Windies women dumped from T20 World Cup

first_imgSYDNEY, Australia, CMC – West Indies missed out on the semi-finals of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup for the first time in six tournaments when they suffered a 46-run defeat to England in a lopsided contest here yesterday. Needing a victory to remain in the tournament, West Indies once again struggled with the bat, failing to chase down 144 at Sydney Showground Stadium and crashing to their second defeat in three games to remain third in Group B on two points.Lee-Ann Kirby, batting at number seven, top-scored with 20 but no other batsman passed 15, as left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, with three for seven and 20-year-old leg-spinner Sarah Glenn, with two for 16, undermined the innings with brilliant spells.At one stage, the Windies were well-placed at 41 for one but once once captain Stafanie Taylor retired hurt on 15 in the eighth over, the innings went into terminal decline with the next nine wickets going down for 55 runs. Player-of-the-Match Natalie Sciver had earlier top-scored with 57 as England rattled up 143 for five off their 20 overs after choosing to bat.Danni Wyatt chipped in with 29 while Amy Jones finished on 23 not out, allowing the 2018 losing finalists to gather 80 runs from the last 10 overs and finish strongly.With the victory, England moved to the top of the group on six points from their full complement of four matches to clinch their spot in the semi-finals, along with unbeaten South Africa who won their third straight with a 17-run verdict over Pakistan in the other Group B game yesterday. West Indies struck in the first over when seamer Shakera Selman hit the dangerous Tammy Beaumont with the fourth delivery of the match with a single run on the board but Sciver arrived to anchor two critical partnerships which helped England recover.First, she posted exactly 50 for the second wicket with Wyatt who struck two fours off 27 balls, before adding a further 39 for the third with captain Heather Knight (17).Off-spinner Anisa Mohammed claimed Wyatt in the ninth over, swatting a full toss to long on and Knight followed in the 14th over, run out by Selman’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end attempting a quick single. Fran Wilson picked out Britney Cooper at mid-wicket with leg-spinner Afy Fletcher in the 16th over but Sciver combined with Jones in a 33-run, stand to revive the innings.Sciver, let off twice during her knock, struck six fours off 56 balls.Needing a batting effort the likes of which had eluded them in recent years, West Indies stumbled at the start when Deandra Dottin (9) continued her abysmal run by pulling Ecclestone to mid-wicket at the end of the third over with 12 runs on the board. Taylor joined Hayley Matthews (12) and looked to be repairing the damage in a 29-run, second wicket stand when tragedy struck.After taking a sharp single, Taylor pulled up and was eventually stretchered off, leaving the Caribbean side without their best batsman.Matthews, well short of runs in the tournament, was then bowled by Glenn in the next over and when Shemaine Campbelle (1) and Chedean Nation (0) both perished with the score on 42, the Windies had lost three wickets for no runs in the space of 17 deliveries.The slump derailed the run chase and Kirby’s 15-ball cameo, with a four and two sixes, only served to delay the inevitable.last_img read more

Diack faces corruption, money laundering and breach of trust charges

first_imgPARIS, (Reuters) – Lamine Diack, the former head of the governing body for world athletics, was at the heart of a corruption scam that saw Russian athletes pay six-figure sums to have their names erased from doping lists, prosecutors told a French court yesterday. Wearing a dark grey suit, Diack, 87, who led the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015, stood before the French judges on the first day of trial as charges of corruption, money laundering and breach of trust were read out.Prosecutors allege Diack solicited bribes totalling 3.45 million euros ($3.9 million) from athletes suspected of doping to cover up test results and let them continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics.They also say Diack obtained $1.5 million of Russian funds while negotiating sponsorship and television rights to help finance Macky Sall’s campaign for the 2012 Senegal presidential election, in exchange for slowing anti-doping procedures. Diack has previously denied wrongdoing. He spoke yesterday only to confirm his identity and is due to testify tomorrow.His lawyer William Bourdon described him as “serene and determined”.“The fact financial exchanges took place is not enough on its own to prove corruption,” Bourdon told reporters at the end of the first session. Diack, who has been under house arrest ahead of the trial, faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.His son, Papa Massata, who fled France for his native Senegal after the French investigation began, is also accused of playing a role in the plot, and is being tried in absentia.The court rejected a request by Papa Massata’s French lawyer that the trial be postponed because coronavirus border restrictions meant his Senegalese lawyers could not be present. Senegal has refused to extradite him. Four other defendants have been charged in the case: Habib Cisse, Diack’s former lawyer at the IAAF; Gabriel Dollé, who oversaw doping tests at the IAAF; former head of Russian athletics Valentin Balakhnitchev, and former Russian athletics’ head coach Alexei Melnikov.Balakhnitchev and Melnikov were not in court.Dollé denied taking bribes in order to allow Russian athletes to compete. He told the court he had agreed only to keep a low profile on the large number of positive Russian doping tests to help the IAAF find sponsors. “Mr Diack had asked me to consider the fact that the IAAF was in a perilous financial state and needed sponsors,” he told the court. “There was never any question of allowing the Russian athletes to participate in international competitions.” ($1 = 0.8862 euros)last_img read more

