Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

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…

Wow…

So I haven’t posted the last bunch of games.  Yea, I probably should if I want this site to work.  Well, here I am.

Gonna do a big post tomorrow on the end of the A’s series and then on the failing trip to Toronto.  Will include pictures from my times at OPACY too for the A’s games to bring something other than sadness to the posts.

There have been other highlights in baseball though!

Doc threw for perfection in Florida.  Morales miserably failed, but at least the Angels learned their lesson.  Scherzer owned.

Well, here are the few topics I want to go over now.  They are the few things I saw talked about on Twitter today, along with a few I need to throw in:

1) Trembley, MacPhail, and the rest of the gang
2) Tejada’s comments
3) Shortstop
4) Website

Trembley, besides his stupid decision to take Berken out against the A’s on Thursday (will discuss in tomorrow’s post), has been nothing but an ordinary manager.  Nothing like a Piniella or Guillen, but nothing bad.  He made no foolish decisions during the Toronto series that I saw, and I feel like his job is a lot less on the line than people seem to want or think.  The main issue comes down to what I think people have overlooked until now.  Andy MacPhail is giving Diamond Dave nothing to work with.  He brought in Atkins, not skipper.  He brought in Tejada and Patterson and Jones and every other guy having on-field issues right now.  People for weeks have been bashing Trembles, while I stepped back and looked at the organization in the bigger picture.  Let me tell you this, I got fed up with him Thursday, but that’s about it.  Andy, changes need to come, and with 3 straight 3 game stints against New York and Boston, it should come on the off day tomorrow.

By the way, who knows who Jack McKeon is?  That’s the name of the Marlins manager during their 2003 World Series win.  Just putting it out there, you don’t have to have the best name in sports to have a winning team.  Dave may not be the top manager, but the players need to improve on their own at times.

Other coaching comment.  I never understood why Terry Crowley is so loved by Baltimore and all when he has never produced a top hitting team (has been better than this year still) and was only a career .250 hitter himself.  How about a dude like this?  If you know the Rays situation in ’08 and the few years prior, he seems like a solid candidate to fill in the job.  At least even bring someone in to replace Jeff Datz.  I bring him up since I was watching MLB Network’s top plays of the week program (everyone should watch MLB Network, it’s awesome), and during one of the Mets’ walkoff plays, I saw the view of the dugout with Jauss jumping up.  Has anyone ever seen Datz say a word to a player?  He is useless it seems.

Tejada today impressed me with his comments.  He made it clear to MASN reporter Amber Theoharris that nobody should blame Trembley or ‘Andy’.  He made it known that players should be working harder and that it’s on them, since they are the ones out there playing ball.  Though, his outfit looked kind of odd in a ghostly empty locker room it seemed.

Twitterverse was talking a lot today about the shortstop position.  I’m mad now that I never published a post ever about this topic.  I have said all season and all this past offseason that the one thing the O’s overlooked again this year was that position, and how not only is Izzy aging, but his bat just hurts us day after day.  He is a great fielder, no doubt about it, but fluke plays like against the A’s in their comeback show his vulnerability, and that there is no reason we can’t propose a trade for a guy like Tulowitzki.  Will hopefully write about that soon.  Also will post sometime something about twitter and who to follow for O’s news and all.

Lastly, Jordan from oriolesprospects.com is working with me in getting my own domain and website running.  Once running, I will be dedicated to posting daily and running all kinds of feeds.  Besides O’s news and recaps, will have other thought provoking columns, some contests for O’s stuff, and my fun upcoming project: High Sock Watch.  And more links in posts like I started to do in this one!

Inexcusable.

I know this has been delayed, but I have my excuses.  I worked Saturday (still caught the game),
was at the game Sunday and got back late, then just yesterday was a complicated
day for this blog.  What happened?  I worked as usual in the morning from 7-noon,
then came home.  From that time until I
went to sleep, I did lots of things, including sitting down at the computer a
lot.  I opened Mozilla Firefox, and
multiple times refreshed my twitter, MASN.com, orioles.com, and many Orioles
blogs I have listed.  Saw no changes, and
that was not necessarily a bad thing.  I
also opened MLBlogs website 5 times yesterday. Five times.  Did not post an entry because of my
confusion, but am working on the whole thing now.

