Baltimore Orioles, 2011 Dugout Chatter
This will be our year,” said Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter, who took over the reins on August 3, 2010. And, guided the squad to a sterling 34-23 record, 2nd best among all American League teams. They were a dismal 35-63 prior to Buck Showalter.
Now it’s early in 2011 and the team is 5-1. Wow! A heavy rain postponed the April 8 game versus a power-packed Texas Rangers squad. The PowerRangers won the American League pennant last season and are ready for more good stuff. They’re the major league’s only unbeaten team’s - first 6 games – 6-0. Wow!.
The postponed game will be made up by an old-fashioned doubleheader, like they had back in the ‘60s. One price gets one in for 2 games – a 20 minute-delay between games.
Baltimore started 2011 by sweeping 3 games from Tampa Bay, who won the NL East last season. Jeremy Guthrie pitched and won opening day with a 3-hit 8 scoreless innings stint and reliever Jim Johnson closed the game, Baltimore winning 5-1.
Surprisingly, young Orioles pitchers, right handers Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman and lefty Zach Britton, are leading the way. Zach Britton was a late insert as starter in Game 3 and the 23-year-old yielded just 3 hits, 1 run, notched 6 strikeouts in 6 innings to win his first major league start.
A sinkerball pitcher, Zach Britton said, “I’m really excited about pitching today’s first game because it’s before the home crowd. The first start at Camden Yards – I’m just really excited.”
Young, 26-year-old Baltimore centerfielder Adam Jones had a breakout game on Friday (April 7). He got a single and a homer, a walk in 4 trips to the plate, and scored 2 runs and had 3 RBI in the Orioles 9-5 win over Detroit. Just think last season (’10) the Orioles scored the 2nd fewest runs in all of the American League.
Nick Markakis delights fans with his acrobatic catches in right field. Manager Buck Showalter says this, “The thing about Nick is he doesn’t stop. A lot of players quit running for the ball when they know they can’t catch it. Markakis keeps going over there for some reason… and he might be involved with the play. He’s good.” And, as of April 8, Nick Markakis is batting an even .300.
Switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters hit .288 in 96 games as a rookie for O’s in ’09. He hit a career bests with 11 homers and 55 RBI in ’10. Matt Wieters is the Orioles starting backstop and offensively he solid as the young pitching staff likes his movement around home plate. He holds the bat high and pulls it down as the pitch ball comes over the plate.
22-year-old starting pitcher Chris Tillman debuted with Baltimore in ’09. He was 2-5 as a rookie and again 2-5 in ’10. He’s been mixes his pitches more so far in spring training and in the regular season. On this April 7 Chris Tillman started against Detroit and yielded 6 hits, 4 runs in 4.2 innings but was not the pitcher of record.
Young right-hander Jake Arrieta stopped Detroit 5-1 on April 4, giving the Orioles a 4-0 record for 2011. His first win of season had numbers of 6 hits, just one run struck out 3 in 6 innings. Scouts rate very high – 4 ½ stars out of 5.
Baltimore Orioles 2011 Review by the first Internet Basebase Historian