Reporting Bob Haynie
A Tuesday night, extra-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays ended the playoff hopes of the 2013 Baltimore Orioles. The 3-2, 10-inning defeat to the Blue Jays, their sixth-straight loss, mathematically eliminated the Birds from postseason competition.
Although disappointing, it is almost a relief to have their fate sealed for this season. The second half of the 2013 campaign has been very frustrating for fans, media and, obviously, the Orioles themselves.
Baltimore has a talented team, but, in the end, they were proven to be unworthy of playing playoff baseball.
The run production for the Orioles decreased dramatically down the stretch. After being among the AL leaders in runs scored for most of the year, Baltimore just could not muster an offense when it mattered most in September. Their inability to hit with runners in scoring position was devastating to their chances of playing in October.
Right fielder Nick Markakis has been brutal with the bat. A career .292 hitter, Markakis is currently hitting under .270 (.269). More alarming has been his lack of pop. In over 600 AB’s, Nick has only managed 32 extra-base hits. Is he a player in decline? The Orioles sure hope not.
Closer Jim Johnson has taken a lot of heat this season for his nine blown saves. Rightfully so. His meltdowns came in bunches and prevented the Orioles from putting together some extended winning streaks. It would be unfair, however, to place all of the blame on him.
The starting rotation had a rough go of it with injuries and inconsistency in 2013. GM Dan Duquette traded for Scott Feldman and Bud Norris during the summer to help the cause. Both had their moments, but neither was a difference maker.
Chris Tillman was a stud as he pitched 200 innings and could have been a 20-game winner with some luck.
Other in-season acquisitions like reliever Francisco Rodriguez and OF Michael Morse made minimal impact in the big picture.
The late-season injury to 3B Manny Machado was scary to all. Thankfully, it looks like he’ll be ready for 2014.
Machado, 1B Chris Davis, CF Adam Jones and SS J.J. Hardy were All-Stars and will be Gold Glove candidates. DH Danny Valencia added some pop to the lineup when everyone else couldn’t hit. So, there were plenty of bright spots for manager Buck Showalter.
Unfortunately, the Baltimore Orioles just weren’t good enough to get to the playoffs and compete for a World Series championship.
There is plenty of talent to work with here. Duquette will have to upgrade in certain areas and players like Markakis and C Matt Wieters are just going to have to be better.
2014 should be exciting.
As for 2013, it is a winning season. Their second-straight. It will be remembered by many as season in which the Orioles were good, but just not good enough.