April 2010

Take a Step Back

As I said in an earlier entry, the next few weeks may be scarce interms of my entries, and most likely will not have game summaries and info on a daily basis.  Still trying to get out a post every day or two about different topics.  Since I have baseball games myself also, I did not get to catch the first few innings of each Yankee game, so that’s another reason why I am behind.

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As for this entry.  I have a question for the O’s.  What the hell happened?  The whole Boston series, the team looked legitimate.  May have lost 2 of 3, but were in all 3 games, showed tons of patience and hitting, and kept up with positive starting pitching.  The bad part was the bullpen, specifically Albers who blew the two games we lost in that series.  The good part was that the bats were coming alive.  We were having double digit hit games, multi-hit games for a lot of guys, and the bats of Markakis and Jones looked to be coming back.

The O’s arrived back in Baltimore, and decided to just stick with the trends from the beginning of the season after beating the Yankees on Tuesday.  While Sabathia and Burnett were on top of their games, specifically Burnett who pitched his best stuff in a long time (unfortunately it had to come against us), but why did the bats just die.  At least against Sabathia we got some hits, but it just looked flat out horrible.  We lost the touch that the guys were able to find against the Red Sox on Sunday and the Yankees on Tuesday to bring guys in who were on base and not rack up the LOB statistic.  Wednesday went back to the old crap where we get hits all spread apart and not score.  Last night was just horrific.  We had 3 total hits, and the whole lineup just looked out of it, specifically Wieters.  The last two nights he has look mezmorized at the plate.  Not sure what is going on, but I am hoping Crowley can help him get back on track to hitting .300+.  He dropped below .300 last night, which is hard to see when he was one of the positive aspects of our offense before.  Wigginton continued his hitting with one hit in each of the two past games.  Who would have guessed Cesar Izturis would be our hottest bat at any time in the season.  More to come on him later.  I want to write a post about it, but might wait to see how he does vs. Lackey tonight.

 

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The bullpen went back to the ‘Opposite Day’ concept.  Here is what the stats and happenings are for the bullpen guys:

-Albers has pitched 2.1 innings (1 IP Wed. and 1.1 IP Thurs.) and in those outings only let one hit thru and got a K.  He looks to have gotten his fastball under control.  That is a good sign since he is a guy the team is hoping to build with for the future in the ‘pen.

-Castillo was brought up and had solid innings before yesterday of strikeouts and no runs.  Unfortunately for him, he was brought in to face Robbie Cano, who smacked his 2nd HR of the night off of Castillo’s low speed side arm on the 2nd pitch.

-Hendrickson and Meredith both pitched an inning on Wednesday.  The difficult part of this one is that neither looked bad.  They both looked on top of their stuff, just the Yankees lineup is overpowering and talented.  Luckily, between the 2.1 innings they pitched, they only let up 1 ER, but had 7 hits combined.  Would have been more runs but Hendrickson inherited some Guthrie allowed hits.

-Berken and Ohman came in for 9th inning pitching in the 2 games.  Berken smoothly got 2 outs, and Ohman got 3 with 2 Ks and 1 H.  Sad that they couldn’t be for saves.

 

Just looks like the pitching is going downhill.  Starters haven’t looked stellar.  Sorry to Matusz, but you threw some ugly pitches.  Overall, still looked great, but against a team like the Yankees, you can’t even give up one bad pitch without paying the price.  Guthrie just was disgusting.

 

Hopefully this weekend the O’s can rebuild on their offense and the power they have shown a little bit lately.  My hopes are for Wieters to get back with it, Jones to have a 3-3 or 4-4 night (he sincerely needs it), and Markakis keeps the slugging up.  The reason I think those things are most important are because they are the heart of the lineup and that has been troubling all season.

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Bergesen or Arrieta?

Side story to follow:  Who will fill the 5th rotation spot?  Brittany Ghiroli reports that it is most likely Bergesen, and all signs point to that.  MacPhail said to the media that nothing could be announced since a corresponding move would have to be made the day of game for that pitcher’s first start.

With only 1 ER in 25 IP this year so far, Jake Arrieta has looked stellar for AAA Norfolk.  The main issue with bringing him up is that the team does not want to go off the path of his planned out development.  The O’s did bring up Tillman quite early last year, so I see no reason why they wouldn’t surprise us with another move like that this year.  Bergesen, on the other hand, seems to be the guy they want up there now.  It is not anything against Arietta, it is just that the team wants both guys to eventually be in the rotation, and since Bergesen is the guy who is already set in a rotation spot in the future, they want him to be able to fill his role as soon as possible.  Arrieta, on the other hand, could use another month or two or brilliant starts at the minor league level in order to fully prepare him for battling the AL East, something with Bergesen already has experience with and would probably be the better option for instead of putting in the rookie for his first start against the Red Sox clutch lineup.

Bergesen did throw 7 innings of 2 hit ball for Norfolk this past Sunday, which was a positive start for him considering the way he was blown off his rocker in his first 3 starts for the O’s this year.

Other options include giving the ball to Berken or Hendrickson for the one or two time start, but I think the O’s would rather leave them in the bullpen where they have been fantastic and let the Bergesen issues work themselves out.  We will see by this weekend what Mr. MacPhail decides to do!

Alfredo: Pasta Topping or O’s Closer?

Well, the O’s certainly know which option they would pick as of now.

 

Alfredo Simon started off this season at AAA Norfolk.  That lasted a few weeks.  After having a very strong spring in Sarasota, impressing coaches all around like Trembley and Kranitz, the Orioles decided to bring him up from the minors only 3 weeks into the season.  Simon had a 1.59 ERA at Norfolk, going 1-1 in 17 IP and only 3 ER.  With a solid 14:5 K:BB ratio, Simon came to the Orioles home in Baltimore yesterday ready to play.  The stat that shows his ability to pitch an inning of strong relief is his career WHIP in the minors, 1.394. 

When Trembley asked him pre-game if he was scared, and Simon answered no, that was all Trembley needed to hear.  Or at least in his mind.  Without going in depth right here on Trembley, people question him lately, and a quick decision to throw the guy in at closer right away seems odd.  I know he is shuffling things around, but he hasn’t closed since his 2005 season with Norwich when he recorded 19 saves.

