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vs. Red Sox 9/21: Regular season OPACY finale


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Hey, there's a game besides the Ravens going on right now!


Betts 2B

Bogaerts SS

Nava 1B

Cespedes LF

Middlebrooks 3B

Castillo CF

Cecchini DH

Ross C

Brentz RF

Kelly P


De Aza LF

Lough CF

Young RF

Cruz DH

Hardy SS

Walker 1B

Flaherty 3B

Joseph C

Schoop 2B

Gonzalez P

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    • 1977 The 1976-77 offseason seemed like a gloomy one that might mark the end of a winning era for the Orioles, as their 88-74 team, which had finished 10.5 games behind the Yankees in ’76, lost Reggie Jackson, Bobby Grich and 20-game winner Wayne Garland in the very first winter of full-scale free agency.  That winter also saw the departure of two mainstays of the great Orioles teams, Paul Blair in a trade for Pat Kelly and the release of Mike Cuellar.  But instead of an end to Oriole excellence, 1977 marked the beginning of a renewed era of Orioles excellence, centered around rookie Eddie Murray, other young players like Rich Dauer and Dennis Martinez, and players who had been acquired midseason ’76 in a blockbuster trade with the Yankees, including Scott McGregor, Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez and Rudy May.   The ’77 O’s hovered around .500 in April, then went 17-10 in May to take the division lead.   They faltered badly in June, going 13-18 and at one point losing 6 in a row to fall 6.5 games out of first.   But the team played better and better during the second half, going 20-8 in July, 16-11 in August, and a furious 22-9 in September/October.  Despite being tied for the division lead on July 31 and going 36-19 the rest of the way, the O’s finished 2 games behind the Yankees, who went 49-18 to close out there season.   And there was nothing the O’s could do about it, because their season series with the Yankees had concluded in late July, with the O’s taking 8 of the 15 matchups.   The ’77 Orioles offense, which was middle-of-the pack, was anchored by Ken Singleton, who hit .328 with 24 homers and 99 RBI and walked 107 times, posting a 165 OPS+, finishing 3rd in the MVP voting and being named to the All-Star team.  Lee May led the team in homers with 27 and matched Singlton’s 99 RBI, all while posting a pedestrian 100 OPS+.   Rookie of the Year Eddie Murray was the key new ingredient, hitting 2.83 with 27 homers and 88 RBI in his debut season.  Murray was an incredible contributor down the stretch, posting a .294/.345/.529 line over the final 64 games with 14 homers and 42 RBI.  Al Bumbry (119 OPS+), Doug DeCinces (115) and Pat Kelly (105) all made big contributions as well.  Defensively, Mark Belanger won the Gold Glove and was joined by Jim Palmer.   Palmer also anchored the pitching, finishing second in the Cy Young voting with a 20-11 record and a 2.91 ERA, tossing a league leading 22 complete games.  The other rotation regulars were Rudy May (18-14, 3.61 ERA), Mike Flanagan (15-10, 3.64 ERA), and Ross Grimsley (14-10, 3.96 ERA), with Dennis Martinez (13 starts) and Scott McGregor (5) filling in while working mainly out of the bullpen, throwing 166.2 and 114 innings in their hybrid roles.  All the other pitchers combined threw under 150 innings, led by Tippy Martinez, who went 5-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 50 innings.  The ’77 O’s led the AL with 65 complete games, and were 5th in ERA at 3.74.  They finished 9 games better than their Pythagorean record, outscoring their opponents by only 66 runs yet finishing 33 games over .500, going 33-19 in one-run games.  Sound familiar? * * * * Anyway, the 2023 O’s are now the equal of those four excellent teams, at least in the win column.   We’ll see if they can get further while they strive to stay ahead of the Rays.
    • I said the same in the game thread. Good game today including throwing out a base stealer.
    • 1973 Just as trading for Frank Robinson had energized the Orioles’ offense, trading him away before the 1972 season had short-circuited it, as the ’72 O’s had finished 80-74 and were 8th of 12 teams in runs scored.  So in 1973, Earl Weaver went a different directions from his usual 3-run homer philosophy, and went with youth and speed in the form of Al Bumbry and Rich Coggins.   The ’73 O’s got off to a 7-2 start but then slumped, falling 3 games under .500 and still mired at .500 on June 13 at 26-26.  They began playing a little better after that, going 11-5 the rest of June and 18-14 in July.   They reclaimed first place on August 1 and played excellent baseball from there, going 21-9 in August and 21-11 in September, to finish at 97-65, 8.5 games in front.   There were no obvious superstar performances among the position players, as catcher Earl Williams topped the team with 22 homers and Tommy Davis, in the first year of the DH, leading with 83 RBI.  But as mentioned, Earl Weaver shifted to an aggressive style of play, with the O’s stealing 146 bases, led by Don Baylor (32), and rookie of the year Al Bumbry (23), with 6 other players stealing 10+. Bumbry hit .337/.398/.500 in his ROY campaign, and fellow rookie Coggiins hit .319/.363/.468.  Defensively, the team was superb, with Brooks Robinson (+18 Rtot), Mark Belanger (+26), Bobby Grich (+29) and Paul Blair (+19) all taking home Gold Gloves. I would peg the 1973 team as the best Orioles defensive team ever, at +119 Rtot, and quite arguably the best defensive team ever in MLB. The pitching also was in top form, leading the AL in ERA at 3.07.   