Posted on 31 July 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 12 June 2014 by Brandon Sacks
Last night, the Orioles finished up their series against the Boston Red Sox on national television. Wei-Yin Chen pitched seven innings of shutout baseball on the way to a 6-0 victory over the Sox. The entire country got to watch the pitchers shut down the defending champions for the second time in three days. The Orioles allowed one run in the series and, had the birds been able to hit during the second game, could have easily swept the Sox.
After this past game, the question rises about how often the birds play on national television. It seems like every time the Orioles make an appearance on ESPN or FOX that they are playing either the Red Sox or the Yankees, which is slightly ridiculous. The Orioles are scheduled to make 12 national appearances over the course of the 2014 season, five of which will not be against Boston or New York. Three of these five games will be against the division opponent Rays, who were expected to be much better than they are showing to be. In other words, the Orioles will appear nationally in two games they do not play divisional foes. Only the FOX corporation (once against Oakland on FOX, once against St. Louis on Fox Sports 1.
It seems like the national media, especially ESPN, does not respect the Orioles as much as they should. It’s nice to see the birds once again playing in the national spotlight, but it would be nice to see them playing games outside the AL East. Over the past two years, the Orioles have a winning record against Boston and have played very well against New York. If this is the case, then why do the Orioles continue to play these two teams almost exclusively? It doesn’t make sense at all.
Over the past two and a half seasons, the birds have worked to throw away all memories of the terrible play that lasted over a decade. The birds have done their jobs, so why is the national media not responding by giving them playing time to the rest of the country? The Orioles finally have made appearances on ESPN, even hosting games in the national spotlight, but this little reintroduction is not enough. The national media does not respect the Orioles. That seems like the only logical explanation. Why else would the Orioles play the majority of their nationally televised games within their division?
The Orioles have proven time and time again that they are able to play outside of their own division and do it well. While the respect seems to be returning slowly, it isn’t coming back fast enough. It’s a shame to see this, especially from a team that just allowed one run over an entire series against the defending World Series champions.
Posted on 24 April 2014 by Brandon Sacks
As the Orioles are dealing with one of the worst starting rotations in baseball, at least there is one thing that cannot cause us any worry. Our pitchers are not cheaters – it would be hard to imagine a rotation cheating while still playing this poorly. Our division foes up in the Big Apple, on the other hand, have a pretty serious issue at hand. Starting pitcher Michael Pineda was thrown out of the team’s April 23 matchup against the Red Sox for having a foreign substance, most likely pine tar, on his neck. This is his second such incident in as many weeks, both coming against Boston. Red Sox skipper John Farrell asked to have Pineda checked during the second inning for foreign substances. As many recall, Pineda looked to have pine tar all over his hands during the Yankees-Sox matchup on April 10. After home plate umpire Gerry Davis felt the substance on Pineda’s neck, the pitcher was thrown out of the game.
One would think that Pineda would be a little more inconspicuous when it came to using something to grip the ball. In fact, most pitchers are. Most pitchers use some sort of foreign substance to help grip the ball. The rosin bag out on the mound is generally used to help pitchers keep a stronger hold on the ball. However, Pineda made the asinine mistake of “hiding” pine tar on the side of his neck while expecting that no one would notice. Consulting the MLB rulebook might show exactly what to expect here.
Per Rule 8.02(a)(4):
The last time I checked, the pine tar could be classified as a foreign substance since it is not manufactured as a part of the baseball. Gerry Davis, the umpire in the situation, determined that this rule was broken and tossed Pineda, as mentioned by the penalty section. From this same point, a suspension for Pineda appears to be looming. Precedent has shown that a suspension between 8-10 games as what can be expected, but people should not be surprised if his suspension is for a longer period of time since Pineda was seen to have another foreign substance on his hand during his last game against the Red Sox. He has made a fool of himself for the second game in two weeks. He just needs to accept the fact that he is not sneaky and should just be playing the game it is meant to be played.
While the Orioles are having their own troubles with pitching, at least they aren’t of this magnitude. Remember Birdland, it could always be worse.
Posted on 04 December 2013 by Drew Forrester
I called the Jacoby Ellsbury to New York move back in September.
That one was as easy as predicting the Orioles won’t sign any REAL free agents in the winter.
The Yankees not only added a quality player, but they’re now going to face the Red Sox 19 times a year with Ellsbury on THEIR team instead of the other way around.
Ellsbury’s injury history makes it easy for people jealous of the Yankees to snicker and point their finger at New York’s front office while saying, “You dummies…that guy is always hurt!”
He wasn’t hurt last October when Boston was winning the World Series.
I completely understand that people in Baltimore are conditioned to criticize all free agent signings of the Yankees and Red Sox. Go back and look at the way the orange apologists in town laughed and scoffed at Boston last winter when they inked Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino to contracts.
How’d that work out for the guys in Boston?
Back in 2009 when the Yankees landed Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett, lots of folks in Baltimore LOL’d at New York for forking over $400 million for those three guys. They won the World Series that year. Sabathia has been phenomenal in New York, Teixeira was very good until his injury last year and Burnett was outstanding the year New York won the title but has since moved on.
They signed those three players because they wanted to win.
And win they did.
We pick on everything those franchises do because we want their signings to fail — but as the Red Sox showed last year, when you sign good players they rarely fail. That’s why they’re good baseball players. Some of the signings don’t work out. See my comments above about A.J. Burnett in New York. But, if one girl in your high school economics class says, “No thanks, I’d rather feed my goldfish” when you ask her to the prom, do you not ask anyone else?
I also understand the need to review a player’s health while evaluating his worth, but please don’t be one of those goofs who says “I wouldn’t take Ellsbury on my team, he’s injury prone.”
No, he isn’t.
Nolan Reimold — now there’s a guy living in the definition of “injury prone”.
He doesn’t play. Because he’s always hurt.
And, when you don’t play, you have ZERO value to the team.
Ellsbury — and some of his injuries have been more about his style-of-play than anything else — is a helluva baseball player who clearly got paid a king’s ransom in New York because he’s the proverbial “table setter” for the rest of the lineup.
Sure, he can’t be missing 60 games a year over the next seven seasons or his $153 million dollar deal will be outrageously out-of-balance, but you can’t go into any sort of “mega contract” pre-predicting a player’s health or you wouldn’t sign anyone of value.
This, of course, speaks far more about the Yankees wanting to win than it does anything else. They had a gaping hole at catcher heading into the winter and quickly solved it in a big way by bringing on Brian McCann. They wanted an upgrade in centerfield and quickly solved it by adding Ellsbury.
Did they overpay for those two?
Most certainly they did.
Are the Yankees a MUCH better team this morning than they were two weeks ago today?
You bet your pin-striped rear end they are.
And that’s how they roll in New York, where their quest for winning trumps everything.
In Baltimore, where the Orioles have GOBS ANB GOBS of money at their disposal, the quest for winning comes in 3rd or 4th place on the list of “what’s really important to us this off-season?”
By the way, the Red Sox will also be heard from over the next month or so.
Sure, they just won the World Series – something we haven’t done in Charm City for 30 years now – but they’re not going to sit back and dismantle their team while the Yankees get better.
The Orioles don’t compete with the Yankees and Red Sox for players for one reason and one reason only.
Because they choose not to.
Posted on 31 October 2013 by Drew Forrester
Back in October of 2009, I wrote right here and said on the air that I hoped the Yankees would win the World Series against the Phillies.
I got clobbered by people who couldn’t believe a Baltimore guy would stoop to such a low level.
I had my reasons for doing it, and it looks like I might have been right.
And, for those same reasons, still, I’m happy the Red Sox won the World Series last night.
Really, I am.
I’m happy the Red Sox won because their success might light a fire under the Orioles front office this winter, in the same way the Yankees winning in 2009 might have been the kick-starter for Peter Angelos waking up and realizing that trotting out inferior managers like Perlozzo and Trembley wasn’t going to cut it. Five months into the 2010 season, Buck Showalter arrived on the scene at Camden Yards and things haven’t been the same – in a good way – since that move.
I’m happy for the Red Sox and I’m glad they won.
They’re an organization that TRIES to win. Their fans…yeah, they might be jerks, but the football fans in Charm City aren’t exactly gold medal “good winners” either. The Red Sox, though, understand the same concept the Yankees employ: “We owe it to our fans to be a champion.”
It’s been 30 years since the Orioles played in the World Series and nearly 20 years since the team advanced to the A.L. Championship Series.
I’m all for anything that gets Peter Angelos and Dan Duquette to say, “Enough is enough. We’re tired of seeing New York and Boston win.”
Does seeing the Red Sox win bother those two enough?
