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The Baltimore Orioles and Fleeting Bullpen Greatness
by Jack Moore - February 14, 2013
Over-Under Day — the day the first sportsbooks release their win-loss over-under totals for all 30 MLB teams — is one of my favorite days of the lead-in to baseball season. I’m not much of a gambler — I stick to risking my money on fantasy sports, personally — but Las Vegas is as good a projection system as we have, and although the numbers here will likely be revised between now and Opening Day, they provide as good a barometer for current team strength as you’ll find anywhere.
The Orioles, unsurprisingly, have the biggest drop-off from last year’s win total to this year’s over-under — 93 wins in 2012 to just a 76.5 over-under for 2013. Should Baltimore perform to Vegas’s projection, it will be just another example of the fleeting greatness of particularly clutch units, like the Orioles’ 2012 bullpen.
The idea of fleeting greatness is nothing new, of course. For example, only three of last season’s eight playoff squads from 2011 reached the postseason in 2012 despite the expanded format. Specifically, though, Baltimore’s greatness came on the back of a great — and particularly great in the clutch — bullpen. This greatness has, in the past, been the toughest to cling to. Baltimore’s plus-13.86 WPA in 2012 was the highest mark a bullpen has posted since 1974 (the extent of our data); its plus-7.19 clutch score was the highest recorded as well.
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