June 2010

NEW WEBSITE!!!

WEBSITE HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN LAUNCHED!!!

CHECK IT OUT!!!

2131andbeyond.com

Will be posting there from now on, with so much more to come than what I ever got to on this blog.  Thanks for following and keep checking there for more great stuff!!!

Emotions Flying High in The Bronx

Today has been an emotional day.  Didn’t sleep much after working on my website
a lot last night.  Today, came home from
working to watch the 1 o clock O’s game, only to find out a bunch of things.  The umps are being paid off, every single Yankee
hitter takes steroids, and word is th
at (reported/speculated by The Sun and Brittany Ghiroli of Orioles.com) Trembley managed his last game today most likely.

 

The recurring happening of today was
home plate umpire Mike DiMuro giving the Orioles the worst calls in the world
while expanding CC Sabathia’s strike zone to be almost as wide as the Yankee ace
himself.

 

Bottom of the 1st,
Millwood issued a walk right away to Jeter. 
Swisher followed that up with a single. 
Jeter proceeded to steal 3rd, realizing that Millwood was not
consistently checking back to 2nd to see him there.  Tatum made the throw to 3rd to try
and pick off Jeter, but with the perfectly located throw for the tag, Tejada
overran the bag after catching the ball running in to get it and just kept
going.  Stellar defense, right?  Then, the first obvious bad call on the day came
when Millwood went into his windup to throw and his spike got stuck in the
dirt, so he proceeded to stumble forward, still releasing the ball towards home
plate.  2nd base umpire Jim Reynolds
came in a bit delayed with a balk call. 
C’mon man.  The inning ended after
Teixeira struck out, A-roids hit a fly ball (advancing Swisher to 3rd),
Cano hit a double over Jones head is left center, and Posada finally struck out
to end the inning

 

The top of the 2nd really
started the frustrations with DiMuro. 
While Millwood usually gets high in the zone fastball strikes, but wasn’t
getting anything today, Sabathia came out throwing pitches even more out of the
zone and being called for strikes.  With a
full count, a pitch low and inside (almost hit the dirt) passed Ty
Wigginton.  He tossed his bat back and started
jogging to 1st before hearing the strikeout call, and walked even farther,
being outright about his opinion of the strike being called on a pitch almost
in the dirt by his feet.

 

Bottom of the 2nd came,
where Cervelli drew a 4-pitch walk off of Millwood.  2 of the 4 pitches would be strikes to most
umps.  Millwood, knowing how to deal with
this in a better way than just argue, started using lots of offspeed stuff against
the next guys, getting a strikeout against Gardner and eventually out of the
inning with no earned runs.

 

The last note I have on the day is
that Jones hit a homerun to left field on a Sabathia pitch low and in.

 

After that, the same crap
continued with the umps.  Today was the
first day I was actually P.O. with an Orioles game.  Been put down before, but not like this.  Took my attention away even more when news
broke about Trembley losing his job soon, so note taking was becoming a lost cause.

 

With a 6-1 deficit, Wigginton got
only the 2nd hit off of Sabathia on the day in the 7th besides Jones’
HR earlier, followed up by a Luke Scott bomb to the upper deck in right field.

 

Markakis lost his “hitting streak”
(wasn’t even 10 games so I don’t know if I consider it to be a streak).  Not one Oriole struck out more than
once.  Instead, 7 individuals struck out
once each.  At least we didn’t have a
horrendous day with RISP since we didn’t have men on 2nd and 3rd
to even get the chance to blow chances.

 

Millwood had a bad day for him,
not just because he didn’t get a win. 
Moving to 0-6 on the year, he only got through 5.2 innings on 115
pitches (only 67 for strikes).  He gave
up 6 runs on 10 hits (including 2 HRs) with a 5:4 K:BB ratio.  Berken came in to finish the 6th and
went through the 7th, only allowing a hit and recording a strikeout.  Ohman barely got through the 8th, allowing
a hit and walk, but went back to his old ways of allowing no runs.  For the 6th game in a row, we didn’t
need to pitch in the bottom of the 9th.

