Tag Archive | "pedro strop"

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Fresh arms come to the Orioles in a great trade

Posted on 02 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, out. Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger in.

This is a great trade for both parties. Arrieta gets a change of scenery which he desperately needed. He has potential but hasn’t put it all together with a 5.4 career ERA. That number has risen to 7.23 in 2013 in five starts.

Arrieta is only 27 so I hope he can turn his career around in a different environment with different coaching. Arrieta was simply too inconsistent with his time in Baltimore. Flashes of solid pitching was shown but he struggled to keep a spot in the rotation.

Speaking of inconsistency, Pedro Strop is also headed to Chicago. Strop is also relatively young and was a solid player for the Orioles in 2012. Strop finished with a 2.4 ERA but like Arrieta, that number has leaped above seven in 2013.

Feldman is a veteran player with a lot of experience. He is an upgrade over Britton and brings another leader to the lineup along with Hammel. Feldman wont be at the top of the order but he will be able to eat innings late in the rotation.

If Wei-Yen Chan comes back to the lineup and play up to his potential, the Orioles rotation can be good enough to make a deep postseason run. While they may not have an ace, the offense is too good. Also don’t forget the Orioles recent success in close games. Their strong mental fortitude and top notch offense should be enough to make a strong postseason appearance.

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Orioles acquire SP Feldman; send Strop-Arrieta to Cubs

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Orioles acquire SP Feldman; send Strop-Arrieta to Cubs

Posted on 02 July 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that they have acquired RHP SCOTT FELDMAN and CA STEVE CLEVENGER from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHPs JAKE ARRIETA and PEDRO STROP and INTERNATIONAL SIGNING BONUS SLOTS 3 and 4. Clevenger has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

Additionally, OF NOLAN REIMOLD has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Feldman, 30, is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA (91.0IP, 35ER) and nine Quality Starts in 15 outings for the Cubs this season, including a 4-1 mark and 2.25 ERA (40.0IP, 10ER) in six starts in May. He is 46-50 with a 4.66 ERA (818.2IP, 424ER) in 219 career games (116 starts) over nine seasons with Texas (2005-12) and the Cubs (2013). Since 2011, Feldman has improved his strikeout rate to 17.8% of batters faced and lowered his walk rate to 6.4%, compared to 12.7% and 8.4%, respectively, over the first six years of his career.

“Feldman is a proven starter with postseason experience who should help stabilize our rotation for the second half,” Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said.

He appeared in nine postseason games for Texas in 2011, going 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA (13.2IP, 5ER) while pitching in the ALDS (one game), ALCS (three games) and World Series (five games). Feldman set career-highs with 17 wins, 31 starts and 189.2 innings pitched for the Rangers in 2009.

“We’re having a good season & need to stabilize our starting pitching to advance to the playoffs,” Duquette told MASN. “And that’s what this deal is aimed to addressed.”

Feldman, who was scheduled to start Tuesday for the Cubs against the Oakland Athletics, will fly out to Chicago tonight to join the Orioles, and will start Wednesday against the White Sox, according to an interview Feldman did with Sirius XM.

“I know Maryland’s known for Crabcakes and Football,” Feldman joked while on with former GM Jim Bowden.

He will be the third Hawaiian-born player in Orioles history, joining INF LENN SAKATA (1980-85) and LHP SID FERNANDEZ (1994-95).

Clevenger, 27, has batted .327/.426/.596 in 15 games for Triple-A Iowa and is 1-for-8 in eight games for the Cubs this season. He is a .199/.262/.275 hitter in 79 major league games with the Cubs since 2011. The Baltimore-born Clevenger was selected by the Cubs in the 7th round of the 2006 First Year Player Draft and has batted .310/.372/.429 in 563 career minor league games. He graduated from Mount St. Joseph’s High School.

Arrieta, 27, is 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA (23.2IP, 19ER) in five starts for the Orioles this season. He has gone 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA (358.0IP, 217ER) in 69 games (63 starts) in four seasons with Baltimore after being selected by the O’s in the 5th round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft.

Arrieta was shocked by the trade, but ultimately he understood the decision the Orioles had to make, and he knows that it benefits both he and the two clubs involved.

