Tag Archive | "Luke Scott"

In miserable day for Orioles, concerns over Matusz growing

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In miserable day for Orioles, concerns over Matusz growing

Posted on 12 June 2011 by Luke Jones

There’s little point in belaboring an awful day of baseball for the Orioles in a 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday to conclude a 5-4 homestand.

Fielding miscues, baserunning mistakes, and missed opportunities at the plate were disheartening enough but pale in comparison to the growing concern over starting pitcher Brian Matusz.

The hideous final line included 1 1/3 innings pitched, four earned runs, five hits, four walks, no strikeouts, and a home run allowed in the shortest outing of his career not including a one-inning stint cut short after being hit by a line drive against Toronto last Sept. 13.

However, the numbers only begin to explain why manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles are concerned with Matusz, who was making his third start of the season after missing the first two months of the season with an intercostal strain. As was the case in his first two starts, Matusz only threw his fastball in the 86-88 miles per hour range. Unlike the first two starts, however, the lefty was all over the place with his command, looking uncomfortable from the start.

“From the get-go, I didn’t get a good feel warming up in the bullpen,” Matusz said. “It’s just one of those days where you’ve got to be able to battle without your good stuff. They were able to find some holes and get some things going early, and I was just unable to get on track today.”

Statistically speaking, Matusz was effective enough in his first two starts since being activated from the disabled list on June 1. He entered Sunday’s game with a career-high seven-game winning streak dating back to last August after picking up his first victory of the season against Oakland on Monday.

The story was much different against the Rays as Matusz was visibly frustrated throughout his brief outing in which he left the game trailing 3-0 with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning. His body language suggested a pitcher searching for answers and feeling uncomfortable on the mound.

In fairness, Matusz’ start to the 2011 season has been anything but smooth. A wart on his finger and a line drive to the forearm interrupted his spring training routine before he was ultimately placed on the disabled list on Opening Night. However, with a few extended spring training outings, three minor league rehab starts, and three starts with the Orioles, it’s reasonable to think there should be improvement with his stuff by now, right?

“There should.” Showalter said. “Yeah. He’s telling us he feels fine. Just not a whole lot coming out right now.”

Matusz claimed he was “100 percent healthy” when asked after the game, but only the 24-year-old really knows the truth at this point. Whatever the case, it’s clear the Orioles manager was unhappy with the pitcher’s performance on the mound, including his inability to hold runners.

The Rays stole four bases in the first inning alone with Matusz’s slow delivery to the plate barely giving backup catcher Craig Tatum a chance to throw out runners. Improving his ability to hold runners is a topic the club has discussed with Matusz, but Showalter questioned whether the message is getting through.

“He keeps telling us he can read them,” Showalter said. “It’s been a challenge for him. Maybe we’ll be able to get his attention a little bit more.”

Matusz’s struggles Sunday are certain to grab everyone’s attention, especially with the news that Zach Britton’s next start will be pushed back to Friday in an effort to limit his innings, so he’s available to pitch in September.

The Orioles need Matusz to be healthy and effective if they want to continue to hover around the .500 mark as the summer advances. As terrific as Britton has been, he’s likely to experience growing pains as teams see him more than once, and he’ll likely be shut down at the 175- to 180-inning mark after pitching 153 1/3 innings in the minor leagues last season.

Jake Arrieta leads the club with eight wins, but his command issues makes him an uncertainty to pitch deep into games with any consistency.

And Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen continue to work through their respective issues at Triple-A Norfolk.

Entering the season, Matusz and Jeremy Guthrie were assumed to be the two “sure things” in the Baltimore starting rotation.

Showalter wouldn’t commit to saying with certainty that Matusz would make his next scheduled start. He had yet to talk with the young pitcher when the manager spoke to the media following the game.

Judging from his comments, you can bet Showalter will be asking — with conviction — whether Matusz is truly alright.

“I’m fine confidence-wise,” Matusz said. “I know I have the stuff and what it takes to get outs and be successful. It’s just a matter of getting locked in and getting on a roll.”

For now, the Orioles can only take the pitcher at his word, but the eyeball test was troubling in a frustrating day in all regards at Camden Yards.

It’s a testament to Matusz that a small sample size of diminished velocity and one horrid start raises such concern, but it also speaks to just how important the left-hander is to the present — and future — state of the Orioles. He needs to get himself on track as quickly as possible for the club to have its best chance to remain competitive over the season’s final 100 games.

