Growing up as a Baltimore native, I witnessed the rise of a dominant football team in the Baltimore Ravens and the decline of a baseball team in the Baltimore Orioles. I’m old enough to remember going to O’s games in the late 90’s and seeing Cal Ripken Jr light up the stat sheets. I can vaguely remember, way back when the only bird of Baltimore was the Oriole.
Over 14 years of frustrating, awful baseball was spoon fed to us 90’s babies and it stands to reason why most of us are die-hard Ravens fans and only some of us can say the same about our O’s.
Over the last month I’ve realized something that irks me in the wrong way. It almost makes sense considering the factors that come into play. Nobody wants to give the O’s credit and quite frankly, credit is deserved!
I’m not just gonna spit out some biased O’s fan blabber, instead I will provide some facts as to why this team should be talked about more, and I will also explain why I think they aren’t.
The first place O’s are replaced with the Red Sox on the bigger screens
Look at the standings and Baltimore leads the AL East by a handful of games. They’ve basically held the lead almost the entire season thus far, and as we reach the all-star break, they seem to be maintaining that lead.
The stats don’t lie, and the Red Sox do take first in that category. Although puzzling at times because the O’s offense seems to be better, I give Boston credit for wielding that nasty offense.
Here’s something else to consider….Boston is a much larger market, as well as New York, L.A. and Chicago. Of course the bigger media outlets would rather cover teams that are more popular with larger markets. Spend too much time on the O’s and they could see a drop in viewership.
I think they don’t get enough credit by those outlets. At least acknowledge how they are in first and why they are doing well this year. Instead they almost assume the team will crash at some point and drop in the standings.
This team is ranked 6th in total batting. They lead the league in home runs, and are right behind Boston in slugging percentage. As far as hitting, they have 789 hits and 430 runs. They definitely take advantage when guys are in scoring position and they depend heavily on the long ball to win games. If they keep playing this way offensively, they should have little issues finding the playoffs and a division title. Come on ESPN…You gotta at least give the O’s credit for their deadly offense.
How many more home runs does Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis need to hit before this team is acknowledged? Manny Machado is the best player right now, and nobody bats an eye.
The good thing is that several guys were voted into the all-star game.
The bull-pen is the savior of this team
Baltimore has a top 5 ranked bull-pen(bp). With a staggering 21 wins to 8 losses, this bp is stellar in every way possible. They bolster an era of about 3.20 and have delivered 272 strikeouts. With 29 saves and counting, this team has its own rescue squad when the offense can’t get it done right away and that rescue squad is loaded with guys like Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Zach Britton, Dylan Bundy and Mychal Givens.
There’s a reason why this bp is a major part of this team. The starting rotation has struggled. Chris Tillman is the ace and besides him, Kevin Gausman has done nothing but have a roller coaster season. Yovani Gallardo is doing alright, Ubaldo Jimenez has been downright awful and add the random starts of either Mike Wright and/or Tyler Wilson, you have a starting rotation that can’t push past 5 innings on average.
The patchwork starting rotation is the only reason why I can understand the naysayers, when they say the Orioles will eventually fall apart.
The bp will get worn down by the end of the season and then they won’t make it past the first playoff series if that. I get it, but this team is different. They may struggle in October but I believe they have what it takes to win.
The offense will carry this team.
I’ve seen it happen numerous times where the starting pitchers give up 5 or more points early on and the team rallies to get the win.
What makes this team special isn’t the offensive talent alone, or the bp.
It’s the fact that this team has heart.
They believe in one another and think that no matter what the deficit is, they can always come back and win.
To me, that marks the makings of a true championship team.
Love it or hate it, the O’s deserve more credit then what’s been given. It’s called “Orioles Magic” for a reason.
Hop on the train or get run over!