Tuesday, April 5, 2011

O's are 4-0: Early season thoughts

Saying that it's "early" doesn't quite cut it; it's extremely early and way too soon to draw anything conclusive from the Orioles' 4-0 start. But, hey, the O's are winning games, and anytime that happens it's a good thing.

Here are some (very) early season stats/results/thoughts that may not mean a whole lot in a week or two:


- The starting pitching has been phenomenal to start the season. In four starts, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, and Jake Arrieta have allowed only two earned runs in 26 innings pitched. They've allowed nine walks combined but have also struck out 20.

- Brian Roberts has hit both of the team's home runs, and he's made them count: They're both three-run shots.

- Nick Markakis has six hits (one double) in 14 at-bats. He's spraying the ball all over the field and looks very comfortable hitting second.

- Matt Wieters, who has five hits (one double) in 13 at-bats, is also off to a solid start.

- J.J. Hardy is doing a nice job batting in the ninth spot, with three hits (all doubles) in 11 at-bats. His presence has made the lineup more complete and more difficult to get through.

- Jason Berken and Koji Uehara have looked like the two best relievers. In three innings, Berken has allowed only one hit while striking out six, while Uehara has pounded the strike zone in 1.2 innings and allowed only one hit (that hit scored an inherited runner, but whatever).

- Overall, the defense has been pretty good. Mark Reynolds has committed the team's lone error (not that errors are the best way to determine strong defense), but he's also made a few other good plays at third. Hardy looks solid at shortstop and Derrek Lee has already saved a few errors with impressive plays at first. Also solid: Markakis's game-saving catch on Saturday.


- Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones are both hitting .125 (2-16) with no extra-base hits. They've also struck out four times each and have failed to draw a walk yet. They've looked overmatched at the plate and have been swinging at everything in sight.

- As a team, the O's have only drawn six walks while striking out 28 times. This team has several hitters who are going to strike out a lot, but the lack of walks is somewhat surprising.

- As far as the bullpen goes, Mike Gonzalez probably looked the worst in his first appearance of the season (0.1 IP, 1 R, 2 BB). Hopefully he finds the strike zone in his next chance. Kevin Gregg also looked average in his first appearance and needed that Markakis catch to end Saturday's nail-biter.

- I'm not quite sure that injuries belong here since it's difficult to prevent them from happening, but they're definitely not positives. Brian Matusz is out three-to-six weeks with a strained left intercostal muscle and Guthrie will miss Wednesday's start because he's battling pneumonia, which is kind of scary. (According to Dan Connolly, Brad Bergesen will start in Guthrie's place, and the O's are hoping Guthrie can return by Sunday.) Luke Scott is also day-to-day right now with a groin strain. The lineup could certainly use his presence.


Yes, it's early. And yes, the O's will lose some games soon. But there's nothing wrong with being happy with a 4-0 start.

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