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MLB.com'as Matthew Leach: "At some point, it's not a fluke. At some point, it's just what they do."


Frobby

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Mojo, magic, manager. ... Call it whatever you want, it's back for another year.

The most baffling team in baseball from 2012 is doing it again. Theoretically we live in an enlightened age, where we know that explanations like "destiny" aren't really explanations at all, but excuses for the inability to find actual causes for things.

Then you watch the Orioles, and you scratch your head. And maybe you reconsider a stance like that.

At some point, the O's will lose a game they lead in the late innings. At some point, manager Buck Showalter will pull the wrong lever, and the Orioles' just-enough starting pitching will be not enough, and this remarkable run will come to an end.

But we've been waiting since the end of the 2011 season, and it hasn't happened yet. And at some point, even the most rational of us just have to tip our caps, smile and say, "it's more Orioles magic."

Tuesday's 4-3 win over R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays was Baltimore's 100th consecutive victory when it held a lead after seven innings, dating back to August 2011. That's the second longest by any team since at least 1961. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then maybe those of us who are waiting for things to change are a little bit crazy.

"Last year in the beginning, people started saying it was good luck or whatever," said reliever Pedro Strop, who pitched a shutout inning on Tuesday. "People kept saying it was just one season, so we want to want to prove whoever's saying that wrong."

The O's hewed to their tried and true formula on Tuesday, with a small wrinkle. They got six solid but unspectacular innings from starter Miguel Gonzalez, three superb innings from that relief corps and some very slick defense. The difference was how they did it on offense, scoring four runs without a homer, while drawing six walks.

Overall, though, it wouldn't have looked the slightest bit out of place at any point during their memorable 2012 run. The win moved Baltimore to 12-8, one game behind first-place Boston in the American League East. They're 127-93 since Aug. 22, 2011, -- the second-most wins of any team in the Major Leagues in that span.

At some point, it's not a fluke. At some point, it's just what they do. They have good relievers. They have a manager who is superb at deploying those relievers. They make plays on defense, score some runs and eke enough out of a no-name starting staff to put leads in the hands of those relievers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130423&content_id=45577222&vkey=news_bal&c_id=bal

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It is just like the dumb articles that say Jim Johnson can't repeat his success of last year because he doesn't strike out enough people. I am guessing most closers who had success one year and not the next didn't have Jim Johnson's sinker. You can take general stats and say in general this will happen. But if you don't actually look at the individual subject in question the general stats mean nothing. The Orioles win one run games because of incredible bull-pen. So yes they can continue to win them.

Same thing with drafting the hard throwers. Scouts looking at radar gun readings when they look at prospects are meaningless. I am sure high school players know when pro scouts are watching. So they will throw harder to get the higher radar gun readings. All of these are examples of short-cuts and laziness. Actually scout players and actually watch the Orioles before coming up with stupid they can't repeat success nonsense.

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While it's great to see this, the grating part is the persistence in calling them "no-name" pitchers. The only reason they are considered a fluke is because those in the national media covering them refuse to acknowledge that maybe these guys are pretty good. Brett Gardner and Daniel Nava, playing in any other city save Los Angeles, are "no-name" outfielders.

Maybe if Hammel, Gonzalez, Chen and Tillman were given their due without the every mention being accompanied by negative caveats, we wouldn't be wondering how these no-talent, smoke and mirror hacks manage to keep squeaking out victories against teams that are unquestionably more better.

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I seem to remember a stretch like this from the Angels several years back. They were unstoppable once they got a lead thanks to their BP. Decent, but not great SP, and Shields + KRod were pretty hard to beat. That's kind of what we have going on right now.

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While it's great to see this, the grating part is the persistence in calling them "no-name" pitchers. The only reason they are considered a fluke is because those in the national media covering them refuse to acknowledge that maybe these guys are pretty good. Brett Gardner and Daniel Nava, playing in any other city save Los Angeles, are "no-name" outfielders.

