The Baltimore Orioles have been on quite a run this week, taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers and before that, taking three of four from the rival Boston Red Sox.
In the offseason, a lot of experts doubted that the Orioles could repeat what they did in 2012 this season. So far, they have proven the naysayers wrong.
As of this morning, 73 games into the 2013 season, the Orioles are eleven games over .500 and their record stands at 42-31. Baltimore trails Boston in the American League East by 1 ½ games and if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs with the first wild spot.
Before the season began, I thought the Orioles did little to capitalize on surprising playoff run in 2012; however, team vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter had faith in the roster and knew their personnel far better than most ever thought.
The general consensus was that the Orioles needed another bat and another starting pitcher with some winning experience to keep them competitive. The public wanted a big-dollar dollar signing or a big splash; however, Duquette and the front office showed a lot of restraint by avoiding many of the available free agents out there and trusting the players they had in house.
They trusted their core players Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis and Nick Markakis and young Manny Machado to build upon what they did last year. So far, they have done far more than most fans have ever thought at the plate and in the field.
Well, second base has been sort of a black hole with Brian Roberts being hurt; however, both Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla have come up huge in spurts and contributed despite their numbers so far.
In addition, the bullpen – despite some rough patches, notably by Jim Johnson and Pedro Strop – has done its job, and the starting pitching has been shaky, but has done enough to win.