1

Charlie Manuel               10/1

Terry Collins                  12/1

Ned Yost                      12/1

Bud Black                     15/1

Ron Gardenhire             15/1

Joe Girardi                    15/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL MVP   

Miguel Cabrera (DET)                            1/1

Chris Davis (BAL)                                  3/1

Mike Trout (LAA)                                   7/1

Clay Buchholz (BOS)                             10/1

Robinson Cano (NYY)                           10/1

Adam Jones (BAL)                                15/1

Prince Fielder (DET)                              25/1

Evan Longoria (TB)                                25/1

Joe Mauer (MIN)                                    25/1

Mike Napoli (BOS)                                 25/1

Adrian Beltre (TEX)                                33/1

Yu Darvish (TEX)                                   33/1

Albert Pujols (LAA)                                33/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL MVP   

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)                         5/1

Carlos Gonzalez (COL)                           6/1

Troy Tulowitzki (COL)                             6/1

Joey Votto (CIN)                                   7/1

Bryce Harper (WSH)                              10/1

Jean Segura (MIL)                                 10/1

Justin Upton (ATL)                                 10/1

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)                           12/1

Andrew McCutchen (PIT)                        12/1

Buster Posey (SF)                                 14/1

Ryan Braun (MIL)                                   15/1

Domonic Brown (PHI)                            18/1

Carlos Gomez (MIL)                               18/1

Yadier Molina (STL)                               18/1

Carlos Beltran (STL)                               25/1

Dexter Fowler (COL)                              25/1

Carl Crawford (LAD)                              33/1

Starling Marte (PIT)                                33/1

Pablo Sandoval (SF)                             33/1

Shin-Soo Choo (CIN)                             33/1

David Wright (NYM)                               33/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL Cy Young        

Clay Buchholz (BOS)                             7/4

Yu Darvish (TEX)                                   4/1

Justin Masterson (CLE)                          7/1

Matt Moore (TB)                                    10/1

Justin Verlander (DET)                           10/1

Felix Hernandez (SEA)                           12/1

Hiwashi Iwakuma (SEA)                         12/1

Max Scherzer (DET)                               12/1

Jon Lester (BOS)                                   20/1

C.C. Sabathia (NYY)                              20/1

Anibal Sanchez (DET)                            20/1

Chris Sale (CWS)                                   20/1

Alex Cobb (TB)                                     25/1

Derek Holland (TEX)                              25/1

Mariano Rivera (NYY)                            25/1

Doug Fister (DET)                                 33/1

Hiroki Kuroda (NYY)                              33/1

Joe Nathan (TEX)                                  33/1

Ervin Santana (KC)                                50/1

Bud Norris (HOU)                                  100/1

R.A. Dickey (TOR)                                 250/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL Cy Young        

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)                          4/1

Patrick Corbin (ARI)                               5/1

Adam Wainwright (STL)                          5/1

Jordan Zimmerman (WAS)                     7/1

Shelby Miller (STL)                                15/2

Lance Lynn (STL)                                   9/1

Cliff Lee (PHI)                                       10/1

Matt Harvey (NYM)                                12/1

Mike Minor (ATL)                                   12/1

Madison Bumgarner (SF)                       15/1

Mat Latos (CIN)                                     18/1

Craig Kimbrel (ATL)                               20/1

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD)                               20/1

Stephen Strasburg (WAS)                      20/1

A.J. Burnett (PIT)                                   33/1

Jaime Garcia (STL)                                33/1

Jason Grilli (PIT)                                    33/1

Tim Hudson (ATL)                                  50/1

Sergio Romo (SF)                                 100/1

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Dickerson walk off 5-30-13

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Orioles Season – 1/3 In

Posted on 04 June 2013 by Tom Federline

They are hangin’. They are a team. They have an offense. They have a defense. The “Comeback Kids”. “It’s not over until we say it’s over” or “unless Jim Johnson blows a save”.  Pitching is suspect – but they have arms down on the farm or Duquette will go find someone. It is encouraging. It is fun to follow. It is frustrating. All the makings of another run! Expected this year versus surprised last year.

