Tag Archive | "chris"

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Guthrie Continues the Orioles Winning Ways

Posted on 11 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

Guthrie Continues the Orioles Winning Ways


Guthrie got off to a hot start tonight as he aggressively attacked the strike zone early in the count.  He quickly got ahead of the first three hitters of the game as he retired the side in order.  He was able to get all of his pitches working early as he effectively kept the Tampa Bay batters off balance by moving the ball from side to side while mixing in his fastball, slider, and change up.  His control was pinpoint accurate for most of today.


Unlike much of last year, Guthrie was able to enjoy early run support today.  The Orioles were able to capitalize on Nemann’s early wildness as they capped a five run first inning with Melvin Mora’s first home run of the season, a grand slam to left center field.


Taking advantage of the early run support, Guthrie was able to continue to attack the strike zone in the second as he got another 1,2,3 inning.  There is nothing worse than when a pitcher is handed a big early lead, then comes out and tries to nibble around the plate resulting in multiple walks which allows the opposition to get right back in the game.  Guthrie did not allow this to happen as he continued to look sharp with his mastery of the strike zone as he pitched 6 complete innings.  The key to his success today was the location and movement of his pitches as he successfully kept hitters unbalanced as he navigated through tough jams in both the 3rd and the 4th innings. 


In the end the Orioles bullpen finally pitched to their expectations as they worked 3 scoreless innings.  Walker came in and looked good in his 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  Chris Ray pitched the 9th using a sharp moving slider to strike out the side. 


I can’t wait to catch the game tomorrow to see if the magic continues as the Orioles send Adam Eaton to the mound and they look to sweep the defending American League champions right out of the yard.  

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O’s Minor League Rosters are set

Posted on 08 April 2009 by Jason Jubb

The Orioles minor league affiliates have put out there rosters and here are a few things of note:

– I though Chris Tillman could have used a little more seasoning at AA but he is with the AAA Tides. Control seems to be an issue and I fear he may struggle a bit at the start of the season.

– As expected, Brad Bergeson will get the 1st start for the Tides and be their “#1 starter”.

– Jeff Fiorentino is back with the Baysox. He’s no longer a prospect but it’s interesting to see him again.

– Troy Patton starts at AA in order to get an opportunity to pitch. He is probably ready for AAA, but his injury last year and the good problem of too many arms at AAA has forced the move.

– Despite going 12-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 145 IP at Bowie last year, Jason Berken starts back at AA Bowie as well.

– As expected Jake Arrieta will start at AA Bowie. Make it a point to see him there while you can.

– Last years #1 pick Brian Matusz will start at high A Frederick.

– Meanwhile, our #1 from 2006, Billy Rowell will start at Frederick after playing there last year.

– Top prospects from the 2008 draft Jerome Hoes and Xavier Avery will start at low A Delmarva.

Norfolk Tides

Bowie Baysox

Frederick Keys

Delmarva Shorebirds

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A gloomy forecast — today and for the ’09 Birds

Posted on 06 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The sky is gray across the horizon in downtown Baltimore this morning as the Orioles kick off their 2009 campaign amidst a city full of Yankees fans and the inaugural appearance for Baltimore’s homegrown Mark Teixeira as a pinstriper. It was a dark day even before the clouds and scattered showers moved in from the south.

The Orioles, who haven’t played a meaningful game since October 1997, appear to be about to put another 162 insignificant games into the record books as the “dark era” of Birds baseball continues, the longest stretch of inepetitude in the history of the storied franchise. The Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Orioles “win/loss” total at 71 1/2, which means if the Orioles play just “18 games under .500” you win the bet.

I’m not a betting man, but based on what I’ve seen for six weeks in spring training regarding their pitching, I’d be jumping at the “under” on this proposition. That said, I like this team, these position players and the quality of the character it appears Andy McPhail has assembled.

I want to cheer for Brian Roberts. I like Luke Scott and Adam Jones. I’m interested in Felix Pie, although I think he’ll probably be this year’s version of Jeff Stone. I think Aubrey Huff looked inspired for six months last summer and I’m not convinced he won’t rebound with another big year. I’m not sure what to make of Melvin Mora at this point in his career and I think Cesar Izturis will be fun to watch field the ball. And Nick Markakis is just a solid ballplayer, almost a throwback.

On the rare nights that the bullpen will be delivered a 7th inning lead, it’ll be fun to see if they’re as good as advertised.

Some things I’m watching for this season:

When will Matt Wieters arrive for good and how will he perform? It’ll be the biggest franchise mid-season debut since Ben McDonald, which was a very, very big deal.

Let’s be honest: these current starting pitching is a joke and if Jeremy Guthrie, Koji Uehara, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Adam Eaton are the real five starters we’ll use all season, this team is probably 10 games under .500 before Memorial Day and then it becomes a “what to do?” for McPhail.

How will Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman do on the farm this year, especially before the All-Star break. If the current O’s veterans are as bad as we think they’ll be, which of these guys will be heatlthy, effective and ready to promote?

And will the Orioles start the M.L. service time on any of these kids with a summer call up? Or will McPhail allow the current veteran group to get their heads beaten in night after night? Or will Danys Baez or Brian Bass or David Pauley step in and perform? Or not?

That’s why we watch and certainly I’m poised to talk baseball every single day on WNST and AM 1570.

I just hope in these tough economic times, perhaps the people of Baltimore will return to baseball this summer and come to care again about the Orioles, if not in the stands perhaps on their TV’s around town. Of course, it would help if the franchise actually did its fair share and “came back to the people.” During the last six months, the team did exactly two events to promote their team. One of them was two days ago.

They continue to do foolish, selfish and mindless things that almost go unnoticed by the media that is in the business of making excuses for their sins so they can benefit financially.

Today’s starting pitcher — their No. 1 guy and big “hope” for the season — had his paycheck cut by 15% four weeks ago. Happy Opening Day, Jeremy Guthrie!

They continue to ban free speech, even daring their current players to not speak out about unsafe playing conditions in spring training.

We’ll see how much “progress” the organization has over the next six months. Let’s see how the puppies do on the farm. Let’s see how the young emerging stars perform in a mostly empty stadium and with starting pitching that no one can takes seriously as a team that will compete in the AL East in 2009.

But, let’s see how the season goes. My prediction: 65-97. Probably worse if someone doesn’t come in and save the rotation by July.

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Programming changes at WNST

Posted on 02 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

If you’ve been driving around Baltimore after 6 p.m. and have tuned into WNST-AM 1570 you’ve noticed some changes over the last two nights. Our partnership with Fox Sports Radio has ended and we’ve decided to feature our local talent in the evening hours for the foreseeable future and drop the top of the hour flashes, which were dreadful. We will provide local news in and out of every break.

Our staff works hard to produce Baltimore’s best sports talk radio and we’re delighted to offer more Bob Haynie and more Drew Forrester to our audience during the overnights when our signal is not at full strength. We hope you enjoy the extra time with our hosts on the radio. (Soon, you might even be able to get rid of me…LOL!)

We’ve had some technical glitches during the transition phase and we’re working to correct some of the computer issues and modulation issues and should have it all perfectly crafted soon. You will also be able to hear the programming in the evening via our “LISTEN LIVE” button here at WNST.net

More programming notes:

We are absolutely delighted to have Thyrl Nelson join our team on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for two hours per night of Baltimore’s coolest evening radio. Thryl’s “Mobtown Sports Beat” will air from 6 til 8 and be produced by Chris Bonetti, who writes a great daily blog here at WNST.net as well. Nelson was one of our finalists in our last talent search almost 30 months ago. If you’ve read either of their blogs or heard their work you’ll know that we made a great decision to have them join our team.

