Tag Archive | "american league east"

Pearce HR 9-16

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SEVENTEEN YEARS IN THE WAITING

Posted on 17 September 2014 by Tom Federline

“Sweeeeeeeeet Emoooootion” – Aerosmith. Just keep playing that song in your head. How ’bout ‘dem O’s hun? WOW! 8 – 2 win over the whining, scum beaning Blow Jays. The Division East Title and then………. the celebration. If you were there, nice pull. If you watched it, baseball entertainment at its’ finest (and no Gary Thorne – in our side). If you heard it, someone should put a tape of it in a time capsule. If you are an Orioles fan……………it’s been a long time comin’. “O” what a feeling.

People keep saying it’s been 17 years since the last division title. And they are right – in 1997 the O’s went wire-to-wire in first place. The teams of 1996 and ’97 were a reflection of Angelos’ attempt to buy a World Series.  They were expected to win and they did. But the World Series appearance – didn’t happen. In ’96, they beat the Indians for the ALDS and lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. Yes, that was the year of  Jeffrey Maier/Rich Garcia incident. In ’97 they went 98 – 64 and beat the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS, then lost to the Indians in the ALCS (Armando Benitez blown game in 11 innings after the O’s had 10 hits to Clevelands 3). But this year, is different. It’s a different feeling, a different team chemistry, a different era. It feels like ………..brace yourself……….the “Oriole Way”!

Back in ’96 and ’97, there were names like Alomar, Palmeiro, Davis (Eric), Bonilla, Erickson, Key, Meyers, Wells, Davey Johnson and yes - Ripken, Murray. All great players. All with hefty paychecks.  All with hefty egos. Most of them brought in to simply take the dreaded “evil empire down”. And they did. They just didn’t make it to the big dance. The 2014 Division title winners has names like Pearce, Schoop, Flaherty, Caleb Joseph, Chen, Tilman, Britton, Buck-Buck and yes, Jones, Markakis and Hardy. All with a story, all without such egos, all with their own nuances of how this cast of characters combined to take the AL East by storm since July.

Three big reasons why they are where they are. Markakis, Cruz, Pearce. Pearces’ blast last night to clearly send the message to the Blow Jays – Not Tonight! “The Answer – in the first inning.”

This year is unique. They won when they weren’t expected to. Yeah, we all HOPED and thought they had a chance. But come on, Weiters going down, Manny on DL to start and to finish, the big Ubaldomore bust, Hunter blowin’ it in the closer role, Davis not hitting for any type of average and then pulling a numbnut move……….come on, our hopes were stretching it. But the O’s never gave up. Yes, I’ll say it………they “Grind it out” and it’s true…..it’s what they do. Very few blow-outs. Even up against tough pitching and unless that guy had enough in the tank to complete the game……….it always seemed they had a chance. They playing through adversity, have perseverance and faith that they have what it takes. You go O’s or should that be “Let’s Go O’s”!

How about that crowd last night? The Yard/pot was a brewin’ since the Friday afternoon game vs. the Yankees. There was an explosion of cheers after that 11th inning win, that rivaled the Blue Angels fly byes, that day. And last night, whether on the radio or television, you could feel the adrenaline pumping from Camden Yards. Pearces’ blast in the first inning set the tone. Jimenez working out of trouble was refreshing. Then the solidifier – De Aza’s triple. So cool. They were not going to be denied. Even with the whining scum Blow Jays attempting some sort of retaliation from the night before and for what it still baffles me. Toronto Blow Jays organization = Classless. You go Darren O’day – O’day! You earned a vote for Oriole MVP.

Speaking of which, who is your Oriole MVP of 2014? If they win the World Series, it’s hands down, Buck-Buck. As far as players, I’ll go with,  hmmmm, “I wonder who Fedman would pick?” Yes, the best right fielder in baseball – Markakis. ”Nicky” stepping up and taking on the lead-off roll, being the longest tenured Oriole and a stellar example of how the game should be played – It’s Markakis! With Steve Pearce a close 2nd.

