Archive for October, 2012

Orioles get another sweep, this time at Gold Glove award ceremony

October 31, 2012

Goldman Jones

Add a nice little exclamation point to the Birds’ magical 2012 season.

All three Orioles that were finalists at their position for Gold Glove awards – J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters – were declared the victors last night.

It was Hardy’s first Gold Glove, Wieters second (and second consecutive) and Jones’s second (first since 2009).

While it was no shock that Hardy took home the accolade, as mentioned here yesterday, I was a bit (happily) surprised that Wieters and Jones won. In addition to being kick-ass defenders, the O’s may have benefited a bit from their durability – Wieters played more games than any A.L. catcher (134), Hardy played in the most games he ever has in his career (158), and Jones was a mini-Iron Man, playing in all 162 contests.

While many expected Anaheim’s Mike Trout to take home the Gold Glove in center field, he likely suffered from two factors: being a rookie, and playing only 110 games in center field. It’s not uncommon to see deserving defenders get snubbed their first few times being nominated.

Regardless, I’m more than happy to be wrong this time around.

It was the first time the O’s won three Gold Gloves in a season since 1998.

Congrats to all three Birds!


Gold Gloves announced tonight, three Orioles are finalists

October 30, 2012

Just like last year, the Birds have three finalists for the Gold Glove award at their respective positions. Last season, it was Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones that were the finalists, with Wieters and Markakis taking home their first such honors. Jones won the award in 2009, becoming the first Oriole since Mike Mussina in 1999.

Now it looks like the O’s are likely to have at least one Gold Glove winner for the third time in four years.

Wieters and Jones are again finalists, and joining them this time is shortstop J.J. Hardy.

It would be Hardy’s first Gold Glove, and the feeling here is that he absolutely deserves it. I agree fully with Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, who writes:

Also, it’s just one reporter’s opinion, but I believe Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy will win his first career Gold Glove. Hardy, who made just six errors in 158 games, doesn’t have the flash that often gets recognized at the position, but he’s one of the most consistent fielders in the game. After Hardy led AL shortstops in fielding percentage (.990) last year, it’s time that his glove gets noticed.

Although Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan just won the Fielding Bible award for shortstop, Hardy led AL shortstops in fielding percentage (.992), assists (529), putouts (244), total zone runs (21) and range factor per game (4.89).

Ryan wasn’t in the top five in any of those categories, but he was named the top defender in all of baseball in the Fielding Bible awards, which are based intensely on sabermetrics. Ryan led major league shortstops with 27 runs saved, while Hardy had 18 and third finalist Elvis Andrus of Texas had eight. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, last year’s winner, isn’t a finalist this season.

While the Gold Glove is based on fielding, most players have recorded more offensive output than Ryan, who hit just .194 in 2012.

While Encina believes that Wieters will also win, I don’t feel as strongly that he is deserving. Wieters had 10 errors this year, five more than last year and more than any American League catcher. As Encina points out, he threw out 38.6 percent of potential base runners, which is more than any of the other finalists, but come on…how can the guy with the most errors win the Gold Glove award?

Jones is the long shot of the group, with the Angels Mike Trout likely to win the award for center fielders (the Gold Glove is now given by position in the outfield, as opposed to given to the best three overall outfielders).

The winners will be announced tonight at 9:30 on ESPN2.

What should the O's do with Nate McLouth?

October 26, 2012

Should the Orioles re-sign Nate McLouth?

The easy answer is “yes, of course.”

However, the real question should be; what role should the Orioles re-sign Nate McLouth for? As free agency approaches, this will be one of the bigger questions surrounding the Orioles besides finding help at second base and adding depth to the pitching staff.

After being released by the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of May and playing 47 games with the Norfolk Tides, McLouth was finally given the opportunity to play for the Orioles on August 4th.  In 55 games, while hitting third and then first after Nick Markakis was lost for the season, McLouth batted .268 with seven homeruns and 12 stolen bases.  The stat that I love the most, however, was his .342 on base percentage.  Over the course of a full season, only Nick Markakis would have had a higher OBP.

For a team that finished 23rd in all of baseball with a .311 OBP, McLouth’s ability to get on base was much needed.  The 12 stolen bases were good enough for second on the team behind Adam Jones’ 16.  Again, this was while playing in one-third of the Orioles’ games. I can’t forget to mention that the team defense started to turn around with his arrival in left field and the .308 batting average during the playoffs.

