There’s a time in every baseball season when a team knows it isn’t going to make the playoffs. For the Baltimore Orioles that time was this week as they suffered two home defeats to AL East leaders Boston.
Although Baltimore earned a game back on Thursday night, the 2-1 series defeat only extends the gap between them and second-place Tampa Bay, who now look certain to finish second and clinch a Wildcard.
For Baltimore Orioles fans gambling with www.betfair.com, this day has been coming for some time. Since the All-Star Game Buck Showalter’s men have pitched poorly and not had the sort of offensive threat that won them numerous early-season series. Chris Tillman (15-4) is the only regular performer in the starting rotation, with Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) and Jason Hammel (7-8) faltering, while Wei-Yin Chen (7-7) is unable to recreate his former prowess at the mound. The closers are also unreliable and were exposed Wednesday as Baltimore lost a two-run lead in the seventh.
Now, 6.5 games behind Boston and 2.5 off the Rays (as of Friday morning), Baltimore are too far away to catch their rivals. Their pitching has let them down and Betfair pundits know it. In fact, backing the Os to win a game is not a wise option, for there is no knowing how Showalter’s rotation and bullpen will fare.
Instead, both punters and players should focus on Chris Davis and this Os offense. The Texan is on course to break the AL home-run record of 61. On Wednesday Davis hit his season-leading 47th homer of the campaign and a day later made his 95th run. He is on course to challenge for the Triple Crown with Miguel Cabrera and should win the MLB MVP award if he does.
For the good of the player – who has dragged Baltimore over the line numerous times this season – and the profile of the team, the Os should focus on getting Davis those records. The hitter can earn his HR mark himself but racking up the RBIs requires a consistent offensive team to help.
Baltimore have the offense in Adam Jones (161 hits), Nick Markakis (143) and Manny Machado (167) capable of aiding Davis and, while there is now no hope of a playoff place, the team still has a reason to play ball this September.
Article written by Joe Short
Chris Davis image courtesy of Getty Images