They have put themselves in the position to excel. They have a shot. They have Buck-Buck. It would be nice if the O’s can make it into October intact as they are right now. It would be extremely undesirable to lose a key player now. Duquette has been playing a nice poker game so far. He’s brought in some nice “gold nuggets”, as Buck-Buck would say. They have been surprising. Now it’s time to hunker down, stay fresh and minimize potential injury. What a run. So cool. I would rather not see Detroit in the playoffs. But you know what? Hopefully, these Birds are going to continue to surprise us. What a Wednesday. What a celebration of Sweeeeeet Emoootion.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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Davis Oblique strain 4-25

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Rocky Start for O’s

Posted on 06 May 2014 by Tom Federline

Not exactly the start most Oriole fans were anticipating , now is it? Orioles are one (1) game above .500 at 15-14 and tied with the Yankees for first. Really? The Orioles have the same amount of wins as the last place team Toronto at 15-17.  Grant it the Orioles got a taste of all the teams in the East in the first month. Two-thirds of their games were against AL East. The entire division was going after each other in that first month. That is no excuse. Early in the year is no excuse. If you saw some of the games and not just O’s, you should agree, the caliber of play in the East is sub-par.  The AL East has started out looking like the battle of mediocrity.

The AL West may have surfaced as the more dominant division. Oakland, Texas and LA Angels are making a case as formidable opponents. Pitching is usually ahead of hitting and the Oakland A’s pitching staff is on fire. 4th in the Major Leagues with a 3.03 ERA, while the O’s are 22nd at a 4.28 ERA. The O’s pitching is suspect and the hitting comes in spurts, leaving to many runners in scoring position consistently. The way the O’s have started out, it looks like most teams are going to be formidable opponents this year.

After almost 30 games, let’s give an assessment, position-by-position:

Left field: Looks like we are going to have all hit and questionable fielding (Cruuuuuuuuz). Or all fielding and no hit (Lough). Cruz – is a bright spot. His hitting has saved many a game. Hopefully Brady has him on the “non-detectible juice diet”. Lough has been a disappointment. Needed him to step up as lead-off and that is not happening by a long shot.

Centerfield: Jones – I’m not a fan. He is over-rated as a fielder. He’s not hitting and he continues to be fooled by the low outside sinker/curve ball. He has gotten paid an awful lot of money to lose that habit. You would think after 8 years – he may have learned something. Clean-up hitter cannot be batting .250 with 1 HR.

Right field: Solid. Best right fielder in baseball. Has been robbed year after year on Gold Glove award.. Hitting over .300. Doing his job. He should not be leading off, but they have no one else to do the job. Nick is a better 3 or 5 hitter.

Third base: Heeeeee’s baaaaaack. They sure did lead us on that Machado was going to be ready for Opening Day, now didn’t they? That was an un-welcome surprise. When ole Manny jogged out onto that field on Opening Day, let’s just say he wasn’t looking sure footed. We’ll see how it plays out. Nice timing with him coming back and Davis going out. Flaherty and Schoop performed well. They just aren’t Manny.

Shortstop: The DL is inevitable for Hardy. You can see the pain and stiffness as he runs. Lower back spasms and hamstring problems. It’s only a matter of time. One of those two nagging ailments , is going to blow. That could hurt. He is the elder statesman and rock of that infield. His bat can do some talking also. Potentially another Flaherty/Schoop /Lambardozzi tandem.

Second base: Ouch, another questionable position. Schoop is close, but he’s not there yet. He needs to get through that first round of at bats. He’s another one fooled by the low sinker and steady diet of curve balls. He needs to make adjustments. I like Flaherty. Problem is you have to eat his bat. Just not consistent enough. I like Lombardozzi, but he is strictly a utility guy also.

First base: Just ouch  -

No HR or RBI title this year. Let alone will the threat still be there, when he gets back. When Davis gets back? That could be at the All-Star break. Team will miss his glove at first. He had a gold glove performance last year, but he fell victim to the unscrupulous GG voting also. Pearce is not the answer. Markakis should stay in right. Although, I believe first base is his ultimate position.

Catcher: Major surprise offensively. A blessing we were not expecting. Weiters, I don’t believe, has ever had a hot April. Well he had one this year. A pleasure to watch at the plate. Confident placing bat to the ball. What a relief when he comes up to the plate. The Orioles needed that. Defensively, still one of the best in the business. Don’t agree with him looking over at the dugout to get pitch call though. Maybe it’s to early, maybe him and some of the pitchers are not seeing eye to eye. But something isn’t right with the pitching.

