The big lead

If you recall, there was some preseason concern about how front-loaded the Orioles schedule was with divisional games. Fifteen of their first 21 games on the regular season schedule were against AL East rivals, which was unusual even in the new age of the unbalanced, interleague intensive schedule, so an early funk could have made it hard to double down on last year's success and dampened rebounding fan enthusiasm. Instead, the Orioles won four of those five divisional series and went 9-6 in those 15 games, even though they did not get enough innings out of the starting rotation. That's a great sign, though the 11-game West Coast road trip that starts tonight in Oakland is just another tough early test.

( Patrick Smith / Getty Images / April 24, 2013 )

If you recall, there was some preseason concern about how front-loaded the Orioles schedule was with divisional games. Fifteen of their first 21 games on the regular season schedule were against AL East rivals, which was unusual even in the new age of the unbalanced, interleague intensive schedule, so an early funk could have made it hard to double down on last year's success and dampened rebounding fan enthusiasm. Instead, the Orioles won four of those five divisional series and went 9-6 in those 15 games, even though they did not get enough innings out of the starting rotation. That's a great sign, though the 11-game West Coast road trip that starts tonight in Oakland is just another tough early test.

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