I never got around to a preseason preview for the Orioles this season. When I was looking at the team at the end of the season only one thing crossed my mind. To quote several Star Wars characters, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
The leadoff hitter and starting second baseman had a bad back AND was allergic to the treatment. One of the young pitching stars was hurt filming a TV commercial. And then this came out:
Matt Wieters, aka the Catching Jesus, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. If a team isn’t expected to win does the SI Cover Jinx still apply? The team had a lackluster spring finishing in the middle of the pack. But hey, Brian Matusz almost had a no hitter against the Phillies.
Now they’re nine games into the season and the bad feeling, like a bill collector, hasn’t gone away. The team can’t hit (.237 batting average good for 10th in the AL), can’t score (27 runs, 12th in the AL), and their closer has been more flammable than Florida scrub brush. In the offense happy AL East those numbers make for a long season, and they haven’t even played the Sox or the Yankees yet.
I would like to join the rest of the masses and revel in the doom and gloom, but I can’t give up on a season less than two weeks into it. Now if they only have one win when the calendar turns to May I might have some harsh words. Besides the Astros are a third of the way to breaking the 21 game losing streak!
Believe it or not there have been some bright spots to the season. Young Wieters has defied the curse to lead the team with a .345 average. Miguel Tejada is driving in runs (yes I know 4 of his team leading 7 RBI’s came in one game) like it’s 2001. Not to be outdone by Wieters, former Cubs prospect Felix Pie is off to a smoking hot start, hitting .471 in limited action.
The biggest surprise has been the starting pitching staff. Kevin Millwood and his band of young pups have been giving the O’s a chance to win. While they’re not yet the Braves staff of the 90’s they are showing enough promise (especially Matusz) that O’s fans should be happy for the future.
The team travels out west for the next week, if they continue this slide Dave Trembley’s job will most definitely be in jeopardy. Despite the injuries to Roberts and closer Mike Gonzalez this team has enough talent to win more than one game out of nine.
Nine games in is too early to give up on a season, give them a little more rope to hang themselves. A young team takes awhile to gel together and no one expects them to be in the playoffs this year. As long as this team is improving as the season goes on then it will be a successful year.