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A Long, Hard Look At Nolan Reimold …..

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A Long, Hard Look At Nolan Reimold …..

Posted on 03 March 2010 by Rex Snider

As we sat around on March 3rd, 2009, our respective outlooks on a lot of things looked differently …..

Aside from the sting of absorbing another Steelers Super Bowl victory and a Terps basektball team that served up frustrating and disappointing performances with regularity, baseball fans wanted to believe the Orioles would break their streak of losing seasons.

And, why not? The birds were sporting a brand new look ….. full of retreads.

The starting pitching staff included Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara. We thought they would perform poorly – yet, they still managed to be even worse.

The bullpen was a mess – and, that’s a polite way of putting it.

And, Gregg Zaun anchored the starting catcher’s position with a .111 batting average throughout the first month.

Still, Orioles fans had HOPE. Regardless of the above listed pile of “misfit toys” nobody else wanted anywhere near their bench, we still hoped things would get better before getting any worse. In fact, I distinctly recall the theme beckoned by many …..

“If the veterans can just tread water until the KIDS arrive ….. after the All Star break.”

Well, we all know how that pipedream ended …..
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As predicted, the pitching was absolutely horrible and those veterans who we hoped could “tread water,” ended up drowning. Indeed, the young prospects started streaming through Bowie and Norfolk, enroute to their ultimate destination, BALTIMORE, a little earlier than expected.

Brad Bergeson pitched very well. And, the heralded arrival of our savior, Matt Wieters, turned out to be a success, too.

Yet, as the orange carpet was being rolled out for Wieters’ first big league at-bat, on May 29th, another prospect was settling comfortably into the lineup, after making his debut just a couple weeks earlier.

One of the first players to struggle, in 2009, was the opening day left fielder, Felix Pie. Touted as a five tool, CAN’T MISS prospect throughout his minor league career, Pie was doing something the experts said he wouldn’t (or should I say CAN’T ….) do, with his impressive talents.

Through the month of April, Pie struggled at the plate with a .157 batting clip. And, if you recall, he looked even worse …..

By mid-May, the Orioles had seen enough – so ALL OF US thought. On May 14th, a move was made and another rookie was added to the lineup …..
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Nolan Reimold made an immediate impact upon seizing the role as starting left fielder. Heck, his first homerun came off Mariano Rivera – and he went deep another 14 times, in just 400 at bats.

It was an impressive rookie campaign and it fueled a starving fan base that has waited beyond rightful understanding to see the “Baby Birds” develop before our eyes. And, to a point Reimold’s success and overall “splash” was kinda unexpected.

While we awaited the eventual promotions of Wieters, Matusz, Tillman and Hernandez, seeing Reimold’s impact was certainly the promising surprise of another dreadful season. And, after those 400 at-bats, everybody is ready to annoint the streaking sophmore part of the long term future of Baltimore’s baseball landscape.

In fact, as the 2010 season is fast approaching and the Orioles assemble the makings of their most promising roster, in more than a decade, many experts and casual observers are penciling Nolan Reimold’s name in the left field slot.

Better yet, most enthusiasts are writing Reimold’s name with a SHARPIE.

I hope we’re right. I will never, EVER root against any player wearing an Orioles uniform. That included, Reggie Jackson, Albert Belle and most recently, Aubrey Huff. So, I absolutely hope to see a less-heralded guy like Nolan Reimold make it.

Nothing would make me happier than to see #14 on Birdland highlight reels for years to come …..
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But, admittedly, I have some reservations. Call me a pessimist or detractor, if you wish. Yet, I’m just trying to be honest with myself, and YOU.

Most observers are hoping Nolan Reimold’s name accompanies Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis into the long term future of the Baltimore Orioles franchise.

However, I have real concerns.

Did you know Reimold is older than all of the above mentioned players? Yeah, yeah, he’s only a month older than Markakis. But, he’s going to be 27, this year. Not the optimal age for a sophmore season, huh?

Here’s a piece of future trivia for developing an eventual question – Nolan Reimold was born on the day the Orioles won their last HOME World Series game.
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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissuaded from hoping Reimold can be a fixture in this town, for a while. He’ll turn 27 AFTER the season – but, I still acknowledge he’s not that optimal aged prospect, if you know what I mean.

To compound my doubts or overall concerns, Reimold has a pretty consistent injury history. In fact, he’s been on the Disbaled List during 4 of his 5 professional seasons. The injuries have been varied and, at times, substantial. He’s had back issues – which concern me with anyone.

Say what you will, players tend to fight the injury bug as they get older.

My final cautionary consideration on Nolan Reimold is I’m not 100% certain he’s the best left fielder on this Orioles team. Being open minded, I believe he has some competition from within the 25 man roster.

Last August, I witnessed a DIFFERENT Felix Pie. He was disciplined, yet, aggressive at the plate. And, that HUGE hole in his swing was gone !!!! Pie looked comfortable and confident whenever he stepped in the box; heck, he looked like he was having fun …..
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While Nolan Reimold probably offers a little more power, Felix Pie has speed on his side. He’s more dangerous on the basepaths and covers more territory in the outfield. He’s been widely touted as the “5 Tool” player, as I’ve mentioned. And, the man who first took a chance on him (Andy MacPhail) hasn’t abandoned hope.

The intangible factors favoring Pie is he’s a little younger (so we think ….) and his injury history suggests he’s a healthier player. Pie has been on the DL only 2 times, in 8 seasons.

Look, I’m not trying to initiate a positional feud – I just think the Orioles are still very much within a phase where long term projections and in-house competition are a GOOD THING.

Heck, in a perfect scenario, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold both make the most of the respective situations and opportunities. If so, I’d reckon Luke Scott will lose playing time – if anybody does.

As I said during yesterday’s show, I think Nolan Reimold has the makings of a potentially solid big league career. But, I also think Felix Pie might be one of those “diamonds in the rough” or “late bloomers,” if you know what I mean.

If either has a sliver of SUPERSTAR potential, I feel it’s safe to say it’s Pie. But, he could also end up being the biggest disappointment.

