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2010 Record: 66-96 (19 games behind fourth place Toronto)
It was a tale of two managers for the Orioles last season.
Under manager Dave Trembley, the Orioles went 15-39.
Under Buck Showalter, who took over as manager on August 3, they finished the season 34-23, the best record in the AL over that period of time.
The Orioles were soundly beaten by the teams in their own division. The only team they were even .500 against was Boston.
However, this is a team that is much improved from last season and has a ton of potential. Offensively, they added Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy. They are also very much in the mix for Derek Lee and, should the time come, are very capable of making a trade for Prince Fielder.
They'll need their pitching staff to continue the success it showed under Showalter. Brian Matusz was 3-11 with a 5.46 ERA before Showalter came in, but went 7-1 with a 2.18 ERA with him. Jeremy Guthrie posted a 3.07 ERA in August. Brad Bergesen posted a 2.72 ERA and a 2.84 ERA in August and September, respectively.
2011 Prediction: 81-81, fourth place in the AL East
After some debate, I decided to be bold and give the Orioles fans something to smile about. There will always be the debate of how much a manager can make a difference, but in Showalter's case, it clearly makes a huge difference.
Under Showalter, with an improved work ethic, an improved offense and a deep farm system (which helps the club because they can make deadline deals if needed), the Orioles will improve by 15 wins to finish .500 for the first time since 1997.