Ryan Flaherty Proves His Value to Baltimore Orioles


The Baltimore Orioles opened the 2015 season with an impressive 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles picked up right where they left off in 2014, smashing three home runs and playing terrific defense in the win.

Much of the focus on Opening Day was on the performance of newcomer Travis Snider. It’s well deserved. He went 3-for-4 with two RBI and made two highlight reel plays in the outfield. The only down part of his day was his attempt to stretch out a double, but was out by a long shot. I don’t fault him for that cause the former right fielder would have barely rounded first, let alone try to get to second base.

I know it has only been one game, but I already believed in Snider and yesterday just confirmed it. The guy can play and it’s only a matter of time we stop questioning the Orioles for letting Nick Markakis go.

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My unsung hero on Opening Day goes to the fan favorite (slight joke), Ryan Flaherty. Look at the box score and you’ll think I’ve lost my mind. He went 1-for-4 with a late home run and also a strikeout.

We know why Flaherty is in Baltimore. He is the ultimate utility player. With J.J. Hardy on the designated list, Flaherty filled in at shortstop beautifully.

The reason Flaherty was a integral part of the win yesterday is because he made plays when they mattered most. He always seems to come up clutch in key moments and his value was on full display in the first game of the season.

It started with a fantastic play at short, where he made a terrific diving stop to keep a smoked ball by Steven Souza in the infield. It ultimately led to a run down and the O’s got the out on a heads up play by Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce. None of that was possible if it wasn’t for the incredible defensive play from Flash.

The Rays found a bit of momentum in the bottom of the eighth. With Brad Brach on the mound, Tampa Bay recorded two hits to place runners on the corners and a Asdrubal Cabrera double off Tommy Hunter closed the Orioles lead to 5-2.

Flaherty put an end to Tampa’s hopes, blasting a solo shot to lead of the ninth. It was the nail in the coffin as the Rays had little chance to make up four runs against Zach Britton.

The haters will continue to ridicule every move Flaherty makes. Much of that criticism is due to his offensive flaws as a career .221 hitter. What you can’t argue is his career fielding percentage of .981 and ability to play every position but catcher.

That’s why Buck Showalter has him on this team. His defense is superb and if you can get anything from him at the plate, it is a bonus. It is time for Orioles fans to accept him for what he is. Like it or not, he will be a key part of this team if a World Series berth is the next step for Baltimore.

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