Simon had Tommy John surgery just last year, and he has recovered more than perfectly from such a procedure.  Here is the summary of the inning he pitched last night (courtesy of Yahoo! sports):

 

 Top 9th: NY Yankees

- J. Lugo at second
- A. Simon relieved J. Johnson
- C. Granderson struck out looking
- N. Swisher singled to shallow center
- N. Johnson hit for R. Winn
- N. Johnson walked, N. Swisher to second
- R. Pena ran for N. Johnson
- D. Jeter struck out swinging
- B. Gardner safe at first on shortstop C. Izturis’ fielding error, N. Swisher scored, R. Pena to third
- M. Teixeira singled to shallow right, R. Pena scored, B. Gardner to third

- A. Rodriguez grounded into fielder’s choice, M. Teixeira out at second

 

Simon topped out at 97 with his fastball.  Not just once, but consistently throwing 96 and 97 MPH heaters through the end of the inning.  That was impressive.  Although he was a starter in Norfolk, throwing mid-90s in a close situation past 20 pitches shows a true fight he had.  He ended the inning with 29 total pitches, 20 of which went for strikes.  His 2-seamer was shocking, and even moreso on replays when they tracked the motion of his 96 MPH throw that got Jeter to swing and strike out.  With 2 Ks in the inning, and what should have been 0 runs scored, Simon had a very strong outing.  Luckily, the score table counted both runs as not earned, due to Izturis’ error on Gardner’s ground ball that should have ended the inning with 2 outs.  He kept his composure strong through the third out, eventually barely made my a flip from Lugo high to Izzy.

 

0de2237a4cd58ff1274ee70609f30b4c-getty-97609186gf013_new_york_yank.jpgTrembley post-game said that he would feel 100% confident going with Simon again if his arm is feeling loose and ready to go.  It will be interesting to see how this situation pans out.  He is the most successful closer for the team so far this season, being the first to come through on his first save opportunity in the season.

Welcome Mr. Robinson!

Well, the Orioles welcomed two new things to Baltimore today.  The new Jackie Robinson #42 statue outside of the H gate will call, and a home win.  For the first time this season, the Orioles are on a winning streak!

I am beginning finals weeks (yes, 3 weeks of finals) right now in school, so the next few weeks of entries may not be as in depth as the first bunch this season.  There may be times, of course, that I have down time, and instead of studying for an exam that could get me college credits, I would spend a few hours analyzing the Baltimore Orioles.

I will start it off tonight with this.  The entry on tonight’s game will be more about some concepts and happenings that I took note of during the game.  Just as a game recap, I am providing you with the scoring summary (courtesy of Yahoo! sports):

Scoring Summary
Bot 2nd: Baltimore
- C. Izturis walked, L. Scott scored, T. Wigginton to third, N. Reimold to second
Top 3rd: NY Yankees
- B. Gardner safe at first on third baseman M. Tejada’s fielding error, N. Swisher scored
Top 4th: NY Yankees
- J. Posada homered to deep right
Bot 6th: Baltimore
- R. Hughes singled to shallow right, L. Scott scored, T. Wigginton to third
- N. Reimold singled to shallow left, T. Wigginton scored, R. Hughes to second
- C. Izturis singled to shallow left center, R. Hughes scored, L. Montanez to second
Bot 8th: Baltimore
- C. Izturis singled to shallow right, J. Lugo scored
Top 9th: NY Yankees
- B. Gardner safe at first on shortstop C. Izturis’ fielding error, N. Swisher scored, R. Pena to third
- M. Teixeira singled to shallow right, R. Pena scored, B. Gardner to third

So, thanks again, Orioles, for another last second win where you go with the “give me a heart attack” play and get men on in crunch time before closing it.  Two in a row.  Only a few more and I will start to think Sherrill is back.  I say that because while Gonzalez did get us into tough situations, at least Sherrill would finish 95% of them off.  Hence, I am okay with the O’s winning by a thread every night, as long as they still add one to the win column.

Pitching:

I have things to say about all 4 pitchers.

Just a summary:

 Baltimore
  IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
K. Millwood 5.1 5 2 2 3 4 1 1.28 3.38  
A. Castillo (W, 1-0) 1.2 1 0 0 0 3 0 0.30 0.00  
J. Johnson (H, 3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.62 6.23  
A. Simon (S, 1) 1.0 2 2 0 1 2 0 3.00 0.00

Millwood: Another tremendous night.  Proved again why he is the 1 spot in our rotation.  In times of need, he came through with big pitches to create big outs.  Still looking for a win, but then again, throwing 5.1 innings of solid baseball with really only the 1 earned run off of the Posada shot.  Props to him for keeping up the good work.

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Alberto Castillo:  Wow.  Even without the stat line above, I have been thinking ever since he was taken out about his 1.2 IP with 1 H and 3 Ks.  He looked great.  Lots of confidence, and able to really throw strikes and move the ball around the zone.  Great stuff from a guy who is fighting for a roster spot.

JJ:  Solid.  Nothing incredible, but got the job done.  Got thru the 8th with 1 hit, still would like to see more Ks out of him, but happy none the less with the job well done.  I really prefer him in that role.  Trembley, please see how successful the guy is in the 8th and just the 8th.

Alfredo Simon:  Who are you?  Well, you made a name tonight all around baseball.  Recording a save over the New York Yankees is difficult to do, let alone when it includes 2 Ks in 1 IP, and one of those Ks was of Derek Jeter.  More to come on this guy later.  In the long run, great stuff.  I was extremely impressed with the wicked 2-seamer.  I feel like that would be one of the hardest pitches to hit in baseball if he could perfect the control.  Topping out at 97 was insane to watch.

Lineup notes:

-Hughes again with an RBI single and run scored.  The dude knows what he wants and knows how to get it.

-Adam Jones, (going off of memory here) in the 6th inning, struck out after the O’s had just taken the lead.  His K ended the inning, and after his ‘too-far’ check swing, he belted the bat at the ground and chucked the helmet in front of him.  I understand his frustration.  He was supposed to be the leader of the lineup and have the year of his life.  He did come on later to hit a double.  Either way, I think Trembley has another decision to make here.  Atkins was one that Trembley decided to act on by bringing up Hughes to give Atkins some sitting time.  Jones provides such a glove (while some may argue against it, and even at times I have said how I see a lack of effort in the field, and still no one can deny that his throws have been off this year), so it is difficult to bench him.  I think a night off would do him some good though.  Hitting barely over the .200 mark is not what the team needs right now with all of this sudden firepower showing through.

-Markakis seemed to have found his bat.  He got 6 doubles on the road trip, which sounds dandy.  But when, in the bottom of the 8th, he comes up with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd, I expect RBIs.  Once again, Markakis hasn’t found the clutch side to his hitting yet.  Hopefully it’s coming, since his new found bat just seemed to arrive within the past week.

-Izturis.  Buddy.  Whoever told you it was opposite day was kidding with you, man.  You went 2-3 with 3 RBIs and a BB (which was an RBI), yet gave up the first run in the 9th on a bad hop play at short.  I know Gardner is fast, but dude, field the ball.  Unacceptable there.  I am not sure what I like more, this offensive side of Cesar, or the little Venezuelan gold glover without a bat side.  Hmm… How about mixing the two into a… wait for it… legitimate 5-tool player?  Surprise the league!  I’m all for that.

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Last bit.

Watched Trembley’s post game press conference.  I am going to now recap my personal Trembley timeline.

Before the season – trusted him and Andy 100% to do the best for the organization and its growth.

Beginning of season – felt bad for him since Gonzo was blowing up and it wasn’t his fault, especially when the organization had just paid for the dude, he couldn’t just sit Mike after 1 outing.

As of late – not so happy.  He made the mistake of using Albers in Boston the night after his loss in relief, and then blew it again.  Used JJ for too long too.  I am not liking the pitching change decisions.  Then again, I like his open outlook.

Well, this press conference hurt.  Trembley seemed like he had given up on the team.  Repeatedly, he would say things about how anyone could fill any duty and that there were no true assigned spots in the bullpen, and how the team played great tonight but still would be shuffled with.  Man, you’re burning me up inside.  I liked you, but now you have to go sound all pessimistic and act like you are just totally shut down already.  I know it has been rough, but be a professional and talk to the media like you mean it.

That’s all tonight.  Notes for tomorrow:

It’s CC vs. Guthrie.  I was thinking of saying different points about hitting CC and Guthrie being back in domination form, but then I found this:

http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20090406&content_id=4139088&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=bal

Repeat, please.  Big nights from Jones and Markakis are due, along with solid nights from Wigginton and Scott.  Everything is looking like it is falling somewhat into place, so let’s go get it done.

Sweet Caroline!

O’s
win!

That’s how we have to look at it right now.  With a very intense 10th
inning now completed, the Orioles held on and beat the Red Sox today,
7-6.  This ends their 3 game series for the weekend, and brings the birds
back home for a bit.

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It truly was a thriller.  It was a back and forth game through the end,
where luckily the O’s stopped the Sox from continuing the lead change trend.

Pitching:


Tim-e
to Wake-field up:  Well, we faced Okajima and the fiery Bard after
Wakefield left, and those guys were surprises to our hitters.  While we
did get the tying runs off of Okajima, it was a rude awakening call facing a
guy that throws higher than 85.  Wakefield surprised me today.  I
never realized how slow he was.  He didn’t break 82 on the day.  The
movement must be insane to see in person because other than the movement, there
is no reason any player shouldn’t be slugging off of him.  He pitched
great against us only letting up 2 ER in 6.2 IP with a 5:1 K:BB ratio.

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Hernandez
came out on top of his stuff basically.  Was not as good as in Spring
against the Red Sox when he shut them out in his last start with 7 Ks, but not
far off.  He hasn’t kept up with the strikeouts lately, with a 1:3 K:BB
ratio today.  Letting up some hits and not getting into batter’s minds, it
was no more than an okay performance.  On the bright side, he didn’t get
the loss, which wasn’t deserved with his good outing.  2 of his 3 ER were
because of the inherited runners that he left on which scored off of Hendrickson. 
5 full innings though of shutout baseball is a great stat to see.  He also
has stuck down on his pitches and has still not let up a HR this year, which
was his rough point last year.

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Hendrickson
and Berken each had solid stints, both letting up runs though.  Looking at
their outings, neither was off their game, but just had some bad luck with
solid Red Sox hitters making good cuts.  Trembley used Castillo for 2 outs
late in the game.  JJ came on for an extremely positive appearance, , holding
the score and forcing the game into extras by getting the Red Sox out in the 9th
despite a leadoff single by McDonald who was eventually advanced into scoring
position before the inning ended.

 

Fielding:

 

Andre
Beltran:  Yea, I know that isn’t a player’s name.  There is an Adrian
Beltre.  I remember when the Red Sox picked up Beltre in the offseason,
and I got an ESPN update text saying the Red Sox got Andre Beltran.  At
that point, I had no idea what they were talking about.   Maybe a
nobody?  Well, he’s made a name for himself today.  Just on defense,
the game started off with 2 bobbling errors on back to back Orioles hitters
grounding to 3rd (they ended up only crediting him with 1). 
Ever since those moments, he has been a gold glover at 3rd. He
has robbed Tejada of RBIs, and a bunch of other guys too.  He has been
making spectacular dives and grabs throughout the entire game.  Through 3
innings, 7 out of the 13 balls hit in the field were to Beltre.  So his
position demanded some nice plays out of him, which he definitely provided.

 

It
was interesting watching the short popups in left field today.  On the
first one, which Reimold caught, Izturis actually fell over from running into
Reimold.  After that, the three guys (Reimold, Tejada, and Izturis) all
communicated and stuck through the game with no errors.  Props to Reimold
also early in the game with a long running catch in left.  Proud he
finally held onto one of those.  I have been doubting him a lot in terms
of his abilities in LF.

 

Hitting
and the end:

 

The
O’s actually had a 1-0 lead through the 5th.  Now most people
at this time would think maybe Wigginton or Markakis had an RBI early. 
Wrong.  In the 2nd, with 1 out (a Wigginton groundout), Rhyne
Hughes stepped up and smacked a double to the left center gap.  Craig
Tatum then stepped up, and unexpectedly got an RBI single.  Props to him
for the clutch hit.

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As
the game continued, that left center gap became popular, especially balls off
the wall.  Most balls today were hit towards left, whether to the outfield
or to 3B Beltre.  No performance was too great at the plate, but the
hitting highlight of the day was that our 1-9 hitters all got at least one hit,
4 of which got 2 a piece.

 

Very
exciting stuff today.  Showed a lot of offensive firepower late which they
have been doing in this series.  It is a good sign.  Before the 8th,
the only guys with hits were the 1, 2, 8, and 9 slots (as opposed to last night
when 2-7 all had multi-hit games).  Coming up with intensity in the 10th,
here’s the overall summary of how we took a 7-4 lead:

 

-
R. Hughes singled to right, M. Tejada scored, L. Scott to third, T. Wigginton
to second
– M. Wieters singled to shallow center, L. Scott and T. Wigginton scored, R.
Hughes to second

 

The
hitting is really coming around.  14 hits as a team today, .311 as a team,
but once again with 10 LOB they are not producing as much as they could
be.  Also, the 10 Ks against us really hurt too, with 3 in a row by Bard,
striking out the side in the 9th.