 

This all compared to Sabathia, who
finished with 7 IP.  He let up only 3
hits, but with 2 of them being home runs, allowed 3 runs on the day with a 7:1
K:BB ratio (Atkins drew that walk!).  Joba
threw a perfect 8th, and Mariano finished it with an adventurous 9th.  Jones, of course, being so clutch once again;
struck out with men on 2nd and 3rd.

 

I had a lot of this written up by
the middle of the 8th, and by the middle of the 9th, had
finished most of it.  When we got two men
on, I was getting really excited about the chance to rewrite it all.  I should know better than to always get my
hopes up to just let myself down every damn time.

 

Game over.  3-6 loss. 
8 game losing streak coming into a 9 game homestand against the Red Sox,
Yankees, and Mets, and minus Trembley most likely.  You know there
are issues when you get score 8 runs in a 6 game roadtrip, and also allow Brett Gardner to hit a home run.

 

Very down day.  Not too much to say.  Will be doing a post tomorrow definitely on
Millwood and Wigginton and some bits all about them.

 

Will post about Trembley either
tonight or tomorrow hopefully.  Website
is coming up soon, domain was purchased (2131andBeyond.com) and will be worked
on a lot now.  I will be at the first 2
Red Sox games, then a trip to college for a program there for a few days, the last
Yankee game at home, and the whole Mets series. 
Will try to post between it all, but will be difficult.  Be excited for the new site!  Will have tons of posts, new sections (like
High Socks Watch), and even contests for Orioles stuff and autographs once I
get enough followers.

 

Good day/night to all.

 

O yea, Tejada made a huge diving
grab in the bottom of the 8th that Teixeira hit down the line with
men on 1st and 2nd. 
He got the out at 2nd and saved a run or two from
scoring.  Whoopee.  So he kept the deficit at 3 so that Mariano could
get the save, I guess.

Gonna Stay Quiet… for now at least

Tons of rumors going around about today’s game.  No, not about if the Orioles could pull off a miracle win against CC in New York, but about the manager position.  People saying today could be Trembley’s last game.

I have made it clear that I support him, but with the few issues this season, it may just be worth it to change the spot up for the sake of shutting fan’s up about it since he is obviously not the future here.  The O’s play at 1 today, then make the trip home for the Red Sox tomorrow night at Camden Yards.  Today being an afternoon game would give a new manager time to meet the team (if needed), or if it is someone like Datz or Samuel, get to talk with the guys and establish things like plans and all.

Not gonna say much now.  Will update after the game.  Will still be writing about Wigginton and all that I said I would in the past entry.

Update: I purchased the website 2131andbeyond.com, and am working with Jordan of oriolesprospects.com to make it happen.

No Title Necessary

Tonight the Orioles lost to the Yankees 1-9.

 

I’ve got to say, if Buster Olney and Peter *******’s speculations
are true about Trembley and his job, at least the man is going out in class.  Last night, the entire game was decided by
the players, no decisions by the manager. 
Tonight, again, the O’s lost because they didn’t play a winning game,
not because of a bad decision.

 

Where the game ended for me was somewhere around the 5th
inning or so, when I got the message that there was a perfect game through 8
innings being shown on MLB Network.  I
flipped to that game, knowing that the Orioles had lost it.  I’m not one to switch off the Orioles games,
but this was worth it to me, after seeing every game so far this season and
knowing with 99% confidence that the outcome would not be changing in terms of
the win or loss.  I do plan on doing a
post tomorrow about the “perfect” game, relating it back to the Orioles actually.

 

Not much commentary on individual players tonight.  Just disgusted.

 

Bergesen was flat-out awful tonight.  In the shortest outing of his career, he
threw 2.1 innings, allowing 6 earned runs on 7 hits with a 1:2 K:BB.  With Arietta waiting in Norfolk with his
incredible, *consistent* stats, I don’t see why he doesn’t replace Bergesen in
the rotation as soon as next Tuesday’s start.

