By Pat O'Rourke @patorourke_29 on August 26, 2014
The Baltimore Orioles made their presence known in 2012, winning the AL Wild Card and coming within a win of the ALCS. They've exploded on the scene in 2014, running away with the AL East and in striking distance of the American League's top record at the end of August. While they're no longer doormats, the O's will have to wait at least another year before they are crowned champs.
It's been agreed upon that the American League will go through the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers (assuming they get their act back together) based off the arms race between the two teams at the trade deadline. Well, the Birds are a combined 3-9 against those two teams in 2014. As for America's current sweetheart, the red-hot Kansas City Royals? They are 3-4.
Buck Showalter has done a great job changing the culture in Baltimore and bringing a winning mentality to the clubhouse. But is he the guy who brings the team to the next level? Looking at his previous three stops (New York, Arizona, Texas), the teams won or appeared in the World Series shortly after his departure. While it says something about his ability to set the table, it also says something about his inability to serve the dinner.
Save for Nelson Cruz, any playoff experience the O's have in the postseason is relegated to their 2012 ALDS against the Yankees. That's bad news when you're matching yourself up with teams like the A's, Angels and Tigers, teams with loads of playoff DNA.
The Orioles have some very good players from Markakis to Cruz to Adam Jones, but Baltimore is without two of their best -- if not two best -- players for the season in third baseman Manny Machado and catcher Matt Weiters.
You beat ace pitching by matching ace pitching. Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris are fine pitchers who can win you a game, but can they win you a series? Can one of them carry a staff through a postseason? Most answers point to likely not.
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