They were downright awful in 2010 until Buck Showalter took over, at which point they played some of the best baseball in the league down the stretch (57-34, nearly a .600 clip).
Led by Brian Matusz, who fulfilled his promise by going 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA after August 1, the O’s staff was actually decent once Buck took the reins.
Relying on them for 2011, however, is a more risky proposition.
Their Opening Day starter will probably be Jeremy Guthrie, who is the definition of inconsistent. Three months with an ERA under 4.00, three months with an ERA above (one of us which was June, where he went 0-4 with a 5.29 ERA) and a K/IP of 0.56 (meaning he strikes out a batter every other inning, on average). In mixed leagues, Guthrie shouldn’t be owned; in AL-only, he’s a decent third or fourth starter.
Their No. 2 will be Matusz, who could definitely come into his own this year. A top five overall pick in 2008, Matusz has an above-average repertoire of pitches and showed a lot of promise in 2010. If he can capitalize on his August/September, he could be very good. A decent No. 2 in AL-only, a watch-list or late round value pick in Mixed leagues.
After that, it’s a whole lot of up-in-the-air. Starters three thru five could be some combination of Justin Duchscherer, Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Ryan VandenHurk and Zach Britton. I’ll cover each of them here, in order of interesting-ness (it’s a word now).