Two games in, and plenty to be concerned abou

April 05, 2007 | Thyrl Nelson

Two games into the Orioles’ season, and there is plenty to be concerned about. After watching the O’s play their first two games however, there is plenty to be excited about too. After hitting Santana pretty hard in the opener, the O’s bats were frustrated by Boof Bonser, who is coming off a fantastic spring by the way. Aubrey Huff looks solid so far; too bad there weren’t a couple more of him available on the free agent market. Considering that Huff is capable of playing 5 different positions in the lineup, including DH, a couple of more guys like that could make this team fearsome.

Although Bedard was hit hard in the opener too, you have to believe that he’ll come around. The Twins are after all a pretty good hitting team, a fact that makes Cabrera’s performance in the second game all the more impressive. Aside from his error in the fifth, which wasn’t actually called an error by the way, Cabrera was dominant. Even more impressive was the fact that he seemed to get stronger as he went along, and especially after his defensive miscue. I think Daniel Cabrera in previous seasons would have been prone to
meltdown after a miscue like that, but he was able to maintain his composure. In fact Cabrera’s mound presence was about as even as I have ever seen him.

Cabrera also seemed to work well with Alberto Castillo, but the loss of Ramon Hernandez was glaring once again. The winning run was put into scoring position when a horrible throw from Castillo allowed Jason Tyner to literally crawl into scoring position. Still, Castillo seemed to be at least part of the reason for Cabrera’s strong performance and perhaps could be Cabrera’s catcher once Hernandez returns.

Melvin Mora may be the key to the O’s success this year. The No. 2-hole is the easiest place to get pitches to hit if the rest of the lineup is respectable, and the O’s lineup seems to be. This is a good fit for Mora
too, as he is clearly the best bunter on the team. I would have liked to see him try to squeeze the run home with Corey Patterson at third base in the top of the seventh inning. It’s a tough call after he already hit a
home run, but he is the best bunter on the team, and Patterson our best base runner, with the way Daniel was throwing that’s what I would have liked to see them do.

I heard a lot of buzz about dish customers not being able to get MASN today. I only heard a little but am a bit confused. I have a dish, it’s with the big network that has the monopoly on the NFL, and have gotten MASN since the inception of the Nationals it’s way up on channel 626 and they didn’t advertise it much. Tonight they had the O’s on a station called RSN-a, it stands for regional sports network alternative I think, and was up in the 670’s. I don’t know about that other dish company, are they like the beta-max of TV?

Speaking of advertising on MASN, I love the commercial with Tippy Martinez picking off the three Blue Jays, but maybe someone can help me understand the Grady Sizemore commercial. With Johnny Damon, Vernon Wells, or Carl Crawford all playing centerfield for division rivals, why are we warning Grady Sizemore to play deep? Are casual fans really aware of Grady? If they were just trying to use a catchy name, Coco Crisp would have fit the bill and also plays centerfield in the division.

It was a slow day in fantasy baseball with about half of the league off on Tuesday, and I am still losing both of my games. I also found out this week that ESPN got rid of the Diamond Daily, which was truly the best free fantasy game on the Internet, I haven’t heard any explanation as to why yet. It’s just one more way that baseball in general continues to be more and more of a letdown each year.

O’s fans get their first chance to see Jaret Wright On Wednesday when he faces off against Ramon Ortiz for the Twins. Too bad it isn’t Russ Ortiz, and too bad also that we’ll be getting out of town without getting to
face Sidney Ponson, who has surfaced in the Twins rotation. Hopefully we’ll be able to steal one before heading to the Bronx for the weekend, this club could sure use a boost going in there. Hopefully Jaret Wright will give us at least 6 innings too, after getting just 14 outs from Bedard in the opener, 21 from Cabrera on Tuesday was strong. It’s my opinion that the O’s pitchers getting through the sixth or even the seventh inning consistently will be the biggest key to their success this year.

The bullpen is sure to log some innings in the Bronx; the Yanks are an offensive powerhouse once again and are sure to test Loewen and Trachsel. Staying afloat while we wait to get back Payton and Hernandez could be tough if their injuries linger. The O’s only have 2 off days this month, and one of them is on Thursday so it will be a test of will trying to fight through April against the likes of New York, Detroit, Toronto, Oakland, Boston and Cleveland without much rest. It looks like we’ll be seeing if that bullpen money was well spent right out of the gate.

Please Email any thoughts, questions, comments or ideas to thyrl@wnst.net and I will respond to as many as I can here in this forum.

TN

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