Regardless, I don’t think we’re anywhere near approaching a situation similar to the most famous outfield platoon, in Orioles history …..
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I’ll just be happy if Nolan Reimold or Felix Pie translates into a solid, everyday left fielder for this Orioles team. Heaven forbid they’re both successful – that’s a GREAT problem to consider.

I just hope they both get a REAL shot …..

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because Reggie Bush’s girlfriend (@KimKardashian) likes to update her Twitter account….

kimk

She seems nice.

Let’s see what everyone has to say today…..

1. Ravens Official Site’s Ryan Mink says Jermaine Gresham, Dez Bryant, Brandon LaFell, Syd’Quan Thompson, Golden Tate, Arrelious Benn, Brandon Spikes, Damian Williams all mocked to Ravens

Oh thank God. MORE NFL DRAFT PORN!!!!!

gresham
tate
spikes
syd'quan

It would be easy to dismiss a player like Brandon Spikes (besides his off-field troubles) by saying “the Ravens NEED a WR. They’re taking a WR.” But that just isn’t necessarily true. The Ravens WILL again take the best player available (like they did a season ago when they took Michael Oher despite needing a receiver), I just think it would be best served for everyone involved if the best player available at the time WAS a receiver.

2. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says John Harbaugh thinks Jarret Johnson Pro Bowl snub each of last 2 seasons

No one is going to disagree, are they?

But as was the case with Haloti Ngata this season, players are often rewarded the season AFTER their breakout year. They tend to have to build a reputation at positions where stats can’t tell the story. What Jarret Johnson (and possibly Michael Oher & Ben Grubbs as well) did this season should help him earn a trip to the Pro Bowl next season.

3. ESPN.com’s James Walker says Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Jonathan Ogden, Matt Stover, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Chris McAlister and Ed Reed “all-decade” players in AFC North

I guess I was a bit surprised that Terrell Suggs made this list-but there are no arguments from me here at all. I was a bit surprised Walker left Haloti Ngata off his “others considered” list at D-Line, but there have been a LOT of really good D-Linemen in the AFC North this decade.

Insert your own “Where’s Kyle Boller?” joke here.

4. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says late Millikan’s tenure began pavement on road to Terps’ eventual NCAA Championship

Clearly the influence Coach Millikan had on Gary Williams could be seen throughout Williams’ tenure in College Park-and Luke is right to point out that it was evident in how Gary brought together a group of kids headlined by Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter to cut down the nets in April 2002.

It has certainly been a tough year for the entire athletic department, as they have lost former athletic director James Kehoe, as well as major boosters Jack Heise, Thomas Fields, and Bob Novak.

5. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland has reached NCAA Tournament last 12 times they started ACC play 4-1

And since the NCAA Tournament was expanded, it makes nothing but a lot of sense that a team that starts 4-1 should still be alive come March Madness. In the ACC, you would have to go 4-7 or worse the rest of the way to miss dancing.

But they do HAVE to get those wins. Their quest to do that continues Sunday night at Clemson-the game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet locally, Fox Sports Net nationally.

6. Maryland Official Site says Lori Bjork scored 22 points to lead Terrapins women past Virginia Tech in Blacksburg

This was a much needed victory for Brenda Frese’s crew last night after 3 straight losses. If Lori Bjork is developing into a go-to player for them, they will be in a much better place moving forward. Now they make an odd trip to Longwood Sunday before returning to ACC play next Friday against Georgia Tech.

7. The AP says Greyhounds couldn’t hang on late, fell to Fairfield at Reitz Arena

REALLY tough way to lose a winnable game at home against a pretty good MAAC foe. The Hounds hung tight for 35 minutes, but couldn’t finish the Stags off at the end. Jimmy Patsos’ crew will have to bounce back on Sunday afternoon, as Niagara pays a visit to Reitz Arena.

8. The Sun’s Peter Schmuck believes Birds will DFA Armando Gabino to make room for Mark Hendrickson

I had guessed Cla Meredith. I guess I could see why the O’s would have more interest in keeping Meredith than they would in Gabino. The real question will really be what will happen with Alberto Castillo now that the Birds have another left handed reliever in Hendrickson.

9. Seattle Post Intelligencer’s Todd Dybas says Erik Bedard likely 3-5 months away from being down with rehab

There were also rumors yesterday that the Royals were interested in Bedard. Which might mean that for once in recent MLB history-there is a player who might actually be HOPING for an offer from Baltimore.

I’d be fine with the Orioles taking a flyer on Bedard-as long as that flyer doesn’t cost more than maybe $4 million. If he can return in May, he might be able to offer some help to this staff.

That being said, Andy MacPhail clearly painted the picture that the team would not be bringing in any more outside FA’s. Of course, if Bedard remains on the market, that could always change.

10. Toronto Sun’s Steve Green says former Orioles 2B Roberto Alomar to be inducted into Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Which doesn’t make up….AT ALL….for the travesty that was Alomar missing out on Cooperstown a couple weeks ago.

Humorously, I think Pete Rose is in the Canadian Hall of Fame as well.

11. The Sun’s Candus Thomson says despite missing Olympics, Kimmie Meissner hopes to compete again

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying Kiira Korpi from Finland during the Vancouver….

korpi

12. The Sun’s Katherine Dunn says MIAA in talks to merge with Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in football

Can someone with actual experience here tell me how they feel about this? Having gone to Perry Hall, this doesn’t mean a whole lot to me-but I don’t think I would like it…

And finally, I leave you with this.

Andy Murray will face Roger Federer for the Australian Open title tomorrow night (which I believe is actually sometime in 2020 in Melbourne). If he hits a shot like this one he hit against Maran Cilic, he can’t be beat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvx191mHonw[/youtube]

Talk to you this weekend.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 28 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because I stopped by Nacho Mama’s in Canton for a lunch meeting yesterday and had a meal that looked a lot like this person’s…..

guesadilla

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. Ravens Official Site’s Will Spencer says Mardy Gilyard, Riley Cooper, Danario Alexander, Dexter McCluster amongst receivers Newsome, DeCosta watching at Senior Bowl

That’s right! It’s time for NFL Draft Wide Receiver porn!!!

gilyardcooperalexandermccluster

Gilyard is the only one of this group that I have profiled so far, but I will make sure to point out that size has to be a major factor when it comes to upgrading the WR position this offseason. Of this group, Cooper is 6’3″, Alexander is 6’5″.

