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Thursday, August 30, 2012

NYT: Good Bullpen and Good Luck Keep Orioles in the Race

The Baltimore Orioles have no business being in a playoff race. A team that is near the bottom of the American League in batting and pitching, the Orioles are in a position to win one of the league’s two wild-card spots and only three games behind the first-place Yankees in their division. With 10 more wins, they will clinch the team’s first winning record since 1997.

The Orioles (72-58) will visit Yankee Stadium for a three-game series starting Friday and play the Yankees 7 times in 10 days, giving them a chance to take over the division lead, something that seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.

How have the Orioles done it? Smoke, mirrors, a strong bullpen and a great deal of luck.

DKDC Posted: August 30, 2012 at 06:25 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles, pythag, yankees

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   1. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4223140)
-44 run differential and 24-6 in one run games. That's a whole lotta luck. I think pythag has them last in the division based on the run diff. So obviously Buck should be manager of the year.
   2. McCoy Posted: August 30, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4223176)
I would go a little nuts if the Orioles somehow take the division lead after the 7 games against the Yankees. Could you imagine how ballistic Steinbrenner in his prime would go if that happened on his watch?
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 30, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4223186)
-44 run differential and 24-6 in one run games. That's a whole lotta luck.


And 12-2 in extras.
   4. shoelesjoe Posted: August 30, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4223224)
Luck is not a factor.
Hope is not a strategy.
Fear is not an option.

-- James Cameron
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:02 AM (#4223232)
I would go a little nuts if the Orioles somehow take the division lead after the 7 games against the Yankees.

Don't think it couldn't happen, not when the Yanks are missing A-Rod, Teixeira, Pettitte and Mo (and Nova, too), and when their 4th and 5th starters are a total crapshoot. They've got more depth to cover those MIAs than most teams, but right now they're trotting out a bunch of players who would never have seen a Yankee roster just three years ago. If they don't have those first three players at full strength for the postseason, they've got little or no shot of going anywhere.
   6. Belfry Bob Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4223248)
How have they done it? A smart manager, good coaches, solid bullpen, unexpected help off the rubbish bin, and they dumped most of the pitchers who compiled that negative run differential for guys who have been markedly better.
   7. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4223261)
This month has been their best month so far having them go 17-9 but their RS-RA is only 112-105. Pitching has done real well but that generally doesn't last long and it probably won't seeing as how they've got the toughest schedule coming up of all the contending teams.
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 31, 2012 at 03:27 AM (#4223288)
Don't think it couldn't happen, not when the Yanks are missing A-Rod, Teixeira, Pettitte and Mo (and Nova, too), and when their 4th and 5th starters are a total crapshoot.

Look, CC hasn't been that good lately, but I wouldn't call him a crap shoot.

Oh, I suppose you mean Phelps. But you are mistaken, Phelps is a G. But you are correct that the Yanks could blow their lead with the way they have been playing. They can't hit, they especially can't hit lefties, they have several completely overmatched defenders, and a paper thin bullpen.

they dumped most of the pitchers who compiled that negative run differential for guys who have been markedly better.

Great point. The basic Pythag analysis misses that. Getting rid of Tommy Hunter alone is worth a win or so.

I'm glad to see Markakis is having a good year again. It's been a while since he hit with this much pop.
   9. DKDC Posted: August 31, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4223320)
Is this published in the print version of the Times?  "smoke, mirrors, and a great deal of luck" is some pretty good bulletin board material.

There are plenty of reasons to think the Orioles are more dangerous than their pythag indicates - the foremost being that teams who are outperforming their pythag at this point generally are better than their pythag.

There was an article a couple days ago that dug up all of the teams over the last 10 years who were at least 5 games over their pythag at the end of August.  Those 30 teams had a .550 record as a whole, and a .500 pythag.

In September those teams had a .550 record on average, and something like 70-80% had a better September record than their Apr-Aug pythag.

The 2007 DBacks (who are mentioned in this article to sort of dismiss the Orioles chances) are probably the best comp.

2007 Dbacks
Aug 24 Record: 72-57
Aug 24 Run Diff: -35
Final Record: 90-72

2012 Orioles
Aug 30 Record: 72-58
Aug 30 Run diff: -44
Final record: ?
   10. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4223383)
If Hammel can come back and pitch effectively, a rotation of Hammel, Chen, Tillman, Britton, and Gonzalez/Johnson/Saunders could be quite good over the last month, and the bullpen should benefit from the additions of Matusz and Arrieta. The offense is still pretty inconsistent, but I like their chances.

Discussing orioles baseball in a positive way this late in the season is a weird sensation.
   11. Belfry Bob Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4223392)
Sad note: not only are there few people coming to the Orioles games (though yesterday was not only a day game, but you had the Grand Prix stuff causing traffic and parking issues), but I wore my 1989 'Why Not?' t-shirt to the game Wednesday night and only got one comment, from an usher.