“He didn’t have his stuff working for him,” Luke Scott said. “He had an off-day. Usually Brian is crisp with his pitches and his location. He just didn’t have a good feel. That happens, that happens in this game.”

Not a good feel at all.

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Fool Me once, Shame On You…

Posted on 31 May 2011 by Erich Hawbaker

The Orioles left Baltimore on Thursday after sweeping the Royals to raise their record back to .500 for the first time since April 16. They then proceeded to get swept in Oakland and dropped the opener to Seattle today to dip back down to 4 under par. I had a feeling that Oakland would be trouble. Over the last decade or so, no matter where they’ve been in the overall standings, they’ve always seemed to have the Orioles’ number. I checked and confirmed it- the last time the O’s won the season series against the A’s was in 1997. Baseball can be funny like that.

Anyway, today’s contest was another close one, although it probably shouldn’t have been given Doug Fister’s excellent start and Jake Arrieta’s awful one, capped by walking in 2 runs with the bases loaded. But, by the 8th inning, the deficit was a mere 1 run after the Orioles managed to chase Fister and get a rally going. Unfortunately, that rally ended with the tying run left 90 feet away after Luke Scott grounded out to end the inning.

I typically hate Monday morning quarterbacks, but I’m going to be one here today. With 2 outs and men on 1st and 3rd, Seattle brought in left-hander Aaron Laffey to face Luke Scott, a seemingly good move when one considers that Scott’s average against left-handed pitching this year is an uncharacteristic and dreadful .077 (although he is batting .333 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position). I had this game on the radio, and Fred Manfra and Joe Angel asked the rhetorical question immediately after I thought it myself- why not pinch hit Jake Fox?

The reason I had this thought was because this is not the first time we’ve seen this situation. If you think back to that 15 inning debacle against the Yankees a couple weeks ago, the Orioles had a chance to win it in the 12th inning when Scott came up with the bases loaded to hit against Yankee left-hander Boone Logan. He didn’t get the hit then either, and Fox also could have been the pinch hitter in that instance. Fox isn’t exactly killing left-handed pitching himself, with an average of just .107 against southpaws in pretty limited at bats. But he is 2 for 4 lifetime off Laffey with a homerun, and he bats right-handed.

It’s a really tough call. I absolutely get why Buck would be reluctant to pinch hit for one of his best hitters. I also see how your chances might be better with a right-handed batter who has a slightly higher average against lefties and a history of hitting this particular pitcher well.

I put it to you, the reader- had you been Buck Showalter today, would you have let Luke Scott hit or go to your bench for Jake Fox? Comments with your thoughts would be much appreciated.

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Jones’ walk-off bomb better late than never for Britton in Orioles’ 5-3 win

Posted on 25 May 2011 by admin

Somewhere around the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s game between the Orioles and the Kansas City Royals, I quipped there was only one thing missing from Zach Britton’s repertoire during an amazing first two months of his big league career.

Developing a pitch that would score some runs to help his cause.

Though his six innings of work against the Royals paled in comparison to his prior two starts in which he didn’t allow an earned run over 16 innings, Britton walked off the mound trailing 3-0 after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by getting Alex Gordon to pop to short. The Baltimore lineup had failed to score a single run for the young lefty in his last 27 1/3 innings of work.

Britton appeared on his way to suffering his third loss after allowing three runs and a career-high nine hits on a night in which he struggled to command his sinker and changeup. However, he had managed to keep his team in the game against opposing rookie Danny Duffy, who had stifled the Orioles through the first five innings of the game. Much like his prior three starts, scoring opportunities had been there — particularly a botched fifth inning in which Robert Andino bunted into a double play with two runners on and no outs — but the Orioles continued shooting blanks.

That is, until Britton reached the dugout in the middle of the sixth with his night finished after 101 pitches.

After wasting back-to-back brilliant outings from the young southpaw, the Orioles finally broke through in the sixth as Matt Wieters and Luke Scott plated the first two runs with Britton still in the game since his victory over the Chicago White Sox on May 1. At the time, it wasn’t enough to get the starter off the hook, but it put the Orioles in position for the ninth-inning heroics to follow.

