Free Baseball Interleague Betting Picks, News, Notes and Odds: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays.

Authored by Major League Baseball Expert Analyst Greg Nelson.

MLB Daily Predictions are winning at a remarkable rate and will continue through the 2018 World Series. So far the 2018 Major League Baseball season is a surprise for loyal fans in the Peach State. Atlanta 42-29 has a three and a half-game lead over the prohibitive favorite Washington Nationals in the National League East. They travel north of the border for a two-game series beginning on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Game time is 7:07 PM EST at Rogers Center in Toronto, Ontario. Local Television Networks broadcasting. After two subpar season’s, manager Brian Snitker is making his presence in the dugout. SunTrust Park is in its second year of existence and reminiscence of the Bobby Cox era are beginning to creep into play with their consistency. Toronto is fourth in what could be called the best division in baseball. The Blue Jays are 33-38 and fifteen game out of first place through June, but all is not lost as they hope to make thing interesting in the coming months. The Opening Betting Line has Atlanta as a -110 Road Favorite. The Betting Odds Total is Nine Runs for Tuesday’s contest.

Atlanta is 3-1 vs. Toronto dating back the 2017 and have won five of their last six this season in a recent homestand against New York Mets and San Diego. Calgary, Alberta native Michael Soroka who has just four appearances this season will bring his 2.57 era to the pitcher’s mound Tuesday. Starting Pitchers Mike Foltynewicz, 2.16 earn run average and Sean Newcomb lead the rotation, the growth of Soroka could be tremendous as the season progresses. Las Vegas bettors are catching on to the Braves success but so are oddsmakers. Rookie Ozzie Albies is getting plenty of headlines with his play, but first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Nick Markakis are also contributing on a daily basis. Atlanta will head back home for six more against struggling Baltimore and Cincinnati then it’s back on the road to close out June. Atlanta must continue to bring effort each game it will bring the young team confidence as the playoff race begins. Bovada.Lv, list the Atlanta Braves at +160 to win the 2018 MLB NL East title.

It was just a few years ago when Marcus Stroman was pitching in the American League wild-card play-in game against Baltimore where the Blue Jays would lose in the ALCS to Cleveland. Inconsistency has plagued Toronto this season in their last ten they took all four from Baltimore before losing three in a row in Tampa but bounced back to sweep Washington at Roger Centre, which helped Atlanta. The Blue Jays are 6-2 in Interleague play so far this season and hope to get another productive series performance. Second Baseman Yangervis Solarte is trying to make fans forget about the days of Edward Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, and the crew as they have moved on to other cities. Slugger Josh Donaldson is out indefinitely with a calf injury. Starting Pitcher and ace Marcus Stroman is also on the shelf with a bad shoulder. Someone must step up for the injured riddled Blue Jays, or it’s lights out for 2018. Bovada. Lv, list the Toronto Blue Jays at +50,00 to win the 2018 AL East division.

 

Winning Daily Baseball Predictions

Free Picks. Atlanta-110. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Advertisements

Winning MLB Interleague Predictions, News, Notes and Odds For Tuesday, June 12, 2018: Washington Nationals at New York Yankees.

Authored by Major League Baseball Expert Analyst Greg Nelson. Baseball Betting Picks are winning at a remarkable rate and will continue through the 2018 World Series. Washington Nationals fans hope’s their series in the Bronx is a preview of the World Series. The Nationals are (36-27) and first in the National League East Division. Washington play’s (42-19) New York Yankees American League East. Tuesday’s game is at Yankees Stadium in New York, New York. Local Television Networks will broadcast the game. First pitch is 7:05 PM EST. Expert Baseball Handicappers at Charliessports.com are aware of the pressure that is mounting in the Beltway. Not only with raising the World Series trophy bt resigning a rising star whose contract is over at seasons end. What else can we say about the most valuable and notable franchise in baseball? The New York Yankees are also open to improving their roster, and they did just that this offseason. The Opening Betting Line has Washington as a +150 Road Underdog. The Betting Odds Total is Nine, And A Half Runs for Tuesday’s contest.