If McLouth was to return to Baltimore and if Brian Roberts proves to be healthy for the first time since 2009, Buck Showalter would have three legitimate options to bat leadoff. Showalter would then be able to drop J.J. Hardy down in the lineup where he is better suited.  This will also give Showalter “length” to his lineup, something he constantly preaches about.

Bringing McLouth back is a no-brainer, but he will be looking for a multi-year contract and the guarantee to start.  I can’t blame him for that, but these are the reasons why the Orioles may be reluctant to do that:

The return of Nolan Reimold

Reimold’s return should not preclude the Orioles from signing McLouth. Reimold is a huge question mark himself and he will have to earn his way on the 2013 roster, but he was the Orioles best hitter until his season ended in late April.

The Orioles have said publicly that they still think Reimold can be a valuable asset to the team. Unless he becomes the everyday DH, Reimold will be getting the majority of his playing time in left field, which will impact McLouth.

It will be interesting to see how the Orioles handle this situation. If they go after McLouth and try to lock him up, it may mean the end of Reimold in Baltimore.  If they feel Reimold can be a contributor, than McLouth may be the odd man out.

McLouth will be 31 years old at the start of the season

McLouth is not going to get old overnight, but for a player that relies on speed, his age could make the Orioles hesitant to give McLouth a multi-year contract.  I don’t think this will be the reason the O’s don’t lock him up long-term, but at 31-years-old, McLouth is closer to being out of his prime than in it.  After eight seasons, McLouth is not going reinvent himself as a player. He is what he is and that is a good defender with a below average arm that has a career average of .248.  There are many players out there that provide what McLouth has done throughout his career.

The question the Orioles are asking themselves now is;

Did McLouth resurrect his career or just have a solid 3 months?

This is the most important question, and we will find out what the Orioles think in a few weeks.  The O’s extended Adam Jones earlier this year because they felt the best was yet to come and they did not want him to become too expensive that they couldn’t lock him up long-term. I can’t imagine Dan Duquette having the same mentality when it comes to McLouth.  You can make the argument that McLouth was on his way to having a career year.  Over 162 games, the projections would have been his best season since he was an All-Star in 2008.  That season, McLouth hit .276 with 26 homeruns, 23 stolen bases, 46 doubles and a .356 OBP.

If McLouth stayed on his pace with the O’s he would have shattered his career high in stolen bases and come close in the other categories.  Since the 2008 season, McLouth hit 20 homeruns one time, never batted .260 or higher until his stint in Baltimore, and never collected 20 stolen bases.  The big kicker is he hasn’t played in more than 130 games since that All-Star season.  The hope is McLouth lost his way for 2 ½ seasons and he is back to being the player he was in his mid-20’s.

The Orioles don’t have the luxury at this point to go on hope.  I can see McLouth asking for 3 years at around 5 million a year.  He will probably settle for two years, but he will want the guarantee to start.  The O’s will be comfortable having him compete for a spot and at worst they have a great 4th outfielder.  They run the risk, however, of another team thinking he is the player he was at 26 and paying him handsomely.

McLouth’s career was on the brink of being over before Duquette gave him another opportunity and he made the most of it.  He gave the team a spark it desperately needed when Markakis was injured and was the only consistent hitter during the playoffs.

Fans look at what he did in his time in Baltimore and forget that the Orioles were his third organization in two seasons.  I look at a guy who was motivated to prove one more time that he belonged in the big leagues.  I can’t ignore the previous 2 ½ seasons and hand the guy a starting job and sign him for a couple of seasons.  I would sign him to a one-year deal though and hope we are in the exact same situation a year from now then lock him up for 2-3 years and wonder how we will be able to unload his contract.

An incredible season comes to an end

October 19, 2012

This past week has been like pretty much every other MLB postseason in memory in a very noticeable way – we were reduced to cheering for the Evil Empire to be taken down.

Well, now that the New York Yankees have been summarily swept out of the postseason like the trash they are, we O’s fans can sit back and reflect on the Birds’ 2012 efforts. Efforts that, of course, culminated in a September and October that were unlike ANY in recent memory here in Birdland.

I spent the last several days on a road trip through the south (North Carolina and Tennessee) – a trip that I had planned many months ago, while the idea of ALCS games being played in Oriole Park at Camden Yards on these dates wasn’t anything that registered even the slightest hint of realistic possibility.

While the O’s Game 5 loss to New York last Friday night saved me having to cut my vacation short, it was also a bitter aftertaste on what had been an incredible, exhilarating season.