My guess is probably not.
Which, of course, explains why the club has never been to the World Series in the Peter Angelos era of ownership.
Two vested veterans like Huff and Spears getting cut is a very telling statement from the Ravens.
They’re basically saying, “Neither of those players could have helped us for the remainder of the season.”
Quite an admission.
And, a rare swing and miss from Ozzie Newsome. Make that TWO swings — and TWO misses.
A few people e-mailed me on Wednesday after the news of Huff and Spears getting the boot was made public and once again tried to pigeon-hole a player move into why the Ravens should have kept Anquan Boldin instead of signing those two players.
Let me, I promise, try and educate you all on this one final time.
Anquan Boldin was due to make $6 million this season with the Ravens.
In the Ravens opinion, he wasn’t a $6 million football player anymore.
So, in their estimation, he was worth $4 million and they asked him to play for that.
He said “no”. The Ravens said, “Well, we don’t think you’re worth $6 million, so we’ll have to part company.”
And that’s that.
The Ravens DID use the money they saved by trading Boldin on other players, yes, but they were going to go out and get football players in the off-season whether or not Anquan Boldin was retained or not.
If Anquan Boldin would have agreed to play for $4 million, he’d be in Baltimore. Instead, he’s making $6 million in San Francisco, which is what he wanted.
The Ravens wanted Boldin, too. But, they didn’t think he was a $6 million football player anymore.
Were they wrong on that estimation? I’d say based on his overall performance in San Francisco this season, probably not. That said, with Dennis Pitta on the sidelines in Baltimore, Boldin would have been a welcome sight here over the last seven weeks of the 2013 season.
Without money being a consideration, if you asked me “would you rather the Ravens HAVE Boldin on their team or NOT HAVE him on their team?”, I’d absolutely say, “Have…”
Only problem? Money is always a consideration in the NFL. It’s the driving force behind the structural formula that gives each franchise hope every March.
We must also keep this in mind anytime we’re discussing a player in one city vs. another city: Nothing is ever the same. These aren’t pieces of a puzzle that fit in next to one another. What Boldin does in San Francisco can’t just be cookie-cuttered into “look at what he would have done in Baltimore for us…” It just doesn’t work that way. For all we know, Boldin might have torn his ACL in week two against the Browns if, in fact, he played for the Ravens this season.
People who don’t know sports like to generalize and say stuff like, “Look at what Boldin is doing in San Francisco. He’d be doing the same thing here for us if Ozzie wouldn’t have let him go.”
Maybe. Maybe not. He might be doing worse. Or, he might be doing better.
The Ravens – in their expert opinion – felt like Anquan Boldin wasn’t worth $6 million anymore and he wasn’t going to be worth it even if they didn’t sign Marcus Spears or Michael Huff.
Now — pay attention here: If you want to beat up the Ravens for signing a couple of stiffs, that’s where you should point your angry finger. Huff was a complete zero here. Spears tried, but he’s not healthy anymore.
Those were bad signings.
But they had nothing at all to do with the fact that the Ravens didn’t think Anquan Boldin was a $6 million football player anymore.
Posted on 28 October 2013 by Drew Forrester
The baseball gods are obviously watching this World Series with great interest.
They’ve evened the series at 2-games-apiece after Saturday night’s bizarre ending in St. Louis.
Just the way it should be.
First off, the call on Saturday night was the right one to make. Was it a dreadful way to lose a World Series game — or any game for that matter? Sure. Should Saltalamacchia have his head examined for throwing the ball down there in the first place? Absolutely. But, that was interference, and the right call, and St. Louis won within the rules.
That said, Boston didn’t “deserve” to lose Game 3. Thus, the baseball gods stepped in last night to even the series with Boston’s 4-2 win at Busch Stadium.
For reasons I can’t explain – at all – I’m hoping Boston wins this World Series.
I know, I know…that’s almost as bad as hoping the Yankees win.
Like I said, I can’t explain it.
Call it “professional jealousy”, I guess.
I only dream about our Orioles being as successful as these Boston teams have been over the last decade or so. I realize it’s an impossibility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least wish your franchise resembled a winning one like the Red Sox.
I picked Boston in seven before the series started.
I hope I’m right.
But I’m not sure why I’m hoping that…
The Matthew Stafford “fake spike” at the end of the game was legendary.
That said, if he doesn’t pull it off and the clock hits zero after that play, he’s the biggest goat in in the NFL this morning.
