Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So ... Is This How It's Going to Be in 2007?

Nice start to the baseball season, eh?

At 1:00 yesterday the Nationals kicked off their season, and by 1:30 it was obvious they were going to lose.

The Orioles started six hours later but it took about as long of actual game time for them to look like they were out of it, except then they teased us with a big inning and a lead that lasted, oh, maybe 45 seconds including the commercial break.

Marlins 9, Nationals 2.

Twins 7, Orioles 4.

The "aces," John Patterson and Erik Bedard looked awful. Chalk it up to opening day jitters, I hope.

I still don't think the Nationals lose 100 games, despite that it seems like the media has all but guaranteed it. ESPN's Buster Olney went as far as to say the Nats could lose 130 games, which is Youppi-level ridiculous.

Here's the thing: 71-91, which the Nats were in 2006, is a bad team. REAL bad. And it's easy to say "well that's only nine losses less than 100!" But a 71-91 team is 20 games under .500, playing .438 baseball. A 100-loss team is THIRTY-EIGHT games under .500, playing .383 ball. The difference is HUGE.

Are they looking at last place in the NL East? Probably. But it won't take 100 losses to get there.

In true Orioles fashion, key injuries have shown just how unprepared this team is for success. After an offseason thinking about what depth the Orioles might have with one of Jay Payton, Aubrey Huff, Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons or Corey Patterson coming off the bench each night, two guys get hurt before opening day and whaddya know you're looking at a lineup with Paul Bako starting and Freddie Bynum pinch hitting in a key situation.

Freddie Bynum.

But it's OK because Bynum plays several positions so that makes him Brandon Fahey valuable.

What I'm most annoyed about, though, is that I went to Champps last night figuring I could catch the last half of the O's game and then watch the NCAA championship, but the O's game was nowhere to be found -- apparently there was some problem getting the channel to work. (I suspect they didn't realize that the game was locally blacked out on ESPN2 because it was on MASN, but if that's the case it's a pretty sad indictment of the state of the franchise that a sports bar in Columbia doesn't even know what channel the local team will play 162 of its 162 games on.) So the O's finally have a night opening game that I would be able to watch and I only get to see three and a half lousy innings. Aaugh.

Oh well. That's the beauty of baseball. You only have to stew on a loss for a workday and then you're greeted at home by another game! Unless you're the Cubs...

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