September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
What a great week this has been. And shockingly it’s not because the NFL is back tonight and Robert Griffin III leads the Redskins versus the Saints in just a few days. It’s because it is September and the Orioles find themselves in a first place tie with the New York Yankees.
As bad as the Yankees have struggled, the Orioles have been rolling including winning 2 of 3 in Yankee Stadium last weekend. So just as the Ravens and Redskins begin their seasons, not only are the Orioles, but also the Nationals are playing very meaningful games. Something this area hasn’t seen since Manny Machado and Bryce Harper were like 4 years old.
Am I still surprised by the Orioles? A little, but as I said in May and June, there is something about Buck Showalter and winning. Buck takes teams and puts them in playoff contention quickly. Once again, Thank You Bobby V for turning the O’s down.
It also helps when players step up in new spots. Nick Markakis have thrived since being moved to the leadoff spot. Most including myself thought it would be a short term situation, but it has worked, and worked well. And for team which has made the right moves all season, the call-up of Manny Machado has changed the team’s worst problem, its defense. That change also has woken up the Sheriff who has been on a power burst recently. Mark Reynolds also has helped improved the team defense playing first instead of third.
It hasn’t hurt that both Miguel Gonzalez and Zach Britton have been lights out for the past month. Britton looked to be heading down the troubled past roads of promising O’s pitching prospects, but quickly turned it around. And the Gonzalez find should make Dan Duquette a solid contender for Executive of the Year.
Duquette and Andy MacPhail are deserving of a lot of credit for this roster. From the late season trades in 2011 by MacPhail to the recent acquisition of Joe Saunders it seems like everyone has filled a role in turning this team around.
As for the finish versus the Yankees and the Rays, it is going to be a battle. Even with the Yankees struggles, they are talented enough to battle to the end. And with Evan Longoria back with Tampa it is going to be an exciting month. Even though Buck says otherwise, could we still also see Dylan Bundy this month mowing down Arod and Texiera? I wouldn’t count it out.