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Orioles Glimpse Into the Future

Last night Brian Matusz became the fifth Orioles starter this year to win his major league debut, a feat that has not been accomplished since 1888. Koji Uehara, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken and David Hernandez round out the five with Chris Tillman serving as the only rookie to not win his debut this year (he has collected two no-decisions). Further, Uehara is the only member of the group over the age of 25, as he turned 34 in April.

So what does this all mean? Well, it might just mean that Baltimore fans actually have a tangible hope for the future. The Orioles certainly seem to be well on their way to their 12th straight losing season but with a solid core of young starting pitching, the future may be a Timbuk3-type of bright.

Of all the young arms, or as Manager Dave Trembley once termed them, "The Cavalry," only Jason Berken has truly struggled at the major league level as he is 1-9 and still in search of his second major league win. The key for any pitching staff is health and the Orioles have been tremendously lucky in that regard with this crop (yes, Bergesen is injured but the fact that he only has a bruised leg and not a broken one, is still somewhat lucky).

Of course, if Tillman falls down a set of stairs in the dugout, I'll be blamed for jinxing the team, however the Orioles have more than just a stockpile of strong young arms.

Of course, if Tillman falls down a set of stairs in the dugout, I'll be blamed for jinxing the team, however the Orioles have more than just a stockpile of strong young arms.

Better still for O's fans is the fact that, in addition to Matusz, last night's lineup featured four other players who are 25 or younger in Nolan Reimold, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones (who batted cleanup for the first time in his career) and Matt Wieters. In last night's win everyone except Jones produced (he's was the team's lone all-star so we'll cut him some slack). Reimold worked two walks and scored a run, Wieters had a hit and drove in a run and Markakis tallied three hits and three RBI.

It has to be an unusual feeling for Orioles fans, as after over a decade of disgrace the team may actually be rounding the corner. In the past that future has hinged upon guys like Jeffrey Hammonds, Matt Riley, Daniel Cabrera, Hayden Penn and Adam Loewen, none of who are still with the organization. But so far all of the young players have shown promise and provided reason for their lofty expectations.

So take heart Baltimore fans, the team will continue to take its lumps this season but the not too distant future offers a return to respectability.

By CJ Holley  |  August 5, 2009; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  Orioles  | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, adam jones, brad bergesen, brian matusz, chris tillman, matt wieters, nick markakis, nolan reimold  
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