Thus Far, Buck’s Got It
The Orioles just completed an opening series three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins. It was quite evident that the O’s dominated every aspect of the game and had clearly all the confidence in the world this past weekend.
The Orioles have had dominant pitching, timely hitting and smart base running. For once, it seems like the Orioles have had a meaningful Spring Training. Gra
nted, it is a common phenomenon for the Orioles to start the season hot. The Orioles started 6-1 last season and it didn’t take very long for the wheels to fall off.
This season feels different, however. The Orioles didn’t have the big name offseason sign, and instead electing to bring in a few versatile veterans. Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter worked hard to put together a club that Buck liked. Showalter’s impact in these few games has been tremendous.
Wilson Betemit is a player who hits from both sides of the plate and can play nearly every position but catcher. Showalter will use him regularly in the DH role but if Mark Reynolds’ defense is a problem, Betemit will find more time at third, like he did on Sunday.
Of the 25 players on the current Orioles roster Showalter, all but one (Kevin Gregg) have played at least once in a game. All position players but Ryan Flaherty have started. Buck has made it a priority to get all of his guys in the games because each is valuable.
Flaherty is another guy who the Orioles love because of his versatility. A rule 5 pick from the Cubs, Flaherty made the 2012 Opening Day roster, marking his first time on a big league club. Flaherty carries six gloves to play every position necessary.
The biggest “What the heck?” moment so far was about 30 minutes prior to first pitch on Saturday. I saw Ronny Paulino penciled in as the DH. For goodness sake, why would you change the lineup after we won the first game. Ronny Paulino? You mean the backup to the backup catcher? The sole reason he made the club was because Taylor Teagarden was on the DL. Well, Paulino really shut me up going 4 for 5.
Nick Johnson has been out of baseball for a few years made the opening day roster and has started two of three games, stealing a base and scoring runs.
These are the types of moves that have made Buck Showalter who he is. A guy who studies the game tremendously and a guy who comes into every game more prepared than anyone else. The Orioles are not going to score 8 runs every night so to be competitive they will need good starting pitching and Buck Showalter’s moves to outsmart the other team.
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