 

Tejada got some hits. 
He also bobbled a short ground ball early in the game.  Failing once again to bare-hand a ball, he
proved to me why I was right in disagreeing with people who have been saying he
has made an outstanding transition to 3B this year.

 

Albers came in and let up runs, while Hendrickson first held
off the Yankees with a few solid innings. 
The Mata came in and got lit up by the Yankees bench.

 

Wigginton got called on a sort of half swing early in the game,
and continued to argue the call until he got back to the dugout, where Trembley
rightly pulled him in.  While some say
Trembley needed to go out and argue, he knew the right decision to make was to
stay.  While he did yell out some words
for 1B ump Mike DiMuro, Trembley knew that, with a view from the back of
Wigginton’s back (being a right handed hitter), it would be foolish to argue
the call.

 

Bringing Wigginton up helps me raise my main point of these
last two games.  Not only do I believe it
is all on the team for these last two losses, but they have been flat-out
foolish.  For the first time ever, I see
the Orioles as a joke.

 

Let’s go over why:

 

In the 9th inning last night, Wigginton grounded
out to shallow 1st.  With the
ball in hand on the base line, Juan Miranda (sent down tonight to let Posada be
activated) ran over to Wigginton, who proceeded to back pedal.  Yes; Wigginton attempted to back pedal towards
home plate.  Mariano Rivera chuckled, and
he knew that at this point, the Orioles were just a joke too.  This after Wigginton fell on his butt during
the harsh play a few innings earlier.

 

Tonight, Corey Patterson made a fool of himself.  Chasing down a fly ball, he ripped his pants,
and wore them for the rest of the game. 
Not so important.

 

The worst: In the 8th, A-rod and Jeter were both
taken out.  One, that shows that Girardi
is confident enough in the Orioles bats failing.  Two, we got a single, double, and a walk, but
did not score.  Tejada singled, Markakis
doubled (Tejada thrown out at home), Wieters walked, then there were two
popouts.  Bottom of the 8th, Gardner
and Pena singled off of Mata, and Swisher singled in a run.  We let Ramiro Pena and Brett Gardner hit off
us.

 

Jones may have aggravated his hip on a beautiful running catch
in center on a Granderson routine double. 
He then made the catch of a popfly from Cervelli.  Hope he’s okay.  Not that it has anything to do with the Orioles
chances at success.

 

 

In other news, Millwood was quoted by sources today saying
he would be okay with pitching for the Mets. 
Glad to know our guys hate it here. 
I would too if I were them. 
Supposedly, Wigginton said he would do it too (play, not pitch).  I bet we are stupid enough to trade them for
Justin Turner.

 

Not so exciting tonight. 
In a horrible mood.  This SUCKS.

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Problems Without Solutions

I can’t say that the Orioles blew a lead last night like they did last week against the A’s, and I can’t even say they blew the game.  Here is the issue.

With Jeter on 3rd, Swisher on 2nd, Matusz’ pitch count at 108, and Hernandez being the righty and fully ready to come out of the ‘pen, Trembley made the 100% correct decision in making the pitching change.  In terms of Trembley, he put the best lineup and set of guys out there provided to him.  Everybody seems to finally be catching onto the whole MacPhail issue now, when I have been saying all along how 90% of our losses are because of the roster Andy handed to Trembles on Opening Day.  As for this in game situation, Hernandez came in and did his job.  He induced a ground ball with 2 outs from one of the top clutch hitters in baseball in the last decade (clutch hitters: see Andre Ethier). Props to Hernandez in his 2nd relief appearance getting the job done again.  He has quality stuff in the short inning game, which is why the move to the bullpen fits him perfectly.  Well, the ball went to Tejada, arguably the O’s strongest infielder.  What happened after that was just a breakdown of this season so far, with Tejada’s across the field throw hitting early in the dirt and to the right of Wigginton, causing him to fall on his butt and make the Baltimore franchise look silly.  Here is the second by second picture collage of this event:

capt.f70c94ec7d5f4b30873b10613c52de6b-f70c94ec7d5f4b30873b10613c52de6b-0.jpg
f4eacee95151056438cc90153d534c62-getty-97630583ab013_baltimore_ori.jpg
627d069923d79b1d07a3d3d174a00323-getty-97662384gf017_oakland_athle.jpg

I can’t even think that with that even if that play was made properly (see: fundamental baseball) that we would have won the game, but it would have given us a chance.  Yes, may sound foolish thinking that, but it’s still more of a chance than without the throw and catch being made.

