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Atlanta Braves - Baltimore Orioles: Series Preview

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Interleague madness begins TODAY! Major league baseball is wringing their collective hands together and waiting for the ticket gates to be flooded once again -- New York plays New York, Boston at Philly, San Fran at Oakland, oh happy day!

... and the Braves get Baltimore, yay! Well, at least they are a team we can should beat. In preparation for the series, I exchanged some questions about the Orioles with Matt Sadler, the blogger over at the Orioles blog Right Off Russell. Click here for my answers to his questions.

Q.  If you had your pick, who would you choose for the Orioles and why, Tommy Hanson or Matt Wieters?

A.  I think if you look at the O's organization as a whole, Matt Wieters is probably a bit more attractive. Between Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrietta, and Troy Patton, the organization has a good bit of potentially dominating starting pitching. Wieters has already been able to work with all of them and I think he can be someone who provides the stability for a young pitching staff. Plus, I think a stud switch-hitting catcher that is producing runs is pretty sweet.

Q.  When, and what will it take, for the Orioles to be competitive in the AL East?

A.  I see the O's competing in 2011. By then the pitching staff should be shored up and they will start making some free agent investments to fill in the gaps.

Q.  Do you miss Leo Mazzone, why or why not?

A.  With the exception of Jeremy Guthrie, there has been a complete turnover in the staff. So really it has been hard to compare before and after. I don't think Mazzone was here long enough to work his magic. Fortunately, the current pitching coach, Rick Kranitz, is a stud in his own right. I do miss Leo rocking in the dugout.

Q.  Who the hell is your manager? And who are the good players on your team? Inform the NL masses of your anonymous AL squad.

A.  Manager: Dave Trembely, a hard working guy who made his way through the minor league system. He is a very low-key guy that seems to get all the respect from his players.

Good Players: Adam Jones is a stud 5-tool player who was batting .340 as of yesterday. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts comprise the cornerstone of the team. Nolon Riemold is the rookie of year candidate who has been up since early May and is providing some pop from the bottom of the lineup. From a pitching perspective, you will see three guys who began the year at AAA. They have shown moments of brilliance and then moments of disaster. At the moment this team is known more for their bats than its staff.

Q.  What is the Orioles biggest weakness? Their biggest strength?

A.  With such a young team this seems to fluctuate.

The biggest weakness I see is consistant starting pitching. Going into the season, They knew who their first two starters were going to be. Everything else was up in the air. Two-plus months into the season they have capable young arms, but the results are mixed.

The biggest strength is the youth of the team. They are fast, quick, and healthy. They rebound from tough losses, and they have moments of amazement.

Many thanks to Matt for his great answers to my questions.

For a preview of the pitching matchups in the series, visit bigjoe's series preview at Braves Heart.