The Baltimore Orioles have made serious strides in recent years — after a stretch that saw them post 14 consecutive losing seasons prior to 2012 — and are now coming off a campaign that saw them reach the postseason for the second time in three years. This time around, however, they narrowly missed out on representing the American League in the World Series, after anticlimactically getting swept in the ALCS by the Royals.
Now, they’ll enter 2015 looking to finally take that next step forward and reach the World Series for the first time since 1983. Their newest quest begins by opening up the season against their AL East rival, the Toronto Blue Jays, with Baltimore Orioles tickets for the first encounter averaging around $338 on Razorgator.com, which goes to show how far Oriole baseball has come over the past several years since Buck Showalter took over as manager. The get-in price is set at $181.
Baltimore’s Opening Day roster looks like it’ll feature most of the same faces as the group that closed out last season, which is probably for the better, given how close they came to making it all the way. It’s also smart because the roster they fell with was also missing some key players that were out with lengthy injuries, who will now be back at the start of the season. One, Manny Machado, looks like he can be the cornerstone of the franchise for a long time, having already shown all the tools to accomplish this. Another, Matt Wieters, also missed a lot of time last year but will be back and ready to reassume his role as the franchise catcher. Combined with stalwarts Adam Jones and Chris Davis, this is still an offense that can slug.
The Orioles’ pitching also appears to be in pretty good shape, consisting of the same starters as last year. It was a pretty good group that managed to stay healthy, comprised of consistent starters who were able to eat up quality innings on a regular basis. Bud Norris, in particular, might have the highest ceiling of the bunch, as he sets for his third year with the club, while Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, and Wei-Yin Chen can also be effective.
The rival they’ll be facing to start 2015, the Blue Jays, also endured notable injuries that may have derailed them from much further success, especially since it was Toronto who had a first place lead in the division throughout the summer months last year. They still possess one of the more potent lineups in all of baseball, anchored by the powerful presence of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, with talented speedy shortstop Jose Reyes leading things off. Their pitching is similar to Baltimore’s, too, with not many big names, but certainly guys that have high ceilings, like R.A. Dickey and Marcus Stroman. It should make for an intriguing opening series that could foreshadow what’s to unfold during the ’15 campaign.