The MLB season is not even a week old and already there is one team that is shocking fans and players around the league – the Baltimore Orioles. That's right, you read that correctly, the Orioles are 4-0 and sitting atop not only the league but also the league's toughest division, the American League East. The start is the team's best since 1997.
After sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa over the weekend, the Orioles came home and disposed of the Detroit Tigers by a score of 5-1 in front of a nearly sold out crowd of 46,593. The Orioles have not yet trailed, haven't given up more than one run in a contest and have managed to outscore their opponents 17-4.
With all the hype this off season about the personnel the Orioles and manager Buck Showalter have brought in, it has been the longest tenured Oriole, leadoff batter Brian Roberts, who has been their most productive bat. Roberts already has eight RBIs to accompany his two home runs. This is nothing to laugh at as the Rays have one of the better pitching staffs in the American League. Since 2001, when he debuted for the Orioles, Roberts has been to two All-Star games, battled several injuries but the biggest thing?
He has never been part of a winner.
“Robby seems to have been able to dial up what was needed, whether it be a stolen base, a walk, whatever,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He's got a feel for being able to challenge the moment. He's really had some big hits for us early in the year.”
Showalter joined the organization last year, after interim manager Juan Samuel was demoted and helped the team finish the season 34-23 while in charge. He also had a big part in helping the team acquire Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerreo and J.J. Hardy, who hope they can help the Orioles avoid their 14th losing season.
There is still plenty of baseball left to be played and who knows how long the Orioles will be able to keep up their play but with a coach like Showalter at the helm, this team might just be a couple of seasons away from having a real contender.
We just might be seeing this year's version of the 2008 Rays, only time will tell.
Photo Courtesy of: AP Images