The Baltimore Oriole’s have gotten out of the gate quickly the past 2 seasons only to leave backers scratching their heads the rest of the year. In 2005, Baltimore started off the year 26-14 with everyone, including the media, thinking that they could contend with the Yankees and the Redsox for the AL East. We all know how that turned out. Baltimore ended the season 48-74. The sad story behind this is that because the first impression that Baltimore gave people in 2005 was a good one, early backers continued to back this team right into the dumpster. The 2006 Baltimore Orioles got off to a decent start as well winning seven of 10 games early in April last season before quickly falling apart and finishing next to last in the AL East.
Just because the Orioles have started decent the past two seasons, doesn’t mean this trend will continue this season. Here’s the biggest reason why. Kris Benson was lost for the year with a torn rotator cuff and Rodrigo Lopez was dealt way in the offseason to leave the starting pitching rotation paper thin. Although the O’s are psyched about their bullpen with south paw Jamie Walker, righty Chad Bradford, and closer Danys Baez, these guys will likely see too many innings because of a weak starting rotation which will ultimately affect their performance.
Offensively, it’s just the Tejada show again and my guess is that this could be his last year in Baltimore as I don’t see this team being competitive enough to keep his interest. Aubrey Huff and Jay Payton will be new to the O’s roster this season, but I don’t see these guys making enough of a difference in this loaded division. My guess is that Baltimore will eventually be forced to deal him away.
Loewen, Cabrera, and Bedard are solid starting pitchers, but still very inconsistent and they could all definitely benefit from a higher powered lineup. The acquisition of Trachsel isn’t going to amount to much as he was, more or less, the best the O’s could get on short notice. This is a team that you won’t want to take action on right away. If the Orioles have taught us anything over the last couple seasons, it’s to not touch teams in slumps. Your best bets are going to be to find spots to go against the Orioles, especially within their division. Baltimore finished below .500 at home last season, and we should be able to find some nice spots to go against this team with small favorites and small underdogs for easy victories. The American League is a dominant force in Interleague play, and that will be the time to take the O’s as their struggles in the AL could result in the books undervaluing them against the NL. Once we get a decent idea about this team, going against them in the AL and with them against the NL could prove to be a nice money maker for us.