EveryMatrix releases new Web API protocol to service native mobile apps

first_img Submit PartnerMatrix drives user engagement with two new deals August 13, 2020 Erik Nyman joins EveryMatrix as US lead August 6, 2020 Seeking further seamless connection between its industry services and client  mobile devices, EveryMatrix has announced the release of its new Web API Protocol.The API update launched this morning, will allow all EveryMatrix clients to extend their gaming content via their native mobile apps.Detailing its development, EveryMatrix management noted that the improved Web API development had been based on WebSocket protocol, which enables two-way communication in a real-time transport technology.EveryMatrix management further stated that the API was one its major releases for 2016, stating that the application would help support its client base improve their day to day operations as well help in their market expansion.Furthermore, the new API application will enhance client user experience capabilities as EveryMatrix focuses delivery on customizable/flexible front end design over template led frameworks.Ebbe Groes, CEO of EveryMatrix commented on the API release“In today’s online gambling industry – from sports betting to casino games – software suppliers need to respond to their clients’ necessities by offering reliable and secure access across platforms and help increase conversion speed and long-term loyalty.” Share Share StumbleUpon MoneyMatrix boosts wire transfer options by integrating Klarna’s Sofort August 24, 2020 Related Articleslast_img read more

Roberts to begin minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday

first_img(Updated: 7:30 p.m.)BALTIMORE — A day after second baseman Brian Roberts expressed optimism that he was closer than ever to a return, the Orioles announced he will begin a long-awaited rehab assignment on Wednesday.The 34-year-old Roberts will report to Double-A Bowie to begin a minor league rehab assignment, which the club hopes will lead to his return after a year-plus layoff. Roberts last played in a game on May 16, 2011 at Fenway Park.“[I’m] excited, scared, a little bit of everything,” Roberts said. “It’s been a long time coming for sure. Sometimes it feels like two days and sometimes it feels like 10 years, but I’m extremely excited.”Under major league baseball rules, Roberts has a maximum of 20 days for a rehab assignment as a position player. Manager Buck Showalter and Roberts said he will likely take the full amount of time before being activated.Roberts will play second base and receive two or three at-bats in his first couple games. He also expects to serve as the designated hitter on occasion and will have some days off mixed in as well. Roberts said he’s viewing the 20-day period as his version of spring training.He’s embracing the reality of once again playing baseball — even in the minor leagues — after simply struggling with his overall quality of life at different points over his recovery time.“When there’s days where you’re laying on the couch and you really can’t even function, you’re not necessarily even thinking about baseball,” Roberts said. “There were days that [playing again] never even crossed my mind. I was just trying to get back to a normal life. As we continued to progress, I still had doubts about playing baseball, but I had more confidence in being able to live a productive and enjoyable life. Now, I’m beginning to think that playing baseball at a high level is a reality as well.”The 20-day period would end on June 11, meaning Roberts could be in the lineup when the Orioles welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to town for an interleague series on June 12. Listen to Roberts’ entire interview with the media prior to Tuesday’s game right here.last_img read more

