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Tonight's Orioles - Yankees Lineups

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Tonight’s Orioles – Yankees Lineups

Posted on 09 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Tonight the Orioles and Yankees will tangle in Game 2 of their three-game set at Camden Yards tonight at 7:05.  Let’s hope that tonight the Orioles offense gets the memo.

Over the span of a long baseball season, 162 games, some nights you got it – some nights you don’t.  Last night, the O’s O didn’t have it… and whatever “it” is, CC Sabathia definitely had it.  The home team only managed to scratch out four hits over nine innings of shutout baseball pitched by the Yankee ace.  Sabathia allowed back-to-back singles in the first and in the ninth, but was in cruise-control all night striking out eight and walking just one.  Alex Rodriguez, appearing in his season-debut,  hit a three-run homer off O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie on the first pitch he saw in the first inning to give the Yankees all the offense they would need.  It should be noted though, after the tough top of the first Guthrie did settle and keep his team in the ball game and pitched five shutout innings afterward and struck out eight batters.

Adam Eaton will take the mound tonight  in his fifth start of the year, and if he doesn’t pitch significantly better than he’s shown to date,  it might be one of his last.  Eaton still has not shown much in his opportunity in the rotation compiling a 1-3 record with an ERA over seven.  Rich Hill has been showing progress in getting stretched out in his rehab starts in the minors and might be knocking on the door soon.  Eaton or Mark Hendrickson could be the odd man out with any more sub-par performances from either.

22-year old Yankee right-hander Phil Hughes will make his third start of the season for the big club after spending the beginning of the season in triple-A Scranton – Wilkes-Barre.  Back on April 28th, Hughes allowed only two Detroit hits over six innings in a victory over the Tigers, but five days ago at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox he struggled and took the loss while failing to get his club any outs in the fifth before being removed.

Here are the game’s staring lineups:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Melvin Mora – 3B
Luke Scott – DH
Lou Montanez – LF
Gregg Zaun – C
Cesar Izturis – SS

Yankees

Derek Jeter – SS
Johnny Damon – LF
Mark Teixeira – 1B
Alex Rodriguez – 3B
Hideki Matsui – DH
Nick Swisher – RF
Robinson Cano – 2B
Melky Cabrera – CF
Francisco Cervelli – C

Guthrie struck out 8 Yankees, but it wasn't enough to beat C.C. (Courtesy: MLB.com)

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If I Were In Charge Of The O’s

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Neal Bortmes

If I were in charge of the Orioles’ front office what would I do?  Well the Orioles are mired in a six game losing streak and have lost 14 of their last 18 games.  The precipitous fall down the standings has come about two months early this year and I for one would like to change that.

 

 

The first thing I would do is cut Adam Eaton and his 7.17 ERA.  Yes he did have that one good start against the White Sox, but as the saying goes a broken clock is right twice a day.  He is hardly the “veteran” presence that the O’s need when they eventually call up their pampered pitching prospects.  The second thing I would do is call up David Hernandez to take Eaton’s spot in the rotation.  Hernandez is a young guy who has been in the system a while and he deserves a shot, I think at worst he could post a 7.17 ERA and 1.73 WHIP.  And for those of you who are scared about hurting our young pitcher’s psyches it doesn’t appear that he is in the team’s long term plans for the future so seeing what he has to offer affords very little downside.  Right now Hernandez isn’t exactly tearing up AAA Norfolk but I guarantee you he can do better than Eaton.

 

 

As soon as Rich Hill proves that he is ready to return from the DL I would recall him and send Mark Hendrickson to the bullpen.  This move also has little downside because if Hill does not pan out the O’s didn’t really lose anything, but if he does regain the form that made him into a touted prospect he can help solidify the rotation.  I would say to cut Hendrickson but as he is owed considerably more than the $400,000 they are paying Eaton (1.5 million to be exact) he can serve out his term as a lefty reliever/mop-up guy and spot start in a pinch (he doesn’t have much arm left so blowing it out isn’t a concern).  This move of course would send Brian Bass and his 6.62 ERA to Norfolk to get some more “seasoning.”

