Opening the season

It’s always interesting to read season previews, particularly those on a national scale, to see what they think of the Orioles.

*USA Today’s preview has manager Buck Showalter working his magic as the main question (which is pretty common) but the “scout’s take” section was interesting, particularly this snippet..

“…it’s not Miguel Tejada at third. It’s not Ty Wigginton at first. That’s going to make a huge difference for the pitchers. Especially Derrek Lee at first. Reynolds has a real nice arm at third. RF Nick Markakis looks like he can just go play and not worry about being “the man.” He’s going to benefit because nobody wants to pitch to Vladimir Guerrero. Adam Jones is more than just tools this year. I hear him say all the right things about playing the right way, but he’s backing it up on the field. Showalter really seems to have gotten to him.”

*Sports Illustrated tabs Showalter as the “X-factor” in their preview and of their three big questions the third one –which talks about the Os cashing in at the Trade Deadline — stuck out …

“Finally, with veterans such as Guerrero, Lee, and Uehara signed to one-year deals without no-trade clauses, and Hardy, outfielder Luke Scott, and lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez also due to become free agents after the season, the Orioles have a lot to offer contending clubs looking to fill holes at the deadline. For a team trying to go from rebuilding to winning, there’s an opportunity there to add a key piece or two to aid in that transition

*ESPN predicts a 77-win season for the Orioles in their preview and labels Zach Britton as the “X-factor” who could help push the team to .500. It also spotlights parts of the O’s schedule (below)…

“Toughest month: Sept. (.561). Division rivals make this worst month for any team. Easiest month: June (.487). To reach .500, they must beat up on Bucs and Nats.”

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