Tag Archive | "Jason Hammel"

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Orioles linked to Hammel, Cruz at baseball’s Winter Meetings

Posted on 09 December 2013 by WNST Staff

Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista are underway, and with the Orioles still looking to add a big bat or starting pitcher to their 25-man roster, Orioles VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette is already hard at work making some calls to agents of the game’s best players.

FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal and NBCSports’ Craig Calcaterra report that Duquette has met with agent Mitch Frankel, who represents former Rangers OF Nelson Cruz as well as free agent starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Cruz, a two-time All-Star with 157 career home runs, hit .266 with 27 HRs and 86 RBIs in 109 games in 2013 before being accused of buying performance-enhancing drugs from a clinic in Miami during the BioGenesis scandal.

Colon, 40, went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA for the A’s this season and owns a 189-128 record in his 18-year MLB career.

The Orioles also talked to former A’s closer Grant Balfour’s agent.

ESPN and SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden says that in a conversation he had with Duquette on his radio show, the Orioles have been zoning in on trying to find starting pitching, a LF, and a left-handed DH if possible.

One name that could fix their SP need would be Jason Hammel, who spent the last two seasons with the Orioles after coming over in a trade with the Colorado Rockies before the 2012 season.

Hammel, 31, has also drawn interest from the Cleveland Indians. Hammel had a spectacular season in his first season in Baltimore, going 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA before knee problems ended his season.

He was unable to rebound from the injury in 2013 and lost fastball command, finishing the season 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA.

The Yankees talked with former Orioles 2B Brian Roberts about a possible return to the AL East, after the Yankees saw their All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano sign a deal with the Mariners last week.

 

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Orioles decline Casilla’s 2014 option, pass on making qualifying offers to free agents

Posted on 05 November 2013 by WNST Staff

Already in the process of shaping their 2014 roster, the Orioles made several decisions regarding their own free agents on Monday.

The club declined a $3 million option for the 2014 season in infielder Alexi Casilla’s contract, making him a free agent after a $200,000 buyout. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette also passed on making one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers in 2014 for free agents Brian Roberts, Jason Hammel, and Nate McLouth.

Seven players on the 2013 Orioles declared for free agency following the World Series: Roberts, Hammel, McLouth, right-handed pitchers Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez, outfielder Michael Morse, and catcher Chris Snyder. The Orioles have expressed interest in retaining some of their own free agents, but no formal discussions have taken place.

The Orioles also added 25-year-old left-handed pitcher Chris Jones to their 40-man roster and reinstated third baseman Manny Machado (knee surgery) and outfielder Nolan Reimold (neck surgery) to the 40-man roster after each finished the 2013 season on the 60-day disabled list.

With Reimold eligible for arbitration, the Orioles could forgo tendering him a contract and attempt to re-sign him as a non-roster invitee who would not take a spot on the 40-man roster.

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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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Jason Hammel, Smoke In Mirrors?

Posted on 24 July 2013 by timjones60

How often does a team’s number one starter fall so far into the rotation that they are now that same teams number five. Not often but with the Orioles, it seems as if it’s almost an annual occurrence. Jake Arrieta, 2012’s opening day starter was projected to be the ace of the Orioles rotation in the 2012 season, but he was cursed by lack luster performances in which he was jettisoned out of the rotation to the bullpen and even bounced back and forth between Norfolk and the major league club. Now the Orioles seem to be in a similar boat with Jason Hammel.

Hammel is 7-7 after last night’s 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. And as the 2013 season keeps moving along, it seems more and more that Jason Hammel is not the pitcher that we the Orioles faithful might have thought he was. After he went 8-6 in an injury plagued season, he showed signs of hope that the Orioles finally had their front of the line starter. He logged a career low 3.43 ERA last season and even had a complete game shutout. Now that Hammel has started 20 games this season (the same number of games he started last year) his numbers are inflated. Keep in mind he has only pitched one third of an inning less this season than last season, so the wear and tear on his arm isn’t all that different than where it was last season.

Hitters are clearly seeing the ball better against him with his hits up by 30 hits, he’s given up 23 more earned runs, and his strike outs are down dramatically. So maybe his numbers of 2012 were an aberration. His track record sure points to it.

With the impending trade deadline also around the corner, Hammel’s job may be on the line. The Orioles are still actively involved on the trade front even after making a splash by acquiring Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez. Multiple reports have the birds interested in some of the Houston Astros starting pitchers including Bud Norris and yes Erik Bedard. If the Orioles make a move for either pitcher, I would not be surprised to see Jason Hammel be a piece in that trade, or be pushed back into the bullpen to accommodate the new starter. Either way, Jason Hammel is not who we thought he was.

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Handing out Orioles awards at the All-Star break

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Handing out Orioles awards at the All-Star break

Posted on 16 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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Standing at 53-43 and sending five representatives to Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, the Orioles had quite the memorable first 3 1/2 months of the season filled with plenty of highs and also some lows.

Before manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles get back to business in Texas on Friday, I’ve composed my list of All-Star break awards. Some are more serious than others, but there was plenty to remember over the first 96 games of the 2013 season.

Most Valuable Player: Chris Davis
Skinny: Manny Machado deserves more consideration here than most will give him if you take his remarkable defense into account, but the Orioles first baseman is on pace to break franchise records for RBIs, slugging percentage, OPS, extra-base hits, and total bases as well as surpass the American League home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961. Who else could it really be?

Best Starting Pitcher: Miguel Gonzalez
Skinny: Chris Tillman received the All-Star nod, but Gonzalez has been the Orioles’ best starter, especially since posting a 2.88 earned run average in his last 10 starts upon returning from a May stint on the 15-day disabled list. The 29-year-old posted seven straight quality starts heading into the All-Star break and his 3.48 ERA is the best in the starting rotation.

Best Relief Pitcher: Tommy Hunter
Skinny: Darren O’Day earned consideration here, but Hunter’s ability to pitch more than one inning has saved the bullpen numerous times. With Luis Ayala traded early in the season and Pedro Strop unable to bounce back from his late-season struggles from a year ago, the Orioles would have been in major trouble with their bullpen without Hunter’s 2.41 ERA and 52 1/3 innings of work.

Biggest Surprise: Manny Machado
Skinny: With Davis taking aim at the record books, it’s difficult not to give him the nod here, but I would have predicted Davis to be more likely for a breakout season than Machado, who just celebrated his 21st birthday less than two weeks ago. We now see the third baseman as a doubles machine with a shot at the single-season record, but many thought Showalter had gotten too much Florida sun when he put the unproven Machado in the No. 2 lineup spot at the start of the season.

Biggest Disappointment: Jason Hammel
Skinny: The Opening Day starter was counted on to be the de facto ace and has instead looked like the weak link in the current starting rotation. His 5.24 ERA is worse than his career mark, but most of his other numbers align closely with his career statistics prior to his arrival in Baltimore last season.

Most Overrated Performer: Nick Markakis
Skinny: The Orioles right fielder was close to being voted into the All-Star Game, but he is on pace for career lows in batting average and OPS and has become more of a singles hitter in recent years except for his 2012 injury-plagued campaign. Markakis is still a good player, but the clamoring for his inclusion in the Midsummer Classic was more about his popularity and less about his production. Many will argue that catcher Matt Wieters deserves this distinction, but few tried to say he was deserving of All-Star honors with his poor offensive output this season.

Most Underrated Performer: Nate McLouth
Skinny: Even McLouth’s biggest supporters had to wonder if the second-half success he enjoyed last season was a fluke, but the left fielder continues to be a spark plug at the top of the order and on the base paths with a team-leading 24 stolen bases. He doesn’t do anything that blows you away, but McLouth makes a substantial contribution just about every night, whether it shows up in the box score or not.

Most Improved Player: Ryan Flaherty
Skinny: The second baseman hit .133 in his first 102 plate appearances before being demoted to Triple-A Norfolk and has batted .300 in 94 plate appearances since being recalled at the end of May. The simple fact that many are clamoring for Flaherty to play over veteran Brian Roberts says all you need to know about his improvement since the start of the season.

Biggest Injury: Wei-Yin Chen’s strained right oblique
Skinny: The Taiwanese lefty went down with the injury in mid-May, leaving a major hole in the rotation for nearly two months. Ironically, the long layoff may pay off in the long run for Chen, who tired down the stretch last year and should now feel strong for the remainder of the season after less wear and tear on his pitching arm.

Most Important Win: A 2-1 victory over the Yankees thanks to Adam Jones’ homer off Mariano Rivera on July 7
Skinny: Even Showalter downplayed the significance of the dramatic victory in early July, but the Orioles were on the verge of dropping their third straight one-run game to New York to complete a 1-5 road trip before Jones tagged the greatest closer of all time for his first blown save at Yankee Stadium since 2010.