We will kick off our “King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk Competition” next week. We currently have 48 qualified contestants who will be going through a series of challenges that will end with two shows on May 13 and May 27. The contest is sponsored by Coors Light and will be one of the more adventurous competitions we’ve ever hosted at WNST.net. Many more details will be coming and you’ll start to hear and see our competitors during the 2 to 4 p.m. segments of my show from April 8th through April 17th.

Last but not least, a few folks have dropped me a note wondering why I never launched the remaining chapters of my baseball book about my Pop and the Orioles last week. Honestly, when I was out in California chasing coaches and owners, I didn’t get a chance every day to get it into my blogs but I’ll get them all onto the site by Monday.

I appreciate all of the nice notes I’ve received this week regarding the Orioles and their continued nonsense. It’s all good. The season starts on Monday. We’ll see how they do!

The webcam is coming very, very soon as well.

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O’s Today: Johnson shut down; Hill throws – finally

Posted on 15 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

One step forward and two steps back.  That pretty much sums up the O’s pitching in spring training.

Danys Baez is back.  His most recent effort was decent.   That’s the good news.

Jim Johnson, however, is now on the shelf for at least a week.  That’s not good news.  Johnson is going to be shut down for a week with a right shoulder impingement.  Team officials are saying it’s merely a case of using caution with Johnson – but we all know that’s how it starts.  “He just needs a few days of rest.”  Followed by, “He’s going to get an MRI to make sure everything is sound in there.”  Then, it’s “The injury turned out to be worse than we first thought.”

Let’s hope that’s not the case with Johnson, who is one of the team’s more reliable right handed pitchers and will no doubt be the team’s 7th inning “bridge pitcher” in ’09, with the responsibility of getting the ball to Chris Ray and George Sherrill.

Meanwhile, Rich Hill, bothered all spring with a sore throwing arm, tossed 26 pitches in a side session with pitching coach Rick Kranitz today.  Hill reported that everything felt great and he’s anticipating making his spring training debut next Saturday.  Already penciled in as the team’s #3 starter by most followers, Hill’s condition is of great concern to the O’s.  If he can’t start the season in Baltimore, that most certainly means the O’s starting rotation will include some combination of Radhames Liz, Hayden Penn, Brad Bergesen and, possibly, David Pauley. 

O’s 2nd baseman Brian Roberts has joined the USA team in the WBC after an oblique injury sidelined Boston’s Dustin Pedroia.

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O’s need Eaton to come through. Or, they might be through.

Posted on 13 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

Adam Eaton was decent today in his spring training debut. 

That’s the good news.

Sure, it’s “only” spring training and it was “only” three innings of work, but Eaton threw 24 of 30 pitches for strikes and worked his way out of a first inning jam.

The bad news?

Eaton better be the real deal or the O’s are potentially in serious trouble in 2009.  It’s not the best situation in the world, having to depend on a guy who hasn’t had an E.R.A under 5.00 in the last three seasons, but, as the saying goes — it is, what it is. 

For all the good that Andy MacPhail accomplished in the off-season: the Pie-for-Olson deal, shipping off disgruntled Ramon Hernandez, signing Cesar Izturis…and the two contract extensions for Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis — the issue now centers on the team’s starting pitching and how they’re going to compete over a 162-game schedule with a collection of young arms and re-treads.

Right now, if Opening Day were this Monday, the team’s starting rotation would look like this:  1. Jeremy Guthrie – 2. Koji Uehara – 3. who knows? – 4. who knows? – 5. who knows?

I don’t know about you – but “who knows?” probably won’t win more games than he loses.

Here’s the problem:  The Orioles have a decent nucleus of field players.  It’s not a World Series-caliber lineup, of course, but the “nine” they’ll send out there day-in and day-out is capable of winning 75 or more games.  They’ll be one of the American League’s best defensive teams and it looks like team speed won’t be a problem, either.  Putting the bat on the ball and moving around the bases won’t be a weak spot.

Pitching, though, will be.

That’s why Adam Eaton is almost a “must-make” for the O’s.

After Guthrie, who else on team is reliable enough to start every 5th day?

The Japanese kid looks decent enough, but spring training is spring training.  Lance Cormier got a lot of people out in spring training before.  Remember him?  Right.

Even if Guthrie and Uehara turn out to be quality starters, what about the other three games before the ball gets handed back to those two again?

What if Guthrie gets hurt and misses 10 starts?  What if Uehara runs out of gas in August after making 25 starts? 

What if…what if…what if…

In baseball, there’s one tried-and-true theory.  Pitching wins championships.

We don’t expect the Orioles to win a championship with this staff.  

But, let’s hope their lack of pitching doesn’t drop the club from a potential 75-win team to a 60-win team because no one can get hitters out in the first five innings.  Someone in Ft. Lauderdale tells me a few veteran players are already starting to whisper about the poor pitching in spring training.  “This could be a long six months if this is what we’re going to get on the mound.”  

The last thing you need with a young (improving) team is a veteran player or two grumbling about losing in June — when July, August and September loom ahead.  That said, veterans know the drill.  If you’re 20 games below .500 on July 1, you’re done.  And that makes for a miserable stroll through “the dog days” when the games don’t matter, the fans stop coming and the losses continue to mount.  

This is the gamble MacPhail took in the off-season when he decided to eschew the free agent pitching crop and, instead, add cast-offs like Rich Hill, Mark Hendrickson and Adam Eaton.  

Radhames Liz and Hayden Penn – two minor leaguers who have major league experience – will most certainly have a shot again at the big league level this year.  What will they do with their chance?  

It could be a blessing in disguise if Hill or Eaton don’t get the job done.  That might force the team to move Chris Tillman or Jake Arrieta to the major league team during the summer.  If nothing else, the fans will get a chance to see the future…and if those two are acceptable, it will give the faithful something to think about over the winter after the team produces a 12th straight losing season.

I’ve never rooted so hard for Adam Eaton in my life.

If he’s not serviceable, the Orioles are in trouble.

Don’t blame me if he’s bad.

Blame Andy MacPhail.

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Jason Brown will be a big loss in the middle for the Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The economic reality of the NFL comes to us every March when players we like, players we know are quality performers and citizens, wind up in different jerseys due solely to the salary cap and the league’s ability and desire to disperse its talent equality. (Or at least that’s the goal!)

So, late last night (you might’ve received the WNST Text just before 11 p.m.), the Ravens lost another one of their “good” guys in center Jason Brown, who just got overwhelmed with an enormous offer by the St. Louis Rams. Brown, like his wealthy counterpart free agent Bart Scott, was one of the standup guys in the locker room, a movie buff in his spare time and a joy to be around and chat with. He always kept a photo of a brother he lost to the war in the Middle East in his locker.

The Ravens will hope that Chris Chester continues his emergence as a starter on the offensive line and would also consider Marshal Yanda in the mix in the middle. No doubt they’ll use a draft pick or two on the O line.

It sure doesn’t help with stability — and let’s be honest, the Ravens offensive line was a major reason for Joe Flacco’s emergence — but business is business in the NFL. The Rams had the money. The Rams had the need. The Rams were willing, if not obligated, to overspend in this case to lure a quality player and person in the prime of his career to a moribund franchise that is in the midst of a massive, long-term overhaul to escape the cellar of the NFL.

Who knows? Maybe in three years Jason Brown will be in the Super Bowl with the Rams? Change happens quickly in the NFL.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s venerable Jim Thomas wrote this about the pursuit of Jason Brown.

Our old friend from The News American and Baltimore’s own Bernie Miklasz chronicles the many misfortunes of the Rams here…

It’s good reading.

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Ravens release Chris McAlister this afternoon

Posted on 16 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As has been suspected, reported and speculated, the Chris McAlister era in Baltimore has come to an end. ProFootballTalk.com first reported that McAlister will be released. His $8 million base salary was too much for Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh to stomach. His antics at the team’s hotel in Miami were legendary and it was no secret that Harbaugh thought the team was better off without him. And, of course, the team came four minutes away from going to the Super Bowl without him.

Newsome met with McAlister earlier today in Owings Mills and told him that he would be released.

Here is the Ravens’ official press release:

Feb. 16, 2009

For Immediate Release


The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of CB Chris McAlister this afternoon, it was announced by Ozzie Newsome, the team’s general manager and executive vice president.

McAlister, a three-time Pro Bowl standout, played 10 seasons for the Ravens after being selected in the first round (10th pick) in the 1999 draft. A starter on the 2000 Super Bowl championship Baltimore team, “C-Mac” produced 26 career interceptions, good for third place on the franchise’s all-time list (behind S Ed Reed, 43, and LB Ray Lewis, 28). McAlister also scored seven career touchdowns – six by interceptions and one on a missed field goal return, which set a then-NFL record for longest play (107 yards).

McAlister, who will be 32 in June, played in six games in 2008, starting five, before being placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury on Nov. 11. Before being hurt, he stole three passes and made 19 tackles (17 solo).

“First, we want to thank Chris for all he did for the Ravens in the past 10 years,” Newsome explained. “He was a major contributor to many big wins, including the Super Bowl. To play the type of defense we have used here, you have to have corners who can cover one-on-one. He was one of the best at that for us. He was physical, and he could run with the best.”

“All of us who had the opportunity to coach Chris for the first time this season have an appreciation for all the good things he did for this team through the years,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’ll be remembered by us and the fans as one of the best to ever play for the Ravens. He’s a tough guy and loves football. He’ll play again, and he’ll play well.”

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Steroids: Others deserve scorn more than A-Rod

Posted on 09 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

Now, evidently, the witch hunt for baseball’s biggest villain has focused on Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod, in case you missed it, flunked a couple of steroid tests back in 2003. In a method only baseball could conjure up, Rodriguez and 103 other players failed a test that really wasn’t a test. It was a wacky “pre-test” – done to determine if testing, in fact, was needed.

I know, it’s silly. Baseball has perfected the art of silly over the last dozen years or so.

Even more silly than pre-testing is the spotlight currently shining on A-Rod.

Why are we only hearing about Rodriguez and HIS failed test? What about the other 103 players and THEIR names and pictures? Why is the scrutiny just on him?

Breaking news: Baseball players used steroids. (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

It’s such a boring, tiresome subject there’s actually dust build-up on it.

Effective immediately, I’m no longer concerned about who used steroids because we never get the complete truth on who passed the test and who failed the test.

But, I do care about something else as it relates to steroids.

And, to me, it’s actually the story we should all be chasing right now.

I want to know this: “Who knew?”

Along the way, since ‘roids became the rage, where’s the secret list of the league executives, team owners, staffers and player personnel folks who have known the identity of the users?

Where is THAT list?

Everyone is quick to scoff at the players who have been caught. A-Rod is the new goat because he supposedly tested positive and it’s easy to ridicule him because of his abundant wealth, good looks and general snobby demeanor — funny enough, those three “charming traits” probably apply to about 75% of the players in the game today. If Chris Gomez flunked a test in ’03 and his name was revealed in 2009, would anyone care? Chris who…?

But, it’s A-Rod, and since jealousy is one of the best tasting items on the human menu, everyone wants to sink their teeth into #13.

I couldn’t care less about A-Rod and his failed tests.

At this point, what’s another player-name anyway?

I would love to see the who’s-who of names that knew about A-Rod and Barry and Roger and Jose and Mark and Sammy and the rest and the rest and the rest of them.

