Have to admit I’m not too thrilled with the Orioles limping into the playoffs. Seems like the entire team has gone into cruise control since they clinched, going 4-6. Let’s hope they are able to turn it back on because Showalter will be judged by his ability to get this team deep into the playoffs. Just getting there isn’t good enough after the regular season they’ve had.
As good as Buck Showalter is, the knock against him has been his inability to win the big games in October. He’s run a lot of B lineups out there since the Orioles clinched, reportedly so his regular are healthy and ready to go come next Thursday, but there is something to be said for a team being on a roll as they go into the playoffs.
I keep thinking about 1997 when they went wire to wire only to limp a bit into the playoffs. Sure enough, that season did not end the way they wanted. With the second best record in the American League, it’s not just good enough to make it to the ALDS. Anything less than an ALCS appearance and this season should be considered a failure.
That’s tough words no doubt, and as fun as this team was to watch up until they clinched, I can’t say this season wasn’t enjoyable, but Orioles fans should expect more than just showing up to the dance. Showalter has chosen the rest and tryouts for the last few spots on the roster path as they had into the ALDS. Time will tell whether that was the right path or not.
Buck has done an amazing job managing a team through a lot of injuries, but his try-outs at third base lately has failed miserably. None of the new candidates have cut it defensively so it’s time for him to stick Ryan Flaherty over there and ride that out.
The playoffs are won on pitching and defense and Flaherty is the best defensive third baseman on this roster and Schoop is the best defensive second baseman. Schoop has struggled offensively of late but at the end of the day, he got us here and I trust him defensively.
The Orioles should be able to go with one less pitcher, most likely TJ MacFarland so they’ll be able to keep an extra bat or legs. I like the idea of having Quinten Berry on the bench for pinch running duties in a tight game.
Regardless though, this team is either playing tight of late or has just gone into cruise control. I believe it’s the latter.
The question is, can they turn it back on again when they need to?