Facing Royals closer Joakim Soria, who hadn’t allowed a run in 12 career outings against Baltimore, pinch-hitter Felix Pie tied the game with an RBI-double and Adam Jones blasted a two-run homer to dead center to give the Orioles an improbable 5-3 win, their first win of the season when trailing after eight innings. Though it didn’t net Britton a victory, it was a small token of support after nearly a month of attrition.

And it came against one of the better closers in the American League, albeit one who’s struggled in the first two months of the season.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to do it against the good guys,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We talk about it all the time. I don’t want to hear people talk about, ‘Oh, we face such good pitching in the American League East every night.’

“Guess what? That’s what it is. You’ve got to beat the good guys, too. That’s why they call it the big leagues. I don’t like our chances every night down by one run against [Soria], I can tell you that, but we were fortunate.”

As Jones was mobbed by his teammates at home plate in celebration, the Orioles had finally broken through to pick up their rookie pitcher.

And earn their most exciting victory of the season.

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Live from Camden Yards: Injuries shuffle lineup as Orioles host Yankees, Orange Crush chat at 7

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as rookie star Zach Britton and the Orioles begin a brief two-game set with the New York Yankees**

BALTIMORE — As if an 0-4 start in the season series against the New York Yankees wasn’t enough, the Orioles return home with a plethora of injury issues as they try to secure their first win against the Bronx Bombers at 7:05 p.m.

Leadoff hitter Brian Roberts and first baseman Derrek Lee are missing from tonight’s lineup as neither veteran escaped Boston without ailment. Roberts is suffering from headaches after diving into first base during Monday’s 8-7 collapse at Fenway Park in which the Orioles blew a 6-0 lead. Of course, Roberts dealt with headaches and concussion-related symptoms to close 2010 that failed to subside until the middle of the offseason.

Robert Andino will take his place at second base and hit ninth against Bartolo Colon and the Yankees.

Lee (oblique) may be placed on the 15-day disabled list, but manager Buck Showalter said before the game that the club may choose to wait a few days before making a decision. Luke Scott will slide from left field to first base, with Felix Pie taking his place in the outfield and hitting leadoff for the Orioles. Left-handed reliever Troy Patton is in Baltimore if and when Lee heads to the disabled list.

In a move anticipated before Tuesday’s postponed game against the Red Sox, the Orioles have officially placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow ulnar nerve injury. First baseman Brandon Snyder has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Izturis’ place on the 25-man roster.

In other news, pitcher Alfredo Simon is expected to be activated from the restricted list on Sunday and will likely pitch in a long relief role with the return of left-hander Brian Matusz right around the corner. Matusz is slated to make a second rehab start in Bowie on Saturday.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York
DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodgriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
LF Andruw Jones
SS Eduardo Nunez
C Francisco Cervelli

SP Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.74 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Felix Pie
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Vladimir Guerrero
1B Luke Scott
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Mark Reynolds
2B Robert Andino

SP Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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A week of intense drama finally comes to an end ….

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A week of intense drama finally comes to an end ….

Posted on 09 May 2011 by Rex Snider

Amid actual sporting events and competition, our past week has provided many moments of newsworthiness away from any box score or result.

That’s correct, it has been a “high maintenance” week for those of us who take an interest in the scandal, corruption, celebration and interpretation of the storylines that reach beyond the results between opponents.

  • Animal Kingdom reigned as royalty in the 137th Kentucky Derby …..
  • Manny Pacquiao dominated an aging, but game Shane Moseley …..
  • The NHL playoffs spit-out the Washington Capitals, yet again …..
  • Francisco Liriano and Justin Verlander tossed no hitters …..
  • A kid named Regan Smith lucked into a NASCAR victory, in Darlington …..
  • The Los Angeles Lakers got KNOCKED OUT, in Dallas …..
  • The Orioles found the win column just ONE time …..

Indeed, there were plenty of actual performance-related topics to address, discuss and debate, this week. Covering virtually every spectator sport, with exception to the NFL, storylines rooted in WINNING and LOSING have existed.

Yet, much of the chatter has been devoted to citing or defending the character of athletes, as well as reacting to an abrupt retirement announcement from a highly heralded coach.

That’s the very essence of the last seven days in our sports lovin’ society.