“I think for both sides, it kind of came to that fork in the road and they chose to make a trade,” Arrieta told the Sun. “I think that is really the best way to look at it. This is something that is going to do me a lot of good.”

Strop, 28, is 0-3 with a 7.25 ERA (22.1IP, 18ER) in 29 games for the Orioles this season. He went 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA (101.0IP, 37ER) and three saves in 111 games for the Orioles after being acquired on September 1, 2011 from Texas.

“It was frustrating knowing you can do better than what you are doing,” Strop told MLB.com.

Reimold, 29, was placed on the disabled list on May 12 with a right hamstring strain. He is batting .188/.257/.327 in 31 games for the Orioles this season.

The Orioles will not have to make a corresponding roster move with Reimold until Feldman arrives with the team.

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Strop’s collapse exposes concerning truth about Orioles bullpen

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Strop’s collapse exposes concerning truth about Orioles bullpen

Posted on 12 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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

BALTIMORE — It’s only getting worse for Orioles relief pitcher Pedro Strop.

Fresh off a stint on the 15-day disabled list with what was labeled a lower back strain — many have drawn their owns conclusions on the injury — Strop displayed the same form seen over the first two months of the season Wednesday as he allowed four earned runs and saw his ERA balloon to 7.58 while retiring just one batter in the seventh inning. The implosion turned what was a 4-2 Orioles lead into an eventual 9-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Despite a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and a slider with good movement that enabled him to serve as an elite member of the Baltimore bullpen through the first 4 1/2 months of the 2012 season, Strop is looking more and more like a pitcher whose time with the Orioles is running out.

“Not good,” Strop said in an interview with MASN before leaving the clubhouse as the rest of the media talked to manager Buck Showalter. “Only thing I can say. I couldn’t do the job.”

The Orioles aren’t hiding from Strop’s problems, evident by their decision to place him on the DL and circumvent the reality of the right-hander being out of options. Manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair used the 15-day period as a way for Strop to work on his mechanics in hopes of improving his command after he walked 14 batters in 17 2/3 innings through his first 22 appearances.

However, the organization decided not to send Strop on a minor-league rehab assignment that could have lasted up to 30 days and would have allowed him to continue working on adjustments to his mechanics while rebuilding his confidence against minor-league hitters. There was some thought of that possibility before last week’s oblique injury to Steve Johnson, which prompted the club to activate Strop instead of looking to Triple-A Norfolk for another option.

Even before Wednesday’s implosion, it was perplexing to see the Orioles forgo that strategy with nearly everyone concluding his DL stint was more about ineffectiveness than any legitimate health concern.

It’s understandable to not want to give up on a talented 28-year-old who only became a pitcher in 2006 after beginning his professional career as a shortstop. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette knows at least a few clubs would take a chance on Strop should he be placed on waivers in hopes of getting him to the minor leagues, but the Orioles are also a contending club in the American League East that needs production from every player on the 25-man roster.

“He’s just not getting results,” Showalter said. “He understands it. Nobody cares more about pitching well for this team than Pete.”

It’s easy to criticize Showalter for turning to the volatile Strop after starter Jason Hammel allowed a single to Alberto Callaspo and walked Brad Hawpe on four pitches to begin the seventh inning, but a quick inventory of the bullpen made it easy to see Showalter’s options were limited at best as he acknowledged “two or three” relievers were unavailable without revealing names. Closer Jim Johnson had pitched in three straight games and Tommy Hunter had thrown a total of 51 pitches on Sunday and Monday.

Showalter wouldn’t reveal his late-inning plans when asked, but that presumably left Darren O’Day available for the ninth inning and lefty Brian Matusz to pitch the eighth. As a result, Showalter faced the prospects of sending a tiring Hammel out for the seventh with 94 pitches under his belt and having Strop and lefty Troy Patton — who’s also struggled this season — as his options if the starter ran into trouble. Showalter was rolling the dice for a quick inning by Hammel, but the right-hander was obviously gassed before being replaced by Strop.

