Orioles prepare for another great season

Jay Patti

Under the coaching of manager Buck Showalter, the Baltimore Orioles made their first playoff appearance in 2012 since the Cal Ripken era. The Orioles clinched their first non-losing season as they put up a staggering 93 wins, with 29 of those wins being in one run games. Call it lucky but the 2012 season for the Orioles was one that will go down in Baltimore history. The Birds of Baltimore look to pick up right where they left off behind the now-experienced bullpen.

Over the offseason, the Orioles locked down both Matt Wieters and Adam Jones for years to come, as well as leadoff hitter Nate McLouth on a one-year deal. Once again, the pressure will be on the starting pitching rotation, which still needs to be set. Throughout the 2012 campaign, the Orioles utilized a total of 12 different starting pitchers which was effective at times, but it has become imperative that Showalter establishe a firm rotation. The pitching staff will be under an enormous amount of pressure in the American League East Division, considered to be the most competitive division in all of baseball. Closer, Jim Johnson finished the 2012 season with 51 total saves and looks to put away those one run and extra inning games once again.

Even though the Orioles did not add much to the lineup this offseason, they didn’t really need to. Showalter has proven to be one of the smartest managers in Major League baseball. Though Toronto is the early division favorite, another playoff berth is certainly not out of the question. Perhaps the most threatening aspect of the Orioles is their offensive lineup, filled with power from top to bottom. With hitters like Chris Davis, who belted 33 home runs in 2012, the Orioles will have to find a way to work with this talented lineup even if it requires moving some players around in the field. Nick Markakis looks to add an offensive surge as well after coming off an injury that kept him in the dugout during the intense postseason run.

Many fans will say that Manny Machado is the player to watch in 2013. This young man locked down the third base position and turned the defensive completely around in 2012. The Orioles were dead last in fielding before the arrival of Machado, which moved them all the way up to the top of both the stat board and the division. The infield and outfield are basically set with second base being the only question.

Andrew Stout (12) said, “I went to some games last year, but I plan to go to a lot of games at Camden Yards this year.” The attendance at Camden Yards has skyrocketed. Opening day almost always sells out, but in 2012, there was playoff baseball in Baltimore which gave Baltimore and its fans national recognition. “Baltimore loves baseball” said Zac Walsh (12). “It’s a great baseball city,” he said. Baltimore absolutely came alive last year and rallied behind the Orioles, something that had not been done since 1997.

The Orioles will grow as a team in 2013. With Matt Wieters only being in his third Major League season, and Manny Machado having an full offseason as an Oriole, the future looks promising. Players like J.J Hardy and Nate McLouth look to pick up right where they left off and boost the Orioles to the top of the AL East. The 2013 season will certainly not be easy for the Orioles as they attempt to prove to themselves and the country that last year was no fluke. Though they shouldn’t take last year’s season for granted, Orioles Magic is back to stay in Baltimore. “This city can be purple and orange” said Zac.