The Future is Coming!!!
This was a very tough weekend for all of us Orioles fans out there. We started the year playing good ball, getting timely hitting, and enough pitching to break out of the gate to the tune of a 6 and 2 record. You figured that they would lose game 3 in Texas because, well, that was the pattern. Win the first two games of the series and then lose the finale as we went for the sweep. Hey, I can handle that. This O’s team was going to win 66% of the games and the Orioles were going to win 107 games when Gregg Zaun started and then they would lose 55 games when Chad Moeller was the starting catcher.
We were heading into Boston and hoping that this pattern would continue. It looked good as we saw Zaun in the line-up. Everyone knew we were going to win. Okay, that might be a stretch. Zaun is not that good and I gain no confidence that our team will win just because he is lined up behind the plate. In fact, I was quite concerned heading into Boston. I was really hoping we could split. Boy, things started out great.
In game one of the series the Orioles jumped all over Brad Penny as Nick Markakis and his GRAND start to the game gave the Orioles a seven to nothing lead after just 2 innings. This was great. We had Guthrie, our number one starter, on the mound and we gave him a 7 run lead in the second!!! The Orioles got off to a great start in Boston and they were going to take game one. Now I start to think about the possibility of maybe taking one of the remaining three and there you go. We might sneak out of Boston splitting a four game series. Well……
The second inning of Friday night was the only time I felt good about this team as they humiliated themselves in Boston. What started out so promising ending with everyone looking around and asking the question, have the Orioles thrown in the towel already?
That maybe a bit of an overstatement but one thing is for sure, the Orioles did nothing right. With the exception of Uehara, this trip to Boston was a complete embarrassment. I honestly did not expect the Orioles to do well. I surely am not excited about the team’s chances to succeed this year. The future is what has me excited. But with all that said this weekend really turned me off to the Orioles. It was not the fact that they got swept by a much better team; it was the appearance that this team never got off the plane from Texas. I do not know where their heads were for this series but they sure did not seem to be in Boston.
The pitching was atrocious. Take out Uehara’s good start in game three and the pitching line for the remaining three games looked like this:
24 innings pitched
That is terrible and I did not even mention the 19 runs Orioles pitching gave up in the last game of the Texas series. You can not expect to win with outings like those from your pitching staff. The problems did not stop there. Nobody on this team looked like they knew or understood the concept of defense. We are talking about routine plays that the Orioles used to film an adult version of the Bad News Bears. Where is Billy Bob Thornton when you need him? The defense was horrid and it goes well beyond the numbers.
After determining that this team could not pitch or field in Boston, it was clear that the offense would have to carry them yet again. The only problem is the offense showed up for only 2 innings in a four game series. The Orioles scored 7 runs in the second inning of game one and then 4 in the fifth inning of game 2. In the remaining 34 innings of the series the Orioles managed a whopping 3 runs. You are not going to win any games when your pitchers don’t pitch, your fielders don’t field, and you hitters don’t hit. That is a fact.
But as I mentioned early I knew this team would be bad. There was no way this team with this pitching staff was going to compete. What does bother me is that so far the fundamentals are missing. They were supposed to be a team based around a solid defense and good fundamentals. Where has that gone? Well that is a topic for another day.
As I was saying, I knew this team was going to lose but yet I was still excited about Orioles baseball. And the reason I was, was the future this club might have if the young guns can develop and play well. I will watch tonight with lots of excitement and anticipation as one of the first pieces to the future that I incidentally still see as a bright one, makes his debut. That’s right, Brad Bergesen will begin the new phase of the Orioles tonight as he is the first, of what I hope to be many, young Orioles to debut for the big league club. He had a great spring and looked good down in the minors and I can’t wait to see how he does tonight. I am not trying to put too much pressure on Bergesen but please, please give me something to hang my hope on. We will all be watching tonight’s game and Bergesen. And with a good start to his big league career he could really put this season into perspective for us. He can remind us that it will be ugly at times, hopefully not worse than the last 5 games, but help is coming and the future will be bright.
So Brad Bergesen I leave you with this: We are counting on you to not only win tonight but to renew our hope that the future for this once great organization will be bright again.