Every year when the Baltimore Orioles do not make the playoffs, I am always struck by the number of former O’s that pop up here and there on playoffs rosters. It always makes me think that these guys are likely saying to themselves, “Man, I’m glad I’m not with the Orioles anymore, or I’d be at home watching this.”
And the most amazing thing is that Delmon Young is not on a playoffs roster, breaking his streak of six consecutive years with four different teams. Surely someone would have thrown him a couple of million bucks just for the good luck charm that he obviously is.
Of course the biggest name among former Birds who are now flying with other flocks is that of Jake Arrieta. He has already continued his masterful season by shutting out the Pirates in a very entertaining Wildcard game. Arrieta is baseball’s version of “the total makeover.” It is very impressive, as we wrote about it earlier this week, detailing all of the numbers. And there he was the other night, in the middle of everything as the focus of a baseball brawl in the playoffs! Yes, Jake — the guy whose cap never fit his head properly in Baltimore.
Arrieta only gave up four hits, but two of these were solid singles by former Baltimore Orioles who were pinch-hitters. The first was rosy-faced Travis Snider. After the O’s deleted him this year when hitting only .237, he ended up back in Pittsburgh where he batted .192 — on 5-for-26 as a utility outfielder / pinch-hitter (on 12 occasions, 1-for-11 with a double and walk). Mike Morse got the other pinch hit. He too joined the Pirates in the latter portion of the season, hitting .275 in 45 games (though only 82 plate appearances).
Another part of the Cubs rotation is former Oriole Jason Hammel, who was 15-14 in two seasons with the Orioles — 2012 and 2013. This year for the Cubs he started 31 games, going 10-7 in 170.2 innings of 3.74 ERA pitching. With a WHIP of 1.16, he had a very fine season.
Also with the Cubs as part of the Arrieta trade is Pedro Strop. He has had two rather good seasons there, with 2.91 and 2.21 ERAs. This last year his WHIP number is an awesome 1.00 in 68 innings, with batters hitting just .167 against him! After having a good season with the Orioles in 2012 but getting off to a rough start in 2013, I thought the Orioles gave up on him too soon.
After the great season of the Toronto Blue Jays, it is surprising to see them immediately down 2-0 to the upstart Houston Astros, who barely made it into the playoffs. Losing the game for them in the 14th inning last night was former Orioles reliever — the ageless one (turning 43 in December) — LaTroy Hawkins. After getting the first two batters out, he gave up three consecutive singles. Then another former Orioles offseason acquisition of a couple years ago (who never appeared in any games for the O’s), Liam Hendriks, came in and gave up yet a fourth single before getting the final out. The final score was 6-4.
Hawkins pitched in 18 games at the end of the season for the Jays, registering a 2.76 ERA in 16.1 innings. Last night’s appearance was the 20th playoff game in his long career. Hawkins pitched for the Orioles in 2006, where he was 3-2 with a 4.48 ERA in 60 games. Hendriks, the Australian, had a fine season with a 5-0 record, 2.82 ERA, WHIP of 1.08, and 71 strikeouts in 62.2 innings for Toronto this year.
And of course, Jose Bautista was 3-for-11 with the Orioles in 2004 at the very beginning of his career, but we don’t want to talk about that!
Johnson’s career has been mostly with the Braves, for whom he played in the early part of this season. For the Mets he was in 49 games and hit .250 with five homers. Johnson was only with the Orioles for a brief time at the beginning of 2014, hitting just .231 in 19 games before also playing with the Yankees and Red Sox.
Mark Reynolds is arguably the biggest strikeout king in baseball history, at least in terms of total numbers in a single season. He batted .230 for the Cardinals this year in 140 games with 382 at-bats and 13 home runs. Like Chris Davis, he does draw a lot of walks and therefore had an OBP of a decent .315. In 2011 and 2012 for the Orioles, Reynolds hit 27 and 26 home runs while batting .221 each season. He also struck out 355 times. Reynolds is a really good guy, and it would be great to see him succeed in these playoffs. He was 0-for-1 in the first game last night, won by the Cards 4-0.
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