The Bronx Bombers welcome the Washington Nationals to Yankee Stadium for an interleague matchup.

Washington is in a tie with Atlanta in the standings, but Atlanta holds the tiebreaker. The Nationals are performing better on the road than at home this season with a 21-11 record and are 5-0 vs. American League opponents. Manager Dave Martinez is already feeling expectation since taking over for Dusty Baker; the roster is built to win a Championship. Starting Pitcher Max Scherzer is not only the ace of his staff but leads all dominant league pitchers in strikeouts, the St. Louis, Missouri native, is fourth in Major League Baseball with a 2.00 earn run average. Relief Pitcher Sean Doolittle has sixteen game saves to his credit. Washington will travel to Toronto for three before returning to Nationals Park for seven games. Right Fielder Bryce Harper and Shortstop Tea Turner are swinging hot bats leading the team in all five broad categories. Washington will get a stiff test for three games against top tier team in the American League. How will the rotation hold up vs. A potent batting lineup? Bovada.Lv, list the Washington Nationals at 4/1 to win the 2018 MLB National Pennant.

The New York Yankees are 8-2 their last ten baseball games and own the best record in Major League Baseball. CC Sabathia will be on the mound for game one against Tanner Roark. The Bronx Bombers have been equally as good at home as well as away from Yankees stadium this season but are just 3-2 vs. National League opponents. Aaron Judge, along with Giancarlo Stanton combine one of the most prolific batting combinations in baseball. Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius, and Gary Sanchez are also contributing. Starting Pitcher Luis Severino and closer Aroldis Chapman are a dynamic combination which can bring a World Series title to New York. Tampa Bay and Seattle are next up for New York. As well as the Yankees are playing, Boston is right in their shadow. Bovada. Lv, list the New York Yankees at 11/2 to win the 2018 World Series Title.

Get The Best Daily Baseball Picks.

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Chris Davis and the world’s worst case of homesickness

Chris Davis and the world’s worst case of homesickness

In a sad state of affairs, the Washington Capitals closed out the Vegas Golden Knights in five games to win the Stanley Cup last night. I had them in six. Tonight, the Golden State Warriors can sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers, the thought of which curdles Charlie Red‘s blood. If that happens, sports fans who can’t make it through 45 minutes without a commercial and will thus skip the World Cup, will be left with two options: Major League Baseball or going to the drive-in every night to binge-watch the new Halloween reboot.

Winning 2018 MLB Picks

One is a frightening prospect. Assuming you’re not an Orioles fan, that would be the drive-in. Baroness Haden-Guest, aka Jaime Lee Curtis, is still kinda hot at 59, but shouting “Don’t open the damned door!” might get old after a week or so. There’s always going to be a lunatic in a mask behind it, and he’ll never say a word.

Jaime Lee Curtis in the 2018 Halloween reboot.

Baseball gives us two lunatics in masks. The umpire speaks but its gibberish. Mostly, you understand what he means by the violent gestures he makes. The catcher crouches in front of him, frantically signalling for help that never arrives.

The most frightening thing in the 2018 baseball season, however, is seeing Chris Davis at the plate. The Baltimore first baseman is on pace to have the worst batting season in baseball history. Through 55 games his line is .152/.232/.232. His slugging percentage is equal to his on-base percentage, which is sabermetrics for the slugger is not slugging.

He has four home runs and 15 rbi, meaning he has driven in 11 teammates. ESPN’s David Schoenfeld helpfully relates 109 runners have been on base when Davis has batted. Worse, he has scored only five times when not driving himself in. That’s from 22 singles, four doubles, 19 walks and one base reached on an error. In other words, he’s picking up runners roughly 10% of the time and being driven in by his teammates at an 11% [rounding up]. Davis is bad but his teammates aren’t much better.

