Tag Archive | "Boston Red Sox"

O's put Sox on the other...foot(x)?

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O’s put Sox on the other…foot(x)?

Posted on 27 April 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

It may not qualify as a monkey off of their back just yet, but last night’s 4-1 win by the Orioles over the Red Sox has to be seen as encouraging on a number of fronts. Another strong outing for rookie Zach Britton has him all alone in rarified Oriole air for April wins by a rookie, the O’s seemingly exacted revenge over years of frustration on Red Sox’ starter Clay Buchholz and in the process the team, at least temporarily, put the brakes on another depressing skid in these early days of the 2011 season.

In addition to reversing their AL East mojo, the Orioles have also put themselves in a position to reverse another disturbing trend with just one more win in the next two games. As the world was beginning (or hoping) to draw some sense of panic from the Red Sox based on the way that they stumbled out of the gate this season, we might fairly guess that the Sox and their fans (at least the few who aren’t prone to panic) were circling this series against the Orioles as the unofficial official beginning to their season.


In each of the last two seasons, to different degrees, the Red Sox have seemed to struggle out of the gate only to right themselves against the O’s. Last season the Red Sox stumbled into their first series of the season against the Orioles at 6-10; banter about the demise of David Ortiz bat was persistent at that point too. In giving 2 of 3 to the Sox the O’s not only seemed to give them the boost of confidence they needed to right things, but in the process the Orioles awakened the bat of Ortiz as well. The Red Sox went on to win 89 games despite prolonged injury issues for a lot of their key players and Ortiz enjoyed a robust offensive campaign. In 2009 (albeit a smaller sample size) the Sox stumbled into their first series against the O’s at 4-6 and swept them in 4-straight on their way to 95 wins on the year.


Maybe it was the Red Sox fault that things didn’t start well for them in Camden Yards. They after all took it upon themselves to win 5 straight including a 4-game sweep of the Angels in Anaheim, after a dismal 2-10 start before arriving in Baltimore. Winning 1 more in this series would put an end to this trend, and leave the O’s with at least 5 wins in the 10 games they’ve played against the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox this month. It could also put the team in a legitimate position to get back to .500 before the end of the month. Given the schedule they’ve dealt with in April, that’d be a strong month for any club in baseball. Add to that the stats generated in getting there and the anticipated market correction for lots of players on the horizon and the future could still be bright; especially for those afraid that the team’s days above .500 have already come and gone for the season.

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For Struggling O's Things SHOULD Be Worse

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For Struggling O’s Things SHOULD Be Worse

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

As evidence continues to mount that the 2011 Orioles may not be quite who we hoped that they would be, as fans we can at least take solace in the fact that we’ve been down this road before, all too often in fact these days. And for as bad as things in Birdland seem to be these days, we don’t have to look back too far to realize that things could be much worse for this team. In fact it’s arguable that as things stand today, 20 games into the 2011 campaign, not only could things be worse for these Orioles, but they should be worse…arguably much worse.

Consider first that no matter how anxious any or all of us may have been to buy in to the perception that this team would be much improved, you still had to squint a bit to see these O’s as legitimate contenders. The expectation was more likely a run at .500 (which typically means wildcard contention through July) and respectability while playing some entertaining baseball in the process…for a change.


Even for the most pie-eyed of optimists the April schedule must’ve looked daunting. The first month of the season charged this team with facing the big 3 in their own division (2 series with NY, 1 with BOS and 1 with TB) along with the defending AL champion Rangers, and the 3 teams (CWS, MIN & DET) that look to be fighting it out for the central (and perhaps the wildcard) when the dust settles on this season. The Indians looked to be the O’s only April reprieve, and we all saw how that turned out too.


At 8-12 the Orioles should be counting themselves as fortunate. Couple the daunting April schedule with the statistics that the team has managed to produce, the injuries and illnesses that they’ve been forced to deal with and suddenly 8-12 (3-4 in the division) looks nothing short of miraculous.


