The first week of the Baseball season is in the books and the Orioles are an impressive 4-2, taking both series from the Yankees and Rays.
This should be nothing new for Orioles fans as the team came out 6-1 in the first seven games last year before ultimately finishing below .500.
Will this season end the same, or are the Orioles going to be better then expected?
Here is what we have learned about this team just one week into the season:
We knew this team would hit, but the top three in the order, Roberts, Jones and Markakis have gotten off to torrid starts this season. These three are hitting .375, .409 and .364 respectively with 10 extra base hits between the three of them.
Jones has nine hits on the season and five have been for extra bases. His power numbers will start come around but he is using the opposite field which is great.
The team scored 33 runs in 6 games which is an average of 5.3 runs per game. If the Orioles can keeping scoring over five runs a game, they should have some success.
Spring Training means nothing:
Leaving spring training everyone was questioning Jeremy Guthrie and people believe he would struggle this season. After a 2-0 start and only giving up three earned runs in those two starts. Guthrie has finally gotten some run support this year and he has capitalized on. Shutting out a great Tampa Bay lineup and keeping a powerful Yankees lineup in check is a great sign for Guthrie and showed that he could be in line for a good season this year.
Everyone thought that the bullpen would be the strength of the team this year, but after six games they have been the weakness. Brian Bass has been flat out awful and I wonder how he even made this team. Bass has an ERA of 16.88 while Chris Ray has an ERA of 15.43 and both Sarfate and Johnson have ERA’s of 9.00. This will not get it done if the team wants to hold leads and win games.
Meanwhile, the reliever that had the worst spring, Danys Baez, has yet to yield a run this year and has struck out five batters in 3.1 innings pitched.
We still do not know what we will get from our 3rd, 4th and 5th starter:
Our 3rd, 4th and 5th starters are still major question marks for this team. While Hendrickson is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA, Simon and Eaton has started both games that the Orioles lost this year. Do not rush to “anoint” Hendrickson just yet, but hopefully he can just eat innings and be somewhat productive.
Simon yielded four earned runs in his first start but for the most part kept the team in the game. Simon walked two and struck out three so it looks like he will be pitching to contact all season. If Brian Bass does not come in and let the game out of hand then Simon’s start does not look so bad. For the most part he kept the team in the game, but if that is the only good thing you can say about your number 3 starter then you are in trouble.
Adam Eaton was flat out awful yesterday. While half of the outs he recorded came via strikeout, Eaton was not a mystery to the Rays hitters as they hit the ball over the park. Eaton does have major league experience, but there is a reason why he is on his 4th major league team in 5 seasons. I have a feeling we will see Brad Bergeson much sooner then we expected.
Fans still don’t believe:
Opening Day one of the best environments I have ever been a part of at a Baltimore sporting event. The Orioles fans came out in droves to support their team and provided a legitimate home field advantage for the Birds. The Orioles drew 48,607 on opening day, but have not even come close to those numbers any other game this year. 28,534 was the next highest attendance total, while the games this Saturday and Sunday drew a combined 30,638 people.
I know the economy is bad and people do not want to give their money to Angelos, but the players are giving their best and they deserve to play in front of some fans. Winning will not produce fans, fans will produce winning. The players acknowledged how great the atmosphere on Opening Day was and they said it made them play better. I am not expecting the Orioles to sell out every game but it should be more then attain able to draw about 30,000 fans each game.
This team heads into its first road trip at 4-2 and many feel a sense of optimism. It is still very early in the season but the Orioles have shown a lot of positives that if they can continue all season, will produce a lot of victories for this team.
Baseball is a sport where fortunes can change from day to and positive stats can become negative stats real fast. Will the Orioles contend this year, probably not, but it has been fun to watch them thus far.