Yesterday before the Orioles game, I told my wife, “If the Orioles win today, they are going to the World Series!”
Quite the bold statement and obviously a little bit of a joke after my May 31st take titled “The Orioles are a mediocre team.” Of course that post was written after the team had lost 7 of 9 and fallen to 28-22 and basically had played .500 ball since opening up the season 7-0. Since the article the Orioles have gone 29-18 (.617) and have certainly proven that despite their rotation weaknesses, they are not a mediocre team.
But back to my bold statement. Yesterday was a game the Orioles had no reason winning when you look at everything. They had won the first two games of the series; the Indians were starting Corey Kluber while the Orioles were countering with spot starter Vance Worley who had not gotten out of the 5th inning in two of his three starts on the season. Add in their 7-7 record on Sundays and I just felt this is the kind of game the Orioles will typical lose, but if they didn’t, that meant they are onto something special.
Now I know it’s a silly statement and that one game in July doesn’t mean the Orioles are going to the World Series or not, but the point is, yesterday’s walk off win might have proven the Orioles are a destined team. I mean seriously, this is a game where Worley outpitched Kluber, the Orioles All-star reliever Brad Brach blew the lead, then Buck Showalter goes against the conventional left on right matchup to pinch hit a right -handed Nolan Reimold, who was mired in a 4-for-25 (.160/.250/.208/.450) slump, and he hits a game winning two-run homer after Pedro Alvarez reaches on a strikeout when the catcher’s throw hits his helmet. Are you kidding me?
Speaking of Worley, I don’t know how he gets guys out consistently with a high 80’s fastball, but he’s definitely a gamer out there. I still would love to see the Orioles get a guy like Jeremy Hellickson for the stretch, but for now they may have found two decent back of the rotation starters in Dylan Bundy and Vance Worley. I’m not convinced a starter’s role is the best role for Worley overall, but in the season of destiny, why not? Maybe he can be our version of Dave Johnson?
I really don’t know if the Orioles are going to the World Series or not as a lot can happen between now and then and the playoffs will come down to which team is hot at the time, but what I do know is this team looks like a team that catching all the breaks.
It’s been 33 years since the Orioles were in the World Series. At the time of their last appearance, they had been in the World Series six of the previous 18 season. The Orioles have made it the ALCS three times since 1983, and although they are not a perfect team, they are team that has proven they are onto something special on 2016.
The question is, does Dan Duquette make some moves to bolster this team for the stretch drive, or does he stand pat and ride on with the imperfect horses that got him here? The Andrew Miller trade notwithstanding, Duquette’s deadline deals have not been his greatest strength, but this team does have a chance to win it all and Duquette’s history suggest he will makes some moves.
His biggest problem right now is a lack of top end prospects to trade. Chance Sisco may have the most value, but his defense still needs to prove and his lack of power will limit his overall ceiling for many scouts. Trey Mancini is a guy who could probably bring back some value and Christian Walker might be an attractive “throw in” or “sweetener” since he’s been hitting ball well of late in Norfolk. The top end tradeable arms are in the low minors where guys like Tanner Scott (power reliever) and Ofelky Peralta could have some value.
Without a lot of bullets and the assumption that the major league players are off limits, Duquette may have to ride with the horses he has or make a trade for less attractive options like Andrew Cashner from Sand Diego or possibly a Tommy Milone from Minnesota.
As the old Orioles Hangout saying goes, “Hang on for the Ride!”