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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 16 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because for some reason, folks keep sending me awesome viral videos this week. The BP Coffee Spill is amongst the best…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Jake Arrieta strong, David Hernandez finished it up as Birds topped Giants in San Francisco

Can these two just pitch every game the rest of the week in San Fran? And then maybe all of the games this weekend in San Diego?

Being completely fair, we’ve desperately needed something to be excited about in Baltimore. Only 3 wins here in June, and Arrieta has two of them-with Hernandez finishing both of those. It’s unbelievable to consider that a guy who has been on the roster for less than a week has been responsible for more than 10% of the team’s wins on the season. But…it’s true.

Enough with the negative stuff, the Orioles won! I might not get to say that again until Jake Arrieta’s next start (or later), so I’m celebrating. Cue Kool & The Gang!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GwjfUFyY6M[/youtube]

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of win

Two RBI groundouts from Ty Wigginton, two doubles from Nick Markakis (who combined with Corey Patterson and Miguel Tejada to produce SEVEN hits at the top of the lineup) and even a home run from Adam Jones! What’s not to like???

Spare me any comments like “how bout having the team do it with some sort of regularity.” I know they stink, I’m just celebrating today.

Going back to Hernandez for a second, I’ll follow up on something Roch Kubatko mentioned on his blog last night. I know Juan Samuel continues to say that Alfredo Simon is in the mix at closer, but I don’t know why. David Hernandez has shown EXACTLY what the team should want from closer; as he’s been confident in his appearances and has been overwhelming with his stuff-especially his velocity.

If Hernandez ISN’T the primary option as closer right now, he should be.

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Birds will remove Chris Tillman from rotation at least for now

And after his most recent batting practice session, this seems to be a bit of a no-brainer right now. The word is that the team will use the off days tomorrow and Monday to make it a 4 man rotation, then re-insert either Tillman or Brad Bergesen against the Nationals next weekend.

I guess you HAVE to be concerned that Tillman was promoted again without being ready-but we have to keep the perspective that he’s only 22 years old; and has at times shown the signs that he could very well turn into a solid major league pitcher.

That being said-as of right now, he’s clearly behind Arrieta and Brian Matusz.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Bobby Valentine had more questions than Andy MacPhail during interview with O’s

NOTHING surprising about this. While some managerial candidates will certainly come to Baltimore and be ready to say all of the right things in hopes of finding employment (most of us are assuming Eric Wedge is one of those guys), but Bobby V isn’t one of them. Valentine is one of those guys who would need exactly the right circumstance to get back into the game (a la Brian Billick in football). When Valentine comes to Baltimore (or anywhere else), he wants to know that the situation IS perfect.

I’m guessing that working for Peter Angelos probably ISN’T that type of situation.

This brings us to our “Apologist of the Morning.” Steve Davis is currently filling in for Mark Viviano over on 105.7. When a caller suggested yesterday that “no one” would want the Orioles managerial gig, he responded by saying “anyone” would want the Orioles job. He even included Phil Garner on the list of guys who would jump at the chance to manage the team.

Apparently Steve wasn’t listening when Phil Garner was on with “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester last week. Garner was less than excited about the chance to come to Charm City.

I hope everyone understands that. This ISN’T a desirable gig. It’s a managerial graveyard. Only Mike Hargrove has gone on to get another MLB managerial gig since the organization began their 13 season era of losing in 1998. This isn’t a place that ANY realistic managerial candidate looks at and says “yeah, I think that’s a great gig.” No one is excited about MacPhail’s “plan.”

This is the reality of the situation. Someone will take the job, because there are a slew of managers in the world who just want a gig. But most of those guys are guys who want a gig ANYWHERE…not necessarily Baltimore.

You can spin it however you want, including trying to describe it as a coveted job. It just isn’t.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Tim Bascom, Rhyne Hughes struggled mightily in Norfolk Tides’ loss on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of notes.

-The Birds and Giants wrap up their 3 game series this afternoon at AT&T Park. First pitch on MASN is at 3:45pm. Jeremy Guthrie goes to the hill against Tim “Cy Young Award” Lincecum. No pressure Jeremy!

-Apparently Brian Roberts is going to be able to return in 4-6 weeks. I have a funny feeling we’ll hear the word “setback” in the next 4-6 weeks myself.

6. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns says Harvard coach/former Navy assistant John Tillman to replace Dave Cottle as Maryland lacrosse coach

Okay then….he’s the guy.

Am I jumping up and down as a Terrapins alum about the hiring of John Tillman? Not exactly. But will I be rooting like hell for John Tillman to succeed in College Park? You better believe it.

Hopefully Tillman’s background in the Ivy League will help his attempts to get MIAA kids. It’s certainly not a slam dunk-but he clearly knows how to talk to privileged kids/families; and he knows the area from having coached in Annapolis. Those are both good qualities.

Rumors are that he got a 7 year deal. That seems like a bit much, but if it’s what it took to get the right guy, that’s fine.

Me personally…I’d give Minki van der Westhuizen a 7 year deal if she wanted one. (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

minki

7. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Towson finalized three year deal with Tony Seaman

And while this isn’t necessarily “news” considering it was finalized weeks ago, we’re still happy for Tony, and think this was a great move by Mike Hermann and the Tigers.

I know a thing or two about great moves, myself. For example, I spent the better part of my day looking at pictures of Izabel Goulart over at Guyism…

izabel

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Terrence Cody, Sergio Kindle aren’t considering Training Camp holdout(s)

Nor should they be…ESPECIALLY considering they were both 2nd round picks in the NFL Draft. There’s no reason it should even take too long to get the deals done.

If you missed Ravens rookie CB Prince Miller (UFA out of Georgia) this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you head on over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out. Other guests this morning included:

-Former Ravens DT Tony Siragusa (who compared Anquan Boldin to a LB at WR)
-DC United midfielder/striker Santino Quaranta (the former Archbishop Curley and part-time USMNT player as well; who went around the World Cup and talked some MLS)
-Former Terps Forward Landon Milbourne (who discussed his workouts with the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers as he prepares for the NBA Draft)
-and MLB Network analyst Bill Ripken (who discussed his potential candidacy to replace Dave Trembley)

They’re all in the Audio Vault if you want to check them out.

9. USA Today’s Jim Corbett says Jim Zorn hoping to turn Joe Flacco into Pro Bowl caliber, Super Bowl winning QB

And as far as I’m concerned…I hope he does.

That being said, Joe had a very good relationship with Hue Jackson-and Zorn will have to work to earn a level of faith.

It would take faith for me to have a relationship with Nathalia Melo, who is over at Barstool Sports and looks like she could kick my ass…

melo

10. The Sun’s Lorraine Mirabella says Inner Harbor ESPN Zone closed last night

And to think…I had 5 bucks left on my card! I could have played another game of Daytona USA!!!

And finally, I leave you with this.

