2012 Baltimore Orioles

Over at BaltimeSportsReport that have their lineup predictions for the 2012 Orioles along with some analysis. Here are the projected lineups:

Starters

Jake Arrieta
Jim Johnson
Tommy Hunter
Brian Matusz
Zach Britton
Bullpen
LRP: Steve Johnson
LRP: Chris Jakubauskas
MRP: Mark Worrell
MRP: Troy Patton
MRP: Juan Cruz
Set-Up: Kevin Gregg
Closer: Dan Klein

STARTING LINEUP
Brian Roberts, 2B
J.J. Hardy, SS
Adam Jones, CF
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Nick Markakis, RF
Matt Wieters, C
Chris Davis, 1B
Josh Bell, DH
Nolan Reimold, LF

Bench
Brandon Snyder, 1B
Blake Davis, IF
Matt Angle, OF
Caleb Joseph, C

What does everyone think? As always their offense is going to live and die by Brian Robert’s health. If he can stay healthy and play well, they are probably a top 5 and definitely a top 10 offense. This team really only has a shot at contending if their young starters can stay healthy. If you think Roberts can stay healthy and the pitchers can turn it around, maybe the Orioles an content for the division. You can probably get pretty good odds betting them at this online sportsbook.

Back Home

The Orioles wrapped up a 7-game road trip today and will be back in the comfort of Camden for the next 6. The trip was a split success as the Birds took 3 of 4 from the White Sox in Chicago, but dropped 2 of 3 against the Royals in Kansas City. Jake Arrieta picked up two wins on the trip and Chris Tillman split his two starts. Kevin Gregg looked to get his season headed in the right direction with two saves.

That bats woke up on the trip and fans will hope to see the hit parade continue during the home stand. In 5 of the 7 games the O’s had 8 or more hits. Luke Scott had 3 homers, bringing his season total to 6. Nick Markakis raised his average from .204 to .225. Matt Wieters had 5 RBI in the five games he played in and Robert Andino had 7 hits in his 23 at-bats for a .304 average on the trip.

The Orioles are currently 14-16 and still .5 game up on the Red Sox, which still has to feel good, and only 3.5 games behind the division leading Yankees. Tampa Bay comes to town this weekend, and after the off day on Monday Seattle will be here for three Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. David Price pitched today for the Rays so they won’t face him, which is never a bad thing. At 2.5 games behind Tampa in the division, a series sweep would mean when Seattle comes to town the O’s would be in second place.

Bats Back on Track

The Orioles took the frustrations of an 8-game losing streak out on journeyman Carl Pavano last night and cruised to an 11-0 win. Brian Roberts was 2-3 with 3 RBI, Vlad was 2-5 with a 3-run HR, and Matt Wieters was 2-4 with 3 runs and 4 RBI. As a team they hit .361 and had 13 hits as they forced Pavano to an early exit after 4.2 innings.

A welcome sight for sure on two counts.¬†First we got to see what the lineup is capable of and second a much needed victory was added to the win column. It seems only fitting that they day after I was at the ballpark the streak ended. I’ve seen old ladies have better winning streaks when they play bingo than that team. I’ll take it either way though as I’m just glad we got one and hopefully can start a new streak.

What was lost in the beat down of the Twins pitchers was the fact that Jake Arrieta put together his best start of the season going 6 innings without allowing a run. He gave up only 4 hits and walked 3 in his 108 pitches. Jason Berken came in to throw two scoreless innings in relief, and Josh Rupe came into get the final three outs.

Back to Reality?

After starting the year 4-1 the Orioles have come down off of cloud 9 a bit by going 2-5 since the hot start and now sit at 6-6 and have been knocked off their perch atop the AL East. The reasons behind the losses have been varied, but for whatever reason the team can’t seem to buy a win right now.

From an offensive standpoint, they’ve scored 2.5 runs in the losses, a number that many thought would be much higher with a revamped offense losses or not. On the season Baltimore is batting .226, 11th in the league, with a .282 on-base percentage which has them 13th. With a lineup containing Roberts, Markakis,Lee, Vlad, and Jones you would expect that number to be much higher. While the OBP is low, in looking at the lineup there aren’t alot of high career numbers in the OBP category which leads one to believe this may be a problem all season. The 29 walks through last night’s game had the Orioles tied for last in the AL with the Twins. Is 12 games into the season enough to gather a large enough sample size? It just might be.

From a pitching standpoint it’s just as simple as they’ve given up more runs. In the 3-game sweep at the hand of the Yankees the O’s gave up 7 runs a game. Obviously that won’t get it done, but in looking at the Yankees lineup it’s hard to be that upset. The double header against the Rangers was a microcosm of the season so far for the pitching staff. The 5-0 win in the first game was a continuation of the hot start the staff got off to. The 13-1 loss in the second game ended up being a prelude to the week that was to be ahead

After 2 more games against the 9-4 Indians, 4 games in Minnesota against the 4-9 Twins await. This could be a good chance for the O’s to get some swagger back heading into a brutal stretch that stars Easter weekend with the Yankees, Red Sox, and White Sox all on the schedule the following week.

Jeremy Guthrie Visits MLB Fan Cave

Jeremy Guthrie made use of his off-time in New York by stopping by MLB’s Fan Cave and answering a few questions from O’s fans.

Next Stop: The Bronx

After a day off on Monday and a rain out on Tuesday, the Orioles were back in action last night in the new big ballpark in the Bronx. We found out early on what kind of night it was going to be as Chris Tillman struggled from the first pitch, giving up four straight singles to start the game and the score was 3-0 Yankees before you could blink. The second inning wasn’t much better for Tillman as he gave up three more runs and his night’s work came to an abrupt end.

A.J. Burnett didn’t give the Orioles bats much to hit all night. That’s not completely surprising as April is generally Burnett’s best month. For the first six innings he pitched as well as I had seen him pitch since he’s been with the Yankees. He didn’t appear to be fighting himself, he wasn’t shaking off Martin and his pitches had movement on them.

The lone runs for the O’s came in the seventh, when Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts both hit two-run homers.

Notes

Before the game, J.J. Hardy was officially placed on the DL and Brad Bergesen was recalled and promptly came into pitch 2 scoreless innings in relief.

Orioles in the Power Rankings

We far enough along in the season that web sites are beginning to post their Power Rankings. It’s interesting to see where the Orioles are placed in them:

ESPN has them at 7th in their latest list.

Yahoo! Sports currently has them at 11th.

CBS Sports has them 8th

No matter where you go, it’s good to see the O’s in the upper portion of the list, a far cry from where they’ve been the past few season. I know it’s early and baseball is a long season, but is it realistic to think that they can stay in the top 15 all year? We’ll have to see, but they’re certainly off to a good start.

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