O's will count on stronger Cabrera: Right-hander set to make season debut on Wednesday (www.theorioles.com)
Daniel Cabrera, winner of 12 games in his rookie year and a runner up for the ROY award, takes the hill for the first time this season a totally different pitcher then last year. Cabrera shows up at camp with 20 pounds of muscle added to him and a fastball that topped out at 98 MPH, 5 MPH faster then last year. Add a newly found changup to that and you have the makings of a 15 game winner on your hands.
2 Years ago, Rodrigo Lopez won 15 games for the Orioles in his rookie year and in the time span of 2002-2004, pitched to a record of 36 - 28. Those are pretty good numbers considering spend a chunk of time in the bullpen. It is natural to comapre the two pitchers. Young and talented, they now form the 1-2 rotational punch with the most promise in recent history.
Cabrera is still not a fully proven arm. He struggled mightly the last half of the season, albeit the first season in the bigs. Hiw Whip and k/rate were pretty miserable but he still finished with a winning record at 12-8. He has now had a year and a half to work with his mentor Ray Miller and has drastically improved on his changeup and been able to not only throw it for strikes this spring, but that ever crucial third strike as well. Any way you look at it, a fastball of 97 MPH and a nice new changeup that batters have not seen before from Daniel spell success for him this year.
Health has been an issue for the Orioles young arms the last 7 years or so. This rotation looks to be one of the healthiest in years and under the guidance of the greatest pitching coach in the majors today, knock on wood, should be able to fend off those lineups that used to instill fear in the hearts of our pitchers.
With a powerfull lineup able to produce from topto bottom , our young pitchers will have just that much more confidence to get the job done. The attitude of "give us 4 runs and we will do the rest" should be the mantra of the Orioles rotation this year. The fans just want something to get excited about. Well folks, you ask and you shall receive!