MLB Trade Deadline: Post-Deadline Expectations for Baltimore Orioles
The biggest moves that the Orioles made over the past few weeks were their acquisitions of Jim Thome and Omar Quintanilla.
Not exactly earth-shattering stuff.
So now what? Where does it all go from here? And what should Oriole fans expect the rest of the way?
1. A Continued Playoff Push
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The trading deadline has come and gone, but it did not change the Orioles' place in the standings.
After two consecutive victories over the New York Yankees, the Birds stand at 55-49—just five-and-a-half games behind the said Yankees for the American League East crown, and one-and-a-half games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card spot.
With such a strong mark at this point in the season, there is no reason why a legitimate playoff push should not be expected from these Orioles.
2. Error Reduction
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They say defense wins championships.
Perhaps this saying wasn't meant for baseball—but if it was—the Orioles must expect to shore up their defensive issues immediately. The 83 errors committed by Baltimore are tops in all of baseball.
Wilson Betemit (14) and Robert Andino (12) have been two of the biggest culprits.
Perhaps Jim Thome's recent DL placement will allow Betemit to gain more starts at designed hitter, which in turn, keeps his .951 fielding percentage off the field (via The Baltimore Sun).
3. A Homestand Statement
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Beginning on August 6th, the Orioles are slated for a 10-game homestand that is absolutely vital in their pursuit of the postseason.
The Boston Red Sox come to town to wrap up the final three games.
In order to authenticate their postseason chances, the Orioles need to expect to make a statement (i.e. go at least 7-3) over these 10 games, and in the process, improve upon their dismal 25-26 home mark.
4. Intense Fan Support
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Perhaps the Orioles' 25-26 home record is an indication of their subpar play at home. On the other hand, it could be a sign of their lack of fan support.
I traveled to Baltimore this weekend to take in the Orioles' series against the Athletics, and needless to say I was less than impressed with the fan backing.
Here is a team sitting right in the thick of a playoff race, and as soon as any part of the game turned slightly against the Orioles' favor, the fanbase went immediately sour.
The heckling of Mark Reynolds and Omar Quintanilla was relentless. I even heard one fan call the Orioles' second basemen an "enchilada."
Now sure, Reynolds isn't having the greatest of seasons, but heckling Quintanilla is inexcusable (he's hitting .406 in an Orioles' uniform so far).
The bottom line is, this team has climbed to a position that no other Orioles squad has seen in more than a decade.
Let's stay positive O's fans, and give our Birds a home-field advantage that's worth playing for.
That's the type of fan support that a team in the playoff hunt should expect to receive.