 

 

The last pitching move I would make would be to replace George Sherrill as the closer.  Last season Sherrill showed signs of his inability to be the primary closer when he scuffled in the second half.  He has continued to regress this season from his All-Star worthy performance of a year ago.  I personally don’t care for the idea of a left-handed closer anyway.  With the game on the line I think the better match-up would be to have a right-handed power arm and it just so happens the Orioles have one of those in Chris Ray.  I think Ray will eventually round into form and reclaim the job as the season progresses but until then I would use a combination of either Jim Johnson or Ray (occasionally Sherrill) to finish games.  Let’s be honest with ourselves the Orioles will seldom be in the lead late in games this season so blowing saves will severely hamper the win total.  Sherrill is best in small doses as primarily a situational/set-up guy.

 

 

As far as the Felix Pie experiment I would have to call it a day for now and bring up Nolan Reimold.  Again Reimold has been in the organization for a few years and he deserves a shot with the parent club, especially the way he is tearing the cover off of the ball.  It would be a tough decision on what to do between Pie and Lou Montanez.  I would like to see Pie develop into something special but that day may never come.  He is a liability in leftfield, he runs the bases haphazardly like Melvin Mora, and he can’t pinch hit, so being the 4th outfielder is not really going to help him progress.  I have a feeling he may slide through waivers and if so I would send him down.  However if I thought he may be selected by another team I would have to send Montanez down just because of my desire to see Pie reach his promise.   As far as Ryan Freel is concerned I would try to trade him to the National League where he can get more playing time and not be such a distraction.  I don’t think he realizes that utility players batting well under the Mendoza line don’t play often in the American League.  If I couldn’t find a trading partner I would probably see if he would accept assignment because injuries could play a factor down the road and depth is something, as O’s fans we know all too well, is hard to do without.  Outright release would be the next option as far as Freel is concerned.

 

 

These are some of the moves I would definitely make if I were the in charge of the birds.  I would also like to address the Matt Wieters situation in more depth later because it is an interesting topic unto itself but obviously Greg Zaun isn’t cutting the mustard.  These are my thoughts what do you think they should do?  Post a comment so we can discuss.

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Orioles manager Dave Trembley argues with first base umpire Jerry Layne over balls and strikes in the fifth inning. Trembley was ejected from the game.

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Tonight’s Orioles – Rays Lineups

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Orioles are in Tampa, Florida tonight for a 7:08 first pitch in the opener a short two-game set against the Rays.  They’ll cap their five-game road-trip tomorrow afternoon with a 4:08 start at Tropicana Field before heading back to Baltimore.

The O’s come into the action still looking for their first road win of the year against a division opponent.  After losing all three contests in Toronto over the weekend and being swept four in a row at Fenway earlier, the Orioles now stand at 0-7 in such games.  Unfortunately, that’s not the only streak that needs breaking.  They’ve lost their last six overall, last eight on the road, and a troubling 10 straight in games decided by less than three runs.

This will be the Orioles and Rays second looks at one another, the two met at Camden Yards earlier this season and the O’s took two games of the three-game series at Camden Yards.

On the bump tonight for the O’s and manager Dave Trembley will be right-hander Adam Eaton.  The veteran off-season addition to the pitching staff has taken the ball each time his spot in the rotation has come up, but his results have been unspectacular at best, he’s gone 1-3 with a 7.17 ERA.  One of those defeats came against these Rays when he gave up four earned and eight hits over four innings in an eventual 11-3 loss.

Tonight the Rays will send out Scott Kazmir, who has been up-and-down so far in this ’09 season.  The 25-year old power lefty has had a very mediocre beginning to his ’09 season going 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA.  Tampa skipper Joe Maddon has consistently stated he’s not worried, but Kazmir’s 16 walks has raised some eyebrows, especially considering he’s only struck out 21.  He’s spent his entire big league career in the A.L. East with Tampa, so Kazmir is no stranger to the Baltimore lineup, gone 5-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 13 career starts.

