With Melvin Mora heading to the disabled list, I guess we can expect a pretty set lineup for the foreseeable future. Losing Mora hurts for a host of reasons. Without him, Trembley is pretty much forced to use Felix Pie AND Luke Scott every day. Wigginton should move into the role of everyday third baseman, Scott the DH and Pie the LF. Ryan Freel could spell either Pie or Scott, but that leaves you with only Moeller and Andino as your right handed bats on the bench. And let’s be honest, Ryan Freel isn’t a name you want to see in the starting lineup anyway. The guy’s still searching for his first hit.
The problem is really Andino. I’m fine with Wigginton at third for the time that Mora is out, but if the Orioles weren’t forced to keep Andino, they could recall someone like Scott Moore or Lou Montanez and give Trembley a little flexibility. It will be interesting to see what they do, but the Mora injury leaves him in a tough spot. UPDATE: The Orioles have officially placed Alfredo Simon and Melvin Mora on the 15 Day DL. They have recalled Radhames Liz and Matt Albers. I guess Trembley is being cautious with a depleted bullpen for tonight’s game, and a long weekend series looming in Boston. Overworking his bullpen early in the season is the last thing he needs. Still, the thin bench is going to pose a problem when it comes to those late-inning matchups. It’s really a one man bench when you think about it. He’s not going to lift anybody in that lineup in favor of Andino, and Zaun is a switch, so Moeller’s of little use unless he starts. I guess the solution is to just avoid close games, huh?
The bigger problem with the whole situation is that the bottom three, a combination of Pie, Zaun and Izturis, is hitting a combined .194. The Orioles have gotten away with some subpar pitching performances to this point, but they can’t expect it to continue- especially if the bottom third of the order isn’t getting on base. It’s actually pretty remarkable that Adam Jones has 8 RBI hitting out of the 2 hole. Hopefully that stretch of the order can turn things around tonight and pick up a little confidence heading to Boston.
Speaking of Jones- he’s struck out 10 times to this point, twice as much as anyone else besides Wigginton. That’s a little more than you might like from your two hitter, but it’s not like he’s grounding into any DP’s either. With Mora out, and the bottom of the order struggling, it probably wouldn’t be the worst time to shake things up and put a little power lower in the order, but nothing seems to be broken yet, so why fix it?
There’s not much you can say about Sherrill’s performance last night. Honestly, the guy should have third degree burns by now the way he’s been playing with fire. Somehow it managed to work out last night, but it’s also one of the rare times he’ll get handed a four run lead. I’d like to see him straighten things out, but if I were Trembley, I’d start thinking about a Plan B.
The good news is that the O’s get a look at Kris Benson tonight. Benson yielded 7 earned runs in his first start- and that wasn’t even in Arlington. (I heard somewhere that it’s a real hitter’s ballpark down there) I can’t imagine Benson having any real success against this lineup, and he may just give the bottom third some much needed medicine. I’ll call the sweep. O’s win 11-4.