In honor of our upcoming “My Italian Dinner with Bruno Sammartino” event, I figured I’d pass along this Bruno Sammartino-Freddie Blassie gem from YouTube. Can’t wait for the event…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t89xWOg23t8[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because this happened yesterday…

crabs

Need I explain more? The “Luckiest Dang Little Sister on the Face of the Planet” had a birthday, and I reaped the benefits.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Kevin Millwood roughed up as Orioles swept by Mets

I decided to peek at Stephen Strasburg for a bit yesterday over on MASN2 as the Nats played in Cleveland-just because I didn’t want to be the only guy in the world NOT talking about him.

By the time I realized I had forgot to flip over and watch the start of the Birds game, it was already 5-0 in the first. At least it made it easier to stop watching and head outside for crabs and Moosehead.

I’m well aware that the game got back to 5-3 at one point; but the Orioles really DIDN’T ever have a chance. A special thanks to Mark Hendrickson for making sure it wasn’t AT ALL interesting at any point after he came in.

I’d like to say something poignant here to wrap this up. I think I’ll go with “The Orioles stink.” How’d that sound?

2. WNST.net/The AP provide numerical evidence of sweep

The crazy thing is that the team has been getting some hits recently. Over the last 6 games, they’ve collected 62 hits. Sadly, they’ve rarely turned into runs.

Of course, when you let the one RBI producer you have go (Aubrey Huff) and don’t replace him with someone who’s an acceptable replacement (like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay); this is what you get. It’s been piss poor all season. I don’t know why I’d bother being frustrated by it now.

I don’t know if you can tell by my tone early on, but this wasn’t exactly fun this weekend. I was hoping the World Cup would help to improve my spirits towards sports in general-but I got a bit too much sun Saturday, and then my allergies came racing back yesterday.

I still blame the Orioles. Why wouldn’t I?

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says with sweep, O’s now continue historic poor pace

There is no doubt that over the next few months, there will be plenty of attention paid to the Orioles’ potential assault of the 1962 New York Mets’ record for futility. I’m not the type of person that hopes they DO pursue the record down the stretch just to keep the season entertaining-as I don’t really want to have any part of that. The Mets have that record. I hope they keep it.

That being said, those that support the Orioles going on to finish with the worst record in baseball so that the team can finish with the #1 overall pick in next year’s MLB Entry Draft-I can probably get behind that. I won’t root for them to lose (of course, I can’t bring myself to watch the games at ALL half the time anyway), but I understand that losing games could help the team more than winning can after the All-Star Game.

This just keeps getting more and more depressing. Let’s take a look at a picture of January Jones (who may or may not have been involved in a car crash?) from over at WWTDD and then we’ll regroup and move forward.

janjones

4. MLB.com’s Noah Rosenstein says Birds activated Alfredo Simon, sent down Brad Bergesen

So we’ve got that much going for us, which is nice. Juan Samuel says he’ll use Alfredo Simon primarily as the closer. I’d probably prefer to keep using David Hernandez myself, but I think I’ll just accept EVER having another save situation again first.

As far as Brad Bergesen goes; this is a numbers game. Of the 4 young pitchers in the “cavalry”, he’s got the lesser pedigree of the bunch. It probably goes Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta then Bergesen. With the other 3 up and both Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie having not been dealt yet. That’s 6 guys for 5 spots. While Hernandez is probably best suited for the bullpen in the long term, Bergesen should probably remain a starter. In order to do that, he has to go to Norfolk, at least for now.

5. Baysox.com says Pasadena native Chorye Spoone matched MLB pitcher Ross Detweiler in Bowie’s win over Harrisburg on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-A reminder that the Birds are back in action tonight, facing the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. First pitch between Chris Tillman and Jonathan Sanchez is at 10:15pm. The other starters for the Orioles this week are Arrieta and Guthrie; the Giants counter with Joe Martinez and Tim Lincecum. The hopes for a Madison Bumgarner-Jake Arrieta showdown were nice, but appear to be all but gone.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”, a former winner-”Neal S.” from The Loss Column. Neal was selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. For a change, today’s winner didn’t win because of “apology”, but instead for being an apologist yet having the stones to say the right thing. Neal said…

“I’m getting frustrated with Andy MacPhail’s ultra-conservative, deliberate approach. I’m not getting at any larger point, necessarily, it’s just what it is. Frustration with an approach that seems to be growing less effective by the day.”

It’s time the uber-defenders of “The Plan” wise up and accept facts. The fact is, the manager has been fired but the team still stinks. Either that means there are two bad managers, or the general manager put a bad club together. I think I know which one it was in this case.

I don’t think Peter Angelos should FIRE Andy MacPhail, but I ABSOLUTELY believe his feet need to be held to the fire to MAKE THE TEAM BETTER.

I hope others will join Neal S. in having the courage to stand up and say “this isn’t okay.”

-While Bobby Valentine and Eric Wedge remain the only managers known to have interviewed for the job, I think there’s an obvious choice for the next interview. As I posted Saturday on Facebook, the recent meltdown from one time would-be Arizona Diamondbacks manager Wally Backman HAS to earn him an interview, correct?

(Edit from GMC: This video is ABSOLUTELY NSFW. Unless you work at a place that has the F word in the name of the company. If that’s the case, I would imagine the video is probably okay.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PJJUc2u0bs[/youtube]

6. The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ravens S Nakamura ‘well ahead of schedule’ in return from injury

The organization has to be happy with the quick returns from injury not only for Nakamura-but also for Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb. Washington & Webb still aren’t 100 percent, but all of these players have remained ahead of schedule. That’s good news for ALL Ravens fans.

A reminder that we will NOT be out at 1 Winning Drive for Passing Camp this week-because the NFL took away Passing Camp this week. The Ravens are still doing formal work with their rookies, but there is no availability for us. But as any news comes from Owings Mills, we’ll be sure to get it to you via Twitter (follow us @WNST), WNST.net and on air at AM1570.

7. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says only ‘money’ would make sense in potential Terrapins move to Big Ten

This is a great read from Patrick regarding the entire conference situation. I have said a few times that I don’t think it helps the Terps to go to the Big Ten, and I won’t waiver on that. That being said, if Big Ten commish Jim Delaney has $20 million a year to throw at the University for free, it would have to be considered by C.D. Mote or whoever replaces as him-even if it ends up going against the wishes of Debbie Yow.

We talked some college sports this morning on “The Morning Reaction”, as Morgan State Bears head coach Todd Bozeman joined the program to respond to the news of recent scholarship losses. If you missed the chat, you can head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to listen, as Drew and Todd also discussed the Boston Celtics’ 3-2 lead on the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Other guests this morning were Baseball Prospectus’ Jay Jaffe and UMBC Soccer Coach Pete Caringi-who recapped the United States-England match, as well as all other things World Cup.

8. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns has Maryland 5th, Johns Hopkins 11th, Loyola 15th in ‘way early’ 2011 lacrosse poll

The Dave Cottle defenders of the world pointed out that he deserved the chance to coach one more season, as this Maryland team is arguably the best he would have had.

Maybe so, but that’s of course not an option anymore. Speaking of which, nothing new on the Maryland lacrosse search front this weekend.

Speaking of which-if we’re going to put together ridiculous lists at the wrong time, I want to make a list of “gals from Australia who made the cover of Ralph Magazine and I would like to get to know better.” Gianna Pattison is number 1. (Thanks Guyism!)

gianna

9. The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Baltimore County World Soccer Festival part of “World Cup fever” coming over Charm City

If you didn’t come out to Patriot Plaza in Towson for the event Saturday, it was a GREAT time, even if the match ended in a fairly fortunate draw. Here’s a look courtesy of WNSTv…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJQ6uakWUQs[/youtube]

We will be out at Amicci’s in Little Italy this afternoon for Italy-Paraguay. The food is GREAT, the beer is cold, it’s going to be an awesome day. Forza Azzurri!!!

10. BaltimoreMariners.com says Mariners topped Erie on last second FG

Thankfully their long snapper isn’t named Matt Katula.

I’m kidding!!!! Matt’s a good man, and hopefully has moved past his elbow issues. Hopefully.

You know, I completely forgot to mention this when we were discussing World Cup, but have you seen Cristiano Ronaldo WAG Irina Shayk? Thanks Busted Coverage…

shayk

And finally, I leave you with this.

If you haven’t been paying attention to WWE Raw, you might not have noticed that they’ve been having guest hosts on the show every week. Some of been great (notably Shaquille O’Neal and Bob Barker), others have been Ashton Kutcher. My buddy Brandon Holthaus started a group on Facebook to try to get Kevin Smith to host the show. Check the group out here.

And how can THIS guy NOT make a good host? (Edit from GMC: Once again, this video is ABSOLUTELY NSFW. Unless you work for Kevin Smith. Or the WWE presumably.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-xKUU5sWS4[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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O-mazin’ Orioles swept by Mets as chase of history is on

Posted on 13 June 2010 by Luke Jones

It’s fitting the Orioles concluded a forgettable 2-7 homestand against the New York Mets this weekend.

For it was this same Mets franchise that set the modern record for futility with a 40-120 record as an expansion team in 1962, and the Orioles’ biggest—if not only—storyline is quickly becoming where they might land among the worst teams in the history of major league baseball.

With the Orioles falling 11-4 on Sunday and now holding an appalling 17-46 record (on pace to lose 119 games), it’s getting harder and harder to ignore a potential date with history, though not the kind anyone wanted to see in Baltimore this season—or any season for that matter.

Those “Amazin’ Mets” lost their 63rd game of the season, giving Casey Stengel and the feeble Metropolitans a 17-46 record, the same mark the Orioles hold as they embark on a West Coast trip to San Francisco and San Diego this week. But unlike the Mets, expectations were far higher for an Orioles club many hoped would be far more intriguing—and successful—than any Baltimore has witnessed in 13 years.

The decision to fire manager Dave Trembley was made in order to ignite a spark for a baseball team struggling in nearly every facet of the game. Instead, interim manager Juan Samuel is 2-7 since taking charge at the beginning of the homestand on June 4. The offense continues to be downright offensive, the pitching continues to wilt, and the club is on the verge of falling 30 games below .500 before Father’s Day.

The managerial change has not only failed to ignite a spark, but has appeared to add kindling to the fire of a catastrophic season. In his defense, Samuel’s first opportunity to manage in the big leagues comes under impossible circumstances with an all-around beaten team having virtually no hope of turning it around.

“I’m trying to stay as positive as I can for these guys,” Samuel said after Sunday’s loss. “My job is to keep these guys going and keep them focused, continue to improve in some areas we think we can improve, like running the bases. Just doing the little things. Playing a different style of baseball when we have the chance to.”

The Orioles were 6-for-35 (.171) with runners in scoring position in the three-game sweep to the Mets and are just .217 for the entire season. The offense managed just two homers in nine games at hitter-friendly Camden Yards.

At least someone is benefiting from the club’s offensive struggles as the opposition has now made quality starts in 16 of the Orioles’ last 17 games.

And it doesn’t get any easier as the Orioles now go to San Francisco to face a Giants pitching staff with a 3.33 ERA, third in the majors.

Miffed Millwood shelled again

The season continues to spiral out of control for Kevin Millwood who fell to 0-8 after giving up five runs in the first inning, including home runs to David Wright and Chris Carter. Millwood gave up eight earned runs in 5 1/3 innings and has seen his earned run average balloon to a season-high 5.16.

Millwood’s lack of run support is well-documented, but it appears to be wearing on the veteran righty who has a 7.21 ERA over his last seven starts. Though he remained stoic in describing his performance on Sunday, it’s clear the frustration of a winless start is impacting his performance.

“A little confused, you know, I feel like I’ve been trying so many things,” he said. “I have a million things running through my head instead of just trying to execute pitches. That’s nobody’s fault but my own, so hopefully I can kind of get a clear head and just go back to throwing the ball instead of worrying about my mechanics so much.”

Millwood gave up a third home run in the fifth inning, a shot by Jason Bay on a 3-1 pitch. It was the third time this season Millwood has allowed three home runs in a game (April 11 vs. Toronto and May 13 vs. Seattle).

His 19 home runs allowed is most in the majors.

Bergesen back to minors

With Alfredo Simon set to return from the disabled list, the Orioles optioned right-hander Brad Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk after Sunday’s game.

Samuel and the club wants to give Bergesen the opportunity to start every fifth day to work out his mechanical issues and believed keeping him in the bullpen with irregular work would not help the 24-year-old get back on track.

Bergesen is 3-4 with a 6.50 ERA in 12 appearances, 10 of them being starts. This will mark his second stint with the Tides this season after he was optioned to Norfolk in April after three ineffective outings to start the season.

“You know, it’s a numbers game sometimes,” Bergesen said. “They told me they want to get me the innings and right now I’m not getting the innings. Of course, I’m not happy, but what’s done is done. There are no grudges held here. I’ll go down and work my butt off to get back here.”

Interleague Ineptitude

The Orioles are now 1-5 in interleague play this season and 102-133 all-time since regular season play against the National League began in 1997. Baltimore is now 9-16 all-time against the Mets.

Interleague play will continue with a six-game road trip against the Giants (35-27) and Padres (37-26), two teams battling for supremacy in the National League West.

_________________________________________________

BALTIMORE — Good afternoon from a sweltering Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Orioles conclude an interleague three-game set with the New York Mets at 1:35 p.m.