I assume, as he ran down to the one-yard line, he figured, “What the hell…it’s the Cowboys…they’ll fall for anything.”
The Dez Bryant explosion was also “legendary”. Sure, he had a great game, but that’s no reason to act like a buffoon at the end of the afternoon when the Lions cruised down the field to score the winning points. The next time the Dallas offense gets shut-down and loses a game 20-7, I hope one of the linebackers explodes on Bryant just to even the score.
On last Friday’s show, I gave out my rarely-distributed “5-star lock”, calling an Oakland win outright over Pittsburgh yesterday.
The Steelers are really bad, which we all love to see here in Baltimore.
Yes, I know, they beat the Ravens last Sunday. I’m well aware.
But, Pittsburgh is just no freakin’ good.
As they showed on Sunday in Oakland.
You gotta love when those 5-star locks hit…
I don’t care who you are, but when Bobby Bowden asks a guy on live TV if his deceased father is “still coaching”, it’s just about the funniest thing you’ve even seen, particularly because poor old Bobby just innocently asks the question as if he’s really, really interested. Here it is for you to watch.
Posted on 18 October 2013 by Tom Federline
Detroit, please stop the “Bearded Boys of Summer.” The Boston Red Sox and the beards need to go. I can dig the “team unity/bonding” deal. It can be cool. I did it and I’m sure some of you developed some quirk during your playing days to build that camaraderie among your teammates. If I want to watch bearded ones, I’ll put in a ZZ Top DVD or I’ll replay a Duck Dynasty episode from the DVR. But because it is Boston – it just turns my stomach. When it comes to baseball, no scruffy facial hair and no jewelry. Especially the pretty hemp necklaces and the metal medalions hanging off pitchers necks. I am not a Boston fan. In fact the Red Sux, Spankees and Duke basketball are inter-changeable among my most disliked sports teams.
The baseball postseason is unfavorable due to the #1 fact that the Orioles are not there. So since October 1, it has been “Anybody but the Red Sox.” Not that I really care who wins, just as long as it’s not the Red Sux. Definately a fan of the lesser budgeted teams like the A’s (and they’re out. I was also having a tough time with the Pirates – glad they made it back – just still have a bad taste from 1971 and 1979. “We are Family” – Sister Sledge, to this day is immediately turned off when heard over the radio. The Cardinals – tired of seeing them in post season. Dodgers – cool stadium and I like Don Mattinglys approach to baseball and interviews. He is probably the only Yankee I ever liked. Detroit – not a big fan of them either, they just need to stop the bearded ones.
Other post season pet peeves:
1. Cal Ripken – yes, you heard me right, Cal Ripken. He knows baseball – I do not care. Do you all remember this gem from last years O’s vs. Rangers game – “Adrian Beltre is the best defensive third baseman I have ever seen – even better than Brooks Robinson – sorry Brooksie.” That comment right there has put Cal Ripkens voice in the “not worth my time zone.” Cal is now in that elite Club along with Gary “Thorne in our side.”
2. Get the hand-held TV video cameras …..off the field! Remove the clutter from the field. No cameras, no camera crew running next to these steroid boys. The field should be off limits during the game to anyone not directly invloved with the game. It is an athletic event, not a made for tv movie. Speaking of clutter on the field……ever notice an NFL sideline? Besides the 50 assistant coaches and then the 50 assistant coaches assistants, the entourage of the 100 tv camera crew memebers, the 100 still photographers, the 200 family members and then the 200 friends of the family members, you have to wonder where do they find room for the players and EMT’s.
3. Camera angles – I am sick of the “Pitch Trax”. Is it where the ball crooses the plate or where the catcher cathes the ball? It misrepresents the actual pitch. Put the camera behind the plate and guess what? Most baseball fans are smart enough to tell wether the pitch it is outside, inside, low or high. Remember that camera angle – “back in the day”? Occasionally you may see it, but it is a rarity. You can catch real baseball coverage on MASN airings of Orioles Classics from the 60’s and 70’s.
4. No interpreters for the illegal alien pitchers. If you can’t speak English – learn. All they have to know – keep ball down, 1-fastball, 2- curveball, 3-slider, 4-change-up, get batter out, you did not earn money today – you stunk it up – leave mound, good, bad, yes, no. When you are getting paid around $50-100,000 per outing and throw a ball a couple of days a week for a few minutes or hours, you have the time to learn basic communication of the English language.
