I will admit, I was skeptical when the Orioles started the season 4-0.
Sure, their pitching was lights out, but how long can you expect a rotation to keep up a 0.69 ERA?
The statisticians with their talk of BABIP and K/9 innings certainly made it seem like the Orioles were destined to fade back to obscurity. Not to mention, the offense was not providing much support.
These stat heads, however, forgot one key component to the Orioles surprising turnaround: manager Buck Showalter.
Showalter has his team believing in itself and playing competitive baseball.
Last night, the Orioles found themselves facing two-run deficits twice against the Detroit Tigers.
This seemed like a game the Orioles were destined to lose, especially after battling back twice to tie the score at four in the seventh inning, only to see the Tigers pull ahead 5-4.
Under a different manager, the Orioles probably would have thrown in the towel and gone on quietly to their second loss of the season, but not under Showalter.
Since taking over on August 3 last year, the Orioles have played to a 39-24 record. Showalter has injected discipline and drive into a young team that was desperately in need of a change of direction after four months of listless play under Dave Trembley.
Showalter is the perfect manager to develop the young pitching prospects that must develop if the Orioles are to ever return to prominence in the tough AL East.
He has overseen tremendous player development movements in the past, most notably with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Showalter has also shown that he will not back down from the Yankees and Red Sox. While some will question his comments directed at Theo Epstein and Derek Jeter, his attitude shows that as manager of the Orioles, Buck will not back down when facing dominant teams.
He has shown his players what he expects from them.
This season may not end with a playoff trip for the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, that is highly unlikely. For this long suffering Orioles fan, a winning season would suffice.
Buck Showalter has his Orioles on the right track. As he develops the young talent base, and instills a winning attitude, Showalter will create a new Oriole Way, the Showalter Way, statisticians be damned.