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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Boswell: Baltimore Orioles proving they are more than a fluke

No oversight and reform committee needed here!

“We have a much better ballclub now than we did earlier in the year,” Duquette said. Then, the scholarly type, he assigns a research project. Everybody talks about the Orioles’ run differential — they’ve been outscored by 22 — as proof that they are playing over their heads, that they are lucky, that their 26-7 record in one-run games is a once-every-20-year fluke and that every injury or loss is a harbinger of collapse.

“See what we’ve done the last month or so,” says Duquette, aware that this time frame coincides with the arrival of Machado, who is hitting .272 and has improved the Birds’ entire infield defense, allowing Mark Reynolds to go from bad third baseman to good-fielding and now hot-slugging first baseman.

And Duquette, of course, is correct. In their last 29 games, including seven against the Yankees and 11 more against the contending Rangers, Tigers and White Sox and Rays, the Orioles have outscored their high-quality foes by 31 runs, a rate you’d expect of a 100-win team. Maybe Baltimore isn’t that good. But those who think they’ll inevitably collapse may not realize that in a league full of flawed teams the Orioles, even injured, are among the least shaky clubs left standing.

Still, the O’s are a team held together at times with spit and string.

Repoz Posted: September 13, 2012 at 05:42 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 13, 2012 at 07:07 AM (#4234490)
No amps = a huge number of injuries. No drugs at all = players unable to play through pain. The season MLB has put us through from the standpoint of the quality of the product on the field has been a ripoff.
   2. DKDC Posted: September 13, 2012 at 07:43 AM (#4234499)
I have no idea what #1 means, but it's fun to see Boswell writing about the Os again.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 13, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4234515)
The Orioles are a pretty fun team to root for outside of Showalter. Jones, Wieters, Hardy, Reynolds,...lot of guys I like and seeing Machado step in the way he has has been great.
   4. zack Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4234587)
#2: For some reason, Vaux thinks that amphetamines prevent injuries. I suppose he thinks the mechanism is that playing tired leads to mechanical flaws leads to injury, except that speed has nothing to do with muscle fatigue. It's a new schtick, like YR and revenue sharing.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4234632)
But why is he posting it in this thread? As the first post, even?

Is he intending to post the same comment in every thread? I think people get banned for that.
   6. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4234662)
Has there been some huge quantity of injuries this season? The teams I follow (Nats, A's, Orioles) seem to have had a fairly usual set of them. A little bit of extra bad luck for the O's recently but you can't attribute a broken thumb to lack of amphetamines.

Maybe the Yankees have had a lot but they are old.
   7. McCoy Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4234670)
Superfluke?
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4234672)
Maybe the Yankees have had a lot but they are old.

Yeah, ARod is old, but they've had a lot of non-age/fluke injuries too.

Pineda and Gardner are young, and have missed the whole season. Rivera and Pettitte's injuries were flukes, not age related. Sabathia and Teixeira are not old, but they've had multiple DL stints.
   9. DKDC Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4234693)
Sabathia and Teixeira are two years older than the Orioles oldest starter and oldest everyday player, respectively.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4234699)
Sabathia and Teixeira are two years older than the Orioles oldest starter and oldest everyday player, respectively.

So? 31 and 32 are not ages where you'd expect a marked increase in injuries.

I'd actually expect a 21-25 y.o. pitcher to be more injury prone than a 31 y.o; even if it's just the survivor effect.
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4234711)
Rivera and Pettitte's injuries were flukes, not age related.


I don't know about that. Part of the problem when you get older is that your body doesn't respond as quickly and precisely as it once did, which makes it harder to get out of the way of a line drive, or makes you more likely to move awkwardly catching a fly ball.
   12. Spectral Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4234724)
I know there are historical comps for Baltimore's unreasonably good W-L in 1-run ballgames, but are there any historical comps for teams that have greatly outperformed their Pythagorean record that turn it around with a different set of personnel, have a very strong month and are actually performing at the level of their record? I'm not sure I expressed that clearly, but hopefully it makes sense. I don't think I've ever seen a season take quite this shape.
   13. DKDC Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4234728)
So? 31 and 32 are not ages where you'd expect a marked increase in injuries.