Pitching: I’ll just keep it brief - Has NOT helped my blood pressure. Starting pitching has left us with “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis. Tilman is the only one who has come close to looking confident. Ubaldo finally had a decent outing last time out versus the Twinkies. Thank you Zach Britton for giving the middle relief some creds. I still don’t know half of the middle relievers. And I prefer a lights out closer. Hunter is no intimidator. That is not going to bode well, second time around.

Some positives and negatives to feed on. It seems like the O’s are hanging on a thread. I know it’s early. I know it’s going to be a long rough roller coaster ride. Maybe it will all come together in September? Your thoughts? Go O’s!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

 

 

 

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Orioles lose out on Colon because they wouldn’t spend $20 million they already have

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Orioles lose out on Colon because they wouldn’t spend $20 million they already have

Posted on 12 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

Remember the ten million bucks the Orioles saved on Jim Johnson?

“We’re going to re-allocate those resources” was the quote from head honcho Dan Duquette when asked why the Birds would dump the American League’s most successful closer over the last two seasons for the equivalent of some weekday passes to the Baltimore Aquarium and a $500 gift card to Petit Louis.

OK, well follow along with me for a minute or two and let’s once again get a clear picture of just how the Orioles go about their business when it comes to spending (the fan’s) money and improving their roster.

So, they saved ten million by giving JJ the boot.  That’s math point #1.

Duquette openly admitted the club was heading to the winter meetings in search of more pitching.  Starting pitching.  Better pitching.

Depending on whether or not you believe the talking heads from Baltimore who are employees-in-law of the Orioles through MASN Sports, the Birds were more than just tire kickers on Bartolo Colon.

They evidently wanted him.  But, only for one year.

No pun intended, but the skinny on Colon is simple.  He’ll be 41 next season.  He has a recent history of PED use, a 50-game suspension, and, well…let’s just say, he probably hasn’t done a sit up this century.

He also gets hitters out.  With great regularity.

So, the Orioles – again, you have to decide if you believe the folks down in Florida covering the meetings – showed interest in Colon and essentially said, “If you’re willing to take a one-year deal, we can talk about the money.”

Colon and his agent were able to pry two years out of the Mets.  Two years, $20 million.  Colon will spend ’14 and ’15 in New York.

Now that we know the general parameters of the contract, it’s fair to say Colon was in the neighborhood of a $10 million a year pitcher.  He MIGHT have signed for $14 million for one year (not saying I would have done that, just saying that’s the reality) but the terms of the deal he signed in New York indicate he considers himself a $10 million-ish a year pitcher.

A quality starting pitcher in MLB — I mean, a real quality starter like Colon — is worth WELL above $10 million a year.  But, at 41, and with his testosterone levels always a concern, it appears $10 million is what Colon is worth these days.

The Orioles would have given him $10 million but NOT $20 million?

I’m not sure Colon would have taken a 2-year, $20 million offer from the Orioles, but for all we know, his directive to his agent might have been, “Take the first $20 million, 2-year deal you get. ”

Had that come from the Orioles on Tuesday instead of the Mets on Wednesday, he might very well be in Baltimore.

It appears the Orioles were interested when the asking price was $10 million, but no longer interested at $20 million.

Yet, they saved $10 million by giving Johnson the boot and had $10 million removed from the books when the Brian Roberts contract expired.

I went to Glen Burnie High School, but I think that’s $20 million.

So, if I’m reading it right, the Orioles passed on Bartolo Colon for ten million dollars.

Here’s what the apologists will say:  ”I wouldn’t give him a second year.  He’ll be 42 next season.”

Correct, he will be 42.

So, at age 41 you’ll take a chance on him, but at age 42, you won’t?

Cop. Out.

If you don’t think a 41 year old pitcher shouldn’t get $20 million over two years, fair enough.

But, when you wanted to give a 41 year old pitcher $10 million and you really think he can help you, what’s another $10 million?

After all, that’s your MAXIMUM exposure, right?  He might steal $10 million from you in 2015 if he falls apart, but that’s all you lose.  And, what if you give him $20 million for two years and his stat line looks like this:

2014 — 33 starts, 194.2 IP, 18-10, 3.29 ERA, 1.200 WHIP

2015 — 27 starts, 163.2 IP, 11-9, 4.17 ERA, 1.314 WHP

In today’s market, that’s not worth $20 million?

Of course it is.