Who, in Baltimore, for example, knew about Gibbons and Segui and Bigbie and Roberts? Who knew? I guarantee you SOMEONE knew. Did the owner know? Did the GM know? Did the trainer know? Did the manager know?

Who, in St. Louis, knew McGwire was on the juice? What about Chicago? I’m sure folks in Cubbie-land were in the know when Sosa was pounding balls out of Wrigley Field in 1998.

Because the players get paid and the fans pay money to watch them play, people only seem to care about the guys in uniform.

The players are sheep.

If there’s a baseball stadium with lights on and a paycheck waiting, they’ll play anywhere, anytime.

The guys in suits and ties – they’re the shepherds. They’re the ones responsible for gathering the sheep together and helping them graze on the needles, the statistics and the glory.

The “suits” sign the players, set the ticket prices, sell the TV ads and rent the players so we all have a team to call our own.

The players only get away with what they can – because they can.

I want to see the list of the people who have checked-off on letting the players get away with using steroids.

Let’s put some scrutiny on those guys and gals.

Personally, I’m going to start placing the blame on the shepherds.

I’d love to see the list of the folks in baseball who contributed to this lost-decade by acting like they didn’t know anything when, in fact, they knew everything.

That’s the only list that matters now.

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Loyola ends up short and falls to Manhattan

Posted on 07 February 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Loyola College men’s hoops team went on a 16-4 run late in Saturday evening’s MAAC match up with Manhattan, but the Jaspers were able to hang on late and pick up a huge road win 72-65 in Baltimore.  The loss is the Greyhounds’ second consecutive and drops them under .500 in league play at 6-7 and to 11-14 overall.

It seemed as though Loyola had completely bottomed out with 5:47 left to play in front of their home fans, but they were able to turn it on with smothering defensive intensity and with a Marquis Sullivan 3-ball the Greyhounds found themselves down just 1 with 1:28 left to play.  During the run Coach Jimmy Patsos used a lineup featuring a 6’4 Brad Farrell as its tallest player.

Give him his credit when it’s due… Coach P. pushed the right button sacrificing size and muscle for shooting range and quickness in employing an effective full court press.  On the floor for Loyola during the run was Rudolph, Harvey, Barney, Sullivan, and Farrell.

However how many times have we seen  a team come all the way back late, but can’t for whatever reason, be it fatigue, time, or whatever, get the game tied or go ahead.

Farrell knocked down a pair of FT’s with 23 seconds left to pull Loyola within 2 at 67-65 but that would be the closest the ‘Hounds would get under a minute.  As Farrell’s second free throw was in the process of tickling twine Manhattan guard Chris Smith broke the length of the floor beating the Loyola defense and was hit in stride with a long touchdown pass.  Smith went up strong, Brian Rudolph would catch-up, but Smith (younger brother of J.R.) dunked with one hand and ended any chance of a comeback.

Coming of a 28% shooting performance at Fairfield Sunday, the Greyhounds’ offense once again struggled to get on track.  Most glaring tonight was the 13 free throws they missed.  Going 18-31 from the line is never acceptable; leaving that many points on the table is deadly and especially frustrating considering Loyola leads the MAAC and ranks in the top 20 nationally in FT%.

Sullivan, the senior guard, drained 5 triples and led four teammates in double figures with 15.  Farrell and the MAAC’s leading scorer Jamal Barney had 12 while Brett Harvey chipped in 11 off the bench.

Both Loyola and Manhattan were tied coming into the contest with a MAAC record of 6-6.  The loss knocks them down to a sixth place tie with Iona.

Loyola will now go on the road Monday night and take on conference heavyweight Siena.  The Saints were handed their first MAAC loss Saturday at Rider after running off 12 straight to start the season.  The ‘Hounds can play with them, for whatever reason they match up relatively well.  Last season Loyola beat them 2 out of 3 while earlier this year a more talented and veteran Saint team had to scratch for a close road win at Reitz. Tip time will be 7pm.

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