In the spirit of March Madness, I checked out the Vegas line for the Baltimore Orioles over/under on wins this season. Turns out Vegas has the O’s line for wins at 80.5. I would have to say I disagree with that.
Let’s start in the Orioles’ division, the American League East. Sure, it’s a tough division, but no one team really stands out from the rest. Sure, the Toronto Blue Jays can hit the crap out of the ball, but like Baltimore, their starting pitching is average, although I think Baltimore’s rotation has a slightly higher upside and the O’s bullpen is by far superior. Given that the Orioles play each team in the AL East 19 times over the course of a season, I would say they go 9-10 against the Jays since they do play 10 games on the road in Toronto this year.
The New York Yankees have a solid team but they have a lot of question marks, namely around age and injury concerns. Their starting rotation on paper is better, but Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow is hanging on by a thread and Michael Pineda usually finds his way to the disabled list at some point during the season. New York’s bullpen is actually better than Baltimore’s, but they are two of the league’s best with New York having the advantage. They do play New York on the road 10 times, but I think Baltimore can handle the Yanks this year, going 12-7 against them.
The Boston Red Sox have some good young players like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, however, they have Hanley Ramirez at first basically because he can’t play shortstop anymore and he was atrocious in left field. On top of that, he will also be on the DL at some point this year. Dustin Pedroia is aging and David Ortiz has already aged. Their rotation now boasts legit ace David Price, but after that, I’m not really impressed. Sure, Clay Buchholz has shown flashes of brilliance, but he has also been downright terrible. The Sox did add Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen, but overall Baltimore’s ‘pen is better. I would say Baltimore goes 10-9 against them this year.
The last team in the AL East would be the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays had an anemic offense in 2015 but they added Corey Dickerson who should help things out, but one player can only do so much. The Rays cannot even touch the O’s offense, but Tampa’s pitching is by far better. Chris Archer heads up a solid rotation but like most every other team that does not have the Yankees bullpen, Baltimore’s bullpen is better. I would go on to say that the O’s go 11-8 against the Rays this year.
So, just in their own division, the Orioles are looking at a record of 42-34. If we look at the rest of their schedule, they play the Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies a combined 20 times. If they play as they are capable, the Orioles should win 13 of those 20 games, bringing their record to 55-41.
They play the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, and Cleveland Indians a combined 26 times. While I think the Angels are tough, as are the Indians, I can see Baltimore going 14-12 in those games bringing their record to 69-53, which is a pretty impressive record.
Unfortunately, they also play the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals a combined total of 37 games. That’s a lot of games against a lot of good teams. I can see the O’s going 17-20 against those teams, bringing their season record to 86-73.
I think they will win more than what Vegas thinks, the bigger question is will that win total be enough to get them into the playoffs. Discuss amongst yourselves.
By Andy Mindzak