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Thread: Random thoughts / going forward
04-30-2012 12:15 PM #1
Random thoughts / going forward
I was stuck wide awake last night at 3am and decided to just put my thoughts on paper to help pass the time until I was able to pass out. Hopefully this is the right forum to post this. If not a mod can feel free to move it to the correct place. Been lurking here for a while now and finally decided to make a grand entrance.
The clock on my computer just ticked to 3:09am and I'm wide awake sitting at my computer. I can almost fully blame the Baltimore Orioles for this.
No, this isn't like recent April 30ths. This morning I'm not up mulling over what the O's could have done differently in 5 different games to have them at .500, wondering how they've already taken themselves out of playoff conention before May even starts. This year is different. This year there is hope.
This April 30th I'm frantically scouring Google for MLB power ranking articles from all over the internet that were published within the last day. I've seen Baltimore rated everywhere from 2nd (Barry Larkin on Baseball Tonight) to 17th (what I assume is a smaller blog done by a couple of friends that actually seems pretty articulate). Most of these "sources" have the Orioles ranked in the 7-12 range, which is completely understandable though I'd much rather see them higher. A larege percent of these are from rinky dink sites and blogs with little to no analasys on their rankings outside of "Hardy off to slow start.", yet I'm getting great pleasure and joy out of reading all of these. Sure the O's have had decent starts this past decade. Hell, they started 6-1 last year. There's just something different about this year. There is just a different feeling in my bones. A feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can't help but acknowledge.
During Spring Training I jokingly preached too all of my friends and aquantances about how the Rays went worst to first in 2008 and that the O's were going to mimic that this year. Well... I'm not so sure I'm joking anymore. In the few years the Orioles have gotten out to decent starts in the past decade and a half (and there's not many) I was expectedly up in arms shouting their praises from the mountain tops all while penciling them into the playoffs. The difference is I never really believed the hype I gave them deep down. This process repeated this year. After the recent 5-1 homestand I'm actually starting to believe, and I'm absolutely terrified. I'm genuinely scared to get too emotionally attactched. I fear that going full blown head-over-heels for this team before May starts can't lead to anything other than a July 30th rant about how the Orioles, the team I love with every fiber in my being, tore my heart out and spit it on with zero regard for my feelings leaving me stupified and confused like a Junior in HS whose first love just told him shes been cheating on him with his best friend. Yes, the fear is that potent. Run-on sentance and all.
The fact of the matter is EVERYTHING feels different this year. Our notorious achilies heel, pitching, has been fantastic. Starters are consistantly going 6+ innings. Instead of watching us blow leads in the later innings we're actually thriving in the 7th and beyond. I'm no longer asking myself "Why the **** is
even on the squad?!", but alternatively giving them props for being lights out (except you Kevin Gregg. I still dislike you.. greatly).
Why have the O's been so good? Well, lets take a look.
Reimold, Jones, Andino, and Davis are all currently in the top 15 in AL BA. Lets not forget Ronnie Paulino whos been batting .360 in limited plate appearances, too. With that said the Orioles as a team are very pedestrian hitting a combined .252 on the season. The O's are also tied for dead last in the majors with a whopping 6 stolen bases. Maybe it's all the walks we're drawing? Nope, .308 OBP. Yea, but Jonesy, Nolan, and Davis along with Wieters and Betemit all have 10+ RBIs already. Only the perenial powerhouses Texas and New York have more players with 10 or more at this point. What about mashing? Oh, we've certainly been doing that as well. Again Texas and those damn Yankees are the only teams in the bigs with more dingers on the year than Baltimores 30. All of that is good for 6th in the AL (10th MLB) in runs scored. Not out of this world production, but certainly very solid. So what exactly is the reason that the Baltimore Orioles are 6 games over .500 for the first time since 2005?
