Talent and resolve

The Orioles have been struggling. Yes, this is true. AS I write this Jim Johnson has blown his first save of the year on a two-out two-run homer from Jarrod Saltalamachia on a semi-controversial call.

Salty’s long fly ball was heading for the top of the monster and it hit off the very top of the wall, above the homerun “line” giving the Red Sox the tie and sending the game to extra innings. The controversy arose with a fan leaning out over the wall with his hat. The ball appears to hit his wrist and then bounce off the top of the wall. The umpires reviewed the hit, and gave the Sox the homer and the runs. I believe that the fan interfered with the ball, altering its trajectory and essentially bringing the ball on top of the wall. The umps obviously felt that the contact was inconsequential and the runs stood.

So the Orioles are playing in extras against the Sox once again.

yes, the Orioles have been struggling as of late, but I am still not too worried. Every team in baseball will hit a rough patch during the season and this team has shown that is has the talent and resolve to win games. As I type that Ronny “Battle-axe” Paulino just gave the Orioles the lead right back with an RBI single in the top of the tenth inning.

Talent and resolve.

This Orioles team is for real, I have stated this before and will continue to believe that until this team tanks in an utterly historic way. This was a team that was not picked to win more than 69 wins and they are already nearly halfway there. Will the Orioles be in the hunt for October? Who knows? I am not fool-hearty enough to make those kind of sweeping proclamations on June fifth. But this team is already so much better than anyone possibly expected them to be.As I type this: Endy Chavez just hit an RBI single to give the Orioles a two-run lead in the top of the tenth.

Talent and resolve.

The Orioles’ starters have hit a rough patch, but all rotations do. The bullpen has given up some runs, but that was to be expected. Matt Wieters is starting to hit the ball again, JJ Hardy remains hot, Mark Reynolds is back and is starting to heat up. Adam Jones continues to earn his big payday and step up into the role of team leader and unchallenged face of the Orioles’ franchise. 

So far the AL East has been completely ridiculous.The entire division is separated by three games right now, and it just so happens that the division has playing itself over the last three weeks. The Orioles surrendered their first-place position by losing a series in Tampa, but if the 8-6 lead holds in the bottom of the tenth they will secure a tie again. 

Jim Johnson just cam eback out for the bottom of the tenth to get the win.

Talent and resolve.

The 2012 Orioles are exceeding expectations, in virtually every way, but that does not mean that they don’t belong where they are. Never forget that. It is a funny thing, baseball. A team like the Orioles gets off to such a hot start and everyone is waiting for them to “normalize” and return to their 69-win ways. But here is the thing, the Orioles are playing with house money. Its like this, flip a coin 100 times and you would expect that it would work out to be 50/50 heads/tails or something close to that. But in actuality if you did 100 sets of 100 flips you would see a lot of variation of those numbers. The reason is this: what happens in the past has no bearing on the future – if you flip a coin 10 times, and it comes up heads each time the 11th flip will STILL be a 50/50 chance of coming up heads again.

That is what people need to realize about this team. For the Orioles to win only 69 games this season the Orioles would have to play at a .355 clip the rest of the season. Is there ANYTHING about this team, even during this rough patch, that says .355? No, will they return to the median – perhaps. I don’t think the Orioles will win 90 games this year, their current pace, but should they be over .500? Yes, without a doubt. And I think that by being over .500 they will be in the playoff hunt because, as I predicted in April, I don’t think the AL East leader will have more than 88 wins this year and so far that has come to pass.

Every team in the AL East is flawed. Either through under-performance, injuries, age or oversight every team in the AL East has some serious flaws and the Orioles have taken advantage of the flaws of their competitors. And it is not as if the Orioles have played “perfect” ball. Far from it. The Orioles still struggle with runners in scoring position, commit far too many errors and rely far too much on the homerun. And yet, here they are tied for first in the AL East at the beginning of June.

For me it all comes down to two words:

Talent and resolve.