Jim Palmer somehow did not make the all-star team, but won his first Cy Young Award, going 22-9 with a league-leading 2.40 ERA in 296.1 IP while tossing 19 complete games and 6 shutouts.  Mike Cuellar (18-13, .327 ERA) and Dave McNally (17-17, 3.21 ERA) provided their usual support.  The bullpen was quite good that year with Bob Reynolds tossing 111 innings at a 1.95 ERA and Grant Jackson adding 80.1 at 1.90.   In the ALCS the O’s faced the defending World Champion Oakland A’s, who had gone 94-68 (3.5 game worse than the O’s) during the regular season.   The A’s won a hard-fought 5 game series in which the O’s had taken the opener in a Jim Palmer shutout, lost the next two (including an 11-inning heartbreaker in game 3 in which Mike Cuellar lost 2-1 to Ken Holtzman, both throwing complete games), came back from 4-0 down to win game 4 5-4, but were shut out in the finale by Catfish Hunter 3-0 .   It was a great series between two excellent teams, but the O’s had to be satisfied with an AL East title that year, as Oakland went on to win their second straight World Series.  By Pythagorean record, the ’73 O’s were one of the strongest Orioles teams ever, at 102-60, even better than the ’66 squad.  In fact, only the 1969-71 teams exceeded their +193 run differential, among all Orioles teams.  But, the A’s had their number.
    • I was batboy for the 70-71-Oriole teams...thats pretty awesome to remember...I actually owned ONE of Brooks Robinson's sawed off batting helmets(the bill was cut down so Brooks could see better)...the other helmet is in the HOF...but my nephew actually left the helmet I owned in the rain...and his mother threw it out in 1975....I  still cant forgive her for that...
    • I keep seeing things about the blame is with the strength and conditioning staff. It is absolutely not, this team is made up of soft ass jelly belly Nancys. Every other team somehow can finish a game without getting the majority of their players “hurt.” Every damn year, the same story. You gotta start looking somewhere else when that happens. These teams are a far cry from when we had teams of actual men….
    • There have been 49 catchers who've caught 50+ games this year. While catching Rutschman is: 12th in OPS 2nd in PA 6th in Runs 5th in Hits 6th(t) in Doubles 21st in Homers 13th in RBI 1st in Walks 17th in Strikeouts 8th in Average 3rd in OBP (virtual tie for 2nd with William Contreras) 24th in Slugging 11th in Total Bases But there are also 56 players who've DH'd in at least 25 games and while DHing Rutschman is: 11th in OPS 12th in OBP 11th in SLG So not only is he a top 10 catcher, he's also better than 80% of the players teams have DH'd on a semi-regular basis.  
    • 1966 Frank.  Robinson.  Need I say more? The 1960-65 O’s included some very good teams that won 94, 95 and 97 games, but they were always a little light on offense.  So on December 9, the Orioles traded star pitcher Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson and Jack Baldschun to the Cincinnati Reds and received outfielder Frank Robinson in exchange.   The rest is history.  The 1966 O’s wasted no time, beginning the season winning 12 of their first 13 games.  They scuffled a bit after their hot start, reaching their low point of 24-17 on May 30, at one point dropping to 4.5 games out of first place.  But then the Orioles turned on the jets in June, and never looked back.  They won 56 of their next 81 games to reach 80-42, a season-high 13.5 games ahead.   They coasted in from there, to a final 97-63 record.  Frank Robinson was everything the team possibly could have hoped for, not only winning the MVP and the Triple Crown (BA/HR/RBI), but also leading the league in runs, OBP, SLG and total bases, in addition to bringing a fiery style of play and leadership that lit a fuse under everyone around him.  Several teammates also had great years.  Brooks Robinson had 100 RBI, won a Gold Glove and was 2nd in the MVP voting.  Boog Powell had 34 homers and 109 RBI and finished 3rd in the MVP voting.  Luis Aparicio joined Brooks as a Gold Glove winner, his 7th such award and 2nd as an Oriole.   The offense, which had finished 6th in runs scored in 1965, let the AL in that category in 1966.  The pitching remained excellent, finishing 4th in ERA at 3.32.  20-year old Jim Palmer was inserted into Pappas’ slot and went 15-10 with a 3.46 ERA; 23-year old Dave McNally went 13-6 with a 3.17 ERA; 21-year old Wally Bunker went 10-6 with a 4.29 ERA, and 28-year old grizzled vet Steve Barber went 10-5 with a 2.30.  The bullpen also was stellar, led by Stu Miller (9-4, 2.25 ERA) and Moe Drabowski (6-0, 2.81).  Despite finishing with the best record in the majors, the ’66 O’s were heavy underdogs going into the World Series against the defending champion Dodgers, led by all-world Sandy Koufax (27-9, 1.73 ERA).   But the O’s shocked the baseball world, sweeping the Dodgers in four games and shutting them out in the final three, with Bunker, Palmer and McNally all tossing shutouts.  Frank Robinson’s solo homer stood up as the winning margin in a 1-0 finale, and Frank capped off his dream season by winning the World Series MVP.   It was the first pennant and World Series Championship for the Orioles.
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