Baltimore is probably reluctant to send their slumping infielder to the minors on a one-way $23 million/year contract. They are hoping the problem can be solved at Camden Yards. If it isn’t, Davis may produce the worst negative Wins Above Replacement score the game has seen. Worse, he may break Leo Cardenas’ 1972 record for fewest runs scored in a season. The Angels Cuban-born shortstop touched home plate 25 times that year. Davis projects to only 24.

It’s one thing to say you can never go home in life. In baseball, though…

The data shifts on shifts

Today is my day for learning from ESPN writers. Stat geek Bradford Doolittle reported on the data upgrade for shift analysis in MLB. Before the addition, numbers were only available for balls put in play when a shift was on. Now, every pitch is documented.

Whereas the consensus had been defensive shifts produced more outs by overloading whichever side a pull hitter favors, the new numbers show more walks are surrendered than hits saved.

Seeing four infielders in their hitting zone has intimidated hitters into being more selective about swinging at inside pitches. With an imbalanced defence behind them, pitchers are reluctant to throw strikes the batter can send the opposite way. Instead, they throw off the plate and put the runner on.

Unless pitchers can find a way to get pull hitters to bite, the new numbers may result in fewer shifts being put on, if any at all. If it results in more pitches put in play, that can only be good for the game.

The Best MLB Handicappers Predictions

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

Seattle Mariners are can do without Robinson Cano

Seattle Mariners are can do without Robinson Cano

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 was a momentous day for the Seattle Mariners.  While I was blowing out candles on a cake in Miami, they equalled the third-largest deal in Major League Baseball history by signing New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year $240 million contract. Then-M’s general manager Jack Zduriencik may have thought it wise to get the deal done before Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, he didn’t think to send me birthday wishes for my 50th, thereby failing to avoid cursing the deal.

Winning 2018 Baseball Picks

In the four since-completed seasons with Cano in the lineup, the club hasn’t improved noticeably, finishing third, fourth, second and third in the American League West. When you make a signing of that magnitude, you expect to win. Or you should.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 turned out to be the second momentous day in the marriage between the Mariners and their high-priced second-sacker. Cano was suspended 80 days by Major League Baseball for a positive result to a drug test.

You wouldn’t imagine the Mariners would take the news positively. Not the fans, not Cano’s teammates, not manager Scott Servais or current GM Jerry Dipoto. While Cano had only hit four home runs on the season, he had contributed 24 rbi and 23 runs in 39 games, projecting him into the 90s for both over an entire season. His basic numbers as a Mariner suggest the team was faced with replacing 12 hr, 45 rbi and 40 runs. That isn’t a pleasing prospect.

Robinson Cano's numbers in his first four seasons as a Seattle Mariner.

The Mariners were their typical third in the AL West on May 14th, a game-and-a-half behind the Angels, with the World Series champion Houston Astros nestled in between. Seattle’s suddenly looked like another lost season. How could they stay close until Cano returned?

Only, they’ve gone far beyond staying close. After chasing Dallas Keuchel last night, the Mariners are in first place. In the first 20 games sans Cano, they are 15-5. That’s a .750 winning percentage. With Cano, they were 23-17, or .575.

Former Yankee teammate Mark Teixeira, now an ESPN analyst claimed he wasn’t surprised by the suspension.

Alex Rodriguez got popped by Biogenesis, and Melky [Cabrera, also with the Yankees for a time] got popped. They were best friends.

Cano accepted responsibility for the failed test although he claimed it was prescribed in the Dominican for a medical issue rather than to cheat the system. Nevertheless, it has to create a trust issue within the organisation. When he left New York, former hitting coach Kevin Long lamented his habit of not running to first on sure outs.

When you jog down the line, even if it doesn’t come into play 98% of the time, it creates a perception. But he just wouldn’t make that choice to run hard all the time.

Cano will be eligible to play again for the Mariners’ 121st game, on August 14th in Oakland, ten weeks from now, assuming the club don’t first send him down to the minors for a conditioning assignment. Will Scott Servais be eager to plug him right into the lineup if the Mariners are still rolling along atop the division? How could he ignore an elite power hitter? If the M’s begin to slide with Cano back in the clubhouse and the batting order, what then?