The following incidents and events had just as much impact as the actual action found in any arena during May’s first week. Regardless of one’s opinion, many weighed-in when these stories broke:

  • Rashard Mendenhall tweeted some controversial views regarding the death of Osama bin Laden, and he paid dearly for it – in the wallet and beyond …..
  • Phil Jackson was $35,000 poorer for complaining about referees …..
  • Luke Scott obliged an interview in Kansas City and reinforced some of his unique perspectives on President Obama and politics …..
  • Shin Soo Choo became the 6th Major League Baseball player to be arrested on DUI charges, this year …..
    .
  • .
    And, as the entire world now knows …..

  • Gary Williams stunned modern civilization by calling it a career, just a day after his best player opted to turn pro …..

If these five storylines have no impact on your “sports fan radar”, you’re quite likely an exception to the rule. While I don’t believe these sideshows dominate actual games and competition, such incidents do impact sports …. and they inspire people to react with passion.

That’s just our society, for better or worse.

I can toss up a Facebook posting regarding the antics of Mendenhall, Scott, Choo or Gary and reactions are bound to surface. Yet, I can also post an insightful thought regarding the latest Orioles loss and it might go without mention.

Trite, huh?

Yet, this is exactly what happened when I floated Champion Athletic’s dumping of Rashard Mendenhall from its endorsement family. At last count, the thread garnered nearly 30 responses.

Such reaction obviously reveals one’s heart for many to observe and dissect. Steelers fans think Ravens fans have harsh words for Mendenhall, because he plays in Pittsburgh. Ravens fans accuse Steelers fans of blindly protecting one of their own.

And, of course, the worn out “Ray Lewis and Atlanta” argument always gets dusted off when Ravens critics are looking for a grenade to throw among the pile of barbs, regardless of recycled lack of relevence …..

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Orioles’ struggles becoming not so ‘early’ after weekend sweep to Rays

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Orioles’ struggles becoming not so ‘early’ after weekend sweep to Rays

Posted on 08 May 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The old baseball adage is heard countless times in the early weeks of every season, whether a team or player is off to a smoking start or struggling to clear the spring training cobwebs when the games begin to actually count.

It’s early.

Or, it’s still early.

The Orioles dropped their sixth game in seven tries on Sunday, falling 5-3 as the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep at Camden Yards. The club now finds itself with a 14-19 record and in last place in the American League East. After a 6-1 start to spark early-season excitement, Baltimore has now dropped 18 of its last 26 games as the lineup continues to sputter and the back of the starting rotation and bullpen struggle to get the opposition out.

After losing 11 of 13 in mid-April, the Orioles and optimists insisted it was simply a bad stretch, claiming it was too early to panic. A brief run of five wins in six games to close April looked like the start of better baseball, but that idea vanished after the Orioles flamed out in Kansas City and the Rays extracted revenge for the Orioles’ sweep in Tampa Bay to begin the season. The lineup has now scored three or fewer runs in the last five games to continue the early-season frustration after the offense was expected to be much better this season.

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At some point — 33 games into the season, or roughly a fifth of the season — you have to ask yourself when it stops being “early” and concerns become more legitimate. And while many — including me — have pointed to the Orioles’ 2010 woes as a sign that things could be a lot worse to begin 2011, should a historically-terrible pace through the first fourth months last season really be the standard by which a supposedly improved club is judged?

“Just keep grinding,” said manager Buck Showalter about the club’s struggles following a third straight loss to the Rays. “What do you do, give in? Pull the dirt around you? That’s not going to happen. I was proud of the effort and the way they came back today. [The Rays are] pitching well and our bullpen came in and gave us a chance to get back in there. It just didn’t happen.”

After a 34-23 finish put him in unique, mystical territory entering last winter, Showalter sounds far more like Lee Mazzilli or Sam Perlozzo or Dave Trembley these days, unable to explain the short-circuited lineup that has done nothing to help alleviate pressure on the pitching. Of course, Showalter can do a lot of things, like change up the lineup as many have suggested, but he doesn’t swing a bat. Entering Sunday, the Orioles ranked 12th in the American League in batting average, 13th in on-base percentage, 11th in runs scored, and 10th in slugging percentage.

Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero have looked old, Mark Reynolds hasn’t hit his weight (.187 after going 0-for-2 Sunday), and J.J. Hardy has 15 at-bats all season. Even worse, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis aren’t getting on base consistently, the two players counted on the most in that department. Looking up and down the lineup, Luke Scott has really been the only player to produce what you would have expected entering the season. Roberts, Matt Wieters, and Adam Jones have had brief stretches, but the collective result has amounted to a very underwhelming lineup through the first five weeks of the season.

