As I’m writing this the O’s are exactly halfway through the season.While I should be joining the rest of the country getting, ‘ turnt,’ at the beach somewhere forgetting about all my problems and talking about how bad ass the good ole USofA is, I’m instead sitting on a couch in my underwear, soberly dreaming of a magical second half of the season and worrying about my credit card debt and impending loss of health insurance. But whatever, everyone has their problems. Clearly, the Orioles fit right into that category.
If you listen to the podcast, Jason and Jerry clearly want the Orioles to get a facelift from the GM on down. They want the Orioles to be big time sellers at the deadline. It’s hard to argue, considering the O’s pitching staff has been about as solid as a post Chipotle trip to the porcelain throne (at best leaky, at worst an utter disaster that leaves you wondering how many more times you will do this to yourself before you learn). Their offensive stats are also very underwhelming (16th in MLB in average, 21st in runs scored and 26th in OBP ) considering the expectations that the team would be carried by the bats. This doesn’t quite look like a World Series contender. But as Jesus once said, ‘ 81 games doesn’t make a season, playboy.’
I remember after beating Texas in the wild card game in 2012, Buck standing on the top step of the dugout watching the team celebrate looking like a proud dad. Recently, he has looked more like a Dad whose 15 year old son drunkenly stumbles through the door at 2:30 am, thinking he’s being stealthy, and then vomits all over the carpet that Dad just paid for, despite money problems, because he wanted his wife to let him go to Vegas for a weekend with his friends.
But I’m not giving up on the season yet. As it stands today the Orioles are 6.5 games out of first place and 1.5 games out of the wild card. The way the last two months have gone it does seem hard to fathom a turn around that would see the Orioles winning the East. When you are giving up 5 plus runs on a nightly basis it is hard to make up ground. The only way the Orioles are going to have a shot at making a run is if Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman return to some sort of form and have stellar second halves and the bats heat up. So, better pitching and hitting… genius analysis.
Here are a few reasons why there is hope.
1. The return of Zach Britton.
Zach hasn’t blown a save since 2015 and has converted an AL record 54 in a row. In his absence, Brad Brach has blown 4 saves and as a team the Orioles have 9 blown saves. Britton changes the entire dynamic of the bullpen allowing Brach to be the 8th inning guy and having Givens, O’Day, and Dick Bleier match up in the late innings. But then again, if the starter only goes 3 innings and the revolving door of meatball throwing jamoke middle relievers keeps spinning, the 8th and 9th will be nothing more than a required exercise of painful irrelevance.
2. Manny Machado will get hot. He just will. He’s too good not to.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez is possibly good for one solid month per season and that sure as hell hasn’t happened yet.
I hate to even add this to a list of reasons to be hopeful. Ubaldo is mostly terrible and has more than worn out any type of welcome in Baltimore. His tenure here has mostly consisted of a seemingly unending string of horrendous performances that leads everyone to wonder how much longer are we going to let him do this. But there have been stretches, like last September, where Ubaldo becomes dominant. His last start was an 8 inning gem so maybe he’s ready to go on a tear. Ohh man, this is bullshit. It’s tough for me to feel ok about writing this. I apologize.
4. Chris Davis is now sporting a Fu Manchu. That can only be a good thing.
5. Seth Smith’s walk up song is the worst goddamn thing I’ve ever heard. This isn’t a reason for optimism. I just needed to add that.
6. Chris Sale will do something bizarre like beg for David Price’s newborn to be allowed at all team meals and flights and the Red Sox clubhouse will go full blown 2011 and start drinking beer and eating fried chicken between innings and completely tank.
7.Aaron Judge will be suspended for the remainder of the season after tests reveal that he is an actual steroid.
8. World Series here we come.
At the time this blog is released the Orioles are now 8 games back in the division and 3 back of the second wild card after two lackluster losses in Milwaukee. Ubaldo had another crappy start that was only to be outdone by Wade Miley’s putrid outing. Things look bleak, my friends. But hey, I thought I’d be a virgin forever but a trip to Pulaski highway at 2 am and 35 bucks later, I realized anything is possible. It’s not over yet.