It’s difficult to sit a $240 million player. It’s even harder to trade him when he has a PED suspension on his record. Seattle managed to rid themselves of the original Alex Rodriguez before he went bad. Now, too late, they may have to divorce ARod’s protegé. That’s the Emerald City for you. It never rains but it pours.

The Best MLB Handicappers Predictions

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

Blue Jays and Dodgers both face lost seasons but only one is desperate for a rescue

Blue Jays and Dodgers both face lost seasons but only one is desperate for a rescue

Toronto and Los Angeles are just over 2,700 miles apart. That’s not the farthest distance between Major League cities. Seattle is baseball’s most isolated franchise. It’s over 3,000 miles away from every East Coast club, and 2,750 miles from Toronto, but I mentioned LA for a reason. The distance between Canada’s most populous city and America’s second-most is emblematic of the dichotomy between the Blue Jays and Dodgers’ respective approaches to their most prized assets.

Winning 2018 MLB Picks

Two months and one-third of the way into the 2018 Major League Baseball season both teams are struggling. Toronto’s 25-31 record projects to a 72-win season. The Dodgers are a game better and on pace for 75. The Jays are two seasons removed from an ALCS series against the eventual World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. The Dodgers are the defending National League Champions.

The Dodgers pitching staff has been hit hard with injuries. Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda are on the 10-Day disabled list; Tom Koehler is on the 60. Clayton Kershaw was just activated, which I’ll get to in a minute. Corey Seager [60] and Chase Utley [10] are also on the DL.

The Blue Jays have also lost players. Troy Tulowitzki is on the 60-day DL after surgery to remove bone spurs in both heels. Josh Donaldson has been day-to-day with a calf problem. Marcus Stroman’s shoulder fatigue has him on the 10-day DL and closer Roberto Osuna’s temper has run him afoul of the league’s domestic violence policy. He is indefinitely suspended.

There are still more than a 100 games remaining for both clubs but the Dodgers, with their massive payroll, are feeling the pressure to salvage their campaign far more than the Blue Jays. For one thing, despite similar records, LA is only four games off the pace in the NL West.The Dodgers brought Clayton Kershaw back from injury too quickly.

Clayton Kershaw had missed all but the first and last days of May with a shoulder problem. when he was medically cleared this week, the club put him back on the mound. No rehab stint to shake off the rust, test all the moving parts, or build up lost strength. Just give him the ball and hope he can turn the season around.

Instead, Kershaw may turn around and head back to the DL, this time with stiffness in his back. In his return against the Phillies, manager Dave Roberts limited him to 60+ pitches in five innings. The lefty gave up just one run but ESPN’s Dave Schoenfeld highlighted a disturbing statistic.

Kershaw threw 20 four-seam fastballs. Not one reached 90 mph. Compare that to the 1100 or so he threw in 2017, of which not a one went under 90, and there is reason to be concerned. Even at 88 or 89, the Dodger ace was an effective pitcher, but he’s not Greg Maddux. Over several starts, hitters will catch up to him. He needs that dominant fastball.

If he goes on the DL again this weekend, Los Angeles should consider taking their time bringing him back to the rotation.

For their part, the Blue Jays have been resisting pressure from all sides to get a sensational player into the lineup yesterday if not sooner. For one thing, they are 13.5 games behind Boston in the AL East. For another, their potential hero is not a veteran Cy Young winning left-hander. It’s a 19-year-old third-baseman whose father will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame this summer.

Vladimir Guerrero is rated the Blue Jays' top prospect by MLB and Baseball America.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr is rated as the Jays’ top prospect by MLB’s scouting bureau and Baseball America. This season, he’s living free while opposing pitchers die as a third baseman for the New Hampshire Fishercats in the AA Eastern League.

