Scott Garceau: Super Skippers In Baltimore
The 2 most important months of the baseball season have yet to be played, so a lot can change down the stretch in August and September as teams fight for pennants and playoff spots. Based on the first 100 plus games of the 2012 season I think we might be watching the 2 top candidates for American League Manager of the Year this weekend right here in Baltimore Hon.
Lets start with Baltimore’s favorite Buck. His Birds can’t field, strike out a ton, hit into way too many double plays, are lacking in speed and at one point were missing 4 of their 5 starting pitchers and had only one true outfielder. Of his 2 consistent starting pitchers one is a rookie the other is out after knee surgery. Other than that how did you like the play Mrs. Showalter? Amazing that the Orioles are above .500 and contending for a playoff spot. They’ve done it with a terrific bullpen and the ability to win close games.
The Orioles are 1 of only 2 teams in MLB that haven’t lost a game when leading after 7 innings, in those games Buck’s Birds are 39-0, thank you Jim Johnson and friends! Clutch hitting and that bullpen have helped them dominate close game, the Orioles are 19-6 in one-run games. Playing in baseball’s best division with a team that is challenged in many areas hasn’t kept Buck Showalter from getting the most out of his Orioles.
Oakland has been the best team in baseball in July, at one point this month the A’s won 16 of 18. Former Orioles catcher Bob Melvin has done more with less. Last years best hitter Josh Willingham is having a big year with the Twins and the A’s two top pitchers from 2011, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill are throwing in the National League. Melvin who played in Baltimore from 1989-’91 has turned last years 74-88 team into a 53-45 wild-card contender and is a top contender for Manager of the Year.
Buck and Bob Melvin aren’t without competition, rookie Manager Robin Venture gets high grades and so does the Yankees Joe Girardi. Ventura has the White Sox tied for first place in the Central with the Tigers (who I assumed would run away with the division). The former Chicago 3rd baseman has been the calm after the storm named Ozzie Guillen, Ventura Sox’s are 8 games above .500 (53-45) after they finished 4 under and in 3rd place a year ago.
Girardi likely won’t get the Manager of the Year Award because it usually goes to a turn-around club. The Yankee skipper gets high grades from me. Sure, the Yankees always have a ton of talent but this team lost Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner and pitcher Michael Pineda for the year. Alex Rodriguez will miss a couple months, Andy Pettitte hit the 60 day-DL, Joba Chamberlain hasn’t thrown a pitch in anger and CC Sabathia hit the DL. Despite all that the Yankees have the best record in baseball winning over 60% of their games. Damn Yankees, damn impressive!
And lets not forget the job that former Oriole manager Davey Johnson is doing in Washington. Prior to the season The brash skipper said if this team doesn’t make the playoffs I should be fired. The Nats are currently have the best record in the National League and Davey Johnson might be Manager of the Year for the first time since he left Baltimore in 1997.