Despite a strong eight-inning effort from Brian Matusz Saturday night, the Orioles lost 3-1, giving the Mets their first road series win of the season and dropping the Orioles to 17-45. It’s the exact record the infamous 1962 Amazin’ Mets had after 62 games. Those Mets, a first-year expansion team managed by Casey Stengel, went on to lose 120 games to solidify themselves as the worst team in big league history since 1900.

For those wondering, those ’62 Mets lost their 63rd game of the season to the Milwaukee Braves, 9-4.

The Orioles clearly have 100 games to avoid the embarrassing 120-loss mark, but the possibility is sadly becoming more realistic with every passing loss. It doesn’t figure to get any easier this coming week as Baltimore travels to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, both in the thick of the National League West race in the middle of June.

Kevin Millwood (0-7) goes to the bump for the Birds this afternoon, desperately trying to pick up his first victory of the season. The veteran righty pitched extremely well over the first seven weeks of the season but has struggled in his last six starts, going 0-3 with a 6.34 ERA.

It won’t be easy for Millwood as he’ll be opposed by Mike Pelfrey who has pitched exceptionally well all season but particularly over his last three starts. Pelfrey has allowed just two earned runs over his last 24 innings, including a 2-1 complete-game victory over the San Diego Padres in his most recent start.

Here are this afternoon’s lineups:

New York
SS Jose Reyes
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
DH Chris Carter
RF Jesus Feliciano
2B Alex Cora
C Henry Blanco

SP Mike Pelfrey (8-1, 2.23 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Corey Patterson
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
DH Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
2B Scott Moore
SS Julio Lugo

SP Kevin Millwood (0-7, 4.64 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat this afteroon at 1:30 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss the action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about today’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 1:35 p.m.

______________________________________

12:25 p.m. — With a modest piece of good news on the injury front, reliever Alfredo Simon threw from the mound at Camden Yards earlier this morning and will be activated for Monday night’s game against the Giants if his injured hamstring holds up as expected.

Simon faced live hitters in his batting practice throwing session as pitching coach Rick Kranitz observed closely. Interim manager Juan Samuel envisions a return to the closer role for Simon with David Hernandez—who picked up the save in Thursday night’s win over the Yankees—receiving opportunities when Simon is unavailable.

Of course, it’s tough for the Orioles to create save opportunities for one closer, let alone a second guy capable of filling the role. If you’re wondering who had the last save for the Orioles prior to Hernandez on Thursday, the answer is Simon on May 22 against the Washington Nationals, two days before he suffered the hamstring injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list.

If you’re wondering what the corresponding roster move might be if and when Simon is activated, my best guess would be Brad Bergesen being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. The young sinkerballer needs to pitch regularly, and I just don’t see enough opportunities for him out of the bullpen in a long-relief role.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because 1-I’ve got Arrieta fever (and the only way to fix it is more cowbell?), 2-The World Cup starts today, so for the first couple of weeks anyway, I’m more of a patriot than Lee Greenwood…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-9_fDEsv-Q[/youtube]

…and then of course after Team USA is eliminated, it’s Forza Azzurri for me!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw3i1Wrlhvw[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Arrieta, David Hernandez give Orioles fans ‘moment of hope’ in win over Yankees

Jake Arrieta wasn’t exactly “Strasburgian” last night, but since the Orioles have beat the Yanks recently about as often as I’ve been called an “all around good guy”, I understand the excitement.

To be fair, Arrieta probably should have been here earlier-but I don’t care if it took too long for him to get here as long as he keeps pitching well while he’s here. He certainly had ice in his veins when he struck out Marcus Thames…but then again…it’s Marcus Thames.

I guess the word is that Juan Samuel intends to stick with Alfredo Simon as closer when he gets healthy, but I think David Hernandez has a MUCH better pedigree for a potential closer. That being said, I’m not entirely certain the team will have another save situation before the All-Star Game. If they do, I think they should let Hernandez try again.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

With an O-fer last night, I’d like to thank Cesar Izturis for winning me a dollar in a bet with Drew Forrester. It feels much better to win that type of bet in a Birds win. Frankly it feels better just to say the words “Birds win” in any sort of reference.

Scott Moore hit a home run last night. I wonder if I’ll ever type those words again in my life. I feel as though it might be more likely that I’ll type the words “and that’s how my date with Angel Locsin went” in the future than typing that again. (Thanks Busted Coverage/FHM!)

locsin

3. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Luke Scott acted like a ‘loser’ in O’s win

Hard to argue with that.

If you missed it, in the 7th inning; Scott lifted a fly ball to right field that Nick Swisher couldn’t find until it hit the wall. Scott thought he had hit a lazy fly ball for an out, but ended up with a triple. It would have been an inside the park home run for SURE had Scott actually been running out of the box, but instead he pouted and leisurely jogged towards first base before taking off.

Gary Thorne LOST HIS MIND. Scott would wind up scoring on an Adam Jones double; and when he got to the dugout-he heard it from Juan Samuel. Thorne (and Jim Palmer to a lesser extent) was enraged to see the two of them laughing in the dugout. For as much as I appreciated Thorne getting animated, I had the feeling John Angelos (or Peter Angelos or whoever else is paying attention to MASN right now) might be cringing while it was happening.

Thorne was right though. After Scott failed to hustle this weekend against the Red Sox and then failed to hustle again last night against the Bronx Bombers; there’s clearly an issue. It has to be addressed. Luke Scott has a role on this team, but the lack of hustle is completely unacceptable.

4. The Sun’s Dan Connolly and Don Markus say Bobby Valentine to interview with Andy MacPhail today

Rumor has it Bobby V will NOT come to the interview dressed this way…

bobbyv

Bobby Valentine certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for the gig-but if he can make the team win, I’d take him. He really loved his gig in Japan, it will be interesting to find out if he still has the passion to make things work in MLB.

Selfishly, I kinda want Skeeter Valentine from “Doug” a little bit more than Bobby Valentine…

skeeter

5. Virginian-Pilot’s Jared Diamond says Tim Bascom very good for Norfolk Tides, but couldn’t top Chris Resop’s 1 hitter for Gwinnett

A couple of things before we move on from the Orioles…

-A reminder that the Orioles are back in action tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with an interleague visit from the New York Mets. First pitch between R.A. Dickey and Jeremy Guthrie is at 7:05pm. For the rest of the weekend, Hisanori Takahashi faces Brian Matusz and Mike Pelfrey (how in the hell is HE 8-1?) takes on Kevin Millwood.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”, caller Bryce from Park Heights. If you’ve never heard a call from Bryce you might not understand-but he’s pretty special. He was selected by “The Great Arbitrator” or “Mr. Fair” if you will-Drew Forrester.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Shayne Graham, Billy Cundiff both nailed 60 yard kicks on final day of Passing Camp in Owings Mills

Look, a 60 year field goal at 1 Winning Drive in June does not compare to a 50 yard attempt at M&T Bank Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers in December, but it’s certainly still fun to see these guys pushing each other.