 

Why am I confused? 
Pre-season, MacPhail made it clear that this team would be judged on
wins and losses.  From past entries, you
can tell I am still a fan of Dave Trembley. 
Who am I becoming less of a fan of? 
MacPhail.  If the worst record in
all of baseball is satisfactory in his eyes, then get your butt out of the
warehouse and let a guy come in who wants to not be the laughing stock of
baseball.  There has always been talks
between tons of people saying that MacPhail should become the MLB commish soon.  That’s great. 
Make him commish, that only helps me. 
Give him a position where he can make decisions that make people just
happy, but don’t need to be competitive. 
I’m sick of Trembley taking the blame. 
Not saying another manager wouldn’t be better, but not saying they
wouldn’t be worse.  We wouldn’t
know.  There are still the big three in
my opinion: injuries, raw talent, and MacPhail. 
We won’t win until those three get fixed.  With an increased payroll, you can’t say we
aren’t spending, hence it not being on Angelos. 
I believe it comes to MacPhail, saying that he has been spending in all
the wrong ways.  You could technically
add Atkins to the list, but I really don’t see how at this point we can blame
all of this on him.  Yes, maybe we would
have one or two more wins if he was having a comeback season, but nothing
much.  It’s about the team, and Atkins is
looking like he only has raw talent at this point too.

 

Pitching issues have been ridiculous this season.  Injuries are becoming viral, and Koji Uehara
has never not been injured it seems. 
Now, Simon is injured with his hamstring issue, I hear Reimold is on the
short DL in Norfolk for “family issues” (I know that is not injury, but you
never know what that could be trying to cover up, I mean, he is hitting .088,
aka 3-34), Jones is always having his nagging hip strains, and we all wish
Garrett Atkins would break his leg or something running out a double play
ground ball he hits tonight.  Frank Mata
and Alberto Castillo are coming up today for Koji and Simon.  Yes! 
We get the 12+ ERA from the side-arm-ish Castillo and the new guy Mata
who just looks like a big dude who may just have an intimidating look to him
(then again, can’t judge quite yet). 
Koji may never pitch again some say, though I try to be positive and
think that he will come back.  Where I
can agree is that he will most likely be injured again then if he comes back,
because the heat and humidity only gets worse as the summer gets closer and the
temperatures go up.

 

Going from pitching to my last concern, I have the
transition of Cla Meredith.  Meredith
isn’t the Orioles closer, but he surely closed out the Nats series for us.  We lost Saturday night after a Jones inside
the parker, because Hendrickson let Dunn rip him late, and our pitching didn’t
hold up again.  Then, on Sunday, after a
spectacular 9th inning by a dead MLB offense, Simon got a hammy
strain running to cover first, and Meredith comes in.  On the 3rd pitch of Cla’s outing,
Josh Willingham slammed a solo shot to deep left for the walk off game and
series victory for the Nationals.  Now,
when Meredith came in, I turned to my friend Zevi and asked why he barely took
warm up pitches out there.  He is allowed
all the time he needs to warm up on the mound in an injury situation like
this.  Unlike the Red Sox bringing in
Delcarmen last week, there was no argument from Riggleman and company about the
injury and all.  So why Meredith only
took a low amount of warm-up pitches, I do not know.  I can give him credit for coming in when
needed on such short notice, but I see no excuse for the bad pitch.  He is given the option to warm up just as
much as he would in the bullpen, with the advantage of getting to warm up on
the game mound with the in game catcher, not on the fake bullpen stoop with
bullpen catcher Ronnie Deck.

 

Inexcusable.

 

We come in tonight to face Oakland for a 3 game series.  Some interesting storylines to follow:

 

·        
Garrett Atkins will most likely start against
the two A’s lefties tonight and Thursday, and with him on the hot seat, he may
hear good-bye if he can’t bump up his .219-0-6 line over those two games

·        
Dallas Braden steps on the mound tonight,
hopefully we can hit off of him in the 1st so we don’t have to worry
like the Rays did

·        
New bullpen guy in Frank Mata, old guy in
Castillo but newly brought up

·        
Sparkplug Patterson – can he keep it up?

·        
Looking ahead – Who will be pitching Saturday
night?  Entry to come on that situation

 

Hey look, a win on the road!

The O’s took one from the Nats tonight in the first weekend of interleague play.  We play 9 interleague games this series, and the first 3 are this weekend in DC.  The other 2 series are home later in the season coming up against the Mets and Marlins.