In 49 games, Baby Vlad has 11 HRs, 53 RBI and 44 runs scored. His line reads .414/.464/.691. He has been so consistent at the plate that his OPS (1.155) is over 1 in every meaningful split, be it by the month, vs lefties or righties, or in various critical pitch counts and out situations. Unlike his heralded dad, who would swing at anything from ankles to eyebrows that was thrown between first and third base, Junior has some plate discipline. He’s walked 19 times while striking out just 21.

Comparing Josh Donaldson's numbers with Vladimir Guerrero Jr through May 31st 2018

Slowed by injury, Josh Donaldson’s big league numbers pale in comparison. He’s hitting 180 points lower, with 40% of the hits, half the homers and runs scored, a third as many driven in.

There’s a school of thought that advises trading the 32-year-old while his value is still high and letting Vlad show what he can do at the big league level. In a throwaway year, there would be less pressure on the teenager.

On the other hand, he’s doing fine in AA. Not only would he have to adjust to big league pitching in Toronto, he’d be exposed to a negative culture. It’s no fun coming to work when you’re 11 games under .500 going into June.

More importantly, Donaldson is a much better fielder. Toronto GM Ross Atkins has already stated he wants Guerrero to stay on the farm to improve his defence. If he can’t, he’d still have to stay down to learn a new position. Right field, like dear old Dad?

Either way, it’s a sound decision. It’s never a good sign for your major league career if you’re a DH before you can legally drink.

The Best MLB Handicappers Predictions

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

Is Shohei Ohtani an argument for or against the DH?

Is Shohei Ohtani an argument for or against the DH?

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, near Beverley Hills 90210, United States of America, Earth, Sol 3-8, Milky Way, Known Universe [please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your order] are willing to go a long way to cover all the bases. Beyond their ridiculous compromise of a name, they’ve set the clock back a century to allow a uniquely gifted player to both pitch and hit full time.

Japanese star Shohei Ohtani has an impressive pair of stat lines.

Shohei Ohtani batting and pitching numbers as of 5.22.18

I may have gotten ahead of myself when saying Ohtani is pitching and hitting full time. He’s being platooned as a designated hitter, not asked to hit against left-handed pitching. He’s projecting to 84 games in the batter’s box, which also promises 19 home runs and 57 RBIs from the lefty slugger. On the mound, his four wins in seven starts project to 14 in 24.

Winning 2018 MLB Picks

In reality, Ohtani is pitching and hitting slightly less than full time. His appearances are parallel to the limits your grocery store places on stock clerk and cashiers’ hours to avoid paying health benefits. Of course, that’s not an issue for the Angels. The limits on his playing time are Ohtani’s health insurance while this experiment plays out.

Los Angeles Angels Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani wants to strike you out then take you yard.

The question here is whether the club will ever feel safe increasing that workload to full time on both sides of the ball? Can Ohtani cope? Can any player? Is the DH a help to Ohtani? What does that say about the position’s credibility?

Work load

Recently @SamMillerBB wrote a hypothetical letter from the Boston Red Sox non-existant-a-century-ago analytics department to Ed Barrow, Babe Ruth’s manager with the Bosox. It was an imaginative way to delve into the statistical clues as to whether a major leaguer could both pitch and hit full time.

The thinking circa 1916-18 was no different than now. Pitcher, hitter, a player can only be one, not both. Ruth, who was the best left-handed hurler in baseball with the Red Sox, wanted to hit. He didn’t want to multitask. Even he thought it was impossible.

I don’t think a man can pitch in his regular turn and play some other position and keep the pace year after year. I can do it this season all right. I’m young and strong and don’t mind the work, but I wouldn’t guarantee to do it for many seasons.

Of course, there wouldn’t be a designated hitter in the game until 1973. George Herman had to learn and train at a new position to hit. No surprise, then, that Ed Barrow put him in right field, the same place Little League coaches deposit their most helpless cases.

In 1919, when Harry Frazee ironically tried to be both a baseball owner and theater impresario, the Babe was sold to the Yankees. Even though Ruth only had potential as a hitter but was a proven elite pitcher, New York manager Miller Huggins fell into the same camp as his new signing and the vast majority of baseball enthusiasts who value hitting over pitching. He ended the Bambino’s pitching career and went all-in on his bat. Safe to say, it paid off.