Harbaugh pulls prank on parents during national conference call

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — Even as he prepares for the most important football game of his coaching career, Ravens coach John Harbaugh couldn’t resist the urge to play a practical joke on Thursday morning.His parents Jack and Jackie Harbaugh and sister Joani Crean were in the middle of a national conference call discussing their thoughts and reactions to both John and Jim Harbaugh making it to the Super Bowl when “John from Baltimore” was recognized by the moderator to ask a question. The trio had been answering questions for nearly 20 minutes when the Baltimore coach joined the conversation.“Yeah, a question from Baltimore. Is it true that both of you like Jim better than John?” the faux reporter asked the Harbaugh parents.Harbaugh mother Jackie was ready to “come right through” the phone in anger before sister Joani figured out it was John on the other end of the phone. Jack then enthusiastically asked, “Is that John Harbaugh?”The family members shared a few laughs and words as John complimented his parents and sister for how they handled an assortment of questions about the Harbaugh brothers and which team they’d be rooting for.Jack Harbaugh revealed son John considered a career in politics prior to settling on the idea of coaching upon graduating from Miami University of Ohio in 1984. He joined his father’s Western Michigan staff as an assistant that fall.The coach of the Ravens was asked during his Thursday press conference whether it was difficult to put his family allegiances aside to square off against his brother’s San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.“I don’t think you ever put your family aside,” said Harbaugh while laughing. “We have a job to do. All of us have a job to do. Jim has a job to do, all of his coaches, all of our coaches, all of our players. Everybody’s going to be focused on doing their job.”Hear the entire conference call with Jack and Jackie Harbaugh and Joani Crean right HERE.last_img read more

Orioles’ listless offseason leaves sour taste instead of excitement

first_imgThis was supposed to be the most exciting start to spring training of the last 15 years as Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Sarasota on Tuesday.To be fair, it still is as the Orioles come off their first playoff appearance since 1997, but that wasn’t exactly a daunting standard to top after a string of 14 consecutive losing seasons was snapped last year. However, that positive feeling isn’t nearly as overwhelming as it should be as we hear the predictable reports this week of players being in the best shape of their lives and others eyeing career seasons after making adjustments over the winter.Even with the memory of the Ravens winning the Super Bowl fresh in our minds, the city should be abuzz over the Orioles after one of the most exciting seasons in the 59-year history of the franchise in which a club expected to finish fifth in the American League East won 93 games and prevailed in the inaugural AL Wild Card game to advance to the AL Division Series. But instead of using the success of 2012 to springboard the Orioles to new heights and capitalizing on their karma with a productive offseason, the Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette largely stood pat.The Orioles appeared dormant to put it mildly while harsher critics believe Duquette and the front office rested on the laurels of the unlikeliest of seasons instead of striking while the iron was hot to add talent to a roster that overcame countless flaws last season. No matter how you want to describe or justify it, the Orioles didn’t do enough to make improvements to a club that deserved better after one of the most remarkable seasons in team history. They didn’t spend money or even pull the trigger on a notable trade like they did last year when they sent veteran starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, a move that worked beautifully for the Orioles.This winter, Baltimore parted ways with first baseman Mark Reynolds and pitcher Joe Saunders, re-signed left fielder Nate McLouth, traded second baseman Robert Andino, and acquired infielders Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, and Travis Ishikawa. That essentially brings you up to speed if you were hibernating all winter and aren’t concerned with a few other waiver-wire additions and minor-league signings, which — in fairness to Duquette — could bring this year’s version of Miguel Gonzalez or McLouth to light at some point.The idea of parting ways with Reynolds would have been acceptable had the Orioles found an upgrade such as signing veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche or trading for Kansas City’s Billy Butler, but they elected to solve the problem from within by sliding Chris Davis to the position. In turn, that’s created a question mark at designated hitter as a platoon of Wilson Betemit and a right-handed bat to be named later will be counted on to hold down that spot in the order.Instead of looking to the free-agent market to find an established bat such as veteran Torii Hunter — who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with Detroit — to man left field, the Orioles will pray for the health of Nolan Reimold and hope McLouth can build on two strong months of play last season that resurrected his big-league career from life support.Few expected the Orioles to be players for the top commodities on the market — outfielder Josh Hamilton and starting pitcher Zack Greinke — but “kicking the tires” was as far as the organization was willing to go on any free agent of even modest note. Avoiding a $150 million contract is understandable and even prudent, but avoiding the open market like the bubonic plague is disappointing.Duquette vowed that the Orioles would look to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat and another veteran starting pitcher but has done neither to this point. While it’s true the free-agent market was lukewarm in terms of talent, take a look at the number of trades that went down around the big leagues this winter and you’ll find plenty that didn’t involve an organization parting with its top prospect, dispelling the notion that the Orioles would have needed to part with top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to fetch anything of value.Their payroll did climb as the Orioles dealt with a number of arbitration-eligible players in line for raises, but that’s simply the price of doing business and not a real reflection of trying to improve your club. The payroll increased from an estimated $84 million in 2012 to closer to the $90 million range at the start of spring training.All those excuses sound too familiar for an organization that appeared to turn the corner last season. Instead of building on their success, the Orioles didn’t spend money or make a single addition — and, no, re-signing McLouth wasn’t an addition since he was already in Baltimore — that appears primed to help move the meter in the AL East.It’s disappointing after such an enjoyable year.In truth, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism as All-Star players Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are in their respective primes, talented 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado will play his first full season in the majors, and Bundy and 2012 first-round pick Kevin Gausman could make an impact before the season is over.A rotation including Hammel, Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Chris Tillman appears promising, but all four are also coming off career seasons that will need to be built upon. The names vying for the fifth spot in the rotation haven’t changed as Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Steve Johnson are all in the mix.One of the best bullpens in baseball from last season remains intact, but relievers are also as unpredictable as the stock market from year to year.Maybe the Orioles will be poised to finish 29-9 in one-run games and win 16 straight extra-inning games as they did last season, but both figures were historically remarkable and more anomalies than standards you could possibly expect to repeat, even with a shrewd manager such as Showalter.Instead of a offseason that included a couple impact acquisitions to augment the progress made last year, we’re once again left with too many ifs and maybes, a familiar story for a organization with a group of players that deserved much better after the work they put in last season.To truly feel confident in the Orioles’ ability to build upon the magic of last season — or even maintain it — Duquette, the front office, and ownership needed to take advantage of that fortune and simply didn’t. Finally poised with an opportunity to sell Baltimore as one of the most desirable destinations in all of baseball and Showalter as a manager players would love to play for, the Orioles instead stood pat with the hope that lightning would strike twice this season.The Orioles may still compete this season, but a listless offseason did nothing to build confidence that they will do it again.We’ll still look forward to spring training more than we have in a long time, but it could have been that much more exciting.And I suppose the Orioles will once again need to prove us all wrong.last_img read more

