Reaching the Breaking Point.

The Orioles have made a roster move today calling up Corey Patterson (the one and the same Corey from a few years past).  It seems like the one who will be sacrificed will be Nolan Reimold.  And, I couldn’t like this move any less.  Sure Reimold was struggling, but he is a future piece of the puzzle, and he deserved to get at least another 200 at bats before the Orioles pulled the plug on a guy like this.  Add to it there are people on this club doing FAR worse then Nolan.  Oh…add to it Nolan was on a three game hit streak.  If someone were to go back and look at his past six games played they would see a guy with the line of .300 with 1 HR, 2 runs scored, and 2 walks…go figure the Orioles take someone who may actually be coming out of a slump, and place them somewhere else.  Add to it Reimold was a patient hitter who worked pitchers when he was at the plate.  The Orioles have only one guy in the lineup that can tax a pitcher now (Nick Markakis).  This move is being done because Nolan had one bad game last night in some pretty unfavorable conditions.  If this was Andy McPhail’s call then I’m just plain disappointed by his lack of research into the situation.  If this was Dave Trembley’s decision it wouldn’t suprise me.  He needs to be fired, and fired now.  I am more then tired of Dave talking in circles whenever he is asked a question in a news conference.  I’m tired of seeing him mismange his players constantly.  I’m just plain tired of him, and I refuse to give in anymore to a team that puts its blind faith behind a manager who can’t win in the majors, and couldn’t even win in the minors.  Oh, don’t let me forget about his attention to detail.  We all can see how funamentally sound the Orioles are.

 

It’s time for a major overhaul.  The only coach that stays in my book is Kranitz.  The rest…See ya don’t let the door slam on your way out.  Or let the door slam, I don’t care.  Just as long as Dave Trembley, and even Terry Crowley are both terminated.

 

How much do people want to say the odds of the Orioles scoring more then 1 run this game?  I’m going to say 10-1.  This team is lead by the most worthless manager in the major leagues.  Dave may be worse then Kansas City’s Trey Hillman who is beyond bad.  I guess we can see a common denomenator between Kansas City (bad team), and the Orioles (bad team).  They each have horrible managers in place.  I can care less how great a man Dave is, when it comes to baseball Dave don’t know (but Bo knows, that’s for sure).

If I have any fans who are loyal readers, I apologize.  I have to take a break from this team.  They have finally pushed my buttons in such a fashion that I can barely even think of writing about them.  I’d rather be kicked repeatedly in my man parts then have to listen to anything else regarding this team and how poorly run they are.  Option Nolan Reimold…sure…HORRIBLE.  A goat could run this team better then Dave Trembley could. 

Paging Andy McPhail:

If you want to make a statement, FIRE YOUR MANAGER.  Or, you could always sacrifice Luke Scott instead.  See, those moves would make sense.  Optioning Nolan makes NO SENSE.  Andy, quick words of advice for you:

Bend Knees

Remove head from sphincter

Look around, the sky is blue and the grass is green!

Oh, and fire Dave Trembley.  K Bye. 

On the Good Foot

The Orioles won the first game in the series against the Twins.  There wasn’t much offense to speak of for either side, but Ty Wigginton continued his onslaught against anyone who is throwing a baseball towards him.  He hit a two run home run, and those would be the only runs needed.  Brad Bergesen picked up his second win of the year in dominating fashion.  He went 6.2 innings of shut out baseball.  He didn’t strike anyone out, but he didn’t need to.  The Twin hitters were drilling the ball into the ground batter after batter.  Will Ohman came in to the game in the 7th to face Justin Morneau and Jim Thome.  Ohman walked Morneau, but struck out Thome in dramatic fashion.  Koji Uehara, in his first appearance of the year, put the Twins down in order in the 8th.  Alfredo Simon recorded his third save of the year.  It was a fantastic pitching performance for the Orioles.

Three Stars of the Game:
*Brad Bergesen: Bergy had the one thing working that he needed to have going and that was his sinker.  Last night, nobody could square up on that pitch.  He was fantastic.  Easily his best start of the season, and according to Trembley “the best game he has ever seen Bergy Pitch”.
*Ty Wigginton: Can we say All-Star?  If he keeps up this type of production, why not?  He now has 10 home runs on the year, and 19 RBI.  
*Koji Uehara: It was great to see him come back, and not pull a hammy or hurt anything.  This guy has seemingly been injured since day one, but he showed that when he is in he really stabilizes the bullpen.  Three up three down doesn’t hurt either.
Star Gazers:
Rhyne Hughes: He almost helped the Orioels make things interesting in the 7th when he couldn’t come up with a hard grounder.  It would have gotten Bergy out of the 7th inning.  He has been in a bit of a swoon lately, and we don’t want to see it translating to his play on the field as well as at the plate.  
Adam Jones: 0-4, 2K’s.  He has a long way to go hitting wise.  Clearly, he is not a finished product at this point, but the Orioles have to keep putting him out in the field.  He has to turn it around.  If the O’s ever get Brian Roberts back, that could really help Adam.  He is not a lead off hitter, and he is forced into this role.  It’s seemingly killing him at the plate.
Nolan Reimold:  He went 0-3, but only saw 9 pitches.  He isn’t trying to use the whole field, and he needs to do that in order to be successful at this level.  He is slowly clawing out of his struggles, but one can only wonder how long it will take.  The conditions probably didn’t help, but the Orioles need this guy to really step it up.  It’s no longer the first month of the season, and this can’t continue for much longer.   
There won’t be a game tonight on account of SNOW.  The Orioles will play a double header tomorrow to make up for tonight. Kevin Millwood starts the first game for the O’s followed by Jeremy Guthrie in the night game.
Everyone should check out Steve Melewski’s piece about the Orioles and their struggles.  Anyone can find that article…here