Maybe if Hammel, Gonzalez, Chen and Tillman were given their due without the every mention being accompanied by negative caveats, we wouldn't be wondering how these no-talent, smoke and mirror hacks manage to keep squeaking out victories against teams that are unquestionably more better.

I will start giving them their due when they start getting into the 7th, 8th and gasp, 9th innings. The O's have not had anything close to a dominant start so far this season.

I don't see how you can look at the team right now and not think starting pitching is the major weakness.

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While it's great to see this, the grating part is the persistence in calling them "no-name" pitchers.

It doesn't bother me. None of these guys has much of a track record, and for the most part, they've been underwhelming in the early going of 2013. Among the starters, only Chen has an ERA under 4.00 this season (or had double-digit wins last season). If they perform well this year, maybe they'll be better known by the end of the year.

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Anyone have the stat on quality starts ranking in MLB? Was watching the broadcast last night and we have a good amount of starters that have gone 6. 7 innings is important no doubt but I wonder where we are in terms of quality starts?

Did hear we have the 4th highest bullpen usage so far so I guess we are near that bottom of that number too.

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Anyone have the stat on quality starts ranking in MLB? Was watching the broadcast last night and we have a good amount of starters that have gone 6. 7 innings is important no doubt but I wonder where we are in terms of quality starts?

Did hear we have the 4th highest bullpen usage so far so I guess we are near that bottom of that number too.

We have had 9 QS this season so far. Good for 45%, with only 7 teams tied or below us.

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I think it stands to reason in baseball as in other real life situations, you do something enough times and you just get comfortable doing it in the environment and can excel in those situations. That seems logical to me and why I expect more games like last night to continue to happen.

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I do not feel that Chen or Hammel a #2 SP on most teams, much less a #1. I think that Chen, Hammel and Gonzalez are #3 SP's on most teams with really good staffs. I maybe crazy and people will say that I am, but if I could deal Bundy and Gausman for a young and proven TOR starter I would probably entertain the deal. I think that a true #1 is a quality that most of the World Series Champions seem to have going for them.

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I don't always understand the 1-run thing. In the end it's not how many runs, it's just "more runs". Isn't the number of runs irrelevant? It's a W or an L, and that's it. Yes it's easier for the other team to tie if they're only down 1 run, but that doesn't really have anything to do with luck. They didn't tie because you pitched better than them and won the game.

I'm confusing myself. :D

The better a team is, the more it outscores the opposition. At least over a long enough period of time, enough reps.

A team that wins an average game 6-2 is better than a team that wins an average game 3-2. Runs scored and allowed are a better judge of a team's talent than wins and losses. Despite the counter-example of the 2012 Orioles, a team that is 50-30 despite being outscored is much less likely to be 50-30 in the 2nd half than a team that is 50-30 while outscoring the opposition by 100 runs.

It really boils down to a very strong historical record of run differential tracking to wins and losses.

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I don't see how you can look at the team right now and not think starting pitching is the major weakness.

Well, I think that Hammel, Chen, and Gonzalez are solid major league starting pitchers. I think that Tillman could be even better than that and he started to show it with his last start. The fifth spot is a problem, especially now that Bundy is down and possibly out for an extended period of time.

So I don't think that starting pitching is a "major" weakness. It's not a strength right now. But it does have some promise as the top four settle in and with guys like Britton, Steve Johnson, Jurrgens and Garcia working at AAA.

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Well, I think that Hammel, Chen, and Gonzalez are solid major league starting pitchers. I think that Tillman could be even better than that and he started to show it with his last start. The fifth spot is a problem, especially now that Bundy is down and possibly out for an extended period of time.

So I don't think that starting pitching is a "major" weakness. It's not a strength right now. But it does have some promise as the top four settle in and with guys like Britton, Steve Johnson, Jurrgens and Garcia working at AAA.

Let's put it this way: if you break a team down to offense, defense, starting pitching, relief pitching, which would you say has been our weakest area so far this year? I agree the starting pitching has the potential to be decent. So far, it's been a bit short of where I think it can be, and right now, it's our weakest area (the defense also could be better).

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