There were so many ways to statistically quantify how dramatic the turnaround was for the Orioles under Buck Showalter.
You can look at the starting pitching stats or the hitting with runners in scoring position stats.
You could also look at how the O’s did when playing the Beasts of the AL East.
Before Showalter took over, the club won just one of 15 series vs. the East. Then, under Buck, they won five of nine. They were 10-35 before Buck and 14-13 vs. the East with Buck.
Here is what Showalter said about the club’s improved play vs. the East:
“I think if you look at how we did it and it’s one thing I’ll remind them about, it’s not near as complicated. What was the difference?
“Whether it be another team not backing up a base and giving up 90 feet and now the guy scores on a sac fly. That’s one of the things we are going to pull together and remind them. Why? What’s the difference?
“How do you bridge the gap, regardless whether you have a 200 million dollar payroll or 70 million dollar payroll. How do you bridge that gap?
“Here are the things we did that made that happen. This is what you have to bring. There are different ways to bridge the gap. There are clubs that have shown that is possible if you are willing to hold yourself to a standard that let’s you bridge that gap.”
So what was the difference?
“Obviously, the pitching got better, we defended better and we got healthier. I could go into a hundred different things during the course of a game that are difference makers.
“They are not always sexy or statistical things that show up in an arbitration hearing either, okay.”
O’s outfield prospect Xavier Avery needed a big game and got one Friday in the Arizona Fall League, going 4 for 5 with three runs scored.
I was not the least bit concerned about this talented 20-year-old, but it had been a while since he had done something like that.
After being promoted in August to Double-A Bowie, Avery was batting .283 after his first 15 Baysox games.
But then he finished the year going 8 for 47. Then he joined the Frederick Keys for the playoffs and went 0 for 15. Then he went 0 for 8 in his first two AFL games. That’s a combined 8 for 70 (.114) until Friday’s four-hit game.
Avery will be fine. Earlier this week he was rated as the 12th best prospect in the Carolina League for this year by Baseball America.
Meanwhile, Ryan Adams has gotten off to a great start for Scottsdale, going 6 for 12 with a homer and 7 RBI in just three games. He had one RBI in game one, then four in game two and two on Friday. After playing some at third base late in the year with Bowie, Adams has made three starts at third for Scottsdale.
Here is an article I published recently on the solid year Adams had in 2010 at Bowie.