Who Sucked Out the Feeling?

Well, after a sweep of the Red Sox, all the promise and hope seems to have been sucked out of the Orioles after being on the wrong end of a sweep in New York.  The O’s lost 4-1, 4-1, and 7-5 in the three games against the Yankees.  It’s getting progressively harder to write things concerning the Orioles due to how horrid this season has gone.  It’s like I’m writing the exact same things over and over again.  The O’s start a four game series against the Twins, who are very good as well.  Hopefully, they will be without Joe Mauer for all four games.

Andy McPhail came out and put the players on notice with his words about the offense.  Everyone can find the article…here

I’m not entirely sure where McPhail’s logic is coming from seeing as how the options at Triple A Norfolk in the hitting department aren’t stellar.  There is one move I would like to see the Orioles make (aside from replacing Dave Trembley as manager with a high energy guy) is to send Luke Scott and Lou Montanez to Triple A for Jeff Salazar and Corey Patterson.  Neither Patterson or Salazar are great options, but at least this would send a message to the club.  Luke Scott has been a horrendous of late, and needs a change.  Give him two-three weeks at triple A to see if he can recapture both his confidence and his talent with a bat.  The good thing about Patterson and Salazar is that they both have major league experience so they could provide depth on a bench that has been taxed by injury so early on in the season.  Actually, thinking about it more, Salazar and Patterson actually provide better outfield defensive options off the bench then Lou Montanez does, and provides a shot of speed to a lineup that is last in the majors in steals.  Patterson is hitting right now, which doesn’t say much, but at least he may actually show the ability to put bat to ball. 

Koji Uehara will be back soon, and Alberto Castillo is returning to Norfolk to open a spot on the roster for Koji.

This season is a trainwreck so far, and there aren’t many choices the O’s can make to improve.  As I’ve said all along, Dave Trembley has to be replaced.  He is a good guy, just not the guy for this job. 

Would anyone like to postulate on how to get a guy like Prince Fielder, or Adrian Gonzalez?  I would like to see Prince in an O’s uniform.  He gets paid a lot more at present, but Gonzalez is due a huge payday.  I think it would take a combination of this to nab him: Arrieta/Erbe/Britton, Guthrie, Snyder/Reimold/Pie.  I would throw in David Hernandez as well making the ideal package:

1) David Hernandez (shows promise with live fastball, major league experience, can be a future reliever, or starter.  Probably will do better in the NL)

2) Jeremy Guthrie (MLB, solid back end of the rotation pitcher)

3) Zach Britton (AA, Top 50 prospect in the Major Leagues)

4) Brandon Snyder (AAA)

FOR

1) Prince Fielder (MLB, Brewers, 1B)

2) Joe Inglett (solid backup infielder)

3) If possible ask for a minor league position player with promise ((Lorenzo Cain(OF)/Logan Shafer(OF)/Scooter Ganett(SS), or even if possible Mat Gamel(3B) would be the options))

It’s Alive!

I guess the title of this entry shouldn’t be “It’s Alive” rather “They’re Alive”.  The Orioles have won their first series of the year, and have a chance to sweep the Boston Red Sox today.  Brad Bergesen came back from his short one start tune up at triple A Norfolk to go 5 innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits while striking out 2.  It wasn’t a great day for Bergy, but compared to his earlier starts this year this one was head and shoulders better.  I thought he could have pitched the sixth inning after holding the Sox to no runs in the fifth, but Dave Trembley had other ideas.  It’s probably best he didn’t send Bergy back out, but I like that type of vote of confidence.  Bergy picks up his first win of the season.  

