Monday, April 21, 2008

Rocking & Rolling; The Mariners On The Docket Out West...

Despite the dire predictions and doom and gloom of some in the local & national press, as well as others, perhaps even myself -- the Orioles are playing well.

In light of yesterday's 7-1 loss to the Evil Empire, Baltimore is playing some exciting baseball and on Friday and Saturday, when they won, the offense came through and did the little things right. You can't also discount what the bullpen has done, especially, Jim Johnson, who has been a huge surprise, a good Daniel Cabrera on Friday, and Brian Buress' gutsy performance on Saturday night.

Roberts may be in a slump, but Luke Scott is still hot, Jones is starting to come around at the plate, Mora is still a bunting machine, and Markakis is the "man".

I'm still enjoying the ride waiting for a fall, but so far so good. Although a lot of the media are riding the wave of the Orioles' nice run, I'm being cautiously optimistic.

This team still has a lot of unproven talent, lack of starting pitching depth, and as well, an offense with little power. It's fine to play NL-style ball -- I love it -- however, at some point, the law of averages will catch up and the natural laws of baseball will take shape.

At this point, the players if they keep on hustling will take Baltimore as far they wish to go.

They've got a brutal road trip, where they are basically on the road for the next three weeks, with one break in late April/early May when they are home against the Rays. Will this kill the run? Again, their margin of error is very low, but if they keep doing the little things right and do not make mistakes, they have a chance to win more than they lose.

If they go over .500 for this road trip, I'll have to rethink the state of the Orioles.

First, we go to Seattle...

Seattle Series Matchups:

Tuesday: Jeremy Guthrie (0-1, 4.38) vs. Felix Hernandez (2-0, 1.47)
Wednesday: Daniel Cabrera (1-0, 5.16) vs. Carlos Silva (3-0, 2.79)
Thursday: Adam Loewen (0-1, 6.32) vs. Jarrod Washburn (1-2, 3.50)

At this point, I'd be elated if the Orioles took two out of three in this series. The first game is the most intriguing to me, as we take on King Felix again. Hernandez was nothing short of lights out against us in Baltimore two weeks ago -- that is until the Seattle bullpen imploded. That game was not a fluke, as Felix is one of the best young talents in the game. Guthrie has pitched sold this season; however, the Oriole lineup is up against a tall order facing the phenom.

Let's hope for an off-night by Hernandez.

In terms of the rest of the series, Silva has looked good, but has been awfully beatable in the past and it should be a godsend to him that he plays in Safeco. In terms of Baltimore, in game two, it depends which Daniel will show up -- if he shows what he did against New York on Wednesday in the Emerald City, it will be a long night for Seattle.

Game three features Adam Loewen, who struggled in the first inning on Wednesday's loss to the White Sox; however, he settled down and found his way thereafter. He'll need to focus on the task at hand and work on his command. If he does, not only will the Orioles have a chance to win, but he'll gain a lot of confidence (not that he lacks in it at all).

Seattle is finding it's way at the plate, and it will be up to Baltimore pitching to keep them at bay.

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