Here are the starting lineups each manager has submitted to the umpires:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Melvin Mora – 3B
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Ty Wigginton – DH
Lou Montanez – LF
Gregg Zaun – C
Cesar Izturis – SS

Rays

B.J. Upton – CF
Carl Crawford – LF
Evan Longoria – 3B
Carlos Pena – 1B
Willy Aybar – DH
Ben Zobrist – RF
Akinori Iwamura – 2B
Jason Bartlett – SS
Dioner Navarro – C

Orioles manager Dave Trembley argues with first base umpire Jerry Layne over balls and strikes in the fifth inning. Trembley was ejected from the game.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the fifth inning of yesterday's loss in Toronto (Dave Gunn/AP).

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The Orioles Weekend

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

Melvin Mora has been activated from the disabled list today which is surprisingly good news.  Ty Wigginton has been a butcher at third base so far this year and it may be because he needs to lose a little weight.  He rakes lefties but is much better suited to come off of the bench due to his lack of defense.  The return of Mora not only improves the infield defense but it also forces the Orioles to send Matt Albers down.  I think Albers’ slow start is due to choosing rehab for his labrum injury instead of electing to have surgery.  I still think that he is going to be a good reliever in the long run but he needs to get the surgery if he wants to return to form.

 

Over the weekend the Orioles lost a series against the Texas Rangers.  The Rangers are a team that contenders will routinely pound night in and night out because they lack pitching.  Losing 3 of 4 to the Rangers sums up the Orioles’ season thus far considering we hit well but couldn’t get anyone out.  I attended the game on Friday night and I was thoroughly impressed with the crowd.  The camaraderie in the stands was fantastic and it was evident that the town still loves the birds.  However, the strong showing probably had more to do with the great weather and ice cold beer than with Oriole magic, considering the amount of Yankee jerseys and apparel from teams not named the Baltimore Orioles seen around the yard.  There was a little too much alcohol flowing on this particular college night because a shirtless punk decided to run out onto the field, the game was delayed for a time but it was good to see the fans were at least paying enough attention to notice the idiocy. 

 

It is however apparent that George Sherrill is not a closer, he puts too many guys on base and he gives up too many hits.  Sherrill may have made the All-Star team last year but he is at best a situational closer as witnessed by his performance toward the end of last season.  Chris Ray needs to assert himself as the closer so that Sherrill can return to a more natural set-up role.  The fans deserve to leave the stadium in a good mood instead of departing with elevated blood pressure because Sherrill gives up a walk-off to Michael Young.  Having a lefty as a closer is tricky because they often face tough match-ups against good right-handed hitters at the end of the game and can be overmatched in that situation.

 

The offense is still clicking most nights which helps keep the game interesting especially if the Orioles are behind in the later innings.  How good is Adam Jones by the way, he is a complete stud and is rapidly approaching star status, his homerun on Sunday was only a harbinger of heroics to come.  I like the fact that we can slug it out with teams adept on offense, it’s truly a wonderful thing considering a couple of years ago Jay Gibbons was the power in the middle of the order.  But the truth is the O’s will not approach .500 until they get better effort from the starting pitchers.  I didn’t think I would ever say I am excited to see Rich Hill but I think he has a chance to improve the rotation when he returns.  Also, something appears to be wrong with Jeremy Guthrie and I hope that he does not have any residual effects from last season’s shoulder impingement.  Guthrie is no ace but he can pitch more effectively than what he has shown thus far.

 

The weekend didn’t go so well but hopefully they bounce back tonight against the Angels.  The birds have won all of their three game series this year so hopefully that trend continues.  Good luck to Adam Eaton, it would be great if he produced another miracle start just as he did on Thursday against the White Sox.  A sweep of the Angels would be nice in order to be in good standing heading into their match-up against Toronto. 

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Tonight’s Orioles – Angels Lineups

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have traveled all the way east to take on the Orioles tonight at Camden Yards for the first of the teams’ short two-game mini-set.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 this evening and 12:35 tomorrow – after losing nine of their last twelve, the Orioles could desperately use a couple W’s.

Good news for the Orioles… veteran third basemen Melvin Mora will be back in uniform and batting fifth in tonight’s order after being activated from the 15-day DL earlier this afternoon.  Mora was hitting .313 before exiting the lineup with a sore right hamstring, causing him to miss the last 15 games.