 

To
me, it was sad that we couldn’t enter the bottom of the 10th and be
a quality baseball team and have a 1-2-3 inning.  Is it a requirement for
the Orioles to always worry their fans with late inning runs by the opposing
team, especially in situations of extra innings like this one?  I guess. 
But at least we held onto it.  Props to JJ for not losing his cool. 
No defensive woes, but maybe it was just that JJ should have been taken out
instead of going more.  Who knows.  Either way, we got the W.

 

After
2 losses of one run each, this win is something the team needed.  Now,
hopefully they can rest on this off day, get their gloves back together, and
bring the same stuff out against the Yankees.  It will be the top of the
rotation on Tuesday, and hopefully we can even sweep the Yankees.  They
might be doing well, but the offense we are producing may be the key to
overcoming the Yankees steroid and money driven lineup.  Hopefully, also,
we can bottle up this quality work by the bullpen today, especially JJ, so that
we won’t have to rely on a lot of work by a slumping guy like Fat Albers.
 Millwood, Guthrie, and Matusz will all hopefully keep up with their solid
seasons so far so that this lineup can come out and give the O’s some wins.

 

Could
we somehow have one of those high scoring games where you can tell by the 6th 
That’d be nice.  I hope we can find some type of game or two like
that.  Maybe even the series win over the Yankees.  Now that’d be
impressive.  Just no more of these nail-biters.  I’m running out of
nails. inning that we win and are up by 5+?

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Arrieta. When?

With this crappy pitching in relief lately, when does the front office remember that Jake Arrieta exists.  While the O’s lost in horrible fashion due to their bullpen late Saturday night, Arrieta was busy getting his 2nd win of the season with the Tides, now 2-0.  The man now has a league best 0.36 ERA, allowing only 1 run in 25 innings of work.  He struck out 11 tonight in seven inning of no run ball, and has 23 Ks on the year in his 3 starts overall.

I know he is being brought up slowly and this and that… The O’s had no problem rushing Tillman up and then later Matusz, so what’s wrong with trying Arrieta.  Maybe for that 5th rotation spot if Bergesen’s outing later today is a mess?  Or even a bullpen role so there is a guy who the team can trust on the mound late in games?

All I know is that the man looks like he is more than ready, and we are wasting our time in my opinion by sitting around now waiting for his next 7 inning 10 K 0 ER stint in the minor leagues.

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Here Comes Goodbye

To quote the song ‘Here Comes Goodbye’ by Rascal Flatts:

“Here comes the start of every sleepless night
The first of every tear
I’m gonna cry
Here comes the pain
Here comes me wishing
things had never changed”

The Orioles of recent sicken me.  The last two nights, just a bit more.  Not as much with the specifics, because the hitting has actually been at its best all season.  The problem with this is that the O’s are showing the potential, but are starting to lose games even closer now.  AT least we could blame the lineup before for losses, but now it is only the bullpen to blame for these 2 in Boston.  Those lyrics just came to me, reminding me of the last few seasons when every piece has been together in games yet we lose because of relief pitching.  I wish we would lose the other way, where I could blame the hitting.  Ugh.

There were a few story lines coming into tonight’s game:

-Matusz’ first start in Fenway
-Hughes MLB debut
-Brady Anderson with his first MASN TV broadcast

To start, I’ll address those 3 items.

Subject 1: Matusz pitched yet another gem.  In Fenway, with the horrendous record that this team has, Matusz came out of the gate on fire throwing strikes (70 strikes in 102 pitches).  He had a solid stat line of 6 IP 6 H 3 ER 4:3 K:BB.  Overall, it was a good outing for him.  Well, good in terms of his stuff, maybe not so much for his mental stability.  Then again, he is probably feeling the best emotionally out of anyone on this team except Ty Wigginton.  Matusz got the no decision unfortunately when Albers came in and gave up the lead.  Too bad, because the O’s were up 3-1 when Matusz left.

Subject 2: Rhyne Hughes got the surprising call last night in Norfolk that he would be flying up to Boston for the end of the series and was being promoted to the O’s 25 man roster.  Turner was sent down, and due to Atkins’s recent slump, Hughes got the start in his first game up at 1B.  He made no errors at the bag, and actually made a smart move after receiving a throw on a double play, running off once he caught it to act as if it was an out to hope the ump would go with it, although he didn’t.  At the plate, well, there are mixed emotions there.  On the first pitch of his first at bat in the 2nd, Hughes hit an RBI single on the ground to right field, which scored the Orioles first run of the game.  He also had a single on his second at bat with a blooper that dropped in short left.  After that, he went 0-3, including the strikeout in the top of the 9th with 2 outs and 2 men on.  Yea, he might have felt a little bit of pressure, but then again, he looked poised and unnerved, and fought hard in the at bat, only striking out after working Papelbon to a full count.

Subject 3:  Brady Anderson did a pre-game interview with Luke Scott, where he sounded very bland in my opinion asking very basic and rhetorical questions like “How does it feel to be on a hot streak?”.  Seriously, what type of unique answer were you looking for on that one?  During the game, though, his commentaries were very intellectual in terms of baseball smarts, especially his talks on Tejada’s OBP and about how the toughest pitch to decide on as a batter is a fastball in the high outside corner.

Onto the game.  The O’s looked very solid at the plate.  The bats are definitely picking up, no doubt about it.  11 men were left on base, as opposed to Boston’s 5, which is still a worry and concern for the team, not being able to get the clutch hits.  Our firepower showed again, outhitting the Red Sox 17-9, or even 12-9 if you don’t include the top of the 9th.  Montanez and Izturis failed to get hits, but the 2-8 batters all had multi-hit games.  We haven’t had more than 3 guys have multi-hit games in the same game this season, so 7 in one seems to be a pretty good stat.  Offensive standouts:

Markakis went 2-3 with 2 walks, including yet another double off the wall.  He would have been 3-3, actually, but his first hit was a screaming groundball up the middle that Pedroia made a huge dive for to make the out at 1st.

Jones had a 2-5 night with another homerun.  Glad to see he finally got a hit other than the long ball, and the hit happened to be a beauty.  He bunted a fastball down the 3rd base line.  What was so special about it was that it died in the grass about 8 feet out.  So perfectly located, Lackey and Lowell both saw Jones flying down to 1st that both just jogged over, neither tried to even charge it.

Wieters went 2-5, extending his hit streak to 7 games.  He has been a good pick for anybody recently playing MLB.com’s Beat for the Streak game.

Wigginton went 4-5 with a solo homerun.  He is still on fire.  Too bad he struck out in the 9th when we needed it most.  Perfect example of when we have hitting but not in the clutch.