Besides that, the Orioles decided to play a version of slugfest with the Sox.  There were 9 total home runs last night.  5 by the Orioles, and 4 by the Sox.  Ty Wigginton had two shots, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters added three run home runs, and Luke Scott added a solo shot of his own.  Nick Markakis matched his career high for RBI in a game with 5.  Alfredo Simon came on to get the save.  
This was one exciting game, and I can’t wait to see how this series wraps up today.  Josh Beckett goes for Boston, and he hasn’t been very good this season so far.  Let’s hope the Orioles pressure him early and often.
Three Stars of the Game:
Ty Wigginton: He hit 2 more home runs last night.  He is the Orioles’ MVP so far this year.  It’s great to see him rebound like he has so far this year.  He may be playing his way onto the American League All-Star Team
Nick Markakis: Ok, we all know Nick can hit.  We just hadn’t really seen it up to this point.  We’ve seen glimpses, but never the full thing.  Last night we saw Nick swinging the stick real well.  I bet you he’d agree there after a 5 rbi day, and a nice three run home run to boot.
Adam Jones:  Boy, that talk with Terry Crowley has really seemed to put Jones back on the map in terms of hitting.  He added two more hits last night; scored three runs; and had an RBI of his own.  He even walked, and if you’ve watched Adam play you know that “getting on base by walk” is not in his vocabulary.  
Star Gazers:
Cesar Izturis:  He can’t hit.  We all know this.  He went 0-4 last night.  I just expect him to get out.  If the Orioles want to really move up in the standings they are going to have to find a shortstop who has a better chance at the plate.  Don’t get me wrong, Izzy is a very solid major league shortstop in the field.  But at the plate, it’s just terrible to watch.  You can’t have a guy who may or may not top the 50 RBI mark in your lineup.  End of story.  Who cares that he hits number 9 in the order.  Let’s go down the list in the AL East and look at short stop production: 
Boston: Marco Scutaro- .287 avg, .362 on base percentage, 2 HR, 7 RBI
New York Yankees: Derek Jeter-  .327 avg, .356 on base percentage, 4 HR 19 RBI
Tampa Bay Rays: Jason Bartlett- .265 avg, .327 on base percentage, 0 HR, 16 RBI
Toronto Blue Jays: Alex Gonzalez-.277 avg, .305 on base percentage, 7 HR, 19 RBI
Baltimore Orioles: Cesar Izturis- .246 avg, .288 on base percentage, 0 HR, 4 RBI
Does anyone else see the difference, or does it need to be spelled out?  Being a number 9 hitter, the only job Izzy should focus on is getting on base.  With an on base percentage under 300, it’s obvious he isn’t making it happen.  Not only do the Orioles need to find the big heavy hitter for the middle of the lineup, they have to find a guy who can provide balance between offense and defense from the short stop position.  We have to field talent that is on par with the rest of this division.  Izzy is a fun player to watch, but he isn’t a starter for an AL East club.
In other news, Jim Johnson was optioned to triple A Norfolk to make room for Brad Bergesen. Johnson really struggled of late, so this is a very good move.  I like Johnson a lot, and I look forward to seeing him a little later in the summer after he gets his head straightened out.  Rhyne Hughes added another two hits last night, and is now hitting a cool .304 on the year.  Koji Uehara will complete his rehabilitation assignment tomorrow.  If he is ok after pitching two days in a row he will return to the Orioles.  A corresponding roster move would have to be made.  I’m not sure who it may be that gets sent down.  We’ll just have to wait and find out when it happens.
Mark Hendrickson- He started off great in the sixth inning.  The seventh is where problems seemed to pop up all over the place for Hendrickson.  In his second inning of work he gave up 4 runs.  He needs to be a little more on point then that.  Close games are fun, but blow outs are really good too.
Brad Bergesen:  I’m putting him on here because I’m tired of getting on Luke Scott.  Everyone who reads this blog knows I don’t think Luke Scott is a major league player.  But, Bergy had a lot to prove tonight.  He didn’t pitch great, but he was effective.  He still is getting way too far underneath his pitches which can spell serious doom for him.  This was definitely his best start for the Orioles this year, so here’s hoping that he’s starting to get into a small rhythm after a short spring training where he didn’t get the reps he needed.  I pull for Bergy.  I like him as a ballplayer, but he needs to start getting on top of those pitches.

They Came, They Saw, They Beat Up The Orioles

The Yankees have come, and gone, for the first time this year.  They left Baltimore with two wins out of three.  If you’re an Orioles fan, I guess you should be thankful for that one win the O’s were able to squeek out during this series.  AJ Burnett stymied an already struggling Oriole offense allowing 3 hits and no runs in his 8 innings of work.  Brian Matusz went 6 innings giving  up 9 hits and 3 runs.  He wasn’t as sharp as we’ve grown accustomed to this year, but he was still on top of his game.  Alberto Castillo has ended his streak of appearances without giving up a run.  He went 1 inning while giving up 2 hits and 1 run.  The main statement from this game, on the pitching front, came from Matt Albers.  Apparently, he wants to stay in the majors.  He went an inning and a third of no hit shut out baseball, but this performance seems to be coming a little bit too late for him to maintain that roster spot seeing as how the Orioles will have to make a roster move for Brad Bergesen who is starting tomorrow night.  Jason Berken rounded things out by going two thirds of an inning without allowing a hit or run lowering his ERA to 1.32.  You can’t say pitching was the problem last night.  It’s all the offense, or lack thereof.  I think my old metro baseball team could hit more consistently then this group of Orioles.

