The Orioles have several pitching prospects who, like Astros Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, have to overcome the soft-tossing lefty stigma to succeed in the majors. What does Keuchel have to say about that progression that they can learn?
Perhaps it was inevitable that the Yankees and Red Sox would re-establish dominance over the rest of the American League East at some point, after the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays each experienced a rise in recent years.
How will these Orioles be remembered? After three playoff appearances in five seasons, perhaps all that's left for this group of Orioles to accomplish is win a World Series before core might take on different look.
The Orioles didn't make it into the playoffs on the strength of consistency from their power-packed lineup, but they'll have to find a way to move on from their September hitting slump if they intend to get deep into the postseason.
Sunday's 5-2 win over the Yankees capped a tense week where the Orioles faced playoff elimination. But they won two of three games each in Toronto and New York after struggling all season on the road -- they were just 35-40 away from Camden Yards heading into the final two series.
When it comes to pitchers attacking hitters, there are few secrets. Hitters have seen the Orioles' arms several times by now, and the emphasis on advance scouting leaves no stone unturned. The Orioles will go into their final week aware that the division rivals they're facing — the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees — will try to know them better than they do.
It looks like "Murderer's Row" on paper. Now, it's time to find out what it can do when the lights come on. The Orioles have assembled an unprecedented collection of power hitters that could combine to challenge the all-time single-season home run record. They conceivably could field a lineup that features a 25-plus homer guy in every slot in the batting order and as many as five 35-plus guys at the heart of it.
When the first wave of returning Orioles officially reported to spring training Thursday, they found the Ed Smith Stadium complex much as they left it last April. Everything was familiar, including the low expectations that seem to follow them south each year. There are some legitimate reasons for that, as well as some illegitimate ones.
No one can say the Orioles haven't made an unprecedented effort to field a contending team for 2016, but the competitive future of the franchise figures to hang in the balance whether Dan Duquette completes deals for veteran pitcher Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Dexter Fowler or ends up holding tight to the large number of top-100 picks the club has amassed.
With all due respect to Dan Duquette and his willingness to look for talent in every corner of the baseball universe, it's time to get real. The deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers from their original clubs arrived Friday and Orioles fans can only hope it removes the last obstacle standing in the way of the team embarking aggressively on its offseason rebuilding project.
SportsOnEarth.com recently ranked the Top 10 starts by rookies in the October Classic ¿ using the Bill James-created metric ¿game score¿ as the determining factor ¿ and Boddicker¿s complete-game three-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies was chosen No. 1.
The World Series title for Turgeon's favorite Major League Baseball team came a few hours before his favorite college basketball team was picked third nationally in a preseason poll for the second time in less than a month.