Five Reasons Why The O’s Will Win The East

Featured, Sports and Bets — July 16, 2014 at 6:14 am by

At 52-42 your Baltimore Orioles sit atop the American League East, four games in front of the Toronto Blue Jays.  It’s been especially great watching these Birds take sudden charge of their division.  The O’s are 10-4 over their last fourteen games, a stretch that saw them sweep four games from Texas and then take two out of three from the equally evil Yankees and Red Sox. Wedged in between the Yanks and the Sox were the Nationals, who the O’s also took two out of three from in an incredibly entertaining but rain shortened home-and-home series.  (The fourth game of that series was rained out and will be made up).

The Orioles are taking over a division that is certainly ripe for the taking.  Tampa Bay has suffered injuries and underperformed, Boston is terrible offensively, the Yankees starting rotation is an orthopedic surgeon’s dream, and the Blue Jays have slumped and lost star Edwin Encarnacion for 2-4 weeks with a quad strain.  The East has been begging for a team to get hot and take control, the Birds have gotten hot, now it’s time for them to really assert control.  It won’t be easy, after the All Star break the Birds go on the road for ten games versus the A’s, Angels, and Mariners.  (All of those teams boast over fifty wins and the A’s and Angels are twenty-three and twenty games over .500 respectively.)  Then the O’s come home for six games against those same Angels and Mariners.  Those sixteen games will be a crucial stretch for Baltimore.

But with the way these Orioles are playing, I think they’ll handle this upcoming sixteen game stretch just fine.  In fact, I think they’ll handle the rest of the season jut fine as well.  It may sound crazy, but 90 games may win this division.  For the Birds to reach 90 games they’ll have to go 38-30 after the break and that seems like a very attainable and reasonable win-loss total for this Baltimore team.

So we’re calling it:  The Orioles will win the American League East for the first time since 1997.  “But don’t just predict it, tell me why. Why will they win it?”, you say.

Here are the five reasons why.

1. Kevin Gausman:  The Orioles need to quit fucking around with Kevin Gausman and just keep him in the majors.  This season, the young fireballer is 4-2 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.  That stat line includes a spot start in May in which Gausman imploded versus the Tigers.  He went down to the minors for a spell, but then got called back up in June.  Since then, Gausman has been a minor league/major league yo-yo as the O’s have used his options to help tweak the roster for week-to-week needs. But since that June call up,  Gausman has pitched in the big leagues six times.  He’s 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA in that stretch.  His fastball has been borderline dominant with speed consistently in the upper nineties .  Plus, he’s been able to bust hitters inside with it, especially righties.  Gausman is also throwing his splitter more often and his slider isn’t hanging over the plate like a damn floating beach ball. (He has only allowed two home runs this year and the slider not hanging over the plate is a big reason for this.)  Gausman doesn’t belong in the minors.  If the O’s let him pitch every five and do his thing, they’ll be better for it.  I have a feeling they will.

2. Chris Davis Will Get Hot:  Can you imagine this lineup if Chris Davis starts hitting?  Sure, Davis has 15 home runs and 48 RBIs, which are decent numbers, but he’s batting .199 with just nine doubles.  .199?  What the fuck?!  Last season Davis was a doubles machine who batted .286.  Something’s gotta give or this guy is going to turn into a Rob Deer/Mark Reynolds clone who either hits a home run or strikes out at every at-bat.  More than likely, Davis will gravitate back to his mean batting average, he’s a career .258 hitter.  Look for Crush to start taking pitches and shortening his swing for more pitch contact.  Those hits and doubles will increase and then the full-on power surge will come on in the dog days of August.  If Davis can end the season with a .235 average, 25 doubles, and 30 home runs, it’s a big win for the O’s.

3. The Birds Will Trade For Rotation Help:  It’s obvious that the starting rotation is the weakness of this club.  Ubaldo Jimenez walks everyone, is 3-8, and is currently on the DL. Chris Tillman is a Jekyl and Hyde pitcher this season and Mike Gonzalez also struggles with consistency.  Wei-Yin Chen is solid but still sports an ERA above 4 and Bud Norris is coming off of an injury and an awful first start back.  None of the starters are famous for eating innings, either.  To remedy this situation we already have the aforementioned Gausman, but don’t be surprised if the O’s trade for another starter as well.  Dan Duquette has apparently been working the phones and has already shown that he’s not afraid to deal.  Plus, owner Peter Angelos has loosened the purse strings as of late.  I would love to see Chris Sale or David Price in black and orange and while those players are probably longshots to land here, I wouldn’t totally discount it either.

4. Manny Machado Is Back For Real:  The glove has been there all season, but now Manny is doing it at the plate after an offseason spent rehabbing a nasty left knee injury.  Since June 27th, Machado has bashed five home runs and in his last five games, Machado is batting .429, spraying the ball to all fields. Manny’s average has steadily increased over the last month and he is now batting .270 for the season.  You can expect that to keep rising, along with the power numbers.  If Manny can stay consistent at the plate and join Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, and Professional Hitter Steve Pearce in the extra base hit parade, the Birds will be in business big time and that 3rd ranked AL offense may creep ahead of the Angels and into second.  If Davis and Manny both hit, shiiiiit, the sky is the limit, babes.

Manny is so sick at third…..

5. The Bench Is Deep: Need a pinch hitter against a lefty reliever?  Hello, Delmon Young.  Need a utility player who has some pop in his bat?  Hello, Ryan Flaherty.  Need a speed demon on the bases in the bottom of the ninth?  Hello, David Lough.  Need some interchangeable outfielders/corner infielders?  Hello, Chris Davis and Steve Pearce.  Need a back up catcher?  Hell, we got 15 of those and they all hit with power.  The Birds are deep.  The bench is deep, the bullpen’s deep, and the I think maybe even the pockets are deep for trades.

Besides, it’s time for a division title.  It’s been too damn long, babes.

Let’s Go O’s!



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