A year ago, the team was coming off two months of great play under Buck and the team ERA was under 4.00 in that span. All you heard all winter was about how all these pitchers have turned the corner, Matusz is on the verge of being an ace, etc. The first week of the season, it appeared it was all coming true. Optimism was at the highest point of any time since 2005.
Then the pitching fell apart. Matusz was hurt and his preparation was questioned, and he had one of the worst years a starting pitcher ever had. Arrieta was decent but got hurt. Britton was OK but not the no. 2 starter we thought he might be. Bergesen and Tillman made no progress. The back-ups all floundered.
So, it is not suprising that folks are much more pessimistic about the pitching now than they were at this time last year. But in my opinion, a lot of people are taking it too far.
Last year, the group of Britton, Tillman, Hunter, Bergesen, Arrieta and Matusz threw 555.2 IP to an ERA of 5.60. I will venture a guess that this group will be much, much better in 2012. I'd bet they'll throw 100 more innings (despite the presence of Chen and Wada) and will lower their collective ERA by a full run or more. And if I'm wrong, and they don't significantly lower their ERA, someone with a lower ERA will be taking their innings from them.
Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board