If Scott’s comments following the game were any indication, players are beginning to realize it’s no longer that early in the year. The frustration is mounting.

“I take a lot of pride in what I do and I speak for a lot of these guys,” he said. “We come prepared as a group and we want to see fruit from our labor on the field. For me, I lose sleep over this stuff, it bothers me. Do I have peace during it? Yes, because I know I have done everything I can possibly do. Get in the weight room, get in the cage and take care of my body.

“It’s going to turn for us. If these are our low moments — with everyone struggling — imagine what it’s going to be like when we are clicking. That is what we are looking forward to.”

For now, everyone can only wait, but the poor on-base percentage and lack of plate discipline — despite drawing walks on Sunday — doesn’t exactly scream a turnaround is imminent.

Of course, the pitching hasn’t been much better as the Orioles continue to cringe every time they get to the back end of the rotation. Brad Bergesen again allowed a start to get away from him on Sunday, allowing five combined runs in the fourth and fifth innings in a fifth career loss in five career starts against the Rays. He has now allowed 24 earned runs in 23 2/3 career innings against Tampa Bay. His earned run average ballooned to 5.57 after the loss, and the right-hander will be a strong candidate to be moved to the bullpen when Brian Matusz returns later this month.

However, Bergesen isn’t even the worst — statistically speaking, anyway — pitcher in the rotation through the season’s first 33 games. Chris Tillman’s 7.16 ERA, diminished velocity, and poor command don’t exactly scream for the 23-year-old to remain in the rotation either. The two have a combined 6.30 ERA in 60 total innings this season, a painful duo to continue sending to the hill, but who else is there to turn to with the minor leagues bare?

Baltimore starters have allowed 23 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings in the last four days, with Jeremy Guthrie and Zach Britton also taking it on the chin this weekend. With the collective struggles at the plate and on the hill, the Orioles will benefit from Monday’s day off before the Seattle Mariners come to town to conclude a six-game homestand off to an 0-3 start.

“It shouldn’t matter mentally,” said Showalter after the Orioles were swept in a three-game home series for the first time since he became manager last August, “but it’s a challenge to be mentally disciplined and not let that be a ‘Here we go again’ mentality. And that will change, too. We’ll pitch better.”

Showalter continues to remain upbeat, insisting the “worm will turn” as he often likes to say. But despite popular belief last season, the Orioles skipper doesn’t hit, pitch, run, field, or even walk on water. Juggling the lineup or making another pitching change only goes so far; the players aren’t producing.

And it was the same problem all the previous managers had.

Everyone — players included — keeps waiting around for the Orioles to start playing better. Their brief stretches of strong play have been dwarfed by longer periods of bad baseball.

There’s still plenty of season, but it’s no longer “early.”

If the Orioles are truly a better team, it’s time they start showing it.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Athlete Twitter Hashtags

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Athlete Twitter Hashtags

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of Charlie Sheen’s “winning” hashtag, Drew Forrester thought it appropriate to make today’s Tuesday Top 7 topic “The Top 7 Athlete Twitter Hashtags.”

Just typing the words “in honor of Charlie Sheen” made me cringe a bit.

The only rule we made was that the tag had to be 14 characters or less.

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Cam Newton #Dollarsign

camnewton

6. Barry Bonds #canttouchme

bonds

5. Michael Oher #blindstart

oher

4. LeBron James #noshotbob

lebron

3. Luke Scott #inthewoods

lukescott

2. Dan Snyder #insertfoot

dansnyder

1. Rex Ryan #steaknshake

rexryan

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. Buck Showalter #frustrated

showalter

6. Mike Krzyzewski #messiah

coachk

5. Pat Skerry #longrdahead

skerry

4. Alex Ovechkin #shoottoomuch

ovechkin

3. Cam Newton #payme

camnewton

2. Chad Johnson #losing

chadjohnson

1. Danny Briere #scallywag

briere

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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For Struggling O’s Things SHOULD Be Worse

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For Struggling O’s Things SHOULD Be Worse

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

As evidence continues to mount that the 2011 Orioles may not be quite who we hoped that they would be, as fans we can at least take solace in the fact that we’ve been down this road before, all too often in fact these days. And for as bad as things in Birdland seem to be these days, we don’t have to look back too far to realize that things could be much worse for this team. In fact it’s arguable that as things stand today, 20 games into the 2011 campaign, not only could things be worse for these Orioles, but they should be worse…arguably much worse.