Scott and Tejada went 3-5 and 2-5 respectively, coming out of their slumps a little bit with solid games.  And then a last shout out to Hughes once again on an above average 2-5 day for a first timer, with that RBI also.

It’s sad when your starting pitcher throws so well, and you have a stacked lineup for a night that hit a stellar .404 as a team on the night.  The only part that could have gone a little smoother for Matusz was the outcome of leadoff batters.  Usually, Matusz has been getting about 75% of leadoff men out.  Tonight, leadoff guys went 4-6 with a walk.  The bottom of the 7th is when he issued the leadoff walk, which was followed by a base hit, and that is when he was pulled.  Well, that’s about the only good decision Trembley made on the night in terms of pitching.

The call to the bullpen was for Albers.  Well, let me just show the pitching stats for the night:

  IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
B. Matusz 6.0 6 3 3 3 4 1 1.30 4.38  
M. Albers (L, 0-3;
BS, 1)
0.1 2 3 3 1 1 1 1.96 9.35  
K. Mickolio 0.2 1 1 1 0 1 1 2.18 7.36  
A. Castillo 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00

I don’t need to repeat the stats.  It is obvious by looking at that chart that Albers sucked.  Just flat out couldn’t get his stuff together.  The worst part of it wasn’t what he did, but the overall decision to put him in the first place.  Trembles has him in last night, where he blew the game for the O’s and got the loss.  So then why put him in again tonight with the lead on the line!?  WIth Castillo, Mickolio (both of which got to pitch after Matt), Hendrickson, Berken, Meredith, and Ohman all sitting around, why use the guy who already got the loss in the first game of the series.  I get that Berken is long relief, along with Hendrickson.  So why not go with Castillo or Mickolio then?  I just don’t get it.  I loved Trembley pre-season and since he joined the team, but since MacPhail has obviously decided that this needs to be a winning team, Trembley’s failing decisions are becoming more obvious to everybody.  Something needs to be done with him.

Otherwise, we got back to striking out some batters, which was a good note since we got 0 Ks last night.  I liked seeing the stat on TV that showed how both Matusz (T-1) and Millwood (T-5) are top 5 in strikeouts in the AL this year.  Matusz is actually top 5 in MLB overall (T-5).  No one will ever reach the likes of Lincecum.

The patience factor was good tonight, but just not as crisp as last night.  Markakis, Wieters, and Scott all got out on first pitches at one point, and I know a few others did too.  We got Lackey out of there earlier than most, but it could have been even earlier if we took some first pitches a few more times.

No main notes section.  Just this:

Can we come out tomorrow and put all the damn pieces together.  Another big hitting game.  A big start for David Hernandez.  Solid relief, using guys that aren’t named Matt Albers.  And go into the off day and then come home for 6 straight prime games with a damn win.  Thank you.

Orioles of ’09… ish

Last night, the Orioles battled out a tough 8 and a half innings with the Red Sox.  Expectedly, the final score was in Boston’s favor, 4-3.  The weird part about watching this game was how much it looked like the Orioles last season.  They stayed in the game the entire time, but the problem came down to the bullpen.  For some reason, they just did not seem like the same Orioles that we have seen through the first 16 games.  The stats are basically the same as expected except the bullpen, so I am not sure what it was.  I will bring up a few points that could have been the difference makers in the next few sections.  I decided to go about this recap in my old style of using categories.

To start it, this should give a good recap of the game:

Scoring Summary
Bot 2nd: Boston
– D. Ortiz homered to deep left center
Bot 3rd: Boston
– J.D. Drew hit sacrifice fly to left, J. Hermida scored
Bot 5th: Boston
– J. Reddick grounded into double play first to shortstop to first to second, A. Beltre scored, J. Hermida out at second
Top 7th: Baltimore
– A. Jones homered to deep left, L. Montanez scored
Top 8th: Baltimore
– L. Scott grounded out to second, J. Lugo scored, G. Atkins to second
Bot 8th: Boston
– A. Beltre walked, J.D. Drew scored, V. Martinez to third, D. Ortiz to second

Now onto specifics…

Hitting:

 Baltimore
  AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg 
L. Montanez lf 5 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 1 .235
A. Jones cf 5 1 1 2 1 0 1 0 0 .203
N. Markakis rf 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .270
M. Tejada 3b 4 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 1 .260
    J. Turner pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
T. Wigginton 2b 2 0 1 0 0 3 1 0 1 .279
M. Wieters c 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .311
    J. Lugo pr-ss 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .111
N. Reimold dh 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 .163
G. Atkins 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 9 .224
C. Izturis ss 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .222
    L. Scott ph 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .167
    C. Tatum c 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
 Totals 34 3 9 3 1 7 9 1 17

Was not horribly upset with the overall hitting.  9 hits off of Boston pitching in general is something to be proud of.  3 of those 9 were extra base hits also.  Then again, one of the hits was Markakis’ line drive in the 9th that hit the Green Monster, where he followed that up by trying to make a double out of it and Bill Hall’s perfect throw to 2nd got him out.  So really, it was 8 hits.  Either way, that is not too shabby when you look at how we have been hitting and we faced a team who was said to be a top pitching team this season all-around.

Specific guys I am either proud of or upset with.

Jones finally put his slugger style back into gear by going 1-5 with a K and a 2 RBI HR.  That stat line right there is one we could commonly see by a Ryan Howard type.  The issue is, we have Jones in the first few spots each night, which shows that we want him to be a hitter and not just a slugger.  Going 1-5 just doesn’t cut it as a hitter.  Yes, you could say that he did hit and that it was an off-night, but then you would be ignoring overall stats.  He is hitting .203 this year.  In that case, it was an average night, not an off-night.  And when your slugger/hitter/leader of the future is hitting .203 with an average night of 1-5 ball, there is absolutely nothing you could possibly be looking forward to.

Markakis had a double in the 6th, then technically a single in the 9th, making him 2-5 for the night.  Did not see his full run on the ball in the 9th, so I cannot say one way or another if he really pushed himself to 1st, but I can say that there is no disputing him going to 2nd on that hit.  99% of the time that hit is a double, it just so happened that the Orioles caught no break on Bill Hall’s throw being more than perfect to 2B.

Tejada came back from injury and with 5 days off had a 2-4 night.  He may have had some defensive woes, but those will be discussed later.  In terms of hitting, he was solid back in the 4 slot.

Wieters, now on a 6 game hitting streak, is getting hot once again.  He is hitting an above average .311, and went 2-4 on the night.  Very good to see.