A season ending in postseason disappointment often takes several days for fans to recover from. It was a similar, but not exact, feeling to one we’ve experienced several times here in Baltimore recently thanks to the other team in town.

While our disappointment in the Ravens’ postseason failures lately has been excruciating due to the fact that we know they have absolutely been good enough to hoist another Lombardi Trophy, you’d have to still be quite drunk on the Orange Kool-Aid to think that the Birds would have fared any better against the Detroit Tigers than the Yankees did. Throw in that the St. Louis Cardinals again look like a team of destiny, and the O’s – all their magic aside – were the least likely of 2012 World Series Champions.

Still, looking back on the 2012 season will forever bring a huge goofy grin to the faces of Orioles fans.

During my travels through the south, I donned my cartoon bird hat with pride. People noticed, too.

The cartoon bird is a conversation starter now. From the barkeeper in Asheville who greeted me with a hearty “Go O’s!” to the cowboy boot shop clerk who shook my hand and said “it’s nice to have your baseball team back, isn’t it?” to the gentleman in the cigar bar who told me he played against Brian Roberts in college (“the best basestealer I’ve ever seen”), it was a blast to be talking O’s with strangers in October, and reflecting on positive events as opposed to lamenting another year added to the losing streak.

Every time I feel myself needing a pick-me-up this winter, I’ll go back and watch the O’s Wild Card game champagne celebration again.

I’ll be perusing the Orioles video page on on a regular basis.

And the September 6 game against New York will probably never be erased from my DVR.

It was an amazing, wonderful, joyous, and unexpected season in Birdland. I’m sad that it’s over, but like I said earlier – memories of it will forever bring a smile to my face.

Thanks for reading here at B’More Birds Nest this spring, summer, and fall. We’ll have some changes to announce moving forward, but for now I’ll just say that we’re assembling a crack team of writers with the goal of being the best Orioles blog out there.

Things are only going to get better – for our Birds and for our blog.

We hope you’ll stick with us through the winter. The Hot Stove will be heating up soon, and spring training really is right around the corner.

And if you want to grin like an idiot for the next five minutes, just click play.

O's tie series, force Game 5

October 12, 2012

That is all.

Day after thoughts

October 11, 2012

Baseball playoffs are not the same as football playoffs.

Social Media has become what message boards and sports talk radio used to be – an avenue for fans to express their feelings about their team.  Facebook and Twitter allows instant reaction which can be a good and a bad thing. Reading the overreaction on social media last night led me to come to the conclusion that after 15 years, Baltimore fans forgot how the baseball playoffs work.  We have adopted the football mentality of win-or go-home after all these years, but baseball doesn’t work that way.

Just take a look at the playoffs this year.  The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s were both down 2-0 and have climbed back to tie the series. The Orioles are in an elimination game tonight, but to compare last night’s loss to the AFC Championship loss just shows how out of touch the fan base has been from playoff baseball.

I will say this though; the passion for baseball is back and I love it. I would rather feel the pain of last night any day of the week over the misery that has been Orioles baseball since 1998.

Stat of the Day:

Since August 1st, the Orioles have lost back-to-back games four times.

Buck Showalter again goes with the veteran Joe Saunders:

Buck is again trusting Joe Saunders to deliver in a win-or-go-home scenario.  Saunders delivered the last time against the Texas Rangers by holding the potent Rangers lineup to one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.  He will have to be on his game again in order to force a Game 5. The decision was between Saunders and Chris Tillman, but as always, Showalter will trust a veteran player over a young inexperienced player.

The pitching provides hope for the future:

Over the last few years, fans and baseball experts have said that in order for the Orioles to return to prominence, their young pitching has to step up.  Well, they were right.

It just happens to be a different group of guys than the ones predicted.

Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, and the rest of the predicted “cavalry” aren’t leading this team. Rookies Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez are.

Lost in the shuffle of last night’s defeat was another exceptional performance by Gonzalez.  Gonzalez kept the Yankees’ lineup off balance for 7 innings.  He only allowed 5 hits and struck out 8.  Nothing seems to faze this guy.  In the biggest game of his life in a hostile environment, he steps up and makes a power hitting lineup look weak.  If not for Adam Jones getting a bad jump on a Derek Jeter triple, Gonzalez wouldn’t have allowed a run.

