Troy Patton dealing and flying under the radar

When wondering how the Orioles are winning games these days, one can't deny the impact of the second-best bullpen in the American League. All-Star closer Jim Johnson has deservedly soaked up most of the attention, followed by the emergence of Pedro Strop, and the resurgence of veterans Luis Ayala and Darren O'Day. With that many relievers having solid years, lefty Troy Patton, who has a ... read more

On weekend of his two-year anniversary, Showalter deserves praise

Has Buck Showalter been the Orioles' most significant acquisition in the last five years? I'm going to say no. That would be two-time All Star Adam Jones, who came over from Seattle in the 2008 Erik Bedard trade. But Showalter has to be second. I'm not sure if that's a testament to the positive impact Showalter has had on the organization or an indictment of ... read more

Sounding off: Orioles take on hot topics

Looking through my reporter notes from this week, I noticed I had a bunch of interesting material from inside the Orioles' clubhouse that never made it to air. I wanted to share some players' thoughts with you on some of the big topics surrounding the team, straight from the editing room floor. Topic: J.J. Hardy took a pitch in the ribs Thursday. Luckily, X-Rays were ... read more

What should Rizzo do to strengthen playoff push? Major league scouts sound off

One of the most interesting things a baseball reporter can do is sit in the press box with a group of Major League Baseball scouts. You can't get better baseball knowledge anywhere else. Usually somewhere between the time when the clubhouse closes after pregame access and the game starts there's a whole swarm of them. They're easily spotted with their metal clipboards and lanyards around ... read more

Crystal ball time: Who makes the playoffs?

Let the second half begin. The Nationals enter Act Two four games ahead of the Braves in the NL East. The Orioles are seven games behind the Yankees in the AL East. It would be beyond exciting to see both teams make the playoffs for the first time since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. Absent the luxury of ... read more

What's Rizzo's plan for the second half?

The Nationals are wrapping up their strongest first half since 2005, when they went into the All Star break 19 games above .500. That year, the Nats finished in last place in the National League East with a .500 record. Many believe the 2012 Nats are different. They appear built for the long haul and a big reason is their strong starting pitching. But there ... read more

Thanks to young phenoms, hustle is back in baseball

There's a Charlie Hustle revival going on in the major leagues. Last weekend, we saw 19-year-old Bryce Harper visit Camden Yards and the very next series, we see 20-year-old Mike Trout. About a month ago, the Orioles visited Toronto, where they got a glimpse of 22-year-old Brett Lawrie. Throw in Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and there's suddenly a crop of young, exciting players infiltrating the ... read more

On to brighter battles of the Beltway variety

After watching Davey Johnson and Joe Maddon exchange blows Wednesday, I was considering this blog entry be a list of all of baseball's unwritten rules. Then, my friend Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times informed me that two books have already been written on the subject. There goes my dream. Luckily, I have another great idea. It involves a wooden round circle with spokes ... read more