xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Orioles news, notes and opinions

I've heard this comment multiple times over the last week after some of the Orioles' late-game heroics: "That's not a game they would have won a couple of weeks ago." It's obviously a reference to the difference between Buck Showalter's Orioles, and the team which was skippered by Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel. However, let's not forget, the team had several comeback wins in Texas right before the All-Star break. The Orioles have nine total walk-off wins, the most in the league. They also have 10 extra-inning wins, tying the Philadelphia Phillies for the league high. Not all of those have come under Showalter. The Orioles played horribly before Showalter arrived, but I never thought they had quit under either Trembley or Samuel.

After watching Edwin Jackson breeze through the early innings, I thought he was headed for a complete-game shutout. The Orioles did a commendable job waiting out Jackson and then taking advantage of the opportunities that they had. Earlier in the season, guys were pressing and trying to do too way too much at the plate, often to the detriment of the team. The starting pitching has obviously been the biggest difference in the club under Showalter, but the quality of the Orioles' at-bats is a close second.

Advertisement

It's not going to get any easier on the Orioles, who play the hardest schedule in baseball the rest of the way. Their remaining opponents have a .541 winning percentage.

That left fielder Felix Pie is suddenly getting good jumps, taking better routes to balls and making catches that he was not making during the Trembley and Samuel eras isn't a huge surprise to those who have watched Pie in batting practice over the last week. Pie has been catching balls off the bat and working on getting better reads and jumps. Perhaps, Pie just got sick of not catching balls that somebody with his speed and athleticism should catch. Or perhaps he realized he is being evaluated by a new and more demanding manager. Either way, there's no reason he can't become a good defensive left fielder if he continues to put in the work.

Advertisement

Orioles Director of Scouting Joe Jordan and area scout Gil Kubski met with third-round draft pick Daniel Klein and his family at their California home over last weekend. Jordan said it was an enjoyable visit and he left impressed. However, the Orioles still haven't narrowed the gap in agreeing to terms with Klein, the right-handed pitcher from UCLA who was taken with the 85th overall pick. They now have less than a week to get a deal done before Monday's midnight deadline. When the Orioles announce the official signings of Connor Narron (5th round) and Parker Bridwell (9th round) this week, that will leave them with 17 unsigned picks out of 50. That includes five in the top 15. The Orioles expected to go down to the Aug.16 deadline with first-round pick Manny Machado, but it has to be concerning to Jordan and other club officials that they have this much work to do so close to the deadline.

The Seattle Mariners firing of manager Don Wakamatsu yesterday adds one more interesting name in the mix for the anticipated coaching vacancies on Showalter's staff this offseason. Wakamatsu was a minor league manager in the Arizona organization while Showalter was there, and Showalter thought enough of him to have him as his bench coach in Texas. He also has a catching background to help Matt Wieters. I'd expect Wakamatsu will hear from Showalter at some point, but I'm sure the Orioles won't be the only one dialing his number. Wakamatsu has a solid reputation despite the mess in Seattle this year. Another interesting name I've heard to go along with B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Billy Ripken, Billy Connors, Nardi Contreras and Bobby Dickerson: Eric Wedge. Yes, the same Eric Wedge who Showalter beat out for the Orioles' job. After being dismissed by Texas, Showalter served as a senior advisor to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians, while Wedge was the manager there. I'd be shocked if it happened and Wedge will probably be in the running for some manager jobs, but it is an interesting thought.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement