Carroll County Times

Orioles Faceoff: Relax, the Orioles are going to be fine

Unless you're the 1984 Detroit Tigers, seasons are not usually won in April.

And the Orioles have one successful month in the books, with a 16-11 record through April. Pitching woes have cropped up, but five games over .500 seems like a good way to get the season going.

Remember last year's "Orioles Magic" rebirth season? Baltimore went 14-9 in April on its way to making the playoffs. Now, the postseason is far off on the baseball calendar. But if anybody thinks it's time to panic, take a deep breath.

May began with some success, too, in the midst of the team's longest road trip of the year. And to the West Coast, no less, with no days off.

Sure, the Red Sox were the first AL East team to 20 wins, in a somewhat surprising start. But guess what? The Orioles were three games behind Boston in the win column going into Friday's game against the Angels.

They're winning games just like they did a year ago despite a 4-5 record in one-run games (as of Thursday). They're 9-6 against divisional rivals with home series against Tampa Bay and New York on the horizon.

Establishing a good base can take a team far. A few wins less last April took the Orioles to the playoffs.

Once the division races start taking shape in July, fans can officially begin to either eye up wild-card standings or break down NFL training camp position battles.

It's hard to believe Baltimore won't be in the thick of something. The Birds' bullpen is too tough (100-plus wins in a row when leading after seven innings), and if any of the struggling starters finds his rhythm the Orioles can boast a solid front end of their rotation.

Oh, and let's not forget Chris Davis, April's AL Player of the Month. And while the Orioles' designated hitter stats leave something to be desired, consider this: three players in the league are "qualified" full-time DHs.

Let's take a took at them before Friday night's games - Kansas City's Billy Butler (79 at-bats) was batting .278 with three home runs and 16 RBIs, Detroit's Victor Martinez (103) was at .214, and Chicago's Adam Dunn was hitting .174 with six homers and 35 strikeouts.