Tag Archive | "roberts"

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O’s: I’m Having my Doubts About Dave Trembley

Posted on 01 April 2010 by Matt Duggins

It reminds me of a line from Hoosiers where Cletus says to Gene Hackman’s character (Norman Dale), “Norm, I’m trying hard to believe you know what you’re doing here.” 

 

Even as an eternal Orioles optimist- especially on April 1st- even I’m having to try hard to believe Dave Trembley knows what the hell he’s doing. 

 

If I’m not mistaken, the Orioles play exhibition games today, tomorrow and Saturday in Florida.  I would imagine they fly to Baltimore on Saturday night, get a day at home on Easter Sunday, stretch it out at OPACY on Monday morning, and then head to Tampa to open the season on Tuesday night.

 

Keeping that schedule in mind, why in God’s name did Dave Trembley send Jason Berken out there to start yesterday’s game?  Better yet, why is he sending Jake Arrieta out there to start today?  At this point shouldn’t the starting five be in their regular rotation?  

 

Brad Bergesen made his last outing of the spring on Tuesday.  If he is indeed the number 4 starter, he would next pitch a week from Friday in the home opener against Toronto.  On Tuesday he got roughed up for 6 ER in 5 IP.  He gave up three homeruns. 

 

So instead of keeping his guys in rotation, Trembley is going to let Bergesen sit on THAT outing for a week and a half?

 

I understand they got rained out on Sunday and everything got pushed back, but having Jake Arrieta pitch against Tampa Bay today is just a waste of innings. 

 

Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I’m sure there is some grand plan here to make sure everyone is well rested for Opening Day and the stretch of 16 consecutive games that the Orioles open the season with, but I’m just not getting it.

 

According to the MASN website, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, and Cesar Izturis have stayed behind in Sarasota today rather than make the trip to Port Charlotte to get some AB’s against the Rays. 

 

Today’s lineup includes lineup against the Rays includes Scott Moore and Brandon Waring.  Ty Wigginton is batting second and playing second base.  Craig Tatum is catching.  Felix Pie is leading off.  Nolan Reimold is hurt and hitting fifth.

 

In years past, it seemed that guys were champing at the bit to get the hell out of Florida and on with the regular season.  This year it seems like they could use another three or four weeks down there. 

 

It really is starting to feel like they’re crossing their fingers and just hoping that the pieces of the puzzle all magically come together by Tuesday.  Or maybe there’s some magical switch that they flip when the calendar turns to April.

 

Don’t count on it.

 

I mentioned that 16 game stretch to open the season.  It’s really a pretty brutal stretch.  After nine divisional games with Tampa and Toronto, the Orioles wing out west without an off day, for a seven games in seven days stretch with Seattle and Oakland.  Rest for the weary?  Nah, after that they get twelve, yes twelve, straight against the Yankees and Red Sox. 

 

The point is that trying to make adjustments on the fly is going to be hard in April.  They can’t simply figure it out as they go.  Unless, of course, they don’t really care about winning this year. 

 

They don’t have the luxury of being able to string 8 or 9 wins in a row together like the Yankees do.  The Orioles simply don’t have the pitching for those kinds of streaks. 

 

The pitching matchups in Tampa are not favorable.  The Rays send Shields, Garza, and Niemann.  The Orioles counter with Millwood, Guthrie, and Matusz. 

 

Starting slow out of the gate could be devastating to this team.  If the Orioles come out of that 16 game stretch something like 6-10, things could get really ugly in a hurry. 

 

In my estimation, March was a fiasco for the Orioles.  Maybe it’ll come together in April.  Just pray it’s before 7:05 Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

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Still hope at second for Orioles

Posted on 17 March 2010 by Andrew Stewart

Spring training  did not get off to the start the Baltimore Orioles were hoping , veteran second baseman Brian Roberts has been sidelined with back problems, with other key players plagued by lingering injuries.

Unfortunately for the O’s, the timetable on Roberts return is not certain and could leave an open spot on the Orioles roster. Robert’s most recently received an epidural on a herniated disk in his back.

The loss of Roberts would be a bit alarming as the Orioles would be without their long-time lead-off man and second baseman. An organization and fan favorite, Roberts has become one of the better lead-off men in the American League over the past couple of years. Last season for the Orioles, Roberts led the American League in doubles with 56, with 110 runs. He consistently bats around .285 and brings a solid glove in the infield.

