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Which worries you the most: O's offense, defense, rotation or bullpen?

Just watched the Orioles get their brains beat in by the Boston Red Sox, 14-6.

Are you sure it isn’t May yet?

Seriously, we all know about the Orioles’ struggles in the past 12 years. But it just seems to get magnified when they play the Red Sox – even more than it does when they play the New York Yankees.

Chew on this unsavory tidbit: The Orioles are 17-55 in the past four regular seasons against the Red Sox. That’s not a cruel, cruel April Fool’s joke. Sorry.

The Orioles are 28-45 against the Yankees. Practically dominating in comparison.

I know I have ruined your appetite, but hopefully you are still willing to drown your sorrows.

Anyway, there was a whole lot to make an Orioles fan shiver after this one – the fourth to last before the games count – in sunny Florida.

The starting lineup, sans only a sick Adam Jones, managed just three hits in seven innings against Red Sox starter Jon Lester. Felix Pie is the only regular batting over .300.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox bashed Jason Berken and Jim Johnson, two members of the Orioles’ Opening Day bullpen.

And Robert Andino, who made the team as a utility infielder because he can play shortstop, made two errors at the position and has four on the season.

Yes, it’s only spring training. So no reason to sound the alarm yet. But ... it might be coming in a few weeks.

Here’s my question: Based on what you have read, heard or seen, which part of the Orioles concerns you the most? Is it the offense, defense, rotation or bullpen?

Mine is the bullpen. Closer Mike Gonzalez hasn’t looked sharp – though he pitched a scoreless inning Wednesday -- and neither has Johnson, his setup man. The other setup man, Koji Uehara, will start the season on the disabled list. And the young power arm the Orioles were counting on, Kam Mickolio, won’t make the team.

I think the offense has enough quality talent that it will be fine. And the rotation will take its lumps at times – for sure. But the bullpen? That gets my vote.

Daily Think Special: Which worries you the most: O’s offense, defense, rotation or bullpen?

Comments

Bullpen. No doubt. Defense is solid up the middle, I'm confident that the offense will come around and Guthrie will be the only starter that underachieves. I just hope Gonzalez can be a solid closer and Koji stays healthy. Johnson gets my "confidence" vote, and that's a scary thought.

kevin, peter angelos...seriously, one of
the worst owners in oriole's
history.......

created a trepid losing team
for 13 straight years...

buys on the cheap,but rakes
in many a dollar on masn....

sticks his craw into baseball
affairs, which he knows nothing
about..

and lastly number one
buys real estate in little italy and raises ticket prices
for a lousy product.....


All are worries, but I'm just looking forward going to the ballpark; whatever happens this year. And it could be really bad.

You forgot to mention coaching, ownership, groundskeepers, the lemon chill guy...I try to be an optimist, but I have to say they all worry me.

It's the offense. It's Roberts' back is a problem, there's no natural leadoff hitter to take his place, and the offense will suffer if he's not 100%. You need a guy to get on base before the sluggers. Of course, we don't exactly have sluggers. I don't think anyone on the club has ever hit 30 dingers before except Miggy and that's when he was taking... what was it... B-12. Scott looked great for the first half last year and Pie looked great for the second half. Which one will we get in 2010? Atkins is coming off an off-year, and Riemold and Wieters are young guys that could have sophomore slumps or at least long dry spells. You'd expect Jones and Nick to get better each year, but they need some bats in front and behind them if they are going to produce. We've got strong defense up the middle and in right field. The Baby Bird rotation plus Millwood will be alright, and the bullpen should be impoved over last year if Gonzo can hold his own. Whether or not we win more games than we did in 2009 will come down to how many runs we score.

Every part mentioned stinks. The Os will suck as usual and win 70 games if they get lucky. You forgot to mention the manager...Trembley sucks too.

They ALL Do! Are you kidding Connolly? This team looks anemic in all phases and might just set the all-time franchise record for futility, if not MLB's!! What a mess!

Lemon Chill HERE!!!

How can he be a worry? I've never seen a better lemon chill salesman ever!

I'm going with all the above....was that a choice? Can we please just support our team without asking moot questions?

My prediction: I love the talent on the team but we will still get crushed by good teams 7 out of 10 times. We have a good offense, but nothing with significant power. We do have a more consistent offense than before, which is in line with about 15 HR per player, a team avg of .270 and and OPS of maybe .700. Still average. It will be average for a while. The real pop will happen in a couple of years. For now, we actually have talent to root for that doesn't suck. And that's the kind of average I'm willing to watch.

E) all of the above

starting pitching. if the starters don't come through we're not going to be in many games.

I was optimistic for the forthcoming season back in February. Then the Orioles started playing against other teams...

Being concerned implies that I also have the energy to care. Resignation is a better word to describe my feelings.

Wow, if the Orioles' problems upset you people this much, you should all just take the summer off and go to the beach, play golf or tennis, go camping, etc. Following baseball is making you people miserable.

