Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are The Baltimore Orioles Really That Good?

The American League East representatives from 'The Charm City' have run away with the division—currently setting the pace with 92 wins and a 14.5 game lead on The Bronx Embalmers. They've already clinched their first division title in 17 years. But are they good enough to run the table and capture the franchise's fourth World Series Championship? Let's take a look. First of all, they won't have the services of three of their best players—Matt Wieters, Manny Machado and Chris Davis (suspended until at least the second round). Then again, they've done pretty darn well without the first two for a long time. Manager Buck Showalter has deftly shuffled his line-up to accommodate the "hot hands"—even benching veterans. He's also made some pretty bold decisions—like banishing highly-paid malcontent Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen in August. Showalter has mastered the delicate balance between old-school and new-school managing—and it shows on the field. This group of Birds leads the majors in HRs and is near the top in team defense. To get far into October, they will need two guys to consistently deliver—Adam Jones and Nick Markakis (in addition to the consistent Nelson Cruz). And the amazing Steve Pearce looks like he'll just keep on hitting. Their so-called "no-name rotation" will need youngsters Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman to hold up under the pressure of the big city lights. If they get to the ninth with a lead (after being set-up by Andrew Miller and Tommy Hunter), Zach Britton is about as effective as any closer in the game. So, yeah, these O's have a definite chance to hoist another banner over Eutaw Street. Secretly, we're rooting for them.