At the start of the season – or better yet, this offseason – I didn’t give the Orioles chance in hell to finish with over 70 wins.
Or finish .500.
Or over .500.
Or even more preposterous … a playoff team?
Based on their run differential, and a litany of other statistics, the Baltimore Orioles have no business being an over .500 team.
They should not should be 58-51, and much more half a game out of a wild card spot. There are some things that cannot be explained in life, but the Orioles 109 games into the season are winning.
Baltimore pulled out another close game last night as they defeated the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards, 3-1.
It’s funny, at the trade deadline, everyone was crying about getting another pitcher via a trade and wanting to make a move for the sake of making a move. Well, I didn’t think a huge one was going to be made, and sure enough … it was not.
The Orioles were going to have to use their roster as constructed to compete for the final two months and sure enough, they are succeeding right now. Granted, this team has quite a few flaws; however, in as many days, the pitching got it done again.
In the end, perhaps the Orioles knew better than we all did. The solutions to their arms’ problem might be from within. Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman and Tommy Hunter (numerous times) were given a chance to come up from Triple-A and have succeeded with strong outing after outing.
Now…. if Tommy Hunter can just curb his propensity to give up the longball.
Chris Tillman – who was looking like your prototypical Four-A guy coming into 2010 – may have figured it out on the mound. There were a group of fans who wanted him traded in package for perhaps a veteran arm, or bat; however, could Tillman have figured how to pitch in the majors finally?
Ok, so he was facing the Mariners, but he took a shutout into eighth inning and earned his fifth win of the season. He gave up a run in 7 1/3 innings, and again the Seattle Mariners must be regretting the day they traded for Erik Bedard many years ago.
The Orioles scored their runs in the second inning as Mark Reynolds came through big with an RBI-double, and then Nick Markakis followed up with a two-run homer (his 11th of the season).
Relievers Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson (who got his 33rd save), closed it all out.
As a baseball fan, what the Orioles are doing this season doesn’t make any sense.
A lot of what is happening is baseball this year seems to be going against the natural order of what we have all known for the past decade.
Human beings still play the games, not computers, or Excel documents with umpteen rows and columns of data.
The Pirates are winners. So are the Athletics. The Red Sox are a .500 team, and the Nationals are one of the elite teams in baseball.
This has been one hell of a season. Sometimes what happens in sports, no matter what the stats say cannot be predicted.
However, as a close friend and season ticket holder told me, “Don’t analyze what they are doing, and just enjoy the ride.”