What the hell is going on with the Baltimore? After hiring Buck Showalter, the Orioles swept the Los Angeles Angels, took three out of four against the Chicago White Sox (they were in 1st place in the A.L Central at the time) and crushed the Indians 14-6 on Tuesday night. They're 7-1 under Showalter and three of those wins were walk-offs!
If only Baltimore had fired Dave Trembley and hired a manager with experience before the season started...
Is this sudden resurgence (reminder: they're still the worst team in the majors) all because of a managerial change? Or is it due to who Baltimore hired? Maybe they're playing better now that Brian Roberts and Felix Pie are back off the DL? Or maybe they're just getting lucky? I'm going to go with a little bit of everything.
First off, Dave Trembley was that bad. He was inexperienced having never managed a major league baseball team before. He didn't know how to develop young talent and he didn't know how to help the young pitchers progress. If that weren't bad enough, the guy looks like William Shatner and needed to be fired mid-way through last season.
Believe it or not, Baltimore's roster has plenty of young, talented ballplayers. More than you think. They have a solid core to build around, which includes Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Felix Pie (yes, Pie is good), Matt Wieters and Josh Bell. I can't forget to mention the pitchers - Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brag Bergesen. A young roster along with mediocre veterans cannot thrive or develop with a manager with no experience. With Trembley, some of the young talent actually regressed.
But there is nothing they can do about it now. A changed needed to be made and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made it by hiring Showalter.
With Showalter, the Orioles have a manager who pays extreme attention to detail and it has clearly showed on the field. The O's are staying alive late in games, getting clutch hits, limiting mistakes and erasing deficits to win games.
The attitude of the team has changed for the better. The locker room demeanor has changed for the better. Even the TV ratings are changing for the better.
Of course, there is luck involved. Pie, Roberts and Wieters are all healthy again. But the numbers have changed too. Under Showalter, the O's are batting .414 with runners in scoring position and the starting pitchers posted a 1.89 ERA in the recent home stand before going to Cleveland.
Let's face it - the Orioles probably won't play this well for the rest of the season. But I wouldn't say this recent string of victories is necessarily a fluke.
Showalter is exactly what the Orioles have needed. MacPhail has brought in some quality players, he's gotten rid of Trembley and now he's hired a manager with an excellent track record. And Orioles are now playing better. Surprise!
Now all Baltimore needs is a change in ownership... - Michael Klopman
Michael, a Penn State Graduate writes for Xtra Point Football, Around the Horn Baseball, and works on the sports page at the Huffington Post.
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