Reflecting On The Orioles At The All Star Break

Orioles All Stars

It doesn’t seem like long ago that Ty Wigginton was the Orioles lone All-Star in a season in which the O’s entered the break with a 29-59 record. That’s probably because it was only three years ago. Despite sitting in third place in the AL East, life is pretty good as an O’s fan in 2013. Our beloved Birds are 53-43 and have sent five representatives to Citi Field in New York for the mid-summer classic.

I never would have believed you if you told me back in the summer of 2010 that the O’s would take over the All-Star game in just three seasons, but lo and behold here we are. Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones will start for the American League, while Manny Machado will back up the defending Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, at third base and Chris Tillman will provide relief for skipper Jim Leyland.

Monday night, fans watched as the league’s leader in homers took a crack at his first Home Run Derby. Davis advanced to the second round with eight long balls and then was eliminated after hitting four and opening a callous on his right hand. The Orioles first baseman has been the top story of the first half grabbing headlines nationally for his breakout season. Davis has seven more home runs than the aforementioned Cabrera, leads the league with a .717 slugging percentage and has hit more extra-base hits than singles this season (64 XBH, 44 1B). He’ll bat cleanup ahead of Toronto’s Jose Bautista.

Adam Jones enters the All-Star break having homered in three consecutive games. After a difficult June, Jones is batting .327/.389/.612 with four homers and 10 RBI in 13 games in July. He leads centerfielders in home runs at the All-Star break (19), hits (117) and RBI (67). He’s also become one of the Orioles most clutch hitters, batting .329/.353/.491 with runners in scoring position. Jones will hit seventh behind David Ortiz and ahead of Joe Mauer.

Then there’s J.J. Hardy, who seems to make the difficult plays look routine at shortstop. Hardy has helped the Orioles turn 69 of their 100 double plays this season and has posted a .982 fielding percentage in the first 96 games of the season. At the dish, Hardy earned his starting spot in the All-Star game with a .324/.364/.520 slashline in June. He’ll hit ninth today for the American League.

On the bench is one of baseball’s top young phenoms, a name that Orioles fans hope and expect the league to be talking about for years to come, third baseman Manny Machado. The 21 year old is just four hits behind Miguel Cabrera for the league lead (132) and continues to stand atop baseball in the doubles category with 39. In his first full season in the Majors, Machado also leads the O’s in triples (3) and has made more web gems than any player in the game.

Chris Tillman was a late addition to the All-Star roster, replacing Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander who was ineligible to pitch after starting on Sunday. Tillman is 11-3 with a 3.95 ERA and 2.17 K/BB over 19 starts this season. In June, Tillman was 6-0 with a 2.38 ERA and held opponents to a .206 batting average against. The Orioles have been victorious in 14 of Tillman’s 19 starts this season.

It’s hard to reflect on the 2013 Orioles and avoid comparing them to the counterparts from a season ago. Through their first 96 games in 2012, the Orioles were 51-45. July was their only losing month of the season (13-14), but they rolled in August (18-9) and September (19-9). With Wei-Yin Chen returning to the rotation, the addition of Scott Feldman and the continued success of starting lineup, I’m sure Buck Showalter is expecting similar results this season.

What a great time to be an Orioles fan.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

26 Comments

  1. Ravens2488

    July 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Everyone knows I’m not onboard with the O’s Front Office because of the shit they do but it’s nice to finally see some Orioles of importance in the All-Star game and not the obligatory Oriole for the sake of taking someone from each team.

    Now lets see what they do with the contract of Wieters and Davis in the next couple years. That will tell a lot…

    • MGW

      July 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      You’re happy with the players the FRONT OFFICE went out and got, but you’re not happy with the FRONT OFFICE…

      Interesting.

    • 9inchnails

      July 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Let’s see what they do next week, the next couple of years can wait.

  2. Ravens2488

    July 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Yeah the Orioles front office that gets guys like McFarland, Justin Duchscherer, no true #1 or #2 pitcher in the last bunch of years, continually drafting high school players or busts like Billy Rowell, Hobgood, Brandon Snyder, Chris Smith, Mike Fontenot (Not good to have a first round bust when you draft as high as the Orioles have the last 13 years) or signing/trading for players that are bums.

    Orioles Front Office found a few gems but I think their overall track record is pretty poor.

    They make the playoffs last year, team is pretty close to possibly doing it again this year but during the off season the Front Office doesn’t try to sign/trade for a couple front line pitchers to get them over the hump? Doesn’t have to be ace’s but some guys with a good track record…

    Their last trade is a great indicator that they aren’t willing to go all out. Yeah they made a trade, a trade for Scott Feldman, a career 47 win 51 loss, 4.69 era pitcher. Not a pitcher that will get you to that coveted prize. Front Office is doing just enough to make the fan base think they are trying to win it but they aren’t willing to put the chips on the table and go for it.