The Orioles passed on Bartolo Colon because they MIGHT have been burned for $10 million in 2015.

What about the Markakis contract?  How exposed have the Orioles become on the back end of that thing?

What if — and I don’t think it’s happening — they were to sign Nelson Cruz for $50 million for four years?  Your exposure there would be MUCH greater than the $10 million you MIGHT lose on Colon.

So, for roughly ten million dollars (give or take $2-3 million), the Orioles removed themselves from the Bartolo Colon chase.

Ten million they have, by the way, after removing $20 million from the books.

Oh, and they’re getting $25 million in new TV money to play with in 2014.

They needed a quality starting pitcher.

And they passed on him because of ten million bucks.

That’s called:  cheap.

 

 

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IMG_3086

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Orioles Are Hanging

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Tom Federline

Their record is 53-43, 10 games above .500. Currently, occupying third place in the toughest division in baseball. Three starters and two reserves representing the Baltimore Orioles at the All-Star game. Almost two-thirds the way through the regular season and playoffs are seemingly within reach. Not a fantasy. Not a fluke. Not on our wish list. Baltimore baseball is back. Baltimore baseball is a hot topic. Both locally and nationally. How ’bout ‘dem O’s, hun? I have one word to describe the play so far this season and the performances of O’s stars at the All-Star game – “Respectable” – Rolling Stones!

Come on now, how did it feel having FIVE Orioles at the All-Star game? How did it feel having Chris Davis in the HR Derby Contest? How did it feel when Davis singled Cabrerra around to third? Adam Jones’ double? JJ Hardy knocking Jones in on a fielder choice? The orange shoes? And finally, Man-ny’s web gem at third?Baltimore Oriole uniforms were positioned on the field. Yeah, national baseball fans and media – we have a team. We have a manager. We have a hard core fan base, that’s “runnin’ with the pack”. Uh-oh, there’s another song reference – name the artist?

AL 3 – NL 0. Nice knowing the Orioles will have home field advantage in October. Ok, that’s wishful thinking. But, not to be dismissed as in years passed. Last year was a surprising run. This year, they are expected to be in the race. They have the offense. They have the defense. They have the heart. They have been fairly injury free (minus Chen). Bottom line – pitching is suspect and if they lose Weiters, no October. They have the best offensive threat combo in baseball, whether it’s 1-2 or 2-3. These two set the stage:

The line-up is “respectable”. The fill-ins/replacements may need some tweeking. Our back-up cathcer has the respect of the pitchers and a cool name, Taylor Teagarden. Unfortunately, his bat is even cooler. Reimold, batting .205, is a designated “out”. As opposed to a designated “hitter”. I like the Flaherty/Casilla platoon. Have not bought into the return of Roberts. Please Buck-Buck, lose the Brian Roberts Bromance, put him 8th or 9th where he belongs, until he gets hurt.

Pitching? Can you make it to the Promised Land when your “Closer” already has 7 losses? Did you see the performances Tuesday night from other teams “Closers”? Jimmy JJ Johnson, needs some Orange Kool-aid. Currently, the O’s currently, do not have that “Lights Out Threat.” World Series teams need one. Starters: Chen, Gonzales and Tillman are formidable. Will Hammel hold up? Is Feldman the “surprise”? Good riddance, Strope Me, Strope Me – learn to wear your hat right. Middle relief: the O’s savior at this stage of the season. They could carry the staff. Pitching wins World Series.

Whether the Orioles have the pitching or not. It’s fun! They have a shot! They don’t give up. I enjoy listening on the radio. I have become accustomed to the radio being a little ahead of the TV broadcast. I get fired up when Gary Thorne “In Our Side” is not announcing. It’s summertime in Baltimore – the weather is hot, let’s hope the O’s get hotter!

Sidebar: ESPY Awards last night – Were you lucky enough to catch Robin Roberts’ acceptance speech on receiving the Arthur Ashe Award? A truly inspiring, heart- felt delivery. She referenced Jimmy V’s speech from 20 years ago and masterfully interjected a quote of her own “…..you can face any challenge, when fear knocks, let FAITH answer the door.”

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Orioles don’t stand out in “ifs, coulds, and maybes” AL East division

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Orioles don’t stand out in “ifs, coulds, and maybes” AL East division

Posted on 01 April 2013 by Luke Jones

From the moment catcher Matt Wieters grounded out to end Game 5 of the American League Division Series and the Orioles began setting their sights toward the 2013 season, the same question has been asked over and over.