I'd actually expect a 21-25 y.o. pitcher to be more injury prone than a 31 y.o; even if it's just the survivor effect.


So, nothing, I just thought it was interesting.

Although, speaking for myself as a professional non-athelete, 30 - 31 is where I noticed that the minor pains stick around a bit longer and I take longer to warm up and get loose.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4234729)
I don't know about that. Part of the problem when you get older is that your body doesn't respond as quickly and precisely as it once did, which makes it harder to get out of the way of a line drive, or makes you more likely to move awkwardly catching a fly ball.

Pettite had zero chance to get out of the way, I doubt he even saw the liner.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4234730)
So, nothing, I just thought it was interesting.

OK
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4234733)
I'm happy to see Dan Duquette out there again, juggling his roster like some sort of disordered obsession, telling journalists to put together a run differential spreadsheet, and building a winning roster. I don't understand how it took a decade for him to get another GM job.
   17. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4234735)
I'm happy to see Dan Duquette out there again, juggling his roster like some sort of disordered obsession, telling journalists to put together a run differential spreadsheet, and building a winning roster. I don't understand how it took a decade for him to get another GM job.

Because he traded Kazmir for nothing?

I also don't understand why he didn't get a job.
   18. Flynn Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4234739)
It's fascinating to see two guys in the last chance saloon have such divergent paths.

You have to figure that Duke has salvaged a good part of his reputation with this year, and if he continues to be successful he might even get another chance at a good job. Hell, I'd take him on the Red Sox over Cherington.

Meanwhile I would be astonished if any MLB club ever hired Bobby V again. He wasn't in obscurity like the Duke was with the Japanese success and the ESPN gig, but he's not going to be taken seriously for a job again.
   19. Flynn Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4234740)
Because he traded Kazmir for nothing?


Wrong Duquette.

Dan didn't get a job for a decade because he's kind of a difficult character and maybe because he didn't want a crappier job than the Red Sox (He's strongly hinted he was offered the Pirates gig several years ago).
   20. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4234747)
Wrong Duquette.

Ha! I know.

edit: I mean, everyone knows Al Leiter made that trade.
   21. JJ1986 Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4234748)
He was also busy trying to get Jake Beckley elected to the HoM
   22. bjhanke Posted: September 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4234768)
RE Spectral (#12) - Don Malcolm, in his very good blog "BigBadBaseball.blogspot.com", just wrote an article dealing with exactly that, looking at teams with very high records in close games, and what happened to them the rest of the season, as a context for the O's. You'll have to scroll down past a few articles that he wrote even more recently, but the effort is worth it, if you're interested in that topic. - Brock Hanke
   23. Belfry Bob Posted: September 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4234773)
if he continues to be successful he might even get another chance at a good job.


Maybe he's already got one...
   24. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4234780)
He was also busy trying to get Jake Beckley elected to the HoM

Enjoyed that.
   25. Steve N Posted: September 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4234801)
"Part of the problem when you get older is that your body doesn't respond as quickly and precisely as it once did"

Ain't it the truth. Sigh
   26. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: September 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4234829)
I haven't noticed any karlmagnus gloat posts. Have I missed them?
   27. SG Posted: September 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4234861)
But why is he posting it in this thread? As the first post, even?


Maybe he is saying that the quality of MLB being down this year due to injuries caused by less amphetamine use is why the Orioles are in the thick of the postseason race?
   28. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4234933)
The new market inefficiency is players who don't need amphetamines to be consistently productive. Maybe that explains why they targeted Nate McLouth.
   29. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4234941)

Maybe he is saying that the quality of MLB being down this year due to injuries caused by less amphetamine use is why the Orioles are in the thick of the postseason race?


