One area the O's would love a repeat of 2023 - how well the year started

The Orioles would certainly love to duplicate a few things this season from last season. They’d love to win 101 games again. They would love to win the AL East and make the playoffs again.

And, to that end, they would love to do another thing the 2023 Orioles did – get off to a fast start that set a great tone for the 162-game grind.

The Tampa Bay Rays got off to an even better start, but the Orioles could have been buried but by starting 22-10 they held their own early on.

At that point on May 5, 2023, they were playing .688 ball with the second-best record in the majors. Behind only the 27-6 (.818) Rays. Tampa Bay’s amazing start put them eight games ahead of Toronto and 10 games up on New York on May 5. But just 4.5 games up on Baltimore.

The Orioles took advantage of a schedule that was less challenging early on to establish they could be very good, and they went on to be very good for the full season.

They were 19-9 by the end of last April and were heating up. When they took two of three from Kansas City in early May, they had won seven consecutive series.

And of those first 28 games, just six were against teams that would finish with a winning record and just three were against a ’23 playoff team and they won two of those three games in April at Texas.

The schedule gave them a chance to start the season well and they did.

On paper, the 2024 schedule looks a bit tougher than last year but not decidedly so. The Orioles have 36 games through May 8 and will play 12 series by then – eight versus teams that had losing records last year. Of the 36 games, 23 will be versus losing teams from last season and 13 against winning teams. But of those 13, seven are versus the Yankees and Reds, who were barely winning teams in 2023.

Of the 36 games, just six will be against 2023 playoff clubs with three at home against Milwaukee and three at home against Minnesota.

The first 12 games of the season will be against losing record clubs with three each against the Angels (.451-win percentage last year), Royals (.346), Pirates (.469) and Red Sox (.481).

Last season the schedule was much tougher in May. But by then the Orioles got rolling, gained confidence and proved that the previous year was not a fluke. They were ready for a tougher schedule at that point and handled it well.

So as the Orioles look to do some special things that the club did a year ago, they could take steps in that direction by doing what that team did – get off to a strong start.  

A look at the club's first 36 games through May 8:

* 3 vs. Los Angeles Angels
* 3 vs. Kansas City
* 3 at Pittsburgh
* 3 at Boston
* 3 vs. Milwaukee
* 3 vs. Minnesota
* 3 at Kansas City
* 3 at Los Angeles Angels
* 3 vs Oakland
* 4 vs. NY Yankees
* 3 at Cincinnati
* 2 at Washington

The Orioles will play 19 of the 36 games at home and just seven versus an AL East team. 

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