Offensively, it seems like there is just no end in sight to these struggles.  The Orioles managed three hits total: one each from Jones, Izturis, and Wigginton.  That was it.  If anyone has a sure fire pick me up idea for this offense I would suggest contacting the Oriole dugout, or front office.  Nothing is working with these guys.  It’s painful to watch.  Thankfully, I fell asleep during this game so I didn’t have to suffer through the misery of watching the Orioles sink any farther down the drain. 

Were there any stars of the game last night?  Yes, but not for the Orioles.  And, in no way will I praise anyone wearing pinstripes in this space. 

I’m not quite sure what the problem is, but this team shows zero will to win on a nightly basis.  It’s becoming rare to see them play with such tenacity required to win a game at the major league level.  The O’s have now lost every series in April.  If they lose today, they will have gone 4-19 in the first month of the season.  Right now the Orioles are on pace to win 28 games.  Hopefully, that won’t happen.  I originally predicted this team could challenge the 90 win mark, but after witnessing what has transipired over this month, I highly doubt they can top 70 wins.  I’ll have to get on my horse to pay off the debt created through my now foolhardy bets with friends about these Orioles.  Maybe we just need to get out of April and into May before we actually get to watch real baseball.  I’m holding out hope for that.

The Orioles begin another series with the Red Sox.  We played them quite close earlier, so maybe we can use the Sox as the tipping point back to respectability.  It seems, right now, that the Orioles will be instrumental in determining who will win the AL East.  I don’t mean this in a good way.  Basically, whoever beats up on the Orioles the most will win this division. 

I don’t know if we can expect them to win tonight seeing as how the Orioles are 0-13 in David Hernandez’ starts dating back to last year.  He gets virtually zero run support on a nightly basis.  Seeing the Oriole offense struggle in the Yankee series doesn’t inspire confidence in me that they can actually turn the tide tonight against the Sox.  We’ll see though.

 

The Loosing Streak Ends in Fenway

The Orioles won today 7-6 in 10 innings.  There isn’t much else to say about this game other then it was a total team effort.  David Hernandez pitched well today, but only could last 5 innings.  He must be pleading to the Oriole offense to get him some run support.  In his starts this year, the Orioles have scored exactly 4 runs total.  You won’t get many chances to get a win with such low run support.  Mark Hendrickson did not impress in his 2/3rds of an inning.  He allowed two inherited runners to score, and another was charged to him when Jason Berken couldn’t hold off Mike Lowell.  Berken started off rocky, but turned out a solid outing by limiting the damage in his one inning of work.  Alberto Castillo also impressed out of the bullpen going 2/3rds of an inning recording a strike out.  Jim Johnson pitched somewhat inconsistently.  He went 2 innings while giving up 5 hits and 2 runs.  He was being asked to go almost three innings total which is not his game.  He came in and got out of the 8th inning without a problem.  He also had no problem in the bottom of the ninth.  It was his appearance in the 10th inning where the Red Sox really started to hit Johnson hard.  In retrospect, Johnson was probably asked to pitch too long.  Cla Meredith came in and recorded the save. I totally forgot Cla was on this team!  He is a guy I’d like to see used much more.  He has a deceptive delivery, gets ground balls, and throws strikes.  It was great to not see Matt Albers or Kam Mickolio enter the game.  Dave Trembley really managed the game well today.  He can only put his players in the correct positions, and then it’s up to the players to perform.  Dave’s decisions today were great.

The offense recorded another double digit hit game by getting 14 hits in this game.  Nolan Reimold, Rhyne Hughes, Miguel Tejada, and Cesar Izturis each had two hits a piece.  Nolan looked much better today, and I’m really hoping he is starting to right his ship.  Miguel Tejada could have easily had two more hits today if it weren’t for great plays out of Boston’s third baseman Adrian Beltre.  Rhyne Hughes has really impressed in his short time in the major leagues.  His second hit scored the run that put the Orioles ahead, and seemingly opened the flood gates for the offense in the top of the tenth to really capitalize.  He also could have had another hit if he weren’t robbed by a great diving catch from left fielder Bill Hall.  I really like this kid.  Overall, the Orioles got clutch hits from guys who they needed production from: Nick Markakis, Luke Scott, Matt Wieters, and Ty Wigginton.  
The bullpen is still a problem, but I think Dave is starting to figure out the right players for certain situations.  Berken, Castillo, and Meredith should be given more opportunities to succeed in pressure situations.  Matt Albers and Mark Hendrickson should be held out for long relief roles.  Jim Johnson is fine in his current role.  Koji Uehara will start his injury assignment with double A Bowie by throwing in relief Tuesday and Thursday.  Hopefully, he will come back and take over the closer role.  He was a successful closer in Japan so he may be the best option we have to close out games.  
Dave Watch:
This is a new section where I’m going to monitor Dave Trembley.  Ken Rosenthal of Fox sports has reported that the Orioles will most definitely be the first team to replace their current manager.  I know I’ve been critical of Dave Trembely, but let’s be clear here: I do not want a change if it’s really not needed.  I’ve said before that these players need to have consistency.  We don’t need to be making knee jerk reactions.  They need to be well founded, and neccessary.  I don’t think Dave should be fired immediately, but he is on a very short leash.  In this series, he has generally made correct call after correct call.  He just hasn’t placed the correct player in the correct situation.  Today, he made the correct calls all over the field for the entire game.  He was aggressive in his use of the bench which was nice to see.  He put pitchers in the right situations.  This game should give him some brownie points.  Right now I say he has a 70 percent chance of losing his job before the all-star break.     Hopefully, I’ll be able to continually lower that percentage as the season goes on.
On to the award ceremony:
Three Stars of the Game:

*Rhyne Hughes: For the second consecutive game, Rhyne finds himself on this list.  He played extremely well again today going 2-4 with a single, double, RBI, run scored, and a walk.  This kid has been nothing but tremendous so far.  I really hope he can continue this because he sure is exciting to watch.

*Nolan Reimold: Nolan batted leadoff today, and I thought he played quite well.  He went 2-5 with a run scored.  The drawback from today was that he struck out three times.  He seems to be turning a small corner at the plate which is a very good thing.  He also played very well out in left field.  Solid game from Nolan today.

*Miguel Tejada: Miggy was on fire today.  He hit the ball hard all day long.  Beltre robbed him twice of hits that would have scored runs, but Miggy got even by hitting a 2-run home run to tie the game at 4.  Miguel also started off the game changing tenth inning by singling to start the ultimate rally.  He is starting to really heat up at the plate, and it should have a trickle down effect on the rest of the lineup.

Star Gazers:

Mark Hendrickson: He did not look good on the mound today.  His ball caught way too much of the plate way too often, and the Red Sox hitters made him pay.  He allowed both of the runners he inherited from David Hernandez to score, and that’s not part of his job description.  He must improve if he wants to have a prominent role in this bullpen.

Jim Johnson: While he did pitch a very solid 1 and a 1/3rd inning of relief, his performance when we needed him to shut the door was pretty abismal.  He gave up hard hit balls, runs, and just generally seemed to get flustered on the mound.  I don’t understand why the last inning of a game is such a task for this guy, but he can’t be relied upon to close the game out.  He literally can only hold the game for someone else.  This guy has the stuff, but the mental make up has to progress for him to really be a back of the rotat
ion type guy.
Adam Jones: He went 1-6.  We need him to keep up the production.  He started hitting the ball hard in the first two games of this series only to fall off today.  He does seem to be coming out of his slump, but ever so slowly.  It’ll be a real nice day when he does break out…especially if this offense really gets off to a serious roll.
The Orioles will have another day off tomorrow, and then face off with the Yankees at Camden Yards.  Tuesday’s game will feature Kevin Millwood vs Phil Hughes.

Into the 8th, 9th, and 10th

Ty Wigginton led off with a single up the middle.  Rhyne Hughes then was robbed on a ball to left field on a diving catch by Bill Hall.  Matt Wieters came up as a pinch hitter for Craig Tatum, and then proceeded to strike out.  Garrett Atkins came up for Cesar Izturis, and flew out to center field to end the Oriole half inning.

Alberto Castillo began the 8th by inducing a fly out to Reimold in left.  Trembley then removed him in favor of Jim Johnson.  Johnson retired Adrian Beltre on a ground out to Julio Lugo (who took over in the field for Izturis after Atkins pinch hit for him).  Bill Hall struck out to end the inning.  Nice inning from the bullpen.
9th inning:
In the Oriole half inning, Daniel Bard struck out Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.  Jim Johnson stayed in to pitch the bottom of the ninth.  Darnell McDonald led off the Boston half by singling up the middle.  Marco Scutaro bunted McDonald to second.  Johnson then struck out Dustin Pedroia for the second out of the inning.  Johnson got Victor Martinez to ground out to Rhyne Hughes at first base to end the inning.
10th inning:
Scott Atchison relieved Daniel Bard. I don’t understand this move, but I am glad for it.  Bard easily struck out the side in the 9th so it’s a nice thing to see him out of the game.  
Miguel Tejada led off the inning by singling to center field.  Luke Scott then doubled to deep left field. Ty Wigginton walked forcing Atchison from the game.  Scott Shoeneweis entered the game to face Rhyne Hughes.  Hughes then singled to right field to score Miguel Tejada.  Wieters singled to center field through a drawn in infield to score Luke Scott and Ty Wigginton.  Julio Lugo proceeded to pop a bunt up that was caught for the first out of the inning.  Terry Francona has apparently seen enough from Shoeneweis, and has gone to his bullpen again for Manny Delcarmen.
Delcarmen retired Montanez on a fly ball to left, and struck out Adam Jones to end the Oriole half.  Jim Johnson stayed in the game for the bottom of the tenth, and gave up a lead off double to Kevin Youkilis.  He got David Ortiz to fly out, but the fly out moved Youkilis to third. J.D Drew then doubled to score Youkilis.  Adrian Beltre singled to move Drew to third.  Bill Hall then singled to left to score Drew making the score 7-6 Orioles.  Trembley went to the bullpen after replacing Jim Johnson with Cla Meredith.
Meredith got Marco Scutaro to line out to Ty Wigginton to end the game.  The Orioles win 7-6, and end their 5 game losing streak.  Cla Meredith earns his first career save, and Jim Johnson gets the win. 

