Everything's in line, except staff

Al East Predictions

Orioles Preview

April 05, 2009|By DAVID STEELE

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the Orioles will go as far as their starting pitching will take them. Which explains why they're at the bottom of their division's predicted order of finish below.

For every other segment of the team, the best-case scenario is pretty good. The Orioles are better set at more positions than they've been in a long time. They'll have no problems scoring, and scoring when it matters. The gaping hole at shortstop appears to be filled, with Cesar Izturis. They have speed, power and defense in the infield, the outfield and behind the plate - well, at least more than last year.

And - again, best-case scenario - they have a bullpen. Yes, they say they have bullpen depth every year, but this time it might actually be true. If nothing else, it'll be nice to have the old Chris Ray back.

The whole package could get better as the season goes along. Well done, Andy MacPhail.

Yet it could all be taken down by the so-called "starting rotation." Unless things change drastically, those starters will doom them. How bad will it be? At some point, who knows when, you'll wonder whether you weren't a bit harsh with Daniel Cabrera.

AL East

1. Yankees

2. Rays

3. Red Sox

4. Blue Jays

5. Orioles

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