Most Disappointing Loss: Jim Johnson’s meltdown in Toronto on May 26
Skinny: The Orioles sent Johnson to the mound with a 5-2 lead and needed only three outs to take three of four from the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. A double, two singles, a walk, and a Munenori Kawasaki double later, the closer had blown his fourth save in his last five chances and the Orioles had suffered a stunning 6-5 loss on a Sunday afternoon.

Most Exciting Moment: Chris Dickerson’s walk-off homer against the Tigers on May 31
Skinny: All-Star Game starter Max Scherzer had pitched brilliantly for eight innings before Detroit manager Jim Leyland turned the game over to Jose Valverde with a 5-3 lead in the ninth. Before an electric crowd of over 46,000, the Orioles staged a rally as Markakis hit a homer to lead off the inning and the part-time player Dickerson hammered a three-run blast into the right-center bleachers for one of the most exciting regular-season moments in Camden Yards history.

The Kevin Gregg-Michael Gonzalez Fireman Award: Pedro Strop
Skinny: The Orioles tried to stick with the volatile but talented Strop as long as they could, but you knew time was running short for the 28-year-old on June 29 when Showalter felt the need to warm up O’Day in his bullpen as the struggling reliever was working the ninth inning with an 11-3 lead over the Yankees. Sporting a 7.25 ERA in 29 appearances, Strop was dealt along with Jake Arrieta to the Chicago Cubs a few days later in exchange for starting pitcher Scott Feldman.

The Justin Duchscherer “Yes, He Was an Oriole” Award: Mike Belfiore
Skinny: If you’re asking who Belfiore is, you’re probably not alone as the left-handed reliever has twice been recalled to the 25-man roster this season but hasn’t appeared in a game. Chances are good he’s near the top of the list of players currently on the 40-man roster who could be designated for assignment should the need for a roster spot arise, but Belfiore does have a 3.67 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk this season.

The Jack Cust Baserunning Award: Alexi Casilla’s ninth-inning blunder against the Red Sox
Skinny: Trying to rally against Boston closer Andrew Bailey on June 15, the Orioles sent the speedy Casilla into the game to run for J.J. Hardy at first base with one out. After Ryan Flaherty lined a ball sharply to right fielder Shane Victorino, Casilla was inexplicably standing on third base as he was doubled off first to end the game. The utility infielder said after the game he knew the number of outs and simply misread the ball off Flaherty’s bat, but the play may have gone down as the Orioles’ worst pinch-running debacle since Manny Alexander was picked off upon running for Cal Ripken in a 1996 game that then went into extra innings.

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Your Monday Reality Check: Don’t listen to those saying Orioles’ pitching bad

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Your Monday Reality Check: Don’t listen to those saying Orioles’ pitching bad

Posted on 15 July 2013 by Glenn Clark

During the course of Major League Baseball’s All-Star break, there will be plenty of stories written and plenty of analysis offered via radio/TV about the first half of the Baltimore Orioles’ season.

As you almost certainly already know, the Birds finished the first “half” of the season 53-43, 4.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Texas Rangers in the race for the second AL Wild Card spot. The biggest headlines of the season thus far have surrounded Chris Davis’ 37 home runs, Manny Machado’s 39 doubles and Jim Johnson’s six blown saves.

But if the Baltimore Orioles want to make it a second consecutive trip to the postseason, the headlines in the second half of the season are going to have to be about something that hasn’t gotten much attention through the first 96 games of the season.

Spoiler alert. It’s the starting pitching.

Yes, the same starting pitching that has lead the Orioles to a 4.39 team ERA to this point…good for 28th in Major League Baseball.

It isn’t hard to pick apart why that number isn’t particularly relevant. Allow me the opportunity.

Eliminating pitchers who barely appeared for the Orioles this season (does anyone even remember Alex Burnett), a number of pitchers posted legitimate innings and soaked up miserable ERA’s.

For example, Pedro Strop pitched 22.1 innings for the O’s and posted a 7.25 ERA. He’s gone. Jake Arrieta pitched over 23 innings in Orange and Black this season and posted a 7.23 ERA. For his trouble, Arrieta was dealt with Strop to the Chicago Cubs Kevin Gausman has pitched 33.1 innings at the major league level this season, tallying a 6.21 ERA in the process. He’s currently pitching for the Norfolk Tides. “Sweaty” Freddy Garcia? 5.77 ERA in 53 innings. The veteran is currently riding buses with Gausman in Norfolk himself. Zach Britton managed a 4.76 ERA over 34 IP before returning to the Tides as well.

Of the current Orioles, only one has a miserable ERA in legitimate innings-Jason Hammel with a 5.24 ERA in 111.2. But even taking Hammel’s numbers into consideration-the current group of Orioles pitchers has posted an incredible combined ERA. If you consider a third of an inning to be .333, the current group of twelve pitchers has pitched a combined 658.53 innings this season. In those innings, they’ve allowed a total of 277 combined earned runs. That would be good for a group ERA of 3.78, which would be tenth best in all of baseball. If you were to subtract Hammel’s gaudy numbers, the ERA for the rest of the 11 would be 3.48-which would be best in the American League.

(I hope Mr. Radcliffe will be proud of all of my math.)

Clearly I’m doing a bit of fuzzy math here. Not all 12 pitchers are going to be the exact group of pitchers the Birds use the rest of the way. Gausman in particular is likely to return, with Garcia, Britton and Steve Johnson being likely options to see time in the second half of the season as well. Tsuyoshi Wada may have to be a consideration for GM Dan Duquette again after the All-Star Break. Of the 12 pitchers included in the math, Scott Feldman made just three starts (including an excellent outing Sunday) since being acquired from the Cubs and Jairo Asencio appeared in only one game (one inning) since being called up Friday night.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Hammel not answering call in Orioles rotation

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Hammel not answering call in Orioles rotation

Posted on 13 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter expressed confidence that Jason Hammel’s best games still lie ahead in the second half after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to Toronto.

And it’s a good thing too, because the struggling starting pitcher didn’t sound like he had much in himself after allowing six earned runs in six-plus innings to the Blue Jays. After plunking No. 9 hitter Emilio Bonifacio and walking Jose Reyes to begin the seventh inning, Hammel was lifted by Showalter to watch those runners eventually score, raising his earned run average to 5.24 on the season.

“I hate seeing him come out every time in the seventh inning when we’ve had a lead and I’ve given it back,” said Hammel, referring to the 3-2 lead he relinquished an inning earlier by giving up four straight singles with two outs. “I’ve got to hand the ball over to him and today was no different. I was very frustrated, actually kind of spiked it into his hand. I was a little [ticked] off. It’s frustrating.”

Winless since May 27 and unable to build on three straight quality starts from Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Chris Tillman heading into Saturday, Hammel appears to be the weakest link in the rotation despite receiving the Opening Day start less than four months ago. He fell to 7-6 on the season and now has a 6.65 ERA in eight home starts (46 innings) this season. Only two of those have been quality starts as his frustration boiled over following Saturday’s loss.

His 2012 first half in which he was an American League finalist for the All-Star Game’s final fan vote must feel like a distant memory for the 30-year-old right-hander, who’s status in the starting rotation has to be in question for the second half. The heavy-hitting Blue Jays were all over him early, evident by Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run homer in the first inning. To Hammel’s credit, he rebounded to throw four straight scoreless frames before once again running into trouble at the end of the day.

“Unacceptable. Far too many baserunners, getting behind hitters,” Hammel said. “[That's a] fastball-hitting club that I’m feeding fastballs. It’s easy to hit when you know what is coming. I’m not throwing sliders for strikes, not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is nonexistent. I’m beating myself right now.”

The biggest downfall for Hammel in 2013 has been his inability to duplicate the success he enjoyed with his two-seam fastball a year ago when he was able to frequently induce grounders and mix in his breaking stuff to overpower hitters. In 20 starts in 2012 — Hammel missed most of the second half after undergoing right knee surgery in July — he went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA and posted career bests with 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.24 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

Those numbers prompted Showalter to give Hammel the ball in Game 1 of the American League Division Series despite the fact that he made only three regular-season starts after the All-Star break. Showalter hoped Hammel would be their de facto ace in 2013 by awarding him the start on Opening Day, but he hasn’t looked the part sans a handful of outings this season.

Without the two-seamer being a consistent factor this year, Hammel’s pitches have been consistently up in the zone as he’s allowed 19 home runs in his 19 starts this season, just two shy of his career-worst total of 21 in 2011.

“He’s pitched some good games. You can go back through that,” Showalter said. “There are some things that didn’t work out. But I think it bodes well for the rest of the season because he’s capable of better and I think his best games are ahead of him.”

As much as the Orioles hoped last season was a renaissance for Hammel after underwhelming runs with Tampa Bay and Colorado, his numbers this season are more reflective of his pre-2012 statistics when he occasionally bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and bullpen with his former clubs. His current ERA and home run totals are higher than his career numbers (4.80 ERA and 1.5 homers per nine innings entering Saturday), but his current WHIP (1.44) and strikeouts per nine innings (6.3) are nearly identical to his career numbers (1.43 and 6.6).

Much to the organization’s chagrin after failing to acquire a veteran starting pitcher in the offseason, it appears Hammel’s 2012 season was the outlier and his performance this season is simply returning to the norm. That revelation makes it no easier for any of the involved parties, however, in the midst of a pennant race.

“This first half, honestly, is unacceptable for me,” said Hammel, who plans to get away from baseball over the All-Star break to clear his mind and believes he’s been trying too hard to make adjustments between starts. “I’m better than this and it’s on my shoulders. It’s on nobody else. It’s fixable. It’s just I’ve got to get out of my own way.”

Hammel doesn’t appear to be in immediate danger of losing his spot in the rotation, but beyond the top three of Gonzalez, Chen, and Tillman, the Orioles must find more consistency from the back end of the rotation, which includes the newly-acquired Scott Feldman. Otherwise, Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette will have no choice but to revisit the possibility of rookie Kevin Gausman or another option such as Steve Johnson receiving another shot while continuing to explore the possibility of another trade.

The timing of Hammel’s struggles couldn’t be worse for him personally as he is scheduled to become a free agent after the season. While some encouraged the Orioles to sign Hammel to an extension last winter, his future with the organization beyond the next few months now appears in doubt due to his performance this season.

For now, the Orioles continue to express confidence in Hammel, who threw first-pitch strikes to just 13 of the 28 hitters he faced in Saturday’s loss. But that confidence can only go so far in the second half in a very tight AL East race.

“I think it’s just you’ve got to get ahead of guys,” said first baseman Chris Davis, who clubbed his major league-leading 36th home run of the year Saturday. “I think Ham is obviously a guy who has really good stuff if he can go out there and get ahead of guys. If you put the [count in his favor], I think he’s successful.”

The Orioles keep waiting — perhaps only hoping at this point? — for last year’s Hammel to suddenly appear. But after 19 starts of results more closely mirroring the rest of his career, you wonder how much longer they can wait before looking elsewhere.

Even Hammel acknowledged as much on Saturday.

“I know these guys are pulling for me,” Hammel said. “I do believe the best days are ahead, but it’s got to happen fast if we want to make this a championship season. I’m a big part of it and I have to get it right.”

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Buck Showalter

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The Baltimore Orioles Second Half Needs

Posted on 04 July 2013 by mattcostantini

 

 

 

85 contests into the 2013 campaign and the Baltimore Orioles find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the Boston Red Sox.  Although I’d rather see the Birds in 1st place as opposed to 2nd, it’s not the worst position to be in.  Especially considering their record against the Division Leaders.

 

5-2 in 2013, 18-7 since 2012.

Now I’m no genius, but it would seem to me that if the Birds of Baltimore are only a few games back come the end of the season, getting a series against the BoSox could only be advantageous.  Well what do ya know, we finish out the season with a 3 game homestand against those very chowderheads…  Anticipate on the yard being just a little bit electric for that set.

As you watch this team you get the feeling that they could be serious contenders for an ALCS Crown, or dare we ever imagine, a World Series Championship.  You only get that feeling on certain nights though.  It just so happens to be the nights that 1 of 3 players are on the field.

Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, or Wei-Yin Chen.

Don’t get me wrong; every time Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Adam Jones walk into the batters box you get the feeling as well, but when you have the three pitchers mentioned above on the mound this team looks close to unbeatable.  In fact, when those same three pitchers are on the mound the team is 26-13.

So what is holding this team back from becoming a true World Series contender?

Hint: It’s not an acquisition from the Chicago Cubs of Scott Feldman (7-6, 3.43 ERA, 73 SO or if you like career numbers as a better barometer 46-50, 4.65 ERA, 506 SO)

It’s two starters you can trust handing the ball over to on the 4th and 5th game of a playoff series.

