Runs Scored: 116
Runs Against: 144
Highlights: Opening the season with three straight series wins, two against division rivals.
Lowlights: Getting swept by Boston and the Angels
Notable Debuts: Brad Bergesen (1-0. 5.59 ERA), Koji Uehara (2-2, 4.50 ERA), Robert Andino (.375/.412/.375 in 16 AB)
Lou Montanez vs. Felix Pie: The Winner Is...
...Nolan Reimold. Pie has hit .157/.246/.216 with a homer. Montanez has hit .167/.238/.278 since his call-up from Norfolk. I guess if you had to make a call on this one you'd give the nod to Pie because at least he wasn't walking around Ft. Lauderdale this spring telling any reporter who would listen that it was obvious that he belonged on the major league roster.
Meanwhile, back in Norfolk, Nolan Reimold is knocking on the door to the big club way ahead of schedule. Reimold's April: .408/.482/.775, 1.257 OPS, 7 homers, 4 stolen bases and has yet to be caught. If he keeps it up, he's going to relegate this Spring Training argument moot.
The lineup has been pretty good, scoring 116 runs and within shouting distance of some of the best offenses in the American League. All this with three offensive black holes in the lineup (more on that later). Maybe some help from the farm (Wieters, Reimold) can help this be a top notch offense.
The pitching has been bad. Only Cleveland and New York have worse ERAs in the AL. The good news? The staff has only issued 70 walks, the third fewest in the AL after leading the league the last couple of seasons and struck out 151 batters. That's a good ratio and should (hopefully) translate into better results down the road.
Feast and Famine
Outside of Aubrey Huff (.787 OPS), every regular on the team is either above .800 OPS or below .600 OPS. Not a lot of middle ground.
Now, Cesar Izturis hardly counts. He's batting nearly .240 and you really couldn't expect much more than that. But Zaun, Wigginton and Pie, while not great hitters, should be much better than this. Zaun has been a bit unlucky. Wigginton is a career .234/.285/.397 hitter in April so he should improve. Pie is a big question mark.
The farm system can help remedy some of this when the time is right.
Leftfield: Return to the Abyss
Almost since the inception of this blog, I have harped on the unbelievable fact that the Orioles can't seem to find even an average hitter to play leftfield since the departure of B.J. Surhoff. After remedying the situation in 2008, largely with Luke Scott, leftfield has once again becoming an offensive black hole.
This has to be fixed one way or another. Leftfield should be a good source of offense; it should be simple to be at least average. We can't go back to having a bunch of stiffs out there.