Showalter's Effort Is Manager Of The Year Worthy
As the Angels (48-38) piled on the runs early during Sunday's 6-0 victory against the Orioles (45-40), it was easy to get the feeling that the two teams were heading in vastly different directions, despite similar records.
The Orioles are in the wild-card hunt at the All-Star break, despite a 16-18 record since the start of June, three pitchers from the Opening Day rotation now in Triple-A Norfolk, the starting left and right fielders on the DL, a second baseman with chronic health issues and no real defensive players on the corners.
Manager Buck Showalter needs this All-Star break simply to create more time to plug holes. Right fielder Nick Markakis (broken hamate bone in hand) could be ready when games resume, but other immediate answers are not readily available or apparent.
That's what makes the job Showalter has done pretty remarkable. Has anyone been better? Many of the questions about first and third base, the starting pitching and injuries have been there from the start. Somehow, the Orioles haven't spiraled out of control, despite not having the talent of other clubs in the American League East. After April and May, they've clearly lost a lot of steam. This is a club, by any objective measure, that shouldn't even be talking about the playoffs.
Yet, they still can, and they are talking about making moves at the trade deadline to make a playoff push with straight faces. The likelihood of a deal for pitcher Zack Greinke seems low especially because the Brewers will want one of two players -- Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado -- for a two-month rental of Greinke.
There are other players out there available to help the Orioles on the corners and on the mound, and Showalter is likely bending Dan Duquette's ears to make a deal. Showalter didn't arrive in Baltimore to lose. Now that he's got winning in his sights, he's going to get more aggressive.
Two weeks ago, Duquette and Showalter told fans that the answers for the Orioles were within. Few people outside the organization agreed with that, and the duo probably doesn't either.
The Orioles look as if they're hanging by a thread right now, but they've been doing it all season, and Showalter's just done a tremendous job at hiding it.
Posted July 9, 2012