Right now Buck Showalter does not have that.  Unfortunately, Buck doesn’t have a problem placing that trust in Jason Hammel.  Lately that trust has been hard to attest for.  Last years “ace” has lost his last 3 decisions and hasn’t been credited with a win since May 27th, against the Washington Nationals.  Granted, in one of those losses he only allowed 2 earned runs in 6 & 2/3 innings, but without Wei-Yin Chen in the starting rotation and ????? ??????? as your fifth starter, this is the time when the Orioles needed Hammel to step up to his early 2012 caliber and he did not do it.

More of a problem than Jason Hammel, is the wishy washy assortment of bull pen/youngin’s vying for the 5th starting spot.  TJ McFarland is an awful starter.  He may become a solid bull pen guy, but I don’t want to see that guy starting a game EVER again (for the record can we get the mustache back please?)    Steve Johnson seems like a legitimate option but injuries have held him back from having the opportunity.  We don’t need to throw stones at the fragile head that is Jake Arrieta anymore, he’s just a “filthy stuff having” memory of our past that now resides in the Windy City.

Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman seem like the two most feasible options.  Gausman struggled in his first few starts but then in his last 3 outings has gone 10 & 2/3 allowing just 2 earned runs.  Buck obviously does not trust giving the starts to 22 year old at this point and it is being rumored that with Wei-Yin Chen’s return Gausman will be optioned back to the minors.  Zach Britton on the other hand, in 16 innings through June has only allowed 5 earned runs.

My take on the whole starting pitching ordeal.

1. Chris Tillman 2. Miguel Gonzalez 3. Wei-Yin Chen 4. Jason Hammel 5. Scott Feldman

1-4 is a no-brainer in my opinion.  Although Jason Hammel has had his struggles of late, to this point wearing the black and orange he has been solid for this team and I think he can get it back together.

While Wei-Yin Chen is getting his second rehab start down in Bowie give the former Cub Scott Feldman his chance and see if he can provide this pitching staff with a shot in the arm.  Give Zach Britton the starts until he proves he’s not worthy of them or until Chen returns and get Kevin Gausman regular work in the minors.

Best case scenario for the O’s, Zach Britton pitches well, Wei-Yin Chen returns to form, and Scott Feldman enters the bullpen as a long reliever.

That being said, Buck Showalter has forgotten more about baseball then I will ever know and until we are no longer battling for a top spot in the AL East, IN BUCK WE TRUST.

-Matt Costantini

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Arrieta to start Monday in Detroit with Hammel pushed back

Posted on 16 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Following Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox, Orioles manager Buck Showalter revealed right-hander Jake Arrieta will take the hill in place of scheduled starter Jason Hammel Monday night against the Detroit Tigers.

Hammel has been dealing with a stomach virus since late least week and was even instructed to stay away from Camden Yards on Friday and Saturday. The 30-year-old hopes to start Tuesday, but his strength was zapped after the illness required him to receive intravenous fluids over the weekend.

Recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Friday to act as a fresh arm in the bullpen, Arrieta didn’t pitch over the weekend and will make the start Monday because Norfolk lefty Zach Britton remains on call to pitch on Tuesday if Hammel needs more time to recover. Either he or lefty reliever T.J. McFarland would be options if the latter doesn’t need to be used in long relief in the series opener against the Tigers.

Right-hander Kevin Gausman also remains on the radar as Miguel Gonzalez will be placed on the paternity list as soon as his wife goes into labor. Her due date falls on Wednesday and there has been some talk that she could be induced if labor doesn’t begin by then, but the Orioles are obviously respecting the family’s privacy by not wanting to divulge too much information.

Arrieta has struggled mightily in recent weeks for the Tides, allowing 15 runs and 19 hits in 10 1/3 innings over his last two starts. He owns a 3-3 mark with a 5.50 earned run average in seven appearances at the Triple-A level.

Of course, the 27-year-old began the season in the Orioles’ starting rotation but went 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts and was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk in late April.

 

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Magic”-al weekend saw both rightful, misplaced passion

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Magic”-al weekend saw both rightful, misplaced passion

Posted on 03 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

I know well that Baltimore Orioles fans weren’t REALLY mad that a pitcher was thrown out of a game for hitting a batter on the first pitch after giving up three straight home runs.

I know very well that Baltimore Orioles fans were mad about late Saturday afternoon was THEIR pitcher getting thrown out of a game for hitting a batter on the first pitch after giving up three straight home runs.

As much as I wasn’t interested in fighting with baseball fans on Twitter, I was certainly happy to see the passion. The passion has been perhaps my favorite part of the Birds’ resurgence over the last 14 months.

I was up close and personal (okay, ten rows back) from that very passion Friday night. I had a great friend invite me down to Oriole Park at Camden Yards after our live broadcast of “The Reality Check” at Hooters Friday afternoon. My fiancé and I spent the evening wandering through the ballpark with our friends, taking in the Centerfield Bar, the Orioles’ corporate suite and our fantastic lower level seats at the sold out game against the Detroit Tigers. (I don’t say those things to rub in how great my night was, but instead to offer another thank you to my friend Mike-who might very well be reading this. He was a tremendous host. Indulge me for his sake, please.)

When Nick Markakis came to the plate to lead off the 9th inning, I couldn’t find a single person that wasn’t standing. By the time Chris Dickerson sent everyone home happy, the 40,000 or so in attendance were whipped into an absolute frenzy.

It was one of the more amazing moments I could ever remember as a baseball fan…and it might not have even been the most exciting victory the O’s had all week.

There was more passion inside OPAC Y Friday night than any sunrise Easter service I’ve ever attended in my life. It was a night full of fire, a night full of madness and a night full of, well, Orange Fever.

Dickerson perhaps supplied the final act of “Orioles Magic” with his three run, two out walk-off jack; but the displays of “Orioles Magic” were bountiful from the time I hit President Street at 1pm and couldn’t get to Harborplace until 1:55 because the city was packed.

There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as fans came by to see Larry Sheets while we were sitting at Hooters. There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as a group of Orange and Black supporters shouted down Tigers fans who came to visit at Hooters and declared they had made the trip because “the Tigers were winning the World Series and they wanted to see as many games during the World Series year as possible.” They also couldn’t believe Luke Jones would describe the Orioles as having the American League’s best offense. I’m so glad the Birds were able to make them second guess by Sunday evening.

There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as we walked to and from the stadium. They were of course more after the game, including many who wanted to go out of their way to throw high fives or start a “Seven Nation Army” chant back up.

“Orioles Magic” was everywhere. The passion was real.

The passion was real again Saturday, but I wasn’t necessary as close to the action for it. I had to attend an ex’s wedding in Pikesville Saturday night and watched the better part of the game from my couch.

I’ll admit, it didn’t give me quite as good of a view of Matt Tuiasosopo’s shoulder as home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt did when Jason Hammel plunked it. My view also included a MASN broadcast where Mike Bordick wasted no time in letting me know the pitch was a slider and barely more than 80 miles an hour. Obviously no pitcher could ever purposefully hit a batter with such a pitch.

Obviously.

I took to Twitter to say the following…

It lead to a 30 minute back and forth that included legitimately ANGRY responses from 20-30 Orioles fans absolutely bullish about how disastrous of a decision Wendelstedt had made to toss Hammel without a warning.

Because apparently giving up three straight home runs suddenly needs to come with a warning.

Hendelstedt of course had every right to toss Hammel from the game. He didn’t have a radar gun available behind the plate, but even if he could tell the ball wasn’t thrown with Nolan Ryan heat, he had the right to decipher the pitch may well have been thrown with frustration.

Warnings come when an umpire fears retaliation. Ejects come when an umpire fears a pitcher throw a ball merely out of frustration.

Sometimes those decisions come with collateral damage. Hammel (and just about everyone connected to the organization) wanted to let you know after the game that there was no intent involved in the pitch. Of course, if you can remember the time a pitcher admitted intent after a game I’d love to have you forward it to me. (It’s glenn@wnst.net by the way.) (Edit from GC: I absolutely meant to say “admitted intent after a game and wasn’t suspended. I did not. It’s my fault and I apologize. Thanks to those of you who reminded me that Cole Hamels had indeed admitted intent after plunking Bryce Harper.)

Sadly, no umpire has the time to stop the game and conduct a full trial to determine intent on a pitch. I don’t necessarily think Jason Hammel intended to plunk Matt Tuiasosopo, but I don’t know for sure he didn’t, either.

Neither does anyone else, despite how many of you angrily Tweeted otherwise.

But I get it. It’s passion. It’s magical.

It’s way better than everyone getting together to ignore Eric DuBose’s most recent start together.

-G

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