The debate about whether the Baltimore Orioles should sell or not (and when) rages on as Philadelphia rolls into town this evening for a short two game series. In fact, this is a series that will last about a day-and-a-half, as tomorrow’s game is an afternoon affair. Players and coaches alike aren’t fans of these two-game sets. It’s only one game less than a regular series, however it’s somewhat disruptive to the normal grind.
At 13-28, people are saying sell, sell, sell. And almost conveniently, whatever return the Orioles got in a sale would probably not be enough for some people. But I digress. Dan Duquette said he wanted to wait things out until about Memorial Day before making any big decisions. We now enter a stretch that will leave us right at that point.
Philadelphia’s a good team, but they could also be suseptable here and there, especially with a young manager. The Orioles would do well to sweep them, however statistically most of these two-game sets end in splits. The Birds then head to Boston for four games (one of which is a makeup game). The O’s are playing better, and Boston’s looked ever-so-slightly more pedestrian than they did the first time the two teams met. Might the Birds have a shot at splitting that series also?
Let’s say that happened – just for conversation’s sake. That would put them at either 17-30 or 16-31; still not exactly competing for the division title. However look past that – the O’s head to the south side of Chicago for four games. The ChiSox are looking worse than the Orioles, who at least can say that they’ve seen an uptick in their play the last week or so. Would three-of-four be a stretch?
Following the Chicago series, the O’s head to Tampa for three games over the physical weekend days on Memorial Day weekend. The Birds just finished up with Tampa, who while having the spunk and audacity of youth, is still a young team. Again, would it be a stretch to say they could take two-of-three?
If things occurred just as I said above, the O’s would be at either 22-32 or 21-33. And we’d literally be at Memorial Day, when Washington comes to town. Many of you will say that the record would still indicate a sell-off is necessary. And I’m on record as saying that I think the Birds should consider selling Machado right now (IF they get the proper return, that is). But it would be interesting to see what people would be saying if the O’s were able to string together a few positive series’ in the next week-and-a-half or so.
And here’s the other thing; a lot of people out there refuse to look just a bit deeper and thus past the tips of their noses (no matter how long) at this team. It’s all fine and dandy to simply read the box score and/or look at the standings and callously suggest that you know what’s going on or what the story is. Let’s keep in mind that this Orioles team was incredibly nick’d up the first five weeks or so of the season. The likes of Schoop, Beckham, Trumbo, Britton, and O’Day were on the DL. Some of them still are. Now they have Schoop and Trumbo back, and that at least has the offense looking better.
They also had just about everything go wrong in games that could have gone wrong. And I’m not talking about errors, many of which could be attributed to some of the aforementioned injuries. I’m talking about balls taking weird hops, instant replay overturns that shouldn’t have happened, strike zones changing, etc. So what, am I saying that the Orioles are actually a team in contention in disguise?
No, not at all. I’m saying that there are intangibles in games, all of which seemed to break the opponent’s way regarding the Orioles for some time. You’re never as bad as you’re made out to be when things are really going poorly. The Orioles are an example of that. And when things are going well, you’re never really as good as you think. As I said above, Boston’s looked just a bit more human over the past couple of weeks.
Mind you folks, when I went through the litany of games and series’ above, those weren’t predictions. Those were me saying what was possible and where it would leave the Birds. If they’re going to end up with a respectable record, they have to start shaving space off between wins and losses. And you do that by winning series’.