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)
A quick post to share my thoughts and gather your own …
The Nats got 28-year-old shortstop/2B (and two-time All-Star!) Asdrubal Cabrera from Cleveland for middling infield prospect Zach Walters, who’s almost 25 himself. He’s a slight-but-clear upgrade over Espinosa at second until Zimmerman comes back, if Zim comes back. He’s also a rental, seeing as how he’ll hit free agency this fall.
The O’s got 29-year-old badass lefty reliever Andrew Miller from Boston for decent lefty SP prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. Miller’s ERA has been below 3.00 and his K/9 IP above 14 each of the past two seasons. Yes, please. Like Cabrera, his contract is up at the end of the year. Fangraphs has a good breakdown.
Walters and Rodriguez may pan out elsewhere, but it’s not worth fretting over. It’s July 31st, the Nats and O’s are in first place, and they’re now at least marginally better for a World Series run. Carpe diem.
Nelson Cruz is having a ridiculous single-season contract year for Baltimore, leading the majors in homers (21) and RBI (55). In fact, he’s on pace for a Roger Maris-like 61 on the season, which would break Chris Davis’ still-fresh franchise record by eight. Here’s how he stacks up vs. the other great single-season sluggers in Baltimore history.
The Orioles Twitter account made my timeline a little filthier this afternoon, introducing new foodstuffs for 2014 at Camden Yards. Here they are ranked in order of how badly I want to eat them.
Of course, I’d also have to get Boog’s too, so this would be quite a day at the Park.
O’s sign rehabbing Johan Santana to minor league deal. [O's Insider]
Good for the O’s. Why not take a flyer on Johan? [Sweet Spot]
Nats sign LHRP Michael Gonzalez to minor league deal. [Nats Insider]
A quick look at the payroll challenge facing Rizzo. [Nats Journal]
Hey, Otto Porter actually did something. Anything. [Bog]
Evgeny Kuznetsov and wife will live with Ovechkin. [Caps Insider]
“So how do we feel about ‘Redskins Nation’?” Not great! [Bog]
With the signing of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees have spent $465 million this offseason. The Orioles have spent $4.5 million (on middle reliever Ryan Webb). Here’s what that looks like in one chart:
Dan Duquette says Baltimore may spend as much as $17 million more for the 2014 season, so there is that. How does Bronson Arroyo sound, you guys?