–         Brian Roberts currently leads the team in HRs (3) and RBI (15)

–         Adam Jones is batting .229 and is still one of the team’s most productive bats

–         Luke Scott (who will carry the team at stretches) is hitting .214 with 4 RBI

–         Derrek Lee is hitting a Garrett Atkins-like .211 with 2 RBI

–         Nick Markakis is not seeing many pitches and is batting .209

–         Mark Reynolds is hitting .179 and striking out nearly 1 in every 3 at bats

–         Robert Andino leads the team in batting average


If all of the above persist, it’s fair to say the Orioles will be playing much closer to their record from last year than the 8-12 they’ve played to so far.


–         Jeremy Guthrie has already had to be skipped a turn in the rotation due to illness

–         JJ Hardy has been out and seemingly took all of the team’s momentum with him

–         Brian Matusz has yet to make a start

–         They can’t find at bats for Jake Fox

–         No one is trying to win the job in left field.

–         Their most credible closer is dealing with a murder wrap and is currently in extended spring training

–         The back end of the bullpen is a mess

–         Koji’s durability still can’t be counted on in an important role

–         The only suspect April opponent (CLE) swept the O’s


All things considered it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team producing those stats to be closer to 4-16 like the O’s were last year after 20 games than the 8-12 that they are currently.


Most of the issues laid out above have a way of correcting themselves over the course of 162 games; others may require more creativity in solving. It stands to reason though that as the level of competition goes down and the numbers go up, these Orioles could still be a scary proposition at some point. If they’ve managed to stay near afloat through this tough first 3 weeks of the season, they’re bound to be scary as the hits begin to fall.

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Orioles: Sky Isn't Falling But Expectations Are

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Orioles: Sky Isn’t Falling But Expectations Are

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

That giant crashing sound that you may or may not have heard as the Orioles wrapped up their 7th consecutive loss on Sunday afternoon wasn’t the sky falling, instead it was likely the expectations of a fan base starved for any modicum of hope to cling to, crashing collectively back to Earth in the face of another season of likely disappointment. Pennants, they say, can’t be won in April but they can surely be lost there, and although there were few if any envisioning pennants for this Orioles team, they still, despite their recent struggles haven’t lost themselves the pennant. In fact, even in the face of this most recent batch of Orioles turmoil there are reasons to be even more encouraged now than at the beginning of the season.

First, the juggernaut that the Red Sox projected to be has not yet materialized, nor have the Yankees or Rays gotten off to world beating starts. Despite their 7-game skid, the O’s still find themselves in 3rd place in the division, 3 games out of first, and still ahead of the Red Sox and Rays who they expected to be looking up at in the standings with or without their own recent struggles.


The O’s can count themselves as fortunate to have gotten off to the start that they did at the expense of Tampa, and Detroit. As a result they still find themselves in the thick of the AL East even though the bats haven’t gotten warmed up yet. Sooner or later those bats will start coming around, and hopefully Brian Matusz and JJ Hardy will return too adding some depth to the rotation and credibility to the bottom of the order. Hanging around until that happens would say a lot about this team.


A look at the April schedule before the season began should have led most to temper their expectations. The season’s first month brought with it dates against the division’s big three Yankees (twice), Red Sox and Rays, in addition to the Tigers, Twins and White Sox who all project to fight it out for the Central crown and the defending AL Champion Rangers. If there appeared one place on the schedule where the O’s could hope to catch a breath in the first month it was in Cleveland last weekend. That breath, if taken, turned out to be ill advised.


Expectations and baseball though have a funny way of disagreeing. The Orioles return to Baltimore reeling but look to have an opportunity to get well against a Twins team that’s dealing with it’s own share of early disappointments. In addition to their struggles in the win column, the Twins come to town without the services of Joe Mauer, with Justin Morneau sick with the flu, and with the back end of their bullpen in disarray. That and some good old-fashioned home cooking could be just what the doctor ordered for these O’s.


Sooner or later adversity was bound to strike this team. While their talent is clearly improved from seasons past, they certainly didn’t give the appearance that they’d be above struggles. How they respond to those struggles (these struggles) will be the real measure of this team. So far the response hasn’t been great, but if it were to come now the timing couldn’t be better.


