I’m sure sabermetricians could come up with some advanced stats liked runs saved or something else to show us how good the Orioles defense is.
I’m going with the old-fashioned eye test and the O’s have filled up with my TV screen with Gold Glove work the last two nights at Texas.
Pick a player on the field and he probably made a nice play. J.J. Hardy ranges up the middle, Brian Roberts with an off-balance throw. Adam Jones dekes a runner and gets a forceout at second on what should have been a single. Nick Markakis leaps over the right field wall. Matt Wieters reaches over the wall behind the plate for a nice play. At first, there was Chris Davis stretching, reaching and scooping balls out of the dirt.
Manny Machado at third. Do I really need to say anymore than that?
The great Orioles teams of yesteryear were built on pitching and defense, and the O’s have sure gotten some of both in Texas. The Rangers? Let’s be nice and just say their team is coming up a distant second on defense in this series.
Defense might be hard to statistically quantify, but it’s not hard to appreciate when you see a team that plays it so consistently well day by day as the Orioles do. They make routine plays, they make great plays, they make all the plays.
Does anyone remember anymore the mental gaffe that allowed a runner to move from second to third on Friday night? Well, anyone besides Buck Showalter?
If a pitcher can gain confidence simply by having a good catcher behind the plate, they must get confidence as well when playing behind a team this good on defense.
Some teams have better pitching than the Orioles. Some have better offenses. Some have more speed. None have a better defense.
Maybe the Orioles of Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger and Paul Blair were better on defense than this team.