I’ll take both?

2. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens expected to interview Jim Zorn in next few days

I’ve heard a lot of pro-Jim Zorn sentiment over the last few days, and I think there’s good reason to be pro-Jim Zorn if you are a Ravens fan. As I’ve said before, if Joe Flacco turns out to be similar to Matt Hasselbeck, I’d be thrilled. Of course, I’d prefer that he turn out to be more like Troy Aikman, but that’s just me.

As another note, a few people have mentioned to me that they are concerned about Al Saunders’ lack of experience as a quarterbacks coach. I’m not sure I’d be particularly concerned about that myself. Sometimes a QB just needs a personal consultant as much as he needs a position coach. If the problems Joe was having were more mechanical, I’d probably be more adamant about the need for a coach with more true QB background, but I think either man is fully capable of doing the job.

As always, this is just an excuse to include a funny podium face from Jim Zorn. Thanks to Dan Steinberg from the DC Sports Bog for this one…

zorn

3. The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Terps ‘a lot of fun’ to watch right now

That’s a really good way to describe them. There have been no real holes (other than maybe free throw shooting to an extent) since ACC season began, although making one more shot down the stretch at Wake Forest would have been really nice.

But we have to try to keep this in perspective. This Terrapins bunch is probably NOT a NCAA Championship or Final Four contender, but I also don’t think they’re the same as the Terrapins teams we’ve seen over the last 3 seasons. I think this group-because of their balance-has staying power in a conference full of teams that DON’T really have staying power.

Duke is the best team in the conference. There’s no doubt about that. But Duke is also beatable, and if Maryland can at least split their games with the Blue Devils, it will set up well for them to make a run at a bye in the first round of the ACC Tournament.

4. The AP says VCU put together record performance in blowout win over Towson

If you missed Pat Kennedy’s reflection on last night’s game with Drew Forrester on “The Comcast Morning Show”, head over to the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

There’s not much more to be said about a 59 point loss. I have to try to use a level of rational thought, because Maryland lost a game by 41 points last season at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Sometimes, the final score in a blowout isn’t particularly important-as one team just was trying while the other one wasn’t. A 59 point loss may not mean that the Rams were 59 points better than the Tigers. It might just mean that they tried 30 points harder than Towson did down the stretch.

That being said, Maryland lost by 41 after they had already defeated Michigan State, and in a season where they would go on to beat North Carolina and Wake Forest en route to reaching the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. Obviously Pat Kennedy’s bunch isn’t going to any type of postseason tournament, but how much value can be placed on a 59 point loss has a lot to do with what follows.

If the Tigers bounce back from last night’s loss and show fight moving towards the CAA Tournament in Richmond, then you can’t put a lot of stock in the game. If they finish conference play with 2 or 3 wins, last night’s game was probably representative.

Towson returns to action Saturday night at UNC-Wilmington, the game can be seen on MASN.

5. UMBC Official Site says Chauncey Gilliam scored 18, but Retrievers fell at home to Binghamton

I thought maybe playing a Bearcats team that has been to hell and back since winning the America East title last season might give Randy Monroe’s squad a chance to fight for a victory, but obviously that wasn’t to be.

But hey, they didn’t lose by 59.

The Retrievers’ quest to avoid a winless conference season continues Saturday at Maine-who just so happens to find themselves in first place.

6. Loyola Official Site previews tonight’s MAAC contest with Fairfield at Reitz Arena

I guess the terrible struggles of Towson, UMBC and Coppin State locally have deflected some of the attention away from the Greyhounds’ current 3-7 conference record. I will admit that I thought Jimmy Patsos’ team would probably be a bit closer to .500.

The Hounds are coming off a big win over Marist, but the Red Foxes have just one conference win. The Stags come into tonight’s game with a 7-3 conference record, but Loyola should be able to win games at home against teams in this conference not named Siena. That really isn’t too much to ask.

7. The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer previews Maryland women’s visit to Virginia Tech tonight

Taking 3 straight losses with them to Blacksburg, it would be an understatement to say that Brenda Frese’s team is in real need of a victory. Certainly they didn’t look particularly bad in either of their home losses (Miami or Duke), but with a win at Virginia (that they almost managed to give away down the stretch) their only actual statement on the season, they just need to get wins.

8. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns says Towson picked 4th in CAA and Navy picked 1st in Patriot League

Tony Seaman’s squad really showed some signs of life down the stretch last season, playing an instant classic against Johns Hopkins at Unitas Stadium and reaching the CAA Championship Game before being bounced by Villanova. But signs of life aren’t really enough for a program that has a distinct advantage when it comes to the capabilties to win.

While they are in a league with bigger schools (Penn State, Delaware, Hofstra and Villanova are all major players), they do have an advantage over all of those schools (with maybe the exception of Hofstra) when it comes to available talent and regional interest in the sport.

That being said, Tony Seaman has done a HELL of a job at Towson, and clearly deserves the benefit of the doubt to get them back to the top of the conference.

9. MLB.com’s Spencer Fordin says O’s designated Sarfate for assignment to make room for Tejada

I really wonder if Dennis Sarfate was misused during his time in Baltimore. I think maybe the experiments with him as a starter and as a closer really hurt his ability to settle in as a “_____ specialist” out of the bullpen.

There is no doubt that he had control issues, and giving up homeruns really hurt him. But he had a powerful arm, and it seems as though there may have been a role for a powerful arm.

Of course, when the rest of the pen and pitching staff in general are just as mis-cast, it is hard to get everyone in the right role.

10. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Birds agree to terms on 1 year deal with Hendrickson

Mark Hendrickson really did a hell of a job out of the bullpen for this team last season. I think bringing him back for just over a million dollars to make sure you have a really solid lefty is basically a no-brainer. Now the question beyond that would be whether or not they keep Alberto Castillo to have two lefties in the pen.

11. WNST.net’s Thyrl Nelson says Orioles need to give Jeremy Guthrie contract

I’m not certain I agree.

I think it was a mistake for the Birds to cut Guthrie’s pay last season, but I’m not necessarily convinced that he’s done enough to really prove he’s more than a pitcher that just had a nice stretch a couple of seasons ago. I know he’s had a good ERA, but a pitcher has to learn to be a winner beyond a 17-17 stretch over two seasons.

The other issue to look at will be how a contract affects the Orioles’ potential ability to trade Guthrie if Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman (and even Jake Arrieta or David Hernandez or Brandon Erbe, etc) DO pan out. Paying too much in a contract could hamper that ability.

12. Examiner Jeff Hemelt says Crystal Palace USA announced many changes, including name change to Crystal Palace Baltimore

Clearly Crystal Palace is really trying to make a statement about jumping a level to the NASL and trying to be a competitive soccer product in a market without MLS competition. The biggest step would be to get a facility, which is the next project Palace is working on.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Katy Perry was the guest judge on American Idol last night. Blah blah blah Katy Perry is hot.

katyp

Talk to you later.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Who’s next for the O’s

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Andrew Stewart

After finishing in the cellar of the AL East in 2009, the Baltimore Orioles enter 2010 with a lot of hope and optimism; something the city of Baltimore has not had for its beloved Orioles. The team and fans have bought into the Andy MacPhail blueprint for success. Next year, marks the next step in that blue print and will be one of the most important years for the Orioles in quite some time. MacPhail joined the Orioles front office and 2007. He wasted no time, getting rid of big contracts for youth and pitching in return. Baltimore dealt away Erik Bedard to the Mariners, whom the Orioles have had a lot of interest in acquiring during this off-season. It is also ironic, that one of McPhail’s first moves as general manager for the Orioles; was to trade Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros. Who, just recently signed a one year-six million dollar contract with the Birds. However, the deal is still pending a physical. Since 2007, MacPhail has stockpiled Baltimore’s farm system with both youth and pitching. Andy MacPhail talked about a vision he had for this club in 2007, now that vision is starting to become a reality.

Baltimore entered a talent deprived, 2009-10, offseason with glaring holes both offensively and defensively. Through a series of chain reactions, Baltimore added Kevin Millwood, via trade from Texas. Baltimore followed this by, two late December acquisitions of infielder Garret Atkins and relief/closer Mike Gonzalez. Now all that is left for MacPhail to address is the last spot(s) in the Orioles bullpen.

Last year, Baltimore’s bullpen finished 28th out of 30 MLB bullpens, with a 4.83 ERA. The Orioles’ bullpen was overused and overmatched throughout the season. Baltimore gave up a league tying 293 ER’s and an alarming .284 batting average against out of its bull pen; 14 points higher than the Los Angeles Angles, who finished 29th out of 30 teams. Also, Baltimore enters the 2010 season with three possible closer suitors (Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, and Kam Mickolio). Jim Johnson will most likely return to his set-up spot after a disastrous attempt to fill former Orioles closer George Sherrill’s shoes. Johnson’s ERA was bloated to 4.11 after being named Orioles closer mid-season. Johnson had 10 saves; however, he blew a total of 6 saves. Kam Mickolio is another possible candidate for the closing job. Through only 11 games, Mickolio showed both poise and promise posting a 2.63 ERA. Like Johnson, Mickolio brings a big frame, standing at 6-9 and 250 pounds. Mickolio has not had any experience closing for the Orioles, but he managed to hold hitters to a .220 batting average against. Newly acquired Mike Gonzalez, had great success last year out of Atlanta’s bullpen with a 2.42 ERA. Gonzalez has wicked stuff tallying 90 K’s in 70 IP. However, Gonzalez only saved 10 of 17 games last year for the Braves. It is doubtful that the Orioles will add another late inning arm. Thus, leaving Baltimore’s set-up/closer spots to these three men; it’s just not certain at this time which of the three will be the opening day closer.

Baltimore still has yet to sign LHP Mark Hendrickson, who put together a solid campaign as the Orioles long reliever last year. If resigned, Hendrickson most likely would be accompanied by either David Hernandez or Jason Berken, whom both had time in the Orioles starting rotation last year. The remaining free agent relief pitching is a little scarce; however, there are a few proven guys. I view these three guys as potential free agent suitors:

Joe Beimel-32-LHP-At 32 years of age and 9 years in the league, Beimel is a sure veteran. Last year for the Nationals Beimel had a 3.40 ERA in just less than forty innings pitched. If healthy, Beimel has the ability to pitch seventy innings out of relief. Furthermore, Beimel is a good ground ball hitter and pitches to both left and right handed pitchers effectively

Will Ohman-32-LHP- Will Ohman only pitched 12 innings last year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His numbers in those 12 innings were not stellar, but if Ohman can recover and regain his ability to throw the ball for strikes; he could be a good fit for the Orioles bullpen. Ohman’s fastball has the ability to hit the mid-90’s and he compliments it with a devastating slider. If healthy, Ohman is able to pitch on short rest; something that most of the Orioles bull pen struggled with last year.

Jeff Weaver-35-RHP- Although Weaver is the oldest of the three. He brings success as both a starter and reliever. Weaver pitched primarily as a reliever for the first time is his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers and had a respectable ERA of 3.65. Also, Weaver surrendered only 33 walks on 79 innings pitched. Weaver is still able to crank up his fast ball and with great control, he would be a great pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles

These are just three potential candidates that the Orioles could pursue not with the last name of Bedard. Baltimore is looking for a low-risk, high-reward pitcher and if the price is right I think any one of these guys can help improve a revamped bull pen.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 17 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

I can’t say this enough. The Chargers are a GOOD team. They will be banged up Sunday, and that will help the Ravens. But everything I’ve heard this week about how they could “barely” get past the Raiders is INSANE. They beat a good defensive team on the road when their backs were against the wall.says Ray Rice still looking for first career TD as Ravens visit Bolts

That’s called a REALLY good team.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark

Thyrl Nelson thinks Flacco pretty good fantasy play vs. Chargers

Tom Clayton thinks Flacco, Matt Ryan becoming ‘top eight’ NFL QB’s

Drew Forrester says Towson/Coastal Carolina tailgate ‘sold out’

ORIOLES:says Wieters hit walkoff homer to lift Birds past Rays

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Reimold sat again with Achilles injury

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Hendrickson takes ball tonight vs. Wade Davis, Rays at Camden Yards

Rays Official Site’s Bill Chastain says Russ Springer surrendered Wieters’ bomb, saddled with loss

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Wieters also threw out Carl Crawford twice trying to steal

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Brooks Robinson to help honor Melvin Mora Friday night

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Hendrickson wants to be back in Baltimore in 2010

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck not concerned about slow development of power from Wieters

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Roberts, Markakis locked in team MVP debate (is that really considered a reward with this lot?)says Chris Tillman got no decision despite solid start

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land

The AP says Jim Johnson blew save, ended up picking up win

St. Petersburg Times’ Marc Topkin says Rays fell back to .500 after loss at Camden Yards Wednesday night

Tampa Tribune’s Marc Lancaster says Zobrist, Zaun homered for Rays in win

USA Today has Birds 27th in power rankings

ORIOLES MINOR LEAGUES:says Keys’ Brandon Waring, Zach Britton, Caleb Joseph honored before Wednesday’s game at OPACY

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg

RAVENS:says Flacco’s ‘emergence’ was on display in win over Chiefs

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says LB Tavares Gooden returned to practice Wednesday

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Derrick Mason won’t back down from ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson

The Official Site’s Sarah Ellison offers photographic evidence of Suggs trying out for ‘Dancing With The Stars’ during team photo

The Official Site says Norv Turner reports Tomlinson, Hardwick, Vasquez all ‘day-to-day’

Chargers Official Site’s Casey Pearce says team added former Jags, Seahawks center Dennis Norman

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ray Lewis thinks Ravens need to keep Chargers LB Merriman ‘calm’

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Suggs missed practice, Ed Reed limited; each with concussions

4 of 7 Sun analysts pick Ravens to beat Chargers

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. cleans up after me

The Sun’s Hanah Cho says Ravens deleted Twitter post regarding AirTran partnership

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley say Harbaugh believes Ravens best on road when they bring ‘really good team’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says free agent WR Baskett chose Colts over Ravens, etc.

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says LJ Smith ‘limited’ in practice with hamstring injury

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Chris McAlister telling people he will be signing with Raiders

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens using speakers on practice field to simulate crowd noise

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Tavares Gooden ‘not sure’ he’ll be ready for Sunday

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Mason thinks Keyshawn could have been considered ‘bum’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Matt Birk thinks researchers will likely be ‘disappointed’ by size of Harvard alum’s brain

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens know they face tough task stopping Tomlinson, Sproles

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Matt Birk thinks donating brain ‘not that big of a deal’

San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee says Chargers signed veteran center Dennis Norman with Hardwick’s status uncertain

SI’s Don Banks has Ravens 4th in power rankings

USA Today’s Jim Corbett says Cam Cameron believes Flacco, Heap developing ‘trust’ in each other

5 of 8 USA Today analysts pick Chargers to top Ravens

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer picks Ravens 27-24

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Ravens 20-16

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens can use ‘all good players’ for trip to San Diego

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Mason-Keyshawn battle ‘could be getting too personal’

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:says Raiders WR Delle Donne will have plenty of supporters in College Park as mother is from Annapolis

Middle Tennessee State Official Site’s Sarah Fryar

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Maryland officials ‘still trying to lease’ Tyser Tower suites

The Sun’s Jeff Barker picks Terps by 10

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph doesn’t enjoy memories of last year’s trip to Middle Tennessee

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Terps trying to get ‘consistency’ from young linemen Bennett Fulper, Andrew Gonnella, Justin Lewis, Lamar Young

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Fridge not committing to Tony Logan, Kenny Tate, or Anthony Wiseman as punt returner

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says DE Jared Harrell says ‘protecting Byrd Stadium’ important for Terps

The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut says Middle Tennessee will use even more receivers than James Madison did

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Dwight Dasher accounts for ’80 percent’ of MTSU offense

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Nolan Carroll to remain captain for Terps this season

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps may take Nolan Carroll’s jersey on road with them to keep on sidelines

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph thinks Terps have ‘no choice’ but to play Eric Franklin

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says lacrosse player Yeatman eyeing move to football next season

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says despite last year’s loss, Terps maintain 2-1 series lead all-time vs. Blue Raiders

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says MTSU fan Dan Farrer not bringing “Hillbilly Hilton” to College Park

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph not fan of 2-for-1 contracts that lead to trips like last year’s to Murfreesboro

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says MTSU beat writer Adam Sparks reports new OC Tony Franklin using ‘hurry-up, no-huddle, shotgun’ offense

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens lists last Terp to wear every number (he admits his mind doesn’t work the same way as everyone else, so I don’t feel bad saying the same thing. But that’s also why I love him.)picks Terps 17-14

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich thinks Terps will be on ‘upset watch’ again

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem profiles freshman safety Eric Franklin (must subscribe)says Ralph hopes young O-Line can ‘put it all together’ against Blue Raiders (must subscribe)says Don Brown’s defense looking for more turnovers

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman

Turtle Sports Report’s Carlos Olazagasti updates season for Maryland opponents

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:says prospect Whitney Bays happy with visit to Maryland (must subscribe)says Midshipmen celebrating 50th anniversary of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Saturday

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site’s Jack Clary

Pitt Official Site says QB Bill Stull impressed by Panthers’ O-Line play this season