If the O’s can salvage 6 wins in 10-games on this home stand, and then split with Chicago in the first two games of their four game set, they can still finish April at .500. If they do any better than that, they could find themselves back atop the standings before they leave town again. Given the daunting appearance of the April schedule, .500 still supports high expectations. Additionally the O’s are currently 3-2 (all on the road) against the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox; their record in the 54 games staged against those 3 will probably make or break their season overall.


Remember that the 1983 Orioles had 2 separate 7-game losing streaks on their way to 98 wins and a World Championship. Remember too though that these aren’t those Orioles, so keep expectations realistic. These Orioles will make (or lose) their own fortunes, for better or for worse, perhaps beginning today against the Twins.


Disappointment against the Indians is nothing new to O’s fans. It was a disappointing end to the 1997 season against Cleveland that set this franchise into a tailspin from which they still haven’t managed to recover. We’ll see if that scenario played out again in microcosm last weekend. For now though…


Bring on the Twins…Bring on the Wins!!!

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Losing streak now at 8, Orioles in need of wins and a leader

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Drew Forrester

It’s gut check time at the baseball stadium.

Too early in the season to have a “must-win series”? Maybe. After all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

But even the most ardent supporter of the Orioles can’t help but recall that it was roughly this time last year when the Birds were in the beginning stages of throwing-in-the-towel en-route to a woeful 3-16 start to the 2010 campaign.

From the call-it-like-it-was file: Last year’s edition gave up under former manager Dave Trembley. I know professional athletes don’t like the use of the “Q word”, but the truth is that last year’s club called-it-quits 19 games into the season.

I assume this year’s team isn’t going to pull off the same stunt.

But it’s up to them to prove it.

I also assumed they weren’t going to get swept in Cleveland.

Wondering whether or not the Orioles might be on the verge of one of those memorable months of losing where they drop something like 13 of 14 isn’t a crazy consideration. Especially if you’ve watched the team over the last, say, 10, 12 or 13 years.

Anyone who has heard me on the radio over the last 8 years knows my #1 sports axiom: “The toughest thing to do in sports is to stop losing.” That’s why they need to get out of this funk quickly.

And they get their chance starting tonight when the Twins visit Baltimore for a 4-game series. After that, it’s the Yankees and Red Sox in town for a little American League East test. This 10-game homestand will go a long way in proving whether or not our orange feathered friends really ARE better than they were a season ago.

The O’s are 6-8 after a horrific offensive weekend in Cleveland that saw them lose three straight to the team most folks in baseball figured would be the worst team in the American League in 2011.

In fairness, 6-8 is about what I figured the Birds would be through the first 2-plus weeks of the season. But they started 6-1, of course, and that led many of us – *ahem*, including me – to wonder if this first month of the season might be one in which the O’s jump out to a nice start and send shockwaves across the American League.

Evidently not.

But a 6-8 start could quickly become 9-9 if the Birds take 3 of 4 from the offensively-challenged Twins. And 9-9 with the Yankees and Red Sox coming to town would be interesting enough to keep our attention intact over the weekend.

But what if they throw in the towel again? Do they have it in them to give up again?

What if, somehow, the Twins win 3 of 4? (and do NOT say “oh, that can’t happen”, because I’ll remind you they just got b-slapped by the freakin’ Indians of all teams three straight times). What if the Twins win 3 of 4 and then the Yankees come buzzing in over the weekend with Sabathia and Burnett both scheduled to face the Birds in Baltimore?

Last year’s team was as soft as a 4-year old girl’s Easter dress because they didn’t really have a leader, no one respected the manager and, naturally, they lacked good, quality players.

This year, the manager has most, if not everyone’s respect. The off-season additions cost the team $20 million more than they spent in 2010 and were at least good enough to warrant winter enthusiasm with the fan base.

But who leads this bunch?

That element of the 2011 team is nearly identical to last year’s club.

Who leads?

It might be a tad too early to have a “players only” meeting on the heels of the weekend sweep in Cleveland, but what if (continued)

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< 50 words .... Wednesday, April 13th

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< 50 words …. Wednesday, April 13th

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rex Snider

It’s Wednesday, and it’s still RAINING. No possibilities of a drought in the near future …. unless, you’re the Boston Red Sox. Rack up those losses boys, there is nothing like seeing a $145 million TRAINWRECK in the making …..

