#Hot Corner

When the Orioles forgot how to win the close ones ...

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

As you'll no doubt recall, last year the Baltimore Orioles set some sort of record by going 29-9 in one-run games.

People like me generally attributed that mark to super-freaking good luck. Or maybe nine parts super-freaking good luck and one part good relief pitching. With a dash of Showalter Magic in there, too.

People not like me came up with some other reasons. I don't have a clip, but Buck Showalter was on Brian Kenny's television program this spring, and (of course) argued that it wasn't just luck. Showalter's argument, as I recall, was largely predicated on the notion that he used different (i.e. better) relief pitchers in close games, so of course the club would fare better in those games.

By the way, this was exactly the same explanation given for the Diamondbacks' 28-16 record in one-run games in 2011.

In 2012, the Diamondbacks went 15-27 in one-run games.
In 2013, the Orioles are 14-17 in one-run games.

If you're reading this, you have gained literacy. Congratulations. It's a great first step. But if you really believe that the 2011 Diamondbacks and the 2012 Orioles possessed some magical ability to win close games, I beg you to reconsider, with the benefit of the gigantic wealth of information that's freely available. Find the teams with the best one-run records, and keep those which came back the next season with the same manager and basically the same bullpen. Compare their records in that next season to the first.

Were they brilliant in the second season, too?

They usually were not. Which does suggest that it's more about luck than skill.

You probably knew that already. But you're in the minority, in the world if not necessarily in this space.

Carry on, and keep calm.

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