54 games into the 2012 season, O’s were 31-23. The line-up at that time consisted of: Andino 2B, Chavez LF, Hardy SS, Jones CF, Wieters C, Reynolds 1B, Davis DH, Betemit 3B, Pearce/or whomever in RF (Markakis was out). Pitching was “en fuego”, minus Arietta.
54 games into the 2013 season, O’s were 30 -24. Current line-up: McClouth LF, Machado 3B, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Davis 1B, Wieters C, Hardy SS, Pearce DH, Flaherty 2b. Pitching is still finding it’s way. But give me the 2013 boys anyday. The only position player we are really missing from last year is Andino – 2b is the current weak link (offensively).

What is with the first 5 guys in the batting order around .300 or better? I do not recall that occurring on any Orioles team – ever. Hitting is contagious. Let’s just hope the pitching heats up, when (if) the bats cool off. Chris “the Hulk” Davis, is simply in a serious groove. Machado is living up to the hype – his own and the medias. McClouth leading off, Markakis in the 3-hole, with Hardy and Wieters taking turns getting hot. The offense is a pleasant surprise. Currently, they all appear to be on the same “Wavelength” – Van Morrison.

Now the pitching……….has the blood pressure escalating. We need Chen! Can we get Guthrie back? What is with Jake Arietta? Goodbye and good riddance – Strope Me Strope Me. Don’t come back until you know how to wear your hat and throw strikes. I think Troy Patton was complaining of a sore back also. Why can’t Darren O’Day pitch in every game? Why can’t anyone in the bullpen pitch everyday? “Whoever is hot”, according to Buck-Buck. Which he is not playing out. I am so tired of hearing – “The bullpen needs a rest, they are worn out.” Get out of town sports media and O’s coaching - the bullpen boys get paid to warm-up and throw at tops - 10 pitches a night. Get out there and pitch! Earn your pay! Sometimes the pitching is lights out – majority of the time it appears they are throwing batting practice.

The pitching and/or Wieters getting hurt are the only curve balls that could hurt the O’s chances for October ball. Or if Davis changes testing labs. But the O’s have Brady, so they should have that covered. O’s fever and more Orange Kool-aid is being served around the Baltimore area. Nice to see a predominantly orange hue around the ballpark. Still enjoy 15,000 O’s fans versus a packed house with people on the cell phone or in idle chit-chat.

AL East – Auuuugh! Gonna be a rough one. Anybody but the Red Sux. What happens when the steroid boys come back in Spankme land? It was only a matter of time for the TB pitching to take hold. I think classless Toronto will drop.
Positives: the offense and defense. The comebacks, last Wednesday night vs. the Nats, YKM? Negatives: Jim Johnson collapse -3rd week in May. Overall pitching not holding up. Gary Thorne “in our side”, is still announcing games.
Seize the Moment – O’s fans. The Orioles have a ball team and a manager. The summer of 2013 just got hotter.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Orioles have worst odds to win AL East

Posted on 17 April 2013 by WNST Staff

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

 

Who will be the first manager to be fired?     

Charlie Manuel                           4/1

Bud Black                                 9/2

Ron Gardenhire                         5/1

Ron Roenicke                           7/1

Joe Girardi                                15/2

Eric Wedge                               8/1

Ned Yost                                  9/1

Terry Collins                              10/1

Clint Hurdle                               10/1

Mike Scioscia                           12/1

John Gibbons                           20/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 World Series     

Detroit Tigers                            7/1

Atlanta Braves                           15/2

Washington Nationals                8/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                10/1

Los Angeles Angels                  12/1

San Francisco Giants                12/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     12/1

Cincinnati Reds                         14/1

Texas Rangers                          14/1

Oakland Athletics                      16/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    16/1

