Nick Markais

Here’s looking at the Baltimore Orioles

After a surprising season in which they won 93 games and advanced to the ALDS, the Baltimore Orioles took a step backwards in 2013, going 85-77 and missing out on a tie for the second wildcard spot by six games.  The team has added two free agents and another one might be on the way. If this will be enough for them to qualify for the postseason remains to be seen. Get your Baltimore Orioles tickets cheap on the web and  preview for the upcoming season.

Impressive spring training
The Orioles maintained a winning record through the spring, hovering around the top of the standings throughout March. Even though spring training statistics and standings don’t mean much, it’s always good to see the team having a strong offseason heading into the season. The good thing is that the team has been lucky to avoid any major injuries in the offseason. In addition, most players have impressed, particularly catcher Steve Clevenger, second baseman Jonathan Schoop and pitchers Evan Meek and Eddie Gamboa. The overall performance has been impressive, which might indicate that a great season is in store.

Probable lineup
1. Nick Markais, RF
2. Ryan Flaherty, 3B
3. Adam Jones, CF
4. Chris Davis, 1B
5. Nelson Cruz, DH
6. J. J Hardy, SS
7. Matt Wieters, C
8. David Lough, LF
9. Jemile Weeks, 2B

The team’s bench might look something like this.

• Ryan Flaherty, utility infielder
• Steve Pearce, DH/1B/OF
• Steve Clevenger, C
• Delmon Young, DH
Probable rotation
• Chris Tillman
• Wei-Yin Chen
• Ubaldo Jimenez
• Miguel Gonzalez
• Bud Norris
Suk-min Yoon is another possibility, the same with Kevin Gausman.

Probable bullpen

• Long man-Suk-min Yoon
• Middle men-Edgmer Escalona, Brad Brach
• Setup men-Ryan Webb, Brian Matusz, Darren O’Day
• Closer-Tommy Hunter

Jim Johnson was traded in spring and then the deal for Grant Balfour fell through, clearing a path for Tommy Hunter to take over the closing duties.

Keys to success
The long ball is a favorite for the Baltimore Orioles and they led the league last season with 212 homeruns, 24 more than any other team. They can also field, and they made the fewest mistakes (54). The team has recognized the importance of pitching and has added Ubaldo Jimenez onto its roster. Hopefully, he can lead the rotation and help Tillman. In trading Jim Johnson, the team let go a key member of the bullpen but Ryan Webb has been added. During spring training, there was stiff competition for the bullpen slots, and if players can step up during the season, everything should be okay in the bullpen. If the team can get on base in a better fashion than last season, they can make the postseason.