5. Mark McGwire – just go away. He is still around and involved with baseball. When they first showed the Cardinal dugout and announced the players; I was like cool – no lieing steroid boy. Then they switch over to the Dodgers dugout and AUGH, there was the deflated cheater. The numbnut Doger organization went and hired him after he got fired from the Cardinals. I guess they needed a “pass-thru” for that Puig juicer guy.
Beards, Cal Ripken, hand-held cameras/camera crews on the field, interpreters and Mark McGwire – all unfavorable and should be gone! Anything from the baseball coverage bugging you?
And to end on a positive note:
1. I dig the 5 – 8pm late afternoon games coming home from work.
2. Unrelated – check out ESPN’s “No Mas”, another good production.
Reminder – It has been thirty (30) years and counting. 30 years – that’s just wrong, man. Definately – unfavorable.
Posted on 18 October 2012 by Thyrl Nelson
When assessing the 20 questions that the Orioles must answer as they formulate their own plan for 2013 and beyond, one of the questions I posed was whether the top end of the AL East was leveling a bit or coming back to the pack. It seems a question worth asking, as the Red Sox, fresh off the heels of their 2011 season ending meltdown followed it up with an even more disappointing season in 2012. As a result of their misfortunes the Sox were willing and able to dump over $100 million worth of future payroll commitments on the suddenly viable Dodgers. In freeing themselves of those contracts, Boston was also forced to part company with a debatable (or arguable) amount of elite talent. It seemingly stands to reason that the Red Sox would be willing and able to put that now freed up money back to use, if and when the situation calls for it; but considering the numbers of prospects that the Sox dealt to bring some of that highly priced talent into the fold in the first place, it might be quite a while before they’re able to put back together a nucleus that a few big splash signings might successfully compliment.
The case of the Yankees was more curious still, because of the lingering and long-term commitments that they already have assigned to aging stars moving forward. The Yankees, having paid better than 90% of all luxury tax payments in the history of MLB’s luxury tax era, have stated a commitment (or at the very least a concerted desire) to get themselves below the echelon of having to pay luxury taxes in the years to come. It seemed like a difficult position to believe, considering the decisions they’ll have to make on stars whose contracts are expiring in the next year or so, including Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. Despite Cano’s struggles this postseason, he remains one of the most prolific hitters in all of MLB and arguably the Yankees best offensive talent. Getting themselves below the luxury cap would seemingly suggest a need to allow Cano and others to walk by 2014.
Before we begin however, to celebrate the Yankees’ struggles and what appears to be their unceremonious demise, before we can revel in the meltdown of Alex Rodriguez in these playoffs and the 5 years and $114 million plus commitment that the Yankees still have to him we’re already seemingly getting the signal that Rodriguez career in the Bronx might be coming to an end. Of course Rodriguez’ full no trade protection will be a factor in whether or not he’s traded this off-season, but speculation is already rampant that A-Rod may be set to follow the likes of LeBron James and take his talents to South Beach.
On the surface this would seem to be more Yankees folly worthy of celebration from fans elsewhere, but in reality it may be a glimpse into exactly what the Yankees mean when they talk about slashing salary.
The Yankees after all are baseball’s undisputed revenue kings. In stating their desire to avoid baseball’s luxury tax many of us may have been guilty of misreading their intentions. The Yankees’ desire to cut payroll seems less an effort to save themselves inordinate expenditures in an attempt to buy another decade or so worth of contention and more of an effort to avoid paying into a system that rewards the teams unable (or more aptly unwilling) to spend freely and an effort to stop padding the pockets of owners who never put their luxury tax earnings to work in actually trying to improve their clubs.
When the Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka after posting a record posting fee of over $51 million then coupling it with a $52 million contract, many looked at it as $103 million plus in expenditures (and they were right). But not all $103 million expenditures are created equally. The $51 million that Boston paid to post for Matsuzaka was money spent but not salary, Therefore only about half of the $103 million spent to land the gyro-baller was considered payroll and therefore subject to the luxury tax computations. Likewise if the Yankees ship A-Rod to the Marlins this off-season and even if they absorb as much as $100 million of his future earnings to do it, they’ll still have unburdened themselves from about $30 million per year of salary and as a result will have moved much closer to their stated goal of establishing a payroll below the luxury tax echelon, even if they take on Heath Bell and 2 years worth of his contract at $9 million or so per.
