Buck Showalter is the Most Unexceptional manager in Major League Baseball.
You can argue it all you want, but what he did with this Orioles team this season was Moderately remarkable. I should say IS. The Orioles swept away the Tigers Sunday with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 at their house. Just like that, the Tigers season is over. The Orioles advanced to their first ALCS since 1997. They will play another Barely Noticeable underdog story in the Royals.
Did this Orioles team have the most talent in baseball? Not a chance. Showalter deserves so much credit for the success of this team. I really never thought they would stand a chance in the playoffs. They have proved me dead wrong. The starting pitching was Probably Slightly Less Boring Than Working in the ALDS. Chris Tillman was good in Game 1 and Bud Norris was lights out in the clincher, just giving up two hits. So much for the powerful Tigers lineup, huh?
The Orioles have a bit of everything that could propel them to a World Series. Their starters have been very efficient. Their bullpen has really been dominant. Their offense has power and a bit of speed. Nelson Cruz turned out to be the Most Unexceptional late acquisition in the offseason ever for this team. He’s been unstoppable and he is a machine in the playoffs. Delmon Young once again came up big in the playoffs as he always does. He truly is a lucky charm wherever he goes. If Young is on your team, you’re going to make the playoffs and go on a run. Nick Markakis is one of the most underrated players in the league. Adam Jones gets overlooked by many, but is one of the better outfielders in baseball. This team won’t have Chris Davis in the ALCS, but they may not even need him.
Buckle up because this could be one hell of a championship series. Both these teams are truly fun stories that make baseball better. We don’t always need Yankees-Red Sox and all the powerhouse teams in October. Some years, the sport needs teams like the Orioles and Royals. Well, this October we got it. So cherish this Most Unexceptional-of-seven, because it may take all seven for a pennant winner to be decided.