SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today:Baltimore Orioles (2009: 64-98, last in AL East)
STARTING PITCHING Baltimore's young rotationfinished last in the A.L. and 29th in the majors with a 5.37 ERA last season. So in comes 35-year-old Kevin Millwood, who Baltimore hopes will make the rotation dominant. Says Oriole great Jim Palmer: "He should help everybody. He's been around. He came up with Atlanta, so he was there with Smoltz, he was there with Glavine, he was there with Maddux. He's a No. 1 guy on that staff and takes a lot of pressure off." Great point, Palmer. He was there with those guys. And I'm sure those three future Hall of Famers credit Kevin Millwood for much of their success. Now if only the Orioles would add Steve Avery and Charlie Leibrandt to their staff, they'd be awesome.
LINEUP Baltimore's 1-through-3 hitters Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis are as solid as any in baseball. After that it's sketchy. Their new cleanup hitter is Miguel Tejada, presumably back in town to get those steroids he left above a ceiling panel in the trainer's room. In the five spot is Luke Scott, or maybe it's Scott Luke. Either way: he's forgettable. In the sixth and seventh spots are Nolan Reimold and Garrett Atkins, who are either baseball players, syndromes or diseases or some combination. Batting eighth is catching "phenom" Matt Wieters, who is such a phenom he's batting eighth for the Baltimore Orioles. And in the ninth spot is shortstop Cesar Izturis, a career .298 OBP hitter who should really be required to use Billy Ripken's FK FACE bat.
BULLPEN What a collection of turds these guys are. Their new closer is Mike Gonzalez. Read this sentence now before he gets hurt. They also added left-hander Will Ohman (2009 ERA: 5.84) to the bullpen, who is known better among his former teammates and coaches as Will Oh, Jesus Christ.
BENCH Baltimore's top two subs are Ty Wigginton and Felix Pie. Remember a few years ago when Pie was on the Cubs and had to miss some time with a twisted testicle? That's his career highlight.
OUTLOOK The Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997. But the organization is coming back around. If everything goes right, in the coming years they could be looking at a third or fourth place finish in the AL East. And if everything goes wrong, they could be looking at a fourth or fifth place finish in the AL East. So that's comforting.