Sorry, barkeep, back to your question... I think there's good potential in all these areas. The one that concerns me the most is starting pitching, because it's the most critical piece of the puzzle. The other areas can be fixed, but if the starting pitching doesn't pan out, the rebuilding plan is down the tubes. Fingers crossed!

The pitching. And the difficult early schedule.

Pitching,
Pitching,
Pitching,

without it you have no chance, with it you can at least play small ball !!

Where to begin?I'm going to say our starting pitching. If they don't do well, then we will see more of our dismal relievers.Guthrie looks sad, and Millwood hasn't done well to this point either. They are supposed to be our top 2!

How about pitching in general? The O's still have no pitching! Yes we have a few young guys with "potential" but whatdoes that mean, it me
ans they ain't done "sh__"
yet! No one knows for sure if any of them ever will. The rest of the staff stinks, and it is no different than what we have had for the past 11 years. In case everyone has forgotten baseball is about 3 things, PITCHING, PITCHING, and more PITCHING!!!

Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen. With the mediocre acquisitions in the offseason, Andy basically put a band aid on a sucking chest wound! Guaranteed its going to kill us all season. Its already doing it now!

Dan, normally at this time of the year I'm stupidly optimistic but I feel like I should be crying into my beer.

And I haven't switched from porters and stouts to lagers and ales yet!

deja vu all over again. The life of O-fan optimism is always nasty, brutish, and short.

Hey Smitty , in case you haven't noticed , most of the fans have already chosen other activities,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they do follow the O's on paper to make sure they don't miss the headlines if Peter the Great sells the team..........................

The truth is the O's are a minor league team playing against major league teams , how is that rebuilding working out for you fans ?

Smitty, how did an apparently reasonable fellow like you find your way into this dive? Dan, pour Smitty another of what he's having and put it on Rob K's tab.

My first response to the question du jour is "all the above", but that's too easy. The defense doesn't worry me because I have such generally low expectations for some parts of it that it won't matter. Other parts will be solid.

I feel pretty good about the rotation, though I'd feel even better if Guthrie can pitch a couple good games his first two starts and turn that into a template for the season. Millwood will be somewhere between adequate and pretty good. Bergy and Matusz will be fine. Hernandez/Tillman/TBA will experience continued growing pains in the fifth slot no matter who is there.

If the Orioles don't have any leads late in the game it won't matter what Gonzo is doing. Same for JJ. But I think they will come around and overall the bullpen will be serviceable this year.

The offense concerns me the most. If it maxes out its potential it could compensate for some erratic performances in all the other areas. That would depend on Roberts being healthy all year and performing typically; Pie, Jones, Markakis, Reimold, and Wieters making routine progress; Tejada still having enough left in the tank; Atkins remembering how to hit while learning a whole new league's worth of pitchers; Scott getting hot in April and avoiding a prolonged cold spell until late September; and Wigginton accepting that he's going to get sporadic duty and coming through when given his opportunities. Notice that I am not expecting much from SS.

I'm probably most worried simply about health...more than anything I just hope our young guys stay healthy.

As for actual baseball skills it's rather obvious to me that the defense is the biggest concern (and how can anyone possibly say offense?).

We are terrible on the infield corners. Our 1B and 3B are both guys who were below average defensive players at their old positions and are now playing their current position full time for the first time in their careers. Yikes. Though O's fans (myself included) love Roberts, every metric available shows that he is an average at best fielder. Same goes for Jones despite the GG, although with his age you certainly hope for improvement. As I see it, we only have two above average defensive players in Izturis and Markakis, and neither is elite. I'm really concerned about the effect this will have on our young pitchers. I guess the good news is that Atkins and Tejada should be one-and-dones for us, although Snyder does not get rave reviews for his D at 1B either.

I'll buy Smitty's first round...rounds 2-?? are on CSB Jack.

And don't bash the Lemon Chill guy. Geez, next thing you'll want to do is moan about Clancy the beer man.

Look, everything is a concern but lets take a page from Seinfeld here. I feel we will do what George did that one episode.....doing the opposite of what he's always done. He lkanded the job with the Yankees, moved out and hitched his wagon to Susan (before he killed her w/the faulty envelopes).

Guthrie and Millwood win 15. Robert's back is fine, so much so he becomes the pitch man for Sleep Number beds. Miggy & Wiggy find the fountain of youth and Jones-Markakis-Reimold-Pie become the top OF in baseball. Matusz gets ROY, Wieters looks like Joe Mauer Jr., Tillman cures his ills in Norfolk, and Gonzo is the 2nd coming of Randolph K. Myers, a dominating lefty closer.

Happy April 1st.....gimme a Dos Equis.

Pitching if you have it wins ballgames it shut's down good hitters with out it you lose as the o's already know well except the OWNER which is just there to say he own's a sport's team he could care less about the progress of his team and raises the ticket prices for a team that hasnt proved it could win in 2 many years is not smart and actually is going lose out on money way 2 go Pete.

