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Well, the O’s are back in the win column a little more often than not lately.  That sounds so positive as compared to how the team is truly doing.

I had my first week of finals, and this week brings another.  Hoping to be done everything by Wednesday.  Also was in Cleveland all this past weekend, including attending the Indians vs. Tigers game Friday night.  Caught 5 baseballs even without a glove, would have had 12+ with one because of how empty it was and how many I had to let drop so my hands wouldn’t break.

Instead of doing stat analysis, or game by game conversations, I am just going to look over a few topics shortly.  This week, I will be once again doing the game by game stuff with more topics thrown in weekly.

The bullpen has been good, the starting pitching has been mostly solid, and the hitting is more inconsistent than Kyle Boller.  Moves are coming soon.  Corey Patterson is hitting .370 in Norfolk, and will probably be up for Montanez soon.  By all the talk, that may not be all.  In terms of pitching, there won’t be any big moves that we can foresee coming since no pitcher is really too far out of it.  The hitting is the problem.

From the Orioles website (orioles.com):

.400
.298
.284
.283
.283
.247
.244
.237
.230
.226
.203
.186
.143
.114
.067
.000

Those are the averages of Orioles hitters.  Names aren’t even important.  Knowing the numbers of slugging and hitting with RISP aren’t important, either.  It has come down to guys needing to hit in general, not just in the clutch.  Markakis, Wigginton, and Wieters are all below .300.  Nobody is above .300 (except Felix Pie, whoopee).  Guys are below .200.  That’s just great…

Good bullpen news:

The O’s seem to have found a closer in Alfredo Simon.  And a new (maybe temporary but still for now) set-up guy in Uehara.  In 6 appearances, Simon is 3-3 in save opportunities, and in 6 IP, has only allowed 6 hits, 0 ER, and has 7 Ks and only 4 BBs.  Uehara, in his 2 IP in 2 appearances, has only allowed 1 H and 0 ER, along with 2 Ks.

Ohman, through 11 IP in 16 appearances, has still not earned a run.  Berken and Meredith are both also set in position so far, neither with an ERA over 2.  These 3 combined have the following stat line:

36.2 IP, 27 H, 5 ER, 26:11 K:BB ratio, and a stellar ERA of 1.23.

Pitching looks good.  Matusz had his first rocky start after 4 consecutive quality starts, but he should be back on track soon enough.  Especially with his T-shirt Tuesday being tomorrow night.

The Orioles homestand now looks like this:

3 games vs. Mariners
3 games vs. Indians
2 games vs. Royals

Even with 2 of those M’s games being against Lee and Hernandez, the O’s should be able to split this 8 game homestand, if not wint 5 or 6 at least.  That would be a huge boost.  We will have to wait and see what the club does in terms of roster moves to set this team straight.

Always remember to follow along with the sites I have listed under links.  They will always have the best O’s info available.

Keep up with http://baltimoresportsreport.com/  They have daily articles and write-ups about Baltimore sports and a lot about the Orioles.  Taking part in the discussions on the site is very interesting.  They also have lots of interesting stuff like contests and interviews with players and commentators.

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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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.

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