Rainout? Advantage O’s

I hate rainouts. But, there can be hidden advantages in postponements …..

Facing an abbreviated two game series, the Yankees will stick with Burnett and Hughes. However, the Orioles will skip Brad Bergesen and go with Tillman and Arrieta. Yes, I hate rainouts, but this one (minus Bergesen) probably benefits the birds.

Money For Nothing

I called this one a couple months ago …..

What were the Angels thinking when they traded for Vernon Wells and his $81 million in remaining salary? He’s hitting .091 and was finally benched last night. Somebody could lose a job over this move, but it won’t be Wells.

I Thought Boxers had Rhythm

I don’t watch reality shows – I’m too busy living my reality. But, on Monday evening I walked past the television as my wife ogled over “Dancing With The Stars”.

I noticed Sugar Ray Leonard bumbling through some routine with the grace of a bricklayer. He was eliminated last night …..

Left Out, Again

What do Grady Sizemore, Ryan Reynolds, Shia Labeouf, Bruno Mars, Aaron Rodgers and Terrence Howard have in common?

They are among People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful of 2011” …..

Even with a full head of hair, I couldn’t make the cut. Life is unfair, and then we die …..

Heir Apparent?

Washington Huskies quarterback, Jake Locker, just spent two days visiting the Patriots. Could he be groomed to replace Tom Brady? It’s hard to imagine Bill Belichick using one of his coveted three picks (in the first 33 overall) on a guy who holds the clipboard for 5+ years.

Something’s up …..

Stay Strong, Mr. MVP

Yesterday, Josh Hamilton broke his right humerus bone diving into the plate. I have broken my humerus and the pain was just a notch below broken ribs. It was hell …..

Everyone knows Hamilton’s addiction battles, which grew from painkiller dependence. No doubt, he’s battling his discomfort “cold turkey”. God love him …..

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Adrian Beltre

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For upstart O’s, chance to rebound and make presence in AL East comes against Yanks

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Ryan Chell

The Orioles recently finished their first home-stand of the early 2011 season, finishing 3-3 overall after dropping the final two games against the American League champion Texas Rangers by a combined score of 16-1.

Adrian Beltre

But, with the rest of the AL East struggling at this point-the Orioles still remain atop first place in the division with a 6-3 record with a pivotal three-game series coming up against the second-place New York Yankees.

The Orioles really showed a lot in the weekend’s series against the Rangers,  and despite the bats cooling down late in the series, the Birds showed that their pitching-when managed correctly-can keep them in a game or two.

Orioles rookie Zach Britton built on his debut in his first ever home start on Saturday, pitching into the eighth inning and keeping a potent Rangers lineup(which showed up in the second game of the double-header) off the scoreboard.

Jeremy Guthrie then piggy-backed on Britton’s performance on Sunday, and after having been on IVs only days earlier, pitched six strong innings while only allowing one long bomb to third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Jeremy Guthrie

Those two showed that even if fellow starters Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Brad Bergesen struggle every other start, manager Buck Showalter for now can at least sit down in the dugout without having to pace back and forth every two out of five games.

And let’s not forget. Even with Arrieta struggling Saturday night, the Rangers came into Saturday as the league’s only undefeated team before Britton handcuffed their lineup.

They were the defending AL Champs for a reason, and a team that already had a potent lineup with MVP Josh Hamilton Beltre, and one of the hottest hitters in the league in OF Nelson Cruz.

The O’s were competitive for the relative length of the series-at least until they threw Chris Jakubauskas to the wolves in Saturday’s late game to keep the rest of the bullpen fresh.

The Orioles also learned first-hand that Texas could also maybe have the best left-handed starting rotation in the league, and they didn’t even see C.J. Wilson.

Traveling to Yankee Stadium for the first time this season could be a big opportunity to prove they’re here for the long haul, especially with New York reeling after losing two of three to Boston, giving the Red Sox their first two wins of the year.

It’s another opportunity for the Orioles to break away from the pack in the AL East (with Toronto and the Yankees 1GB at 5-4) and put more quality wins on their resume building on the momentum of their early success.

We’ve seen the MASN commercial where Showalter says the Yankees and the Red Sox don’t get three runs to start off the game.