Adam Eaton will get the start for the O’s and will bring a good amount of confidence to the mound from his last outing.  Just five nights ago, Eaton wowed the home crowd by throwing 7.1 innings of quality Major League level baseball.  Only allowing six hits and two earned is impressive, but what’s amazing was the dominance he showed in striking out nine White Sox batters, while not issuing a walk to even one.  Though even with the solid performance, his ERA is still above 7.00, which illustrates his struggles in previous starts in an Oriole uniform this season.

Joe Saunders, the Angels’ 26-year old lefty, will take the ball against the O’s for Manager Mike Scioscia’s club.  The All-Star from a year ago has a 2-1 record with a 3.51 ERA so far this year and was roughed up a little in his last start when he gave up five earned over five in a no-decision at home against the Tigers.  Saunders in his career has been very successful when facing Baltimore; he has a perfect 4-0 record in four starts.

Overall, the Angels as a group have been staggering a bit in the early stages of ’09.  Injuries and out-of-character inconsistent play have left them with a 7-11 record and a last place standing in the American League’s West Division.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Melvin Mora – 3B
Ty Wigginton – DH
Lou Montanez – LF
Gregg Zaun – C
Cesar Izturis – SS

Angels

Chone Figgins – 3B
Macier Izturis – DH
Bobby Abreu – RF
Torii Hunter – CF
Kendry Morales – 1B
Mike Napoli – C
Howie Kendrick – 2B
Juan Rivera – LF
Eric Aybar – SS

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Hooray For Bergesen, Next Up Montanez?

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

Well we finally get to see what Brad Bergesen can do in an Orioles uniform.  He should have come north with the team out of spring training instead of a handful of other guys, one of which is Adam Eaton.  It will be hard for Bergesen to do any worse than his predecessors, and as I have said before at least he has the potential to develop further.

 

 

With the injury to Ryan Freel I hope that we will see Lou Montanez called up.  Freel hasn’t done much of anything well in his time with the Birds.  Also that tricky move he pulled going over Dave Trembley’s head and straight Andy MacPhail about his playing time really irked me.  In my humble opinion they should look to deal Freel or just release him.  By their own admission they are not going to compete this year and it would be better to see someone with some upside get the AB’s instead.

 

 

Lou Montanez won the Eastern League Triple Crown last year even though he missed close to a month auditioning for the O’s in September.  He too should have been in Baltimore following the spring, but with the ongoing Felix Pie experiment and the presence of the grossly overpaid Freel, Dave couldn’t find a spot for him.  There have been internet rumblings about friction between Trembley and Montanez when they were both in the Cub’s system, but I have not been able to substantiate them to this point.  Depending on the severity of Freel’s injury the Birds may have to call someone up from the minors to give them better leftfield defense and hopefully some hits.  There are two options vying for a call-up, Montanez and Nolan Reimold, and both seem ready to get a shot.  Lou is a bit older and seems hungrier, but with Nolan Reimold crushing balls like the fat chick at prom the decision on who to call up may be a difficult one and only time will tell.

 

 

It is amazing how much differently I am looking at the team right now, but I suppose that is what a 5 game losing streak, including a 4 game sweep at the hands of the hated Red Sox, will do to you.  I can only hope that they turn it around defensively.  Defense is the easiest malady to fix on a baseball team and it is supposed to be our staple this year.  The bats have now cooled off from the hot start so it is more imperative than ever to play smart baseball.  I would like to see Dave stop all this hit-and-run nonsense, it is obvious that most of our guys can’t execute it when called upon to do so and I am tired of seeing us run ourselves out of innings.  If you want to take extra bases just employ the straight steal.  Our guys are fast enough and it doesn’t force the younger players or weak bats to swing at pitches out of the zone and thereby get behind in the count trying to protect the runner.  Also please teach Pie how to bunt and run the bases, with his speed he should be employed more effectively.