Remaining start times announced for Orioles-Tigers ALDS games

first_imgThough the Orioles can close out the American League Division Series with a win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon, start times for Games 4 and 5 were announced if the series were to go beyond three games.Game 4 would begin at either 12:07 p.m. or 1:37 p.m. on Monday, depending on whether the ALDS meeting between the Los Angeles Angels and the Kansas City Royals is still alive. Owning a 2-0 lead of their own, the Royals closing out a series win over the Angels on Sunday would push the Orioles-Tigers Game 4 start to 1:37 on Monday afternoon.If necessary, Game 5 would be back at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Wednesday with a start time of 5:37 p.m. unless the other ALDS matchup is complete. Under that scenario, first pitch wouldn’t come until 8:07 p.m. that evening.After Saturday’s off-day in Detroit, the Orioles will resume their series against the Tigers on Sunday with Game 3’s first pitch at 3:45 p.m. at Comerica Park. Named the new Game 3 starter on Saturday afternoon, Bud Norris will face 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price as Baltimore goes for the three-game sweep.last_img read more

Ravens move up to take Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome wasted no time addressing another major need as he selected Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams with the 55th overall pick of the 2015 draft.A day after drafting Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the first round, Newsome traded his original second-round pick (58th overall) and a fifth-round pick (158th overall) to move ahead of Pittsburgh — also coveting a tight end — to grab the talented Williams. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound target was the top tight end in the draft after making 61 receptions for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Golden Gophers.Williams said he tries to emulate the play of Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and has also drawn comparisons to former Ravens tight end Todd Heap from many talent evaluators. “I told everyone I was trying to be a starter right away,” Williams said in a conference call with the Baltimore media. “You have to have your goals and what you want to go for, and that’s what I want. I want to be a starter. I want to go in and prove that I can make a difference and help win a championship.”An impressive playmaker as a receiver, Williams needs to work on his blocking ability, but his skill set is a critical addition due to the uncertainty regarding Dennis Pitta’s future and the free-agent departure of Owen Daniels. Second-year tight end Crockett Gillmore is more of a blocking-minded option at the position, making Williams the perfect fit for the Ravens’ West Coast offense.Before running the 40-yard dash in an underwhelming 4.78 seconds at the NFL scouting combine in February, Williams was considered a surefire candidate to be taken in the first round, but the Ravens were ecstatic to see him linger long enough in the second to move up to grab him. Seventy-seven percent of Williams’ 36 receptions went for either a first down or a touchdown during the 2014 season.“Quite honestly, I never dreamed that he would be there for us even in that range of players,” assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. “We thought he’d be gone. We thought conceivably in the first round, but definitely [in the] top 40 picks in the draft. We were happy to get him.”Williams is a second-generation NFL player as his father Brian enjoyed an 11-year career as a center for the New York Giants. His grandfather Robert played quarterback at Notre Dame and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1959, but he elected to instead go to medical school.last_img read more

Orioles call up right-hander Roe for additional bullpen help

first_imgFeeling the effects of Thursday’s rain delay, a short start from Ubaldo Jimenez on Friday, and Saturday night’s 13-inning affair, the Orioles have again turned to Triple-A Norfolk for bullpen help.Prior to Sunday’s finale against the Miami Marlins, the Orioles selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Chaz Roe and optioned lefty T.J. McFarland to the Tides. To make room for Roe on the 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred left-handed reliever Wesley Wright to the 60-day disabled list.The 28-year-old Roe carries some major league experience, posting a 4.03 ERA in 21 appearances for Arizona in 2013 and making three appearances for the New York Yankees last season. He was 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 24 2/3 innings for the Tides this season.McFarland gave up the winning run in Saturday’s 1-0 loss and had appeared in three of Baltimore’s last four games, but many figured rookie Oliver Drake would be optioned after throwing three innings in Saturday’s game. Of course, the Naval Academy product’s impressive performance may have forced manager Buck Showalter’s hand in keeping him around for the time being.With Thursday’s doubleheader, the Orioles will need an additional starter, which could be McFarland or Bud Norris, who is currently on the 15-day DL and slated to pitch at Double-A Bowie on Wednesday. Of course, Norris’ disastrous start for Norfolk on Friday doesn’t inspire much confidence in him as he was already off to a nightmarish start in 2015.In other pitching news, left-hander Brian Matusz is expected to receive a suspension — likely in line with the eight-game ban Milwaukee pitcher Will Smith recently received — after being ejected from Saturday’s game for having a foreign substance on his arm. However, no word is expected to come until after the holiday weekend.last_img read more