This is my first game summary in a few weeks now.  Let’s see how it goes.  Well, the final score was 5-3.  We came out firing, worked out of some jams, and managed to get David Hernandez the W!

Hitting:

-Jones had a 2 run shot in the 2nd to right field.  Not only was it opposite field for him, but it was his first in 97 at bats, a sad drought that all O’s fans are glad is over.  Now its Nick’s turn.  He did leave in after the 3rd inning with cramps in his legs.  Watching him, as he stepped up for his second plate appearance of the night in which he walked, he was pulling on the tops of his feet trying to stretch his legs out it seemed.  Updates from all over saying he will be good to go tomorrow.  Was good to see his 2 appearances tonight though.  Showed the power that hasn’t been there much along with the patience which even more obviously is not there too often.  He has a team low in walks with 5 for every day players.

-Craig Tatum went 2-3 on the night with a walk and a 2 RBI single, along with winning player of the game honors on the MASN poll.  Montanez came in after Jones’ injury and went 1-2.  These rested guys are showing up lately, both with high averages in their past few games.

-Great night again for Sparkplug Patterson.  2 for 5 with an RBI in the 8th to give the O’s an insurance run.

-David Hernandez looked funny at the plate.  He looked like he had never picked up a bat before.  Hit in school, and he’s young, so it’s as if he forgot everything.  It’s excusable though, won’t need to hit more than maybe one or two more times this season.

-Scott Moore came up officially today after the demotion of Castillo to Norfolk.  He is a versatile infielder who can play all over, but got in at 1st for an inning today.  In terms of hitting, he pinch hit for Will Ohman late in the game and struck out.  Finally, a dose of reality.  First guy with a not so pretty O’s debut at the plate this year.  O wait; Justin Turner… Does he really count?  That was during the 2-16 streak, something I try and block out of my mind.

Pitching:

-David Hernandez was nothing but questionable tonight.  5.1 IP, which is not great for a starter, especially considering he never goes deeper than 6 usually.  May have only let up one hit (had a no hitter through a bunch), but walked 5 with only 3 Ks.  His command is horrible, and until he starts throwing strikes, he will never be able to go later in games.  It’s sad when a pitcher throws 105 pitches in 5.1 innings, and only let up one hit.  You would think that many pitches through that short of an outing meant the pitcher got lit up.  Tonight, it meant he was throwing 6+ pitches to almost every batter.

-Albers came in to relieve for Hernandez with 2 walked guys on base.  His command was off completely.  He threw a 5 pitch walk to the first batter he faced, Josh Willingham.  5 pitches, 5 outside fastballs.  Showed no mixup of pitches, and ended up with 1.1 IP with 2 ER, with 2 H 2 BB and 1 K.  Most people hate him, but they forget the times he comes out for a few innings and lets no runs up.  People don’t appreciate his good outings.  I wish he was more consistent, because I do believe in the movement he shows in his fastball and sinker.

-Ohman came in for another one batter stint, getting Dunn out.  23 appearances on the year now, leading the majors.  He is so talented, still with no earned runs on the year.

-Meredith was used in the role he filled in San Diego behind Trevor Hoffman as the set-up guy, throwing a nice full inning allowing one hit and nothing else.  Simon came in to finish it.  Just another interesting outing for him.  He did let up one hit and nothing else, but each of the three outs were on contact balls that could easily fall for hits if hit elsewhere.  Well, he got the job done.  He has great stuff on the 2 seamer and split finger when he commands everything in the zone like tonight.  Shutdown Sauce strikes again!

Baserunning:

-One main note.  In the 4th, Sparkplug Patterson stole 2nd, and was so quick that Pudge didn’t even attempt to throw it.  Moved up to 3rd on a Wigginton ground out, but then trouble came.  Pudge picked off to third after a pitch when he saw Patterson take a big secondary lead.  Bad error that Samuel needs to be watching.  Pudge is one of the best at that spot, nothing gets by him like that.

Fielding:

-No errors.  Some good throws by Tejada, and some smart decisions by Wigginton.

Trembley handled tonight very well.  He made the right pitching moves, not taking guys out just because they had to hit and all.  He used one guy for a specialist role like he is supposed to, and overall just strong decisions throughout.

Fielding switches were good too.  Jones needed to come out, so Patterson took over his old role in center, and Montanez went to left.  In the 9th, Lugo went to 2nd, Moore to 1st.  Trembley and Datz handled the no DH role well with correct defensive adjustments.