Chen, Gonzalez, and Game 1 starter Jason Hammel are all young and stepped up when the team needed them the most.  This could play huge dividends in years to come.

Jim Johnson will get the blame, but the offense needs to wake up:

Adam Jones joked after Game 2 that him and Matt Wieters were on vacation and they needed to come home.  Game 4 would be a great time for that to happen.

The Orioles are batting .208 in the first three games.  The O’s have relied on a player who was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates (Nate McLouth), a Rule V draft pick (Ryan Flaherty), and a 20-year-old (Manny Machado) to help them this series.  Jones, Wieters, J.J. Hardy, and Jim Thome have combined for…4 hits! The slump started in Tampa and has continued in the playoffs. If the bats don’t break out, that will be the reason why this team does not advance to the ALCS.

Jim Johnson will get the brunt of the blame.  I am not saying he shouldn’t. He couldn’t keep a tie in Game 1 and blew a one-run lead in Game 3.  It is his job to come through and he hasn’t, but getting the last three outs in Yankee Stadium in October might be one of the hardest tasks anyone is asked to do.  His homerun to Raul Ibanez made Joe Girardi a genius and saved him from being asked why he would sit a Hall of Famer in the most crucial spot of the game.

However, the offense has looked lost, and with CC Sabathia waiting in the wings on Friday, tonight would be a great start in getting their confidence back.

TBS put Cal Ripken in a no-win situation:

Poor Cal Ripken.

Your first playoff game as an announcer and you drop the line that Adrian Beltre is a better defensive third baseman than Brooks Robinson.  This happened to be in the game that the team you rooted for and played for your entire career was playing in.

It gets better.

Your first playoff series you are announcing happens to be the team you played for against the team that everyone in your city despises.  If you say one little thing that sounds positive in favor of the Yankees, you were going to get crushed by your hometown fans.  If you say one little thing that makes you sound like a homer, you were going to get crushed by the baseball world.  Cal decided to take the approach of not sounding like a homer and it has made the Baltimore fan base lash out.

I blame TBS. Cal was in a no-win situation. His knowledge of baseball is getting lost in the telecast.  TBS was better off having him announce another series where he wouldn’t be judged so carefully.

Birds even ALDS, head to Bronx tied at 1

October 9, 2012

Sorry for the lack of posts here Nestgoers. It’s been a hectic few days here for us, but just know that we have been sharing every bit of excitement with you, living and dying with every pitch during the O’s wild card win against Texas and through the first two ALDS games against New York.

First, Friday night – Congrats to the O’s for taking down the defending American League East champion Rangers behind a great performance by veteran Joe Saunders. It was absolutely incredible to finally get to watch the O’s celebrate proper, showering each other with champagne in the locker room. The hearts of Baltimore fans were full watching this team, who have given us so much to celebrate all year, finally get to party a bit after being denied the same chance on their home field by the Rangers earlier in the week.

Poetically, it was Joe Nathan who blew the save against Anaheim Sunday as the Birds and their fans watched at OPACY, denying the team and fans a great moment, and it was Nathan against whom the O’s added some much-needed insurance runs Friday night to secure the victory.

While ALDS Game 1 didn’t end the way any of us would have liked, Game 2 delivered in a big way.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards was a madhouse for both games, as O’s fans who have been starved for October baseball for 15 years packed the park, leaving precious few seats for fans of the Evil Empire from up north.

I changed my flight from Kansas City – where I had watched the Ravens beat the Chiefs in a snoozer on Sunday, 9-6 – to come back to Baltimore in time to catch Game 2 in person, and it’s a decision that I will be glad I made for the rest of my life.

I’ll never forget last night at the Yard.

Despite a couple really bizarre plays – like Ichiro dodging Matt Wieters’ tag at home plate despite being out by several steps, and J.J. Hardy failing to pick up third base coach Demarlo Hale and failing to score on an Adam Jones two-out base hit – the Birds overcame and pulled out the 3-2 victory.

Rookie Wei-Yin Chen shined in his first MLB postseason start, holding down the Yankees potent bats into the seventh inning.

And, after getting beat around on Sunday, Jim Johnson came out of the bullpen angry on Monday and mowed down the top of the Yanks’ order 1-2-3 to secure the win.

The O’s now head to New York – where they were 6-3 during the 2012 regular season – needing to take just two of three games to advance to the ALCS.

That’s right, Birdland – your O’s are just two wins away from the Championship Series. Incredible.