 

 

It does amaze me that Liz wasn’t demoted sooner; he should have never been called up before Bergesen.  It was a horrible use of an option on a player they knew wasn’t ready for his role.  Liz’s future is in the pen but he needs to work on his control in the minors, also adding another pitch would help him get more outs.  Hopefully the Birds can get some wins back on this home stand.

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This afternoon’s Orioles – Red Sox Lineups

Posted on 19 April 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Orioles will attempt to end an eight game losing streak against the Red Sox at Fenway Park this afternoon at 1:35.

Last night, Boston beat up O’s starter Adam Eaton for six runs on nine hits in just four innings.  Down 6-0, the Orioles answered with four runs off Josh Beckett in the top of the 5th, but that would be the end of all the scoring for the night.  Jonathan Papelbon, Boston’s closer, ended a threat in the 9th when he got Aubrey Huff to fly out for the final out with the would-be tying runs on base.

Today Koji Uehara will go for his third win of his MLB career in as many starts when he takes the ball for the first time at Fenway.  Though he’s gotten victories, Uehara’s first two outings have been less than optimal as he hasn’t pitched past the fifth in either and sports an ERA of 7.20.  Koji will never put up big strikeout numbers, but he needs to be able to change speeds on his fastball and change-up effectively with tight command to keep the Red Sox bats quiet this afternoon.

Opposing Koji will be Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.  There were many prognosticators predicting big things from this young kid, who beat cancer just two short years ago. Lester, a potential dark horse Cy Young candidate, has gotten off to a slow start to this ’09 season.  He’s struggled so far going 0-2 and has given up 18 hits and 11 runs in losses at Fenway to the Rays and out in Oakland against the A’s.  However, Lester is probably very happy to see Baltimore come to town as he’s 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA in eight career starts against the O’s.

As for the lineups:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Ty Wigginton – 3B
Luke Scott – DH
Ryan Freel – LF
Chad Moeller – C
Robert Andino – SS

Red Sox

Ellsbury – CF
Pedroia – 2B
Ortiz – DH
Youkilis – 1B
Drew – RF
Bay – LF
Lowell – 3B
Kottaras – C
Green – SS

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Complete Implosion

Posted on 18 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

Paging Dave Trembley,  Paging Dave Trembley….  Dave please figure out how to use a bullpen effectively.  I know that you were given an inept pitching staff to work with, but as a major league manager you have to know that your starters are horrible and that you will have to protect the pen in order to prevent another inevitable second half swoon.  If our #1 starter is actually a #3 at best on most teams it is time for an infusion of young blood in the rotation.  Dave get over your infatuation for has been and never was veterans, please, and if you ever think of calling Baez out of the pen make sure we are already down by at least 5 runs. 

 

The loss last night was a tough one to take because we were up 7-0 and we let the Red Sox back into the game.  The last thing I want to do is hurt the Orioles’ feelings, as we all know by now how sensitive they are, but this kind of play will not cut it.  While watching the implosion last night I couldn’t help but feel I had been mystically transported to September, judging by the malaise written all over their faces we could be in for a long season and we are only ten games in.  The Red Sox’s bats were cold coming into the series but nothing cures what ails a team quite like seeing the O’s pitching staff for a four game set.

 

The bats won’t be able to disguise the worst pitching staff in the league for much longer and the mental errors in the field are inexcusable.  A simple basket catch, come on Jones.  Huff why would you go down to one knee to field a ball at first base, were you even paying attention to the game, or did that one catch you by surprise while you were thinking about the Boston night life?  I suppose that is what I get for praising you in a previous blog, please step it up.  Too many more games like this and I think my orange Kool-Aid will run out.

 

Baltimore Orioles baseball means the world to me and all that I ask is that the team plays hard and smart every night.  Control the things that they can control like mental mistakes, managing game situations properly, and hustling on every play.  The wnst text service also informed us of more potentially bad news last night with the report that Matt Wieters was forced to leave a game early yesterday.  Matt, get well soon the O’s will need your help this year, and for the love of Pete please call up Brad Bergesen before this thing gets too far out of hand.  I can’t bear to see what the Red Sox will do to Adam Eaton tonight.