I talk about those two sections of Trembley’s decision making not only because he has been questioned lately, but also because of the few injuries we had to deal with tonight.  Uehara was not available to pitch tonight, giving us only a 6 man bullpen after having 8 all this past week.  The big deal with bringing Moore up was to have an extended bench, but with Wieters out (suited up but would only have been used if truly needed) and then Jones leaving with the cramps, we ended up dealing with a smaller bench than usual.  Luckily, we had brought Moore up in time.  If not, then it would have been a 2 man bench.

Wieters was celebrating his 24th birthday today, so with a banged up knee from a foul tip off his bat last night, he got the night off to rest.  Tatum filled in.  He was great defensively as usual, and brought his bat back after a great hitting day this past Sunday also.  Great to see a backup that truly fills in.

The O’s come out tomorrow again in DC to face the Nats.  Jones and Wieters should be back, and hopefully we can keep up the good work.  How great would a Beltway series win be?!

Battle of the Alamo… except the Texans win

Once again been falling behind with this.  Figured out though how to work out my
schedule around blogging and all.  Hoping
to actually make a new website even this weekend, so be on the lookout for
that.  Thanks to Jordan from
Oriolesprospects.com for helping me set things up.  Once things are said and done with a new
site, expect expanded sections, new pieces, and even some extra writings by
some guest writers.  So instead of being
let down by the Orioles pathetic start to a season, we can all look forward to
the continued advancement of this blog and hope it can rise to the top!

 

Today,
instead of going through each game and each issue, I am going to do an entry
Steve Melewski style, where I will just write bits on a bunch of individual
topics (all Orioles related of course).

 

If you haven’t been watching, the O’s are 13-29 now, 17.5 out of
first, and are looking at giving up already on this season.  Many will say it is already a done deal.

 

 

.500 Homestand:   Going .500
against teams like the Mariners, Indians, and Royals is pitiful for any ball
club.  We came into this home stand
hoping to take at least 5 or 6 to get a jump on the games back they were under
.500 in the overall standings.  How can
we expect to beat the Sox, Yanks, Twins, or Mets even with performances like
these.  I mean, come on, we almost got
shut out by Jake Westbrook.

 

The
Rhyne Hughes Effect:   Rhyne Hughes joined the Orioles on April 24th
in Boston, and in his first 3 games with the club, went 5-13 with a double, 2
runs scored, and 3 RBIs.  Since that
third game up, he went 5-34 in 12 games with only one double, one run scored,
and one RBI.  Teams figured out what kind
of hitter he was, they watched some film, and basically were able to shut him
down.  Corey Patterson came in and went 6
for his first 13 in 3 games played, with 4 runs scored and a home run, but in
the 6 games since then, is 4-23.  His
numbers in terms of runs scored and RBIs are up still, but the hitting is
definitely more of an issue since his first 3 games.  In the second and third games against the
Indians he went a combined 0-7, in which he showed very little plate
discipline.

 

Jones
Hit Streak:   Adam Jones is on a 7 game hitting streak.  Why that’s only sort of positive?  Well, it may show that he can at least get a
hit in consecutive games, but just one hit in 4 or 5 at bats is not nearly good
enough on a consistent basis.  In this 7
game span, he is 9-29 (.310).  The issue
is more with his strikeouts.  Jones has
shown no ability so far this season to judge pitches well and take when
needed.  On a 2-0 count last night, he
swung at a dropping curveball.  On a 2-0
count, a hitter like him should be taking no matter what unless it’s a fastball
down the middle or a bit outside that he wants to take yard.  Otherwise, he needs to be patient and learn
to settle in the box for a bit.

 

Trembley Pitching Decisions:  Saturday night, nobody really had a true
reason to go against Trembley’s pitching decisions.  Any coach would have done the same.  Where it is getting on my nerves was on a
night like Wednesday, where Trembley used 6 pitchers to get through 2.2 innings.  I understand the whole matchup scenario, but
seriously, it is becoming a joke.  Yes,
the Rays and Yankees even match up sometimes with a righty or lefty, but it
gets to the point where you are switching out pitchers for a sub-par bottom of
the lineup guy.  Just like a starter
pitches against everybody and not just the ones that work out for his dominant
side, relievers need the chance to face batters from both sides.  Unless you are using a specialist for one guy
(like we did against Pena on the Rays), there is no reason a reliever should
not be intended for use for less than one inning.  That is just sad.

