Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birdland Bulletin: Arming Up

On Monday night as I sat in a room full of people watching The Bachelor there were many questions running through my mind. Others in the room were wondering would Sean pick Catherine or Desiree or what happens if Chris Harrison sleeps with one of the girls?  

I on the other hand, had drifted into Birdland, and had a different line of questioning.  Who will be the Orioles 5th starter or who will be our middle relievers? How much will Matusz thrive in a full season in the pen? You know, important things…

Matt Wieters hit a comebacker; C.C. Sabathia fielded it, and tossed the ball to Baltimore’s Forgotten Son Mark Teixeria for the final out of the ALDS.  The game was over, and an improbable playoff run that a fan base had been starving for was over as well.

 At first it felt like a punch in the gut that made breathing very difficult, but as the air returned to my lungs it became pretty clear that the feeling of devastation, anguish, and utter despair was 1,000,000 times better than the past 15 seasons of losing, losing, and a side order of more losing.

The five game series with the hated New York Yankees was a nut-cutting and nail-biting rollercoaster.  Every game was close; we were all collectively hanging on every pitch; every game came down to a play here a play there.  At the end of the day the plays did not fall our way enough times and the Yankees escaped to the ALCS.  The O’s took the vaunted Yankees to the brink while only hitting .190 over those 5 games.  If you had just looked at the O’s hitting stats from the series, you would have figured they were blown out each game.  But the pitching was spectacular, top to bottom, and they kept the Orioles in every game of that series.  It didn’t matter whether it was the starting pitchers going 6+ innings and keeping the game close, or the trusty bullpen taking over and locking down hitters who made more per game than our relievers made in a month.

Dan “The Duke” Duquette has done a great job of maintaining continuity with our pitching staff as well as adding a few arms over the offseason.  No major additions were made to the Orioles pitching staff, but for the first time in a long time there are a lot of options for Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair to tinker with. 

Like a tattoo artist inking a sleeve on a group of body builders, there are a lot of arms to cover.  So, Drink your coffee, grab your smartphone, head to your favorite stall, and settle in because I’m about to break down our staff with more bite than Miguel Gonzalez’s splitter.

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