Sep 11, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold (14) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
I’ll admit, it has been a little while since I posted about our beloved Orioles. And there are two reasons for that.
One, I couldn’t think of something different to say. Sure, I could have said that the team is struggling, can’t pitch deep in games, can’t score runs, etc., etc.
But, that only partially applies over the last week. The other reason is that I was on vacation with my lovely wife in Baltimore for a long weekend.
Of course, we took in two Oriole games, my first two of the year.
I’m sure I have told the story several times, but my wife is a Royals’ fan. She has family in Kansas City and is a big Chiefs fan. She never followed baseball until she met me, and while she doesn’t root against the Orioles most of the time, she is a Royals’ fan. Conveniently, we got married last year on the day in between Game 2 and Game 3 of the ALDS. I listened to Delmon Young‘s memorable double as I was leaving the church to prepare for my wedding rehearsal.
So, we got to see history on behalf of both of our teams. The O’s hit two grand slams in the eighth on Friday, and the Royals’ Mike Moustakas had nine RBIs, all in the sixth inning and later on a wet Saturday.
But, there were several notable things that I took away from the games, and the last few games since have reaffirmed these thoughts.
As far as good things: Nolan Reimold. Nolan is showing the type of player I, along with fellow O’s writer Randy Buchman, thought he could be this year. He is being patient, waiting for his pitch, hitting with power, and doing really well as a leadoff hitter. Nolan, to be effective, needs to play five days a week. He can’t play 162 games a year, but he also can’t play two days a week and be successful. For me it is good to see. I’ve probably also told the story of how I won the oft-laughed about Nolan Reimold Sweepstakes when I was in college. Of course, my winnings did not include meeting Nolan, because he had been sent to AAA. So, I took a large amount of pride in being there and seeing a player that I have pulled for through tough times come up with such a huge hit.
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This team continues to show that it has a ton of power. Sure, Chris Davis leads the majors in homers, but Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Reimold, Jonathan Schoop, Steve Clevenger have also contributed. Whether this is a good thing, or a weakness as some perceive is up for debate, but when you are winning and scoring runs, it is a good thing.
Items of concern are rather numerous as well, despite the run of success. Foremost is the lack of quality starting pitching. This team rarely has gotten a game where the starter went over six innings. The starting pitchers have been largely unsuccessful. It is affecting all the pitching, and can no longer be blamed on a lack of runs scored by the offense. At this point, it is probably something that will need fixed in the off-season.
Brian Matusz is nowhere near as good as his stats would want you to believe. If you look only at Matusz’ stats, he looks like he is having a good season. But he has allowed far too many inherited runners that don’t count against him. He did over the weekend, and he left up a home run on Tuesday that tied up the game with the Red Sox. I’d be more than happy to see this be his last year in Baltimore.
Speaking of last year’s in Baltimore, I’m prepared to have Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger as the catchers next year. Any time Wieters or J.J. Hardy comes up, I assume it will be an out. Could be with no one on, could be with bases loaded. Hardy’s bat has been heating up a little bit, but it is hard to believe either of these players are going to do something good when they come to the plate. Joseph, seems to do something once a game that shows he deserves to be the starter. Clevenger has a good bat, and has really improved behind the plate.
The 2015 Baltimore Orioles are not done yet. Their recent success is putting them in position to go chase a wild card spot. Unfortunately, they are in a spot where they have to do a lot of scoreboard watching, but they aren’t done yet. This team could prove to have a little more Orioles Magic left in it. Hopefully we all get to ‘feel it happen.’