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This year's Orioles are reminiscent of the 2012 club, but they're better

I’m not the only one that has thought this; it’s not exactly a novel concept.

But these Orioles remind me so much of the 2012 team that made the playoffs and snapped the 14-year losing streak. And this club is better.

It’s so much more experienced. They are excelling in extra-inning games (12-3) and are pretty good in one-run games (20-16). These players think they can win against anyone, which is exceptionally important.

And I don’t think they have played their best baseball yet. They haven’t really gone on a run where their offense, defense and pitching is clicking at the same time. Their longest winning streak is five (and the longest losing streak is four).

They basically have been treading water much of the season, but so has everyone else in the American League East.

The Tampa Bay Rays are waking up, and the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees haven’t gone away, so this division is far from sewn up.

But, right now, these Orioles should be the favorite to win the AL East.

* With that in mind, the Orioles are flawed.

I still don’t like the formula of scoring primarily via the home run. The Orioles are second in the AL in homers, fifth in batting average, seventh in runs scored and 12th in on-base percentage.

That works during the regular season, but when you face great pitching in the postseason, runs are at a premium. And you have to scratch them out in various ways.

That starts with getting guys on base at a clip better than .313.

* I’m also not sold on the Orioles’ starting pitching, no matter how good it has been lately. It appears to be solid, and each of the guys they put out there is a legitimate major leaguer.

But there’s no question that this club is missing a bona fide, consistent ace. And here’s the reality: They aren’t getting one.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette said again Tuesday that he is trolling for pitching depth. And an ace like the Boston Red Sox's Jon Lester or Tampa Bay's David Price is not pitching depth. Those guys will bring in a prospect haul.

The Orioles don’t want to do that, and I understand why. But I don’t think adding another OK but unspectacular starter is the answer either. If you aren’t getting an ace, then pick up another playoff-tested relief pitcher and bolster the strongest part of your team.

Some have questioned where you put another reliever, but remember there only will be a month before rosters expand. One of the current relievers with options can be stashed at Triple-A Norfolk and brought back up for the stretch run.

* Everyone keeps asking me if I think the Orioles will make a trade before Thursday’s 4 p.m. nonwaiver deadline. I’m sticking with my original answer: I do.

I don’t think it will be an attention-grabber, but I could see Duquette getting a second baseman with offensive upside, a late-inning reliever and/or a mid-level starter.

We’ll soon see.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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