Sigh.
   12. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4223396)
Obviously, there's a lot of games to go--although I remain thoroughly convinced the Yankees will win the East--but thus far TB is apparently fixing to make me look foolish for considering them the actual threat to the Yankees and not the O's.
   13. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4223404)
Sad note: not only are there few people coming to the Orioles games (though yesterday was not only a day game, but you had the Grand Prix stuff causing traffic and parking issues), but I wore my 1989 'Why Not?' t-shirt to the game Wednesday night and only got one comment, from an usher.
Yikes! I didn't realize, for some reason, how badly the Orioles are drawing. They averaged under 12K for the series with the White Sox. That's terrible. I know that's a beaten down fan base, to some extent, but that's a shame. They're contenders into September, people should go out.
   14. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4223405)
Angelos didn't run the franchise into the ground overnight; it took a few years, and likewise it's going to take more than just a few good months before the fan base rushes back in huge droves again.

But if in two or three weeks from now they still look to have a good shot to make the playoffs, I think you'll see the crowds start to grow. OPACY is still easily one of the best environments to go see a ballgame.

Considering how bad they have been over the last 13-14 years, I don't think their attendance is all that terrible. Tampa, now THAT situation is truly terrible.
   15. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4223413)
Isn't this the weeks school starts up again? They were drawing better during the week earlier in the month so I wouldn't be surprised that between the weather and school starting up people just didn't come out. They are 8th in the league in attendance.
   16. DKDC Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4223429)
The other excuses I've heard is that a lot of people are on vacation this week, and set up for the "Baltimore Grand Prix" completely gridlocked traffic this week. But other teams were facing most of the same issues (except the grand prix) and the Orioles had the lowest attendance of any team this week.

They'll definitely draw better for next weekend's series against the Yankees, but we'll see how many wear orange.

I also think there's no doubt that the Nationals being there and being good is also having an impact - I just don't think Baltimore has the market size anymore to consistently sell out mid-week games.
   17. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4223440)
The thing is is that between season ticket holders and preseason/early season sales most of the attendance figures are from tickets sold well ahead of time. Walks up generally aren't tens of thousands for a game. So when you see a figure like 10 or 12 thousand it generally means that your season ticket base is somewhat small and not a lot people bought tickets to the game months ago which I think lends credibility to back to school type issues for these games. Then you had other issues that kept people from walking up and buying tickets.

Last year is a bit muddy because they played the Yankees at the end of August but even the Monday game against the Yankees only drew 18,000 last year and they Tues, Wed, Thurs against TOR was 11k, 14, and 11k while games earlier in the month during the week were drawing slightly more than that.
   18. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4223460)
I expect that Cal Ripken Statue Day on Thursday will very likely be a complete sellout, and given that the Orioles are suddenly shockingly close to the Yankees, that series is definitely going to draw big numbers for each game.

I think that Brooks Robinson Statue Day is on the 29th, and that last home series against the Red Sox is going to draw big numbers as well. Maybe huge numbers depending on the standings.
   19. toratoratora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4223474)
Well, the Ravens played last night and Baltimore is a ghost town during their games.
I live in the city, work smack downtown, and I don't hear too much Oriole excitement(Course I know no one, not a single soul, who is up for the Grand Prix, not even on FB, which I suspect is due to years and years of being burnt by Angelos.
Plus football season is about to start. B-more has always been a football city first and there are pretty high hopes for the purple and black this year so most of the focus is on them.


   20. Greg K Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4223477)
but I wore my 1989 'Why Not?'

I'll tell you why not! Because no one wins the AL East title but the Jays!

/time warp
   21. Greg K Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4223478)
B-more has always been a football city first and there are pretty high hopes for the purple and black this year so most of the focus is on them.

True, I remember the Baltimore Stallions being a dominant team behind the running of Mike Pringle.
   22. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4223638)
Yikes! I didn't realize, for some reason, how badly the Orioles are drawing. They averaged under 12K for the series with the White Sox. That's terrible. I know that's a beaten down fan base, to some extent, but that's a shame. They're contenders into September, people should go out.
I don't think that anyone in Baltimore is eager to give Angelos money until they have an actual postseason game.
   23. Belfry Bob Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4223686)
I would hope that no real fan would allow bad feelings towards an owner (an owner who happens to own the very ballclub that's winning, BTW) keep them from going to a ballgame when the team is showing so much moxie...but then, that's me.
   24. bobm Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4223697)
I expect that Cal Ripken Statue Day on Thursday will very likely be a complete sellout, and given that the Orioles are suddenly shockingly close to the Yankees, that series is definitely going to draw big numbers for each game.


Unlike Derek Jeter, fans should be able to tell Cal apart from his statue.
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4223700)
I would hope that no real fan would allow bad feelings towards an owner (an owner who happens to own the very ballclub that's winning, BTW) keep them from going to a ballgame when the team is showing so much moxie...but then, that's me.

