If you were wondering why I quit posting at the end of May, it's because I lost hope. That may happen again this year just to warn you - but there is some hope.
The starting rotation looks pretty much set, apart from the order. Kevin Millwood (13-10, 3.67 ERA) should get the call opening day followed by an undetermined sequence of Jeremy Guthrie (10-17, 5.04), Brad Bergesen (7-5, 3.43), Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.40), and Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63). Matusz is the least experienced, but he's the only lefty and may end up in the middle. Bergesen probably projects as a #4 or 5 based on his stuff, but he was the most successful last year and may be rewarded with a higher spot. Look for Guthrie to rebound some as he moves back in the rotation. Jake Arrieta and Troy Patton are closing in and may get their chance at some point this season.
The bullpen seems solid, but could use one more proven arm. New lefty Mike Gonzalez (5-4, 2.42, 10 SV) should get the closer duty, with Jim Johnson (4-6, 4.11, 10) setting him up. Koji Uehara (2-4, 4.05) could set up or act as a long reliever. Kam Mickolio (0-2, 2.63) should bring some power to the back of the bullpen as well. Cla Meredith (4-2, 3.99) is likely the last reliever with a semi-guaranteed spot. The remaining contestants include Matt Albers (3-6, 5.51)and Dennis Sarfate (0-1, 5.09), who are both on their last life with the organization. Don't forget David Hernandez (4-10, 5.42) and Jason Berken (6-12, 6.54), starters last year that will probably have to settle for relief roles this year. Several lesser known relievers will also fight for one of the final 2-3 spots.
Matt Wieters (.288, 9 HR, 43 RBI) will lead the infield from behind the plate and hopefully build on his rookie season to cement himself as a top-notch catcher. The O's will bring in several catchers to win a spot as his backup. As of right now, Garrett Atkins (.226, 9, 48) will handle first base, although Michael Aubrey (.289, 4, 14) could get the job if the O's decide to move Atkins to third. The ultimate hope is that Brandon Snyder will be ready to take over midseason. Brian Roberts (.283, 16, 79, 30 SB) of course will play second with Cesar Izturis (.256, 2, 30, 12) returning at short. Ty Wigginton (.273, 11, 41) is the only current option to play third, something the O's may change if they determine that Josh Bell will not be ready to step up later in the season. The utility spot will be between Aubrey, Rob Andino (.222, 2, 10), and Justin Turner (.167, 0, 3), although two of those players could potentially make the team.
The Orioles' strong point lies in their outfield. Nolan Reimold (.279, 15, 49), Adam Jones (.277, 19, 70, 10), and Nick Markakis (.293, 18, 101) have all but wrapped up their starting status. Felix Pie (.266, 9, 29) could push Reimold, but will likely serve as a strong 4th outfielder. Luke Scott (.258, 25, 77) will likely be the main DH and play occasionally in the field and it seems that Lou Montanez (.183, 1, 6) is once again out of luck.