Bird Watching Season In Baltimore; Hopefully It Lasts Until Fall

| April 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

Bird Watching Season In Baltimore; Hopefully It Lasts Until Fall

Expectations are low, but this Orioles team could surprise

The start of the baseball season in Baltimore is just a couple of days away and for at least one afternoon there will be excitement and electricity coming from Camden Yards.  For the last fifteen years the pregame festivities at surrounding establishments have been more exciting than the actual games but hopefully this season can provide some joy.

The expectations for the Birds are once again low as some publications have a best case scenario of 70 wins. Can the O’s exceed expectations?

Here are my thoughts on the upcoming season.

My Ideal Lineup

The O’s offense surprised many last year last year and should produce equal if not better numbers then last season. Once again they will be missing their catalyst in Brian Roberts, but they produced without him in 2011 and should be able to do the same in 2012. There are a lot of options for the starting nine but here is what I think it should be.

  • Nolan Reimold- LF
  • Nick Markakis- RF
  • Adam Jones- CF
  • Matt Wieters- C
  • J.J Hardy- SS
  • Mark Reynolds- 3B
  • Chris Davis- 1b
  • Wilson Betemit-DH
  • Robert Andino- 2b

Missing a prototypical leadoff hitter stops this lineup from being very explosive but there is 30 homerun potential from their 3-7 hitters, which is not something a lot of lineups are capable of delivering. Reimold gets the full time gig in left field and he will need to increase his on base percentage in order to set the table for the likes of Jones, Wieters and Reynolds.  This could turn their solo homers into multi-run homers, which is a quick way to put a lot of runs on the scoreboard. All in all it’s a solid lineup and I expect statistical improvement from Markakis and Wieters.

Young Pitching Staff has the Make Up to Succeed

Not only is the Orioles pitching staff talented and young, but they also have the necessary mindset needed to succeed in the Major Leagues.  Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta all had success at times during last season but they also had to deal with adversity which will only make them stronger. Matusz was injured and demoted  last year, so is  pitching this season with a major point to prove.  If this spring training is any indication, he is poised to turn the doubters into believers.

Britton started off like a house of fire last season but struggled midway through the season.  Starting the season on the DL is a bit of a setback, but Britton is a hard-worker that should be able to overcome the injury.  All three of these pitchers as well as Tommy Hunter do not fear the Yankees and Red Sox and believe they can succeed against them. The Orioles pitching staff is ready to take the next step and has a point to prove. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them make major progressions in 2012.

April and May will be important

In basketball they say that bad free throw shooting is contagious, well in baseball success is contagious. Whether in the field, on the mound or at the dish, success by a few often filters down to the entire team. This team won their last game in dramatic fashion and if they can come out and have a winning April, that could lead to more winning.

Regardless of the opponents, winning is better than losing.  If the Orioles have more wins than losses come June, their confidence will be high and the team and the fans will start to believe.  We have seen good starts before only brought back down to earth by terrible second halves. Hopefully this team will be able to turn early success into continued success.

No matter what anyone tries to say, the success of the Orioles hinges on the starting pitchers and the bullpen. If they are good, the Orioles will surprise; if they are not it will be another long summer in Baltimore.

It all starts Friday with Jake Arrieta and hopefully it will be an enjoyable ride into the fall. Ultimately I still see a last place campaign with about 75 wins, but I believe there is potential for the O’s to surprise.  Maybe, just maybe there can once again be some magic at the Yard. Wouldn’t that be a great way to spend the 20th season at Camden Yards?

Here’s something to get you excited

Follow me on Twitter @mromanell and @SouthBmore1

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About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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