Boston Red Sox                       20/1

New York Yankees                    20/1

Baltimore Orioles                       25/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       28/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   30/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              33/1

Kansas City Royals                   40/1

Chicago White Sox                    50/1

Colorado Rockies                     50/1

Cleveland Indians                      66/1

New York Mets                          66/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      66/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    100/1

Minnesota Twins                        100/1

Seattle Mariners                        100/1

Chicago Cubs                           150/1

San Diego Padres                     150/1

Houston Astros                         500/1

Miami Marlins                            1000/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL Pennant       

Detroit Tigers                            4/1

Los Angeles Angels                  5/1

Texas Rangers                          13/2

Toronto Blue Jays                     13/2

Oakland Athletics                      8/1

Boston Red Sox                       10/1

New York Yankees                    10/1

Baltimore Orioles                       12/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       14/1

Kansas City Royals                   18/1

Chicago White Sox                    22/1

Cleveland Indians                      25/1

Minnesota Twins                        50/1

Seattle Mariners                        50/1

Houston Astros                         200/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL Pennant       

Atlanta Braves                           7/2

Washington Nationals                4/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                9/2

Cincinnati Reds                         6/1

San Francisco Giants                6/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    8/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   15/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              16/1

Colorado Rockies                     25/1

New York Mets                          33/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      33/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    40/1

Chicago Cubs                           66/1

San Diego Padres                     75/1

Miami Marlins                            350/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL East 

Toronto Blue Jays                     5/2

Boston Red Sox                       11/4

New York Yankees                    3/1

Baltimore Orioles                       9/2

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/2

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL Central        

Detroit Tigers                            2/7

Kansas City Royals                   11/2

Cleveland Indians                      9/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Minnesota Twins                        20/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL West

Oakland Athletics                      9/5

Texas Rangers                          7/4

Los Angeles Angels                  7/4

Seattle Mariners                        18/1

Houston Astros                         200/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL East             

Atlanta Braves                           1/1

Washington Nationals                6/5

Philadelphia Phillies                   13/2

New York Mets                          12/1

Miami Marlins                            200/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL Central        

Cincinnati Reds                         10/11

St. Louis Cardinals                    7/5

Pittsburgh Pirates                      7/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    18/1

Chicago Cubs                           25/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers                7/5

San Francisco Giants                7/5

Arizona Diamondbacks              9/2

Colorado Rockies                     7/1

San Diego Padres                     40/1

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Orioles’ listless offseason leaves sour taste instead of excitement

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Orioles’ listless offseason leaves sour taste instead of excitement

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Luke Jones

This was supposed to be the most exciting start to spring training of the last 15 years as Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Sarasota on Tuesday.

To be fair, it still is as the Orioles come off their first playoff appearance since 1997, but that wasn’t exactly a daunting standard to top after a string of 14 consecutive losing seasons was snapped last year. However, that positive feeling isn’t nearly as overwhelming as it should be as we hear the predictable reports this week of players being in the best shape of their lives and others eyeing career seasons after making adjustments over the winter.

Even with the memory of the Ravens winning the Super Bowl fresh in our minds, the city should be abuzz over the Orioles after one of the most exciting seasons in the 59-year history of the franchise in which a club expected to finish fifth in the American League East won 93 games and prevailed in the inaugural AL Wild Card game to advance to the AL Division Series. But instead of using the success of 2012 to springboard the Orioles to new heights and capitalizing on their karma with a productive offseason, the Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette largely stood pat.

The Orioles appeared dormant to put it mildly while harsher critics believe Duquette and the front office rested on the laurels of the unlikeliest of seasons instead of striking while the iron was hot to add talent to a roster that overcame countless flaws last season. No matter how you want to describe or justify it, the Orioles didn’t do enough to make improvements to a club that deserved better after one of the most remarkable seasons in team history. They didn’t spend money or even pull the trigger on a notable trade like they did last year when they sent veteran starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, a move that worked beautifully for the Orioles.

