Archive for September, 2014

2014 American League Wild Card Preview

Posted in Playoffs with tags on September 30, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

I may be in the minority, but I think the “one and done” wild card games are the best. It basically guarantees two games a year that are essentially “Game 163”, and who doesn’t like a game 163? It’s 9 innings of desperation from both sides that keeps fans on the edge of their seats. Yeah, it sucks that there’s the chance that you’re bounced out of the playoffs after one game, especially after a long season, but that’s why it’s so important to win the division.

Both teams involved in the AL Wild Card game had their opportunities to win their respective divisions, but failed to do so. On one hand, the A’s collapsed so badly in August and September that they almost missed the playoffs (they were tied for the division lead on August 25 and ended up finishing behind the Angels by 10 games), while on the other hand, the Royals couldn’t put away the Tigers at the end of the season, losing 4 of their last 6 games against them, and going 6-13 against Detroit over the course of the season. Continue reading

2014 Playoff Predictions

Posted in Playoffs with tags , on September 30, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Last year when I made playoff predictions, I did so while including a blurb explaining why I thought that particular team would go on to be victorious. This year, I’m planning on doing things a little bit differently. I’ll give my picks here (so you can look at it and make fun of me for being wrong later), then I’ll (hopefully) provide a series preview in separate posts that do a little more explaining. So, here are my picks, but who the hell knows what will happen! Continue reading

Leaving Kevin Gausman Out of the Playoff Rotation Would Be a Mistake

Posted in Pitching, Playoffs with tags , , on September 24, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

The Baltimore Orioles have the AL East all wrapped up and one of the (many) things they are trying to figure out is who will be included in their postseason starting rotation.  We got a sneak peak at Game 1 yesterday, although it wasn’t much of a surprise…

The current rumor is that Kevin Gausman would be left out of the playoff rotation.  I think this would be a mistake, and today over at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot, I explain why.

Direct Link to Article –> Leaving Kevin Gausman Out of the Playoff Rotation Would Be a Mistake

The Giant Hole in Baltimore’s Lineup

Posted in Offense with tags , on September 19, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

For most of the 2014 season, the Baltimore Orioles have had an above average hitter at every spot in their lineup (or close to it), and it’s been a big reason why they’ve clinched the American League East for the first time since 1997.  However, there’s a giant hole in that lineup at second base, where Jonathan Schoop has played excellent defense but has been overmatched by major league pitching.  Today at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot, I take a closer look at Jonathan Schoop’s season.

Direct Link to Article –> The Giant Hole in Baltimore’s Lineup

Orioles Win the American League East, Now What?

Posted in Playoffs, Prospects, Trades with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

On Tuesday night, the Orioles secured the top spot in the American League East for the first time since 1997, ensuring their place in the 2014 playoffs. They did so by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 in front of a raucous (if not quite sell-out) crowd in Baltimore. Ubaldo Jimenez (he of the 4.90 ERA and 14.0% BB rate) picked up the win, throwing 5 innings, giving up only 2 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 6 batters. Of course he also walked 4 batters, which Orioles fans have come to expect when Jimenez takes the mound. The night itself seemed to sum up the 2014 Orioles well, as not only did they get an unexpectedly good (ok, not good, but decent) performance from Jimenez, but all 8 runs were driven in by players who weren’t expected to make a significant impact this year, and some who have only been on the team for a couple of weeks. Jimmy Paredes and Nick Hundley each drove in a run, while Alejandro De Aza and un-sung hero Steve Pearce drove in 3 a piece. Here’s a fun fact, De Aza has produced more fWAR with the Orioles in 12 games (0.7) than he did in 122 games with the White Sox (0.6). The late August trades Orioles GM Dan Duquette made for De Aza and Kelly Johnson may have flown under the radar at the time, but could prove to be very valuable to the team, especially in light of the Chris Davis suspension.

So what happens now? Continue reading

How the Chris Davis Suspension Affects the Rest of the Season

Posted in Offense, Playoffs with tags , on September 13, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Yesterday, Chris Davis was suspended for 25 games by major league baseball for using performance enhancing drugs.  He’ll miss the team’s remaining 17 regular season games and at least 8 playoff games, as long as the Orioles are fortunate enough to play that many.  Today at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot, I take a look at how that may affect the team moving forward.  Surprisingly, it may not change much at all.

Direct Link to Article –> How the Chris Davis Suspension Affects the Rest of the Season

Minor League Recap: August 25-September 1

Posted in Minor Leagues, Offense, Pitching, Prospects with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

The minor league season came to an end on Labor Day, and with Norfolk, Bowie, and Frederick all missing their respective postseasons, this will be the final installment of the weekly minor league recap for the 2014 season. Don’t worry, it will return next year with some old faces and some new faces, and possibly a revamped format.

With the end of the minor league season also comes the expanded rosters in the major leagues. The Orioles decided to bring up pitchers Evan Meek, Joe Saunders, and Ryan Webb, along with catcher Steve Clevenger and outfielder Quintin Berry. Additionally, the team made trades for Kelly Johnson and Alejandro De Aza. I discussed each of those moves (and more!) in a post yesterday up on Camden Depot.

Each of these affiliates played at least 9 games over the last week and a day of the season, so there’s a lot to get to.

Weekly Summary

Norfolk (AAA): 4-5 (W-L), 30 RS, 29 RA

Bowie (AA): 5-4, 46 RS, 47 RA

Frederick (High-A): 6-4, 48 RS, 37 RA Continue reading

Quick Thoughts on Recent Roster Changes

Posted in Offense, Pitching, Trades with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

The Orioles continue to command the AL East, with several media outlets giving them over a 99% chance to not only make the playoffs, but to win the division.  With the playoffs in mind, Baltimore made a couple of transactions (through trades and expanded rosters) to not only help finish the season strong, but to also improve the team for the postseason.  Today at ESPN Sweetspot Orioles blog Camden Depot, I take a quick look at these roster moves and how they’ll help the team moving forward.

Direct Link to Article –> Quick Thoughts on Recent Roster Changes