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says ‘mobility’ helps OT’s Matt Malloy, Jeff Battipaglia

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Louisiana Tech used similar defense as Ohio State against Mids

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Mids 22nd in country in rushing (they’re usually 1st) because passing improved

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Paul Zeise says Panthers DC Phil Bennett not sleeping as he prepares for Navy offense

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s John Grupp says ILB Adam Gunn knows Mids QB Rocky Dobbs ‘passing threat’

Go Mids’ Chris Rohe breaks down individual Mids/Panthers matchups (must subscribe)previews Saturday night’s game at Unitas Stadium

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

Coastal Carolina Official Site

Coastal Carolina Official Site offers complete Tigers-Cleers release (pdf)says Tigers need to ‘fight’ against Chanticleers Saturday night

Examiner Matthew Schlissel

MORGAN FOOTBALL:previews Bears’ trip to Giants Stadium Saturday to play Winston-Salem State in Whitney Young Classic

The Official Site

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:previews Friday night’s home opener vs. Gettysburg

The Official Site

MCDANIEL FOOTBALL:says injured Terror seniors Matt Cahill, Austin Herr, TJ Develin all expected to play Saturday

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land

HORSE RACING:says Regal Ransom to make first start since Kentucky Derby in Super Derby at Louisiana Downs

Daily Racing Form’s Mary Rampellini

SWIMMING:says Bob Bowman helped Shaq become better swimmer in brief time coaching

Washington Post’s Amy Shipley

SwimNetwork.com’s Casey Barrett says Phelps’ appearance on ABC part of keeping swimming in ‘primetime’

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:Facebook, or follow him on Twitter!

-Please add our friend Sean Salisbury as a friend on

-I can’t believe I’m even discussing this, but I’ll throw my vote towards Nick Markakis as far as Orioles MVP goes. Like it matters.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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Matusz’s debut provides some much needed excitement in yet another miserable baseball summer

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Matusz’s debut provides some much needed excitement in yet another miserable baseball summer

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Marco Romanell

 It is hard to be excited about a team that is 44-61 and again in last place, especially with football season right around the corner. But, unlike the previous 11 summers, this Orioles team is providing me with some excitement this August. The reason for that excitement is that another “piece” toward contending in the future – Brian Matusz – has been called up to make the start tonight against the Tigers. Things are finally starting to look up for the Orioles; even if their win loss record doesn’t show it.

Matusz is the 5th pitcher called up from the Minor Leagues this season, leaving Jeremy Guthrie as the only starter from the original rotation on Opening Day. A rotation of Guthrie, Tillman, Berken, Hernandez and Matusz makes me more excited then the dismal Guthrie, Koji, Eaton, Hendrickson, Hill and Simon rotation that the Orioles sported for the beginning of the season. Once Bergesen gets off the DL, the Orioles rotation will start to take shape in a better direction, and I can’t help but get excited about this.

I have always been one who believes in the adage that pitchers need to get seasoning in the Minor leagues. Given the Orioles dismal state this year, I have no problem if the starting staff consisted of nothing but young pitchers who were called up from the minors. Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz have shown they can get Minor League hitters out, so it’s senseless to keep them down there. Since wins and losses don’t matter, it is better to get them some experience this season, hopefully earning them a starting spot in the rotation next spring training. I have never believed that calling a player up too early- and them not succeeding- can ruin their mindset. If you are good, you’re good, if you’re not then you’re not, simple as that. The difference between Chris Tillman and Jason Berken isn’t their mind set when they struggle, it’s their talent. Tillman looks to have it and Berken looks like he doesn’t.

Whether Matusz comes in and struggles or not, I believe he is the Orioles ace of the future and will anchor what could be one of the best rotations in all of baseball. This is the right time for Matusz to come up. Obviously fans would like to see him succeed for this season but if he doesn’t I am not worried. Seeing Brian Matusz give up seven runs a game is far more exciting then watching Rich Hill give up seven runs.

My birthday is August 7th and for the past 12 years the only present I have wanted from the Orioles was competitive baseball. Once again they aren’t providing me with competitive baseball but they are providing with some excitement and a small amount of hope in the pitching. Maybe one year soon I will get that present that I have longed for.

Brian Matusz is yet another piece in Andy MacPhail’s puzzle and with him, the puzzle is almost complete. Matusz’s debut could not come at a better time for Orioles fans who just watched Red Sox Nation take over Camden Yards like it was their own stadium. While that sour taste will stay in my mouth for a long time, Brian Matusz has at least helped lessen it.

After 11 straight losing seasons’ and en route to a 12th, Brian Matusz has provided me with a reason to get a little excited in August. At this point, that is really all any Orioles fan can ask for.

Now please don’t let him be the next Rocky Coppinger, Matt Riley or Rick Krivda !!!

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Going into the All Star Break I Have Enjoyed the Ride So Far

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Tom Clayton

Here we are at the All Star break and the Orioles are pretty much where I expected them to be at 40-48 and in last place in the AL East. On the upside we are light years ahead of where I imagined we’d be in terms of our youth movement and player progression.

There is no better story in Baltimore right now then rookie starting pitcher Brad Bergesen. His teammates have begun to call him ROY as in Rookie of the Year…and rightfully so. In 16 starts this season Bergesen is 6-3 with a 3.54ERA and a WHIP of 1.20 in 104.1 innings. Perhaps as impressive as Bergesen’s numbers is how deep he is going in games at such an early stage of his career, he is averaging 6.1 innings per outing and hasn’t pitched less then six innings since May 24th when he pitched 5.2 innings against the Nats. It looks like the Orioles have found the first piece to their future starting rotation with Bergesen and at 23 he seems to be improving with each outing.

The youth movement doesn’t stop with Bergesen as Nolan Reimold has shown some serious pop at the dish. Reimold has nine big flies and 23 RBIs in 51 games this season; spread those numbers across a full 162 games and he would be on pace for 29 homers and 73 RBIs. Reimold has cooled off a bit of late but I think he has the plate discipline and strike zone recognition to heat back up after the All Star break.