Our pitching doesn't suck. Wait, our pitching doesn't suck? OUR PITCHING DOESN'T SUCK! Quite the opposite, actually. The O's 3.06 ERA is good for 2nd in the AL (7th MLB). Our starters are averageing 6 IP per start. The best part about this is our pen isn't doing anything to jepordize these efforts this year. Johnson, Ayala, and Lindstrom have given up a combined 0 ER on the year. Yes, 3 relief pitchers with a combined 0.00 ERA at the end of April. Poor Darren O'Day had to give up 1 ER in his 11 innings of work and couldn't join the perfect party. Strop, who has recently taken over closer duites from Johnson due to his illness, has arguably been the best player out of the pen this year. Pedro has had some control issues (6 BB) and given up a few runs (3 ER), but he's still sporting a 2.08 ERA, .182 BAA, 1.08 WHIP, and has 14 Ks through 13 IP. He certainly has the livest arm hitting 96+ on the gun at times.
It's safe to say there's been a healthy balance between both solid hitting and pitching. The best part is there is still plenty of room to improve. The O's are dead last in the AL in errors and fld%. And then... *deep inhale*.... *deep exhale* there's Mark Reynolds. I just scratched my head for a solid 15 seconds trying to find an appropriate way to construct my thoughts on good ol' Marky Mark this season. I'm going to save myself the stress and completely ignore his incompetence in the field and just reel off a few highlights on his statline. 60 ABs. .150 BA. 3 RBIs. 28 Ks. I'm no professor, but by my neanderthal math Reynolds is striking out almost half the time he goes to the plate. Oh yea... he's still yet to hit a HR this year. On the plus side he has walked 10 times. I'm sure he'll "turn it around" at some point and start hitting some long balls. Really that's all he's expected to do. Obviously I'm not expecting him to hit 30+ this year after the abysmal start he's had... but give me 20+ and I will refrain from using your mug shot as a backdrop for my dart board. We've also got Brian Roberts still sitting on the bench. Hopefully he can make his comeback at some point and be productive. Hardy has had a slow start, too. Nick Johnson doesn't have a hit yet in 26 ABs. Heck even Markakis has been a little sluggish from the start. Nick was pretty clutch this past week though so I'll give him a pass for now. All I'm saying is there's a lot of things that can be improved upon. This isn't the best we can play. I feel confident in saying we're going to need to play better as of tomorrow if we want to stay at the top of the East standings much longer.
Our next 5 series are @NYY, @BOS, home vs Texas for 4, Rays, and then closing it out with a 2 game series vs the Yankees. This is the 15 game stretch that's going to tell us and the world everything we need to know about the O's this year. Are we contenders? Are we going to remain the laughing stock of the league and butt of all the jokes? Or are we going to tough it out and find a way keep winning series? Are we going to finally show the league we're for real? My expectations right now aren't what they were 2 hours ago when I got way too hyped up and started typing feverishly on my keyboard after watching Wilson Betemits walk off 3R HR for the 10th+ time tonight. I don't expect to take 10 of the next 15. I'd be ecstatic with 7 or 8. I just want some damn respect. I just want an excuse to keep on believing.
This season has felt like a great dream thus far and I really don't want to wake up anytime soon. Please, Orioles, just give me a couple more months to believe. And... maybe... justttttt maybe you could give me some playoff baseball back at Camden this year? It's been quite a while since that beautiful park has gotten to see important games.
04-30-2012 12:20 PM #2GCL O's
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
Great post! Good job!
04-30-2012 12:24 PM #3
Great first post! I really hope this team makes a run at a playoff bid this year, especially for guys like you who probably haven't had to live with 14 straight losers after enjoying what the franchise used to be in the early 80's and most of the 90's. The only the way the franchise gets its fans back is to give them something to cheer about.
04-30-2012 12:33 PM #4
I feel confident in saying the "guys like you" comment doesn't really apply to me. I'm still a (relatively) young buck... so I never really got to see the Orioles magic of the 80s other than on sketchy videos.
04-30-2012 01:26 PM #5
It's far, far too early to worry about how good this team will ultimately be. I'm just enjoying what's going on now.
04-30-2012 02:59 PM #6
I read up until this point and then had to cut myself off:The fact of the matter is EVERYTHING feels different this year.