Tag Archive | "francisco rodriguez"

Time for Buck to Switch Things Up

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Time for Buck to Switch Things Up

Posted on 14 August 2013 by Brett Dickinson

Buck Showalter has been given the ultimate pass for everything he can do as a manager, because he revived the entire baseball community in Baltimore.  Yet he has shown an unyielding stubbornness with his current group of players. Buck has backed the likes of Jim Johnson, Jason Hammel and others, almost to a fault, possibly losing key games throughout the season.

Now this has not always been the case for the O’s skipper, who earned a reputation as a dictator or tyrant in his previous stints.  There is no denying he is one of the most intelligent minds in the sport, but was not always accessible to his players.  He basically wore out his welcome with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers, but left all those franchises in good terms for the near future (especially New York and Arizona, who went on to win championships the year after his departure).

He spent some time with ESPN, where his analysis alone, led people to believe he was ready to take over the helm of another franchise.  And that’s where the young core that Andy McPhail built in Baltimore came in.  Buck was the right manager, at the right time, for a team with a lot of young talent, but little experience.

He seemed to turn over a new leaf, when coming to Baltimore; being more approachable by his players and communicating his ideas to the entire organization.  The bond he made with rising stars, like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, is evident on and off the field.  He basically pulled a 180 with his demeanor from his past jobs.  The problem arises now, with a team trying to make a second straight playoff appearance, where he lets his heart and not his mind make some of his decisions.

Buck continually sends Jim Johnson out in the 9th inning, following the save rule to a tee (even if he says he does not believe in it). Johnson now has eight blown saves on the season and is accountable for at least seven losses for the Orioles.  Even in the games which Johnson finishes the job, he has struggled, putting runners on base and giving up runs.  That has all led to his 3.42; which would be great for a starter, but really below average for pitcher who is relied on to finish one inning.  I was a big advocate of Johnson not lasting at the closer spot, for the long-term, and should have moved on in the offseason, while his value was at an all-time high (noted here).

The Orioles acquired Francisco Rodriguez,  who does hold the all-time single season save record (even though that was 2008 with the Angels).  Though he has not pitched up to that prowess since 2009 (his first season with the Mets), he posted stellar numbers in the first half of the season (10 saves 1.09 ERA, 1.054 WHIP) with the Brewers, while switching from set-up man to closer.

Now Rodriguez has not played as well with the Orioles, having issues giving up the long ball, but actually has a lower WHIP (.875) with the Orioles.  He has the “closer mentality” and stuff to strike out players in the pressure situations. It would behoove Buck to at least see what he has in closer spot now, before its too late.

Moving Johnson out of the 9th inning also adds depth to the back end of the bullpen.  Johnson was an excellent set-up man two years ago and could rotate with the likes of Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz late in close games.  This will add rest to some of the most overworked relievers for the Orioles (and all of baseball).  Add in a decision to be made on the 5th starter spot by Sunday (where the team has listed TBA for the starting pitcher spot on Sunday; Scott Feldman’s turn in the rotation), which could add Feldman into the mix in the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

Other options to put into the closer spot include: O’Day, Hunter and a September call-up to Kevin Gausman.  In the end, Buck could go the “Moneyball” route, using a closer by committee, with two or three options to finish games (depending on match-ups and rest).  Either way the time is now to mix up the bullpen; an experiment to put every pitcher on the staff in their best role would suit the Orioles for the stretch run.

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Orioles option Valencia to Norfolk to make room for Rodriguez

Posted on 24 July 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Wednesday that right-handed pitcher Francisco Rodriguez has reported to the club and they have optioned infielder Danny Valencia to Triple-A Norfolk.

Rodriguez was acquired from Milwaukee Tuesday night. He will wear uniform No. 57.

Valencia is batting .200/.243/.443 (14-for-70) in 24 games for the Orioles this season.

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Orioles off to a hot start in second half

Posted on 24 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

Going into the All-Star break, the Orioles were playing well. That high level of play has continued as the Orioles have won each of their last three series.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the team swept the Texas Rangers. The offense has been as advertised and the starting pitching has stepped up in a big way. Each starter since the end of the All-Star break has gone 6 or more innings with Chris Tillman going 8 in a 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers on July 21st.

While the Orioles don’t have an ace, each member of their starting lineup is solid. They won’t blow anyone away. But when they are called upon, they give the Orioles a chance to win. Expect to see this formula throughout the rest of the season.

Although each starter gives them a chance to win, the rest of the season will see some struggles. Mainly, from Jason Hammel. In the only loss since the All-Star break, Hammel gave up ten hits. Those ten hits came over six innings, the shortest outing any starter has made in the last five games. Over those six innings, Hammel also gave up 3 earned runs and struck out 4 batters.

Although Hammel struggled, he played well enough for the Orioles to win. The offense just could not take advantage of Adam Jones reaching third base in the ninth inning.

This could become an issue late in the season. I don’t think the Orioles are a balanced enough team to make a deep run in the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Orioles can make the playoffs but I am still uncertain of exactly how far they can make it.

The Orioles have also made an effort to improve their bullpen. Yesterday, the Orioles traded prospect Nick Delmonico to the Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Francisco Rodriguez. Last season, the bullpen was a strength of the team as they ranked fifth in the majors with a 3.00 ERA. This season, that ERA has dropped significantly to 3.68, good for 17th in the majors.

“K-Rod” will take over for the open spot left by Padro Strop. But K-Rod also has experience in a closing role. Because Jim Johnson’s job is safe, Rodriguez is an excellent option for late inning action.

With the starting rotation performing well and the offense the Orioles possess, the second half of the season will be a great one. The upcoming series against the Red Sox will be very telling of how far this team can go.

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Orioles bolster pen by acquiring Milwaukee’s F. Rodriguez

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Orioles bolster pen by acquiring Milwaukee’s F. Rodriguez

Posted on 23 July 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have acquired right-handed pitcher right-handed pitcher Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor league infielder Nick Delmonico.

Rodriguez, 31, is 1-1 with 10 saves, a 1.09 ERA (24.2IP, 3ER), 26 strikeouts and nine walks in 25 appearances for Milwaukee this season. He has recorded double-digit saves in nine of the last 10 seasons, including a major league record 62 in 2008 with the Los Angeles Angels. His 304 career saves are third most among active players and 21st most all-time.

A 6th round draft pick by the Orioles in the 2011 First Year Player Draft out of Farragut High School (TN), Delmonico, 20, batted .244/.351/.471 in 60 games with Class-A Frederick this season after hitting .249/.351/.411 in 95 games for Class-A Delmarva in 2012.

To make room for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster, outfielder Nolan Reimold has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

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