 

P.S.  Maybe they should think about throwing the Baltimore roadies back on because the baseball gods are obviously displeased about the alternate uniforms.  Posted below is the new theme song regarding my blogs about the O’s.

 

Warning this song has not been edited 18 and over only.

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How ’bout dem O’s!

Posted on 16 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

The Orioles are continuing their modus operandi from the past few years and are teasing us with winning baseball at the beginning of the season.  If you are a true orange and black fan it is hard not to get excited at the start of a new season, especially when they have started off so well winning each of their first three series.  Opening Day was an incredible experience this year and it surpassed past years due to the uncertainty of the weather and the eventual payoff at the end of the game.  The clouds threatened to rain on our parade and one of the best parties of the year in Baltimore.  The sun peeked out for a while in mid-afternoon but the rains came again right before game time which seemed like an omen representing the big bad Yankees hanging over our heads.

 

As you know by now the game was not rained out after all and the Orioles were like a bright ray of sunshine cutting through the clouds.  The bats came alive for 10 runs that day and chased Cy Young award winner and 161 million dollar mercenary CC Sabathia in the 4th inning.  It was an absolutely fantastic day for baseball and it was made even better by the fact that loyal Orioles fans did not let the Yankee supporters in attendance drown out their cheers.  The infamous lets go Yankees chant that can be clearly heard at Camden Yards in the later months of the season as the seats turn from orange to green was overpowered by boos for Tex-liar.  For the first time in over a decade I could feel the camaraderie of O’s fans permeate the stadium.  The way the O’s dominated the majority of that game made the Boog’s BBQ and the ample amount of brew taste that much sweeter.

 

I have been impressed with the way the Orioles are swinging the bats this season.  Izturis capped off the great Opening Day win with his first and probably only homerun this season, but aside from that he is the only player who needs to significantly increase his offensive production.  He was signed to upgrade a poor up the middle defense and has been a drastic improvement over 2008’s garbage group barring last evening’s boot in the third inning against the Rangers.  Zaun has not dominated with the bat so far but as all O’s fans know he was signed to mentor Matt Weiters once he is called up, and Zaun has done an adequate job in his stead.  We are however waiting with bated breath for Weiters’ arrival.

 

Aubrey Huff has impressed me with his transition to full-time first baseman.  Like I said he will never be mistaken for JT Snow over there but he is serviceable, and a significant upgrade over Kevin “Red Sox” Millar.  Huff won a Silver Slugger at first base last year which is a significant accomplishment considering first base is typically an offense first position.  The way he has been swinging the bat lately I really think the O’s should try to sign him to an extension.  Three or four years might get it done and they don’t have anyone in the minors even close to ready to supplant him in the near future.  Gone are the days of guys like Calvin Pickering and Ryan Minor toiling in the minors waiting to get a shot.  Lets get over our huff about what Aubrey said (it really wasn’t all that bad to start with) and embrace what he has been doing for the ball club.

 

Speaking of toiling in the minors, the trade for Felix Pie, who has been yanked up and down by the Cubs over the last few years, was a low risk/high reward deal.  Pie represents a potential impact player on defense, and a capable offensive player with speed.  The only thing the O’s gave up was Garrett Olsen a below average lefty who had virtually no upside, and unless he pulls a John Maine and comes out of nowhere to be a decent end of the rotation guy this is a can’t lose scenario.  The mastermind of the Orioles recent terrific player personnel decisions Andy MacPhail has really outdone himself on his two biggest trades.  Trading a steroid using, older than he claimed to be, unhappy player with declining power and range for 5 players including Houston’s best pitching prospect in Troy Patton, Luke Scott our starting DH, as well as Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate who are strong bullpen contributors has to be one of the biggest hoodwinks of all time.  It is only outdone by MacPhail’s other conquest over former Seattle Mariner’s GM Bill Bavasi.  A trade in which he dealt a disgruntled, no heart, only wants to pitch six innings crybaby who never lived up to the potential of his great stuff in Erik Bedard for 5 players including future face of the franchise centerfielder Adam Jones, as well as stud pitching prospect Chris Tillman and All-Star closer George Sherrill. 