Crabcakes are natural amphetamines?
   30. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4234953)
Am I wrong to think that players being tireder would lead to more injuries? Maybe it's just that they're recovering less quickly because of no steroids. Anyhow, it seems that the other highly intelligent observers here don't think that's a reasonable proposition. I hope that's true, because that would mean that this year's glut of injuries isn't necessarily a trend. It's depressing.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4234967)
I hope that's true, because that would mean that this year's glut of injuries isn't necessarily a trend.


First, you'd ahve to establish that this year's injuries are out of line with seasons prior. I don't know that it is. The Yankees and Red Sox got hit hard, sure. But I don't know that's a league-wide trend.

Second, even if there were more injuries this year than in past seasons, you'd have to explain why, if it's connected to the PED ban, this is suddenly manifesting itself this year. I don't know of any reason why 2012 should be any different than 2011, at least as far as PEDs are concerned.


   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4234968)
Am I wrong to think that players being tireder would lead to more injuries? Maybe it's just that they're recovering less quickly because of no steroids. Anyhow, it seems that the other highly intelligent observers here don't think that's a reasonable proposition. I hope that's true, because that would mean that this year's glut of injuries isn't necessarily a trend. It's depressing.

The physical, muscle fatigue is there whether you're on amps or not.

I would think that camouflaging the fatigue with uppers, is just as likely to lead to more injuries, when they try to do things their bodies can't, but their hopped-up minds think they can.
   33. SG Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4234979)
Crabcakes are natural amphetamines?


No, lake trout I think. Or maybe pit beef.

Am I wrong to think that players being tireder would lead to more injuries?


I think it's logical, but isn't the effect of amphetamines more on the psychological side of fatigue and less on the physical side? Tired muscles are more likely to get get hurt, but amphetamines don't make tired muscles less tired, do they? They just make a tired person 'feel' less tired.

We'd probably need a few years to make a determination one way or another, but I do think it's logical that fewer PEDs in general will lead to reductions in playing time for the best players. Whether it's injuries or just needing more rest than they did before, there's got be some effect.
   34. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4235002)
I would think that camouflaging the fatigue with uppers, is just as likely to lead to more injuries, when they try to do things their bodies can't, but their hopped-up minds think they can.


That's a good point. I hadn't thought about that.

First, you'd ahve to establish that this year's injuries are out of line with seasons prior. I don't know that it is. The Yankees and Red Sox got hit hard, sure. But I don't know that's a league-wide trend.


It would be nice to have that database that was discussed in another thread. An anecdotal impression is all I have, which is no doubt fueled by the fact that injuries have clustered on certain teams. It also strikes me that there have been more injuries in the AL than the NL But I don't have any evidence for any of that. I would probably try to gather it if I had time.

Second, even if there were more injuries this year than in past seasons, you'd have to explain why, if it's connected to the PED ban, this is suddenly manifesting itself this year. I don't know of any reason why 2012 should be any different than 2011, at least as far as PEDs are concerned.


I guess I figure that it's a combination of it having been longer and longer since each individual took PEDs, and some kind of increase in enforcement, since it also seems (again, purely anecdotally) that there have been more suspensions in the past couple of years than there were earlier. Maybe some players have been risking it, but fewer and fewer each year.

But yes, my ranting is primarily baseless.

but I do think it's logical that fewer PEDs in general will lead to reductions in playing time for the best players. Whether it's injuries or just needing more rest than they did before, there's got be some effect.


Yes, it's a matter of me thinking "there's got to be some effect" mixed with a heavy dose of confirmation bias. We need actual evidence.
   35. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 13, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4235108)
Although, speaking for myself as a professional non-athelete, 30 - 31 is where I noticed that the minor pains stick around a bit longer and I take longer to warm up and get loose


Ha ha! Just wait a couple decades. You'll long for those days.
   36. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 13, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4235115)
. . . it's fun to see Boswell writing about the Os again.

