The Orioles pulled out another victory as they defeated the Cleveland Indians last night on the road, 3-1. They were aided by Jim Thome – who hit his second homer as an Oriole and 611th in his career – along with a Ryan Flaherty homer in the eighth, plus the arm of Chris Tillman.
Tillman was probably the biggest story in the game. After being killed by the Twins earlier in the week, Tillman stepped up and pitched well, going 6 2/3 innings and only giving up a run – off an early homer by leadoff hitter for the Indians, Shin-Soo Choo.
No one knew what would happen with Tillman after his scary start in Minnesota, but he showed his ability on the mound and kept the Cleveland offense at bay. The bullpen did the rest and closer Jim Johnson got his 29th save of the season.
The Orioles have won four in a row and are now 50-44. They trail the Yankees by seven games in the American League East, and are in a four way tie for the American League wild card with the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s (did they ever come from nowhere), and the Chicago White Sox.
They were struggling for a good bit in July and has many wondering if they were fading and all falling into old habits; however, the concerns might have been premature. The team still has several flaws, but they are somehow in the race for a wild card spot and have hung in there for nearly two-thirds of the season.
At this point, the Orioles are very much into the playoff hunt and one has to wonder what – if any moves – will be made at the deadline for the Orioles. With the trade deadline coming soon, they need perhaps another bat or arm to give them an edge.
While the Orioles do need to make a move – for example, a guy like Chase Headley might work and be a viable part for the future – the big picture needs to be looked at.
They need pitching, but does the Baltimore front office go after a guy who would be a rental (like Milwaukee’s Zack Grienke) or someone who might be in town for another season (such as Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs).
The Orioles have surprised everyone in baseball with their run into the summer; however, what should be given away in order to get a piece that can help down the stretch? Obviously, the Orioles will not be trading Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy, and they may not have much in prospects to deal.
Dan Duquette has a lot to ponder and does he have the pieces to work out a deal – especially with pitching that will be available at a premium.
While I want the Orioles to break their 14-year stretch of losing and end up the playoffs, this much is certain: they should not mortgage its future in order for the playoffs.
Also, who is to say that the Orioles will contend in 2013 and beyond? Perhaps, this is just a one year fluke.
I’m in the school of thought for “going at it” and ending up the playoff no matter what; however, the Orioles are little thin in the minors and seemingly do not have the financial wherewithal of the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and a multitude of other teams.
If the Orioles trade the wrong group of guys, it could set them back a bit. If I were Dan Duquette, I would move with caution at the trade deadline when it comes to dealing some of the franchise’s chips.