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Prediction Time: How Many Games Do the Orioles Win?

We’ve tossed this around plenty in the comments, but now that Opening Day is basically upon us it’s time to go on the record. The roster is set and we know what we know from Spring Training. So let’s have at it: how many games will the Orioles win this year? And why?

I’ve been saying all along that I think this is the year they get to or break the .500 mark. I’m pretty sure I said the same thing last year, though, so take it for what it’s worth when I say that I’m in for 83 wins. On no level do I think they’re ready to contend or make serious noise, but I believe they’ll win more than they lose.

The “why?” is a little more complicated.

To that end, here are two reasons I think it will happen followed by two things that could derail it.

Reason “Why” Number One: Buck Showalter
Pretty obvious, no? Sure, managers don’t win games. But leadership and organizational culture both play a huge role in making wins happen. Buck brings those in a way we haven’t seen for some time.

I really can’t stress that enough. There’s no way to effectively quantify the value of leadership and culture, but every successful organization — in sports or elsewhere — comes strong on both counts. The O’s will benefit from it. No question.

Reason “Why” Number Two: Runs
This team should, in theory, score runs. Many of them. The O’s suffered a negative run differential last year of 172. We should see a much better outcome this year, and it’ll be reflected in the win-loss total.

Reason “Why Not” Number One: Injuries
This starts with Brian Roberts, of course. Losing him again would be a killer. But it’s also about the bigger question of depth. We know Lee and Guerrero, for example, will probably miss time, along with any number of other players. A week or two here and there is one thing, but a month or two is something else entirely. These Orioles don’t have much margin for error and significant injuries would change the outlook in a big way.

Reason “Why Not” Number Two: Pitching
Simply put, the young pitchers enter this season bearing a huge burden. We’re screwed if they don’t step up. My hunch is they will, but I reserve the right to enact a downward revision on my win prediction if they struggle.

So, what about you?

The comments are open for both your win total prediction and your reasons why/why not. It’s time to sign the document.

19 comments to Prediction Time: How Many Games Do the Orioles Win?

  • ballmer bruce

    My heart hopes you are right but my head says that everything will have to to exactly right for this team to exceed 76 wins.

  • Rust-Man

    We are not gonna be Leading the AL East, that’s for sure. But I am willing to put myself out there and say we WILL go over .500. Our young pitching has talent, and we have some good hitters with us. Injuries, I agree, can derail this season. Hopefully we don’t see to much fo that this year. But what Neil there said about Bucky, I mirror that statment.

  • Guy Lambert

    I think that 83 is a little high, but not unreasonable. Buck is a breathe of fresh air to the organization and there is undoubtedly a lot of firepower in the offense. I still am way to worried about the pitching, especially when you consider the opposing lineups in our division. I’m going to say we will be around .500 but slightly under, around 75-80. That having been said this is a step forward for the club and I have a feeling that this is the start of an upswing for the club.

  • neal s

    @ ballmer bruce: No doubt — we need some breaks to go our way. Hopefully we’re due in that regard.

  • Massachusett O's Fan club

    I say 86 wins. Why? Because it’s time. Injuries happen to all teams, what if Jeter or A-Rod goes down? The Yankees lose more games.
    The Orioles are due for some excitement in 2011.
    Go Birds!

  • ryan97ou

    i’m usually pretty bullish in these types of things, but i really think this spring training is going to be a microcosm of how the entire season is going to go injury wise. *KNOCKING HARD ON WOOD/STEEL/PLASTIC*

    i am going to say 76 wins as well. i seriously hope i am wrong. i will gladly eat crow. yum.

  • Rust-Man

    Crow can be pretty good if you cook it right, Ryan. :D

  • Miles

    Mike Puma, NY Mets beat writer for the NY Post, picked the O’s to finish second in the AL East and win the wild card (albeit lose the ALCS to the BoSox).

    I would take that in a heartbeat after 13 years of abject disaster.

  • Rust-Man

    @ Miles:

    As would I.

  • dan the man

    I’m sticking with my 85 win prediction. Zach Britton helps me feel more confident about that optimistic prediction – I couldn’t help but see Jon Lester when he was pitching in spring training. And the guy wasn’t even using his breaking stuff.

    I really hope Markakis gets his first All-Star appearance this year – almost hard to believe he doesn’t have that on his resume. He’s putting up better numbers than Cal Ripken at equal points in their careers.

  • Larry

    It’s awfully hard to put a number on this year. If 2 or 3 of the young pitchers fulfill their potential and the line-up can stay more or less intact, then it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Orioles are this year’s S.F. Giants, or at least hang around for most of the summer. On the other hand, if most of the young pitchers plateau or regress, and just a couple of key guys get injured (or just Roberts gets injured), then they’ll be lucky to win 72. I’ll go with 78 — and hope like hell that at the end of this year we can say that the team caught some breaks (that would be something new) and that Buck is the second coming of Earl Weaver.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    i think i speak for quite a few people when i say 40-122

  • Vlad to Meet You

    I agree with Larry for the most part. This year is a difficult one to get your head around due to the pitching being so young. My feeling is, not everybody you hope will be a winner is. So I assume of the four young guys we will have in the rotation One will be good one or two will be average and one will stink with Guthrie being Guthrie. I’m hopeful for 80 but leaning toward 76. Regardless, I’m excited that I’m not hopeful for 74 and dreading the 60′s like previous years.

  • sci

    76 wins, the main reason being the scary lack of depth at nearly every position.

    But if we stay healthy, .500 is a definite possibility, which, for me anyway, would be VERY satisfying.

    SO glad opening day is finally here! We’ll see what these young pitchers can do. There will be some hideous games, guaranteed, but I have a feeling that by the end of the year, Matusz, Arrieta, and Britton will have the rest of the league buzzing.

    I also predict that we will (wisely) trade at least Vlad and Scott, and perhaps Koji, at the deadline (assuming they’re having decent years and we’re far from the playoffs). Reimold will force the LF issue by tearing up AAA.

  • dan the man

    What, no April Fool’s post? I was looking forward to NOT being had for once this year.

  • ryan97ou

    links time:

    in the awesome category:

    “As you are no doubt aware, the Orioles of that vintage were a tough bunch of men. They drank all the liquor in America, they went decades without sleeping, they brawled against Norse gods, and they saw all of their children killed gruesomely by primitive farming equipment. All of these things are facts.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/not/index.php/whats-your-19-century-baltimore-orioles-nickname/

    and for the scorecard keepers who like good design:
    http://eephusleague.com/

  • ryan97ou

    not to keep posting links to other sites but this book they put together on the “minutia” of baseball looks pretty sweet:
    http://issuu.com/heckhouse/docs/eephusleague

  • looking4perfect

    79 wins.

    On the flip, who picked the Giants and Rangers to go to the series? Practically nobody. Maybe they take the wildcard.

    I hate predicting sports. It’s such a crapshoot. :/

  • Larry

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but whether you’re bullish or bearish on the O’s, I don’t think anyone’s prediction would be different if the O’s had finished the year 23-34, instead of an astonishing 34-23. I’m not sure why that is. Even for those of us who think the record shows that leadership makes a difference, the astonishing turnaround — against a heavy diet of AL East teams no less — is kind of hard to explain.