    And don’t even start with the “who do they have in the minors to trade” bit because whose fault is that? It goes back to the drafting aspect. When you have as many high draft picks as the Orioles have and you’ve blown 80% of them then it’s the Orioles fault.

    It’s so bad that they are playing Yo-Yo with a young Gausman by bringing him up and down. His confidence is going to be busted if it already hasn’t.

    • spy

      July 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Ravens 2488 is right on ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,all you have to do is look at the previous fourteen years to get an indication of how good the front office was / is ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,when you subject your fanbase to fourteen years of lousy baseball it shows you don’t care or are not capable or both,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,all teams get lucky once in a while , lets see how long this lucky streak lasts,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I also want to see who they bring in this off-season and how they handle the upcoming contracts,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,you can’t blame fans for being skeptical as their track record id pretty poor,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      • 9inchnails

        July 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

        Why are you guys dwelling on the past. Hell we did win the 66 series didn’t we? Won 109 games in 70. Kick the Phillies ass in 83. Oh wait a minute the past does not count….stick to the present nut brains. You have been spending too much time in the sandbox with The Intimidator…….

  3. MGW

    July 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    You got all sorts of years of history and front offices going on in this thread. So stuff that Doug Fletcher did is YOUR fault? You say the “track record hasn’t been good and then mention “13 years” of drafting. The current front office has been here two years and the previous one 5. All of the All Stars on this team were brought in by this front office. The last two GMs have started putting humpty dumpty back together again.

    McFarland, for your info, I know you tune in about once a year, has been a pretty decent lefty out of the bullpen.

    Toronto did go out and get three front line starters this offseason, as you suggested the Orioles should have. 2012 Cy Young Award Winner RA Dickey, who is 8-10 with a 4.69 ERA; former 19 game winner who is 5-6 with a 4.89 ERA, and Josh Johnson, 1-5 with a 5.16 ERA.

    If Baltimore could have moved to the National League AND the west coast (both criteria stated by Zach Greinke) they could have signed him. Damn it! Wish we could have moved the state.

    Again, you don’t follow the team, but Gausman has been “yo yo-ed” up and down to keep him on a regular rotation. You see the minor leagues are not on All Star break, so he can keep working and not sit around waiting to pitch.

    The last few drafts under this front office and McPhail’s? Machado is among the top 3 young players in the league. Matusz? Right now, an effective lefty out of the bullpen, much like the way the careers of Scott McGrego, Mike Boddicker and Mike Flanagan started off. Wieters? Probably the top 2-3 catcher in the league, overall. Dylan Bundy – widely regarded as a future ACE (I know you guys love this word). Just had TJ surgery, but most come back stronger. Hobgood? Sheer dud, but hey, every team has them, take a look around. Gausman, we already discussed.

    Trades that brought Jones, Hunter, Tillman, Hardy, Davis (3 All Stars) all came within the last 3-4 years under the front office you say has failed so bad.

    Who’s fault is it that the minor leagues are so shallow? Peter Angelos and his front offices prior to McPhail and Duquette.

    You see, Mr. Angelos thought you could ignore your scouting and drafting,thought you could deplete your minor leagues by trading away the few prospects they had for stop-gap players (like Garza who is signed only thru this season), and thought he could buy a pennant – Belle, Alomar, Palmeiro (twice), Bordick, Bonilla.

    Give him credit, he saw the light. Saw you have to invest in scouting and player development – it’s got a little ways to go, but he’s staying the course. He also realized you can’t empty out your minor leagues to acquire mediocre pitchers for two months at the end of the season.

    He’s investing in HIS players – Hardy, Wieters (got a $4.5 mil raise this year), Jones, Roberts (Can’t predict injuries).

    A lot WAS done wrong, but they are getting back to basics.

    • MGW

      July 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      By the way, the 5-6, 4.89 ERA pitcher the Jays got was Mark Buerhle.

      • MGW

        July 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

        Oh, and Markakis got a nice contract extension too.

    • spy

      July 17, 2013 at 9:55 am

      You must be related to Peter the Great,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,no body that has a life follows the O’s like you do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I believe you may be a bit psycotic…………………..

      • 9inchnails

        July 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        We are fans, true fans. Unlike the guys who want to whine about the team. You, Ravens 2488 and Chowman should have another threesome. We don’t look at the sad recent past and cry over it, we see where THE CURRENT team is headed.

        • spy

          July 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm

          I’m not crying over the past , however , if you ignore the past it will once again rear it’s ugly head,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,just look at your history books for concrete proof , or did you not go to school………………………..

        • Ravens2488

          July 18, 2013 at 5:16 am

          This from 2InchMan who would bend over at the drop of a dime. You should change your name to “Radio”.

