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American League capsules
Question of the Day
2010: 66-96, last place.
Manager: Buck Showalter (1st full season).
Projected Lineup: 2B Brian Roberts (.278, 4, 15 in 59 games), RF Nick Markakis (.297, 12, 60, .436 slugging), 1B Derrek Lee (.260, 19, 80 with Cubs and Atlanta), DH Vladimir Guerrero (.300, 29, 115 with Texas), LF Luke Scott (.284, 27, 82), CF Adam Jones (.284, 19, 69), 3B Mark Reynolds (.198, 32, 85, 211 Ks with Arizona), C Matt Wieters (.249, 11, 55), SS J.J. Hardy (.268, 6, 38 with Minnesota).
Rotation: RH Jeremy Guthrie (11-14, 3.83, 32 starts), LH Brian Matusz (10-12, 4.30, 143 Ks), RH Brad Bergesen (8-12, 4.98), RH Jake Arrieta (6-6, 4.66), RH Justin Duchscherer (2-1, 2.89 in 5 starts with Oakland).
Key Relievers: RH Kevin Gregg (2-6, 3.51, 37 saves in 43 chances with Toronto), RH Koji Uehara (1-2, 2.86, 13 saves in 15 chances), RH Jim Johnson (1-1, 3.42), RH Jeremy Accardo (0-1, 8.10 in five games with Toronto), LH Mike Gonzalez (1-3, 4.01), RH Jason Berken (3-3, 3.03).
Hot Spots: Starting rotation, 3B. Beyond opening-day starter Guthrie, who went 11-14 last year, the Orioles‘ rotation consists of three pitchers with a combined 4 1/2 years of experience and the oft-injured Duchscherer, whose nagging hip problems have been an issue during spring training. If Baltimore needs its offense to win, Reynolds has the power to provide the necessary home runs. But he could be a rally killer if he can’t cut down his strikeouts (211 last year) and raise his batting average (.198).
Outlook: The Orioles went on a spending spree during the offseason, breaking the budget to vastly improved their starting lineup. The signing of free agents Lee and Guerrero, along with trades that landed Hardy and Reynolds, should boost an offense that severely lacked power in 2010. Baltimore had a winning record after Showalter took over as manager in August, providing hope for a carry-over that will enable the Orioles to break their string of 13 straight losing seasons. For that to happen, a young starting rotation will have to mature under fire in the talent-laden AL East.
2010: 94-68, first place, lost in first round.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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