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?

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