Mr. Connolly:

Judging by what we have seen in Spring Training, I think this will surpass last year in futility. I see Dave Trembly fired by June 1, big trades by July 1 any player they can get cash or more prospects will go, this team will lose over 100 games, Peter A will make the corp office the same no risk dividend.

Mr. Connolly, the other problem is PA will not retain most of the current young talent. We will be in rebuild mode after any super star emerges or big contract will be needed to retain services. It will be similar to the 70s when the team provided players for the Yankees and the LA Angels. The Angels became Orioles west.

The problem is the Orioles do not organization does not seem capable of building a farm system as good as the old days. I do not understand why since this team has been among the teams with the worse records in baseball for the last 12 years.

Frustrated long time fan!!!

---
Barkeep's Reply: George, I understand. Although Angelos did sign Markakis and Roberts to long-term deals, so there is hope on that end. Grab a beer and enjoy.

The starting pitching worries me most. Millwood has gotten rocked most of the spring, Guthrie has gotten lit up all spring, and Tillman was sent down to avoid shell shock from the early schedule. I think Bergy and Matusz are the only two we can count on at the moment, and they're rookies! Not a good sign.....

going off the topic a bit...what concerns me are the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays....sorry

Good pitching without offense isn't enough - ask the Mariners. A loss is a loss, whether it's 2-1 or 10-1. Pitchers need support, yet O's offenses with Terry Crowley as hitting coach consistently have finished in the bottom half of the A.L. in OBP and runs. Crowley is helpful fixing the swings of some hitters, but not good at teaching plate discipline, apparently.

Our pitching remains a worry, as does defense. To be a contender in this division, the O's need strong offense, quality pitching, and good defense, like the great O's teams had.

Is there an all of the above option for this question?

#1 Jeremy Guthrie.

yes

Peter Angelos is worth $1.5 billion and has owned MASN for a few years now with revenues from both the Orioles and Washington and McPhail still doesn't seem to be allowed to get the type of help that will help this team win even 70 games.
2010 = 65 wins
*Bergesen = 12-10 wins-losses
*Millwood = 11-13 wins-losses
*Gurthrie = 6-20 wins-losses (5 CGs)
*Matusz = 8-8 wins-losses
*Hernandez = 9-13 wins-losses

If I know anything in this world, I know the Orioles. I correctly predict the type of season that they'll have every year. (except the 1st half of 2005), but that's because the ENTIRE team (B. Roberts included), were pumped up on steroids.
65 wins......anybody wanna bet ?

There's no one area worse than the other. Offense is as bad as the Defense. The bullpen will be overworked and be useless by June 1. This is going to be one ugly season. What will McPhail & Angelos do after they find that the players that believed were going to be studs all prove to be duds?

Biggest worry? Easy. Manager.

ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!!!! This spring has been a bust! There have been a few pitching performances that were worth mentioning (Hernandez) and the bullpen but for the most part, nothing to hang your hat on. April is gonna be ugly.

It comes down to the starting pitching. If they hold their own, then we will be "OK". If they falter and only last 4-5 innings out of the gate like the last few years then the bullpen will once again be burned out by the all-star break and we know whats happens then for the rest of the season.

On the other hand, the offense still
needs to learn how to get some "key hits". Not sure how we compare to the rest but our RISP has always been lousy. No consistency.

The defense, overall, is fine.

To dspedden:

Yes! I do want to bet. I am so sure that the Orioles will top 65 wins, I will bet any amount of money that you want to bet on that. Literally any amount! If you want to bet more than I have, I will find a way to get it and make this bet with you.

The doom and gloom on this board is astounding. This season is going to be way better than you guys think. Sure we have lots of question marks, but so does every team in the majors. The Orioles are young, hungry, and talented.

Let's all take a deep breath. Geez!!!

I am really surprised anyone would say bullpen. Our bullpen is looking better than it has in years.

In order:
Offense: Very little power coming from 3rd and 1st, in the Al East. Roberts may be hurt meaning our infield is basically producing nothing except for possibly Wieters. Did I mention Reimold is gimpy too?

Rotation
Everyone should like the chances of Matusz and Bergeson this season, and even have some optimism for Hernandez. Regardless the chances of Millwood duplicating last season are not in line with his career line, and would be surprising considering his age. Guthrie has lost his swagger and does not look like he regained it. If there is an injury, I am not confident Tillman is ready yet if he is the next guy.
Defense
Huge question marks at the corners and if Roberts is hurt that is a big problem. Roberts defense has declined a bit anyways.
Bullpen
Our best spot. The only real question mark is Gonzalez's effectiveness as closer. A ton of depth here between people on the roster and minors. Anyone who says bullpen isn't really following the team closely.

Starting Pitching -- we haven't had it in 12 years.

Hey take it easy on Andino. When pitchers are throwing softballs things get a little hot out there

The food prices because nobody's showing up for the baseball

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