Now the 2 hitting concepts that need to be addressed about this game, one positive and one negative: Patience and Garrett Atkins

Garrett Atkins:

Dude.  Really?  0-4 with 1 K and 9 LOB?!  9!!!  Dude, we can’t move on as a team.  Twice, in 2 clutch situations, you sucked.  2 times Atkins got up to bat and produced absolutely nothing with the bases loaded.  Once in the 4th, when the O’s were down 0-2 and could’ve capitalized and taken a lead, he struck out looking.  Then again, in the 6th, the O’s were wearing on Lester.  We got the bases loaded with 2 outs, and Francona brought in RHP Daniel Bard.  The Red Sox were getting ancy, only holding onto a 3-0 lead.  They were nervous about bringing the bullpen in to get out of the situation, and of course, Atkins pops out.  We should have won this game by 5+ with how our hitting was going against Lester and even later against Bard and Okajima, but of course the old fart Atkins came along and killed it.

Update on that: Since Rhyne Hughes was brought up today from AAA, he will be starting at 1st tonight.  This means Atkins is on the bench.  Thanks skip, finally a move that shows how crappy hitting will land you on the bench.

Patience:

Take. Take. Take.  The Orioles took a lot of pitches last night.  YES!!!  Finally, a fundamental aspect of the game that was lacking from the first 16 games came into play.  This is the main reason I think the game seemed so different tonight.  The unofficial time of the game was 3:35, more than a half hour over the average of the first 16 games this year.  So far, the Orioles have been playing a lot of two and a half hour games, due to swinging on first pitches and not taking time.

Well, it paid off tonight.  We got Lester out of the game in only the 6th inning, and drew 7 walks as a team on the night.  This is what helped us to get lots of situational hitting in, like the 2 times we had bases loaded.  I have never used this stat before, but finally found a time to use it:

At bats -

Boston – 26
Baltimore – 34

Besides the fact that we had 9 hits over their 6, we had 8 more at bats over them.  Now they did also draw 7 walks, but the fact that we got so many more at bats was such a positive.  That means our guys were getting on and really dealing with the situational hitting and baserunning well.  Except Atkins, of course.

Defense:

Overall, an okay night.  The Red Sox had their issues though that helped us out.  Just in the 2nd inning, with Wieters on 1st, Reimold hit a ground ball lightly up the middle.  Scutaro charged it, and with the hopes of making the play at 2nd for the fielders choice out, he tossed the ball to Pedroia.  Unknown to him was the fact that Wieters had already come safely into 2nd.  No heads-up defense there, literally.  He was looking down for the ball and at the ball the entire play.  Helped put our two men on.  Of course, with the theme of the night just starting at this point exactly, Atkins stepped up and grounded into a double play; end of the inning.  Bye, bye opportunities.

Tejada was the one that worried everybody.  He committed 2 errors on the night, both on bobbling issues when he had the ball sort of in his possession.  Hopefully it is something he will be over now and back into it tonight.  He did just come back from injury, so I cut him a little bit of slack.  Then again, if only the team had listened to me and kept him at SS all along, who knows…

Baserunning:

Solid.  Markakis had his bad luck in the 9th that I already talked about.  Basestealing was a big thing coming into this game, as I discussed in my last post.  We tried it twice.  Once, Montanez stole safely on an untimely throw by Martinez.  The second of the two times, Izturis jumped on Lester’s movement, and Lester made the throw to 1st, then Izturis was out with the corresponding throw to 2nd.

Props to Ty Wigginnton for his strategical baserunning.  In that 2nd inning talked about above, Ty was on 1st when Wieters hit a ground ball to shortstop.  Wigginton, coming into 2nd, made a high slide at Pedroia, who jumped over him and couldn’t make a clear cut throw.

Pitching:

If last season I had told you the Orioles were going into Fenway Park and Jeremy Guthrie was starting, most people’s reactions would have been, well, not so good.  Last night, Guthrie threw 6 solid innings of 5 hit ball, allowing 3 ER.  According to Trembley, only 1 run was up to Guthrie, which would be the Ortiz shot.  Other than that, the defense was just a little off on some plays, especially Tejada as I said, and Guthrie really came out with his new pitching motion and gave it to the Red Sox.

The problems came when we needed our bullpen.  We have been so impressed this season with the bullpen and its ability to get us through the middle innings with little or no hurt, but last night it looked like the ‘pen of ’09.  Here are the stats:

Baltimore
  IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
J. Guthrie 6.0 5 3 3 2 0 1 1.23 3.46  
C. Meredith 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.88 6.75  
M. Hendrickson 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.68 1.23  
M. Albers (L, 0-2) 1.1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1.68 6.48  
W. Ohman 0.0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1.59 0.00  
J. Johnson 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.41 6.35

That just doesn’t look good.  Nobody understands why Meredith came in for Beltre’s at bat, but who knows.  To sum it up, they didn’t look sharp, and not one reliever had solid control through a full at bat, hence the 5 walks in 2 innings pitched.  It ended on a walk.  The game was tied, 3-3, when JJ walked Beltre with the bases loaded, giving the winning run to the Red Sox.  The only reason I can think of for this was that the bullpen was too rested and was not ready.  Wednesday, Millwood threw the CG, and then they had the offday Thursday.  No pitcher was working on less than 2 full days of rest.

Overall, it was actually a good game for the club.  The 8th inning started the pain of the losing, especially when we had just come back to tie it in the 7th.  Hopefully, we see a ready bullpen tonight, even though now they aren’t so rested.  Then again, no pitcher other than Albers threw more than 7 pitches.  Hendrickson came in and threw 1.  Not inning; pitch.

P.S. Our starters have been top 5 all season in Ks, and the relievers haven’t been too shabby with them either.  Tonight, the strikeout total was 0.  That shows how strong-willed Boston’s bats are.

Copied from Steve Melewski’s blog on MASNsports.com, these were key
factors that lost us the game in the long run.  If you are one to see
the overall stats like me and then find lots of little things, then
this sums up the game well:

*The bullpen issued three straight walks with two outs and a man on third in the 8th.

*Miguel Tejada’s error in the 5th led to a run.

*Garrett Atkins stranded eight runners on base in his first three at bats.

*Nick Markakis singled with one out in the ninth, but got thrown out by Bill Hall in left trying for a double.

*The Orioles went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left
12 men on base. They have scored three runs or less 13 times this year
and are 0-13 in those games.

*The O’s bullpen issued a season-high five walks in two innings
Friday. The O’s pen threw a combined 41 pitches in the game, just 13
for strikes. The pen had walked a total of five batters over their
previous six games.

*On the night, O’s pitchers walked seven without a strikeout and threw 145 pitches, 73 for strikes.

