Tag Archive | "Mark Hendrickson"

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Trembley, Orioles point to bad breaks instead of making own luck

Posted on 27 May 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As the Orioles fall further into the abyss of the 2010 season, Thursday night’s loss ranks near the top of the most painful defeats.

A 5-2 lead that appeared to be an almost certain victory transformed into an excruciating sequence of questionable decisions and bad luck in the eight inning. The final result was a 7-5 defeat and another sleepless night of asking how it went wrong for manager Dave Trembley and the Orioles (15-33).

The win-loss record plainly reflects how poorly the club has played over the first two months of the season, but the bad breaks once again manifested in the eighth inning on Thursday night.

A grounder deflecting off the leg of Mark Hendrickson led to an infield single and then a bad hop to Cesar Izturis kept the eventual five-run inning alive on two occasions. Later, a three-run double by Kevin Kouzmanoff sealed the Orioles’ fate as the club snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, a common theme as we approach the 50-game mark of the season.

“You hate to get a game taken away from a guy who has pitched as well as [Brad] Bergesen did and lose it under those conditions,” Trembley said. “It really is unfortunate that those things happen.”

Unfortunate? Very much so.

Preventable? It’s tough to say.

While the ball club reflected on its misfortune, two questionable decisions from Trembley certainly factored into the outcome of the game. The first being his choice to remove Bergesen in the eighth inning and the second the insertion of Mark Hendrickson for Jason Berken after only one batter faced.

There’s no way of predicting whether the Orioles would have met the same losing fate had Bergesen been allowed to continue after giving up back-to-back singles to begin the eighth inning, one a seeing-eye single beyond the reach of Miguel Tejada and the second a clean liner into left.

Despite having retired 14 batters in a row entering the eighth inning, Trembley removed Bergesen from the game with a 5-2 lead, citing Baltimore’s long bottom of the seventh in which it sent eight batters to the plate and scored two runs as the primary reason for taking out his young starting pitcher.

“It was a long inning, but again, something like that will happen,” Bergesen said. “You’ve just got to mentally stay strong and stay focused, and I felt like I did.”

Bergesen recovered from a shaky start in the first two innings, including a two-run homer from Gabe Gross in the second, to settle into a groundball groove that pushed the starter through seven innings with only 80 pitches. After the two singles to open the eighth, Trembley removed Bergesen at the 93-pitch mark.

“I don’t think the pitch count enters into it,” Trembley said. “He had a long inning to sit after the seventh. You certainly don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s going to lose the game.”

The move was certainly debatable and not unprecedented from Trembley. At some point, the training wheels need to be removed for these young starters—especially with a bullpen that’s far from dominant at the back end—but the long delay between the seventh and eighth innings was a reasonable factor in shortening Bergesen’s leash.

However, what transpired a batter later after Jason Berken came on to retire Rajai Davis on a fly out to right was far less defensible. Instead of sticking with Berken, Trembley again went to the bullpen for the lefty Mark Hendrickson against left-handed batters Daric Barton and Ryan Sweeney.

After retiring Barton, Hendrickson allowed three straight singles, opening the floodgates for the Athletics to take the lead on Kouzmanoff’s double off Cla Meredith later in the inning.

“You’re going to go left against left there,” Trembley said. “I think that’s really what you’re going to do. Berken hasn’t faced these guys a lot. Their two best hitters are their two lefties right there. Berken’s a flyball pitcher. You don’t want Berken to give up a home run there. He’s never been in that situation before. Hendrickson has.”

Trembley continues to go with the “by the book” situational matchups instead of sticking with the most effective option on any given night, regardless of what a deeper look at the numbers might say.

Left-handed batters are hitting just .194 against Berken this season but are batting .333 against Hendrickson.

Where’s that lefty against lefty advantage again?

The Orioles’ bullpen woes are well-documented with injuries playing the primary role in their inconsistency. Continuing to run pitcher after pitcher to the hill not only taxes the bullpen but increases the probability of running into a poor outing or two from a staff that lacks quality, proven arms.

If a pitcher is getting the job done on a given night, why take him out?

“I was confident that those guys were going to get it done,” the manager said. “I think we’d be talking a different story here if there isn’t a bad hop to shortstop. I would have put [Will] Ohman in the [ninth] instead of them putting Andrew Bailey in the game.”

We’d all like to be talking about a different story this season. If only it were that simple.

The eighth inning certainly played cruel tricks on Trembley and the Orioles—some of it out of their hands—but the management of the bullpen is within the skipper’s complete grasp, and it reeked of managing not to lose instead of playing to win and exuding confidence.

Would different choices have written a happier ending instead of a painful 7-5 loss?

We’ll never know for sure, but sometimes you need to make your own luck instead of dwelling on the events that are out of your control.

Check out the box score here the pre-game notes below.


***Join us in the Orange Crush chat right now***

BALTIMORE — After splitting the first two games of the series, the Orioles (15-32) will look to win their third(!?) series of the season tonight against the Oakland Athletics (24-23) at 7:05 p.m.