Will they build upon the surprising success that resulted in their first postseason appearance in 15 years?

Regardless of what executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter try to tell you, it wasn’t a successful offseason. The stated goals of acquiring a middle-of-the-order bat and an established starting pitcher were never realized unless you count the minor-league signings of Jair Jurrjens and 36-year-old Freddy Garcia, who will each begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Orioles can’t and won’t compete in the AL East this season. Critics arguing that the Orioles won’t repeat their 29-9 record in one-run games and 16-2 mark in extra-inning affairs overlook the fact that the club was built to excel in late-and-close situations with a stellar bullpen and arguably the best tactician in the game with Showalter in the dugout.

That success rate will be very difficult to repeat, but the Orioles will point to last year’s injuries to Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold, Jason Hammel, and Brian Roberts and the overall lack of progress by their young starting pitchers last year as evidence that they didn’t need a perfect set of circumstances to win a year ago. Better overall health for the aforementioned group as well as the emergence of just an arm or two from the likes of Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Dylan Bundy, and Kevin Gausman would do wonders in overcoming a more realistic record in games decided by one run.

“I like our guys” has been Showalter’s battle cry since the end of last season, and the Orioles will need to validate that feeling if they’re to break the 90-win mark for the second straight year. It’s difficult not to trust the Baltimore skipper after orchestrating a 24-game improvement from 2011 to 2012.

A core group of position players including Adam Jones, Wieters, Manny Machado, and Markakis as well as top pitching prospects Bundy and Gausman paint a very bright future in Baltimore in the years to come. The ceiling for the 2013 Orioles — and even more so in the next few years — is substantially higher than it’s been in a very long time.

This year’s AL East lacks Yankees and Red Sox teams — or even one of them — that will inevitably run away with the division crown. The parity existing top to bottom has made this race more difficult to forecast than any in recent memory.

Toronto appears to be the best on paper, but will a plethora of new additions mesh quickly or experience growing pains as many revamped teams often do?

Tampa Bay has more than enough starting pitching to offset the departure of James Shields, but will the Rays have enough offense to separate themselves?

The Yankees are old and banged up and the Red Sox are coming off their worst season in 47 years, but both clubs still have enough talent to hang in the division race with enough good fortune.

It’s a division full of ifs, coulds, and maybes everywhere you look, but there aren’t enough answers present to place the Orioles a cut above the rest.

The lineup has quality but not enough depth to overcome an injury or two, whereas the starting rotation has plenty of options but lacks the necessary quality to give you great confidence in the Orioles getting what they’ll need on the mound for 162 games.

Baltimore’s Opening Day order top to bottom is good enough to compete, but there’s little help waiting in the minors if the injury bug strikes virtually any position on the field. The club will depend on the return of Reimold and the continued development of Machado to offset the loss of power hitter Mark Reynolds for a club that finished ninth in the AL in runs score last season.

The starting rotation was in flux most of last season but was able to depend on Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and a revamped Chris Tillman in the second half of the season. You have to wonder if Chen and Gonzalez can duplicate their rookie success with the book now out on how they work and it’s difficult to trust any other young pitchers to simply put it together after the underwhelming results of the past few years. Even Hammel, the de facto ace, doesn’t have a track record you’d like to see in a No. 1 starter. Any combination of hurlers put together by Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair feels too much like a group of third, fourth, and fifth starters.

The late-season arrival of Gausman or Bundy would spark plenty of excitement, but expecting either young pitcher to thrive in the thick of a pennant race is — again — asking a lot.

Lots of promise, but more questions than answers at this point.

A bullpen that competes with Tampa Bay to be the best in the division will again be asked to shoulder an extremely heavy load, but it’s difficult to demand Jim Johnson and his mates to do what they did last year in throwing more innings than all but two bullpends (Minnesota and Kansas City) in the American League. Johnson’s club-record 51 saves sent the 29-year-old to his first All-Star Game, but an underwhelming rate of 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched strongly suggests the sinkerballer is in line to come back to the pack when pitching to contact so frequently as a closer.

The performance of relief pitchers is more difficult to project than any other position, with peaks and valleys consuming most careers like unpredictable investments on Wall Street.

