It’s August 15th and the Orioles are 10 games over .500.
They have been a huge story in baseball this season and everyone has waited on them to fall apart or fade but they haven’t. The Orioles are doing things with much less than everyone else and continue to surprise the baseball world. But this raises the question of who should get the credit? Who should be praised for bringing good baseball back to Baltimore?
The decision is ultimately up to you, I am just the guy supplying the options.
The fastest way to turn any team around is to improve the bullpen, and the Orioles pen has been lights out all year. They have the 3rd best ERA in the big leagues and have kept the Orioles in games to give the offense a chance to catch up. The stand out has been Jim Johnson, who has given the O’s the end of the game stopper they have been searching for, converting 34 out of 37 save opportunities.
Buck Showalter has long been regarded as one of baseball’s top minds, but what he has done with the Orioles might be his best job yet. Buck instituted one word into the players vocabulary — Accountability. No longer is it okay for young pitchers to use age as an excuse, Buck wants professionals and if you do not want to do it his way then have fun in AAA. He has taught the young Orioles what it takes to win in the big leagues and they have bought in big time.
Dan Duquette came into a bad situation as Orioles GM. The farm system was depleted and the Major League roster itself was nothing special. But Duquette went out and found players who could play at the big league level that people had never heard of or forgotten about. Need some examples? From a position player stand point; Omar Quintanilla, Nate McLouth, and Wilson Betemit. All of those players fit a role and do it well. From a pitching stand point look no further than Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Jason Hammel — all pitchers who seemingly came out of nowhere to help solidify the Orioles Rotation.
Adam Jones has turned into everything the Orioles hoped he would. He is a 2 time All-Star and leads the Orioles in Average, Homers, RBI, Runs, Hits, Doubles, Stolen Bases, and you get the idea. While the line up around him has changed night by night, Adam Jones has been in centerfield and in the number 4 spot in the lineup doing his thing. He has also been the Orioles most clutch player, being the only person in MLB history to have 3 game winning hits in the 14th inning or later of a game.
Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out the Orioles have turned things around in Baltimore and expectations have changed.
So who do you credit for the turnaround?