To read more about the game, Brittany Ghiroli provides insight here, and you can check out the box score and game recap from Yahoo here.  Not in my best interest to go through it all without using obscenities.

What is hitting me finally is the infield problems.  Why is Tejada at 3B?  Why was Atkins acquired to play 1B?  I get it.  It’s so that Izzy can stick around and have another .250 season while giving us a decent glove at what some may call the most important infield position, or even the leader of the team on defense.  Well, he was a gold glover, yes.  But that was 6 years ago.  You can give me all the graphs and stats you want to show that he is still a top defensive SS, but I really don’t care.  He make small mistakes, and provides no leadership or offense to the club.  He is hitting .222, lower than his career average surprisingly.  Why is it that we don’t look at shortstop.  I rant on about this all the time, and I have since January when I first noticed it, but why was our priority in free agency this past off season the corner infielders?  To give time to the guys in AAA so they will be ready for next season to be in the bigs?

Tejada should have been signed as our SS.  Atkins, giving him the benefit of the doubt pre-season, should have been signed as our 3B.  Izturis could either be utility or just not make the roster, I don’t care.  I have never seen too much in him besides a useless 9 slot shortstop.  Aubrey is perfectly capable of coming up to play 1B, and there’s this feeling somewhere that Moore could do it too (not sure if he left his bat bag in Norfolk or what).  Either way, the mishaps of this club come down to positions.  Not one guy besides Izzy was in their right spot.  Tejada should be SS, Lugo is SS (not 2B), and Wigginton isn’t really much of a glove anywhere besides a utility role (as opposed to 1B).  I know the bats are different, but maybe this year would be easier on the team if we wouldn’t jumble them around the diamond, and instead let them gel together in their natural spots to be able to spend more time out there swinging the bats.  That, my friends, is a problem totally put onto us by Andy MacPhail.

On a side note:

Win 2 tickets to the O’s vs. Mets game on June 11th from Baltimore Sports Report!  I have mentioned the site before on here, and they are an up and coming blogosphere heaven for Baltimore sports fans, providing interesting takes on all things sports in this town.  Check out this link where you can submit your entry into their contest and hopefully be picked to win 2 tickets to the game!  Be sure to also check out the rest of their site for daily articles with all access info like interviews and guest bloggers all the time.  Heck, I even write a piece or two for the site each week!

Pitchers and Prospects

My thoughts of the day have shifted over from the current failing offense to the future of this team.  Future being as close as tomorrow and as far away as in 5 years.  The title ‘Pitchers and Prospects’ is there because I want to just go over those two topics and discuss how they relate and even intermix.

The pitchers I want to talk about in the organization right now are Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie.

Millwood’s stat line so far this season:

  • W-L 0-5
  • ERA 3.89
  • K 58
  • Walks 17
  • WHIP 1.27

Guthrie’s:

  • W-L 3-5
  • ERA 3.84
  • K 37
  • Walks 16
  • WHIP 1.17

People may look at those two guys and say that Guthrie’s year has been a bit better.  Well, maybe in terms of stats other than strikeouts.  While both Bergesen and Matusz have been far from consistent this year, both having shutout performances and both also with high earned run low inning nights, and David Hernandez never lasting more than 5 or 6 innings (even with a no-hitter through 4, the walks kill him), Guthrie and Millwood have proven to be the top two pitchers in the rotation as of now, as we should expect.  Hernandez is obviously not a future guy for the dream rotation, so I am taking him out of the conversation.  Matusz and Bergesen each got half a season or less last year, so we expect it to be rocky for them in their first full seasons now.  Luckily, for the Birds, Guthrie has come out with fire and been back to his old form that we needed him to be, so that he and Millwood can stabilize our rotation with, may I dare to say this about the O’s, a 1-2 punch.