Not Again…(Updated)

This game is getting out of hand.  The Orioles have been able to plate one run against Tim Wakefield.  It’s quite depressing to watch.  The offense has had two chances to plate more runs, but they have been unable to perform.  The score should be 4-3 right now, but we are blessed with a team that has no idea what to do when runners are on base with nobody out.  David Hernandez pitched OK today.  He came out after he struggled in the 6th inning.  At that time he had only allowed one run.  Mark Hendrickson was called on, and failed.  Victor Martinez singled to right to score a run.  A hit from David Ortiz scored another run.  J.D Drew hit a sacrifice fly to score yet another run.  Jason Berken came in and allowed a double to Mike Lowell that scored yet another run.  Boston leads 4-1 into the top of the seventh.

I don’t know what to say concerning the Orioles.  This is definitely not something you can put on Dave Trembley.  He called on his most reliable relievers that he had, and they couldn’t come through either.  Not one person in the bullpen can do anything.  It’s disgusting.  It’s as if the Orioles need a complete overhaul already in that department.  I’m glad Dave tried to go with his hottest hands.  It’s just too bad his hottest hands can’t do much when the game matters.
Nolan Reimold led off the seventh with a double.  Adam Jones has moved him over after being robbed of a hit by another nice defensive play by third baseman Adrian Beltre.  The Orioles have one out in the inning with a runner on third base.  My money is on them not being able to get this run in.  Tim Wakefield has been removed from the game.in favor of Hideki Okajima.
Insta-Update:
Nick Markakis has doubled to left-center field to score Reimold.  4-2 Red Sox.  Miguel Tejada hit a 2-Run home run to tie the game.  It’s too bad that they couldn’t capitalize on the chances they had earlier in this game.  It probably wouldn’t matter seeing as how the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead even if they wanted to.
In the bottom of the seventh, Dustin Pedroia led off with a double off of Jason Berken.  Berken then retired the next two hitters.  Trembley chose to match up against David Ortiz by going to the bullpen for Alberto Castillo.  Castillo struck out Ortiz to end the inning.  Good comeback from Berken, and a good finish from Castillo.

Almost Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

The Orioles almost gutted this one out.  They end up losing 7-6.  Brian Matusz pitched effectively again going six plus innings while giving up 6 hits, 3 runs and striking out 4.  The offense was very good tonight as well.  The difference was the bullpen.  Dave Trembley went to the well after Brian Matusz seemingly fatigued in the 7th, and put in Matt Albers.  After Albers blew last night’s game, he was poised to do it again (or come out the hero).  If anyone has seen Albers pitch I guarantee they know what the usual outcome is: a poor outing.  Albers struck out David Ortiz, but then gave up a 3 run home run to Marco Scutaro. At that point, Boston led 4-3.  Kevin Youkilis added another  3 run home run off of Kam Mickolio also in that seventh frame to bring the score to 7-3.  The score stayed this way until the 9th inning where the Orioles were able to score 3 runs.  Adam Jones hit a solo home run after Lou Montanez grounded out.  Nick Markakis doubled off the wall in left-center field following Jones’ homer.  Tejada singled moving Markakis to third.  Matt Wieters singled in Markakis, and Luke Scott singled in Tejada after.  Ty Wigginton and Rhyne Hughes each struck out against Jonathan Paplebon to end the game.

