Baltimore Orioles: 2017 season recap
My prediction for the 2017 Baltimore Orioles was that Buck Showalter would have them in contention at least until the very end. And in fact, they were mathematically in contention until about a week to go in the season. But there were two things that derailed this Orioles’ season: inconsistent starting pitching, and inconsistent bats.
The O’s jumped out early, winning 22 of their first 32 games. That included a dramatic extra inning win on a Trumbo walk off home run on Opening Day against Toronto. However things in this world can often change on the drop of a dime. And they did.
Some of the Orioles’ issues were within their realm of control (in theory). Starting pitching in May and June just wasn’t up to snuff. That sent the Birds into a tailspin, as pressure mounted on the bullpen. However there were other issues which were not in their realm of control – such as injuries.
Chris Tillman of course began the season on the disabled list. And the fact is that he never seemed to get it going as the season wore on once he returned. However the likes of Chris Davis, Darren O’Day, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Welington Castillo, and of course Zach Britton, also spent time on the DL. In Hardy’s case, it lasted for most of the season. It’s tough to be competitive when you have that many players out.
And the fact is, the competition (NY and Boston) seemed to get healthier by the day. The Orioles were a veteran team in 2017, which in my eyes is a good thing. You’re dealing with more mature players who aren’t trying to be everything to everybody and so forth, causing rookie mistakes. In NY’s case, they were a young team. Yet the flip side of that is that youth is more durable at various points.
This is not to say that there were no good moments. Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones were both trailblazers – at the plate and in the field. Rookie Trey Mancini was also a nice surprise as time went on. And Dylan Bundy had a strong 2017, and the Orioles hope he anchors the rotation next year.
August brought a resurgence for the Birds, and come Labor Day they were a game out of the second wild card slot. However it was not to be, as they dropped 18 of their final 22 games to finish the season with only 25 wins. It’s only their second losing season under Showalter, the other being in 2011.
So what happens with this franchise moving forward? That’s something we’ll discuss a great deal, between now and the first spring training games.