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Season of “Moneyball” begins for Angelos, Duquette, Buck & Orioles of 2012

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The second half of the Baltimore Orioles’ re-awakening 2012 season is about to begin and the local baseball fans are a bit befuddled by it all.

As a Baltimore sports fan, I’m never allergic to exciting wins and a 12-game over .500 start to any baseball season. We’ve seen a manager who not only channels Earl Weaver in his size, stature and mannerisms but also with shrewd use of role players and borderline big leaguers. It’s been three months of watching guys who are trying hard no matter who is called up from Norfolk or who hits the disabled list. We’ve witnessed the blossoming of a true superstar in Adam Jones, who signed a record contract in mid-May against all previous precedent given by the Angelos family.

And, for the first time since 1997, this version of the Baltimore Orioles has stirred fans’ awareness – if not necessarily their emotions or beliefs – that this could be a dog-days-of-summer presentation that will bare watching as the fellows in the purple sweaters practice in Owings Mills in two weeks.

But here’s the problem: the 2012 Baltimore Orioles roster — as currently assembled on July 13th — is either in parts of tatters, simply unproven or just flat-out stinks.

I’ve been watching baseball for 40 years and I can’t think of any situation that compares to this.

The 2012 Baltimore Orioles are 45-40, now just five games over .500. However, if the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs. It’s officially the second half of the season – I watched the All-Star Game on Tuesday night even if none of the rest of you did – and the Orioles have a legitimate chance to play at least one postseason baseball game in October.

In the new Bud Selig fantasy world of more October baseball and profit, the Orioles are truly contenders in a way we couldn’t have imagined in March and haven’t seen since the Clinton administration. And no one else in the American League East looks to be galvanized to go on a tear, either.

Meanwhile the young guns of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter are all in Norfolk after repeated self-inflicted shots into the bleachers after a series of “Ball Ones” and long, hot innings of ineffectiveness and blown leads.

The now-rested bullpen will attempt to continue to atone for the sins of the many failed starts over the past eight weeks.

The offense is in tatters. Despite the trade for a post-40 Jim Thome – yet another acquisition a player who is in the December of his career ala Sammy Sosa and Vladimir Guerrero — the Orioles are at least making some attempt to get to October after such an encouraging start.

Will Brian Roberts be a factor in the second half? Is Nick Markakis fully healed from his hamate bone injury? Can J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters provide more offense in the second half? Is Xavier Avery a star or just another so-so-outfielder from the Orioles’ depth chart?

There are far more questions than answers heading into the second season of baseball.

The Orioles have been irrelevant for 15 years. This year it appears we’ll have the first-ever Ravens’ training camp opening where the orange team will be the ones making summer headlines.

Will they trade? Who will they trade? What will they get?

One thing we know: trades for legitimate pitchers and hitters who can help the Orioles will not only cost some prospects but will involve large sums of money to pay these proven

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Orioles add Thome to bolster struggling offense

Posted on 01 July 2012 by jasonbaier

On Saturday the Orioles added veteran slugger Jim Thome to an already potent lineup. The Orioles bats have been asleep here of late. They have been unable to come up with big hits in clutch situations. To say the Orioles bats have been struggling here lately would be putting it mildly. There best hitter during this stretch has been journeyman utility player Wilson Betemit. Betemit’s bat has been decent this year but he is liked a statue playing the infield and he is just down right terrible in the outfield. The Orioles need more than a 40 year old DH to help this team stay in contention. The pitching has been horrible here of late. There best pitcher in Hammel couldn’t even make it out of the fourth inning in his last start.

Although I like the addition of Thome to this lineup, he can not play the field and first and third base are a pressing needs for this team. For the Orioles the stay in contention and be able to compete with such teams as the Yankees, Rangers, Angels, just to name a few, it needs to start with better pitching and timely hitting. Thome will help this lineup but unless the rest of the lineup steps up and produces and the pitching improves, we are going to be talking strictly football in August wonder what went wrong after such a promising beginning. Duquette needs to work out a deal to bring another starting pitcher to Baltimore. We have dealt with enough retreads over the last 15 years, its time to turn the Orioles back into that proud organization they were just 15 years ago. He needs to make a big splash before the trade deadline. Figure out how to get Garza or Hamels to Baltimore to help this rotation and help the Orioles become legitimate once again. Hopefully Thome is just the beginning of what is to come over the next month before the trade deadline on July 31st. Duquette has been a pleasant surprise since coming to Baltimore, lets keep it up and get the Orioles back in the playoffs.

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