Perhaps the Orioles manager could have resisted the urge to use Hammel — who wasn’t exactly dominating hitters despite a statistically-effective outing through six innings — with the thought of a fresh inning with the bases empty being more conducive to Strop having success, but that’s looking with 20-20 hindsight. The reality is Showalter didn’t have great choices at his disposal in the seventh.

“I was hoping [Hammel] could get us through seven, but it wasn’t there,” Showalter said. “That’s kind of where we were. We keep a pretty good log on innings pitched and [pitchers warming up in the bullpen], and I’m not going to put anybody in harm’s way.”

The real issue with the Orioles bullpen is more concerning than the individual struggles of Strop. Beyond the reliable quartet of Johnson, O’Day, Matusz, and Hunter, the Orioles have three other pitchers in the bullpen — Strop, Patton, and Rule 5 selection T.J. McFarland — that they can’t really trust in important situations. All have long-term potential to varying degrees, but none can be moved off the 25-man roster without significant risk of losing them.

In fairness, McFarland has pitched respectably as a long reliever in blowout situations, but that’s a role typically held by a pitcher who can easily be moved on and off the roster to address a club’s needs at a given point in the season. It’s a major reason why we saw the one-and-done approach applied with several ineffective starting pitchers earlier in the season and it has further hamstrung the roster flexibility that Showalter and Duquette enjoy having.

The Orioles’ problems in middle relief have led to a heavier dependence on their best relievers, which jeopardizes the club’s long-term viability for the second half of the season. It’s not uncommon for even the best teams in baseball to have shaky options beyond the top three or four pitchers in the bullpen, but the keystone of the Orioles’ 2012 success included the effectiveness of middle relievers like Luis Ayala and Patton in the sixth and seventh innings that spared other late-inning options on occasion.

Baltimore needs improvement from its middle relievers or starting pitching — preferably both — to improve its chances in a tight division in which fourth-place Tampa Bay trailed first-place Boston by only four games entering play on Wednesday.

“We can’t pitch the same guys every night,” he said. “It just doesn’t work, and [Strop] was one of those guys for us last year and has been at times this year, and we hope that he will again. He pitched well and got physically fine and had a couple really good outings, as you saw. It just wasn’t there for him today.”

Bullpens are typically quite fluid over the course of a season, but the Orioles currently have just two pitchers (Matusz and O’Day) with remaining minor-league options and they obviously aren’t going anywhere. That means time is running out for Strop — you can say the same for Patton — to right himself after roughly four months of struggles going back to last year’s regular season.

The talent is there, but the Orioles need last year’s effectiveness to resurface.

They don’t have the flexibility to wait much longer.

 

 

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Orioles place struggling reliever Strop on DL, recall Steve Johnson

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Orioles place struggling reliever Strop on DL, recall Steve Johnson

Posted on 25 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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

Needing extra bullpen help after two long nights against the Blue Jays in Toronto, the Orioles recalled right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson and placed struggling reliever Pedro Strop on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game.

The decision to send Strop to the DL with what’s labeled as “a lower back strain” will be met with skepticism as the 27-year-old has struggled immensely going back to mid-August of last season. Strop’s last appearance came on Thursday when he allowed a grand slam to Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion in a 12-6 loss.

Strop has an 0-2 record with a 6.11 earned run average in 22 appearances this season. The right-hander has struggled immensely with his control, walking 14 batters in 17 2/3 innings of work and has struck out 17 while allowing 14 hits.

He had appeared to ease concerns recently with a 13-appearance stretch in which he allowed only one earned run in 11 1/3 innings, but many of those outings came in low-pressure situations as manager Buck Showalter had clearly avoided using him in close games whenever possible. That successful run came to an end Monday night when Strop suffered the loss in a 6-4 defeat to the Yankees in which he allowed two earned runs and recorded only two outs in the 10th inning.

His difficulties go back to mid-August of last season after Strop had posted a 1.20 ERA with 20 holds in 52 2/3 innings through Aug. 17 of the 2012 season. Since then, Strop has a 6.61 ERA and has walked 26 batters over 31 1/3 innings in 41 regular-season appearances.

