The Orioles are off today, so they can savor being 11 games above .500 for the first time this season.
More likely, they haven’t given it a single thought.
That’s especially true of third baseman Manny Machado, who only gives double thoughts. (See what I did there?)
This team doesn’t obsess over records and streaks. It hasn’t swept a series longer than two games, but it keeps winning them. Sixteen if you’re counting at home, which leads the majors.
I sensed some panic here when the Orioles lost six in a row to leave their record at 23-21. And when Jim Johnson blew three straight save opportunities, and four of five. And when Pedro Strop botched the game against the Angels during the last homestand, when manager Buck Showalter had the nerve to use him in a close game.
The Orioles have won eight of their last 11 games. Johnson has converted 11 straight save opportunities since the ugliness in Toronto. Strop has thrown two straight scoreless innings, with no walks and four strikes. Yes, in non-pressure situations, but humor me.
Were the Orioles supposed to take thee of four from the Red Sox and two of three from the Tigers? Did the pitching matchups in Motown favor them?
The biggest criticism I hear from opposing scouts is how the Orioles’ rotation isn’t built for a deep run in the postseason. Executive vice president Dan Duquette is always in the market for pitching, and he could make a trade at the non-waiver deadline or later. Kevin Gausman’s development could alter that opinion, though expecting him to be the staff ace at this stage of his career is pretty unfair.
You tell me whether it’s also unrealistic.
The front office was widely criticized for not adding a middle-of-the-order bat over the winter. A thumper. Turns out, they already had one in Chris Davis.
Runs aren’t an issue. It’s going to come down to starting pitching.
Wei-Yin Chen can’t return soon enough, and a healthy Steve Johnson would be a valuable piece to Showalter, who seeks flexibility in his pitching staff. We have no idea whether Tsuyoshi Wada can offer anything besides reminders that he’s costing ownership $8.15 million.
I’ll say it again: It’s going to come down to starting pitching, and the Orioles need to decide whether they have enough and what they’re going to do if the answer is “no.” Panic isn’t an option.
Going back to Davis, in his last 39 games since May 9, he’s batting .357 with 13 doubles, 17 home runs, 35 RBIs and 31 runs scored. Is that good?
Davis served as the designated hitter yesterday and went 3-for-5 with a double, two homers and five RBIs.
“I think we’ve found ourselves a DH,” Showalter quipped.
Not really. But Davis could start behind the plate and hit 450-foot home runs. He’s on that kind of a roll.
Meanwhile, there’s nothing new on the Brian Roberts front, which is a good thing. Showalter told reporters during the last homestand that Roberts could be ready to begin an injury rehab assignment after this road trip, and that’s still the plan. No setbacks.
Nolan Reimold could be activated from the disabled list as Roberts leaves for his assignment. Reimold is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in two games at Double-A Bowie. He was the designated hitter on Tuesday and started in left field last night.