(Skip ahead to 1:00)

Who to start on Friday? Saunders, Johnson, or Hammel?

October 4, 2012

The following post is from Phil Backert, a former producer of The Rob Long Show on Baltimore’s Fox1370, current associate producer on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, and die-hard O’s fan for life. Phil’s work will be appearing regularly here at the Nest. Follow Phil on twitter at @PhilBackert.

After manager Buck Showalter elected to start Chris Tillman in the last regular season game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Oriole fans immediately turned their attention to who would start the tiebreaking game against the New York Yankees if needed on Thursday night, or the AL Wild Card game Friday night against the Texas Rangers.

The candidates appear to be rookie Steve Johnson or eight-year vet Joe Saunders. On the surface it appears to be an easy decision; choose the veteran who has been through the ups and downs and has pitched in more pressurized situations. However, looking deeper into the situation, it may not be as easy as someone would think.

Johnson, the local product, the pitcher who could have decided on June 1st  to opt out of his contract if he was not added to the 40-man roster and leave the organization he rooted for as a child, the organization his father pitched for, has been nothing but marvelous since he made his major league debut on July 15th.  He has pitched to a 2.11 ERA in 38 1/3 innings, while striking out 46 and walking 18 as a starter and reliever.  There would be nothing more gratifying for him, then taking the ball on Friday night with the opportunity to send the team he loved his entire life to a divisional round playoff against the hated Yankees.

However, Saunders was brought in by Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations Dan Duquette for this sole reason. Duquette wanted to bring in more veterans down the stretch to help take the burden off the young players and show them what it takes to not only make it to the postseason, but succeed when they get there.  This is also the reason Jim Thome and Randy Wolf were acquired.  Saunders has also pitched admirably since coming from Arizona. His ERA with Baltimore is 3.63 in 44 2/3 innings, while striking out 23 and only walking eight. He has also pitched to a 3-3 record.  The crafty lefty doesn’t wow anyone on the radar gun – the same can be said of Johnson – but at the end of day, when he hands the ball to Showalter, the Orioles have a great chance of winning that game.  In October, in a win or go home scenario, that is hard to overlook.

The problem with Saunders is this: in 6 career starts at Arlington against the Rangers, Saunders is 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA. He has also allowed 13 home runs.

Overall, against the Rangers, Saunders is 3-7 with a 6.48 ERA and 15 homeruns given up.


The positive? He hasn’t pitched against Texas since 2010 and in that start he pitched 7 innings, and allowed one earned run while striking out six.

His postseason numbers aren’t much better. In four starts amounting to 18 innings, he is 0-1 with 6.00 ERA. Saunders has allowed 23 hits, 12 walks with a WHIP of 1.944.

Obviously, as a rookie, Johnson has never pitched in this type of game, so Showalter, along with the rest of the team and the fans, don’t know how he will respond. The unknown could be a good thing. Maybe he is just too dumb to understand how big of a moment this is, or he thrives under these situations. Only Showalter can gauge this and that is what has made him such a great manager throughout his career – he knows the pulse of his team.

The wild card in this – no pun intended – is Jason Hammel.  Hammel threw a 73-pitch bullpen on Tuesday and declared himself ready whenever the team needed him.

Showalter indicated that Hammel will be ready to pitch, “sometime this week.” All signs pointed to a Saturday start if the Orioles won the division because it would be on normal rest.

That situation can not happen now, so Showalter must choose to hope the Orioles play Sunday so Hammel can return from his knee injury, or take a chance and let the best pitcher of the three go out there after not pitching since September 11th and gamble that he is physically ready to face a prolific Rangers lineup on short rest.  This is a huge risk because it opens the door up for a lot of criticism if Hammel exits the game early because he isn’t healthy or is ineffective.

Even with Showalter announcing on Tuesday that Hammel would not pitch before Saturday, it is something to keep an eye on.  However, with this scenario being the longest of long shots, we return to Saunders or Johnson.

Showalter trusts his veterans, sometimes to a fault. He believes that they have “been there, done that,” and that goes a long way when a player knows his manager backs him even if he is struggling at that moment.  Duquette brought Saunders to Baltimore for this reason. In a perfect world, it would not be a loser-goes-home scenario or Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman would be available or Hammel would be 100% healthy.

However, this is the hand he was dealt, and I think Showalter leans toward the veteran to punch this team’s ticket back to Baltimore against their hated rival.

