There is a difference between constructive criticism and ranting obstructionism. And there is a difference between optimism and realism. One of my 4 kids always roots from the negative….like Eyeore in winnie the pooh. You know “We’ll never make it!” Another one blindly says “We got this!” No matter the circumstance. (Mother’s Day Massacre…believed until over). I even appreciate a glass half empty perspective. I do.
Look I get it, from the outset of spring training, it has been known that the Orioles success depends on its starting pitching outperforming expectations. Even before we determine who plays in the OF. And I will agree with all of that here. The Orioles, at 95-67 will be because of outstanding pitching (and the likely fleecing of some tanking team) and the Orioles at 67-95 will be because the starting pitching sucks.
Now that places steep expectations on Gausman and Bundy and that is before the news of Chris Tillman hit. Personally, I am more unsure of the outcome for Baltimore in any year since DD took over. But I think it is wildly premature to judge Bundy OR Gausman on spring training. The goal for pitchers in Spring Training is to build up innings and work on pitches and most importantly to finish healthy. They have both done that…and I expect that they will show both good and bad outings as we move forward. The question is can they become pitchers and find consistency in getting 6-7 innings and helping the O’s win? I think that they can, but that remains to be seen. Last year was a huge jump in innings for Bundy and his health the first half is at least as important as his results and may well go hand in hand.
The outcome for Chris Tillman is much more important and a much bigger cause for concern as a replacement for more than the short term does not presently exist. But even if we carry Tillman’s year to the worst possible outcome, DD has proven over his time here to manipulate the roster to use a 6 or 7 man rotation with 2 to 4 guys carrying the 4-5 slots.
What does it mean. Baltimore Baseball. There is a reason why the prognosticators continually give them no chance. If you want to list reasons why they cannot win…from afar…or from here in the OH…well, you should be able to, without a tremendous amount of creativity, imagine that outcome. It isn’t hard to do. However, as opening day nears, count me among those who chose to see the flaws as part of our character. Who chooses to believe that there is room for positive growth to answer the questions above as well as potential for needed flexibility. That the pitching staff can be mediocre but last 6 innings consistently and the bullpen can thrive. That Manny Machado is capable of putting the O’s on his back with Adam Jones and taking them all the way. All the Way!
Imagine there’s no failure. It’s easy if you try. Yankees Sox Rays and Jays below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the roster moves, and a successful Oriole Way. Of course, you may say I am dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the O’s will be as one.