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JustAnotherYanksFan wrote:Orioles: Pretenders.
Much of the reason for their early-season success was their pitching. That was an illusion, and the pitching's already starting to collapse. And of course, Bedard's injury didn't help things any. But basically, they have a strong offense and a good bullpen, but I just don't think they have the starting pitching to really compete.
As much as they've been struggling, when you break down the team, there's really no reason why they shouldn't be winning. They have a tremendous offense (2nd in the MLB in runs). Their pitching rotation is really pretty decent (Johnson's very good, Musina's good, Pavano's average, Wang's average, and...well...I guess they need a fifth starter, but that's something that can be taken care of). Their back end of the bullpen is among the best in the league. Defense? Team chemistry? Well...those are definitely problems, but I just think that their team is strong enough to overcome those things. It might not be pretty, but I think they'll bludgeon their way to a good enough record that they'll compete with the Sox for the AL East title.
While Patterson has been cold, they have Aramis and Lee (and perhaps Huff) to anchor their lineup. And while their bullpen is suspect, I think their starting pitching should carry them. They have as good a chance at the wild card as anyone else.
They have some good bats in the middle of the lineup, but I don't think they have the pitching. Outside of Vazquez and Webb, I'm not all too impressed with their starting pitching, and their bullpen is extremely shaky. In a way, they're a very similar team to the Cubs - a solid offense anchored by a few strong bats in the center of the lineup, and a bad bullpen. The only difference is that the Cubs have Prior, Zambrano, (Wood), Maddux, Mitre and Rusch, while the D-Backs have Vazquez, Webb, Halsey, Estes, and an injured Russ Ortiz.
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