Over this past weekend the Orioles made a couple of changes that are sure to make some of their fans very happy. It didn’t translate to a four game winning streak, but you couldn’t help but since a different feeling with Nolan Reimold called up, and Rich Hill off the DL.
Starting on Tuesday, when Adam Jones rejoins the outfield; the Orioles will send out three guys 25 and younger to man the outfield. We will see if the future is now. As I’ve said in a previous blog, I’m not concerned with wins and losses this year; so I want to try many things. This seems to be the time Reimold will get a shot. If it doesn’t work right away, we still can give minor league triple crown winner Lou Montanez more at-bats. Jones and Markakis are already pounding the ball proving themselves to be mainstays of the organization and Brian Roberts is having his usual stellar season. Although it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s only 31 and should be around long enough to see this youth movement yield fruit. The problems have been in Left, where we now see Reimold and at catcher where the appearance of Matt Wieters (which will come, don’t worry) has been eagerly anticipated. Brandon Snyder has been tearing up Double A and could fill the Ty Wigginton role later in the season. I think it is actually a pretty exciting time to be an Oriole fan, as we try out all these different cogs and see who can lock down spots for next year.
Whatever these young guns do, the problem with the current Oriole roster is with the pitching staff. No matter how he pitches the activation of Rich Hill almost has to be a step up over what Mark Hendrickson was providing. Hendrickson was not even averaging 5 innings a start and had a WHIP around two. Hill supplanted him on Saturday and threw 5 2/3 only giving up two runs. A very promising start for a pitcher that when last healthy had an ERA under 4.00 in 32 starts in 2007. He’s only 29 and if he can regain his old form could be an important piece of the pitching puzzle. If he pitches well and Bergesen is able to turn it around the pitching could move from weakness to strength as the year moves on. I don’t want the O’s to rush; but with Adam Eaton’s continued struggles, the arrival of Chris Tillman could be near. The 20 year olds dominance of Triple A batters is making him a very enticing option. One level below, Brandon Erbe, Troy Patton, and Jake Arrieta are all pitching well enough to warrant possible looks post All-Star break or definitely in September.
The rest of this season even with those guys on the big league club probably won’t be very pretty and not all of them will adjust to major league pitching and hitting right away. The sense I get though, is that better days are on the way. The Rays were bad in 2007, the Royals not so good last year; so lets have some hope and enjoy watching things develop. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed. This time.