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MLB Baltimore Orioles

5 Biggest Issues Facing Baltimore Orioles in 2014 Stretch Run

5 Biggest Issues Facing Baltimore Orioles in 2014 Stretch Run

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Though the Orioles are a strong bet to win the AL East and make playoffs, worse collapses have happened in the rich history of MLB during the stretch run. These five areas could be a reason for Baltimore faltering over the next five weeks.

5. Injuries

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
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5. Injuries

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
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Pretty typical here. No one has faced a harsher reality this year with hurt players than the Texas Rangers. But the Orioles lost their catcher Matt Wieters, a three-time All-Star, very early in the season. He was off to a positive start in 2014. Now 3B Manny Machado will undergo a second surgery on his knee in as many years. His season is over and his career may be in jeopardy.

4. Management

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles - Game One
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4. Management

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles - Game One
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This is not a knock on Buck Showalter's ability, but rather an observation of his background. Twice he has been named AL Manager of the Year in his career, which spans three decades as a skipper. That is why it may come as a shock to note that Showalter has never won a postseason series in his career. Also, in both instances following the year after the Yankees and Diamondbacks let him go, those franchises won World Series. Talk about raw deals.

3. The Weekend

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
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3. The Weekend

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
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Interesting split -- the Orioles are a combined 29-33 (.468 WPCT) in games played on Friday's, Saturday's and Sunday's. They are clearly better on games played Monday through Thursday on the schedule, as their overall record of 73-53 (.579 WPCT) attests to.

2. September Schedule

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
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2. September Schedule

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
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The Orioles have played well in inter-division games in 2014 (31-19). However, if a particular team will take pride in playing spoiler against them in the final month of the season, it will be any of their AL East rivals. Only four of their 27 games in September will be played against teams not hailing from the AL East.

1. Starting Rotation

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Baltimore Orioles
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1. Starting Rotation

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Baltimore Orioles
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It has been serviceable this year, but not stellar. Pitching wins games in October, Chris Tillman has been their best starter, but he's not a bonafide ace by any stretch with a WPCT of .667 this season. Ubaldo Jimenez is extremely sporadic and unpredictable. The O's don't have one or two great pitchers on their rotation, which can be huge in a series deciding game. They just have a few above average pitchers.