This season has been a disappointment for O’s fans, and a big disappointment for Nats fans. It’s stacked upon postseason frustration (and in the Nats’ case, failure), too, as the two have combined for four playoff births the past four years, but only one playoff series win. It’s all relative, though.
It was fairly recent — about five years, to be exact — that both teams were bottom-feeders and had been for a long, long time. But if you look at the past four years, from 2012 to today, the O’s have won more regular-season games than any other American League team, and the Nats have won eight more than that.
Here’s the full list, as best I can tell:
1. Cardinals — 372
2. Dodgers — 359
3. Nationals — 358
4. Orioles — 350
5. Yankees — 348
6. Angels — 343
7. Tigers — 342
8. Giants — 337
9. Royals — 336
10. Rangers and Rays — 334
(Thanks to Ken Rosenthal’s look at Baltimore tension for the heads up.)
You may have noticed that Chris Davis is on a tear, elevating his season HR total to 30. The Chris Mottram lookalike’s OPS+ is up to 134, the second-best of his career. You may have also noticed that thing on his face:
The Orioles slugger had let his beard and mustache go until it was threatening the Orioles’ strict no-beard rule, so he shaved the beard but kept the mustache.
And it looks terrible. But he can’t shave it off now.
A player on a streak has to respect the streak, you see. So, since it appears Crush’s little friend may stick around, we asked Doug Ramey (@fatpickled) to weigh in. Doug is a bit of an expert on the subject, given that he authored “The 12 Best Mustaches in Orioles History” on this very site.
Here’s what Doug had to say:
“That furry caterpillar is impressive — it almost looks like he’s wearing a disguise. It’s also comical how it looks when he has one of his over-the-top lippers in.
In order to crack the top 10 I feel it needs to last 30 days … the other guys on that list rocked the ‘stache for entire seasons. That being said, if the ‘stache has legs and lasts awhile it has top-five potential.
I do deduct points for the flavor saver he has accompanying the ‘stache. Just because his buddy Chris Tillman is still rocking a flavor saver eight years after they were out of style (if they ever were) doesn’t mean he has to add that as an accessory to his already impressive lip fur.”
As seen on Friday night, following Schoop’s walk-off home run vs. the Nats at Camden Yards:
Schoop, BTW, has 12 hits in 47 at-bats so far this season. Five of them are home runs.
From last night, via FTW, adding to the Manny Machado collection:
Brilliant. Though MLB really shouldn’t be tacking 15-second commercials onto the front end of five-second highlights.
The Worldwide Leader unveiled a rather cool feature yesterday, The Great Analytics Rankings, sorting all 122 NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams by “the strength of each franchise’s analytics staff, its buy-in from execs and coaches, its investment in biometric data and how much its approach is predicated on analytics.” I don’t know what biometric data is, but this is interesting nonetheless, at least as it pertains to our favorite teams.
We’ll start with the good. The Nats and O’s are both labeled as “believers,” meaning they rank somewhere in the top half among MLB teams. For the O’s, it’s thanks to “GM Dan Duquette, manager Buck Showalter and pitching coordinator Rick Peterson, all of whom are respected for their analytical thinking,” though “they need a more coherent, holistic approach and a stronger investment to compete with division rivals Tampa Bay, Boston and New York.”
Handing out labels following Baltimore’s opening-round sweep of Detroit.
Nelson Cruz — As if he wasn’t enough of a free-agent steal already after leading the league with 40 HRs, he hit two more against Detroit, including the series-winning blow. Now has 16 HRs in 37 career playoff games, and he slash lined .500/.500/1.000 for the series.
Buck Showalter — Pulled all the right strings. Example: With one out and a man on second in the ninth inning of Game 3, he intentionally walked Nick Castellanos to put the winning run on base. The next batter grounded into a series-ending DP.
Delmon Young — That bases-clearing triple in Game 2 was incredible, providing this Vine of the year candidate.
Bud Norris — Matched up against David Price, he threw six-plus innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits. Bud Norris!
Andrew Miller — High-level bullpen boss. Threw three-and-a-third innings in two appearances, giving up no runs or hits and walking one.
Kevin Gausman — Provided valuable long relief in Game 2. Dennis Eckersley said he’s “got some hair.” High praise.
Pretty much the entire lineup — Faced three Cy Young winners, scored 21 runs. Also committed just one error.
There are no losers here, not on Baltimore’s side at least.
Chris Davis — Crush could be back by the end of the ALCS.
Game 1 of the ALCS is Friday, time and opponent TBD.
Mr. Irrelevant reader ODA won a guest post for accurately predicting the Redskins’ opening loss at Houston. Here it go.
Mix in a few new ones between “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “Orioles Magic” this October.
1. My Morning Jacket – “Holdin On to Black Metal”
You may recognize it as the newest addition to Camden Yards’ mix of “O”-themed sound bites, a list which also includes snippets of “Icky Thump” and that creepy Wizard of Oz chant. Jim James, leader of the legendary Louisville band, also bears a pretty remarkable resemblance to Wild Bill Hagy.
I was pretty excited to watch both the Nats and O’s possibly clinch their respective division championships last night. What ended up happening, though, is I fell asleep on the couch after putting the kids to bed, and woke up well past the Nats party and just as the O’s party was getting started.
Thankfully, my brother Chris only has one kid, not three, so he was able to stay up and take pictures of his TV. Fun!
1. Bryce came prepared
2. This is how it’s done
3. Another reason to hate Soriano
4. Kevin Frandsen’s most important contribution this year
5. Meanwhile, in Baltimore …
It is only September 17th. Rest up for October.
This is one of the better baseball plays I’ve ever seen.
Jones, by the way, is on pace for yet another 30-HR season.
On Wednesday night, Manny Machado did this to Albert Pujols:
It was an amazing play, and one we’ve come to expect from Manny. But just to prove it was no fluke, he did it again last night. And again, it was against Albert Pujols:
Both were incredible, and both throws came from about 10 feet into foul territory:
But what really made the second one special was Manny doing this:
There’s a man running to first base with no outs in a tie game in the 11th inning, and Manny Machado, about half a football field away from first base, is gonna take a moment to check out the baseball, gather himself, get his grip right, and then throw the runner out. I can’t wait to watch him do this for the next 15 years.
(GIF via @cjzero)