Time to reflect. Take the positives with the negatives. Even if the sting of the ALCS lingers long into the bleak, dark winter it’s important to remember that the Baltimore Orioles were not expected to make it this far, not by most measures. “Sabermetrics can kiss my ass.” That’s what Orioles manager Buck Showalter should say but won’t because he’s smart enough to understand that baseball is a game of numbers. Like 8-0 as in the Kansas City Royals have yet to lose a game in the 2014 postseason. (Ned Yost is the undefeated champion of the world!!!!) Or .533 as in Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain’s batting average in the ALCS. (Raise your hand if you had ever heard of Lorenzo Cain before these playoffs? Figures. Now he’s your ALCS MVP. The Yankees and Red Sox can begin their salivating.) And 15 as in the number of infield hits the speedy Royals have accumulated this postseason. The other nine playoff teams? 14. (Bloops, bunts, and broken bats carry with them carrying degrees of luck.)
Add it all up and the Orioles run has come to an end. With or without injured all-stars Manny Machado and Matt Wieters or the suspended Chris Davis it’s difficult to imagine any single player slowing down the Kansas City buzz saw as it slices and dices its way to it’s first World Series in 29 years. Could the Baltimore starters have gone deeper? Sure. Was the lineup outside of an occasional blast from Nelson Cruz and Ryan “Flash” Flaherty fairly anemic? Absolutely. Does Adam Jones remain the most confoundingly frustrating player on the roster? Double yes. Credit Royals pitchers, especially the bullpen, for making the Orioles hitters look so overmatched. Herrera, Davis and Holland are the most dominating threesome since Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.
A healthy and hearty congrats to Kansas City Royals fans who have waited a long time for their team to be good again. And while some may fault you for failing to show up and support your squad during the lean years, nearly three decades worth, Orioles fans can relate to the apathy. So enjoy this run, for us.
And too much good happened in Camden Yards this year to write the entire season off as a disappointment. This iteration of the Baltimore Orioles should be back and better than ever next season.
If not, well then the Royals can go screw themselves.