The long and short of it being that the Yankees will have the opportunity to shed “payroll” obligations and avoid luxury tax while still spending like the Yankees always have and perhaps more. One or two more of those types of trades (albeit on much more modest contracts) and the Yankees have the money at their disposal to re-up Cano and Granderson if they choose along with Raphael Soriano and could still make a splash in free agency while also accomplishing their goal of avoiding the luxury tax by 2014.
The other questions that both the Yankees and Red Sox will have to answer for themselves is which free agent players will be worth the price of poker in the coming free agent classes, and whether it’s still prudent to offer big money to aging free agents in the post steroid era of MLB. Figuring out the answers to those questions will be the biggest determining factor in whether the Yankees and Red Sox will be able to exert their financial dominance over the pack moving forward. But in the event that they choose to try, the means to do so are there, as are the financial means of both clubs despite rampant speculation to the contrary.
Posted on 05 October 2012 by Glenn Clark
It has certainly been a “storybook” season for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. No matter how their postseason run ends, there will be memories that will last for a lifetime.
I had an itch this week to compile a list of the top ten storylines for the season. It wasn’t an easy task, but here goes.
10. The ultimate reclamation
It isn’t SO crazy to think a team would have given OF Nate McLouth another chance in 2012. The former Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star was at least playing Major League Baseball, even if he hadn’t had a particularly good season since 2009.
Lew Ford was another story altogether. Ford went a full five years between Major League at-bats before being called up to Baltimore after ripping the cover off the ball at AAA Norfolk.
McLouth has been a significant contributor since being called up in August, taking over the every day LF spot and batting leadoff since Nick Markakis got hurt. Ford hasn’t contributed quite as much, but has come up with three big home runs when inserted into the lineup against lefties.
It has also lead to Tweets like this throughout the season…
9. “Why Not Again?”
Perhaps not the most significant story of the year, the story of Steve Johnson has likely been the most heart warming for Charm City in 2012.
I pulled this picture from Steve’s Facebook page…it’s probably three or four years old. I’d be willing to bet that at this point in his life, he’s probably embarrassed by things like this.
A Kingsville native, former St. Paul’s star and son of a former Orioles pitcher (and current broadcast analyst) made some of the more significant starts of the 2012 season. It’s Hollywood quality stuff. Even more amazingly, Johnson picked up his first big league win on August 8, 23 years removed from the exact date his father picked up HIS first victory during the Birds’ incredible 1989 campaign.
The Johnson & Johnson connection wasn’t the only inevitable comparison between the ’89 and ’12 O’s, as the cartoon birds, no name players and general disbelief of the respective campaigns was impossible to ignore. It even had me singing along…
8. What a
dumb great trade.
SB Nation compiled reactions to GM Dan Duquette’s decision to deal SP Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado for SP Jason Hammel & RP Matt Lindstrom before the season. Here are a sampling…
This from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was perhaps worse…
For what it’s worth, most of us would probably be forced to admit that we didn’t think much of the deal at the time. Guthrie had been the organization’s only quality pitcher for years and was very popular thanks to also being a stand up individual. How were we to know that Hammel was going to put together an All-Star season (when healthy) and Lindstrom would be a reliable option in the back of the bullpen before helping to land veteran Joe Saunders in a trade? And how were we to know that on the other end of the deal, Guthrie would implode in Denver before being sent to Kansas City?
Certainly the deal has turned out to be quite the feather in Duquette’s cap, as has the signing of SP Wei-Yin Chen-who has pitched to a 4.02 ERA and 1.261 WHIP over 32 starts? The only real question mark for Duquette has been Tsuyoshi Wada, who needed Tommy John surgery before he could make a pitch. The way things are going for this organization, you almost assume he’ll be Stephen Strasburg in 2013. (Okay…not really.)
not so sure about this.
“Nick Markakis batting leadoff when he returns? I don’t know…”
I probably don’t need to show you August. Ah hell, I’ll show you August.
Markakis’ effort (before being sidelined in September) was especially crucial following the loss of OF Nolan Reimold, who hit .313 in 16 games to start the season in the role. Without Reimold, the Birds attempted to use a group of players including OF Endy Chavez and even briefly a return of 2B Brian Roberts, but none could hold down the role until Markakis. The Orioles are now hoping Markakis can somehow get back before the season ends.
