The Indians are headed to Baltimore today to take on the Orioles in a four game series that marks the beginning of an eleven day, eleven game road trip. It’s the first time the Tribe has taken on the Orioles this year so I decided to reach out to Domenic Vadala, editor or the Orioles site Birds Watcher, to get his take on the Orioles, their chances in 2013, and their budding super-star Manny Machado. Oh, and we might have discussed Chris Davis. You can follow Dominic on Twitter @DomenicVadala.
Wahoo’s on First: The Orioles are currently trailing both the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East. Do you think they have what it takes to make a run at the division title, or are they destined to be a wild card again this year?
Domenic Vadala: With the way the AL East is bunched, everyone’s in the fight! I think that they probably could afford to buy a bit more pitching as the deadline approaches, but the fact is that they’ve been competitive in division games thus far. Having said that, while you’d rather win the division if the wild card is where they end up I think Orioles fans will take that.
Wahoo’s on First: Chris Davis is on a level all to his own so far this season when it comes to hitting. How surprised are you by his performance and is there any chance he slows down or can we expect him to keep up this insane pace for the entire season?
Domenic Vadala: Tough to say. I’m a bit surprised at the sheer number of homers he’s hit, but I’m not surprised by the power itself. The Orioles traded a reliever to Texas two years ago for Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter; part of why they liked Davis was his power. Texas wasn’t going to include him in the trade, but the Orioles were ready to walk away from the table if they didn’t get him. At the time Texas needed relief pitching, so they bit. Bad choice. He’s always had the potential for power, and he’s just now realizing it.
Wahoo’s on First: As someone who gets to seem him play every day, how good is Manny Machado? It seems like he get forgotten in the with all the hype with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Could he be better than both of them?
Domenic Vadala: Whether or not he’s better is not for me to decide! But for sure he’s been overshadowed a bit by them. It’s worth mentioning that Machado’s actually a shortstop who’s playing third base, and he’s being compared to Brooks Robinson. I’m not big on those comparisons, but he’s made some amazing plays at the hot corner and his bat is a pretty sure thing.
Wahoo’s on First: What concerns you most about the current state of the Orioles? Where do they need to make an improvement if they want a realistic shot at making a deep October run this year?
Domenic Vadala: They need more pitching, however they’re not really in a great position to get it. In the past 1-2 years they’ve been interested in going after several big name pitchers in the trade market, however other teams have played hard-ball with the O’s in that regard. Most teams have walked away from the trade table unless names such as Machado, Kevin Gausman, or Dylan Bundy (two hot pitching prospects) were included in the trades. However on a positive note the Orioles have gotten decent production out of several bench guys who might now be able to be thrown into a potential trade. But GM Dan Duquette is not willing to mortgage the future by making a trade which amounts to a rental. Ultimately the Orioles will just have to find ways to win like they did last year.
Wahoo’s on First: What is your prediction for the upcoming series between the Indians and Orioles?
Domenic Vadala: Wow, that’s a tough thing to ask! Cleveland has a good team, and similar to the Orioles it’s a wonder what a good manager brings to the table. I think it’ll be a good series with close games, but I also think the O’s will take three-of-four. But a split wouldn’t surprise me either.