After 46 games in the books, the Baltimore Orioles are 22-24, 3.5 games back of the first place New York Yankees in the American League East.  Considering how the 2011 season has unfolded so far, I’d say that’s pretty good.

Make no mistake about it, the expectations for the Orioles this season were lofty, especially after finishing 66-96 in 2010.  My prediction was 75 wins before the Orioles signed Vladimir Guerrero, given their pace I may be just about right.

This season the Orioles have taken their lumps when it comes to injuries.  Brian Matusz, arguably the Orioles best young starting pitcher, hasn’t thrown for the Orioles through the first two months of the season, J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, Brian Roberts and Cesar Izturis have all been or are currently on the disabled list.  The Orioles bullpen has not lived up to its expectations and the power surge expected from the revamped lineup hasn’t quite taken form yet either.

Still, Baltimore manages to hang around in the toughest division in baseball.  Their manager knows his talent inside and out and gets the most out of his roster he possibly can.  Under Buck Showalter the Orioles are 56-47.  The O’s have won their last three and are 5-5 in their last ten.

The O’s have winning records against the White Sox, Tigers, Mariners, Rays and Nationals and have split with the Red Sox and Twins.  They’ve been shutout twice this season and their pitchers have thrown three shutouts of their own.  The Orioles have gone on an eight game losing streak and four game winning streak and have been five games over .500 and five games under.

In any other division in baseball, Baltimore is competing in the top three, they just happen to be in the AL East.  Given the storyline this season, you can’t be disappointed with the Orioles level of success so far.  They’re playing competitve baseball that has been a fun to watch through April and May.  Let’s keep it going…