 

O’s fans may not agree with everything MacPhail has done but no one can argue that this team has not improved significantly over past couple years, especially with building depth in the minor leagues.  The one complaint that I would raise is to question why they are starting guys like Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson who are guaranteed to have an ERA over 6.00 in place of young players like Brad Bergesen.  Bergesen could give up a ton of runs and be chased in the early innings just as easily, however Bergeson is in his early 20’s and actually has some upside.  With a little bit of experience he is almost destined to be better than those two stiffs.   Hendrickson was drafted by the 76’ers, 31st overall in the 1996 NBA draft, to quote EJ Pipkin’s 2004 campaign catchphrase “Who Knew?”  Maybe he should think about a return engagement with the NBA and put us out of our misery.  Prospect Radhames Liz is thought to be a starter and has recently been recalled; however he is a bullpen guy, period.  Liz has no upside as a starter but as a reliever he may find some late inning success.

 

The off-season signings of Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts seem like a harbinger of good things to come.  As the team continues to develop I hope that MacPhail will be able to sign our young players to long-term deals and keep the core guys together throughout their careers from the minors to major league success.  Let’s hope the O’s can continue to remain competitive for the remainder of the season, I want to see a game that matters in September for a change.

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Friday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 03 April 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Sounds like Major League to me.  The Orioles front office is undoubtedly a little red in the cheeks right about now, a feeling it seems they’ve come to know all too well in recently.  The Sun paper’s article, “Orioles unsafe at spring homes,” is causing quite a stir this morning in Charm City.  The awful conditions of their Spring Training facilities are just the latest PR nightmare for the club to have to sort out.  Needless to say, this is a very disturbing trend to be developing four days before the season even starts.  However, maybe just maybe… and follow me here… with tons of fan frustration with a perennial losing team, penny pinching ownership, relative unknown veterans, relative unknown young guys, awful clubhouse conditions, and a horrific lack of pitching depth… to me this sounds like the movie Major League.  And in the movie, as we all fondly remember, Jake Taylor, Willie Mays Hayes, and ‘Wild Thing’ Rick Vaughn lead the club to a World Series title.  Can’t we just dream of our very own Hollywood ending happening here this season in Baltimore?  No? No. OK.

He probably shouldn’t be ‘pleased.’ Rotation candidate Adam Eaton wrapped up his 2009 Spring Training yesterday in Port St. Lucie as he surrendered five earned runs on nine base hits in five innings of work against the New York Metropolitans.  In total, the veteran right-hander pitched 21 innings and recorded an ERA on the north side of 7.20.  Eaton, a non-roster invitee, has had every opportunity to sew up a spot on the starting staff but has failed to show the team any hope of any sort of consistent success.   But don’t worry says Eaton, as he waits to see what his future will hold in Baltimore, “I know that if the decision’s made that I’m on the staff, they’re going to be pleased with that decision.”  Wow, well OK, I think everyone feels a lot better now Adam… thanks bud.

Scanning the Blogosphere

SI’s MLB Preview projects the Orioles 80-82 and 4th in the A.L. East and offers this scouting report.

Bugs & Cranks announces, “Ladies & gentlemen, your 2009 Baltimore starting rotation.” It’s not a pretty piece, O’s fans.

Big League Stew previews the A.L. East and says its division race will be the one to end all division races.  The Orioles… picked for last place.

Camden Chat rolls out their Preseason MLB Predictions… Here’s the cliff’s notes, Yankees over Phillies.

Deadspin has all the details on what could be a very interesting look at the life and death of Len Bias in a documentary about the former Terp superstar.

Fan IQ says, “Not News: The Pittsburgh Pirates played a Community College.  News: The Pirates lost.”

The Morning’s Final Thought

The fun of April Fool’s Day is still not yet over on Crab Cakes and Light Beer!

Uniwatch, a great blog on ‘The Obsessive Study if Athletics Aesthetics,’ reported that the Seattle Seahawks were changing their fashion scheme to highlight, well, highlighter green, as their featured color.

It’s a very good thing; those would’ve been too bright for me… waaaay too bright.

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