Notes for tonight:

-With Lackey on the mound, we need to get to him early and often.  Keep up with the patience.  The fundamental hitting is coming around mostly and it looks good.  Keep it up.  Last night’s 3 runs scored does not reflect at all what kind of damage should have been done if it weren’t for Atkins.  I know we can’t say it would have been more, but the hitting showed the potential for a high scoring run type of night.

-Let’s see what Hughes has.  He is known to be a strikeout batter with power, so let’s see what he brings.  Hopefully the power side with a little less of the strikeout factor.

-Another solid start for Matusz is necessary.  He is now facing his first rival opponent.  He has pitched well against the Rays lineup, which is great, but with the A’s game the last one we saw of him, let’s hope he comes back out with incredible stuff against a very strong lineup.

Down By the Bay

This entry is based on the theme of the song “Down By the Bay”.  Why?  Because as the verse goes, “Back to my home, I dare not go.”  Well, this applies 100% to the Baltimore Orioles and their mindset as of now in terms of their reputation.  The song then goes on to say “For if I do, my mother will say…” and then proceeds to list a lot of questions as to odd things this supposed mother would question the narrator in the case that he would go home.  The Orioles would see just that.  If this was already next weekend, and the Red Sox were in Baltimore to play at Camden Yards, the few O’s fans in attendance would not only be questioning the team, but why they are even there.  Here are my questions that I would ask if I was the Orioles mother and they were coming home:

-What happened to the sacrifice bunt/fly?
-Can you ever hit anything more than one single per inning, if that much?
-Batters: Do you enjoy pissing off your starting pitching?
-Pitchers: Why do you put up with these guys at the plate?
-Dave Trembley: When are you submitting your application for employment back on the Enterprise?
-Is there any fight left in anybody besides the starting rotation?
-Do you even enjoy have fans at your home ballpark?
-If you answered yes to the above question, do you prefer those fans to be for the Orioles even?
-What the hell is going on!?

The funny thing is, the song starts off with the line “Down by the bay,” which is ironic since the Orioles play right downtown by the Chesapeake Bay and the Inner Harbor.  Go figure.

MLB scheduled this 16 game-in-a-row stint for the O’s, and I don’t think one person, not even a Yankees or Red Sox fan, would think that the team would sink as low as 2-14 in that span of games.  Maybe 4-12, or 5-11, but 2-14?  Really?  It’s almost difficult defensing the hope the team still has and that I have for it, but I still am with them 100% (but if they can’t win a game in Boston then it might drop to 99).

On Wednesday, the O’s faced the Mariners once again.  Millwood vs. Hernandez, the classic ace vs. ace duo.  Well, I can’t really say that one totally beat the other.  In terms of pitching at least.  Technically, the M’s won the game, 4-1.  Millwood and Hernandez each helped their teams out by letting the bullpens rest by each pitching a complete game respectively.  The stats come down to Millwood:Hernandez –

Hits – 6:9
Ks – 4:6
BBs – 3:0
ER – 4:1

So yes, Hernandez did a little better in specific stats except for overall hits.  But when you look at it from the perspective of a fan who watched the game, the stats lie.  Especially from an Orioles fan, this season seems to be full of games with spectacular starting pitching with no run support and/or bad defense that makes for the overall loss.

Side note:  The whole situation with Lugo played out in the game.  Maybe.  Lugo did not start, but instead, Justin Turner got the go-ahead at 2nd base.  The question is: why?  Was it because of Lugo’s poor effort on Tuesday with running (or in his case; jogging-ish) to 1st?  I sure hope so.  Then again, if that were to be punished, I think he would have been taken out of the game right then and there.  If you listened to Palmer and Thorne, they specifically pointed out that nothing was said to Lugo when he arrived back in the dugout after the play.  Did Trembley want to handle the situation in private?  Or was it just the usual rotation of guy sin spots due to the injuries of Roberts and at that time Tejada?  We may never know.  I wish Trembley would say that it was the 1st reason, so we know something was done.  Then again, O’s fans were sort of hoping a coach would go off on him in the dugout to prove that the team is still fighting.  Tuesday, Trembles made it look like his effort was fine and that it didn’t matter.  The world may never know.  Knowing how this season has been going, it was probably the 2nd reason, that it was just a musical chair lineup again.  Thanks, Dave, this really is working out, can’t ya tell?

Real quick other tangent here:  Adam Jones hurt his hand when he stumble coming from the on-deck circle at one point.  His hand hit the bat, and from that point on, was shown playing with it and looked in a bit of pain from the views I saw.  He claims he is fine, but wouldn’t that just be the Orioles luck if he starts having hand issues for an injury sustained before even getting into the batters box?  Will update on that when the news is available to me.

Back to the pitching issue: The 4 runs surrendered by Millwood come down to Justin Turner.  With a man on first, Tuiasosopo of the Mariners hit a ground ball up the middle.  Turner ran over to get it, flipped it to Cesar, but the man (Kotchman) was called safe on the play.  Was it Turner’s fault for being slow on the play and not making a precise flip?  A lot of people think so.  In which case, Lugo may have been able to get that defensive play down pat, and then Izzy would have been able to turn two, therefore inning over.  It didn’t work like that, and it turned out that that was the spark the Mariner’s needed to get Jack Wilson up to the plate.  Being the RBI machine that he is (as of last night, but never before last night), Wilson smacked a double to the right-center gap and cleared the bases in a loaded scenario.  4-1 M’s.

Not gonna lie.  Being up the past few nights for all of these west coast games, I was dead tired (literally and also figuratively in terms of these Orioles games).  I fell asleep in the 6th inning.  Glad I missed nothing except for a few innings of bad hitting and solid pitching by both sides.

Nothing important past that in the game (except Jones’ fluke injury).

Orioles lose.

5th series in a row lost.  3rd sweep.  2-14 overall.

I could say that this off day couldn’t have come at a better time.  I would be lying.  It would have been much better off coming last Monday, right after the O’s brought their lack of offense home to Baltimore and put on a display of sucky baseball to get swept in their home opening series.

Here comes Boston.  Well, here we go to them.  The Orioles play a classic, 3 game series vs. the Red Sox this weekend.

Here are the probables:

Fri at 7:10 – Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 3.15) vs. Jon Lester (0-2, 8.44)
Sat at 7:10 – Brian Matusz (2-0, 4.34) vs. John Lackey (1-1, 5.62)
Sun at 1:35 – David Hernandez (0-3, 4.67) vs. Tim Wakefield (0-1, 6.38)

The Orioles not only get Miguel Tejada back, but go into this weekend with more hope than one could ever imagine they would have going into a weekend series in Boston after just being swept by a middle-end team. 