Brad Bergesen will take the hill in hopes of rebounding from his last two outings in which he allowed 24 baserunners over his last 11 2/3 innings. He pitched to a no decision against the Nationals on Saturday afternoon, allowing six runs in five innings. Bergesen was previously scheduled to start Friday night’s game in Toronto before the club elected to move David Hernandez to the bullpen and recall 22-year-old starter Chris Tillman from Triple-A Norfolk to start the opening game against the Blue Jays.

The A’s will send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the mound in search of his sixth win of the season. He pitched a gem against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, pitching eight innings of shutout ball in a 1-0 victory. As if that isn’t impressive enough, Gonzalez also retired the last 20 batters he faced before being lifted for closer Andrew Bailey.

The Orioles are without Nick Markakis tonight, so he can be with his wife who will give birth to their second child today. Taking his place in right field will be Lou Montanez.

Luke Scott is once again out of the starting lineup with a strained left shoulder, but he is available to pinch-hit tonight and is expected to return to the order in Toronto on Friday.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

CF Rajai Davis
1B Daric Barton
RF Ryan Sweeney
C Kurt Suzuki
DH Jack Cust
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
LF Gabe Gross
SS Adam Rosales
2B Mark Ellis

SP Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 3.46 ERA)

LF Corey Patterson
2B Julio Lugo
1B Ty Wigginton
3B Miguel Tejada
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
DH Garrett Atkins
RF Lou Montanez
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Brad Bergesen (3-3, 6.10 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat tonight at 7:00 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss tonight’s action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about tonight’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m.


6:10 p.m. — The Orioles will go with a heavy balance of right-handed bats against Gonzalez. Corey Patterson is the only left-handed hitter in the lineup while switch hitters Matt Wieters and Cesar Izturis will obviously bat from the right side.

Gonzalez has struck out 46 batters in 54 2/3 innings this season, an average of 7.57 per nine innings. He has done a tremendous job of avoiding bats in his career, striking out 189 batters in 187 1/3 innings. However, patience can also reap rewards against the lefty, as he’s issued 24 walks in 54 2/3 innings, just under four per nine innings.

With the grounder-inducing Bergesen on the hill for Baltimore, inserting Julio Lugo into the lineup at second base with Ty Wigginton again playing first has to work in the club’s favor defensively.

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Orange Chatter: 10 Questions for 2010 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Luke Jones

In Part 1 of my 10 Questions for 2010, we pondered the health of Brian Roberts, the status of Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Tillman, and the platoon of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.

Here are my second five of 10 questions entering the 2010 season:

6. Is the bullpen up to par?

Following the trade of George Sherrill last summer, it was clear the Orioles struggled in the late innings with Jim Johnson better suited in his previous role as a setup man. Andy MacPhail responded by signing free agent closer Mike Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million contract, the club’s largest signing of the offseason.

Gonzalez has 54 career saves in a seven-year career, including 10 last season in Atlanta. While the lefty seems capable of closing games–keep in mind Sherrill was never a closer before the trade to Baltimore–Gonzalez battled a stiff back and appeared hesitant to cut it loose in Sarasota until recently. He closed out the spring with a perfect outing against the Mets on Saturday, striking out two and lowering his spring ERA to 5.14.

Gonzalez is joined in the bullpen by two mainstays in Johnson and lefty Mark Hendrickson, who thrived in the bullpen (3.44 ERA) after being moved out of the starting rotation (5.40 as a starter) last season.

However, after these three, the bullpen becomes a bit murkier, especially with Koji Uehara on the disabled list (hamstring) to begin the season. Cla Meredith had a tremendous spring (0.84 ERA) and pitched well in Baltimore after being acquired from the Padres last season but is certainly not a household name with a track record. Newcomer Will Ohman figures to provide plenty of laughs, but Trembley would like to see him evolve into an effective left-handed situational arm (a career 4.25 ERA in seven seasons).

And with three pitchers 25 or younger in the starting rotation, the club will go with two long men in Matt Albers and Jason Berken. Albers was very effective in 2008 (3.49 ERA), but a shoulder injury (torn labrum) and questions surrounding his conditioning led to an abysmal 2009 season in which he pitched to a 5.51 ERA and was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on three different occasions.

Berken shifts to a long-relief role after starting 24 games last season (6.54 ERA). While the 26-year-old lacks the stuff of an effective starting pitcher, Trembley will look for him to eat innings should a starter be knocked out early. Of course, Berken could find himself back in the starting rotation should there be an injury or two over the course of the seaosn.

A player to keep an eye on at Norfolk is Kam Mickolio, a hard-throwing righty (part of the Erik Bedard trade with Seattle) who appeared to have a good chance of making the 25-man roster before a groin injury limited his opportunities in the spring. He projects as a late-inning man with closer potential.

As is the case with any bullpen on any team, the starting pitching will ultimately decide its fate. If starters are unable to reach the sixth or seventh inning on a consistent basis, this bullpen will inevitably wear down as we’ve seen just about every summer over the last 12 years. Improved starting pitching will hide the weaknesses in the bullpen and allow more opportunities to finish games.

