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.

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.

Split Decision

It was an interesting day at Camden Yards yesterday as the Orioles experienced both ends of the spectrum. In the first game of the double header just about everything went right. In the nightcap, well barely anything went the O’s way.

The Orioles won the first game 7-1 to give the Rangers their first lost and knock them from the ranks of the last unbeaten team in the MLB. Zach Britton left the game after 7.2 innings to a standing ovation after allowing no runs and striking out two in a 103 pitch performance that silenced one of the most potent offenses in the AL. After the game Rangers manager Ron Washington was quite complimentary of Britton saying, “He kept the ball off the fat part of the bat, Give him credit. He did a good job.” Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds took Colby Lewis deep for their first homers of the year and the Birds cruised to a 5-0 victory.

As well as the first game went, the second game was just as bad. Jake Arrieta was roughed up to the tune of 6 hits, 2 walks, and 8 earned runs in 3.1 innings. The game got off to a good start as Adam Jones got the scoring underway with a solo shot in the bottom half of the second, but then the Rangers bats that were silenced in game one woke up. Josh Rupe came in to pitch 2 scoreless innings before giving way to newly recalled Chris Jakubauska who came in and had about the same amount of success that Arrieta did. The result was a 13-1 loss and a split for the day.

To make things worse, shortstop J.J. Hardy left the game after the second inning of the second game with discomfort in his rib cage. Bad news looks likely as Orioles MLB.com writer Brittany Ghiroli is reporting that he could be out for an extended period of time, perhaps as long as 6 weeks.

The final game of the series is underway right now with no score as Texas bats in the top of the second. A bounce back win will do alot for confidence heading into the off day tomorrow and the team heading to the Bronx for three with the Yankees.