Silent bats force O's on the road for wild card play-in game

October 4, 2012

After finally breaking out offensively last weekend against the Boston Red Sox, the O’s bats looked to be riding a wave of momentum into the season’s final series in Tampa Bay.

Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, “good pitching beats good hitting.” The Rays, possessors of baseball’s best pitching staff, were in no mood to do anything to disprove that saying.

Tampa starters completely silenced the Baltimore offense, allowing just two runs on five hits in 21.1 innings pitched over the three games. That the O’s were able to salvage even one game of the three-game set is a minor miracle, though it didn’t really matter in the end.

Because the Birds lost two of three, they squandered away the chance to host the wild card play-in game in Baltimore. Instead, they will travel to Arlington to face the Rangers at 8:37 PM on Friday for the right to continue their season.

The Rangers are fresh off one of the largest collapses in MLB history, having lead the AL West by as many as 13 games earlier this year – and five games with nine to play – only to get swept in the final series by the Oakland Athletics and be relegated to the wild card.

While the Rangers look like a wounded animal right now – they played horribly in the most important game of their season yesterday, making costly bumbling errors and getting dominated 12-5 – there is, of course, another old saying regarded wounded animals.

They’re the most dangerous kind.

Complicating matters is that the Rangers will be able to trot out their ace, rookie Yu Darvish, on Friday, while the O’s starting pitching situation is quite a bit more muddy.

Darvish, the 26-year old from Japan, is 16-9 this year with a 3.90 ERA and 221 Ks in 191.1 IP. While the O’s rookie Asian pitcher, Wei-Yin Chen, has faded down the stretch, Darvish has only seemed to get stronger – he has pitched at least 6.2 innings while allowing three or fewer ER in each of his last eight starts dating back to August 12. He had allowed just a single earned run in three consecutive starts before giving up three on Sunday against the Angels.

The Rangers are 7-3 in Darvish’s last 10 starts.


On the other hand, the O’s best healthy starters – Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman – pitched Tuesday and Wednesday and are not available at all on Friday. Chen is out of the question.

It’s Joe Saunders’s “turn” in the rotation – but Saunders is 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA against the Rangers in Arlington in his career.

Rookie Steve Johnson has pitched well, and is rested, but tweaked his knee during his last start on Saturday – though an MRI this week revealed no damage, and Johnson took a bullpen session and felt good.

While it has been said that Jason Hammel would be available no sooner than Saturday, with the game starting at 8:37 ET on Friday, that seems like close enough to Saturday to me to give Jason the ball in a pinch.

Yes, this qualifies as a pinch!

According to the Sun’s Eduardo Encina, Buck could “pull out all the stops” on Friday.

All signs point to Showalter turning to rookie right-hander Steve Johnson to start Friday’s game. Reading the tea leaves, Showalter pretty much said it because of the importance he placed on Johnson’s ‘pen session before Wednesday’s game.

Expect Showalter to use every matchup to his advantage. He’s used his bullpen to perfection all season long and don’t expect otherwise Friday, even if is means a short leash for Johnson and leaning on the bullpen most of the way. He can reset his postseason roster again before the ALDS, so Showalter can load up his roster with relievers.

Darvish scares me not only because he is a quality pitcher, but because this is the first time the O’s have ever seen him. As any O’s fan that watches every game like I do knows, the Birds have a habit of making even scrubs that they have never seen before look like top-of-the-rotation aces.

On top of that, the Rangers have absolutely owned the O’s for as long as any of us can remember. They took the season series 5-2 this year, taking three of four in Baltimore in May, and two of three in Arlington in August.

Still, that was a different Rangers team – one that was arguably the best squad in baseball. This is a Texas squad that has lost three in a row and nine of thirteen down the stretch in a pennant race.

While I would absolutely hate our chances in any kind of three or five-game series against Texas – in a single game, anything can happen.

All the pressure is on the Rangers. They’re the two-time defending American League champs who are desperate to take the next step and finally win a World Series. The O’s are just the plucky underdogs who were supposed to lose 100 games.

Though I want to win this game with every fiber of my being – and get the chance to take down the Yankees in the ALDS – the fact remains that the O’s are playing with house money at this point.

It’s one game.

Go win one game.


Updated version of "Orioles Magic"

October 3, 2012

Some local Baltimore artists and fans decided it was time to update the Orioles Magic song.

What do you think, Birds fans? I certainly enjoy the video, but I think I prefer the retro, silly, classic lyrics and song style. Here’s the old one to compare.