7. Will Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins prove to be capable stopgaps?

The corner infield positions were two of MacPhail’s biggest priorities to address in the offseason, and he responded by adding two veterans accustomed to playing different positions than they will in 2010.

Tejada’s return to Baltimore was a controversial decision, but his ability to adjust to third base will be critical to the infield defense and pitching. Most seem to think Tejada will become a capable third baseman, but it’s hard to forget the initial struggles of both Cal Ripken and Melvin Mora when they shifted to the hot corner. One would expect Tejada to struggle in the first month or two of the season before settling in to be an average third baseman.

Tejada will also be asked to handle the cleanup spot in the order, at least until Matt Wieters is ready to grab the reins. While no longer capable of hitting 25 home runs per season—he hit just 27 in two combined seasons in Houston—Tejada led the National League with 47 doubles in 2009.

Across the diamond, Atkins shifts to first base after primarily manning the hot corner in his seven seasons in Colorado. Atkins has played 105 career games at first, so the transition should not be as drastic as Tejada’s.

The acquisition of Atkins was a curious one with the 30-year-old coming off the worst season of his career (.226, 9 home runs, 48 RBI) and safer options such as Adam LaRoche available. The club hopes Atkins can regain his pre-2009 form when he averaged 25 home runs and 110 RBI over three seasons.

Neither player figures to be in the fold when the Orioles aim to contend in the next few years—both signed one-year deals—but with prospects Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder likely a year away from the big leagues, Tejada and Atkins will be depended on for offense and steady defense on the corners. At the very least, neither contract will come back to haunt the club should either player prove ineffective.

8. How good will Brian Matusz be?

Though the hype hasn’t rivaled the insane expectations for Wieters, Matusz appears set to contend for the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year after starting eight games down the stretch, going 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA.

His 2009 minor league numbers look like something out of a video game, as he went a combined 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. In fact, Matusz was even better after being promoted to Bowie, going a perfect 7-0 record with a 1.55 ERA in eight starts.

Matusz was fantastic in the spring, finishing with a 2.59 ERA while striking out 21 and walking just three in 24.1 innings.

There’s a reason why he’s on every top-10 prospect list you’ll find this spring. Though Matusz would be hard-pressed to match Mike Mussina’s numbers in his first full year in 1992, don’t be shocked if he’s the Orioles’ best pitcher by mid-season. He might be already.

A scout was recently asked about Matusz in Baseball Prospectus: “He might have been the best pitcher I saw all spring, and I’m not just talking about prospects.”

Need we say more?

9. Is Dave Trembley managing his last season in Baltimore?

While many wondered about Trembley’s job security as the Orioles collapsed down the stretch last season, which included a 13-game losing streak that nearly pushed the club past the 100-loss mark, MacPhail retained Trembley while also declaring the 2010 season would be judged more critically on wins and losses.

It’s clear Trembley has had a near-impossible task trying to win with inferior talent in the AL East, but the skipper cannot expect a free ride either. Baserunning gaffes, poor fundamentals, and questionable bullpen management were major issues in 2009, regardless of who was on the field. It’s no secret the Orioles lack the talent of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, so playing fundamentally-sound baseball is an absolute necessity if the club wants to improve in 2010.

Trembley’s supporters continue to claim he hasn’t had a chance to compete in his three seasons as manager, but the lack of talent cannot excuse some of the problems witnessed in 2009. Having bad players doesn’t mean you’re a bad manager, but it doesn’t mean you’re a capable manager either.

It’s imperative for the club to make significant improvement in 2010, or Trembley will be shown the door at the end of the season—if not sooner.

10. Will the Orioles make it an unlucky number 13?

Twelve years.

Twelve painful, long years.

The Orioles begin the new decade after closing out the first 10 years of the century without a winning season, their last winning campaign coming in 1997.

But unlike most of the last 12 years, it really looks as though the team will improve from where it was a year ago, though it’s difficult to go any direction but up after a 98-loss season. The problem is even a 15-game improvement–a tremendous accomplishment—would only create a 79-83 mark and a 13th straight losing season.

If the Orioles have any hope of a .500 season, they not only have to thrive against the AL Central and West but must find a way to avoid the utter embarrassment experienced last year against the Yankees and Red Sox.

The Orioles were 5-13 against the Bronx Bombers, and the results were even worse with the Red Sox, as Baltimore was an egregious 2-16 against Boston. Another 7-29 mark—far and away their worst record against the two AL East powers over the last 12 seasons—is unacceptable, if not unfathomable.

Forget about money, competitive imbalance, or recent history. A .194 winning percentage over 36 games against the Yankees and Red Sox should never happen.

When it all adds up, the Orioles can make significant improvement in 2010, but it looks like a 13th consecutive losing season is almost inevitable.

A record in the neighborhood of 77-85 will not rejuvenate the fan base immediately, but it would be a sizable step in the right direction.

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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 …..

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 …..

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 …..

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.

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 …..

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 …..

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

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….


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!!!!!


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….


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.

Talk to you this weekend.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….


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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…..


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!!!


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…


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.


Talk to you later.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….


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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


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


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.


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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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