With Reimold locking down left field the Orioles have created one of the most talented and diverse young outfields in baseball. Adam Jones is going to make his first All Star appearance Tuesday and has shown improvement in every facet of his game in 2009. Jones has raised his OPS by .127 in his second full season and is on pace for around 24 home runs and 94 RBIs. While Jones has been impressive at the plate he has been even more impressive in the field covering more ground than any centerfielder not named Torii Hunter and making home run robbing catches at the wall look almost routine.

Rounding out the Orioles impressive outfield is 25 year old right fielder Nick Markakis. Markakis started the season on an absolute tear with an obscene OPS of 1.020 and driving in 22 runs in April. Nick’s May was just as impressive as his power numbers spiked with five bombs to go with his 18 RBIs which gave him 40 RBIs going into June. Nick’s power numbers have fallen off quite a bit as he hasn’t had a home run since June 16th against the Mets; his homer-less drought is at 25 games going into the break. I think Nick is showing us the kind of hitter he is destined to be throughout his career; I see him as a guy who will hit around 20 homers with 95-105 RBIs and an OPS of around .870.

When Matt Wieters made his major league debut on May 29th against the Tigers, Baltimore baseball became more relevant than it has been in over a decade. Regrettably, Wieters struggled at the plate as he attempted to reach the completely unrealistic expectations placed on him. On the positive side Wieters has begun to show a lot of improvement as he gets his feet under him at the major league level; all of his offensive numbers have improved as he continues to figure out major league pitching. Behind the plate Wieters has looked fairly good making some heady plays but he has also struggled throwing out just one of the 21 players who have attempted to steal on him this season. While none of Wieters numbers are really attention grabbing, I have been impressed with his maturity and work ethic which fill me with confidence that when the light does in fact go on, the Orioles will have one hell of a special player behind the plate.

Luke Scott has been the most productive Oriole offensively, by far. While playing a majority of his games as a DH Scott has18 bombs, 51 RBI, and an eye popping .976OPS; in fact Scott is on a pace for the first 30 home run, 100 RBI season of his career. At 31 and with a very manageable contract, Scott is a viable, intriguing piece to the Orioles puzzle.

Another solid veteran contributor has been closer George Sherrill. After a rocky start to the season Sherrill has come on strong and driven his stock about as high as it can possibly go. In his last 27.2 innings Sherrill has only allowed five earned runs and converted 16 of 18 saves. Sherrill could potentially be a very valuable trading chip around the trading deadline as he has become not only a proven closer but a proven left handed closer.

Some unlikely players have also made great contributions throughout the first half of the season. Robert Andino did a great job filling in for Cesar Izturis. Andino isn’t going to be mistaken for Hanley Ramirez at the dish but he played an outstanding defensive shortstop.

Over the last few games Oscar Salazar has been a revelation at the plate with an OPS of 1.067 and two bombs in his first 31 at bats this season. With Melvin Mora struggling at the dish and in the last year of his deal it may be an interesting idea to deal Mora and grant Salazar an opportunity to play everyday. At 31 Salazar probably isn’t the long term solution at the hot corner but he has shown enough ability at the plate to give him a shot.

Unfortunately not everything has been coming up aces for the Orioles; they are still eight games under .500 for a reason.

Jeremy Guthrie is the only pitcher remaining from the opening day starting rotation. Experiments such as Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson were monumental flops, although Hendrickson has become a reliable left hander out of the pen. As for Guthrie, he has not been “right” all season; his fastball has little to no movement and he has shown a below average ability to place his breaking pitches. It seems like a majority of Guthrie’s sliders are up in the zone with little break, essentially making them below average fastballs. Guthrie is also allowing home runs at an alarming rate, in 101.1 innings Guthrie has allowed 20 homers. I am not sure if this is due to Guthrie’s participation in the WBC or the fact that opposing hitters have figured out Guthrie but it is an alarming statistic for sure.

As for the pitchers who have filled the starting rotation, other than Bergesen they have all been less than impressive to put it nicely. Rich Hill is wildly inconsistent and hasn’t shown me anything in terms of intangibles that lead me to believe he is anything more than a below average major league starter. Jason Berken has battled on the mound and showed a lot of grit but his numbers tell a story of a pitcher that may need more grooming down on the farm.

As for Felix Pie I don’t think there is much that I haven’t already said. Pie has played better of late and he is playing on the cheap so we could do worse than Pie as a fourth outfielder.

The most frustrating part of the first half of the season hasn’t been any one player but the mental lapses that the players seem to routinely make. The Orioles have been atrocious on the basepaths and have run themselves out of more innings then I can count. Melvin Mora looks clueless running the bases and is good for two or three boneheaded plays a week. I would implore Dave Trembley to sit Mora down and explain that he is 37 and doesn’t have the wheels to swipe bases anymore.

Overall it has been an exciting season for the Orioles, there have been some amazing comebacks and the team seems to battle for all 27 outs. The days of Kevin Millar and Jay Payton blocking the promotions of our young talent seems to be in the rearview and many of the young players are making the most of their opportunities and producing. On top of the many positives I haven’t even mentioned Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz who were both named top ten prospects in all of baseball. While the second half may be a roller coaster, we are building the tracks for one hell of a fun ride.

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Here’s a shocker: Koji has “elbow fatigue”

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Drew Forrester

I can’t figure it out but maybe someone smarter than me can.

How can a guy with 12 starts — and only four outings where he’s worked into the 7th inning — be hurting?

Such is apparently the case with O’s starter Koji Uehara.  Manager Dave Trembley revealed prior to this evening’s game in Florida that Koji is suffering from “elbow fatigue”.

Welcome to the “Fatigue Club”, Koji.  The fans here have been suffering from Losing Fatigue since 1998.

Seriously – what’s the deal with this guy?  Can’t Trembley make a command decision and tell MacPhail he wants another starter?  Let Uehara slip into the bullpen and bring up one of the kids from Norfolk.  