Consider first that no matter how anxious any or all of us may have been to buy in to the perception that this team would be much improved, you still had to squint a bit to see these O’s as legitimate contenders. The expectation was more likely a run at .500 (which typically means wildcard contention through July) and respectability while playing some entertaining baseball in the process…for a change.

 

Even for the most pie-eyed of optimists the April schedule must’ve looked daunting. The first month of the season charged this team with facing the big 3 in their own division (2 series with NY, 1 with BOS and 1 with TB) along with the defending AL champion Rangers, and the 3 teams (CWS, MIN & DET) that look to be fighting it out for the central (and perhaps the wildcard) when the dust settles on this season. The Indians looked to be the O’s only April reprieve, and we all saw how that turned out too.

 

At 8-12 the Orioles should be counting themselves as fortunate. Couple the daunting April schedule with the statistics that the team has managed to produce, the injuries and illnesses that they’ve been forced to deal with and suddenly 8-12 (3-4 in the division) looks nothing short of miraculous.

 

-         Brian Roberts currently leads the team in HRs (3) and RBI (15)

-         Adam Jones is batting .229 and is still one of the team’s most productive bats

-         Luke Scott (who will carry the team at stretches) is hitting .214 with 4 RBI

-         Derrek Lee is hitting a Garrett Atkins-like .211 with 2 RBI

-         Nick Markakis is not seeing many pitches and is batting .209

-         Mark Reynolds is hitting .179 and striking out nearly 1 in every 3 at bats

-         Robert Andino leads the team in batting average

 

If all of the above persist, it’s fair to say the Orioles will be playing much closer to their record from last year than the 8-12 they’ve played to so far.

 

-         Jeremy Guthrie has already had to be skipped a turn in the rotation due to illness

-         JJ Hardy has been out and seemingly took all of the team’s momentum with him

-         Brian Matusz has yet to make a start

-         They can’t find at bats for Jake Fox

-         No one is trying to win the job in left field.

-         Their most credible closer is dealing with a murder wrap and is currently in extended spring training

-         The back end of the bullpen is a mess

-         Koji’s durability still can’t be counted on in an important role

-         The only suspect April opponent (CLE) swept the O’s

 

All things considered it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team producing those stats to be closer to 4-16 like the O’s were last year after 20 games than the 8-12 that they are currently.

 

Most of the issues laid out above have a way of correcting themselves over the course of 162 games; others may require more creativity in solving. It stands to reason though that as the level of competition goes down and the numbers go up, these Orioles could still be a scary proposition at some point. If they’ve managed to stay near afloat through this tough first 3 weeks of the season, they’re bound to be scary as the hits begin to fall.

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

Posted on 22 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (8-10) host the New York Yankees (10-6) this weekend for a 3-game set beginning Friday night.

Last week, these two ball clubs were disrupted due to rain and one of the games has been postponed to a later date. But the extra inning loss to the Yanks last Thursday night in New York was like a bad hangover the Birds could not shake until this past Tuesday against the Twins.

As the Bronx Bombers bats are heating up in mid-April, the O’s are just trying to find some offensive consistency game-in and game-out. With the young starting pitching beginning to show signs of stability, and life from the lineup, the bullpen has to hold up their end. Perfect example was Monday nights loss to the Minnesota Twins. SP Chris Tillman went 6.2 IP and gave up 3 runs, good enough to keep the Orioles in the ball game. After a solid relief appearance by RP Clay Rapada for the Birds,  RP Kevin Gregg came in and gave up 2 runs in the top of the 9th, and the Orioles lost by 1 run. This has to change, and fast.

The New York Yankees have a problem of their own, and it deals with one of the fan-favorites, OF Brett Gardner. He has been struggling since the start of the season (15 Games / 47 AB / 1 2B / 0 HR / .128 AVG / 2 RBI ), so manager Joe Girardi benched Gardner in the final game of the Toronto series this week in favor of OF Andrew Jones.

No Transactions for either team in the last three days.

Well, I was right! The Orioles accomplished all THREE of my “Keys to the Series” vs. the Twins:

1. The offense has to come alive vs. the struggling Twins pitching staff. - CHECK

2. Britton must shine on national television Wednesday night. - CHECK

3. Buck needs to get the Birds back on track and find a team leader for this ball club. - CHECK

Here are the Orioles “Keys to the Series” vs. the Yankees:

1. Take last Thursday night’s extra inning loss personally and play with vengeance.

2. Silent the Yankee fans at Camden Yards quickly.

3. The young pitching has to shut down the hot bats in the Bronx Bombers lineup.

The official ‘WNST Weather Predictor’ this weekend vs. the Yankees

Friday 7:05pm : PM Rain – High 51 / Low 44 – With the likely chance of Friday night’s game being a rain out and Yankee fans coming down, look out for them doing this!!!!

Saturday 7:05pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 72 / Low 61 – As the weekend night game comes around, look forward to seeing this particular Yankees fan at Camden Yards!!!

Sunday 1:35pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 74 / Low 59 – Supposedly the sun breaking out in the afternoon, I’m hoping for this O’s fan to be in attendance!!!!

Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees

( 8 – 10 )                                                                                     ( 10 – 6 )

Friday April 22nd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (0-1, 2.52 ERA)

Saturday April 23rd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Chris Tillman (0-2, 6.16 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

Sunday April 24th, 1:35pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-2, 7.63 ERA)

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 3 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 14 RBI

2. Nick Markakis- RF

18 Games / 69 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .203 AVG / 6 RBI

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

18 Games / 67 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .209 AVG / 6 RBI

4. Vladimir Guerrero

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 2 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 9 RBI

5. Luke Scott- LF

14 Games / 42 AB / 8 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .190 AVG / 4 RBI

6. Adam Jones- CF

17 Games / 63 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 3 HR / .222 AVG / 8 RBI

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

18 Games / 59 AB / 11 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .186 AVG / 10 RBI

8. Matt Wieters- C

16 Games / 52 AB / 14 Hits / 4 2B / 3 HR / .269 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Robert Andino- SS

9 Games / 25 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 0 HR / .308 AVG / 0 RBI

New York Yankees Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Derek Jeter- SS

16 Games / 64 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 0 HR / .219 AVG / 4 RBI

2. Nick Swisher- RF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 2 2B / 0 HR / .273 AVG / 8 RBI

3. Mark Teixeria- 1B

16 Games / 58 AB / 15 Hits / 4 2B / 6 HR / .259 AVG / 16 RBI

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

13 GAmes / 41 AB / 15 Hits / 5 2B / 4 HR / .366 AVG / 10 RBI

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

16 Games / 66 AB / 20 Hits / 6 2B / 4 HR / .303 AVG / 13 RBI

6. Andrew Jones- LF

6 Games / 16 AB / 4 Hits / 1 2B / 1 HR / .250 AVG / 2 RBI

7. Jorge Posada- DH

15 Games / 50 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 5 HR / .160 AVG / 9 RBI

8. Russell Martin- C

15 Games / 51 AB / 16 Hits / 3 2B / 4 HR / .314 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Curtis Granderson- CF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 3 2B / 6 HR / .273 AVG / 9 RBI

If you are home or out this weekend and want the latest information during the O’s game from the experts, then head online and enter the Orange Crush Live Chat with Luke Jones this entire weekend!!!!

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Twins April 18th- April 21st

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Twins April 18th- April 21st

Posted on 18 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-8) head home Monday for a 4-game set against the Minnesota Twins (5-10).

Both ball clubs are limping into this series as the Birds have dropped 7 straight and the Twins are 2-6 in their last 8 games.

The Orioles seemed to unwind in Cleveland as they were swept by the Tribe, possibly having a hang-over effect from last Thursday night’s heart breaker against the Yankees in extra innings. Being outscored 20-7 during the weekend versus the Indians, the O’s look to thump the Twins and get back on their winning ways.

Joe Mauer, Minnesota’s all-star catcher, went on the 15-day DL last Thursday with what is described as a  “bilateral leg weakness”. It is the same left leg in which he had arthroscopic surgery last season. Manager Ron Gardenhire had significantly reduced his playing time during spring training to avoid this very situation.

Justin Morneau is day-to-day with what the Twins are describing as flu-like symptoms.

The Orioles are also prone to make another roster move Monday as RHP Chris Jakubauskas will head to the DL and LHP Clay Rapada will be promoted from AAA-Norfolk to join Mike Gonzalez as the only two left handed pitchers in the bullpen.

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