Unorthodox as they might be, Orioles won’t apologize for success

first_imgOrioles manager Buck Showalter likes to warn against overlooking an orchid when in search of a rose.A mantra repeated often over the last several years in Baltimore, perhaps it’s never been more appropriate than now as the Orioles take a 45-30 record and a multi-game division lead out west for a nine-game road trip.We know the starting pitching is a substantial weakness. Everyone beyond the Oriole Bird and his mom will remind you of that. It’s become the required caveat to attach when trying to compliment a club that began the 2016 season with seven straight wins and has rarely stumbled, remaining in first or second place in the AL East all season.Perhaps our not-so-lofty preseason expectations — from media and many fans alike — have conditioned us to dwell on the negative while anticipating the fall that simply hasn’t happened despite a 4.96 starter ERA that ranked 12th in the AL entering Monday. But that mindset shouldn’t diminish the many ways in which the imperfect Orioles have been special this season.Unorthodox as it might be, it’s working.The Orioles have followed a blueprint echoed in every team sport by thriving at home and trying to hold their own on the road. Their 31-13 record at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is sensational, but they now begin a stretch of 16 of their next 19 on the road where they have been an underwhelming — but hardly disastrous — 14-17.Having already stacked 45 wins in their first 75 games, merely playing .500 ball on the road is an acceptable outcome in terms of playoff aspirations. Going just three games above .500 overall the rest of the way is the simple formula for 90 wins, which puts into perspective how good the Orioles have been to this point despite their starting pitching.Baltimore begins the week ranked second in the AL in runs, first in home runs, second in doubles, fourth in hits, third in batting average, and first in slugging percentage.Impressive for sure, but what about that on-base percentage for all these free-swinging sluggers who lack plate discipline?The Orioles rank second in the AL with a .332 OBP and are a respectable seventh in walks, significant improvement from each of the last three years when they ranked 13th or 14th in the AL in free passes. The additions of a few more patient hitters such as Hyun Soo Kim, Joey Rickard, and Pedro Alvarez have certainly helped, but the movement goes beyond that.Unconventional leadoff hitter Adam Jones has already drawn 20 walks, four shy of his total from last year and more than he drew in all of 2014 when the Orioles ran away with the division. Jonathan Schoop, more of a free swinger than Jones, has two more walks than he had last year in 29 fewer plate appearances. Incremental improvement is still improvement.That’s fine, but they still don’t play “small ball” and are too homer-happy, aren’t they?“I don’t want them to apologize for being strong,” Showalter said. “It’s the product of a good approach and a good swing and a good process that that’s the endgame — that [the ball] goes a little further than maybe some of them do. I love how some guy scratches out a walk and maybe they bunt him over and he gets over to third and some guy hits a sac fly and it’s 1-0. Then, the [opponent’s] first two guys strike out, a guy walks, and a big hairy guy hits it in the bleachers and it’s 2-1. Boy, you worked real hard for that one run. That’s good.“But there’s a time and place. We try to play to our team’s strength.”The home run is unquestionably a strength as the Orioles have four hitters — Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Jones — on pace for 30 or more home runs. Schoop is currently on track for 28 and two others — Matt Wieters and Pedro Alvarez — aren’t far off the pace to hit 20.With three games remaining in June, the Orioles are seven shy of the major league record for homers in a single month — the 1987 Orioles and the 1999 Seattle Mariners each hit 58 in May — and are on pace to hit 259 this season, only five shy of the major league record held by the 1997 Mariners.But the explanation for the prosperity goes beyond the powerful offense as the Orioles displayed over the weekend by turning double plays and making sparkling defensive plays throughout the four-game sweep over Tampa Bay. A superb infield defense can go a long way in helping your questionable-at-best starting pitching to survive just long enough to turn the ball over to the bullpen.The Orioles rank second in the majors with a 2.91 bullpen ERA, and they’ve done that without Darren O’Day for almost a month. Closer Zach Britton is 23-for-23 in save opportunities and sports a 0.83 ERA while setup man Brad Brach owns a 1.05 ERA that should also draw All-Star consideration.The bullpen’s 253 1/3 innings rank 10th in the majors, but Showalter is better at handling a bullpen than any manager in baseball and will do whatever he can to preserve his best arms, even if that means living to fight another day during the occasional close games in which his best relievers need rest.Kansas City won the World Series last year despite sporting a starting rotation that pitched fewer innings than any other AL club in the regular season. It’s not that great starting pitching is any less valuable these days, but teams are finding success using a collection of high-impact bullpen arms in lieu of pushing the envelope with non-elite starters going through a lineup a third or fourth time in a game. Of course, there’s a critical balance between game strategy on any given night and maintenance of your pitching health over a 162-game schedule that Showalter seems to understand better than anyone.To be clear, the Royals’ reliance on their bullpen is not a blueprint to proudly follow as much as it’s proof that you can survive — even thrive — without having strong starting pitching.You just have to be exceptional in other areas of the game.And the Orioles are doing that.Yes, they’d really like to improve their rotation and should try to over the next several weeks leading up to the trade deadline, but the Orioles have been so good in other ways that it’s becoming more difficult to doubt their ability to remain in contention, especially with their divisional rivals having their own flaws.It may go against conventional wisdom, but the Orioles won’t apologize as they keep winning.The starting pitching may not be a rose, but the rest is blooming like an orchid as we approach the halfway point of the season.last_img read more