Elbow fatigue.  Sheesh. 

Because we’re not really allowed to ask the team any pressing questions, this one will go unanswered.  But I’ll ask it anyway.

Did the club make an agreement with Uehara – written, oral or handshake – that obligated the Birds to use Koji only as a starter?  

If so, they’re in deep doo-doo.

If they did, they’re nuts. 

Then again, this was supposedly an answer to the O’s starting pitching woes.  Or, one of them, anyway.  Rather than pick up a quality major-league starter or two, we brought in the Japanese pitcher with a wobbly elbow, Mark Hendrickson, and our own answer to Major League’s Rick Vaughn, Rich Hill.  

I actually like Uehara as a pitcher.  He’s crafty (I know, that’s sort of code word for: not very dominating…but I like him) and for three or four innings every start, he’s actually tough to hit.  Then, the 6th inning comes and he starts breaking out in hives once he reaches the 80 pitch mark.  By the 90-pitch mark, he’s done.

If Major League games were six innings, this kid would be a Hall of Famer. 

So, back to the question I’ve asked a dozen times on the show.  ”Why not move Koji to the bullpen?”

What’s the harm?

“Elbow fatigue.”

“Might miss his next start.”

“We’ll keep our eye on it.”

How do you say, “Rub some dirt on it, kid” in Japanese?

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Guthrie gets hammered in Oakland

Posted on 05 June 2009 by Drew Forrester

Any doubt now that something’s wrong with Jeremy Guthrie?

The O’s No. 1 starter got shelled in Oakland tonight, surrendering six earned runs in the first inning before giving way to Mark Hendrickson,who got the final out of the inning.

The Orioles never recovered tonight, losing 9-1 to the Athletics in the first of a three-game series.

I’ve been saying it virtually all season:  ”Something’s not right with Guthrie”.

Did his participation in the March edition of the World Baseball Classic alter his typical spring routine to the extent that he never got fully prepared for the rigors of the regular season schedule?

How about that early March $120,000 paycut the O’s slapped on him?  Is that a lingering, festering issue?  If so, it would be tough to blame him.  The team spent $5 million on an unknown Japanese pitcher in the off-season and gave a journeyman like Mark Hendrickson a million bucks but decided to trim Guthrie’s salary by $120,000 because “they had the right to do it”.

I’ve heard rumbles from team associates that Guthrie’s clubhouse mood has changed in ’09.  ”Less interactive” and “definitely uptight” were two recent descriptions of the pitcher’s disposition from someone who’s around the club just about every day.

Or, could it just be that 2009 is not Guthrie’s year?  It’s not like he’s been awful, mind you.  He’s had his bright moments.  But for the most part, he’s not the same pitcher we saw a year ago.  Something’s not right.

I’ve been saying for the last month or so that the club should explore their options with Guthrie in July.  His arbitration years are on the way, he’s credible enough to snag a decent prospect or two from a contending team at the deadline and, ultimately, the O’s are seemingly a franchise stocked with enough young talent that losing Guthrie for two months at the end of the ’09 campaign shouldn’t hurt them too much in 2010 and beyond.

Tonight’s performance supports the theory that Guthrie might be good trade bait in 6 weeks.

But first, the O’s should figure out what’s gone wrong with their best pitcher.

If they’ve somehow had a hand in his decline, they need to assess that issue and move forward armed with the knowledge of how it happened and how to avoid a repeat occurrence in the future.

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It’s Sunday, which means O’s lose (8-5 to Nats)

Posted on 24 May 2009 by Drew Forrester

After escaping with two wins in the nation’s capital over the weekend (Palmer called them “fortunate” to win on Friday and Saturday…wonder if he’ll get a memo?), this one was almost expected.

The O’s blew an early 3-0 lead, fell behind, 4-3, then went ahead again in the 7th on an Adam Jones home run.

Unfortunately, the Birds relief corps – ever-reliable all weekend – couldn’t spit the hook this time around, as the Nats rallied for an 8-5 win on the heels of an Adam Dunn grand slam in the bottom half of the 7th.

Brad Bergesen was the starter for the O’s and there’s an argument he was more effective with the bat in his hands than the ball in his right palm.  Bergesen had a single, got on base another time via an error (shoulda been a hit too…but who cares?) and, if nothing else, showed he can be a threat if the O’s make the World Series this year and he has to pitch in the National League Champion’s ballpark.

On the mound, though, Bergesen was serviceable, at best.  He’s pretty good the first time through the lineup and holds his own the second time around too.  Once he’s seeing guys for the 3rd or 4th time, though, it’s not very pretty.  He was able to work into the 6th inning (8 hits, 4 earned runs) before giving the ball to Chris Ray and Jamie Walker, who combined to end the O’s modest 2-game winning streak with a horrific 7th inning.  I wonder if Adam Dunn took it personally when Dave Trembley intentionally walked Ryan Zimmerman to get to Dunn?  420 feet later, I’d say the answer was “yes”.

There’s not much to debate about the 7th inning.  Ray was the reasonable entry there (just get SOMEONE out…even the mascot) and it made sense to bring in a lefty to face Dunn.  Sure, Hendrickson could have been the choice, but Walker got the nod and promptly served up the grand-salami to the big lefthander.  Bad pitch by Walker…not necessarily a bad decision by Trembley, who makes his fair share of those when it comes to hurlers.

The Birds return home to face Toronto tomorrow afternoon, with “Pay Cut” going to the mound for the O’s.  After Guthrie’s start on Memorial Day, all eyes and ears will be focused on the Tuesday night starter at OPACY.  Trembley has said it’s NOT going to be someone currently on the 25-man roster, eliminating the likes of Brian Bass (as deserving as anyone…actually), Matt Albers (as an emergency?  sure…) and Mark Hendrickson (NOT deserving…).  It’s still anyone’s guess:  Chris Waters?  40% chance.  Jason Berken?  30% chance.  Troy Patton?  20% chance.  David Pauley?  10% chance.  

Odds that the O’s will make a choice that leaves everyone scratching their head?  77%

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