If you missed Shayne this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you head on over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out. Other guests this morning included new Maryland Terrapins assistant hoops coach (and St. Frances alum) Bino Ranson, Former Terps/Blast/USMNT player Desmond Armstrong (who helped us preview the World Cup), Bowie Baysox 3B Joel Guzman, and Craig Calcaterra from HardballTalk over at NBCSports.com, who went around MLB with Drew. All interviews, plus Rick from Reisterstown’s “call” of the final race in our “Month of Jerks.”

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens cut WR’s Chris Hannon, Maurice Price

And as I pointed out yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), Maurice Price had to know something was up when the team assigned Shayne Graham his number (17) and never bothered to give him a new one.

Hannon and Price were guys who had no real chance of making the team, and the team still has PLENTY of WR’s to use during Training Camp this summer in Westminster.

Here’s a question for you. With these guys gone, is there room for the team to consider acquiring Katrina Law and/or Lesley-Ann Brandt from the show “Spartacus” on Starz??? (Thanks BarStool Sports!)

spartacus

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says John Harbaugh happy with tryout from DB’s Ken Lucas, Walt Harris and Ken Hamlin

Thanks to my buddy Derek Arnold from WNST.net, Charm City Current and of course B-More Birds Nest for reminding me about the unquestioned highlight of Ken Hamlin’s career…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzGRUNJorz8[/youtube]

No word if Hamlin still gets Christmas cards from Le’Ron McClain.

9. The Sun’s Glenn Graham says Baltimore County World Soccer Festival amongst best places to watch World Cup

Who’s buying my first Peroni???

It’s going to be a great day tomorrow at Patriot Plaza in Towson. I won’t be there at 7:30am for the Greece/South Korea match, but I’ll stroll in at some point before 2:30. Save me a beer…or 37.

10. Inside Lacrosse’s John Jiloty says former Maryland lacrosse coach Dave Cottle hasn’t heard from Penn State

He’d be a great hire for the Nittany Lions, which is why I hope they don’t hire him. I don’t much care for anything in State College myself.

Meanwhile, after contacting Virginia assistant Marc Van Arsdale, there is nothing new happening in College Park as the Terps try to hire a new coach. Still no contact with Stevenson’s Paul Cantabene and no progress towards Albany’s Scott Marr either. I’m starting to think they should consider Roxanne Pallett for the gig. (Thanks Guyism!)

pallett

And finally, I leave you with this…

I’m not sure what I like more from the world of sports yesterday. The pronunciation of Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Nate Robinson from the Boston Celtics being like “Shrek and Donkey”….

shrek

Or Lady Gaga flipping off Mets fans at Citi Field…

gaga

I’ll be doing the same thing Saturday night at OPACY.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live from Camden Yards: Arrieta to make MLB debut Thursday

Posted on 09 June 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Good evening from a dreary, damp Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Orioles (16-42) prepare to battle the New York Yankees (36-22) in the second of a three-game series tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Chris Tillman will make his third start of the season, but another young pitcher grabbed the headlines this afternoon when the Orioles announced Jake Arrieta will make his major league debut Thursday night instead of the speculated Saturday game against the New York Mets. Jeremy Guthrie’s scheduled start will be moved to Friday night, giving the right-hander an extra day of rest.

Arrieta is 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts with the Norfolk Tides this season, striking out 64 while walking 34. Arrieta’s biggest struggle in the minor leagues has been limiting walks, which will present a challenge against the patient New York lineup. However, interim manager Juan Samuel showed no hesitation in sending Arrieta to the hill against the 2009 world champions.

“Hey, we don’t get to pick who we play,” said Samuel, citing how well the 24-year-old as pitched at Triple A and the need for Arrieta to gain experience.

With Arrieta’s promotion, it likely means Brad Bergesen will remain in the bullpen for the foreseeable future as he tries to work out his mechanics with the sinker. Samuel would not rule out a return to the minor leagues for the struggling Bergesen, and he could even be the one optioned to Norfolk to make room for Arrieta tomorrow.

In other bullpen news, Samuel revealed he and Rick Kranitz have discussed the possibility of using David Hernandez as the closer should game situations call for a left-handed situational reliever, a spot previously held by Will Ohman before he was moved to the closer role since Simon went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring.

Alfredo Simon threw 25 pitches and completed some light agility drills without any problems today. The right-hander will throw 30 pitches tomorrow, and Samuel hopes it will be against live hitters.

Felix Pie took swings off a batting tee and completed some long toss without any pain.

Corey Patteron’s sore groin appears to be close to 100 percent as Samuel declared him ready to go despite the left fielder again being out of the lineup on a rainy night.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

New York
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
C Francisco Cervelli
LF Kevin Russo

SP CC Sabathia (5-3, 4.14 ERA)

Baltimore
2B Julio Lugo
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Garrett Atkins
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Chris Tillman (0-1, 7.71 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat this evening at 7:30 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss the action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about today’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m

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Live from Camden Yards: Roberts’ back “not really good,” more tests coming

Posted on 08 June 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Good afternoon from Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Orioles (16-41) prepare to welcome the New York Yankees (35-22) for the first of a three-game set this evening at 7:05 p.m.

The biggest piece of news from Juan Samuel in his pre-game meeting with the media was an update on Brian Roberts described as “not really good.”

After previously being scheduled to play in an extended spring training game last Friday, Roberts continues to experience lower back pain and will undergo a battery of tests over the next few days. While all parties have downplayed the possibility of surgery ever since Roberts missed most of spring training with a herniated disc, Samuel did not seem optimistic over the second baseman’s prognosis and whether he might have to undergo surgery.

“We don’t know,” Samuel said. “Like I said, they’re going to run more tests here in the next two or three days, and we’ll see once the doctors evaluate his situation, we will know more on that.”

Roberts is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday, but his status for the remainder of the season remains very much in doubt at this point.

Mike Gonzalez threw an inning in an extended spring training game this afternoon, giving up a hit and showing velocity in the mid-80s, according to reports given to Samuel.

“His velocity is still down, but just to have him throwing an inning is an encouraging sign,” Samuel said.

The interim manager gave a more positive prognosis on reliever Alfredo Simon, describing him as the “closest guy” to coming off the disabled list as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in the series finale in Washington two weeks ago.

The Orioles still haven’t decided on a starting pitcher for Saturday, citing a need to see how the Yankees series plays out and whether the club will need Brad Bergesen to work out of the bullpen in long relief.

Triple-A starter Jake Arrieta would be the likely call-up to make Saturday’s start if the club needs to make a roster move for another starting pitcher to face the New York Mets.