Babe Ruth pitching for the Boston Red Sox.

A hundred years later, Ohtani can’t or won’t make the choice between the two. In an age when the world reaches for medication when a starter’s pitch count enters triple-digits, when a young Stephen Strasburg was shut down in September 2012 with the Washington Nationals playoff bound, doing double duty doesn’t just contradict conventional wisdom, it goes all D-Generation X on it.

If the Angels were to choose for him, his OPS+ and ERA+ numbers offer a suggestion. The + in the two stats indicate they measure his on-base plus slugging percentage and earned run average numbers against his peers, with 100 representing the respective major league averages. His ERA is only 24% better than the average major leaguer, whereas his OPS is 60 points higher. The two numbers hint he has a greater impact at the plate than on the mound.

But Ohtani wants to pitch and hit. Further, like Ruth, he has the power to get what he wants.

Thank [insert your deity of choice] for the DH

Unlike the Babe, Ohtani doesn’t need to learn a second position. In some ways, that’s a blessing. The game is obsessed with data. He has had to learn tendencies and out pitches for the pitchers he bats against, but that’s de rigueur for National League pitchers. He also absorbs information on how to get batters out. Throw in the numbers on where they likely to put the ball in play for different pitches in various locations in particular situations and his brain would risk a severe meltdown trying to process it all.

As a pitcher and designated hitter, the 23-year-old is doing fine. Going for the trifecta by playing defense as well might be too much. When Rick Ankiel lost his pitching mojo for the Cardinals, he made the decision to switch to the outfield in 2005. He spent two years in the minors learning his new role before returning in 2007. His best season as an outfielder was 2008 when he racked up 109 hits and 25 home runs for the Cardinals. His production fell off from there, however, and he lasted as a fourth or fifth outfielder for five clubs then retired in 2013. Memories of Ankiel’s struggles add to the perception Ohtani is playing with fire.

Rick Ankiel inexplicably lost his control to the point he had to reinvent himself as an outfielder.

But assuming Ohtani continues to succeed, that he pitches more innings, takes more at-bats and becomes a more complete baseball player than any before him, then what? Does that change attitudes about the DH? About expecting pitchers to be more effective hitters? Can we imagine a game where pitchers are expected to take BP and hit for power and average? Can we convince ourselves that needn’t erode the standard of pitching? If you think about it, that is the argument Ohtani is making.

People rooted in a bias more than a century old insist it can’t be done. Shohei Ohtani says, “Nazena no?”

Why not?

The Best MLB Handicappers Predictions

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

How the Baltimore Orioles can win the World Series next year

How the Baltimore Orioles can win the World Series next year

I know, I know. The Baltimore Orioles are bad. They’re 13-30 one game into their four-game weekend set with Boston. That’s the second-worst record in Major League Baseball. What am I doing talking about them winning it all next season?

Winning 2018 MLB Expert Picks

Hey, it’s not like worst-to-first doesn’t happen now and then. The Amazing Mets pulled it off in 1969. Kirby Puckett’s Minnesota Twins managed it in 1991. The Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine, hired John Farrell and did the deed in 2013. It’s at least a generational thing. Of course, that could mean it’s too soon for the O’s, but there’s another interesting trend that suggests they might have a chance, even though it isn’t something a sane person would put money on right now.

David Price looked like his normal pre-All Star self in the first game of the current series. He pitched the full nine innings against Baltimore. Manny Machado ruined his bid for a complete-game shutout by crushing a two-run shot with two out in the ninth. The Bosox were already up six when the shortstop took Price yard for his 14th of the season.

If Buck Showalter was Rich Renteria, we might be talking about his job being on the line. That is the difference between owning a 1517-1432 record and being 151-213. The O’s boss has roughly ten times the experience of his Chisox counterpart.