The rise of the Nationals and resurgence of the Orioles seems to have kick-started Boswell's interest in baseball again. He was pretty good early in his career (despite a few questions on the accuracy of his quote attributions) but he really tailed off after he made big money from his books and built a water-front mansion near Annapolis. Didn't write that often and more than a few columns seemed to be just phoning it in. Big difference this year, although it is a lot easier to write interesting stories about teams that are doing well.
   37. jingoist Posted: September 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4235125)
Bourbon Samurai in #29 hit upon th true Fountain of Youth - Maryland Blue Crab crabcakes.
it's the only plausible explanation for why the Birds are flying so high.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4235305)
a professional non-athelete

Whoa, you can get paid for this? I have been missing out my whole life.
   39. Good cripple hitter Posted: September 14, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4236257)
It would be nice to have that database that was discussed in another thread. An anecdotal impression is all I have, which is no doubt fueled by the fact that injuries have clustered on certain teams. It also strikes me that there have been more injuries in the AL than the NL But I don't have any evidence for any of that. I would probably try to gather it if I had time.


I looked up the data on MLB's website for last year and this year and got:

2011 AL: 227 players placed on the DL. 60 trips to the 60-Day DL (16.2 per team, 4.29 60-day per team)
2011 NL: 277 DL trips, 64 60-Day DL trips (17.3 per team, 4 per team)

That's a total of 504 DL trips, 124 stints on the 60-Day DL.


2012 AL: 219 DL trips, 73 60-day DL (15.64/team, 5.21 60-Day)
2012 NL: 267 DL trips, 72 60-day DL (16.68/team, 4.5 60-Day)

That's a total of 486 trips, 145 on the 60 day DL, through two days ago.

I compiled that from MLB's transaction website, it's likely there's errors both there and in my transcription, but you get what you pay for. Arizona's transaction page this year frequently referred to DL stints as "changed roster status of PLAYER X" instead of the usual "placed X on the 15-Day DL", but I think I caught all of those. I also included players who get DL'ed in February or March when they're recovering from injuries suffered the previous year (IE: Tommy John), and if a player got moved from the 7 day DL to the 15 day DL I counted it as two stints because of the language on the website. I didn't count days spent on the DL. This would be very useful to know but it also would've more than doubled the amount of work I'd need to do on this. I think that's all the disclaimers I need.

As you said, this is dependent on heavily injured teams: the NL had 5 teams over 20 DL stints (including LA's 27) and the AL only had 2 (including Boston with thirty-#######-one trips to the DL, which outpaced last years Twins for the least healthy team of the past two years).

If anyone else has DL-related questions related to 2011-2012 (eg: team injuries, player injuries, type of injuries), I probably can answer them now. My favourite was reliving the Blue Jays 5 days, 3 starting pitchers, 3 trips to the 60-Day DL fun times in June of this year, and seeing that you can DL players for tonsillitis and sleep disorders.
   40. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 15, 2012 at 07:10 AM (#4236408)
That's fascinating, GCH-DK, ND, ND (thanks for the e-mail, by the way). So it looks like injuries are at the same level this year as last year, anyway. It's apparently artifacts of perception and confirmation bias that have had me up in arms.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: September 15, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4236452)
It would be nice to have that database that was discussed in another thread. An anecdotal impression is all I have, which is no doubt fueled by the fact that injuries have clustered on certain teams. It also strikes me that there have been more injuries in the AL than the NL But I don't have any evidence for any of that. I would probably try to gather it if I had time.


I'm not sure where it is on their website, but sometime ago baseball prospectus bought out the guy who was trying to track injury records, including non-dl stints. You can get individual information on current players under transactions, but it's not historically deep and I haven't been able to find a team/league sortable/summary for any of that information on their website.

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