      • MGW

        July 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Id like to argue with you spy, err Mystery Man, err Jimmy Dundalk, ah $hit, whoever you’re Prozac tells you you are today, but it’d be in vain. I do spend a significant part of my free time and discretionary income following the Os. It’s better than booze, or pills, or chasing women, so I guess I’ll keep on doing it.

        Things that aggravate me are fans that throw things out there and have no idea what they’re talking about. I watch this team nearly every game, follow this blog, follow their podcast, listen to Buster Olney’s podcast…you get the idea.

        A top flight pitcher is an elusive thing. Their aren’t many and even fewer that maintain consistency and even fewer who move in the free agent market and have success.

        Toronto brought in three supposed ACEs this past year. All three have been horrible and you and the others that beat up the team would be all over them if they signed Buerhle, Dickey, or Johnson.

        This game is unlike any other played. It’s a game of failure even for the best of players. Imagine Joe Flacco completing 10 of 30 passes per game and where would he be? Yet a batter going 10 for every 30 is heading to Cooperstown.

        Sounds like its not your game and you try to compare it to football where you draft a player in April and he plugs a hole for you in September. It takes years for most draftees to make an impact and some never do. There’s just no comparison.

        Peace spy. Thanks for always contributing and your dedication to the site.

        • spy

          July 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

          I think we tend to agree more than you think,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I believe you are correct in saying sports are better then booze or pills , we may disagree on the woman part ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I always enjoy a good discussion with you , I don’t view them as arguements as much as they may be insightful conversations,,,,,,,,,,,,,I admitt my knowledge of baseball may not be as sound as yours , that is why I enjoy our discussions as it represents a challenge to me,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I can keep up with anyone on football but I sometimes struggle on the baseball front,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,you are a worthy opponent my friend,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

          • MGW

            July 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

            Roger that, buddy. A little tabasco makes the world go around. If we always agreed, nobody would post.

            Is this a Kumbaya moment for us?!?

  4. Ravens2488

    July 17, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Do the Orioles pay you MGW? Cause you are the biggest Oriole apologist in Maryland… If the Orioles signed 12 year old “Little Jimmy” from Dundalk you would say it was a great signing for the future. You talk about Pink Leprachauns or whatever however you wear Orange Underwear with a Black Streak…

    BTW, the Doug Fletcher analogy was great!

    • anonymous hippopotamus

      July 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

      If you have the name Ravens in your profile name, you’ve already let the world know you suffer from a mental disability. Great comment.

    • 9inchnails

      July 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      We dwell on the Chris Davis deal and not the Glen Davis deal. Don’t look for a seat on this year’s bandwagon!

  5. Pole

    July 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

    You mentioned Matusz but you would expect a number four overall pick to be better than 24-34 record and 5.19 era as a starter. Now they have him in the bullpen doing a decent job, but come on, # 4 overall pick in his fifth season. Then you have Hobgood as my boy 2488 has stated, nowhere to be seen (# 5 overall pick). Finally in 2010 they got it right with Machado. Too early to tell on Bundy. Gausman looks like he could be a keeper as well. BTW MGW, didn’t you bust on the organization for bringing in Dan D as GM when he had been out of baseball for 8 or 9 years? I’m just sayin.

    • MGW

      July 18, 2013 at 7:36 am

      Pole said – BTW MGW, didn’t you bust on the organization for bringing in Dan D as GM when he had been out of baseball for 8 or 9 years? I’m just sayin.

      Nope. While I was disappointed that McPhail resigned, I never busted on them for hiring Duquette. Some of your other buddies did, but not me.

      • Anvil

        July 18, 2013 at 8:45 am

        Are you sure? I vividly remember someone looking very much like you making those comments. You probably forgot since it was two years ago and your creeping up on the big 50.

        • MGW

          July 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

          You’re older than me, buddy, so it’s you who forgot. Check with your other SF buddies. I KNOW who said it, but I wont put it in writing.

          • Ravens2488

            July 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

            The “Big Anvil” knows I was one of those that agreed about “Double D” but he’s saying others also have said it or were in agreement… I’ll admit to it…

            I wish Mystery Man was here to agree about “Double D”. That is a righteous dude who is hip to the happenings of Maryland sports.

  6. The Intimidator

    July 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    What does Mystery Man feel about this entire situation? Now there is a guy who has the cajones to tell it like it is!

    You clowns have ADHD while Mystery Man has ASD (Attention Surplus Disorder).

    Mystery Man is like Yoda, Ghandi, Confucious and Napolean Dynamite all rolled into one with his knowledge…

    • mystery man

      July 17, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      You forgot ‘all knowing’…however you are forgiven , I’m a complex individual.