6. These guys…of course!
While Hammel and Chen were obviously “hits” for the Orioles’ rotation, the other 60% didn’t pan out so well. Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta, former #1 overall pick Brian Matusz and veteran Tommy Hunter struggled mightily over the season’s first few months before ultimately finding their way back to the minors for seasoning (all have since returned and offered solid efforts out of the bullpen).
In their place, the Birds turned not only to the aforementioned Johnson, but more importantly gave the ball to two pitchers have provided a level of stability that could have been expected by absolutely no one, perhaps even themselves.
Chris Tillman was at least viewed recently as a significant prospect in the Orioles’ organization. After being acquired from the Seattle Mariners as part of the Birds’ haul (along with Adam Jones and George Sherrill) for Erik Bedard, there was a thought Tillman would ultimately prove to be part of the “cavalry” of young Orioles pitchers former VP of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail regularly spoke of.
But after 2009 (5.40 ERA 1.554 WHIP in 12 starts), 2010 (5.87 ERA 1.528 WHIP in 11 starts) and 2011 (5.52 ERA 1.645 WHIP in 13 starts), it appeared as though Tillman was all but done in Baltimore.
And then this happened.
Of course it did.
Perhaps even more improbable was Miguel Gonzalez, who was all but abandoned by the Boston Red Sox following 2009 Tommy John surgery. Executive Director of International Recruiting Fred Ferreira signed off on Gonzalez to the Birds after seeing him throw just nine pitches (according to SI’s Albert Chen). Perhaps we should have expected the man who discovered Vladimir Guerrero knew what he was doing.
And just like that, Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez saved a rotation and very likely a season.
I feel like there’s someone else we should thank…
Of all of the decisions made by Dan Duquette upon arrival, perhaps the decision to make Rick Peterson (a fixture of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics) the team’s Director of Pitching Development has immediately paid the most dividends.
(5-1 on Page 2…)
Posted on 29 June 2012 by Robert Testoni
The best part about the baseball season is that because of its length, in most cases the cream rises to the top. Make no mistake, they could end the season a month earlier and accomplish the same thing. There are teams that have gone from last to first in a year, (1987 Minnesota Twins, 1991 Atlanta Braves) but those were good teams that came together and stayed around for a while because of a solid nucleus of players. The 2012 Baltimore Orioles have been fun, but this may be coming to a crashing end.
When the Orange Kool-Aid was spiked in May, I was the voice of reason. I have always thought August 1st was a good date, as at that point, the contenders and pretenders tend to sort themselves out. Although, I will not stick a fork in our birds right now, because they do have a month to right the ship. Let’s have fun a do a progress report.
In this look, I want to compare the Orioles of this year to the last 5 winners of the American League East. The 2007 Red Sox, 2008 Rays, 2009 Yankees, 2010 Rays, and 2011 Yankees tell an interesting statistical story of what it takes to win the division. Frankly, I know that statistics do not tell the whole story, but in baseball, which is ‘stats driven’ it lets you know where you need to be as a team.
Let’s start off with what I think is the most glaring issue with this team, the defense. In the last 5 seasons no division winner has committed more than 102 errors. That was the New York Yankees off last year. Right now, the Orioles our on pace to commit over 145 errors for the year. That means that Orioles would allow ¼ of an out more per game than the Yankees of last year. No division winner in this span has ranked lower than 4th in the league in this category. As of now, the Orioles are last.
The range for earned run average over the past 5 years is between 3.73 and 4.26. Although the Orioles team staff ERA is right in line with the range of winners at 3.85, there is more to the story. Looking deeper into the numbers the staff ERA has gone up every month of the season. After a wonderful 3.03 in April, they went to 4.16 in May, and 4.25 so far in June, which is the red flag.
Let us turn to the offense and simply look at batting average first. Taking the Tampa Bay Rays from 2010 out, no other team has hit at a clip less than .260. The Orioles are at a .244 team average right now, and as we have seen lately, it isn’t getting any better. Everyone remembers than Tampa team for having an excellent pitching staff, with no hitting. Even they hit for a .247 average.
Lastly, looking at the OPS the Orioles .716 is .20 points lower than lowly hitting Tampa team from 2010. Frankly, if you look at the class of the division over the time, the Orioles need to get the OPS up to the .800 range.
Obviously these numbers are not the, all answers to everything, but it gives you a start of where the Baltimore Orioles need too be to win the division. At this point they do not seem to be measuring up.