As long as that rule includes a Dan Snyder exception, I can probably buy into it.
   26. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4223726)
Looking at the weekend series, it seems to me like the Yankees had really better win tonight with Kuroda on the mound. If they lose, Yankee sphincters are going to start seriously tightening up from Paterson to Poughkeepsie.
   27. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4223727)
I'll tell you why not! Because no one wins the AL East title but the Jays!

/time warp


I'll never forget that final weekend. They lost in extra innings on Friday, then next-day starter Harnisch stepped on a nail after the game. Johnson filled in admirably but they gave up three in the eighth to lose the season. Damn you Frank Wills!
   28. Charlie O Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4223731)
I went to an O's game in July and the guy sitting in front of me wore a Sidney Ponson jersey. That's a hardcore fan with no shame.
   29. DKDC Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4223735)
Are you sure it wasn't Sir Sidney himself?
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4223747)
Yikes! I didn't realize, for some reason, how badly the Orioles are drawing.

They're up 2,599 per game over last year. Given how much Angelos alienated the fan base and how little was expected of the Orioles at the start of the season, that's pretty good, although I agree it will be telling if the fans don't turn out down the stretch if Baltimore remains in the playoff race.
   31. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4223765)
Are you sure it wasn't Sir Sidney himself?
Sidney was at the Yankee game the other day. If Charlie O could see around the guy, it wasn't Sidney.
   32. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4223770)
Angelos is an ass, but all baseball owners are asses so I don't think that should keep O's fans from enjoying this ride.
   33. escabeche Posted: August 31, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4223818)
[q]I'll never forget that final weekend. They lost in extra innings on Friday, then next-day starter Harnisch stepped on a nail after the game. Johnson filled in admirably but they gave up three in the eighth to lose the season. Damn you Frank Wills![/q]

Note that the Orioles have three games against the Rays on the road to close the season -- they could easily go to Tampa Bay a game behind the Rays for the second wildcard, which would set up a more or less exact replay of the end of 1989.

Except, as John Rambo liked to say, this time we win.
   34. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4223913)
Damn you Frank Wills!


Too soon?
   35. SG Posted: August 31, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4223921)
Is this published in the print version of the Times? "smoke, mirrors, and a great deal of luck" is some pretty good bulletin board material.


It's not like someone affiliated with the Yankees said it. If they want to have at it with Benjamin Hoffman that shouldn't be a problem though.
   36. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: August 31, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4223929)
####, I had no idea. I take it back!
   37. Belfry Bob Posted: August 31, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4224050)
The Ponson jersey made me wonder about other surprising jersey names you see at the ballpark, or what would be the most unlikely. Sidney is sure one of them...you really do have to have no shame to wear that one.

I saw an O's fan wearing an Albert Belle jersey two seasons ago.
   38. Belfry Bob Posted: August 31, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4224053)
So which is it? Luck and a bullpen, or smoke and mirrors?

I say it's Teagarden, Ford, and McLouth (Attorneys at Law).

   39. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4224087)
I saw an O's fan wearing an Albert Belle jersey two seasons ago.
Lots of Yankee fans have bought Ichiro shirts, I suspect those are going to be as strange in a few years as the ones from Pudge Rodriguez are now.
   40. Belfry Bob Posted: August 31, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4224091)
About five years ago I saw someone wearing an Andy Van Slyke Orioles giveaway t-shirt at a game. A couple of years ago there was a guy wearing a Jeff Manto jersey. I got a chance to chat with him, as I was a fan of Jeff's at the time...though not enough to put his name on my jersey.
   41. escabeche Posted: August 31, 2012 at 08:11 PM (#4224124)
Albert Belle was a great signing and played excellent ball for the Orioles before his hip gave way. No shame in wearing his jersey.
   42. DKDC Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4224175)
O's win game 1. 2 games back.
   43. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4224203)
Boy, I hope that some team that plays exciting baseball, takes the extra base, hits home runs, and wins close games represents the AL East in the playoffs. I'm not sure yet, but I think I saw a team very much like this today.
   44. Belfry Bob Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4224239)
Albert Belle was a great signing and played excellent ball for the Orioles before his hip gave way. No shame in wearing his jersey.


Except maybe for Albert's attempt to start a player revolt to refuse to play the Cuba exhibition, starting little flame wars whenever he could, and then being all passive-aggressive about it when confronted. I'm not a big believer in the concept, but if there ever was a clubhouse cancer, Albert Belle was it. He was certainly a two-faced coward (see: Sosa, Sammy.)

Boy, I hope that some team that plays exciting baseball, takes the extra base, hits home runs, and wins close games represents the AL East in the playoffs. I'm not sure yet, but I think I saw a team very much like this today.

The Jays are too far back. Not even the Yankees can cough up a lead that big.

Seriously, if the O's took two of three, that would be so very fine. SO very fine.

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