Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Which is it

The Orioles recent 8 game losing streak has lots of Birds fans wondering if this season is going to be just like the last dozen or so. I would say yes and no.

Here is the good news the young arms they have in the rotation are starting to show big league onions. Zach Britton could end up being the stud at the front of the rotation the team has lacked since Mike Mussina took the ball every 5 days for the Camden Yards 9. Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman have given the team some quality efforts in the first 3 weeks of the season that show a lot of promise. When Brian Matusz comes off the disabled list in a few weeks the Orioles could have the kind of young rotation that can start piling up the wins and keep the Orioles out of the kind of 8 game losing streaks they just ended last night with an 11-0 win over the Twins.

The real source of the 8 game losing streak is a lackluster hitting attack and a shaky bullpen. The O's scored just 20 runs in the 8 game losing streak. Kind of hard to win a lot of games when you are averaging 2 and a half runs per game. Right now the Birds are one of only 2 teams in all of baseball without a 300 hitter in the lineup. At times this season veterans Derek Lee and Vlad Guerrero have looking like old men and Mark Reynolds is hitting below the Mendoza line and piling up strikeouts at an alarming rate. Reynolds has struck out 16 times in as many games. The amazing thing is that is below his pace of the last few seasons when he whiffed well over 200 times. The good news for the Orioles, on the hitting front, is 2nd baseman Brian Roberts appears to be fit. He is tied for the lead in home runs with 3 and leads in RBI's with 14. If Roberts continues to set the table at the top of the line-up the O's will be in good shape.

One other factor in the Orioles losing streak has also been an inconsistent schedule. They have had a number of rainouts and most games have been played in un-springlike weather.

Give this team time. I don't know if this is the year for them to break through but the building blocks are there.

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