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Boswell on the Orioles Hitting Slump

Q: Post All-Star Slumps

As a long-time Orioles fan, I have been stumped by their nearly annual post-All Star Break team slumps. Hitters forget how to hit. Pitchers can't find the strike zone, It happened again this year, where the hitters, such as Chris Davis (same as in 2015), went into deep slumps for July and August as soon as the break ended. In 2015, the post-break slump killed the team's postseason chances. In 2016, it almost killed their chances. If you've also noticed this, do you have any theory on why players have good to excellent seasons go away for a few days, and come back in a slump?

A: Thomas Boswell

The hitter's SLUMP in baseball is the single most mysterious, and perhaps the most feared, phenomenon in all of pro sports. An established star player can hit .400 for 50 games, then hit .180 for 50 games. Does an NFL QB who has completed 65 percent of his passes for the last five years suddenly complete just 30 percent in five consecutive games? No way. NEVER happens. QB's don't suddenly start missing their receivers by miles the way hitters strikeout by the ton and look pathetic doing it for six weeks at a time.

Does Steph suddenly forget how to shoot for 20 straight games?

The mega slump is one of the main reasons that so many people say that "hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports." The timing and mechanics must be so precise and are so easily lost. Does Phelps suddenly forget how to swim fast? Do great gymnasts, in perfect health, start falling on half their routines?

So, the answer to your O's question is: It happens.

And it especially happens to teams that are built to hit home runs and, really, can't do much else and don't try to do much else. You gotta swing hard! Or at least pretty hard, even big guys like Crush Davis or Trumbo.

Boswell on the Orioles Clubhouse

Here is what is remarkable to me about the O's, and very admirable: they never quit. Ever.

Their clubhouse is wonderfully supportive. Even Ubaldo Jimenez, my worst pitcher on Earth, was not sent out into the wilderness to die when he was awful for month after month. He was supported internally, not mocked as a flop. And now he has pitched FOUR strong games in a row just when they desperately needed it with Tillman going on the DL.

If you want to hate the Orioles because of Angelos, feel free. But if you hate the Orioles, but it's NOT because of Angelos, then I've got some questions for you! Because if you are just a true baseball fan, which means you know that plenty of owners in all sports are &^%$#*s, then you almost have to admire the way the Orioles play and what they overcome.

Last time I checked, the Cards and Nats had the best records in MLB in the last five years with the Nats now very close to the Cards in total run differential and everybody else hundreds of runs behind. But the O's were still in the top five in wins in the last five years. Showalter is an A+. And Duquette, who couldn't get hired by anybody as a GM forever, is starting to look like an A or A-.

Boswell on Manny

Q: Machado

Following up on your post regarding the Orioles, why doesn't Manny Machado get more recognition outside of Baltimore? His defense is extraordinary, he has one of the best bats in the game and he plays virtually every game. Yet rarely does he get the praise he deserves.

A: Thomas Boswell

You're right.

Maybe, in part, it's because for his first three years he was thought of as an amazing fielder who was also a good to very good hitter, but not a great hitter, either for average or power. Then, last year, 35-86-.286 and now 33-85-.304 with almost a month to go. Maybe a year with 40-100-.300 and a Kryptonite Glove will get him the attention he deserves.

Why a Kryptonite Glove, not Gold or Platinum? Because ONLY MANNY can use it. Even Superman wouldn't dare put it on.

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Good stuff. I don't know why some people think Boz has a grudge against the Orioles. He doesn't. He just hates Peter Angelos.

It's a reoccurring thing with a lot of writers that have either covered the O's (Ken Rosenthal) or have at least had close proximity (Thomas Boswell).

Back to the OP, agree w/ a lot of what Boswell said. And it's certainly a nice write-up. I wouldn't give Duquette an A/A- unless we're strictly talking wins and losses. Buck is definitely an A+ to me, though. He's about as perfect as you can get as far as managers go. I'm just happy we never ended up with guys like Girardi or, perhaps worse, Valentine.

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It's a reoccurring thing with a lot of writers that have either covered the O's (Ken Rosenthal) or have at least had close proximity (Thomas Boswell).

In case you didn't know, Boswell covered the Orioles extensively during the years between when the Senators left DC and when the Nationals arrived. He was the Orioles beat reporter for the Post when they won the World Series in 1983. He was largely responsible for getting the DC fanbase interested in the Orioles with his brilliant writing about the team.

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In case you didn't know, Boswell covered the Orioles extensively during the years between when the Senators left DC and when the Nationals arrived. He was the Orioles beat reporter for the Post when they won the World Series in 1983. He was largely responsible for getting the DC fanbase interested in the Orioles with his brilliant writing about the team.

I actually had no idea. And that makes a lot of sense considering the hiatus of a Washington baseball team. Thanks for the history.

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It's a reoccurring thing with a lot of writers that have either covered the O's (Ken Rosenthal) or have at least had close proximity (Thomas Boswell).

Back to the OP, agree w/ a lot of what Boswell said. And it's certainly a nice write-up. I wouldn't give Duquette an A/A- unless we're strictly talking wins and losses. Buck is definitely an A+ to me, though. He's about as perfect as you can get as far as managers go. I'm just happy we never ended up with guys like Girardi or, perhaps worse, Valentine.

:beerchug1:

I agree!

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Last year, he said Buck was a great manager who doesn't talk in cliches. I think Angelos was not know for treating writers well. Svrugla thinks the Orioles will be one of the wild cards. Now the Orioles are in trouble.

I think Buck is the reason any of the guys out of market give the Orioles the time of day.

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In case you didn't know, Boswell covered the Orioles extensively during the years between when the Senators left DC and when the Nationals arrived. He was the Orioles beat reporter for the Post when they won the World Series in 1983. He was largely responsible for getting the DC fanbase interested in the Orioles with his brilliant writing about the team.

Thank you for saying that. I've been a big fan of Bos since long before the internet, and his writing on the O's meant a lot to me.

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I actually had no idea. And that makes a lot of sense considering the hiatus of a Washington baseball team. Thanks for the history.

If you'd like a sampling of Boswell's writing about the Orioles, check out this profile of Jim Palmer, originally written for Playboy magazine in 1983: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/27/will-the-real-jim-palmer-please-stand-up.html

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Am I misreading this?

It happened again this year, where the hitters, such as Chris Davis (same as in 2015), went into deep slumps for July and August as soon as the break ended. In 2015, the post-break slump killed the team's postseason chances.

Chris Davis definitely did not slump post-ASB in 2015, so the one premise of the question is flawed. Not to mention the team pre-ASB ops was 732 and the post-ASB ops was 723. Not exactly a huge swing. It's interesting to me how someone can have strong opinions on something that isn't supported by evidence.

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