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat this evening at 7:30 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss the action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about today’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m

__________________________________________________

5:00 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
C Francisco Cervelli
LF Brett Gardner

SP Phil Hughes (7-1, 2.54 ERA)

Baltimore
2B Julio Lugo
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
DH Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
LF Lou Montanez
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Kevin Millwood (0-6, 4.29 ERA)

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Live from Camden Yards: Matusz looks to rebound from recent struggles

Posted on 26 May 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Good evening from Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Orioles (15-31) look to make it two in a row against the Oakland Athletics (23-23) as Brian Matusz takes the hill against left-handed starter Trevor Cahill at 7:05 this evening.

Matusz hopes to bounce back from the shortest outing of his career, a 2 1/3-inning effort against Texas last Thursday in which the young lefty gave up seven runs and picked up his fourth loss of the season. After winning two of his first three starts in 2010, Matusz has not registered a win in his last six starts. His last victory came against these same Athletics in Oakland on April 18.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Oakland
CF Rajai Davis
1B Daric Barton
C Kurt Suzuki
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
RF Ryan Sweeney
LF Adam Rosales
DH Jake Fox
2B Mark Ellis
SS Cliff Pennington

SP Trevor Cahill (2-2, 3.68 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Corey Patterson
1B Ty Wigginton
RF Nick Markakis
3B Miguel Tejada
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
2B Scott Moore
DH Garrett Atkins
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Brian Matusz (2-4, 5.26 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat tonight at 7:00 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss tonight’s action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about tonight’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

_________________________________________________

6:25 p.m. — Luke Scott is again out of the lineup with a strained left shoulder. Manager Dave Trembley said the slugger’s shoulder has improved considerably and will not need an MRI. There’s a “50-50″ chance Scott could be available to pinch-hit if needed tonight, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Second baseman Brian Roberts and injured relievers Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara will fly to Sarasota on Friday to begin rehabbing their respective injuries. Roberts was scheduled to fly to extended spring training before a bout of pneumonia left him hospitalized last week.

Roberts and injured closer Mike Gonzalez are eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 9, but it’s highly unlikely either will be ready by then. After a limited spring training and appearing in only four games this season, the second baseman is basically starting over in his preparation to play baseball this season.

Gonzalez has pitched in three extended spring training games without any pain in his left shoulder, but the reliever has not built enough strength in the shoulder to return when eligible. He will complete a long-toss program to build up his strength.

In non-injury news, outfielder Nick Markakis will not be with the team on Thursday as he will be with his wife who will give birth to their second child.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a happy Wednesday for me, as the Phoenix Suns’ bench > anything else going on in my life right now. I’ve had dreams recently that weren’t as fulfilling as Goran Dragic…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0DTIgiQSDE[/youtube]

Once again, I think my neighbors were a bit disturbed by the maniac chanting “BEAT L.A.” at 11:30pm last night, but I don’t care. The Orioles won AND the Suns won? I really did live on “Planet Orange” last night.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Jeremy Guthrie ‘labored’ through 6 innings in helping Orioles beat Athletics

Last night was one of those nights when you just take the win and don’t bother to try to explain it.

Sure, the O’s benefitted GREATLY from Dallas Braden going down, as they would have been hard pressed to score more than 1 run against the lefty, and even the 1 run they scored against him came when he lost control due to injury and thanks to a botched double play from the Oakland infield. With that being said, sometimes you get fortunate and face a pitcher like that-sorta similar to what happened Friday night in Washington with Scott Olsen.

It was nice to see Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada (especially Tejada) take back to back walks two different times, and especially rewarding to see it to see it pay off with a pair of sac flies. Not overly exciting, but very helpful when you try to win games.

Also-how in the hell have the A’s won 23 games thus far? Their lineup is arguably worse than the Birds’! With Eric Chavez out, they have Kurt Suzuki, Corey Patterson’s brother, and a dude named Daric. What the hell kind of name is Daric?!?!? I know they’ve gotten good pitching this season, but that lineup is really REALLY bad.

In fact, they might as well change their name to “Baltimore Athletics.”

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Garrett Atkins got a hit last night! HOORAY!!!!!!

In all seriousness, I think the Orioles HAVE to call up Michael Aubrey at this point. They just can’t afford to have BOTH Cesar Izturis and Julio Lugo in the lineup right now. Ty Wigginton is by no means a capable 2nd baseman, but the team needs his bat in the lineup. They also need another bat that is capable of actually swinging, and Julio Lugo isn’t that guy. I’m aware that when (if?) Brian Roberts returns, Ty Wigginton will play first base. But that doesn’t mean he needs to play there now, unless of course Luke Scott’s shoulder is going to keep him for a significant amount of time.

The Orioles had Cesar Izturis, Julio Lugo AND Garrett Atkins in the lineup last night, and STILL won. They should really count that for 5 or 6 wins.

3. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says Andy MacPhail additions Koji Uehara, Alfredo Simon placed on DL

And with that we welcome Alberto Castillo back to Charm City (I probably wouldn’t get comfortable), and we welcome Frank Mata to the big league level for the first time.

I’m sorry for not being more excited. You know what might be MORE exciting? Partying with former WWE star Ashley Massaro (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

wwe

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says David Hernandez moved to bullpen, Chris Tillman expected to replace him in rotation

Which is pretty much the only decision that could be made here. Despite pitching well his last time out, Hernandez still struggles with throwing too many pitches over the course of 5 innings, and appears to be much better suited for shorter outings.

Chris Tillman is the first guy up, which he deserves based on at least the level of effectiveness he found a season ago at the big league level. He’ll have significant expectations moving forward, and hopefully the stint on the farm will help him get acclimated to the big league level a bit quicker this time around.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Jake Arrieta picked up win, Dennis Sarfate save for Norfolk Tides

Arrieta is next. Should Brad Bergesen turn out to not be long for the rotation, or should Kevin Millwood or Jeremy Guthrie be dealt, Arrieta is next. He’s been outstanding thus far this season, and has earned his opportunity.

A couple other things before we move on from the Orioles…

-Congratulations to my buddy Rob Long for winning his first Apologist of the Morning award. Rob offered some classic apology for Adam Jones, blaming the expectations put on him for his struggles. It’s not stupid, but it IS apology-as was noted by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester.

-The Orioles are back in action tonight, as they try to clinch another series victory…Number 3 for the season. They’ll send Brian Matusz to the hill against Trevor Cahill and the A’s, first pitch from Oriole Park at Camden Yards is on MASN at 7:05pm. Drew and Nestor Aparicio will be the dummies heckling from behind the 3rd base line at OPACY.

-Nolan Reimold has taken some time away from Norfolk to handle the upcoming expected birth of his first child. Hopefully he’ll also find a working bat while he’s gone, or maybe his kid can hit?

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Troy Smith, Haruki Nakamura, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton returned to field in Owings Mills at Ravens Passing Camp

Of course-Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Trevor Pryce, Willis McGahee, Kelly Gregg, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, Maurice Price, Matt Lawrence, Ramon Harewood, Haloti Ngata, Cory Redding, Terrell Suggs, Jared Gaither and Oniel Cousins were amongst the players who WEREN’T practicing yesterday-and Demetrius Williams left practice; so it wasn’t ALL good news.