Let’s see how that goes with Tillman, likely Bergesen, and Arrieta slated to start the three games in the Bronx.

It’s true…the Yankees can’t start off the game with three runs like Showalter said, but with the home team batting in the bottom of the inning combined with the way Tillman, Bergesen, and Arrieta all pitched in their last starts, the Bronx Bombers could very well get three runs by the start of the second inning.


And if the Orioles are to lose the series to the Yankees, let’s do it the way the team has played in eight of the nine games this year where the Orioles didn’t throw in the towel-or as my colleague Drew Forrester says-“don’t lay down on their back like Paris Hilton and just take it”.

Plus, the Orioles need every win they can take before taking on the powerhouse Cleveland Indians (7-2 record, 2nd best in MLB) this weekend.

Can’t look past the Yankees because of the anticipation of taking on those “winners” in Cleveland.



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The premiere of my newest blog; < 50 words

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The premiere of my newest blog; < 50 words

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Rex Snider

Welcome to the trial edition of my new daily blog, < 50 words …..

Last week, I brainstormed a concept of doing a weekly blog aimed at covering a handful of people/topics, while devoting “20 words or less” to each specific subject. I enjoyed doing it and based on the emails, phone calls and Facebook comments, it appears a distinct number of readers liked it.

As mentioned in last Thursday’s piece, I have realized a growing number of readers want specific, concise blogs that do not require a lot of time. And that’s the purpose behind this concept …..

However, last Thursday’s piece also served up a pretty good lesson; it’s downright difficult to express an opinion in less than 20 words. Thus, I’m expanding the dialogue, while still committing to the objective of not overwhelming the reader.

I’m going to commit myself to this new platform for a few weeks. On a daily basis, my blog will reference 6 different people/topics, while keeping my thoughts limited to a maximum of 50 words on each of them.

The spirit of my opinions will primarily be of the lighthearted variety. After all, it’s pretty tough to be descript and opinionated in such a limited format.

I’ll still write the semi-regular typical blogs, that emphasize on delivering a strong opinion or analysis on given subjects. Trust me, I will devote several hundred words to Manny Ramirez within the next couple days.

If you like this new < 50 words format and style, let me know. Positive opinions will keep the theme alive …..

Digging A Fox-Hole

Welcome to BUCK’S DOGHOUSE. The skipper’s cryptic comments following last night’s loss, suggested the catcher called a bad game. His remarks also wiggled Jake Arrieta off the hook of accountability.

Regardless of a strong spring, I’m betting “Fox” will be advertised across the back of another jersey very soon.

He’s Baaaack

Well, he’s hinting that he’d like to make a final return to the big leagues, while finishing his career …. in Boston. In an interview with the New York Times, Pedro Martinez said he would like his HOF plaque to represent Beantown. I hope Theo Epstein gambles on him …. and loses.

Happy For Hef

Yesterday was Mr. Playboy’s 85th birthday. While he might’ve celebrated in grand fashion BACK IN THE DAY, I have difficulty imagining any drug or elixir that keeps an 85 year old awake ’til the early morning hours.

Then again, he’s made it this far while pushing the limit …..

2nd Coming Of Stephen

Well, ESPN’s Buster Olney floated out the idea, earlier today. He tweeted “Zach Britton has a chance to become what Stephen Strasburg was last year: Must-see TV” …..

Heck, I hope not. If Britton needs Tommy John surgery, by June, I’m never reading one of Buster’s columns, again.

Just When You Thought Brett Favre Was Old News

You can’t blame Brett Favre for keeping his name in conversations, but you can credit Jenn Sterger for doing it. This week, she will spill her tears to Barbara Walters in a primetime interview.

The price? According to the New York Post, ABC is giving Sterger a job. Nice, huh?

The Saga Of Manny

Millions in the bank, and HOF credentials …. but he still uses performance enhancing drugs, and gets busted a second time? Manny Ramirez needs to play a sport with easier testing restrictions.

Bet on it …. a year from today, MLB will have HGH testing and the NFL will not.

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My views, in twenty words or less

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My views, in twenty words or less

Posted on 07 April 2011 by Rex Snider

When listeners and readers speak, I hear them. Regardless of the spirit of their message, I’m all ears. It can be a compliment, complaint or hybrid mixture of both extremes and I will do my best to absorb it, while considering such valued input.

