Guest Post by Matt Sroka of Section336.com.
The Baltimore Orioles are not a powerhouse team, they do not win the way most other teams win, and this is okay. We just need to stop insisting that the Orioles be like other teams. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard fans say that the Orioles need to sign a big name/bat for the middle of their lineup.
The Orioles do not need a big bat for the middle of their lineup because they already have one. Yeah, I know it would have been nice to have gone out in Free Agency last offseason and sign Josh Hamilton with his .204 batting average and 2 homeruns or BJ Upton with his .143 batting average and 3 homeruns. Unfortunately though, we are stuck with Chris Davis’ .348 batting average and 9 homeruns hitting in the middle of our lineup.
Okay, fine so maybe the Orioles didn’t need to go out and sign a big bat but surely they should have signed a big arm, right? No. The Orioles do not need an ace. I understand that every “powerhouse” team in baseball has an ace (Angels-Weaver, Tigers- Verlander, Yankees- Sabathia, Rays- Price). However, aces don’t guarantee a spot in the World Series, aces don’t even guarantee a spot in the playoffs (just ask Weaver and the Angels!). The object of baseball is to win.
Need I remind O’s fans what happened just last year, if there was ever a time when an ace is most necessary wouldn’t it be in a one game win or go home playoff scenario? I would rather take a mediocre Joe Saunders and a win over the ace Yu Darvish and a lost.
Okay, fine so the Orioles can win without an ace, but to make up for being aceless surely you need five consistent starters, right? No (and don’t call me Shirley). The Orioles do not need five consistent starters.
In fact this year, as well as last year, having a revolving door in their rotation has been an advantage. Since the Orioles lack an ace and pitchers to go deep into games, the Orioles are constantly in need of bullpen help. This revolving door in the starting rotation allows Showalter and Duquette to bring up fresh arms when needed to help in the bullpen. The Orioles have a plethora of options at starter and as long as they keep on winning I don’t care if we get a new fifth starter every fifth day.
Again, the goal of baseball is to win games. The goal of baseball is not to have an overpriced big hitter to sell tickets and then get booed when he starts struggling. The goal of baseball is certainly not to acquire an overpriced pitcher who plays in only two games before he breaks his collarbone. The goal of baseball is to do whatever it takes to win.
Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles have figured out the formula for winning baseball and even if they don’t do it like anyone else (and even if it involves a little bit of Oriole Magic), they are finding ways to put games “in the win column”.