We are going to get the bar going a lot in the next few weeks. There will be lots of things to discuss. Lots of predictions for you to share.
Much has been made about what the Orioles’ roster for the American League Division Series will look like. I’d imagine we’ll know at some point today, though Buck Showalter doesn’t have to submit it until Thursday morning.
Honestly, I think it’s pretty set. To me there are only two spots that are unclear.
That’s because I believe Kelly Johnson, T.J. McFarland and David Lough are going to make the roster. Johnson provides insurance at second and third bases if Showalter does not want to start rookie Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty every game. And I don’t think he does.
Lough has improved offensively down the stretch and provides speed and defense late in games.
Showalter likes having a left-hander to back up his right-handed starters in case something goes wrong early, and that’s been McFarland all year. Showalter has been so careful with his bullpen this year that I just don’t see him taking away that security blanket now (plus, it has worked).
To me, that leaves right-hander Brad Brach and left-hander Brian Matusz making the roster if Showalter goes with 12 pitchers and one of them as the odd man out if he goes with 11, which he has said he is leaning toward. Both Matusz and Brach have done enough this year to be included. It’s just what Showalter prefers matchup-wise.
I could be convinced to take both relievers, but that would mean leaving Jimmy Paredes and Quintin Berry off the roster.
Paredes can hit, but he’s been a defensive liability at third base. Berry is a weapon on the base paths, and the Kansas City Royals proved Tuesday how valuable that can be in the playoffs. But Showalter barely used Berry in September.
I suppose Alexi Casilla is in consideration since he can play third base and was added to the 40-man roster on the final weekend, but I don't buy it. If I had to choose one of those three, it definitely would be Berry.
Here’s the list I put together. Tell me who gets your final two roster spots.
Caleb Joseph, Nick Hundley
Steve Pearce, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Kelly Johnson
Starting Pitchers (4)
Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris
Relief Pitchers (6)
That leaves two more out of this group:
Relievers Brad Brach and Brian Matusz, infielder Jimmy Paredes and outfielder Quintin Berry.
Daily Think Special: Fill out the Orioles’ final two roster spots.