Five things that must happen for Orioles to make playoffs - Page 4 of 6 -
Dan Connolly

Five things that must happen for Orioles to make playoffs

Produce a quality lefty specialist

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at San Francisco Giants


This is something the Orioles should have done at the beginning of the season, or when they released Brian Matusz or when Brian Duensing got hurt or when the trade deadline came and went.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette tried to acquire a lefty specialist in July, but the price was too hefty. Now, with versatile, right-handed set-up man Darren O’Day on the shelf, adding someone who can retire left-handers late in games becomes more of a need. You can read more about my thoughts on that in this piece.

The Orioles are hoping that 25-year-old rookie Donnie Hart, a 27th round pick in 2013, can do the job; lefties are just 1-for-11 against him in five games (right-handers are 2-for-4 in the big leagues versus Hart).

And maybe Hart can be the guy. But since he has never been in such high-pressure situations in the past, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add someone who has done it more often on a big stage. There’s still a shot a lefty specialist can be acquired in a trade this month, or maybe Duquette will have to reach into his magic hat and pull out another candidate from parts unknown. But further bolstering the bullpen – the club’s true strength – will go a long way in keeping the Orioles on the playoff path.

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