But this could be a terrible September for the team, and everything that has happened supports this theory.
A lot of veterans have been traded away. Aubrey Huff, George Sherrill, Gregg Zaun and Joey Gathright have been sent to other teams for minor leaguers. The rotation has now gone to four rookies, with the best rookie pitcher, Brad Bergeson, likely out for the rest of the year, which leaves the Orioles relying on kids that will not pitch more than six innings a game most likely. To give an idea on how important Bergeson was, he has seven wins, second on the team; no bad considering he has not been playing for one-third of the season. The current lineup doesn't have a bad average, but nearly no power. Sure Felix Pie and a few others are coming on, but problems with Adam Jones have lowered his production as of late. History has shown that the Orioles often have a late collapse in the final month of the season. And to boot, the Orioles upcoming schedule is full of playoff-contending teams, including two series against the Yankees, two versus the Red Sox, one faceoff against the Rangers, and two against the Rays.
So with all of that, the Orioles will need to hold on and bear through September. Obviously they will want to fight for fourth place and avoid being last place behind the Blue Jays a second straight year, and they will need to make up four games in the standings to have a chance at them. If nothing else, try to finish above the Washington Nationals. That would require a collapse of large magnitude, but the Orioles still don't want that to happen. Also, with football season coming up, the fan support for the O's will look grim. The Ravens are easily king in Baltimore, and with them trying to build on an AFC Championship appearance last season, the Orioles will lose a lot of support.
A couple of questions are still in need of answering. Dave Trembley will be the manager through the end of the season, but he is no doubt on the hot seat. He has taken the approach that the front office expects him. The Orioles primary concern for the rest of the season is not winning games; not that they will broadcast that, but it is the case. They need to work with developing the young rotation and the young hitters. The rotation, especially Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz due to their potential, need to keep developing, as they will be on the starting rotation on Opening Day next year. Matt Wieters, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold all have shown good stuff in certain parts of the year, and will need to continue learning for the season. With very few veterans of the future on the squad, this gives the young team a great chance to learn from each other.
But make no mistake. This month is going to be very rough. A number of powerful teams are getting ready to take the Baby Birds on, and this could be a long September for Dave Trembley and the O's.
(Photo credit: AP)