The Orioles don’t have the lineup or starting rotation of the Blue Jays, but Toronto’s bullpen has plenty of uncertainty.

Baltimore’s lineup tops the Rays’ order, but the starting five doesn’t stack up to Tampa Bay’s rotation.

Ironically enough, the Orioles appear to match up well against the traditional heavyweights that beat the rest of the division like a drum for the better part of 15 years, but New York and Boston are no longer the class of the AL East.

The outlook of the division appears murky, with the Orioles having enough going for them to envision them at the top if all goes well but not enough to feel strongly about that possibility.

These questions have answers that are tough to predict as the Orioles aren’t terribly different from the rest of the division in that regard.

It could mean an AL East title or even a last-place finish if most of their questions fetch negative answers this season.

You could even draw the order of finish out of a hat if you’d like, which might be as accurate as any expert trying to look into a crystal ball.

My guess is the Orioles will fall somewhere in the middle, but that doesn’t mean anything as Showalter’s Orioles are used to hearing their critics doubt them.

And they know ifs, coulds, and maybes will only be answered on the diamond.

To view The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction 2013 MLB Predictions, click HERE.

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My mea culpa to Derek Jeter and the Yankees

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My mea culpa to Derek Jeter and the Yankees

Posted on 04 October 2012 by Drew Forrester

This won’t take long.

When the Yankees came in to Baltimore back in early September and lazily bumbled their way through a four-game set here, I pronounced them second class citizens.

I wrote a blog at that time predicting the Orioles – not the Yankees – would win the American League East.

Turns out, I was wrong.

My reasoning was solid, I’ll remind you.  The Orioles had a cakewalk-schedule over the final 20 games, while the New Yorkers had a tough one.  Baltimore’s team is filled with youth, the Yankees are filled with early signs of arthritis.

I figured the Orioles would cruise through their schedule and win the East.

I was wrong.

The Yankees, to their credit, held serve.

Nothing else to see here…if the Orioles go to Texas on Friday and win the Wild Card game, we’ll see New York for five more games — well, wait, make that FOUR more games.  That’s how long it will take the Orioles to dismiss Joe Girardi and Company in the ALDS.

 

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Orioles’ playoff destination comes down to final day of season

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Orioles’ playoff destination comes down to final day of season

Posted on 03 October 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 9:45 a.m.)

It all comes down to the final game of the season as the Orioles determine where they’ll begin their first postseason run in 15 years.

With races in the American League East and American League West yet to be decided, all eyes will be focused on what happens in St. Petersburg, the Bronx, and Oakland on Wednesday.

The scenarios are predictably simpler after Tuesday night’s action that included the Orioles’ 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees’ 4-3 extra-inning victory over Boston, and the Athletics’ 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers to force a tie in the AL West.

If the Orioles win Wednesday night:

Baltimore controls its own fate to at least host the wild card play-in game in the event of a win over the Rays in the regular-season finale on Wednesday night. However, the Orioles will pay close attention to what happens elsewhere.

A Yankees loss to Boston means the Orioles and New York would both finish 94-68 and tie for the top spot in the AL East. The two clubs would play a division tiebreaker game on Thursday in Baltimore due to the Orioles having a superior division record (the clubs were tied 9-9 in the season series this season). The winner in that game would be considered the division champion while the loser would host the wild card play-in game on Friday.

For those wondering where the Orioles would be seeded should they beat New York in a potential tiebreaker game, Baltimore would be the No. 2 seed behind the winner of Wednesday’s Oakland-Texas game since they both own the tiebreaker over the Orioles (the division tiebreaker game does not apply to seeding for the playoffs). This means the Orioles would play Game 1 of the Division Series at No. 3 seed Detroit on Saturday.

A loss to the Yankees in a potential tiebreaker game means the Orioles would still host the loser of Oakland-Texas in the wild card play-in game on Friday.

A New York win clinches the AL East for the Yankees and locks the Orioles into the top wild card spot. Baltimore would then welcome the loser of the Texas-Oakland game to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the wild-card play-in game. A victory for New York would also mean the Yankees are the top seed and would face the winner of the wild card game in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 taking place Sunday at the winner of the play-in game.

The Athletics and Rangers each sit atop the AL West with a 93-68 record, meaning the winner of Wednesday afternoon’s game in Oakland is the division champion while the loser is assured of the second wild card spot.

