Orioles winning without key pieces
BALTIMORE — The Orioles have been here before.
No, not 8 1/2 games up in the American League East — which is where they stand entering Tuesday — the club’s biggest lead since September 1997. Here, as in missing key members in a magnificent season with Baltimore (79-57) posting numbers that look, on paper at least, as if this is the year where everything went right.
Except it’s not. All-Star catcher and Gold Glove Award winner Matt Wieters was done after 26 games, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June, and the just-as-decorated Manny Machado — who missed the first month of the season — watched a freak injury last month result in his second season-ending knee surgery.
The Orioles, who played 2012 largely without Brian Roberts, are no stranger to absorbing devastating late-season injuries in the middle of a pennant push. Think anyone in the home dugout of Camden Yards forgot watching Nick Markakis take Yankees ace CC Sabathia’s fastball off his left thumb on Sept. 8, 2012?
“Still bothers me,” manager Buck Showalter said before Monday’s game of the season-ending broken finger Markakis suffered. “You don’t ever say, but that was as big of a kick in the you-know-what as anything in that situation. But it also kind of reminded us how fleeting it all can be in a day’s time. Whether its Wieters or [Steve] Pearce or it’s Manny. Game doesn’t stop. It goes right on.”
So how have the Orioles — who are 63-47 without Wieters and 32-22 without Machado — been able to move on? For starters, there’s the incredible season of Nelson Cruz, who has 36 homers and 90 RBIs. But there’s a lot more to the first-place club than that.
You can read the rest of the article on Orioles.com here: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/bal/orioles-piecing-together-stellar-season-after-key-injuries?ymd=20140901&content_id=92596258&vkey=news_bal