The move is retroactive to Friday, meaning Strop is eligible to return on June 8, but the Orioles could send him on a minor-league rehab assignment of up to 30 days, which you could expect them to do in hopes of straightening out the power-arm reliever’s struggles. In many cases, a club can typically afford to keep a struggling middle reliever on its roster if that pitcher can at least provide some length in blowout situations or games that go into extra innings, but Strop couldn’t offer that, further diminishing his current value.

The Orioles can only hope this DL stint will turn Strop’s misfortunes around as he was an important part of their success through mid-August of last season. He’s out of options but has an impressive arm that you’d hate to give up on considering he’s only 27 and is still relatively inexperienced considering he became a pitcher in 2006 after beginning his professional career as an infielder.

The 25-year-old Johnson made one start for the Orioles in Minnesota earlier this month, allowing six earned runs in four innings of work on May 11. He has gone 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA in four starts with the Tides this season and was scratched from his Friday start in case the Orioles wanted to summon him to Toronto to serve as an extra bullpen arm.

A welcome addition to the Orioles staff during the stretch run last season, Johnson was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 12 games, four of which were starts.

 

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Dan’s Plan & the Rule-5 Dilemma

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Dan’s Plan & the Rule-5 Dilemma

Posted on 01 May 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

 

He took the job that no one else wanted.

For those that are still shedding tears or pointing fingers over the way the Orioles handled this most recent off-season, just try and recall what the one that preceded it was like.

 

There are only 32 Major League GM jobs in the world, and arguably hundreds of pseudo qualified and hungry executives envisioning the opportunity to get one. Still, as the Orioles were searching for someone to take that opportunity with their club prior to the 2012 season they were rebuked, rebuffed, leveraged and otherwise used but never, it seems, seriously considered by a serious candidate. Enter Dan Duquette.

Duquette’s credentials were actually better than his 9-year hiatus/exile from Major League Baseball would have suggested but he had somehow slipped through the cracks for nearly a decade. To the Orioles’ credit, they found him. And to Duquette’s credit he not only accepted the job, but he arguably approached it like none of the other candidates would have, he approached it like none of his immediate predecessors had; Duquette approached the Orioles job like a winner, like a guy who expected to make the Orioles winners; and Duquette has made the Orioles just that.

If nothing else, Duquette should have earned our trust; he deserves our confidence. His reputation still isn’t quite in the stratosphere of Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and no one is ready to utter “In Dan We Trust” just yet, but he’s getting close.

It hasn’t all been Dan’s doing. The situation that Duquette inherited was probably better than most were ready to understand, but that shouldn’t diminish the job that he’s done. Through a series of moves and machinations, decisions and deliberations, Duquette teamed with Buck Showalter to create magic in the 2012 Orioles. Not all of his decisions have been good ones, but no one’s are. Duquette has at the very least been more hit than miss; more right than wrong, and more successful than anyone could have reasonably thought possible.

Now that we’re fully immersed in the Duquette era Orioles however, a couple of sad realizations have come to light. Foremost among them is that the Orioles are, and seemingly will be for as long as Peter Angelos is running the show, committed to winning on a budget; and it would seem that the budget part holds unquestionable precedence over the winning part. This doesn’t preclude them from winning, but does make it substantially more difficult.

The decisions where monetary considerations have trumped on-field considerations have already become evident. And last year Duquette not only proved that he could win despite them, but perhaps also began to develop and refine the blueprint by which he intended to get it done.

Throughout last season, the flexibility of the roster and the options available on players (particularly pitchers) allowed Duquette to creatively overcome a problem that had been at the heart of the Orioles biggest issues over the 14 futile years that preceded 2012. The inability of Orioles pitchers to work deep into games and the absence of a true innings eater at the back of the rotation has been a running theme for the Orioles for over a decade. More often than not it was just one in a long list ailments that the team had to overcome, but even in the seasons where the Orioles offense was high level and even in the seasons where they began the year competitively, the inability of starters to get deep into games and the resultant taxing of the bullpen has been an ongoing issue. Last year the Orioles used an active revolving door to overcome that.

