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March 29, 2011

Orioles: It's about to get real

The Orioles are about to play the Toronto Blue Jays in their final game of the Grapefruit League season, leaving just a couple of workout days between the exhibition finale and the regular-season opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field. I'm just hoping the new Kevlar vests that have been ordered for the pitching staff will arrive in time.

Not funny.

The line drive that popped Brian Matusz on the left bicep probably won't cause him serious harm, but the Orioles didn't need another big question mark heading into the real games. They're still waiting to see how Brad Bergesen bounces back from that line drive off his right arm. He'll pitch in the squad game tomorrow, though it'll be hard to locate his pitches with his fingers crossed.

For the moment, only Jeremy Guthrie's name is written in ink as a starter in the opening serie, but things figure to be clearer tomorrow afternoon.

Today's lineup is pretty much what you're going to see on Opening Night, and it's a pretty formidable batting order. Once again, it's going to be about keeping enough of these guys healthy to score consistently. I know we say that every year, but it's because it's true...and fairly obvious.

By the way, I'm back from vacation, so I'll be posting more regularly, both here and on Orioles Insider. Thanks for your, er, patience.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:19 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Can't wait for it to count.
I'll admit that I'm tipsy but I feel good about the Orioles this year. Don't think they will have a winning season (might change my mind after a few more), but I do think hey will be fun to watch and will have a strong finish based mainly on their core players that are set to be here a while.
Cheers to the O's, AM, Buck and everyone else involved, may it be a better season than last year!

Welcome back, Pete...we missed you. I'm hoping you didn't bring Wayne back with you.

Spring Training is much too long. Baseball should lop off 18 games from St and add them to the regular season.

All seriousness aside, I will probably need another month or two to decide on this year's version of the O's. But, alas, I will make a prediction before Play Ball on Friday night. Probably sometime on Wednesday.

The team will be more exciting to watch. Hard to know if that will extend beyond May or not. The team will be more interesting to watch. Hard to know if that will extend beyond June or not.

If the Orioles aren't winning, it may come down to the development of the pitching as to whether they will continue to be interesting or not. After all, that is what is supposed to be growing in this-here parts. The irony is if the Orioles aren't winning, it may be tied directly to the pitching already -- unless all of the injury concerns with the purchased bats come to roost. If the latter happens, it will look like any other pre-Showalter July-August-September of recent memory.

So, injuries and pitching. I have to predict one based on track records which may or may not be a leading indicator. The other will be based on a general lack of a track record.

On second thought, maybe they should play spring training games throughout the actual spring. Pessimism versus Wishful Thinking is a bigger battle than Zbitkowski versus Ochocinco.

Can't wait for it to start. This club may look very different a month from now, but I think no matter what happens this year this team won't be boring to follow.

Opening the season in the AL East with a largely unproven and beat up starting pitching staff certainly is disquieting. In addition, the injury threat hanging over several lineup regulars is another factor to consider.

However, all that being said, if a lot of things go right, this should be an interesting season. The team should average almost a run more a game, and considering all of the one run losses in recent years, there is a reason for optimism on the offensive front. As opening day 2011 nears, I am hoping for the best. Many of the issues I mentioned should flush out in the first 60 days of the season and we should have a pretty good indication of where the team is headed by around Memorial Day. By then I expect Zach Britton will be in the starting rotation, Brad Beregson will be in Norfolk and Justin Duscherer will probably be on at least the 60 day DL. If that is the worst that happens, and the regulars stay healthy, I think the Orioles have an opportunity to break the long losing streak. The baseball season is a long journey. Good luck to the team this year. They will need it.

Yes, finally ... we can start arguing about at bats, pitches and lineups, rather than front office moves.

I expect this team to play with some increased confidence. I also look forward to how they will handle adversity and who's going to step up.

The player on my radar this year is Nick Markakis. He better make that all star team.

Go O's!

As in too many previous seasons, there is potential on paper, but many uncertainties. Having 4 (?) everyday starters with one-year contracts highlights this. At least the new players aren't guaranteed busts like we knew Millwood would be. Bullpen should not only directly improve team pitching, but could allow starters to pitch better instead of trying to do it all. Consistent middle of the lineup batting is a must. Hoping also that guys like Vlad who have such a positive and fun attitude build on the attitude Buck seems to have started up.

PLAY BALL! Here we go...excited for opening day for the first time in a few years. I'm with Gil on the starting rotation being banged up, hopefully those guys get ready, but what bad luck. It all comes down to 'Can the Os shave .50 off of last years ERA and can Roberts stay healthy all year? Tall order, but if they do they'll be playing some meaningful games in August.

@JTS,

I think it's a stretch to consider Millwood a guarantied bust. The guy pitched good enough to get at least 12-13 wins in my opinion. I think he suffered from the Jeremy Guthrie syndrome. Which by the way is the team's inability to support stellar performances by the starting pitcher. Guthrie suffered it during his first year. Mother's day massacre comes to mind. Millwood went through a stretch of games where he couldn't buy run support if they were collecting money for it.

Also, I don't know what positive attitude Vlad brings. Is this the same guy who looked less than thrilled to be an Oriole when he was first introduced? Or were you just being sarcastic?

So when's the next vacation? It can't be too far off.
I'm just surprised this blog hasn't been put to sleep by now. It's like a blind three-legged dog that can't control its bladder.

...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Which says a lot about you, since you're here posting. You some kind of masochist?

Pete,

if you sported a "chin strap" instead of a goatee.....which chin would use?

or would you grow it out in between chins?

I'm some kind of realist. Give this blog a lethal injection and let the grieving process begin.

No, I'm some kind of realist. Give this blog a lethal injection and let the grieving process begin.

TO Mesotheliangelos:

Nothing so cynical. I've followed Vlad through the years and he just seems like one of those players who genuinely has fun playing professional baseball. I think that's a part of a winning team's outlook, that's all. I won't judge a player from one media appearance. You can find only high complements about this guy from former teammates or coaches. If he's really on board, it's a good thing.

Maybe you're right about Millwood. A lot of people thought his age would catchup with him last year...

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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