This winter, Baltimore parted ways with first baseman Mark Reynolds and pitcher Joe Saunders, re-signed left fielder Nate McLouth, traded second baseman Robert Andino, and acquired infielders Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, and Travis Ishikawa. That essentially brings you up to speed if you were hibernating all winter and aren’t concerned with a few other waiver-wire additions and minor-league signings, which — in fairness to Duquette — could bring this year’s version of Miguel Gonzalez or McLouth to light at some point.

The idea of parting ways with Reynolds would have been acceptable had the Orioles found an upgrade such as signing veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche or trading for Kansas City’s Billy Butler, but they elected to solve the problem from within by sliding Chris Davis to the position. In turn, that’s created a question mark at designated hitter as a platoon of Wilson Betemit and a right-handed bat to be named later will be counted on to hold down that spot in the order.

Instead of looking to the free-agent market to find an established bat such as veteran Torii Hunter — who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with Detroit — to man left field, the Orioles will pray for the health of Nolan Reimold and hope McLouth can build on two strong months of play last season that resurrected his big-league career from life support.

Few expected the Orioles to be players for the top commodities on the market — outfielder Josh Hamilton and starting pitcher Zack Greinke — but “kicking the tires” was as far as the organization was willing to go on any free agent of even modest note. Avoiding a $150 million contract is understandable and even prudent, but avoiding the open market like the bubonic plague is disappointing.

Duquette vowed that the Orioles would look to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat and another veteran starting pitcher but has done neither to this point. While it’s true the free-agent market was lukewarm in terms of talent, take a look at the number of trades that went down around the big leagues this winter and you’ll find plenty that didn’t involve an organization parting with its top prospect, dispelling the notion that the Orioles would have needed to part with top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to fetch anything of value.

Their payroll did climb as the Orioles dealt with a number of arbitration-eligible players in line for raises, but that’s simply the price of doing business and not a real reflection of trying to improve your club. The payroll increased from an estimated $84 million in 2012 to closer to the $90 million range at the start of spring training.

All those excuses sound too familiar for an organization that appeared to turn the corner last season. Instead of building on their success, the Orioles didn’t spend money or make a single addition — and, no, re-signing McLouth wasn’t an addition since he was already in Baltimore — that appears primed to help move the meter in the AL East.

It’s disappointing after such an enjoyable year.

In truth, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism as All-Star players Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are in their respective primes, talented 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado will play his first full season in the majors, and Bundy and 2012 first-round pick Kevin Gausman could make an impact before the season is over.

A rotation including Hammel, Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Chris Tillman appears promising, but all four are also coming off career seasons that will need to be built upon. The names vying for the fifth spot in the rotation haven’t changed as Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Steve Johnson are all in the mix.

One of the best bullpens in baseball from last season remains intact, but relievers are also as unpredictable as the stock market from year to year.

Maybe the Orioles will be poised to finish 29-9 in one-run games and win 16 straight extra-inning games as they did last season, but both figures were historically remarkable and more anomalies than standards you could possibly expect to repeat, even with a shrewd manager such as Showalter.

Instead of a offseason that included a couple impact acquisitions to augment the progress made last year, we’re once again left with too many ifs and maybes, a familiar story for a organization with a group of players that deserved much better after the work they put in last season.

To truly feel confident in the Orioles’ ability to build upon the magic of last season — or even maintain it — Duquette, the front office, and ownership needed to take advantage of that fortune and simply didn’t. Finally poised with an opportunity to sell Baltimore as one of the most desirable destinations in all of baseball and Showalter as a manager players would love to play for, the Orioles instead stood pat with the hope that lightning would strike twice this season.

The Orioles may still compete this season, but a listless offseason did nothing to build confidence that they will do it again.

We’ll still look forward to spring training more than we have in a long time, but it could have been that much more exciting.

And I suppose the Orioles will once again need to prove us all wrong.