You know what IS good news? Pictures of Heather Morris from Glee at Barstool Sports…

glee

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh supports New York Super Bowl, as he wants to see Super Bowl in Baltimore

It sounds nice in concept, but it isn’t happening.

It’s shameful too, as there’s no reason Baltimore SHOULDN’T be considered if Indianapolis, Detroit and Jacksonville can host Super Bowls. Sadly, the weather is better in Jacksonville, and Indy and Detroit have MUCH better buildings.

I said yesterday I didn’t like the idea of a Super Bowl in New York (OR in New Jersey), and I wouldn’t like a Super Bowl in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Foxborough, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Seattle, Green Bay, Charlotte or Cincinnati for the same reasons. You’re messing with the country’s most important individual (annual) event. The event has become more significant than anything else we do annually, and that can only be screwed up by holding it in places where the game might find itself in jeopardy.

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says John Harbaugh not upset about Le’Ron McClain’s Twitter campaign

And it really doesn’t appear to be any sort of issue. In fact, I’m hoping to pick up a “McClain 4 RB” t-shirt myself.

If you missed Le’Ron this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault and check it out. Other guests this morning included former NBA Official Tim Donaghy, Bowie Baysox pitcher Chorye Spoone and Hershey Bears coach Mark French. It’s all there in the Audio Vault, just click on the “Audio” tab here at the top of the page.

Drew promised Le’Ron that if the Ravens make the Super Bowl, he’ll get Hart Rd. renamed to “LeRon McClain Avenue.” For the record, I’ll rename my car “The McClainmobile” as well.

9. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Dannell Ellerbe competing for starting LB spot

Tavares Gooden was working with the 1st team yesterday, while Ellerbe was working with the 2nd team. All parties (including Harbs) downplayed the significance of that, but it will certainly be worth paying attention to as the offseason continues.

You can hear from John Harbaugh, Haruki Nakamura and Derrick Mason from Passing Camp yesterday-it’s all in the Audio Vault as well here at WNST.net.

10. GoMustangSports.com says 1st teamers Steve Kazimer, Jimmy Dailey amongst 8 Stangs named All-American

I’m sure they’d all trade in the honors for a shot to play Tufts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, but it’s a nice honor anyway. You know what else would be an honor? Spending 10 minutes in the presence of Berenger Rose (Thanks Guyism!)….

berenger

And finally, I leave you with this.

This is a Formula One car on a beach in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy. Thanks Deadspin…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-43HyQbOCg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Orioles use small ball to top Oakland, 5-1

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — When an offense struggles as much as the Orioles have to score runs this season, playing small-ball becomes an absolute necessity to have a realistic chance to win on a nightly basis.

As their record reflects, it’s a style of play in which the Orioles have failed miserably in playing through the first quarter of the season, but it worked Tuesday night as they defeated the Oakland Athletics, 5-1.

The Orioles (15-31) went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position but scored their first three runs of the contest without the aid of a hit. The club also drew six walks, one short of its season-high of seven in 2010.

The deciding factor of the game was the sixth when the club plated two runs without registering a hit in the entire inning.

“Four at-bats were key,” manager Dave Trembley said. “Two walks [to Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada], a wild pitch, and two sac-flies [by Ty Wigginton and Adam Jones]. That was the key to the game.”

Winning 3-1 in the eighth, the Orioles added two insurance runs with Markakis’ third home run of the season and an RBI-double by Matt Wieters to put the game out of reach.

Continuing to face an uncertain future as the Baltimore manager, Trembley has discussed the importance of making things happen when the lineup is scuffling like it has all season.

“Let’s see about playing a little better fundamental baseball,” said Trembley about his message to the players prior to Tuesday’s game.

For at least one night, it seemed to work.

Guthrie labors

Though struggling to find a good rhythm through much of the evening, starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie earned his third victory of the season after allowing one run in six innings despite command issues and consistently pitching with men on base.

Having thrown 66 pitches in his first three innings, the right-hander settled in to retire eight of the last 10 batters he faced to improve his record to 3-4 in 2010. Guthrie’s 114 pitches was his second-highest total of the season.

“It’s a confidence boost to know you don’t have to be at your best to [win],” said Guthrie, who has now won three of his last four starts.

Homer drought ends

Having not hit a home run since May 1, Markakis went deep in the bottom of the eight to pad the Orioles’ lead and temporarily appease those wondering what’s happened to the right fielder’s power numbers.

Though his 13 doubles and .417 on-base percentage lead the club, Markakis is on pace to set a career-low in home runs through the season’s first 46 games.

“It is what it is,” he said about the lack of long balls on his stat line. “You just have to go up there with a good approach every time.”

Battered Birds

The injury bug has bitten the Orioles so severely, they now have multiple players getting hurt on the same play.

After relievers Koji Uehara and Alfredo Simon were placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, designated hitter Luke Scott was a late scratch with a strained left shoulder.

Scott jammed his shoulder diving for a grounder in the 10th inning of Sunday’s game against the Nationals, the same play in which Simon suffered a hamstring covering first base.

“He said he really couldn’t swing [during batting practice],” Trembley said after the game.

Garrett Atkins was inserted as the designated hitter for Scott.

Odds & ends

Jones singled in the second inning to extend his career-high hitting streak to 11 games, the longest streak by an Orioles hitter this season. … Markakis has reached safely in 41 of 46 games this season. … Brothers Corey Patterson and Eric Patterson started in left field on opposite sides tonight, marking the first time the Orioles were involved in a game with brothers playing against each other since June 10, 2004 when Jerry Hairston and Scott Hairston played at Camden Yards. … Atkins singled in the seventh inning to snap an 0-for-18 streak but has now gone 47 games with a home run, extending a career-high. … Tuesday night’s paid attendance was 14,686.

______________________________________________

BALTIMORE — Good evening from a warm (thank goodness) Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Orioles (14-31) return home for a brief three-game homestand against the Oakland Athletics (23-22) after an off day on Monday.

Despite rampant speculation over his job security (or lack there of), Dave Trembley is still the Orioles manager, but the question remains how long. With Koji Uehara (elbow) and Alfredo Simon (hamstring) being placed on the 15-day disabled list, the Orioles have recalled lefty reliever Alberto Castillo and selected the contract of Norfolk closer Frank Mata to retool a gassed bullpen.