 

Trembley in General:   He is getting
to me a bit.  I have been a huge supporter,
but all of the crazy talk about hating him and all has actually caught up with
me.  I have been one for thinking that a
lot of it is up to MacPhail giving him nothing to work with and the players not
performing, but I am starting to get the sense with some of his decisions that
he may be more fit just for minor league baseball.  He may be a guy that the whole clubhouse can
relate to, but it is not working out on the field.  Crowley may be good, but he has no control over
a guy like Jones swinging at a wild pitch or Atkins hitting into a leadoff double
play (yes, I believe he could do that). 
We will have to see what the Orioles decide to do.

 

Cook-off
and Reunion:  The O’s have announced a
few big events.  The Cook-off and 1970s
team reunion lunch.  Both events can be
found at the links provided if you just click on each name.  They are events used to bring fans in, but
both were planned horribly in my opinion. 
The cook-off is on a Wednesday of a work and school week right in the
middle of the day, and the luncheon costs $250 per person.  Neither of those criteria are really
persuading fans to come in for O’s events.

 

I
will be posting a lot tomorrow about my O’s experiences the past few weeks, so
be on a lookout for that.  Pictures and
everything.  It will be a whole section
of my new site hopefully, too.

Make sure to keep up also with the few sites I have posted on the side here, and feel free to check out my post on Brian Matusz below.

Brian Matusz

Last
night’s g
ame
vs. the Texas Rangers
pl
ayed
in Arlington w
as the second instance this season
where we h
ave
seen the r
aw
side of Bri
an
M
atusz. 
We s
aw
the side of him where
he is just a vulnerable
lefty with nothing more speci
al than
the next guy coming in.  The first inst
ance? 
In Minnesot
a
He seems to not be
able to handle
lineups th
at
are over
the top
stacked with power and
p
atience. 
The Twins
and
Rangers probably
c
an
both be considered in the top five for hitting te
ams
in b
aseball. 
With Josh H
amilton,
Nelson Cruz, Vl
addy, and even second year
shortstop Elvis Andrus, some people m
ay say
th
at
this lineup is just
as productive as
the Y
ankees,
if
not more.  The Yankees
are not
too q
uick, and are getting older by
the d
ay
Like the R
ays,
the R
angers
a
re mostly a young team
full of bursts of incredible t
alent.

Speaking of the Yankees,
M
atusz
f
aced
them b
ack
at the
end of
April.  He let up 3 earned
runs
and
allowed
9 hits over 6 IP with only 2 strikeout but no walks. 
While M
ajor
Le
ague
B
aseball
would count this in the st
ats as a
qu
ality
st
art,
it w
as
not the top quality we
were looking for out of the
rookie of the ye
ar candidate
His 2 wins on the ye
ar are over the Rays and A’s. 
He be
at
the R
ays
in the O
‘s third game of the year,
where we h
ad
j
ust lost our first two in Tampa and
c
ame
out with fight to get
a much needed W coming into
the Opening Weekend homest
and.  Oakland is just bad.  Other than those 2 wins, Matusz has still
pitched quite well frequently.  Because
of the Orioles lack of any offense ever it seems, Brian’s 1 run 6 inning
performance in New York (vs. Yankees) and shutout 7 innings against the Indians
at home this past weekend go without notice because he does not end up with the
W.  In New York, the loss was due to the
Orioles only scoring one run in the entire game, giving Matusz such a lean
amount of run support to work with.  Back
at home, he had the W going through 7 innings with a 2-0 lead before the
bullpen blew the game, and Matusz ended up with the no decision there.  Both times though, bullpen to be blamed
partially or not, the run support just has not been there to back this guy up.

 

After
last night’s lousy outing of 2.1 IP, Matusz’ ERA is now up to a sub-par
5.26.  He allowed 7 runs on 8 hits in his
short stint, with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk. 
The true killer, though, was the fact that he let 2 homeruns sail out of
the park which accounted for 5 of the 7 runs. 
The problem last night for him was that he lost control of his fastball
and just did not seem to have the velocity behind any of his pitches as
compared to what we have seen in the past. 
His curveball showed good movement, but once again, velocity was down,
making it very vulnerable to a contact hitter. 
As opposed to a guy like Tim Wakefield, Matusz does not have the
movement or command needed to be able to lessen the speed behind his pitches,
so last night the Rangers capitalized on the fact that he was pitching behind
hitters and never really setting a tone.

