Tuesday, April 3, 2007

5 Keys to the Season

(edit: I'm a little late with this but I had to take the kids to the beach this weekend. What can I say?)

OK, here's what we need to watch for this season. Ready?

1. The O's lower their ERA by a full run this season

This is what happened in Atlanta during Leo's second season there. that means the staff needs to post an ERA of 4.35 or better this year, especially if Baltimore is to see some success this season. 4.35, remember that number.

2. Markakis hits 25

Nick is looking like he may exceed prior expectations as far as his power numbers go. This year, he needs to take his place as (at least) the second best offense player on the team, behind Miguel Tejada.

3. Increased production from LF/CF

Corey Patterson had a great year in 2006 and LF looks upgraded with Jay Payton/Aubrey Huff over there. But if Patterson regresses (a distinct possibility), we'll need more than just adequate play out of leftfield this year. Let's hope Patterson doesn't backslide too much and we can get something like something like 15-20 HR and a .275 average out of leftfielders. Sadly, that would be a big improvement from last year.

4. Melvin Mora circa 2004

....or at least 2005. Melvin dropped off at the plate last year and Baltimore needs him to rebound a bit if they wish to contend this year. We can't have a third baseman SLG sub-.400 this year.

5. Health

Outside of the bullpen or 1B/DH types, the O's don't have a lot of depth. They need to stay reasonably healthy to contend this year. We can't have Brandon Fahey playing left again (at least not this year) and expect to contend.

Got it?

Let's Go O's!

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