We’ve talked a lot about how Buck Showalter was in essence blamed for the Baltimore Orioles being bounced from the playoffs. The whole should he have used Zach Britton argument has been well laid out on both sides. However for sure, it’s something that will lurk in the minds of Orioles fans all winter.
But in my view we saw Joe Maddon commit some pretty egregious mistakes in terms of utilizing his bullpen and even with starting pitching during the World Series. I’ve said this before, but I wouldn’t have used Aroldis Chapman in game six. My personal opinion is that Maddon committed a pretty bad error there.
Furthermore I would have pulled former Oriole Jake Arrieta after Chicago took a 7-0 lead in that game. It would have meant keeping him fresh so that if he was needed in a game seven, he would have been available. Yet Maddon stubbornly refuses to take anything more than one game at a time, as opposed to looking ahead.
In my view both of those mistakes are pretty bad. But the Chapman one really sticks out. However Maddon isn’t going to get scrutinized at all for that – because he won. At the end of the day, you don’t have to ask those questions when the team wins. That’s why they’re there to begin with – to win games.
Sometimes you can chalk wins and losses up to dumb luck. Showalter committed what a lot of people thought was a bad mistake. He lost. Maddon committed what a lot of people (myself included) thought was an equally bad mistake. He won.
And I’m not suggesting that wins and losses always come from good or bad luck. However sometimes things just work out. And sometimes they don’t. It’s fair to ask why they work out for some and not others, but sometimes that’s just how things go.
In the Orioles’ case, all they can do is keep the fires burning brightly during the winter. And come February and March, hope springs eternal once again. It could be worse – they might have to wait 108 years!