If the Orioles lose Wednesday night:

A loss against the Rays locks the Orioles into the second wild card spot and means the Yankees win the AL East regardless of how they fare against Boston.The Orioles would go on the road Friday to play the loser of Wednesday’s Athletics-Rangers game, who would finish with the same record as Baltimore.

Both the Athletics and Rangers own head-to-head tiebreakers over the Orioles.

A Rangers win means the Athletics will host the Orioles while an Athletics victory means the Orioles would travel to Arlington for the wild card play-in game.

If the Yankees lose Wednesday night, an Orioles loss and an Oakland loss would still lock New York into the top seed in the American League since it owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rangers but not the Athletics.

Incredibly, Oakland would be the No. 1 seed in the American League with a win and a Yankees loss.

 

 

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The Orioles aren’t winning one of the two wild card spots — and here’s why

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The Orioles aren’t winning one of the two wild card spots — and here’s why

Posted on 14 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Yep, you read it right.

The Orioles will not be playing in the one-game wild card game on Friday, October 5.

That’s because they’re winning the American League East.

Book it.

The Yankees and Tampa Bay will fight it out for the “other” wild card spot after Oakland claims one out in the American League West.

There’s no need for me to go into a full-blown explanation of how or why the Birds are going to win the East.  You’ve watched the games all year.  Luck aside — thanks Bobby Valentine — there are just too many other obvious signs that point to the fact that the Orioles are actually going to claim the top perch in the East.

Chris Davis threw two shutout innings in Boston back in May.  And was the winning pitcher in that game.

Nate McLouth showed up after a stint in the minors, looking like the Nate McLouth who used to be really good.

Some guy named Tyler Teagarden has contributed to three or four wins…which is about as many games as I think he’s played all season.  He could walk into any Royal Farms in Baltimore and not one person would know he is.

Oh, wait, his name is Taylor, not Tyler?  See what I mean…

Mark Reynolds started the year at 3rd base and looked like Roger Dorn from Major League, taking balls off his shoulders, hands, etc.  Then he moved to first base in May and looks like the second coming of Mark Teixeira over there.

The Orioles called up Manny Machado in August and he’s been outstanding since his call-up.  He’s the first Oriole to ever collect a game-winning hit before he was able to shave.

It’s been an amazing run.

And it’s only going to get better – and more fun – in the next month.

The Orioles are going to win the American League East.

From worst to first.

Mark it down, kids.

Baltimore Orioles — 2012 American League East Champions.

 

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The Orioles are begging for our help.  I say we should give it to them…

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The Orioles are begging for our help. I say we should give it to them…

Posted on 10 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Closed-door meetings happen all the time in sports.  They’re usually held during a time of panic, when a manager, coach or player feels the need to get everyone’s attention by shutting off the outside world and addressing those who are in the battle together.

Prior to the final game of their series in Tampa Bay last week, the Yankees held a rare closed-door meeting and aired some of their laundry.  It worked, albeit briefly, as New York salvaged the final game of the series with a 6-4 win.

It’s time for us to have a closed-door meeting.

Who is “us”, you ask?

Us…the baseball fans of Baltimore.

I’ll go ahead and shut the doors and get it started.  I assume you don’t mind if I run the meeting.

Welcome in…

Last week, the Orioles announced a drastic reduction in ticket prices for this week’s home series with the Tampa Bay Rays, offering $4.00 and $8.00 seats in hopes of boosting the attendance for arguably one of the biggest three-game sets in Baltimore since 1996 or so.

Let’s all understand something before we get to the meat of the meeting (no pun intended).

This was a DRAMATIC move by the Orioles.  I put dramatic in all caps for a reason.  This is a team so desperate for an extra buck or two that over the last three years they’ve charged baseball fans MORE money just because you decide on a whim to attend a home game without day-before notice.  This is an organization that has taken to “back-dooring” their own tickets to Stub Hub in what can only be termed “professional scalping”.  In other words, money and more money are typically all that matters to the Birds when it comes to matters of ticketing.

But then last week’s news was released and the Orioles actually came full circle and publicly told us what most smart people already knew:  In order to get fans back, you have to give them a reason.  You have to lead them by the hand.

