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An Argument FOR Orioles Magic 2014

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There has been some revival of the old Oriole’s Magic theme over the past few years. In 2012, given all the extra inning and 1-run victories, it did seem to apply.  Last year?  Not so much. It’s back again this year, and although some old-timers feel that theme belongs in the past, this old-timer thinks an argument can be made that a different type of Oriole’s Magic is at work in 2014.

 

Consider.

 

The All-Star catcher who already averaged around 20 HRs and 66 RBIs (IIRC) in his career and who appeared to be on his way to his best offensive season (although his throwing was puzzlingly off)  is lost to the team for the year after only about 30 games, explaining his throwing problems and leaving the team without a very important piece.

 

Last year’s top slugger appears on pace to hit about half as many HRs and accumulate far fewer RBIs than in his breakout 2013 season. Both of these declines are actually tolerable, but the ridiculously steep decline in his BA has hurt the team in some key situations and by not creating other opportunities. (To be fair, Chris has had some very important hits and continues to play excellent defense.)

 

The platinum glove 3B and rising star misses the 1st month of the season, struggles both offensively and defensively in May, and goes out with an injury again in early August. The team will get maybe an effective half-season from Manny.

 

The dependably consistent 20+ HR SS is on pace to hit maybe half that many, but to an extent he’s made up for that with his high BA, continued stellar defense, and some key base hits. Still, the loss of that expected power output if predicted in April would clearly have been seen as a big negative.

 

The designated closer quickly showed he wasn’t a good fit for that role, and a former starter whose very career was in question is called upon to take over – a job he has done very well (although he has not looked sharp his last 3 outings).

 

The most expensive free agent signing in the team’s history, the guy who was supposed to solidify our SP rotation has blundered through too many of his starts, and leads the AL in walks despite missing 3 weeks (and presumably around 4 starts) of the season.

 

And yet, even with all these things going wrong, the O’s have a 7 game lead going into the last 40 games.  It must be Magic! Right?

 

BTW: A .500 record during the home stretch gives them 90 wins, and since just before the All-Star break, this team has played at well over that level.

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I think it was Andy who said when he was hired that momentum is a difficult thing to understand and very difficult change. It appears when Buck took the reigns in the clubhouse, that's when a dramatic momentum shift took place. I guess it's gotten to the point where everyone knows what it takes to win and everyone's taking turns picking each other up. Even Davis (with his atrocious numbers) has had some huge key hits along the way.

Most of the credit for the current success goes to the pitching staff IMO.

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Orioles have to go 18-20 to get to 90. I think that's pretty likely at this point, unless they start coasting like the last time they had a lead like this -- 1997 -- when they closed out the year 14-17, lost their edge and didn't make it to the World Series.

 

Hopefully Buck won't allow that.

 

The corollary is that the O's have to go 23-15 to get to 95 wins. That's a .605 clip. Since the ASB, the O's have played .667. It's reasonable to think the O's are more likely to win 95 than 90.

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I'm not sure how magical it is. If the Yankees weren't running a M.A.S.H unit, this might have been a different season. And who predicted the Rays and Sox would be the basement dwellers? We're just taking advantage of a great situation by playing great ball.

Edited by bmore_ken

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Orioles have to go 18-20 to get to 90. I think that's pretty likely at this point, unless they start coasting like the last time they had a lead like this -- 1997 -- when they closed out the year 14-17, lost their edge and didn't make it to the World Series.

 

Hopefully Buck won't allow that.

 

The corollary is that the O's have to go 23-15 to get to 95 wins. That's a .605 clip. Since the ASB, the O's have played .667. It's reasonable to think the O's are more likely to win 95 than 90.

I agree that 95 wins seems about right given the fact that we haven't had a below .500 month all season coupled with the fact that we have a very good division record.

Edited by 85Knight

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You can call it "magic" because that is what it feels like when it is happening. Championship baseball teams, in my recollection and observation, come about when the players who are NOT stars come through in the clutch. So this year we are coming up short with Weiters, Machado, Davis, etc. but we get these timely key performances from guys like Steve Pearce, Delmon Young, Caleb Joseph, Jonathon Schoop (and of course the starting pitching, even without a true #1, has been setting the pace). And the bullpen has been lights out.

 

So bottom line on Orioles Magic is that it should be credited to Dan Duquette and the front office and scouting staff (not to mention Buck Showalter). All off-season I was among the most critical that they were not acquiring big-time players. I think I might have called them bottom feeders and dumpster divers for all these small-time pieces with which they were stocking the system. Those bargain basement finds seem to be coming together very nicely in this pennant race.

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I'm not sure how magical it is. If the Yankees weren't running a M.A.S.H unit, this might have been a different season. And who predicted the Rays and Sox would be the basement dwellers? We're just taking advantage of a great situation by playing great ball.

 

I don't think many had the Yankees winning the division even prior to the injuries.  Their lineup was weak to begin with, and it wasn't hard to see the fragility of the team overall. 

 

The Rays were probably most perplexing, as I think most had them winning the division.  The Sox were an overachiever last year, so that didn't surprise me, considering they lost a couple of guys too.

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I don't think many had the Yankees winning the division even prior to the injuries.  Their lineup was weak to begin with, and it wasn't hard to see the fragility of the team overall. 

 

The Rays were probably most perplexing, as I think most had them winning the division.  The Sox were an overachiever last year, so that didn't surprise me, considering they lost a couple of guys too.

the Rays were the favorites of many analysts. NY, Tor & Bos all got equal praise as the probable division winners. only one person predicted the O's to win it. it was JP Morosi. every other opinion I heard was that the O's would finish last.

 

TB lost 3/5th of their staff right out of the gate. that's why they fell back. Moore was lost for the season. by the time they got the other two back, it was too late to climb out of the hole. 

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TB lost 3/5th of their staff right out of the gate. that's why they fell back. Moore was lost for the season. by the time they got the other two back, it was too late to climb out of the hole. 

 

That and some of the overachievers on offense from last year came back to earth..

Edited by alienrace

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