I’ll be blunt and sincere; your opinions matter to me. To that extent, an overriding message I commonly hear is our blogs are too lengthy. While the WNST writer may have a specific point or opinion to share, the reader desires a more concise finished product.

I absolutely understand the point – you’re at work, eating breakfast/lunch or just catching a break and you don’t have time or an interest in reading a novel …..

With such plights in mind, I have developed my newest blog “Twenty Words Or Less”. In this blog, I’ll just reference a handful of people or topics and provide my view or resulting opinion in twenty or less words. Ready? Here we go …..

Miguel Cabrera

It’s shameful he’s not serious about health and conditioning. Better than Pujols? YES … but not as dedicated; that’s the difference.

John Harbaugh

He’s the 10th best coach in the NFL, according to ESPN. Mrs. Snider thinks he’s #1 … in a GQ way.

President Obama

Nope, no politics here. Just a guarantee for future “Twenty Words Or Less” blogs.

Boston Red Sox

Every bit as good as we originally thought. They can erase an 0-5 start in a week’s time.

Matt Wieters

He’s taking charge on the field. We are about to see the player we expected.

Allen McCallum

He was crabby, this week. And, he made a BOLD prediction regarding Nick Markakis and April 30th.

Texas A&M Ladies Basketball Team

Who? Seriously …. who?

Mount Everest

Why in the HELL would anyone climb a snowy mountain …. and pay $100 thousand to do it?


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The Sweep Smell of Victory

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The Sweep Smell of Victory

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

The Orioles did their best to minimize the impact of the first stage of what still looks to be a daunting April schedule by completing a 3-game sweep of the Rays on Sunday, sending the team home, undefeated record intact and alone atop the AL East…for the time being anyway. Bolstered by their pitching despite the untimely loss of Brian Matusz due to injury, the O’s rolled through Tampa, and for 3 games at least, looked more like the team that should be the objects of expectations than their overmatched hosts.

Perspective being called for, pennants can’t be won in April but they can be lost there. Given the difficult appearance of the O’s April schedule, the cache of wins that they picked up over the weekend in Tampa should at least help in their efforts to stay above .500 for the season’s opening month.


It occurred to me during the opener that the O’s perspective on the start of the season must have been at least a bit skewed going into the weekend series at the Trop. The early start to the season, along with not leaving the state of Florida must’ve made this feel to some degree like spring training continued. Whether that wound up being a benefit that served the team during their sweep, or just one more obstacle that they had to overcome in getting there is debatable, the end result though is not.


I wrote a blog a few months ago with a section titled “Baseball Math” that basically sought to reiterate a couple of proven baseball “formulas”. The first being that a single hit per week amounts to about 40 or 50 points in batting average (Crash Davis logic) was meant to illustrate that for all of the machinations and strategizing inherent to a baseball season, at the end of the day, luck and timing can play a much bigger part in baseball than it does in other sports. The second (taught to me by my father, but time honored too) is that every baseball team no matter how good or bad (with few historical exceptions) can expect to win 50 games and lose 50 games in every baseball season. What teams do in the remaining 62 games determines where they finish their seasons. So for their efforts, the O’s have made 3 games worth of headway into their 50 win destiny and at the same time laid 3 big early losses on one of the division’s favorites.


What’s really important in that scenario (if any importance at all can be drawn from an April series) is the divisional aspect. Between the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox (the 3 favorites to fight it out for the division) the Orioles will play 54 games this season. If they hope to stake their own claim to a share of the division, they’ll have to expect to go at least .500 in those 54 games. Picking up 3 of those 27 needed wins early accounts for 11% of that total, and they got them on the road. With 9 more such games in April, if the O’s can win just 4 of them they’ll finish the month with 7 wins against the divisions big 3 and just 5 losses. If they do any better than that in those games, they’ll be well on their way to the 27 wins they’ll need to have a realistic shot at being a divisional factor. And all of that before they’ve even unpacked their suitcases from spring training.


