Wednesday, May 2, 2007

5 Keys To The Season Revisited: April

Just before the 2007 season kicked off I listed a few things that would have to go right for the O's to have a successful season this year. Let's see how the boys in black and orange are doing.

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

The number to watch here was 4.35 and as of today the O's staff is sporting a 4.20 ERA. Not too shabby considering injuries and that the starters (especially Erik Bedard) have not pitched up to their abilities yet. We'll call this a success so far.

2. Markakis hits 25

Nick had hit three homers by April 18th but has had none since and only 3 extra base hits. He looked to be easily on his way to 25 but now is on a pace for 18. I expect (hope) this to change over the coming months as Markakis seems to really drive this offense these days. So this mark is lacking but still very reachable.

3. Increased production from LF

Last year our leftfielders OPS'ed .681. This year so far they have and OPS of... .637. Ouch. That is really, really bad. Historically bad. Our backup catchers we have deployed in the month of April have out-slugged our leftfielders. (They OPS'ed .664.) As bad as our leftfield situation was last year, it has been even worse this year. Brutal.

As a side note, not one homer from the LF position, even with Huff and Gibbons getting some time out there this month.

Our centerfielders have OPS'ed .711, basically the same as the .715 from last year and considering Corey Patterson missed a few games, not too bad.

This is obviously one aspect of the team that needs to get dramatically better to be competitive n the AL. I said a .275 BA with 15 homers would be a huge improvement and brother, we ain't even close.

4. Melvin Mora circa 2004....or at least 2005.

Don't let his .250 average or his oddly timed bunts fool you. Melvin has been crushing the ball to all fields. He already has four homers and an eye-popping 8 double through the first 26 games and his OPS is right on track for 2005 levels. Sure, we would have preferred 2004 levels but he's easily been the best offensive player for Baltimore thus far. Success.

5. Health

So far, we haven't had good health. Jay Payton and Ramon Hernandez missed most of this first month. Jaret Wright is already banged up, as is Scott Williamson. And although it wasn't an injury, Patterson missed a few games due to bereavement.

All told, Baltimore has had all its projected front line starters in the lineup twice out of 25 games. We'll have to hope for better health in May because we didn't get it in April.


Melvin Mora has not only been the offensive star this season but the defensive one as well. You heard me right and if you've been watching you've seen it. He is third in the league among 3B in Assists, fourth in Total Chances and has started more double plays than any AL thirdbaseman not named Joe Crede. He has made the tough plays and the routine plays this season.


Jay Gibbons got a golden opportunity to help the team and play the field in Jay Payton's absence and posted a .236 BA with 5 doubles and no homeruns. (edit: OK, he cracked one homer on the last day of the month.) The add insult to injury, he hit even worse as a DH. He has been coming up small all year long.


I've been really impressed with Brian Burres. Outside of mop up duty against Toronto, he has been lights out since his mid-month callup. Here's to more great pitching from Mr. Burres this season!

No comments: