Know Your Opponent: Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles. A once-proud franchise that was a powerhouse in mid-sixties and early seventies, they've fallen on hard times and bad management. Growing up, the only reason to root for the Orioles was Cal Ripken, Jr. That, folks, is changing.

The birds still need a lot of help on the pitching end of things, but they have an extremely underrated line-up with a lot of young talent. NIck Markakis and youngster Adam Jones are going to fixtures in Camden Yards for a long time to come. They, along with Aubrey Huff and Brian Roberts have proven to be a formidible challenge for opposing pitchers this season. The Orioles should score a lot of runs this season.

Mark Hendrickson, Jeremie Guthrie, Alfredo Simon, Koji Uehara, Adam Eaton. This is not a rotation that's going to help the birds win. The Orioles really need to secure some pitching talent in order to compete in the AL East.

Baltimore's bullpen can be shaky at times, but I'm a believer in Chris Ray and George Sherrill over the long term.

So how do the Red Sox' chances look for the upcoming series? It's hard to say. Our own pitching staff is wounded and depleted and the O's have a hot line-up. I'm glad that the Olde Towne Team got a day off and is returning home to the Friendly Fenway. With any luck, that'll get the bats going again.

Strengths

The Orioles have a formidable line-up that shouldn't be underestimated. They hit for decent power and run the bases very well. Keep an eye on Adam Jones this season, and you could see numbers very similar to Shane Victorino in Philadelphia. Markakis is a special player.

Weaknesses

You can never have too much pitching, and the Orioles have virtually nothing to begin with.

The Orioles' Keys to 2009 Success

Frankly, I don't think the Orioles stand a chance of doing very well in 2009. They have a good line-up, but it's not as strong as the Red Sox or Yankees in years past to mash without decent pitching to back it up. The Orioles future is looking brighter, but they need to groom and spend wisely on top-shelf pitching.

How the Red Sox can beat them

Shell the Orioles' starters and wear out the bullpen. The Orioles can beat anyone on a given day, but they can't match up in a long series.

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For more in-depth Orioles coverage, check out Camden Chat.

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