What a difference a year makes

It feels like it’s been an up and down start of the season for the Orioles, but upon further look, it’s been a great start – when compared to last season.  Let’s take a look at where the team was on May 1st, 2010:

The O’s were 6-18 and were in last place – already 11 games behind the division-leading Tampa Rays (who got off to a blazing 17-7 start)

This May 1st, the Orioles are 13-13 in 3rd place and only 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees (who are 16-9).

Obviously, as a team trying to stay competitive this season, we are doing a lot better. The intersting part is when you look at the team statistics, there isn’t a huge difference between April 2010 and April 2011.

Batting average and slugging percentage are almost the same this April as they were last April (BA .234  SLG  .376   2011 vs. BA .242  SLG  .373  2010). The runs and homers are definitely up (104 runs,  27 homeruns 2011 vs. 75 runs,  19 homeruns 2010). 

Pitching team earned-run average (ERA) this April was 4.47  (compared to 4.62 in April 2010).

So, why the big turnaround in 2011?  Well, I think the biggest reason is the performance of the starting pitchers. Day versus night.

Through 5-1-2010:

Starter W-L ERA
Millwood 0-3 3.38
Matusz 2-1 4.40
Hernandez 0-3 4.55
Guthrie 0-3 4.70
Bergensen 0-2 12.19

 Through 5-1-2011:

Starter W-L ERA
Guthrie 1-3 2.53
Britton 5-1 2.63
Arrieta 3-1 5.01
Tillman 1-2 5.25
Bergensen 0-3 4.76

Starters in 2010 had only 2 wins. Starters in 2011 have 10 wins. With Millwood and Hernandez no longer with the team, Britton and Arrieta have stepped up. The Orioles young guns  – who were the big question mark this season – are starting strong. And soon Matusz will be off the DL, so things should only get better.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to May.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles BirdsWatcher Brad Bergesen Brian Matusz Chris Tillman Zach Britton

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