Roberts’  health has declined with age like so many other ball players, and although Roberts’s has only missed a total of fifteen games in the past three years; the toll of a 162-game season has taken affect on his back.

Fortunately for the Orioles, there is a lot of depth at second base, and Cesar Izturis would be the ideal replacement to hit in the lead-off spot. Even though Izturis’ life time batting average is only .259, Izturis has developed one of the best hitters’ eye in all of baseball.

Baltimore will most likely fill the second base spot with either Ty Wigginton or Robert Andino, both of whom have served as utility players for the Orioles. Conversely, Baltimore could also look to, rising prospect, Justin Turner.

Turner (25), A graduate of Cal State Fullerton,  had a career batting average of .327 for the Titans. Turner also helped lead the Titans to a College World Series Championship his sophomore year in 2004, and was the Big West Conference MVP in 2006.

A 7th-round draft pick in 2006 by the Reds,  Turner was acquired from Cincinnati in a deal that sent Ramon Hernandez to the Reds in exchange for Ryan Freel and Brandon Waring last winter.

Since then, Freel is no longer with the club, leaving  Turner and Waring as the only remaining members of that deal. Waring is still a couple of years away , but  showed promise  hitting 26 home runs for class-A affiliate Fredrick Keys before being called up to double-A Bowie.

Justin Turner has also benefited from similar   success,  hitting (.300) and striking out only 34 times in 384 at-bats for  Orioles Triple-A affiliate Norfolk Tides.

Turner has also had one of the most impressive spring trainings for the Orioles this spring batting over .400 and filling in nicely at second for the absent Roberts.

With the emergance of Turner this spring training, hope is not lost and Turner could turn into a pleasant surprise for the Orioles; similar to Nolan Reimold’s success last year.

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Orioles August report card

Posted on 01 September 2009 by Keith Melchior

The Orioles were reeling out of the All-Star break having won 9 of 25 games going into August. As Ravens training camp bega, the only things keeping fans somewhat interested in the team were names like Tillman and Matusz as people are curious to see the “arms” in action.

Brian Roberts- B+  …He can’t wait until October 1st. Still a very solid player and among league leaders in doubles and runs scored. He is one of the best in the league —-

Adam Jones- B+   …His average dropped aout 20 points in August. He was hurt and missed about a week. Still plays too shallow in CF at times. Lots of balls get over his head -

Nick Markakis – B+  …Probably the best right fielder the Orioles have had since Frank Robinson.—

Melvin Mora – C- Has shown he hasn’t lost his power, but only 6 home runs all season doesn’t get the job done —

Luke Scott – C … slump slump slump..He’s way out of position at 1st base.. Having 20 HR going into August is a bright spot.

Robert Andino - B.. Was a solid performer when he got the chance. With Izturis back and hitting, Andino plays 2 times a week in the Trembley platoon system—

Felix Pie- B  ..  His hard work paid off and he has finally shown he CAN hit and hit for power. His baserunning blunders have to stop though. I am pleased to give him a B this month –

Ty Wigginton- B+ .. He’s been playing 3rd and 1st base and playing pretty well—

Matt Wieters - B ..  He’s been reunited with most of his minor league mates. Doing a good job calling games. He hasn’t been the force many fans hoped he’d be —

Nolan Reimold - A-.. This guy flat out hustles every play. His power numbers have been way off since early July.  That’s how you lose playing time to Felix Pie.  —

Cesar Izturis – B .. Not a #2 hitter but there are no other options with the lack of a power hitter in the cleanup spot -

Various Pitchers;

Jeremy Guthrie- D ..  Still allowing too many home runs.

Koji Uehara - STILL MIA  .. -

Danys Baez - C- .. the new set up man…he sets up the opposition and gives them a chance to win-

Jason Berken -C- .. This kid has guts. He goes out there every 5th day and does his best. He won

Jim Johnson..  B+  .. Has done a good job as closer thus far. -

David Hernandez - C.. His big problem…he can’t consistently get past the 5th inning.

Brian Bass- B …Gives them much needed middle relief when the majority of the starters can’t get into the 6th inning.

Mark Hendrickson – A- .. Has given the team stellar efforts out of the pen. He should be the primary lefty middle man next season. Forget starting him unless in emergencies..

Brian Matusz - B .. He has to learn how to pitch at this level. He hasn’t been as unhittable as he was in the minors, but didn’t he skip the AAA level?

