2012 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
Dealing the Boston Red Sox the loss that knocked them out of playoff contention on the last day of the season, the Baltimore Orioles never had a lack of excitement in their 2011 season -- just a lack of wins. The younger, more frugal little brother of the AL East, Baltimore hopes once again to duke it out with the big boys in 2012. With 16 extra-inning games and 22 one-run losses last year, the Orioles aren't far behind the pack and aim to prove it with an improved bullpen and a few fresh faces to shore up the defense. Baltimore didn't go out and make big acquisitions this offseason as it did the year before, but adding outfielder Endy Chavez, best known for his miraculous catch in Game 6 of the 2009 NLCS, should help a squad that had the worst defense in the American League by most measures. Matt Lindstrom, acquired via trade with the Colorado Rockies, will try to help Kevin Gregg and Jim Johnson close out games in manager Buck Showalter's bullpen. While the Derrek Lee experiment at first base didn't pan out last season, the trade for shortstop J.J. Hardy was a stroke of genius. Hardy was arguably Baltimore’s best and most consistent hitter in 2011. He went from hitting last in the batting order in April to hitting second in front of Nick Markakis in September. The core of Baltimore's lineup is full of names known well in Major League Baseball. Brian Roberts, Mark Reynolds, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and the aforementioned Markakis are all back for the O's. The unknown is the rotation. Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton and Brian Matusz are all under the age of 26 and no one is quite sure what Showalter is going to get from them.
2011 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
The AL East has consistently been one of the top divisions in the MLB over the last decade. However, not every team in a top division can be a winner, and the Baltimore Oriolies prove that. Baltimore has not made the playoffs since it won the division in 1997, and has only finished better than fourth once (2004). But, with a new manager at the helm in Buck Showalter, some young talent and some new faces, the Orioles may make a run for the postseason once again. Perhaps the most significant moves that Baltimore made during the offseason were the acquisitions of shortstop J.J. Hardy and first baseman Derrek Lee. The two of them bring some power to the middle of a lineup that was lacking in offensive firepower last year. The Orioles also added third baseman Mark Reynolds, who has proven to be one of the most prolific home run hitters in recent years. The final piece of the puzzle was the acquisition of Vladmir Guerrero, who enjoyed a resurgence as a designated hitter with the Texas Rangers. As for the young players, Adam Jones, Felix Pie and Nick Markakis all form a strong core and will add a significant amount of pop to the Bird's lineup. On the mound, Baltimore has also strengthened its rotation. The Orioles relied heavily on the right arm of Jeremy Guthrie last season, but he disappointed with an 11-14 record. However, he's back this year along with newcomer Justin Duchscherer and youngster Brian Matusz - both of whom have shown flashes of greatness and will provide a solid foundation.
2010 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
Many baseball analysts look at the 2010 Baltimore Orioles as a team on the verge. The O's are entrenched in probably the most competitive division in Major League Baseball, but are primed to break out as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Slowly, the pieces are falling into place for Baltimore. The team has relied heavily on the aging shortstop Miguel Tejada and emerging star Nick Markakis for hard-fought wins over the last few seasons. But while Tejada is still effective and Markakis still among the league's top producers, the Orioles have built a solid team of young talent around their mainstays. Last season, centerfielder Adam Jones broke from the pack, flashing his glove and showing both speed and power at the plate. This season, fans expect to see a lot from their backstop Matt Wieters, who has been hailed as one of the best catching prospects since the great Johnny Bench. In addition to giving the O's lineup a little pop, Wieters will try to call a tight game from behind the plate with rookie battery-mate Brian Matusz, who was among Baseball America's top five prospects entering the 2010 season. Ushering in a new generation of Orioles, this year's team will give fans a lot to look forward to.
2009 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
The 2009 Baltimore Orioles are team that looks like they are on the rise. The Orioles roster has transitioned into a pairing of young potential in the outfield and solid contributors in the infield. The O's infield will be led by Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora. If those two can match their combined 50+ home runs from 2008, then Camden Yards will be rocking. On the mound Baltimore will turn to Rich Hill and Mark Hendrickson to help keep their opponents in-check. If the hitting is good and the pitching improves, then Baltimore Orioles fans may have a special 2009 season.
2008 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
The Baltimore Orioles are an exciting team to watch this season as they struggle against the odds to return their team to prominence in the American League. Suffering through injury, the competition of powerhouse division rivals like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and the arrival of the Washington Nationals in D.C. (providing competition for attendance because of that market's proximity), the Orioles have had their work cut out for them, but are poised to make a big impact this season and run at the playoffs. Watch for the leadership of Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard this year. Oriole Park at Camden Yards will be teeming with Orioles fans rooting for these underdogs to dominate their big market rivals from Boston and New York.