The Orioles were 5-15 with runners in scoring position leaving 11 total men on base.  As I said earlier the Offense was not a problem tonight.  It was the bullpen.  Last night, Albers came on and did what he does very well: pitch ineffectively.  He came on in the 8th last night, and walked in the eventual winning run.  Tonight, he gave up the lead changing home run to Scutaro.  On the season Albers now has an ERA above 9.  He has pitched just under 9 innings while giving up 9 runs, and walking 7.  For whatever reason, this guy has our manager’s confidence.
I know I am overly critical of Dave Trembley.  But, these are the types of decisions that drive me up a wall.  I don’t think he made the wrong move removing Matusz from the game after two reached base in the 7th.  I have a problem with his decision to bring in Matt Albers.  The guy is struggling, and blew a lead the night before.  Dave seems married to the idea that each pitcher has their own role to fill, and whenever that situation comes up that pitcher goes in.  Well, Albers has the role of middle relief and has shown he is ill suited for it.  Out of the three years he has been with the club, he was able to do this job for exactly one season (and it was cut short by injury as well, and that was two years ago).  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in a slotted bullpen system to a degree.  The closer and set up roles can be defined concretely, but the rest should be who has the hottest hand.  One of our best relievers at the moment never gets used: Jason Berken.  Berken has pitched well in his appearances so far this year, but Trembley seems reluctant to bring him in to a game that matters.  Maybe he knows something we don’t, but I believe Berken has earned the chance to at least try to pitch in games where something is on the line.
Dave Trembley’s message to the offense seems to be working, but now it’s time for Dave to learn just a little more about managing; more specifically managing a bullpen.  Dave was able to institute the proper change in the offensive side of the ball, albeit a little too late for my liking, after his closed door meeting with the team.  He has recently taken control of things by trying different options.  The Orioles called up Rhyne Hughes, and instead of sitting him on the bench Dave inserted him into the lineup at first base.  I’m sure he knew how well Rhyne was hitting the baseball down in triple A.  Rhyne responded by going 2-5 with an RBI in his very first big league game.  The players also seem to have a much more disciplined approach at the plate.  If Dave could institute a change with the offense, he can do the same for the bullpen.  The difference is that he needs to get on his horse with this change.  He can’t let this bullpen problem become any more exacerbated then it already is.
He needs to understand how his players are performing.  Matt Albers is working as the anti-catalyst for this group. We don’t need new players, but we need a different combination.  In accounting, the primary rule is that “the equation must balance itself”, but right now one side of the equation isn’t equal to the other. This is what Dave should do concerning his bullpen:
1) Remove Albers from his current “role” of middle relief, and place him in the long relief role.
2) Promote Berken or Hendrickson to the middle relief “roles”.
3) Remove Kam Mickolio from his current middle relief role as well.  Albers and Mickolio should be used for only one batter if needed, or during games that are out of reach.  That way the stressful situations are controlled giving them time to regain their confidence/mechanics/whatever else they need to improve on.
4) Make sure you understand where your pitchers are at.  If Albers couldn’t get the big out the night before, why insert him into the same situation again tonight.  Kam Mickolio has been wild of late, and hasn’t shown the ability to get the big outs in the major league.  They have to have the resume in order to have access to those situations.  It’s just like the business world. If you want a promotion, you need to have the qualifications.  The same applies here.
That should help Dave just a little bit.  Sometimes I wonder why I know these things, and Dave seemingly does not.  It’s a bit shocking to me.
On to the award ceremony:
Three Stars of the Game:

*Nick Markakis: Nick went 2-3 in the game: a single and a double with a run scored, and two walks.  Nick looks really good at the plate right now.  That’s a really good signal for this offense.
*Ty Wigginton: This guy is really having a good season so far.  He went 4-5 today with his 6th home run of the year.  He looks like an everyday player now, and most likely will stay in the lineup even when Brian Roberts finds his way back.

*Rhyne Hughes: How can I not put the rookie here?  In his very first major league at bat he singled to right field, and drove in a run.  In his second at bat, he singled to left center field.  He was retired in his third at bat, but not before he hit a ball almost 400 feet to dead center field.  In his fourth at bat, he didn’t make good contact, but moved the runners over to third and second.  He struck out his last at bat, but oh well.  He had a really nice day, and I hope we get to see him in the lineup over and over again very soon.

Honorable Mentions: Luke Scott (3-5, RBI), Adam Jones (2-5, HR, RBI), Miguel Tejada (2-5, run scored, Matt Wieters (2-5, RBI, run scored), and Brian Matusz (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks).

Star
Gazing

Matt Albers: On the year he has pitched 8.2 IP, given up 10 hits, 9 earned runs while walking 7, and striking out 6.  Somehow this was his first blown save of the year.  He is the pitching version of Luke Scott: very good when he’s hot, very very bad when he’s cold.  Right now, he’s as cold as ice, or colder.
Lou Montanez: “Sweet” Lou went 0-5 today, and had some very poor at bats later in the game.  He had a chance to drive in a run, but instead killed the rally in the top of the second inning by grounding into a double play.  This is a guy fighting to stay in the major leagues.  When he gets these types of chances, he has to capitalize on them.  He didn’t capitalize tonight, and it came back to matter.  Had he driven in that run who knows where that inning could have gone.  Maybe the end result was the same, but putting that kind of pressure on the pitcher that early in the game is one thing that could have really turned the tide on this game early on.  You’ve got to kick these good teams when they are down, not let them get back up.
Kam Mickolio: Another guy who wants to show he deserves to be in the major leagues.  He certainly didn’t look like he should after giving up a back breaking three run home run.  Had he been able to control the damage, that rally late for the Orioles would have won the game.  Obviously that rally may not have happened, but after seeing the performance of Albers he has to shut the door for the Sox.  He didn’t do that tonight.  I like Mickolio, but I don’t think he is ready for any role in the majors.  He is still far too wild with his control.  That has to change if he wants to stick in the majors.
Tomorrow David Hernandez goes for his first win of the year against Tim Wakefield.  Hopefully the bats come out like they did tonight (6 runs, 17 hits total) to avoid the series sweep in Boston.