The baseball team, for the first time in as long as I can remember, is now saying “we need you, please.”  This, of course, is the organization well known for their motto of “when we win, the fans will come back…wait and see.”  Dropping ticket prices and making a public plea for support is as close to a mea culpa as you’re going to get from the Orioles.  If you were waiting for a personal apology e-mail, it’s not going to happen.  But make no mistake about it:  The Orioles are basically saying, now, “We’ll make the first move.  Take us up on our kindness and help the team beat Tampa Bay.”

Don’t pay any attention at all to the way they’ve marketed the ticket price drop over the last week.  They’ve used the “20 year anniversary of Camden Yards” as a means of connecting the price reduction with the opening of the ballpark in 1992.  We all know they wouldn’t be doing this if they were 20 games out of first place.  In the past, they’ve offered a handful of upper deck nosebleed seats for $1.00 just to say “we’re trying”, but never before have they reduced GOOD seats.

Anyway, as one Orioles front office staffer remarked to me last week, this move was done in part because the organization was “stunned” (the front office employee’s word, not mine) at the horrible attendance for the White Sox series three weeks ago.  When 47,000 people showed up for FOUR important home games at the end of August, the wheels started turning in The Warehouse and panic set in — and rightfully so.

The recently-completed Yankees series sold itself.  The club smartly kicked off the 4-games by having the Ripken ceremony on Thursday night and then playoff fever coupled with the New Yorkers who made their way to Baltimore over the weekend added up to a terrific four days of crowds at Camden Yards.

(Please see next page)

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An open letter to the New York Yankees — It’s over, guys.  O-V-E-R…

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An open letter to the New York Yankees — It’s over, guys. O-V-E-R…

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

To: Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees

I’m sure when you all looked at the 2012 schedule back in March, you probably assumed the post-Labor Day series in Baltimore would be a 4-game walk-in-the-park.

Turns out you were right.

It WILL be a walk-in-the-park.

For the Orioles.

Let me officially welcome you guys from New York to the beginning of the end.  I imagine you started to feel it – for real – last weekend in Yankee Stadium when the Birds buzzed in and slapped you around on Friday and Sunday, serving notice that this September might be different than the others of the last 14 seasons prior to this one.

In fact, let me take a second to remind you that Yankee Stadium actually transformed to “Camden Yards in The Bronx” this year, as the Orioles won all three series’ played in “your” place.  How’s that humble pie taste, Joe?

If you haven’t been paying attention — and honestly, when I watch the Yankees this season, I wonder if you are — the Orioles are threatening to claim the top spot in the American League East.  And with Tampa Bay putting their foot up your ass in Florida earlier this week, the Yankees are in the not-so-delightful position of actually having to fight for the right to make the post-season.

For once, the Yankees are just like any other team, fighting and scratching for wins down the stretch.  You’ve lost more than you’ve won since the All-Star break.  Not all bad for a team of scrubs.  But not good for a team like the Yankees who are supposed to win 55% of their games just by showing up at the stadium on time.

And now, on September 6, the time has come to separate the men from the boys.  Let’s see how the Yankees react to this moment-of-truth over the next four days in Baltimore.  Do you have the stones to man-up and win 3 out of 4 to put a halt to this freight train in orange?  Or will you buckle under the pressure of that 10-game A.L. East lead you squandered in less than 50 days?

Here’s my guess:  The Yankees are going to leave town late Sunday evening embarrassed and battered.

Based on the pitchers you’re scheduled to send to the mound, I’d say you guys will be very fortunate to win 2 of the 4 games and more likely a safe bet to win only one.  And it sure wouldn’t surprise me if you go 0-for-4 in Charm City this weekend.

This weekend, by the way, is simply the finishing touch on a season gone haywire here in Baltimore, where the Orioles have done the unthinkable and gone from worst to maybe-first.  That we’ll be jetting above the Yankees in the process is just icing on the cake.  I’m not naive enough to think this is the beginning of some sort of decade long trend where the Orioles win division titles “on the trot” (as they say in England) while the Yankees wallow in 3rd or 4th place.  That gives me even more energy to laugh at what’s happened this year.  It’s come completely out of nowhere.  We might not experience something like this for another decade.  So while we have it, here, at our fingertips, we’re going to revel in it.  You don’t mind, do you?

How that all relates to the upcoming post-season, I have no idea.  But I know this…when the dust settles in a few weeks the Orioles will be ahead of the Yankees in the standings.

Make book on that.

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