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Showalter “Bucking” right choice for Local Sports Person of the Year

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Showalter “Bucking” right choice for Local Sports Person of the Year

Posted on 28 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

There were a number of great choices for WNST’s fifth annual “Local Sportsperson of the Year” in 2012.

Let me remind you that there are only a few qualifications for the honor.

First, the person must be local. They must be an athlete, coach or front office member for a pro, college or high school team in the state of Maryland. Individual sport athletes who represent the state of Maryland also qualify.

Second, the person must stand out from other people over the course of the 12 calendar months. The accomplishments of that individual must be comparable to if not greater than the accomplishments of others in the area.

And finally, that person’s year must stand out from other years during their tenure/career in the area.

If you’ve forgotten, 2012 is the fifth year we’ve given the honor, with our past winners being Michael Phelps (2008), Todd Bozeman (2009), Greivis Vasquez (2010) and Rob Ambrose (2011).

There were a handful of candidates whose 2012 accomplishments would make them easy winners almost any year.

-Loyola basketball coach Jimmy Patsos lead the school back to the NCAA Tournament after inheriting a program that could only be described as “in the doldrums.” The sweat equity Patsos put into building a MAAC Championship program is perhaps unmatched, as the coach spent almost as much time shaking hands and kissing babies as he did running drills until finally reaching the ultimate goal for a low-to-mid major program.

-Even with the success Patsos had, perhaps he wouldn’t even be deemed the most qualified candidate as his own school. Charley Toomey lead the Greyhounds to one of the most improbable National Championship runs in recent lacrosse history. The Hounds came into the season unranked, but ran off 12 straight wins to open the season and finished the campaign with only one loss-a one goal defeat and the hands of Johns Hopkins. The Hounds posted a dominant national title victory over Maryland to deliver the first national championship in school history (any sport) at the D1 level.

-Adam Jones wasn’t just the Baltimore Orioles’ MVP, an All-Star and a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012. He was the anchor of a team that finally snapped a decade-and-a-half long playoff drought and perhaps most importantly endeared himself to Baltimore baseball fans forever by inking a six year contract extension to ensure fans he wouldn’t be breaking their hearts by donning pinstripes in the next few years.

-Ray Rice is likely headed to another Baltimore Ravens Team MVP honor and also warmed the hearts of purple & black fans by signing a five year contract extension of his own. Rice picked up his third Pro Bowl nod while being the rock for an offense poised to break the franchise record for most points scored in a season and helping to claim a second consecutive AFC North title for the first time in team history.

Like I said, there were plenty of great candidates.

But when it came to picking a winner, Baltimore fans were right. It actually was quite easy.

Buck Showalter actually came just ONE POINT shy of winning this honor before. The 34-23 finish he guided the Orioles to in 2010 nearly nabbed him the award, and the contentiousness of the fighting between contributors here at WNST actually lead to a change in how we selected our recipient.

In a way, Showalter has essentially owned this town ever since his first game as skipper in orange and black. Fans swooned when he famously proclaimed “I know the save rule and, quite frankly, it doesn’t carry much weight with me. I like the win rule a little bit better” following his late inning handling of Mike Gonzalez and Alfredo Simon in a win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Perhaps even more admirably, Showalter showed immense class each and every time he was asked about the seeming reluctance for Orioles fans to return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in droves after the misery that had experienced in rooting for an organization that seemed disinterested in returning a quality product to Baltimore. Even as the Orioles were in the mix for the AL East crown in late August in front of small crowds during a series against the Chicago White Sox, Showalter continued to say things like ”it would be pretty presumptuous on anybody’s part to think that they’re going to trust us that quickly”. He didn’t just save baseball in this town, he remained as classy as possible in the process.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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

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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…)

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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

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

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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.

 

 

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Lucky Buck and the Madd Scientist

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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?

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Reshuffling The Orioles Deck

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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

 

 

 

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