There weren't a lot of optimists going into 2008. Hell, in the Orioles blogosphere it was only my lukewarm assertion that the team wouldn't be worse than last year and James Baker of Oriole Magic believing that the pitching staff would surprise.
Now, the Orioles are giving us an unexpected dose of joy in early April and giving other AL teams fits.
The Mariner fans are disconsolate after their unexpected sweep at the hands of the Orange & Black.
Lookout Landing:I'm pretty sure this entire series was George Sherrill giving an extended one-finger salute to everyone who thought the Bedard trade was simply exchanging a talented young outfielder for an established ace. Guess what? It hurt the bullpen too, and while Eric O'Flaherty isn't nearly as bad as he's looked so far, he's still a substantial downgrade.
Early trade results: Baltimore acquired three saves, a couple of base hits, and some good outfield defense in exchange for a bad hip. Advantage, Orioles.
We've actually struck a little panic into the hearts of opposing fans. A nice little moment.
So how are they doing it? First is obviously the very excellent work of the bullpen. Now, we saw this to a lesser extent last year but the workload was too much and various relievers began to break down.
I checked the stats and unlike last year at this time, Baltimore relievers are not leading the league in innings. They are ranked 16th in the league so it's a pretty average workload. The starters will need to be eating more innings going forward if this momentum is to continue but they have done enough thus far, usually getting through 6 innings on average.
Aubrey Huff has gotten off to a quick start, Luke Scott has been a huge upgrade in left, Luis Hernandez has some clutch hits (and is hitting .364), Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are...well, themselves.
*****The O's also seem motivated by all the bad press they heard in the preseason. Even this paragraph by Dan Connolly in the Baltimore Sun on Monday got them fired up.
Here's the deal. This team isn't close to the ones of the late 1970s and early 1980s that helped energize this city. There's still plenty of reason to believe it will be the worst to wear Orioles on a road jersey since 1988.
Jamie Walker reportedly took Connolly to task in the locker room and several of his teammates weren't too pleased either. Cheap "us vs them" tactics for motivation? By any means necessary...
I often beat myself up over my writing on this blog, specifically typos and spelling errors I don't catch at first glance.
So it make me feel better when others screw up facts and grammar.
This was on Yahoo last night previewing today's game. (It has since been corrected...)
The Baltimore offense has gotten a boost from two relative newcomers. Offseason acquisition Luke Scott homered Tuesday and is 9-for-14 with four RBIs in the last four games. Huff, acquired from Tampa Bay in mid-July, has two homers and 11 RBIs - four on Tuesday as he matched a career high with four hits.
Huff was acquired by Houston from Tampa Bay in July 2006. The Orioles signed Huff in the offseason.
From Amber Theoharis' blog on MASN (not picking on you Amber, enjoy your stuff!)...
We've all be tainted by the Orioles teams of the past 10 years.No further explanation necessary...
And on Baseball Tonight, Karl Ravech stated that Brian Burress had gone 7+ innings when we all know that he only went 6+.
I don't know. Knowing the pros make errors too makes me feel a little better about my foibles. But not really.
Luke Scott photo credited to the AP