Back in spring training, it was brought to the attention of Orioles manager Buck Showalter that he had led each of the three other major league clubs he has managed to a major turnaround in his second full season.
The Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers all finished at least 10 games under .500 in his first full season with those clubs and each of them won at least 88 games the following season. It’s an interesting stat and an indication of the way Showalter goes about building a winning team, but he didn’t want to be saddled with that kind of expectation heading into this season.
That is no longer a problem. The Orioles won their 88th game of season in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, so Showalter is now 4 for 4 engineering dynamic second-year turnarounds and winning at least 88 games in the process.
This year's Orioles resurgence, as amazing as it seems, would not be the most dramatic. Showalter was the first manager of the expansion Diamondbacks, who won just 65 games in their first season (1998) and won 100 games the following year to win the NL West title. The Yankees were the least dynamic, going 76-86 in 1992 and 88-74 in 1993. The Rangers went 71-91 in 2003 and 89-73 the next year.