Don’t worry (too much) about this comedy of Baltimore Oriole errors


It is important to keep in mind one takeaway from the entire week’s worth of never-a-dull-moment defense the Baltimore Orioles have played while resting the regulars. This is how we lived for 14 years, until things starting getting a little better, and ineptitude became unacceptable. I am not implying it was acceptable during any era past or present, but it became such an accustomed sight, you sure could have fooled me.

Half of Baltimore is saying don’t worry, they’ll step on the gas again when the playoffs start. Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Don’t worry, the sloppiness is all minor leaguers being giving playing time.

I would tend to say in spite of the underwhelming cast of characters who have been tried out at third base, the most qualified man for the job is Ryan Flaherty, and the most qualified second baseman (sometimes a shaky statement) is Jonathan Schoop.

Often praised for his arm, he is himself prone to the misplay, such as some drops and wayward throws home over the past week or so. Jimmy Paredes is the best hitter of the smorgasbord of third basemen, a speedy switch-hitter with pop, but his glove has not proven trustworthy. Alexi Cassilla, who was activated and given the start at third today … the less said about his showing at third, the better.

Buck Showalter cannot give playoff opponents an engraved invitation saying, ‘Here, hit it to the third baseman’

Buck Showalter

cannot not hand a clear-cut strategy and engraved invitation to the club’s playoff opponents, a message of, “Here, just hit the ball to my third baseman.” A sound gloveman must be put there, because defense makes pitching. However, to paraphrase what Rick Pitino said when Boston Celtics fans got restless back in the 1990s,

Manny Machado

isn’t walking through that door, and

Matt Wieters

isn’t walking through that door. These third basemen, and these infielders, are who we have.

It didn’t seem to work out badly when the Orioles were leading the league in defense for most of the season, but the idea of Spring Training in September has made fans wince who had become accustomed to the regular sight of Major Leaguers catching the ball and making plays.

The camp that tells us all not to worry has a point. This descent into widespread, civic panic ends tomorrow with game 162 against Toronto. There is an off day Monday, then workouts at Camden Yards Tuesday and Wednesday, before the new day dawns with Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series Thursday.