Last Night’s Game and The First Inning (Updated)

Last night, the Orioles continued their April swoon.  They lost the series opener to Boston by a score of 4-3.  Jim Johnson walked in the winning run for Boston.  Adam Jones hit a two-run home run in the loss.  Luke Scott also had an RBI.  The Orioles walked seven total as well.  Garrett Atkins struggled ending two innings with the bases loaded, and bunted into a fielders choice.  In total, Atkins went 0-4 with runners in scoring position.  The Orioles only went 1-10 with runners in scoring position on the game.  Miguel Tejada, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters all had two hits for the Orioles.  “Sweet” Lou Montanez also had a hit (just wanted to point that out.  He’s a lot of fun to watch).

The Orioles have made a move by calling up first baseman Rhyne Hughes.  Hughes was batting .375 for the Tides, and will take the place of Atkins (at least for tonight).  This will be Hughes’ major league debut.  Here’s hoping he can provide a spark on the offensive side.  With the Tides, he had either walked or reached by a hit in fourteen games with the Tides.  He sports plus power, but has the tendency to strike out more than one should.  
The First Inning:
Lou Montanez led off the game against Boston’s John Lackey.  He had a successful at bat in the sense that he saw a lot of pitches, and made Lackey work to get him out.  He ultimately flew out to left field.  Adam Jones came up second, and struck out on three pitches.  Adam is really struggling, and shouldn’t be batting so high in the order.  There comes a time when a guy just isn’t ready to be in a spot above 7 in the batting order.  Right now, Adam isn’t ready/prepared/disciplined enough to be the number 2 hitter.  Nick Markakis batted third, and drew a walk.  Miguel Tejada flew out to left to end the inning.
Brian Matusz started tonight for the Orioles.  He was strong in his first inning.  He set the first three Boston batters down in order.  One troubling sign was that Dustin Pedroia popped up to home plate (foul territory), and Matt Wieters never saw it.  The ball bounced pretty much off his back.  He needs to remember to get his mask off so he can see the ball properly.
Brady Anderson is doing the color commentary with Gary Thorne tonight.  It’s good to see Brady again, and has had some very good insights into the Orioles so far.  
Insta-Update:
Matt Wieters led off the second inning with a single to left field.  Luke Scott doubled off the “Green Monster” that scored Matt Wieters from first base.  Orioles lead 1-0 with no outs in the second inning.  Luke Scott is on second, so we’ll see if the Oriole hitters can move him over.
I can’t even finish updating things before something else happens.  Ty Wigginton came up after Luke Scott, and punched a single into center field.  Luke Scott was too slow to score from second.  Orioles have men on the corners with no outs.  For the first time in his career, Rhyne Hughes is stepping up to the plate.
AND, Rhyne Hughes starts his major league career by swining at the first pitch he sees from John Lackey, and singles to right field to score Luke Scott from third.  Rhyne was the best Tides hitter with runners in scoring position.  It’s great to see him continue to hit well with runners in scoring position.  I can tell I’m going to like this guy. Orioels 2, Sox 0.
I might as well just write through this second inning.  Cesar Izturis came up, and didn’t have a successful at bat.  I guess we shouldn’t expect him to do anything with the bat.  Lou Montanez grounded into a double play to end the inning…not good at bats from those two.  I like the aggression shown by the hitters with men on base so far in this game.  They just need to make sure its controlled, and they stay disciplined with what they need to be doing…like hitting the ball to the outfield or to the right side.  It’s a good sign they were able to string together hits, and plate two early in the game.  We’ll see if they can build off this.
Bottom of the Second, and Third Innings:
Brian Matusz gave up a single in the bottom of the second to Kevin Youkilis.  Then, Brian got Mike Lowell to ground into a double play.  Matusz struck out Jason Varitek to end the inning.
Adam Jones led off the third inning by bunting his way on.  This was a very nice thing to see from Adam.  The people who know me know I loved to bunt whenever I could back in my days of playing.  It opens up the infield for the hitter.  If Adam can continue to do these types of things it should go a long way in his offensive development.  
Markakis got robbed of a hit by Dustin Pedroia on a diving play up the middle.  Adam Jones ran on the play which made me think it was either a hit and run, or a run and hit.  I like what I’m seeing from the Oriole offense so far tonight.  They look aggressive on the basepaths, and look more disciplined at the plate.  Miguel Tejada just popped out to second…another bat at bat with a runner in scoring position.  Miggy has to get Jones to third.  He got the ball to the right side, but it was popped up.  Matt Wieters grounded out to Pedroia at second to end the inning.
Brian Matusz started off the botom of the third by getting Bill Hall to fly out to center field.  He walked Jeremy Hermida next.  I thought the umpire was squeezing the strike zone in that at bat.  It seems like Boston’s starter is getting a bigger strike zone then Matusz.  Matusz faced Darnell McDonald next (former Oriole first round pick), and struck him out on a beautiful change-up.  Marco Scutaro grounded out to Ty Wigginton to end the inning.  Matusz looks very strong tonight.  
I’ll update everyone after the game, but for now I want to relax and enjoy this game.  The Orioles actually seem to be playing good baseball tonight so that warrants my full attention.
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