This year, with fewer options available, and less opportunity to shuffle the deck day-by-day, that issue seems to be back. And while the Orioles are off to another encouraging start, it seems only a matter of time before the bullpen collapses, run differential begins trending the other way and the Orioles begin sliding down the AL East standings. This makes the presence of TJ McFarland difficult to fathom.

 

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Drew’s Morning Dish — Mon., April 29

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Drew’s Morning Dish — Mon., April 29

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

I refrained from reading any national or local re-caps of the 2013 NFL Draft over the weekend.  Why?  Mainly because I didn’t want to hear or see what folks thought about individual teams and how “well” they did in picking players who have never played a game in their life that mattered.

I laughed right along with everyone else on Thursday night when the Bills stumped all the talking heads by going with E.J. Manuel instead of Ryan Nassib.

You probably giggled too, right?

“The Bills…” you said.  ”What on earth do THEY know about picking a quarterback?  Geez, just go back and look at their recent list of failures.  J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick…”

My guess is that most people were saying the exact same thing about the Ravens in 2008 when they took that Flacco kid out of Delaware in the first round.

“The Ravens…what on earth do THEY know about picking a quarterback?  Geez, just go back and look at their recent list of failures.  Kyle Boller, Chris Redman, Derek Anderson, Anthony Wright, Steve McNair.”

See what I mean?

There’s no sense in judging any of these picks until we see how they all play out, including guys like Manuel and Geno Smith and Manti Te’o.

Just let ‘em play.  We’ll see who knew what they’re doing in this year’s draft in 2015.

And save the silly draft report cards for the experts who have to give grades so it looks like they know what they’re talking about.

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Caps and Rangers again, huh?

Fourth time in five years, I believe.

It’s getting to be old hat, but the two teams usually provide for some interesting hockey in the post-season.

I’m taking the Caps in five games.  I know, I know, that’s very risky considering the Capitals are perennial playoff gaggers.  But I don’t think this Rangers team is any good and, particularly without Marian Gaborik, I just don’t think they have the firepower to overcome this suddenly offensive-minded Washington squad.

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That Billy Horschel guy who won this week’s PGA Tour event in New Orleans is the real deal.  Watch and see…he’ll be on the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team.  Dude’s a player.

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Buck’s obviously a little concerned about bullpen overuse already and it’s only April 28.

How else can you explain his decision on Sunday for not bringing in Jim Johnson to close the 8-6 lead in the 9th inning?

I’m not criticizing him for it, mind you.  I think it was the right thing to do.  He knows a lot more about these guys and their durability than we do.  Plus, if you really like to pin losses on people, go ahead and put the blame for Sunday’s debacle on Pedro Strop.  He inherited a 4-run lead on Saturday and, per his typical form, put enough guys on base that Buck had no choice but to go with J.J. to close the game out.

So, what you saw on Sunday was a by-product of the manager simply not wanting to go back to the well for the 6th time in seven games and use his closer.

Nothing would wreck the season – as evidenced by the display produced by Brian Matusz and Strop on Sunday in Oakland – like an injury to Jim Johnson.

If you have to almost-intentionally eat a loss in late April and then perhaps again once every 6-8 weeks just to keep your best pitchers fresh and healthy, go ahead and do it, I say.

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Greg Norman blasted golf’s drug testing procedures over the weekend during a trip to Australia.  Rather than subject players to urine tests, as is the case now, Norman is demanding blood tests for golfers on the PGA TOUR.  He’s adamant about it.  The 2-time British Open champion even went as far to say, “Anyone who uses an illegal substance to improve their performance or their physical well-being is cheating, period.  And there’s no room in the game for that.  It sickens me.”

Sounds to me like a guy who knows something’s going on with someone, in particular, and it’s The Shark’s way of putting him on notice.

As I read through the quotes, he was just a little too emphatic about it for someone who is “just trying to send a message” about fair play.

Norman knows someone’s cheating.  He won’t say who.  But he knows.

 

 

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Revisiting five questions for Orioles spring training

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Revisiting five questions for Orioles spring training

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Luke Jones

With only a week to go until the start of the 2013 season for the Orioles, it’s time to revisit the five questions that were posed at the start of spring training.

Some questions have been answered while others still hold cloudy solutions as manager Buck Showalter and his club finish up the Grapefruit League before traveling to St. Petersburg to open the season against the Tampa Bay Rays next Tuesday.

Here’s what I was pondering nearly six weeks ago as Baltimore was coming off its first playoff appearance in 15 years:

1. Can Nolan Reimold stay healthy and be the impact bat the Orioles failed to acquire in the offseason?

A sore throwing shoulder limited Reimold to the designated hitter spot for a large portion of the spring, but he returned to the outfield last week and does not appear to be feeling any lingering effects.

In 41 spring at-bats, the 29-year-old is hitting .244 with four home runs and eight runs batted in. Reimold appears to have regained all strength lost in the aftermath of the spinal fusion surgery he underwent last summer and should be in line to begin the season on the 25-man roster and in the starting lineup.

Considering the Orioles didn’t add an impact bat in the offseason and right fielder Nick Markakis is still recovering from a small herniation in his neck, Reimold must stay healthy to give the lineup a boost from a year ago.

This question ultimately won’t be answered until the Orioles head north and begin the season, but the good news is that Reimold has been healthy enough to play in 14 Grapefruit League games, which is only two fewer than the number he played in the entire 2012 season. And he’s shown to be the same power hitter he was prior to the neck injury.

2. What will the starting rotation look like when the Orioles come north to Baltimore?

Nothing has changed dramatically in the makeup of the starting rotation from what was projected at the start of spring training, but there are plenty of question marks based on what we’ve seen in Sarasota.

The good news is Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez are still projected to hold the top three spots in the rotation, but all come with questions. Hammel hasn’t shown any lingering effects from last year’s knee surgery and is in line to be the club’s Opening Day starter, but he’s also appeared in just three Grapefruit League games, allowing five earned runs in nine innings of work and not displaying the same command with the two-seam fastball that he did last year.

Chen was roughed up by the Phillies over the weekend and has allowed seven earned runs in 7 2/3 innings in three big-league outings. Meanwhile, Gonzalez has seen the least amount of action as he’s made just two spring appearances covering four innings (one earned run).

All have received regular work by pitching in minor-league camp and simulated games, but you do wonder if the top of the Baltimore rotation is adequately prepared to face big-league hitters beginning in a week. Then again, Showalter could simply be hiding his top starters to prevent American League foes from getting a good look at them in Florida.

The rotation becomes foggier after that as Chris Tillman would appear to be ready to take the No. 4 spot in the rotation, but abdominal soreness has limited him to 4 1/3 innings of Grapefruit League action. A four-inning stint at the Orioles’ Twin Lakes facility on Sunday indicates Tillman is ready to begin the season in the starting rotation and not on the disabled list.

Jake Arrieta appears to have the clear edge for the final spot in the rotation as he holds a sparkling 1.56 earned run average in 17 1/3 spring innings covering five appearances. Originally scheduled to start against the Twins on Tuesday, Arrieta was pulled to instead pitch at the Orioles’ minor-league facility, another indicator that he will be the fifth starter when you remember Minnesota visits Camden Yards for the first home series of the season late next week.

Brian Matusz appeared to fall behind Arrieta after struggling in his start on Sunday, but the Orioles must think carefully on what to do with the 26-year-old left-hander. There is clear incentive to shift him to the bullpen role in which he thrived late last season, but this also comes with the understanding that pushing him to a short-relief role means it may be difficult to move him back into the starting rotation from a conditioning and health standpoint later in the season. Moving a starter to the bullpen is one thing, but asking a relief pitcher to suddenly stretch himself out in the middle of the season is begging for an injury to occur.

Rule 5 selection T.J. McFarland and Steve Johnson remain in the hunt, but it appears both pitchers would be more likely to earn a bullpen job as a long reliever if they’re to make the club. Because the Orioles don’t want to risk losing the 23-year-old McFarland, they will likely try to stash the lefty sinkerballer in the bullpen for as long as they can, meaning it’s a good possibility that Johnson begins the year at Triple-A Norfolk.

After a rough start to the spring, Jair Jurrjens has rebounded nicely — pitching five shutout innings in his latest outing — and appears he’ll be among the first pitchers on call at Norfolk early in the season. He and Zach Britton will be nice insurance policies at the Triple-A level for now.

3. Who will step up to play second base?

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Like I told you on Thursday — the Yankees are gagging

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Like I told you on Thursday — the Yankees are gagging

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Well, for one night anyway, I can proudly remind all of you:  ”I called that one!”

If you didn’t read THIS BLOG yesterday, you missed it.  If you did read it, I’m sure at some point last night you said to yourself, “That damn idiot on WNST said this was going to happen.”

Of course, I didn’t know Buck Showalter was going to fall asleep in the dugout just before the 8th inning and had no idea Pedro Strop would melt under the heat of a pennant race…but I knew, for sure, that New York’s rag-arm pitching staff would have their hands full on Thursday night.  And so they did.

You’re going to see much more of what I’m terming “The Pinstripes Collapse” all weekend at Camden Yards.

Let me say it again, in case reading it my Thursday blog wasn’t emphasis enough:  The Yankees’ pitching staff sucks.  Once Joe Girardi gets past Sabathia and on the odd-night, Kuroda or Hughes, he has nothing but league-average or below from which to choose.

Wait until Sunday when Wild Pitch Freddy Garcia takes the mound for New York.  Major League Baseball might do well to get another box of balls shipped off to Camden Yards in time for the homer-fest we’ll see when Freddy toes the rubber.

I mean, seriously, I’ve seen better looking pitchers on picnic tables.

Yeah, they’ll scratch out a win in this 4-game series (if they’re – ahem – “lucky”) but that won’t be enough to keep New York and their insufferable fans from knowing the truth in their heart — they’re not going to finish the season ahead of the Orioles and, in all likelihood, their September fall-from-grace will cost them a spot in the upcoming playoffs.

I told you this on Thursday:  The Yankees are done.

“The Pinstripes Collapse” continues in Baltimore this evening.

 

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Os All Star Snubs

Posted on 03 July 2012 by scottzolotorow

The O’s will send three players to the All-Star game next Tuesday at KauffmanStadium in Kansas City. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters will both play in their 2nd classic, while shutdown closer, Jim Johnson, will attend his first. Pitcher Jason Hammel has a chance to be the fourth, you can vote for him on the Orioles website, it’s unlimited and I voted probably at least 100 times.

Over the last six seasons, the Orioles hadn’t sent more than one player to the game.Of the current players only three had made the Midsummer Classic as a member of the Orioles: recently re-injured Brian Roberts (’05 and ’07), Adam Jones (’09), and Matt Wieters last season. The most all-stars the Orioles have ever had in a single season was seven back in 1970. From the ’69 season through the ’72 season the Orioles sent at least six players each year.

But this season could have seen a few more Orioles in Kansas City.  In my opinion along with Hammel; JJ Hardy, Pedro Strop, and Chris Davis all put up numbers that would usually qualify for the All-star team. Pedro Strop to me is the biggest all-star snub. He has the 7th lowest ERA in the  majors at 1.25 and has only allowed 5 runs in 36 innings pitched. He has one of the nastiest sliders and 2-seam fastballs in the game but because he just a set-up man, he didn’t make the classic. It’s a real shame that relievers don’t make the classic. A team’s bullpen is very important to their team’s success with only the closer getting recognition, just look at the Orioles bullpen last year as opposed to this season. JJ Hardy has the most home runs by an American League shortstop and is third in the American League in RBI’s. But his most impressive stat is his .992 fielding percentage. Hardy has only committed 3 errors and has started every game but one. Now for the man who I want to see hit in the home-run derby and play in the game, Chris Davis. Davis has the 6th highest average for a first basemen in the Major League and the 2nd most home runs of any first basemen with 14. Those are as good of offensive numbers as any all-star first basemen in baseball. So next season I expect 75 votes from every Orioles fan, i registered the maximum 25 on each of my three email addresses. If you say that you only have one, I now expect you to create two more just to vote for the Orioles next season. But seriously folks, If Orioles fans don’t vote for these lesser know studs, who will!

 

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