That after all is the most important thing to remember. Perhaps as I was marveling at the O’s ability to stay focused in the face of what must’ve felt like being held after school for spring training, we should wait and see if coming home on Sunday night, presumably for the first time in months and turning around for a Monday home opener proves to be even more of a challenge. Something tells me the impact of their travel will only be felt to the extent that Jake Arrieta is able to keep a tough Tigers lineup in check, and I’m guessing that Arrieta got an early pass home, ahead of his teammates to curb any such effect on his performance at least. The atmosphere at the yards will be electric for sure given the way they played this weekend. I wonder if anyone went out to greet them at the airport.


Another interesting (albeit less useful) baseball stat, or factoid, that my Pop laid on me was when the 1984 Tigers were out to their 35-5 start. At that point he surmised that at 30 games above .500 already, simply playing .500 baseball from there out all but assured the Tigers of a trip to the post season; this in the 4-division, no wildcard era. To that end if the O’s could simply play .500 ball from here on out, they’ll be guaranteed a winning season. That’s a start.

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Regardless of anything else, hold your chin high today

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Rex Snider

If your workplace is populated by a fairly representative group of baseball fans, there is a good chance supporters of the Yankees and Red Sox exist within it, right?

In fact, some local businesses are dominated by fans of the AL East’s most popular and successful franchises.

While some such souls are imports and understandably loyal to their HOMETOWN team, a substantial number of local Yankees and Red Sox “so called” faithful are natives of Baltimore, who committed to selling their souls and allegiance, years ago.

Some people can’t handle losing, so they start backing winning organizations, until …. those teams start losing. While the Yankees and Red Sox are both riding a wave of success in this latest era, nothing lasts forever – NOTHING.

For the Baltimoreans who traded in their orange – or for those who’ve never really worn it with pride and unconditional loyalty, God bless ’em …. they have just as much right walking into Camden Yards as anyone else …..

But, today, is NOT their day.

This is your day, BALTIMORE ORIOLES FAN.

If you’re fortunate in having an Opening Day experience at the ballpark awaiting your arrival, have a great time and enjoy the renewal of the greatest sport returning for another season. It’s going to be a warm and dry day for ushering in the home schedule.

However, if you’re among the greater contingent who must work today, seize this opportunity to hold your chin even higher as you walk past both the authentic and fabricated fans of the OTHER teams. Your co-workers who root for the Yankees and Red Sox will be waiting for you – but, don’t crumble !!!!

You’ll likely hear some negatively-spirited banter aimed at breaking the will of the weak-hearted. No problem …. you’ve made it through 13 years; there is nothing weak about you or your devotions. Just know you’re going to hear something like this:

“Yo, it’s just 3 games …. don’t print playoff tickets.”

To a point, they’re right. But, don’t allow yourself to cave. Take the high road and resolve yourself to knowing the Baltimore Orioles are a better, stronger organization than the product of just a mere six months ago.

Be optimistic.

While only 3 of 162 games have evaporated from the Orioles schedule, the team has displayed the very strengths of organizations that win with consistency; solid starting pitching and great defense.

Indeed, if the birds would’ve taken 2 of 3 against Tampa, with scores of 11-7 and 9-8, I would be a little less buoyed, this morning. But, they’re continuing a trend that arrived with 57 games remaining in last year’s schedule – they’re throwing strikes and converting fielding opportunities.

Are the Yankees and Red Sox still better, as we sit here on Opening Day, in Baltimore? Yes …. and throughout 162 games, the more talented teams emerge atop the division. But, this past weekend has delivered proof of some daunting realities:

Zach Britton and Chris Tillman possess big league potential.

Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are different hitters with Derrek Lee and Vlad Guerrero behind them.

Matt Wieters is still maturing.

Can the wheels fall off this machine and a return to failure realized? Yes, because anything can happen. However, this Orioles team is now 60 games into a new era and some true consistencies are evidenced. They’re playing good, fundamental, disciplined baseball, and it’s refreshing to witness.

They’ve only played one series, but this Orioles team has that different, better swagger about it. No doubt, the Yankees and Red Sox will offer a more challenging and potentially punishing offensive perspective against this young pitching staff.

But, don’t allow their fans to squash your hopes and desires.

It’s Opening Day, in Baltimore. This is YOUR day …..

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