Apr 19, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Bud Norris (25) is relieved by manager Buck Showalter during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: The Simple Formula for Playoffs Contention


 

There is a simple formula for the Baltimore Orioles or any other team to be a playoff contender: simply win nine out of every 16 games. That doesn’t sound so difficult, does it? Does 9-7 look like a great record? Not really. How about 18-14, or 27-21? That looks a little bit better. But if a team keeps doing that, after 160 games they will be 90-70 … then split the final two and the record is 91-71.

No, 91 wins does not guarantee a playoff spot, and chances are that it will most often take another two or three victories, but you get the point – simply winning nine out of every 16 games puts a team into the contender category.

With the Orioles, a win over the Red Sox in Boston on Saturday would have put the Birds at 9-7. Bud Norris pitched well enough for that to have happened, but the good guys in orange would only able to squeeze out a pair of runs in a 4-2 loss. The record now – 8-8. So the Orioles will have to win 10 of the next 16 to get back on the pace discussed above.

Saturday afternoon’s game was reminiscent of the past – hanging around with Boston for a while, unable to get the one critical big hit to break the game open, and at last seeing the Sox score late and then hang on with the bullpen. Add to that the offended Boston player for being pitched high and tight while attempting to bunt, and it looks like the 2010 era.

Without doubt, Boston pitching was good today. They were beatable, but they were tough. Felix Doubrant had some good stuff.

Before moving on to the next game, I’ll just comment on a curiosity at the very end. Koji Uehara came on for the 9th inning. He hardly ever walks anyone, but gave up a base on balls to Matt Wieters to open the inning. With one out, Uehara struck out the final two batters – Jonathan Schoop and Steve Lombardozzi. The wind was blowing from left to right, and it aided the critical triple by Brian Holt that contributed to the two runs that were the difference. With Koji on the mound and down two runs with the wind blowing to right, would it not have made sense to bat Steve Clevenger and Ryan Flaherty in that situation? Or even David Lough? All three lefties would have more likely had the ability to turn on a pitch and take it deep. I seldom question Buck and don’t think there is a better manager in the game, but on this occasion I believes these pinch hitters would have made sense.

Moving on … For this Easter Sunday evening ballgame, it will be interesting to see if Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can experience a personal pitching resurrection. He needs it. The Baltimore Orioles need it. But his career numbers against the Red Sox would seem to indicate he is more likely to remain dead in the ground behind an unmoved stone. Over five games and 23.2 innings, he has an ERA of 10.27. It will be a cool evening in Boston, and Jimenez is a warm weather pitcher.

(For some reason I cannot explain, the feeling I have about this game reminds me of another holiday game a few years ago in Boston – known as the Mother’s Day Massacre (2007). The Orioles went into the 9th inning with a 5-0 lead, only to blow it completely and lose 6-5. Instead of evening their season record, they dropped to 18-20 and went 51-73 for the rest of the season to finish 69-93.)

Against Jimenez, Dustin Pedroia is 7-for-15 and Jonny Gomes is 5-of-15 with two homers. Ortiz is only 1-for-9, but it was a home run.

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

A.J. Pierzynski

20

4

2

0

1

2

0

3

.200

Jonny Gomes

15

5

0

0

2

5

2

5

.333

Dustin Pedroia

15

7

1

0

0

4

2

3

.467

David Ortiz

9

1

0

0

1

2

3

2

.111

Daniel Nava

8

3

3

0

0

3

1

3

.375

Will Middlebrooks

8

2

1

0

0

2

1

3

.250

Mike Napoli

7

4

1

0

2

3

0

0

.571

Xander Bogaerts

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

1.000

 

The Baltimore Orioles will be facing a difficult customer in Jake Peavy. He is 132-98 over his 13-year career with a 3.50 ERA. Peavy does not have a record yet this year from his three starts, but he has pitched well in each start. He has thrown 18.2 innings and given up only 12 hits and four runs (ERA of 1.93).

Jake has not actually pitched very much against the Orioles – only started against them on three occasions. The Birds are batting .213 against him. Some of the Orioles numbers against him are very painful, like J.J. Hardy who is 1-for-17. Delmon Young is the only Oriole with a home run against Peavy…

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

J.J. Hardy

17

1

1

0

0

0

3

4

.059

Delmon Young

13

3

1

0

1

3

1

5

.231

Nick Markakis

8

3

0

0

0

0

1

2

.375

Nelson Cruz

7

2

2

0

0

1

1

1

.286

Adam Jones

5

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

.200

Matt Wieters

6

2

2

0

0

2

0

2

.333

Chris Davis

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

.000

David Lough

3

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

.333

 

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles