Tag Archive | "Mark Hendrickson"

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5 Ws and 1 H

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Luke Jones

It’s easy to call the 134th Preakness a failure, but it would be more prudent to give the Maryland Jockey Club another year or two to see what can be done to bring the masses back to Pimlico.  The decision to prohibit patrons from bringing their own alcohol was obviously a major change to the culture of the Preakness, but creative thinking should be able to revive attendance.

However, will officials have another year or two to accomplish this?  It remains to be seen with the bankruptcy of Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of Pimlico.  The state government is taking measures to keep the Preakness in Baltimore, but nothing is a sure thing at this point.

Here are the 5 Ws and 1 H for the week:

1.  Who do you expect to be in the Orioles’ starting rotation by year’s end?  We’ve already seen two of the five Opening Day rotation members (Alredo Simon and Mark Hendrickson) replaced, and more changes are sure to come as the season continues.

The next starter on the chopping block would logically be Adam Eaton (2-4, 7.93 ERA).  The most likely candidates for a promotion at this point are Chris Tillman (4-0, 2.03 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk),  David Hernandez (3-1, 3.50 ERA at Norfolk), and Troy Patton (3-1, 1.32 ERA at Double-A Bowie).

Patton is the most intriguing option after missing all of last season with a torn labrum.  He was the top pitcher acquired in the five-player deal for Miguel Tejada.  The organization planned to keep him in the minor leagues for most of this season to regain his pre-injury form, but Patton’s numbers may force a promotion to the major leagues.  Patton has experience at Triple A and the major leagues, so the jump from Double A would not be much of a factor.

My guess for the Orioles’ rotation by season’s end is Jeremy Guthrie, Rich Hill, Chris Tillman, Troy Patton, and Brad Bergesen.

Though Koji Uehara has been the team’s most consistent starter, pitching in a five-man rotation—something he was not accustomed to doing in Japan—will likely cause him to wear down as the summer progresses.  Moving him to the bullpen by late August might save his arm and allow the Orioles to promote another young pitcher in the process.

2.  What are the odds that Derrick Mason’s revelation that he might miss most of training camp after undergoing shoulder surgery is related to his contract status?  Mason has made it known that he desires an extension with the Ravens beyond this season.

No one can question the 35-year-old receiver’s toughness after playing the second half of last season with a painful shoulder injury, but it wouldn’t be farfetched for Mason to take it easy during training camp to rest the shoulder and protect his health as he enters his last season under contract with the Ravens.

Even if this were more about his contract and less about his health, it wouldn’t figure to cause many problems, given his excellent timing with quarterback Joe Flacco.  It could even be a long-term plus, forcing Flacco to work more closely with the other receivers on the roster.

3.  Where would you most like to watch a baseball game?  The Orioles travel to the new Yankee Stadium for a three-game series beginning Tuesday, and WNST is even taking a bus full of Orioles fans to the Yankees’ new palace.

I’ve been to a few classics such as the old Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field as well as new beauties Citizens Bank Park and Camden Yards (of course!).

Watching two games at Wrigley was my favorite experience, especially sitting in the right-centerfield bleachers for an afternoon game.  It’s a great atmosphere, and Wrigleyville is a special baseball town.

Next up on the list of parks I want to see?  Dodger Stadium, but I’ll pass on a ticket in the Mannywood section.  Of the newer generation of parks, AT&T Park in San Francisco has been referred to as the Camden Yards of the West.  Hopefully it doesn’t get inhabited by Yankees and Red Sox fans in the same way.

4.  When was the last time the men’s lacrosse Final Four did not have a school from the state of Maryland competing?  The answer had been 1994 before Maryland and Johns Hopkins fell this weekend in the quarterfinals.  The 2009 Final Four at Gillette Stadium includes Syracuse, Virginia, Cornell, and Duke.

Dave Pietramala’s Blue Jays had gone to the Final Four six of the last seven years before falling to Virginia on Sunday.

5.  Why do the Orioles continue to play so poorly in the final game of nearly every series?  They had a chance to take three out of four from the Kansas City Royals, leading 3-1 on Sunday before Uehara gave up three runs in the sixth, and reliever Jim Johnson sealed the Orioles’ fate by surrendering three in the eighth.

The Orioles are now 2-11 in series-concluding games this season.  Their longest winning streak of the season stands at two games.  It’s hard to put together a successful stretch of games if you cannot finish off an opponent in a three- or four-game series.

In case you were thinking back to the dreaded Sunday record from last season, the Orioles are 1-5 in Sunday games this year.

6.  How unlucky was the injury to Maryland goalie Brian Phipps?  The junior injured (and likely tore) his left ACL after making a save late in the first quarter in the Terps’ loss to Syracuse on Saturday.

The injury drew the attention of ESPN who compared it to the Gus Frerotte human battering ram experiment and former Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica’s “tear-up-your-knee” celebration.

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Orioles upend Rays, 7-5

Posted on 12 May 2009 by Luke Jones

Despite a wild start to this one, the Orioles got an outstanding effort from the bullpen and center fielder Adam Jones, as they held on to defeat the Rays, 7-5.

Starter Mark Hendrickson lasted only two innings after surrendering five runs, but Brian Bass entered in the third and pitched four scoreless innings to bridge the gap to the later innings.  Danys Baez, Jim Johnson, and George Sherrill each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the victory.

Adam Jones sparked the offense with two home runs and drove in four runs.  The 23-year-old center fielder continues to be among the league leaders in batting average (.363) and leads the club with eight home runs.

Left fielder Felix Pie left the game in the fourth inning and was taken to the hospital with a stomach ailment.  If Pie is unable to recover for tomorrow’s game, the club will only have a two-man bench with Luke Scott unavailable until the start of the Kansas City series.  In case you were wondering, Nolan Reimold hit another home run for Triple-A Norfolk tonight.

All in all, not a bad ballgame despite the sloppy start for both teams.

The Orioles will go for the two-game sweep tomorrow night before leaving town on a 10-game road trip.  The Orioles will send rookie Brad Bergesen to the hill against Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann.

A reminder that WNST will be at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk tomorrow night for the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk Competition semifinals.  Please come out and join us, and I thank the WNST audience for all of its support throughout the competition!

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What else can happen in this game?

Posted on 12 May 2009 by Luke Jones

As I sat down to watch tonight’s Rays-Orioles game, I expected another dull contest with Mark Hendrickson on the hill for what might be his last start before a returning Rich Hill bumps him to the bullpen.

Boy, was I wrong.

Not about Hendrickson—he was gone after giving up five runs in two innings of work—but this game has seen a little bit of everything.

We’ve seen 12 runs scored in four innings of baseball.

Adam Jones is looking more and more like a superstar in the making.

Juan Samuel can’t stop windmilling with his shoulder.

Neither team appears interested in hitting a cutoff man.

And the Orioles started the top of the fourth inning without a left fielder.  Apparently, Felix Pie had a bit of a stomach problem and left the game.

(Insert your favorite joke here about feeling the same way when you watch him play.)

This is definitely one of those head-scratching games the casual fan enjoys, but the baseball purist despises.

“Arena” baseball (as Jim Palmer likes to call it) at its finest.

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Tonight’s Orioles – Rays Lineups

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Tonight’s Orioles – Rays Lineups

Posted on 12 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Orioles will take the field at tonight at Camden Yards for a 7:05pm start against their A. L. East division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.  The contest marks the beginning of a brief two-game mid-week series, which will be the sixth and seventh times these two have met already in this early ’09 season.  In such games the O’s are currently 3-2; they took two of three April 10-12 in Baltimore and split a pair at Tropicana Field May 4th and 5th.  By comparison, last season the O’s went just 3-15 against Tampa.

Mark Hendrickson, the O’s 6’9, 240lb left-hander, will be on the mound to start tonight’s game for manager Dave Trembley.  Hendrickson’s last appearance came in the “rain-game” last week against the Twins, and because of the long delays was only able to complete three innings.  However, it should be noted they were three excellent innings where Hendrickson allowed just one base-runner.  Even still, hopefully he’ll be well rested and ready to give his team some quality length, something Hendrickson is yet to do in his previous six starts.  He’s just 1-4 overall this year with an ERA of 5.14, and is yet to pitch a full six innings in any outing.

Taking the ball for the defending American League Champion Rays will be Andy Sonnanstine.  All the way back on April 10, in Sonnanstine’s first start of the year, the O’s knocked out the 26-year old righty after going just 4.2 innings and allowing five earned runs on 10 hits.  Since, he’s shown more of the ability that won him 13 games last season; in his last two outings Sonnanstine has thrown 13 innings and surrendered just four runs against the formidable lineups of the Red Sox and Yankees.

Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s series opener:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Melvin Mora – 3B
Lou Montanez – DH
Gregg Zaun – C
Felix Pie – LF
Cesar Izturis – SS

Rays

B.J. Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Willy Aybar, DH
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Jason Bartlett, SS
Gabe Kapler, RF
Dioner Navarro, C

The O's will try to keep Rays' speed-demon Carl Crawford off the bases in this two-game series. (Courtesy: AP)

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Tonight’s Orioles – Yankees Lineups

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Tonight’s Orioles – Yankees Lineups

Posted on 09 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Tonight the Orioles and Yankees will tangle in Game 2 of their three-game set at Camden Yards tonight at 7:05.  Let’s hope that tonight the Orioles offense gets the memo.

Over the span of a long baseball season, 162 games, some nights you got it – some nights you don’t.  Last night, the O’s O didn’t have it… and whatever “it” is, CC Sabathia definitely had it.  The home team only managed to scratch out four hits over nine innings of shutout baseball pitched by the Yankee ace.  Sabathia allowed back-to-back singles in the first and in the ninth, but was in cruise-control all night striking out eight and walking just one.  Alex Rodriguez, appearing in his season-debut,  hit a three-run homer off O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie on the first pitch he saw in the first inning to give the Yankees all the offense they would need.  It should be noted though, after the tough top of the first Guthrie did settle and keep his team in the ball game and pitched five shutout innings afterward and struck out eight batters.

Adam Eaton will take the mound tonight  in his fifth start of the year, and if he doesn’t pitch significantly better than he’s shown to date,  it might be one of his last.  Eaton still has not shown much in his opportunity in the rotation compiling a 1-3 record with an ERA over seven.  Rich Hill has been showing progress in getting stretched out in his rehab starts in the minors and might be knocking on the door soon.  Eaton or Mark Hendrickson could be the odd man out with any more sub-par performances from either.

22-year old Yankee right-hander Phil Hughes will make his third start of the season for the big club after spending the beginning of the season in triple-A Scranton – Wilkes-Barre.  Back on April 28th, Hughes allowed only two Detroit hits over six innings in a victory over the Tigers, but five days ago at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox he struggled and took the loss while failing to get his club any outs in the fifth before being removed.

Here are the game’s staring lineups:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Melvin Mora – 3B
Luke Scott – DH
Lou Montanez – LF
Gregg Zaun – C
Cesar Izturis – SS

Yankees

Derek Jeter – SS
Johnny Damon – LF
Mark Teixeira – 1B
Alex Rodriguez – 3B
Hideki Matsui – DH
Nick Swisher – RF
Robinson Cano – 2B
Melky Cabrera – CF
Francisco Cervelli – C

Guthrie struck out 8 Yankees, but it wasn't enough to beat C.C. (Courtesy: MLB.com)

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Tonight’s Orioles – Twins Lineups

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Tonight’s Orioles – Twins Lineups

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Tonight’s first pitch between the Orioles and Minnesota Twins is scheduled for 7:05 at Camden Yards.  Afterward, nine innings of baseball are expected to follow.  We hope.

Last night after thunder, lightning, torrential rain, and only six innings of baseball in over four hours, the O’s picked up a 4-1 win over the Twins.  The start of the game was delayed over 40 minutes and it wasn’t officially called until well past midnight in Baltimore.  At the plate, Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in his first AB and collected two RBI’s while Luke Scott connected on a two-run shot in the fourth inning to give the Orioles all the offense they needed.  Mark Hendrickson, the O’s starting pitcher, got off to a great start but was only able to throw three complete innings before a long delay ended his night.  Brian Bass picked up the win out of the bullpen, but did surrender an earned run in his 2.2 innings.

Tonight Dave Trembley will trot out 23-year old right-hander, Brad Bergesen, whom will be making the fourth start of his young career.  Through his previous three outings he’s registered a 1-0 record with two no-decisions.  Last Saturday in Toronto he pitched a full six innings for the first time in the big leagues and only yielded three earned runs in what turned out to be a 5-4 Oriole loss in 11 innings.

Going tonight for the Twins will be left-hander Glen Perkins.  The 26-year old, 12-game winner from a season ago has had mixed results in the early stages of ’09.  His first three starts of the year were very, very good.  He went eight innings in each and only allowed three runs over the entire span against the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Angels.  As for his two most recent appearances… not as good.  After a loss at Cleveland, Perkins gave up five earned and allowed 10 hits over five innings and took the no-decision in a Twin loss to the Royals.  I would imagine manager Ron Gardenhire would prefer to see to Perkins revert back to his early-early season form this evening.

Here are the respective lineups for tonight’s game:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Melvin Mora – 3B
Aubrey Huff – DH
Ty Wigginton – 1B
Lou Montanez – LF
Gregg Zaun – C
Cesar Izturis – SS

Twins

Denard Span – CF
Matt Tolbert – 2B
Joe Mauer – C
Justin Morneau – 1B
Jason Kubel – DH
Joe Crede – 3B
Matthew Cuddyer – RF
Delmon Young – LF
Nick Punto – SS

Four rain delays and only six innings later, an O's win (Courtesy: Baltimore Sun Photos)

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Tonight’s Orioles – Twins Lineups

Posted on 06 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Orioles will begin a six-game home stand with a match-up tonight against the Minnesota Twins.  The game’s first pitch will be at 7:05pm downtown at Camden Yards… and playing there… hopefully… will be a good thing!

So far this season the Birds own a pedestrian 7-8 record playing in front of their home crowd in Baltimore, but that’s much better than the 3-9 mark they’ve posted while on the road.  Their last road-trip, all against division opponents in Toronto and Tampa, yielded just one victory in five tries.  Fortunately, manager Dave Trembley’s bunch play their next three series wearing white as they’ll take on the Twins the next two nights with the Yankees and and Rays making trips to Charm City over the weekend and in the middle of next week.

Mark Henrickson, the O’s 6’9 240lb left-hander, will make his sixth start of the season tonight against the Twinkies.  The bad news for Orioles fans, and Hendrickson, is that each start he’s made has been progressively worse than the one that preceded it.  In his first outing of the season he went 6.1 innings and only gave up one earned resulting in a W for him and team, but everything since, has been downhill.  At 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA, Henrickson obviously hasn’t been in the win column since his great debut.  Last Friday in Toronto he opposed Roy Halladay and surrendered a season-high nine hits and gave up four earned in five-plus innings .

Kevin Slowey gets the ball tonight for Minnesota and manager Ron Gardenhire in his first start since turning 25-years old two days ago.  He’s been the recipient of outstanding run support so far this season and has accumulated a flawless 4-0 record, but with it carrying an ERA of 5.17.  Slowey’s last outing is a perfect illustration of his fortunate luck; he gave up five earned through only five innings, but his teammates picked him up with 6 runs over the 4th and 5th innings to get him the win in a 7-5 game.

Here are the starting nine for both squads for tonight:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Melvin Mora – 3B
Luke Scott – DH
Gregg Zaun – C
Felix Pie – LF
Cesar Izturis – SS

Twins

Denard Span – LF
Matt Tolbert – 2B
Brenden Harris – SS
Justin Morneau – 1B
Michael Cuddyer – RF
Joe Crede – 3B
Delmon Young – DH
Mike Redmond – C
Carlos Gomez – CF

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Tonight’s Orioles – Blue Jays Lineups

Posted on 01 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Orioles have hit the road and will be in Toronto tonight when they take on the Blue Jays at 7:07 in the opener of a three-game weekend series at the Rogers Centre.  It’s also the first of a five-game trip against division opponents away from Baltimore as they’ll be in Tampa to play the Rays this coming Monday and Tuesday.

As they travel north of the border, unfortunately they bring with them a three-game losing streak, which has come on the tail end of a stretch where they’ve lost 11 of their last 14.  Not good, especially considering they’ll be playing a Blue Jays squad that has gotten off to nice start at 15-9 overall.

Mark Hendrickson will have the ball in his hands to start tonight’s game for the road team.  So far in his first season pitching for the Orioles the big left-hander hasn’t exactly put up big numbers; he’s just 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his four starts.  Almost amazingly, in his last appearance, a loss against Texas, he allowed a home run to the Rangers lead-off hitters in the first, second, and third innings.  And a little did you know tidbit… Hendrickson broke in with the Blue Jays and compiled a 12-9 record in the ’02 and ’03 seasons.

The Orioles’ starting nine will have the unenviable task of facing one of the game’s best starters when Roy Halladay stands 60 feet 6 inches from them this evening.  The Jays ace and workhorse has already picked up four wins this season and has been a rock in a Toronto rotation that has been devastated by injuries the last two seasons.  The 2005 A.L. Cy Young Award winner led the league in innings, complete games, and WHIP last year in ’08.  He also made two starts against the Birds last season and went 2-0, pitching seven-plus outstanding innings both times out.

Here are the teams’ batting orders:

Orioles

Brian Roberts – 2B
Adam Jones – CF
Nick Markakis – RF
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Melvin Mora – 3B
Luke Scott – LF
Ty Wigginton – DH
Gregg Zaun – C
Cesar Izturis – SS

Blue Jays

Marco Scutaro – SS
Aaron Hill – 2B
Alex Rios – RF
Vernon Wells – CF
Adam Lind – DH
Scott Rolen – 3B
Kevin Millar – 1B
Rod Barajas – C
Jose Bautista – LF

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O’s today: It’s already time to start thinking about trades

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Drew Forrester

It’s not even May yet and we’re already talking about the trade deadline and who might go and who might stay.

THIS, is Birdland, 2009.

With Wednesday’s matinee loss to the Angels, the Birds have now dropped 11 of their last 14 games and any excitement from the club’s early 6-2 record has quickly dripped away.

I fully realize the club spent most of Winter ’08-09 saying – and proving, in their actions – “we’re not going to win anyway…” — but folks in these parts couldn’t help but get their blood pumping a little when the team raced out to that great start with series wins over New York, Tampa Bay and Texas.

The last two weeks, though, have seen a return to reality.

Worst of all?  It’s going to get worse (again) before it gets better.

The team’s “issues” right now far outweigh any of the positives.

The #1 starter on the team has scuffled through his first five starts and doesn’t seem to have the same sharpness as he did a year ago.  Of course, it could (emphasis on COULD) have something to do with that $120,000 pay cut they offered Jeremy Guthrie to get his spring off to a rousing start…or perhaps it’s fallout from the ill-timed World Baseball Classic in March…or, maybe Guthrie has just missed a pitch or two that changed the course of a couple of early season games.  It might be a combination of all three.  Whatever the case, Guthrie is no longer the rescue-squad leader of a year ago, when he was just about an automatic 7-inning eater when he took the mound.

If Guthrie doesn’t pitch well, the Orioles are in trouble.  More trouble, I should say.

The club’s defense – thought to be a strong point at the outset of the season – has recently dipped into the “semi-liability” category and that, as much as anything else, is a reason why the club labored through a 3-6 homestand.  Seven errors in those 9 games…several of which were routine-ish type plays — and gaffes by typically reliable Nick Markakis highlighted the recent fall in the American League East. 

More than anything else, though, two issues continue to plague the team and will no doubt be season-long scabs if they’re not attended to soon.

The team can’t pitch very well.

And the bottom 3rd of the team’s lineup can’t hit.

With Guthrie off-key, the pressure mounts on the team’s other four starters to get the job done.  Koji Uehara has been better more times than not, but he’s not a savior by any means.  Once through the American League, we’ll have a better idea of Uehara’s long-term value, but he’s looking more and more like he’s going to be “just OK” instead of a world-beater.  The O’s don’t need “just OK” though.  They need better — and it doesn’t look like the trio of Hendrickson-Eaton-Bergesen will give them much.  All three have enjoyed one very good start and not much else.  Bergesen, two starts into his major league career, leans far too much on his low ’90′s fastball and offers little variety.  Without a breaking ball in the major leagues – or at least a nasty “out pitch” – you’re not going to get very far.  Hendrickson and Eaton are both on short-term leases but they still play vital roles while the club waits on the young-pitching-calvary. 

The bullpen has either been great — or — terrible.  Oddly enough, Danys Baez has probably been the team’s best thrower in relief.  There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with those guys.  They either come in trailing 7-1 in the 3rd and hold the opposition to 2 hits and 0 runs over the last 6 innings.  Or, they enter the game protecting a 4-2 lead and can’t get anyone out for 25 minutes and cough up 4 runs in 2.1 innings to lose, 6-4.

The bullpen isn’t bad, per-se.  They’re a stronger unit than the starters, for sure.  But they’re not nearly reliable enough for a team that needs stability. 

So, as May rolls around and teams start to fine tune their line-up and get serious, the O’s are likely going to settle not-so-comfortably in the basement of the American League East. 

That leaves a couple of months for the club to start pondering their trade deadline nuggets.  At this point, I’d say the only field players that are absolutely off-limits would be Markakis, Jones and Wieters.  Even though they signed Roberts to a nice, new deal in January — and I’m the guy who has ALWAYS said Roberts has to be here — I’d approve a July deal that sends Roberts off to another team just to give him his chance to shine in a winning environment for once in his career.

Huff?  Sure, I’d trade him.  Scott?  Yep.  And almost none of the pitchers are off-limits, including Guthrie.  In fact, if this promised calvary of young arms is as “slam dunk” as the team is telling the fans they are, I’d have a Jeremy Guthrie yard sale in July and make Guthrie the prime discount offering.  I like Guthrie as a pitcher.  But he’s expendable at this point.  And think about this.  Huff is a free agent at the end of ’09.  Is he going to want to re-up here in Baltimore and lose 90 games again in 2010 and, perhaps, 2011?  I say he won’t.  So, with that in mind, the club needs to start thinking ahead for a first baseman with some pop in his bat.  A July deadline deal for Huff or Guthrie might pry away some other team’s hot shot first base prospect or young major leaguer, like the Braves did in ’08 when they peddled Teixeira to the Angels in exchange for Casey Kotchman.

I know it’s early, but it’s obvious by now that these pieces of the puzzle aren’t going to fit together for 162 games. 

The team, at some point, will have to elevate some of their young minor leaguers to Baltimore just to keep THEM interested and to keep the fans interested. 

In the meantime, the next 10 weeks will be nothing more than filler until mid-July rolls around and teams start thinking about the playoffs and who they can steal from the lower-rung franchises. 

In the case of the Orioles, perhaps they should be proactive, not reactive.  Make a deal NOW, like the Indians did a year ago with Sabathia and the Brewers.  See if anyone wants Guthrie or Huff now.  Fleece someone for a first base prospect, a third base prospect or a left fielder who can actually field and produce a batting average higher than his weight. 

I know “we’re not going to win anyway” but it sure hurts to see the team be this bad, this early.

Let’s get something out of it, if nothing else.

And when the team starts looking like they really are trying to win, I hope the fans go back to the ballpark.  Until then, I suspect folks are going to stay away in droves.

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Breaking Down the Orioles Starting Rotation Through 19 Games

Posted on 27 April 2009 by Tom Clayton

Going into the 2009 season Oriole fans knew that the starting rotation was going to be a cause of great stress and frustration.  So far the rotation has done very little to prove fans wrong.  Through 19 games the Orioles starters have a combined record of 7-8 and do not have a starter with an ERA below 4.56. 

 

The staff as a whole is the 27th ranked group in all of baseball.   In 162 innings this season they have allowed 212 hits (most in MLB), 128 runs allowed (Most in MLB, 6 runs worse than that of the “new and improved” Yankees staff), and 36 home runs (most in MLB).  On the upside the Orioles are the 7th best team in baseball by only allowing 60 walks; a statistic aided by Daniel “Headcase” Cabrera who took his 100 walks per year up I-95 to Washington.

 

I broke down the Orioles offense through 19 games yesterday and will breakdown the Starting Rotation today; a proposition that made me more depressed as I went through it.  Tomorrow I will examine what was supposed to be the strength of the team in 2009, the bullpen and it is no less depressing.

 

Keep in mind as you read these nauseating stats that this is the worst rotation the Orioles will have for the foreseeable future as the rotation will improve with an influx of talent over the next few years. There is help on the way but right now the Orioles pitchers are allowing more things into orbit than NASA.

 

Jeremy Guthrie

2-1    5.16ERA    22.2IP    28Hits   13ER    10BB’s   12K’s   .321AVG Against

No player was hurt more by the World Baseball Classic than Jeremy Guthrie; instead of getting his work in during spring training Guthrie pitched just 3.2 innings in two games.  During the WBC Guthrie was shelled allowing six earned runs and fourteen hits in his brief appearance. 

 

Guthrie started out the season strong getting an opening day win against the Yankees and pitching six scoreless innings in a win against Tampa Bay in his second start.  Since then Guthrie has looked very poor going 0-1 while allowing five earned runs in each of his next two starts.

 

Guthrie has been giving up way too many hits this season and his control just hasn’t been there; something I hope is a direct result of his lack of work in the spring.  Guthrie’s fastball which is a plus pitch and sits around 94 has had little to no movement all season.  While he is throwing with good velocity the lack of movement has allowed hitters to feast on his once dominant fastball.

 

Guthrie is considered the Orioles ace based on the simple fact they have no other options on the major league roster.  Guthrie is more suited to be an average third and a top tier fourth starter in a competitive rotation.  Guthrie is a quality right hander pitcher with a career ERA of 3.95; at thirty he should still be a contributor for the team once the rebuilding process is complete.

 

Koji Uehara

2-1   4.56ERA   23.2IP    21 Hits    12ER    6BB’s    14K’s    .231AVG Against

Koji a 34 year old right hander signed a two year ten million dollar contract after 112-62 record in Japan. Koji is a player who hangs his hat on his control, in his 1549 innings pitched in Japan Koji only allowed 206 free passes.  So far his control is as good as reported and it has shown in his first four starts in America he has only walked six hitters in 23.2 innings.  Koji always seems to be around the plate and consistently hits his target with out making the Catcher move his glove.

.

Koji is not a power pitcher by any stretch of the imagination but he did strike out 1376 hitters in his 1549 innings while pitching in Japan.

 

Koji has a fastball that sits in the high eighties with superb movement.  He also posses two variations of his split fingered fastball as well as a cutter, slider, and his trademark forkball. 

 

Without top level stuff and his propensity to be around the plate Koji has the potential to get rocked but his excellent movement and ability to change speeds should help to relegate those outing to rare occurrences. 

 

Koji pitched the best game of his young major league career Friday night against the Rangers when he 6.2 innings striking out six, allowing two earned runs, and walking none.  Unfortunately Koji earned a no decision when George Sherrill allowed a Michael Young to hit a two run homer in the top of the 9th in a heartbreaking loss.

 

Koji is the number two in a Baltimore rotation, he would be more valuable as a three or fourth starter but like Jeremy Guthrie his place in the rotation is bumped up by a lack of talent.  Koji is currently the only Orioles starter with an ERA under 5.00 through Sunday.  At 34 and signed for just two years Koji probably isn’t in the teams long term plans but he is a quality starter in a rotation that lacks much talent. 

 

Mark Hendrickson

1-3    5.40ERA   18.1IP   26Hits   11ER   10BB’s   14K’s   .317AVG Against

The Orioles signed Mark Hendrickson this past off season after a 2008 where he was in and out of the Marlins starting rotation.  Hendrickson is an exceedingly tall pitcher at 6’9” who has pitched for seven different teams over his nine year major league career.

 

Hendrickson is a very average pitcher with a career record of 51-66.  His career ERA of 5.08 is nothing to write home to mom about either.

 

While Hendrickson is very tall and similar in build to Randy Johnson he doesn’t posses anywhere near comparable stuff.  Hendrickson is a finesse pitcher who has a fastball that sits in the mid-eighties and struggles to amp it up to ninety. 

 

Through Sunday Hendrickson is tied for second in the majors with seven home runs allowed in his four starts.

 

Hendrickson does have decent control as evident by the fact he has only walked 296 hitters in his 996 career innings. 

 

The 34 year old left hander is only an average pitcher at best and is simply a stopgap until the Orioles young minor league arms are ready to join the big league club.  Hendrickson has little value in the Orioles future and will probably be a one and done in Baltimore.

 

Adam Eaton

1-2   7.04ERA    15.1IP   23Hits  12ER   4BB’s  19K’s  .338AVG Against

Much like Hendrickson, Adam Eaton was signed by the Orioles in the off season a average major league career.

 

Eaton is a serviceable starter with a career record of 69-65 in his ten year major league career.  Eaton does posses an above average fastball that ranges from 92-97; in addition he has a big breaking slow curve, a good change, and slider in his pitching repertoire.  Eaton has good stuff but he seems to make a lot of mistakes with his fastball and has a reputation for “over thinking” on the mound rather than just pitching.

 

Eaton leads the Orioles in punch outs in 2009 with 19 in his 3 starts; a number helped out greatly by his by his nine strikeout performance on Thursday.  In a 6-2 Orioles win Eaton allowed six hits, two earned runs, and no free passes in 7.1 strong innings against the White Sox to earn his first win as an Oriole.

 

While Eaton does have intriguing stuff and an show flashes of excellence he is simply to inconsistent to be a viable option in the Orioles future plans.  Much like Hendrickson the 32 year old Eaton is probably a one and done who may not make it through the entire season in Baltimore if the young arms continue to develop.

 

Brad Bergesen

1-0   5.59ERA   9.2IP    14Hits   6ER    3BB’s   7K’s    .326AVG Against

Bergesen a fourth round pick of the Orioles in the 2003 draft was the first of what is certain to be an influx of young pitchers to Baltimore in the next two years.

 

Bergesen is an aggressive pitcher who attacks the zone and isn’t afraid of contact. Last season while spending time in Class-A Fredrick and Double-A Bowie Bergesen amassed a record of 16-7 with an ERA of 3.10 and was awarded the Jim Palmer award as the top pitcher in the Orioles minor league system.

 

Bergesen has excellent control of all four of his pitches which include a four seam fastball, a two seam fastball, a changeup, and a slider.  His fastball ranges in the low 90’s and top out at 93. Bergesen induces a lot of ground balls, a great trait to have in a stadium like Camden Yards where the ball flies out as the weather warms up.

 

Bergesen was called up on Tuesday after two quality starts for Norfolk where he went 1-1 with an ERA of 2.45.

 

In his first start at the big league level on Tuesday against the White Sox Bergesen looked great working quickly and staying around the plate all night.  Bergesen earned his first major league victory while pitching 5.2 innings allowing four hits, one earned run and striking out four and walking two. 

 

After his impressive debut Baltimore was a buzz and Bergesen fever exploded all over the city. Unfortunately Bergesen fever was short lived as he was rocked in his second start against the Rangers on Sunday.  The 23 year old rookie was roughed up to the tune of ten hits and fie earned runs in just four innings.

 

Bergesen is a mid-level prospect who has a good bit of upside.  While he doesn’t have the eye popping fastball of some of the other Oriole prospects Bergesen is an efficient pitcher with excellent command; something other recent Oriole prospects have lacked.  Overall Bergesen is a decent pitcher who could be a serviceable middle of the rotation starter who is very much in the Orioles rebuilding plans.

 

Alfredo Simon

0-1   9.95ERA   6.1IP   8Hits   7ER    2BB’s    3K’s   .308AVG Against

Alfredo Simon was named the Orioles third starter out of spring training after other pitchers such as Hayden Penn and Radhames Liz did whatever they could to avoid making the major league roster.

 

Simon is a hard throwing right hander out of the Dominican Republic.  He lacks a quality off speed pitch and gives up the long ball too much as evident by the five bombs he allowed in just 6.1 innings in 2009.

 

Simon was hit hard in his first two starts this season before being placed on DL with an elbow discomfort.  Unfortunately the discomfort Simon was feeling were torn ligaments in his pitching elbow that will require reconstructive surgery.  Simon will require the same surgery that sidelined both Chris Ray and Danys Baez in the past two seasons.

 

At 27 with a long road to recovery ahead of him Simon will probably not crack the starting rotation in Baltimore in the future. By the time he recovers the Orioles could have up to three top level prospects in the rotation by the time Simon is ready to pitch again.  A good story out of spring training Simon was viewed as a short term piece of the puzzle and nothing more then a marginal prospect.  If Simon can come back healthy there is a remote possibility he could see time in he bullpen but more likely he will have to try and make another teams big league roster

 

 

 

 

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