The biggest news of the day was the move of starter David Hernandez to the bullpen, paving the way for right-hander Chris Tillman to make Saturday’s start in Toronto. While Dave Trembley would not officially say Tillman would take the hill against the Blue Jays, all indications point to the 22-year-old making his first start in 2010 after receiving a 12-start stint in Baltimore last season.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Oakland
SS Cliff Pennington
1B Daric Barton
RF Ryan Sweeney
C Kurt Suzuki
DH Jack Cust
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
CF Gabe Gross
2B Mark Ellis
LF Eric Patterson

SP Dallas Braden (4-4, 3.45 ERA)

Baltimore (Updated: Luke Scott is a late scratch with a strained shoulder)
LF Corey Patterson
2B Julio Lugo
RF Nick Markakis
3B Miguel Tejada
1B Ty Wigginton
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Garrett Atkins
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Jeremy Guthrie (2-4, 3.86 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat tonight at 7:00 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss tonight’s action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about tonight’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

______________________________________________

7:30 p.m. — As I posted on Twitter (@WNST) right before the first pitch, Luke Scott has been scratched from the original lineup with a strained left shoulder. Bad news for a lineup already struggling to score runs.

6:55 p.m. — Needing a corresponding 40-man roster move to make room for Mata, the Orioles have officially placed Mike Gonzalez on the 60-day disabled list. Considering Gonzalez has been on the DL since April 10, this really doesn’t impact his rehabilitation efforts or time frame for a return.

6:10 p.m. — Frank Mata and Alberto Castillo aren’t exactly creating a buzz here at the ballpark—especially with Castillo’s ERA sitting at an ugly 12.79 after his most recent stint with the Orioles—but the club is desperate for bullpen arms after losing Uehara and Simon to the disabled list.

Mata signed as a minor-league free agent in the off-season and sported a 2-1 record with a 1.86 ERA and eight saves as the Norfolk closer this season. He spent his entire minor league career in the Minnesota organization prior to this year and has a career 4.08 ERA in six seasons of professional baseball. At 26 years old, he’s far from a prospect, but his performance with the Tides warrants an opportunity at the big-league level.

With the expected promotion of Tillman for Saturday’s start, I’d expect Alberto Castillo to be sent down to make room on the 25-man roster on Saturday. At this rate, Castillo might be on pace to set a major league record for number of promotions and demotions in a season. Of course, that’s not exactly the most prestigious title to be aiming for if you’re Castillo.

Trembley was noncommittal regarding his plans for a revamped bullpen after losing his third closer of the season in Simon. Lefty Will Ohman (0.00 ERA in 24 games) can probably expect an expanded role out of necessity, but the Orioles manager will need to feel his way through the mess that is the Baltimore bullpen right now.

5:50 p.m. — With the Orioles hopelessly in last place and 18 games behind Tampa Bay, the anticipated promotion of Tillman does create a bit of intrigue for the weekend series in Toronto. Tillman made Monday’s start for the Tides, earning the victory after allowing one run and scattering eight hits over six innings.

The 22-year-old prospect struck out seven and continues to dominate the Triple-A level in May. Monday’s victory improved his record to 3-1 with a 2.32 ERA this month, putting to rest the concerns of a poor start to his 2010 season with the Tides.

It’s no secret that most believe Hernandez is best-suited for a bullpen role, and the numbers support it.

While Hernandez supports a 3.38 ERA in the first three innings of his starts, that number balloons to 7.50 in innings 4-6 of his outings. The hope is the 25-year-old can rely more heavily on a plus-fastball and command the slider a bit better in shorter stints out of the bullpen.

Of course, his command issues (28 walks in 42 1/3 innings) may not vanish in a relief role, a dicey proposition should he enter a game with runners on base. Regardless of how confident you might be in Hernandez’s makeup as a reliever, it’s clear Trembley is looking for any reliever who can offer multiple innings of work, a job the right-hander can fulfill without any problem.

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Two more of MacPhail’s “genius” pickups, Simon and Uehara, headed to DL

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Jay Trucker

At the 2009 Orioles Fanfest, Andy MacPhail boasted that 40% of the Orioles rotation consisted of international talent. That 40% was Mexican League pickup Alfredo Simon and former Japanese All Star Koji Uehara. This was supposed to be a great development for the Orioles, who were finally making inroads into the international talent pool.

Today, 100% of the Orioles’ international talent that MacPhail touted a year and a half ago are headed back to the DL.

While injuries are inevitable in baseball, the failure of Simon and Uehara represent much more than bad luck.

There is a reason Simon came out of nowhere to become perhaps the worst “number three” starter of all time when the Orioles put him on the 25 man roster to begin last season.  Simon was not “discovered” in the Mexican League. The Dominican-born righty was drafted by the Phillies in 1999. He kicked around several organizations’ minor league systems before being dropped by the Texas Rangers organization. According to Baseballreference.com, he lost the Mexican League finals before becoming a late-season replacement for the O’s in September 2008.

Simon is the definition of a “scrap heap” player.

Uehara’s story is more well documented. The former Yomiuri Giant. The 1999 Rookie of the Year in Japan’s Central League was converted to a closer in the years preceding his move to the U.S.  Koji was converted to relief for the Giants due to concerns about his stamina. This is the same reason the Orioles were the only team to consider him for their starting rotation. Koji signed with the O’s because the only interest in him from other MLB teams was an interest in his services for relief. The Birds paid him $10 million over two seasons. He has played in 18, 12 as a starter, 6 as a reliever. His unheralded career as an Oriole may be over.

Don’t look for a big announcement from Andy MacPhail today regarding the transfer of his two international pitchers to the DL. This is the guy who told The Sun the day that Brian Roberts was hospitalized for pneumonia: “We don’t anticipate that it’s going to be anything that impacts his rehabilitation schedule.” And here’s MASN’s Roch Kubatko updating Roberts’ road to recovery yesterday: “Second baseman Brian Roberts is feeling better after being hospitalized last week with pneumonia, but he doesn’t have any immediate plans to fly down to Sarasota and resume baseball-related activities. That idea has been put on hold.”   What’s that?  A setback?  Well,  surprise, surprise.

I’ve been a MacPhail fan since he took over for the two-headed GM monster in 2007, but in the words of ubiquitous Baltimore defense lawyer Barry Glazer, it’s about time he stop pissing on our legs and telling us it’s raining. Brian Roberts’ extension looks really bad right now. The forays into international scouting were abysmal failures. The Koji experiment, particularly, may have actually set the Orioles back in their efforts to extend into the East. When Koji was playing, he was playing for a losing team in 3/4 empty ballparks. Do you think the hoards of Japanese reporters who followed his every move last year were impressed?

The most bitter disappointments in 2010 have not been the losses on the field; they’ve been the failures off the field, and management’s way of treating a dwindling fan base like we’re ignorant. Things look bleak in Birdland, not just today, but in the future, too.

The young players’ ceilings appear to be relatively low.

The veteran 2B is just hoping to get back to the Canton dog park, let alone a baseball field.

The international players are gone, which is probably addition by subtraction.

Garrett Atkins has no power. Maybe that’s why no other team wanted him.

Mike Gonzalez is in Florida licking his wounds.

Houston and Seattle no longer look so bad for the spare parts they traded in exchange for Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard.

But according to MacPhail, that yellow stuff is just rain.

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