 

As
he said in his post-game interview, he was not on top of his stuff one
bit.  It was one of those games as a
rookie that gets away from you early that you can never catch up with.  As Bergesen said in his interview once: out
of every 10 games you pitch, there will be 2 good, 2 bad, and 6 average ones in
the middle.  This was one of his bad
ones.  If that theory is true, then his
next start would have to fall into the average category.

 

I
also would not put it past him that his mindset was no on target.  He seems very calm and collected when
talking, one of the chillest guys ever in my opinion, but the last few weeks
have been rocky for him.  He got the
harsh loss in Minnesota after letting up 6 runs off of 9 hits in 3.2 innings,
but then followed that up with a brilliant performance against Cleveland this
past weekend.  The fact that he battled
back from a setback to his solid beginning of the season is marvelous for a
young guy like him, but I don’t blame him if he got a bit anxious or even upset
with the outcome of Saturday’s game.  If
that game gave him trust issues with the guys coming in after him to close it,
then this issue could have been sitting on his mind all night.  If he is focusing more on the follow-up
performances by his teammates in the bullpen, he loses the concentration he
needs to have in order to have a successful game against a lineup like the
Rangers that he had to face.

 

I
wish him luck next week against the A’s in Baltimore.  Hopefully he can bounce back and shine
against a team he already beat earlier this season.

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Trembley, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Mr. Dave Trembley may not have a job for long.  I am just here to debate over the pros and cons of Dave as a manager.  Many fans still do like him, although most are beyond frustrated with some of his coaching decisions that they want him out asap.

There are three main aspects of baseball: hitting, pitching, and defense.  I stick baserunning in their with hitting, only because I feel like if you hit you need to be able to make your way around the bases too.

With hitting this season, Dave has been mixing up the lineup.  Not just a guy moving one spot up or down, but day to day flipping the lineup upside down.  It’s debatable whether this is good or not, but I tend to go with skip on this one.  Until something consistently works, there’s no reason to stick with any formal plan.  By working, I don’t mean that you have to win every single game or else switch things up, but at least getting some strings of hits together in games and figuring out who works best in front of and behind certain guys.  Some think he must just put the names in a hat and pull them out.  Soon enough, Atkins will be leading off with Izturis cleaning up.

People say situational hitting isn’t there.  We have seen many times where the right call for the right type of hitting was made, but guys cannot seem to get balls down at the right time, deep in the air at the right time, or even hits at any time.  Crowley may be good, but the players need to be at a certain level already to be on a major league club, or else nobody at this level can help them.

Baserunning.  Lots of people complain that we don’t steal, and that we
make errors on the base paths.  I know he is part of it, but come on,
that’s up to Shelby and Samuel to fix.  That’s all they get paid to do.

Pitching has been a big issue up and down for the O’s.  For the most part, except for the occasional mishap, our starting rotation has been quite consistent and strong, which is something that O’s fans are not used to.  The issues come down to our bullpen.  There are times, even weeks, where the ‘pen is able to close out games and look perfect throughout, then others (like with Gonzo, and this past Saturday night), where it looks like we have nobody to trust there.  A lot of it is just the player’s performance.  Dave has no power over how guys do, he just picks and chooses who goes in out of the set of arms he has provided to him.  People blame him for bullpen breakdowns, but I see no reason to.  He goes by the book and sometimes takes some risks, just as any coach should, and the guys MacPhail has given him just aren’t always working out.

Ignoring the three fundamental categories above, Dave is also a fun guy… sort of.  The big pro for Trembley is how he relates to the guys.  He has lots of experience coaching down in the minor leagues, so it is actually quite useful that he has the communication skills for a ballclub like this one to be able to communicate well with a core of raw, young talent.

The communication, though, seems to stop there.  Last night, his press conference was only 2 mins and 10 secs.  That’s it.  Not sure if the media ran out of questions for him (I hope that’s not it, because I have tons) or if they are just frustrated with his generalized answers.  Yes, coaches and people in other organizations have been known to be short and broad with their answers at these things, but those guys are usually with winning clubs, so nobody cares.  O’s fans want answers, and they want them now.

