While the sting of the wild card loss is strong and fresh, and a lot of focus is being placed on the bullpen decisions in the game, don't forget to look at some of the larger issues the Orioles faced this season.
While it certainly is right to question Buck Showalter's decision to go with Ubaldo Jimenez, I can somewhat understand the thought of saving Zach Britton until you had a lead. But I wonder why he went with Jimenez vs. Dylan Bundy in that instance given Jimenez's struggles when he starts or enters a game -- 40-percent of the runs he allowed since returning to the rotation Aug. 25 came in the first inning. Bundy was on the game's roster for a reason and honestly I'm more surprised he didn't pitch than Britton.
But the real fact from Tuesday's loss can be summed up with this stat, the Orioles offense was shut down (0-for-16, with 6 strike outs) by a weaker Toronto bullpen after Manny Machado's single in the sixth inning. Sound familiar?
The Orioles finished the AL Wild Card game 0-16 with 6 K following Manny Machado's 6th inning single.
Since July 1, the Orioles batted .240 and scored 340 runs, an average of 4.1 per game. Compare that to the start of the seaon, April through June, when the team batted .272 with 403 runs, an average of 5.2, a full run better in six fewer games.
Certainly don't look too deep into one poor decision by Showalter. Where would the Orioles be without his leadership. They've won the most games in the American League since 2012 and have made the postseason three of the last five seasons. Anyone remember the years before that?
. @Orioles finish 2016 with most regular-season wins of any AL team over the past five years (444-366). @MLB
The crazy calls across social media for Showalter to be fired are just that, crazy. Who else do you want leading this team? Any of the previous manager that passed through Baltimore before his arrival?
The Orioles have exceeded expectations the past several years. This article from FanGraphs.com highlights that fact, as the O's have won 58 more games than projected since 2012. While that raises the question about the projections, it also shows just what the team has been able to do under Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette.
And there are signs Orioles fans have to be happy with as we look into the future. Kevin Gausman showed signs of developing into a frontline starter the team needs and thought he would be when they drafted with the fourth pick in the 2012 draft.
Dylan Bundy, the fourth pick in the 2011 draft, also took a major step forward in showing he could finally offer some significant returns if he can stay healthy. Imagine having those two in the starting rotation the next few years.
Soon, once the sting of the loss wears off a little, we can start looking forward to 2017. While some will wonder if the team can do what it takes to reach the World Series, at least having a shot three of the last five seasons is nice. The Yankees have made the playoffs just once since the 2013 season losing to the Astros in last year's wild card game.