BY DILLON ATKINSON
You may be deflated. You may be angry. You may be sad. You may be numb. You may be feeling a lot of different emotions after Tuesday night's ball game, and that's understandable. Time to very briefly hit on three topics for some post-season notes (not to be confused with postseason, unfortunately...).
Buck Showalter's Decision
Ah, yes, the most-discussed topic not only after the game, but also during the game. The Orioles lost 5-2 on an 11th inning walk-off homer, and the Orioles lost the do-or-die Wild Card game without using their best pitcher, Zach Britton.
Since this blog is just notes, I won't go too deep into this topic. All I'll say is that was just bad. You have the best closer in the game, a Cy Young candidate, ready and available to use, but you wanted to save him for a save situation that never came about. And sure, maybe if you use Britton in the 11th and 12th, he won't be available for maybe the 14th inning when the Orioles maybe score a run. But if you use him in the 11th, you have a better chance of possibly getting to the 14th inning. That may have been the worst decision by Showalter that I've seen in his time as the Orioles manager.
That being said, I've seen many calling for Showalter's head, wanting him fired for making what is looking like one of the worst managerial decisions in the playoffs in Major League Baseball history. I'm not going to go that far. Showalter has helped create a winning culture in Baltimore. I'm not saying the O's don't make the playoffs without him, but you can't say they absolutely do without him. Come 2017, Showalter will be the Orioles manager, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I've always liked Buck. However, that doesn't mean I'm not going to push some blame toward him for Tuesday night's loss -- not all of it, though. Remember, the O's offense was shut down all game long and Michael Bourn should've caught a very catchable fly ball in the fifth inning. So, Showalter doesn't get all the blame -- a lot goes to the offense not able to get one stinking hit off the atrocious Jays bullpen -- but his mistake was the mental one.
Upcoming Free Agent Predictions
It's never too early to make predictions on free agent signings, right?
This is subject to change, but here are my predictions (at least for this week) where each Orioles pending free agent will sign:
- Mark Trumbo to the Blue Jays
- Matt Wieters to the Orioles
- Pedro Alvarez to the White Sox
- Michael Bourn to the Orioles
- Drew Stubbs to the Pirates
- Nolan Reimold to the Rays
- Steve Pearce to the Orioles
- Tommy Hunter to the Tigers
Sorry for no salary predictions yet. Maybe I'll figure something out with that by next week. Also, maybe by then I switch the destinations for each O's free agent. It'll be a week-by-week re-evaluation.
Young Hurlers Showing Promise for 2017
I'm not even going to dive into stats here because that would take too long and you guys probably haven't even read this far into the post because you're still depressed about the Wild Card loss.
All I'm going to say is I'm excited for the 2017 seasons of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Mychal Givens. Hopefully they all take another step forward next year. And man, Givens was lights out on the mound on Tuesday night.