My issue is that we will never know where the problem really is.  I have always loved Trembley with this club, because of the communication I spoke about above with the players.  MacPhail provides him with a group of guys, and he has to work with what he gets.  Where I get confused is to how much MacPhail is allowed to spend on guys, and how much say Trembley has in those decisions to enhance the ballclub.  There’s no reason Trembley should be blamed for the horrible seasons by Atkins at the plate and Tejada at 3rd so far, since those moves were clearly not his doing.  I feel like more is put on the man than he deserves only because so little is really up to him.  The pitching is Kranny; the hitting is Crow.  Trembley has these guys mindsets in his hands, and I think the team needs to just come together when they have an off day and just gel.

Well, as you read, I am more for Trembley than against.  Specifically, people got upset with his decision Saturday night to put Simon in and not leave Uehara in after a great 8th.  There is no reason why you don’t go with a guy there when he is someone you have been relying on lately to save.  He may be risky at times, but no coach would have played that any differently.  You will never see Girardi keep Joba in for the 9th and hold out Mariano just because the 8th was solid.  Another thing Saturday was people arguing about replacing Wigginton with Lugo.  Every coach would have done that also.  Yea, in the end, it didn’t help in the bottom of the 9th to have Wigginton out.  But look at it: You have a two run lead going into the 9th.  If you can get 3 outs then you can go home and forget the bottom of the inning completely.  To get those outs, you want a good defensive backup.  On any day, any coach would want Lugo at the middle infield positions over Wigginton.  Wigginton may be a good fill-in guy, but Lugo is the one with the glove.

A few speculations as to his job.  Could be fired after the game tonight, win or loss, but because it will lead into a roadtrip to give a new guy a fresh start without dealing with the home crowd.  Could be after the roadtrip; where the team is playing in DC on Sunday and it could be done that night or the off day Monday to give the new coach a chance to settle in for a day and meet the guys (unless it is someone like Datz, who knows them by now).  Or it could be in June.  Or never.  Who knows.  I hope MacPhail just realizes how a lot of this is not Dave’s fault, but more his.  The team needs to see that more blame needs to be put on the players, not the coaches.

We will see what the O’s decide to do.  I think it would be sad if Trembley is dismissed without being given a shot with a true team, but that’s how life works I guess.  Angelos needs to shell out some cash for some guys, or else we will never be able to compete.  No one is playing well in Norfolk, so why is it all Dave’s fault that his entire organization is playing poorly?  Who knows.  Good luck to Dave.

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O’s vs. Royals Series Preview

The Royals are in Baltimore, but they will be out of here way too soon.  I say that because the O’s could use more games against sub-par teams like KC in order to boost their record and get to that .500 mark that they are dying for.

The Royals come into tonight’s game at 14-24, opposed to the O’s disgusting 12-26.  Looking at the Royals schedule though, the O’s would have probably had a few more wins with a few series against the disappointing White Sox as opposed to all of these games versus the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays.

Royals hitters are actually 4th in all of baseball in batting average overall at .272 (Orioles are 20th at .250).  But just like the Orioles, these Royals hitters have no timely hitting, being 22nd in the league in runs scored, which is cause for most of their losses.  They match up with the O’s in the way that their starting pitching is very impressive at times, and their lineup is pretty stacked with guys who should be producing more but haven’t been in clutch situations.

I am more interested in this two game stint between the league’s worst duo because of the storylines behind each of the two games.  Let’s look at the pitching matchups, and that will explain everything (with an extra stat thrown in at the end):

Tonight (Monday, 7:05 ET): Kyle Davies, RHP (2-2, 5.22) at Brad Bergesen, RHP (3-2, 5.76)
Tomorrow (Tuesday, 7:05 ET): Zack Greinke, RHP (1-4, 2.73) at Kevin Millwood, RHP (0-4, 3.69)

The extra stat is that Billy Butler is hitting .338 on the season for KC in 148 at-bats, with 8 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 22 RBIs.

I bring up the stat because of last season.  The most interesting storyline behind tonight’s game will be the moment that Billy Butler steps into the batter’s box for his first at-bat against Bergesen since last season when he was in the box and smacked a line drive right at Bergy’s knee.  That one swing ended his season, and eventually threw his mechanics completely off to give Brad a horrendous start to this year.

In the second game, everybody expects a pitcher’s duel between two quality starters that have gotten no opportunities this season to really show off their power as a solid pitcher due to lack of run support (and in many cases, defensive support) by the other 8 guys on the field.  Both pitchers have pitched 50+ innings in their 8 starts each this season (Greinke 52.2, Millwood 53.2), so it will be interesting to see how each lineup fares with the opposing pitcher when placed in a situation where neither team is really expected to score many runs.

