The fine folks over at Sports Illustrated gave me a sneak preview of their 2011 MLB preview, which hits newsstands tomorrow. The magazine predicts that two AL East teams will make the playoffs and that the Red Sox will beat the Giants in the World Series.
If you read the headline on this post, you already know that the Orioles aren't one of the two AL East teams that SI thinks are playoff-bound. The predicted order of finish in the division has the Orioles in fourth place behind the Red Sox, the Yankees and then the Rays, with the Yankees claiming the sole wild-card spot in the American League.
Sports Illustrated says the Orioles will finish 78-84. It wouldn't be a winning season, but it's a 12-game improvement.
According to staff writer Ben Reiter, the team's best-case scenario is winning 91 games. "Buck Showalter’s aggression-instilling magic persists, and the O’s ride a top-five offense and an improving young staff to a 25-win improvement -- though 91 is only good for third in the AL East," Reiter wrote.