The future is obvious to fans and the organization.  That being Matusz, Bergesen, Tillman, Arrieta, and Britton.  Britton, as long as his development stays on track, will be up in Baltimore for the 2012 season.  Arrieta will be called up most likely sometime this season.  Tillman was just called up this past week to replace Hernandez in the rotation, who coincidentally taken his spot coming out of Spring Training.  The question then becomes: Who will Arrieta replace?  Just because Millwood is 0-5, nobody judges that stat one bit who knows what he has been through.  With only 17 runs of support through 11 outings, less than 2 per game, it would be practically impossible for any pitcher not named Ubaldo Jimenez to succeed in the win column that way.  Then again, the O’s are 15-36 at this point, so wins are not the big issue now as much as looking into the future.

Key question: Do we trade Millwood and/or Guthrie at or before the deadline?  I touched on this in the last post, but just expanding here now.

Millwood could spend another year here.  He is a veteran ace who basically owns most teams he faces, but of course doesn’t have the wins to show for it.  He supposedly (only saying supposedly since I don’t have first-hand experience seeing it) has been helping the young arms, and even bats, a lot with their game.  He brings an arm that can strike guys out consistently and eat up a lot of innings.  If he had more offense and a better defense behind him, Millwood would surely have more complete games on the year.  He is 36, and could still be this good next year.

Guthrie has been rocky in terms of his career with the Birds.  This year, which is the important one right now, he is back to great form.  3-1 in May with a sub-3.00 ERA, Guthrie looks to be a top pitcher in baseball as of late.  He could be kept in Baltimore, but the risk with him is that he could fall back to his ’09 form with a 5.04 ERA.  He is 31, and if consistent, could last another 10 years in the Bigs still.

Millwood is a huge plus for the O’s since he can back up the young arms’ short outings with longer ones, hence relieving the bullpen in a sense from being dead day after day.  He helps with advice and just is good with communicating overall.  Again, that is what people say who have seen it, I know I have not.  Though if someone told me they saw Datz advising someone, I’d be a bit skeptical.  With Arrieta and Britton set to come soon, having Kevin around could never hurt.  Also depends what he wants to do.

I said before the season that if Guthrie was hot, we should trade him, he is not in that future rotation, and does not come with the knowledge base that Millwood has (who got to be in a rotation with the likes of Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, and more).  My opinion, if not trading both, is to get rid of Guthrie.  Even if for some bats, just do it.  He is too much of a risk, and within a few years, we won’t need him anyways.

I mentioned the bats.  That’s my second topic.  Prospects that can bring their talents to a major league level are hard to come by.  Talking with Jordan from oriolesprospects.com and other people on Twitter, the kid Brett Jacobson (acquired in the trade for Aubrey Huff to Detroit) has sub-par stuff and probably won’t have the arm to make it.  Why can’t we buy bats?  I get the whole draft pitchers and buy bats, but when you buy bats like Garrett Atkins, you are setting yourself up for failure.  I loved how Bell and Snyder and folk have performed in the past, but they are just not living up to people’s hopes.  I have heard speculation on packaging young Adam Jones with prospects for a bat, and I figure, why not?  We are loaded with at least a few major prospects in each level of the organization, so why not go the Cashman route and buy some bats with this talent.  Buying bats that are established in the MLB is so secure that there’s no denying good moves by Cashman and the likes.  And no, Atkins was not an established bat in the league, just a stereotypical steroid user (check out his career stats and tell me he didn’t use).

Just needed to vent the topics.  Respond here or go to twitter and follow @2131andBeyond where I love having Orioles conversation 24/7

Can we even get a win in the Bronx this week? I hope so…

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