While that experience counts him in good stead, it can also work against him. With Showalter, what you’ve seen in the past seems to be what you get in the present. He can lay the foundation for a contender but can’t seem to build the roof. Maybe we should be talking about the team cutting ties with the skipper.

In his first three seasons with the Yankees, the then-30-something maverick led the Bronx Bombers to fourth, second, and first-place finishes in the American League East. He did it by relying more on the farm system than free agency. When the team fell back to second in his fourth season, George Steinbrenner panicked, firing Showalter and hiring Joe Torre. The former catcher and first-baseman took Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada et al to a World Series title in his first campaign.

Even though the expansion Diamondbacks wouldn’t begin play for two seasons, Arizona immediately hired Showalter to help them design their minor league system. Again, the club improved in his second season, winning 100 games before falling to the Mets in the playoffs. A regression to 85 wins in his third season left him looking for work again while Bob Brenly delivered the franchise’s only World Series title on the strength of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling’s pitching, and Luis Gonzalez’s clutch hitting.

Another manager wins a World Series on the back of Buck Showalter's good work.

Following another three-year hiatus, Showalter spent four seasons in Texas. Once more, the best year was the second, although the Rangers never rose above third in the AL West during his tenure, and successor Ron Washington needed another four years to build the Arlington club into two-time American League champions.

The first of those pennants coincided with Showalter’s arrival at Camden Yards. After short spells with his previous clubs, Baltimore has shown more faith in the 61-year-old. This is his eighth campaign yet, despite CEO Peter Angelos’ trust, Showalter hasn’t taken his game or the Orioles’ to the next level.

It’s been the same old Buck in Baltimore. The first season was a write-off followed by a strong 93-win second year. Predictably, year three was a step back. Angelos stuck with Showalter, though, and the manager produced his best season in year four, going 96-66. Then, he failed to maintain that level. The O’s played .500 ball in 2015, won 89 the next season and 75 last year. With this season’s woeful start, the pattern of one good season, one bad isn’t even sustainable anymore.

Manny Machado's bat is the one good thing about the Baltimore Orioles in 2018.

Despite a decent roster, the Orioles don’t look like bouncing back in 2018. Machado is the only player producing. He’s on the early-season AL MVP radar with a .339 batting average, 14 HRs, 40 RBI and 26 runs scored. He’s earning a base on balls for virtually every strikeout (23:24) and sports a ridiculous .418/.661/1.079 line. The problem is the rest of the order is letting him down.

Centerfielder Adam Jones is not getting on base enough. In a season where pitchers are walking more batters than ever, Jones is hitting .253. He hasn’t drawn enough walks to boost that number by 20 points. His on-base percentage is only .271. Compare that with the 79-point bump Machado is providing.

Slugger Chris Davis has a pitiful .248/.275/.523 line, his batting average below the Mendoza line. Mark Trumbo has better numbers but just 60 plate appearances. Showalter is showing the same misplaced faith in Davis that the owner has in him.

Meanwhile, Tim Beckham and Anthony Santander are on the 60 and 40-day DLs respectively. Colby Rasmus is on the 10-day version. Caleb Joseph has been sent down to Norfolk.

The pitching is no more encouraging. The staff is carrying a 5.09 ERA and 1.496 WHIP. They’re 10th in the Al in walks, 11th in strikeouts. The busier rotation is the movement between the DL and active status.

Overall, it’s a bleak picture. So, why do I think the Orioles can win it all next year? You may have noticed what happens to teams after Showalter leaves. The Yankees and Diamondbacks both earned trips to the White House. Texas took longer but won two pennants under Showalter’s replacement. Like Meatloaf said, two out of three ain’t bad.

Admittedly, I’m grasping at straws, but sometimes you just need to get out of your own way. Peter Angelos has had seven years to see that Buck Showalter has nothing more to offer. If he decides to let him go while there are still talented, hopeful pieces for a new man to work with, there’s a 67% chance the club can put a championship run together.

And why not? It’s not like the Orioles are going anywhere now.

The Best MLB and NBA Predictions. Believe that.

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.