The Baltimore Orioles have been on quite a run this week, taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers and before that, taking three of four from the rival Boston Red Sox.
In the offseason, a lot of experts doubted that the Orioles could repeat what they did in 2012 this season. So far, they have proven the naysayers wrong.
As of this morning, 73 games into the 2013 season, the Orioles are 11 games over .500 and their record stands at 42-31. Baltimore trails Boston in the American League East by 1 1/2 games and if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs with the first wild spot.
Before the season began, I thought the Orioles did little to capitalize on the surprising playoff run in 2012. However, vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter had faith in the roster and knew their personnel far better than most ever thought.
The general consensus was that the Orioles needed another bat and another starting pitcher with some winning experience to keep them competitive. The public wanted a big-dollar signing or a big splash. However, Duquette and the front office showed a lot of restraint by avoiding many of the available free agents out there and trusting the players they had in-house.
They trusted core players Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis, Nick Markakis and young Manny Machado to build upon what they did last year. So far, they have done far more than most fans have ever thought at the plate and in the field.
Well, second base has been sort of a black hole with Brian Roberts being hurt. However, both Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla have come up huge in spurts and contributed despite their numbers so far.
In addition, the bullpen - despite some rough patches, notably by Jim Johnson and Pedro Strop - has done its job, and the starting pitching has been shaky, but has done enough to win.
Duquette and Showalter seemed to make all the right moves when it came to the roster last season, and they are at it again. Much of the success of a team over a 162-game schedule comes down to mitigating injuries and other events that happen during the course of it. Once again, the organization has been masterful in manipulating the roster and using the depth in the minor leagues in order to keep the big league team in order.
So far, they are handling that aspect of the business very well.
As the season has gone on, the Orioles have shown themselves to be resilient and confident. They seem to hang in every game and are showing that 2012 was no fluke.
It is hard to believe the incredible job Duquette and Showalter have done in making the Baltimore Orioles into a contender, but let’s not also forget the job that Andy MacPhail did with building this team as well.
His fingerprints are all over the 2013 roster and the foundation of Baltimore’s newfound baseball success.
For a long time, baseball took a back seat to the Baltimore Ravens when summer began. It seemed like the sport that was tailor-made for summer and fall was in perpetual purgatory. However, the run by the Birds brought baseball back to life in the region and awoke a fan base itching for a winner.
As evidenced from the crowds I saw during the Red Sox series last weekend, the park was dominated by fans donning orange, white and black. Baltimore fans bought tickets and kept Red Sox Nation from taking it over.
That is what winning brings. The fans love it and are eating it up.
Hopefully the organization can keep the good times rolling.
The Orioles are in control of their destiny this season and beyond.
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O’s appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.