SARASOTA, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are counting on manager Buck Showalter to guide them to their first winning season in 14 years.
Alas, Showalter's baseball knowledge and leadership skills can only go so far. If the Orioles are to be successful in 2011, the 54-year-old manager can't do it alone.
Baltimore attempted to its offense by adding Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy. But the key will be starting pitching and the health of the starting lineup, which also happened to be two areas of concern during spring training.
Baltimore's starting rotation begins with Jeremy Guthrie, who went 1-2 with a 6.43 in four starts this spring. Left-hander Brian Matusz has limitless potential, but he was 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in five exhibition games this month.