The O’s came into this 8 game homestand hoping to take 6 games or so against lower quality teams as compared to the AL East they have been faring poorly with.  If the Orioles could pull out both wins over the Royals, they would take 5 wins and hit the road.  That after a heartbreaker on Saturday, which threw the momentum off our side completely for the game the next afternoon, and eventually losing us the series to the Indians.  Hopefully the O’s can come out and back Bergesen up for a 4th straight start, and then again Tuesday to hopefully pull Millwood his 1st W of the season.

Time Flies

Was going to write a bunch tonight about things, but I have to get some sleep now.  Starting with FOX Sports Radio internship at 6 AM tomorrow so I need to rest to be able to get up.  Expect tomorrow a piece on Trembley and MacPhail.  Will throw something in soon on my game experiences.

I was at this game with Zack Hample:

http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/05/51110_at_camden_yards.html

Continue always reading http://baltimoresportsreport.com/ for great Baltimore sports articles.

May be making a new blog soon, and if the reader count goes up, will start up with maybe some contests for cool Orioles prizes that I have to give out, so spread the word!

What’s up!

Well, school ended for me.  Of course, I haven’t been writing because I was at Tuesday and Wednesday’s games, then tonight vs. the Indians.  For the season, I will be doing game write-ups about the game with stats and all for away games, and for home games, I will do personal write-ups about the game for me (but including the game wrap-up a bit).  This will help me mix the business with pleasure and to be able to vary the writing a bit day by day.

Well, the O’s are 12-24.  On the bright side, 10-8 over the last 18.  It’s looking up.  Without going into detail on them, the O’s lost the first game to the Mariners on T-shirt Tuesday, but then won the series by beating out Griffey’s M’s on Wednesday and Thursday.  Thursday’s win was definitely exciting, being down 5-1 to King Felix [Hernandez] and then hitting a solo shot then grand slam in the 8th to come back and win it 6-5.  They won again tonight, 8-1, over the Indians.  Another winning streak!

Instead of team stats, I want to go over players on an individual basis:

Starting with the positives, I will be writing a post later on Corey Patterson.  For now, I will stick with the 2010 opening roster guys.

Adam Jones seemed to have found his bat somewhere.  Even more so for Luke Scott, who is on a 5 game hitting streak, including the big grand slam off of Brandon League in Thursday’s game.

Scott before May 8th: .177 AVG
After May 8th: .213 AVG

May not be best right now, but definitely shows improvement.

Bergesen had another quality start Wednesday, giving up only 1 ER and 5 H over 7.2 IP

Guthrie pitched this line tonight: 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 5:1 K:BB.  Very nice. On top of all of his stuff, and definitely was liking the changeup use throughout the game.

Alfredo Simon is now 5-5 in save opps.  Will Ohman still has not let up an earned run.

Things seem to be coming together.  Tonight really made the O’s look like a baseball team.  The starting pitcher went deep into the game, the relief guy did his job, and the hitting looked like this (from Yahoo!):


 Baltimore
  AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg 
C. Patterson lf 4 2 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 .462
A. Jones cf 4 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 .245
N. Markakis rf 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 .301
M. Tejada 3b 4 1 2 3 0 0 1 0 1 .288
L. Scott dh 5 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 2 .232
T. Wigginton 2b 5 1 3 1 0 0 2 0 3 .304
M. Wieters c 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 .270
R. Hughes 1b 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 5 .213
C. Izturis ss 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 5 .202
 Totals 37 8 14 7 0 6 7 0 24

 
Why this is so good?  Check it out.  Top 6 hitters: 14-26.  Bottom 3: 0-11.  That’s how a baseball team works!  Yea, there are the games where a 9 or 8 spot shows off, but usually Cesar Izturis should not be the star hitter of this team in that slot.  They looked like an all around good hitting team tonight.

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Now with no school, I will be focusing on this blog a lot more.  More write-ups, and more info.  Will do more random pieces not specifically on games.  For example, one Sunday hopefully on Corey Patterson, and another on Andy MacPhail and his working devices.  Still working on making this a better blog with pictures and all too.  All a work in progress, but the progress is definitely coming so watch out!

Off to bed so I can be up early to get out for the game!  My newest idea: taking a small-ish white board to a game.  It’s like a non-permanent poster that you can change as much as you want to say anything!  I’m tempted to do it…

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