Starting with pitching here.  The Red Sox starting staff has a 5.63 ERA on the season.  Bad, right?  Well, even with Bergesen and his disgraceful outings, the O’s rotation still boasts an ERA of 4.74.  Without Bergy, it’s 3.81!  Not too shabby for a team that has always lacked pitching as compared to one where people speculated that their rotation could match up with and maybe be better than the Yankees all-star studded staff.  If you asked any MLB follower about each pitching matchup for this weekend and who they thought was better and would have a better outcome, any and all of those responses would be a sweep of the three Red Sox names.  Surprisingly enough, the O’s are not only still in the top 5 for most Ks by starting pitchers, but each individual pitcher’s ERA is lower on the Orioles than on the Red Sox.  The most surprising, of course, is Matusz vs. Lackey, where Matusz has an ERA over a full point lower plus the better record.

Yea, we know the Orioles can’t hit.  With a .225 team average, there is nothing to show off there.  But, there is a bright side to facing the Red Sox.  They are only hitting .252 as a team.  Some of their key contributors last season and expected to continue this season:

Kevin Youkilis – .250  9Ks
Victor Martinez – .250
David Ortiz – .146  14Ks

Ellsbury was hitting .333, but he is on the DL now.  So look at it this way, it could just end up being another boring, low-scoring series.  That has been the trend for the O’s this year.  Let up only a few runs, but make sure to score even less.

Baserunning has become an issue for the Orioles.  Whether there are issues regarding hustling or errors in general, the mess-ups and bad calls will always be there.  What I fail to understand is this:

Markakis – 15H, 9 singles, 1 steal attempt
Jones – 14H, 9 singles, 1 steal attempt

Even a guy like Lugo:

3H, 3 singles, 0 steal attempts

What is more acceptable is Izturis:

10H, 8 singles, 2 steal attempts

What we are really missing:

Roberts – 2H, 1 single, 2 steal attempts

As shown above, the speedy guys we have have gotten opportunities to show off their jets.  Yes, there may have been times where the guy after them is hitting 2010 Orioles style and pops out on the first pitch, but I have seen many times still where a steal could work.  Yet, no results.  Did we decide that since our averages suck with RISP, we will just keep our few baerunners at 1st so that they aren’t falling into that category.  Or is it that Trembley, and even more so Samuel and Shelby, have forgotten what the classic hit-and-run play is?

The Red Sox are the perfect team to play right now in baseball if we want to start stealing some baseball.  Thanks to my handy-dandy statistics provider, baseball-reference.com, I would like to send a report to those coaches with the following catcher defensive stats:

Jason Varitek:  11 stolen bases, 0 caught stealing
Victor Martinez:   23 stolen bases, 1 caught stealing

Yes, I am willing to take an out if it means getting 34 stolen bases before that out or around it.  With that statistic, we should even have Garrett Atkins steal, and I get mad at him every game for being a slow old guy who needs a walker (yes, maybe it was just my anger that he couldn’t run out to catch foul balls at the Oakland Coliseum where there’s about an acre of land in foul territory to his side).

Let’s go into Boston, get some extra-base hits, keep up the pitching, and bring it home with some wins.  Please?

Run, Nolan, Run!

The Baltimore Orioles have the biggest list of problems that they have seen in years at the plate.  Yes, I just said that.  I’m not surprised by that statement because of its intention, but because of the ending.  Within the last 10 years of Orioles baseball, the key issue has always been pitching.  For once, the starting pitching (minus Bergesen) has been more than solid than ever.  Our overall pitching staff is currently in 3rd in overall Ks (114).

 

Now for the problem.  Yea, we can’t hit, but if you look at the overall outlook on the team this year, a common note people make is how we keep losing in one run games.  One run.  That’s it.  First, since our hitting is horrible and can’t rack up runs, yet we can still lose so close in games, obviously means our pitchers are doing their job by keeping the opposing lineups to a lull.  How the Orioles have truly lost games?  Not hitting necessarily.  Just the freaking fundamentals could be it.

Just last night, we saw Julio Lugo ground a ball to the shortstop.  The actions that followed made any Orioles fan watching almost want to chuck their remote at their television.  Lugo proceeded to drop his bat and, in a very cautious manner, jog down the line towards 1st as the Mariners made the easy 6-3 groundout play.  There are so many problems with that:

1) Dude, you are being paid lots of money to play baseball.  If you can’t get a hit, at least run it out.  Will it hurt you that much?

2) Lugo is a veteran.  He has played through the Red Sox World Series run, along with being a teammate to Albert Pujols last year.  He has seen greatness.  The man is a role model to these young guys.  I know if I was Justin Turner and I was called up to play on the same team as Julio Lugo, I would intently watch how the guy fields and plays the game.  While Turner most likely won’t literally take Lugo’s actions into account to affect his own (aka Turner won’t stop putting effort in), it just looks bad.

3) You’re team sucks right now and all you can do is show your total lack of hope too?  C’mon man.  That’s a true C’mon man moment.

 

Roberts was known as the lagging guy in terms of running out ground balls the last few seasons.  With him out of the lineup on the DL, does Lugo feel like there needs to be someone who makes the team look crappier than they already are.  I mean, it’s not like they aren’t already 9 games back in the division only 15 games into the season.

I also feel like I have to quickly talk about Adam Jones here.  Jones just looks bad.  At the plate, he is hitting .215 and just doesn’t seem interested in being a team player.  He has 4 multi-hit games, but other than really a few solid games, he really hasn’t produced.  He hit a homerun on Opening Day in Tampa, which made him into this automatic Godsend it seemed, but people need to see that he really is having no positive impact on our lineup.  Batting leadoff in Seattle, he has gone 0-8 with two strikeouts in the first two games of the series so far.  As for his play in the field, people also have assumptions about him that need to stop.  Nobody watches too closely, but Mr. All Star and Gold Glover has mad multiple fundamental errors.  He has been off the line on a lot of his throws to the infield.  He is not running out balls that are going deep to the wall.  It seems like if he doesn’t believe he will make a grand catch of the ball, then why try to rush the play along.  Not to mention, of course, the ball he lost in the sun in Oakland on Sunday.  C’mon man.

 

Lastly, I have to explain the title of this entry.  Nolan Reimold, even coming back from injury in Spring Training (the injury was in HIS LEG), runs out every ground ball.  He has actually been called safe on a few close ones that were hit down to 3B, but the effort has put him on base.  Even last night, Wieters ran out a ground ball that ended up being misplayed by the 1B and bobbled.  Wieters was safe, and therefore got to be a baserunner.  Lugo, I guess, just isn’t interested.  Reimold, on the other hand, has more fight in his running than most players in Major League Baseball.

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