Chris Tillman – C ..  He gets into trouble by allowing the home runs. He needs  to continue learning like Matusz. It’s going to be up and down until the light bulb comes on for these 2 guys. 

Dave Trembley- D .. The Orioles are 24 below .500 and at 54-78,  they are playing .409 baseball going into September. That happens to be the 4th WORST record in the major leagues. Trembley’s record as Oriole manager is 162-223 for a paltry .420.  IF the Orioles decide to bring him back in 2010, they’d better keep him around the whole season. If he is going to go into 2010 with an axe hanging over his head should the team get off to a slow start, then they should at least give the man the respect he is due for being a loyal company man and cut the ties come October 5th.

Overall -  As we get into September, the rosters will expand to 40 and Trembley will probably shut down most of the rookie pitchers because they aren’t used to pitching so many innings. They DO have the entire winter to rest. Are they somehow miraculously going to be able to pitch 175 to 200 innings next season?  Hell, most of them have only averaged 5 innings per start anyway, so what’s the big deal?  I want to know what is going to change next season that will make this team better than it is now.

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Orioles continue to sink even lower than we thought possible

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As the biggest critic of Orioles ownership over the last decade, I’ve purposely refrained from being particularly hard on the team in 2009. Unfortunately for you, the WNST fans and true Baltimore sports lovers, they have me right where they want me. I’m back on the radio without a press pass to their games and no one is going to tune into my show if all I do is tell the truth, and bury them for their ineptitude, mean-spiritedness and general incompetence over the past dozen years for four hours every day.

And at this point, what do I have to lose? Short of them killing me, what do they have left to take away from me?

The team is awful (again), there is not an iota of pride remaining in being an Orioles fan and I’ve watched about 90% of the action this season and I’m here to tell you that it has NOT been a fun or memorable summer for baseball here in the land of pleasant living.

And really, telling the truth — see the paragraph above — is NOT what Baltimore wants to hear from me about the Orioles. It’s like a broken, freaking record — me bitching about the Orioles.

And, here in the summer of 2009, the truth hurts and this blog hurts!

At their current pace, the Orioles “defining moment” of 2009 might be their 100th loss sometime around October 1st and that would certainly speak volumes for where the organization stands in the MLB cosmos.

As every sports fan in Baltimore has uttered at some point since the turn of the century: “Thank God for the Ravens!” And anytime we even think about talking Orioles baseball at WNST, someone will send a nasty note over stating this: “Just forget about the Orioles and talk about the Ravens.”

Well, as I said three years ago during the Free The Birds campaign, I will not be letting Peter Angelos or any of his servants off the hook for this decade-and-a-half civic tragedy — the worst stretch of bizarre local ownership and strategy since Bob Irsay pilfered the Colts off in the middle of the night back in March 1984.

No, we’re not done with the Orioles. As Drew Forrester has said many times: “We’ll either kill them or fix them. It’s their choice.”

But this current dismal summer of dreadful baseball — in a season when “miracle-man” Andy MacPhail has talked about promise for young players — still has six weeks left on the schedule and there are no creampuffs left on the docket and there is no end to the bleeding in sight.

You can piss on me in the comments below all you want, but this current team they’re fielding might be the worst of them all on some nights because we all want to buy into some hope and promise for a better team in the future.

Here is your stat of the day: the Orioles were 40-48 at the All Star break, which is hardly acceptable or decent, although MASN’s lame coverage and “state run” media would tell you this was a team “on the rise.”

Now, the Orioles are 48-72, which means they’ve managed to go 8-24 since Adam Jones doffed the cap in St. Louis.

Folks, that’s .250 baseball and 32 games is about 20% of the season by my math. Of course, when you’ve already put up a legendary 4-32 a few years ago — and for now, we’ll just let the 1988 team off the hook because that had nothing to do with Peter Angelos or 2009 — somehow 8-24 doesn’t sound like it sucks so bad.

But it sucks. And this team sucks. And this ownership still sucks. And the broadcasts still suck. And MASN still sucks. And — once again — it’s another set of broken promises, lies and “come ons” about progress, youth, getting better and competing in the AL East.

And this was supposed to be the time of the season when the team starts to exhibit some signs of hope for the future and some momentum going into 2010?

What stat do you want me to throw at you? They’re 4-14 this month. They haven’t won in a week. They can’t score runs with the bases loaded and nobody out.

They’ve dealt away three veterans and gave Aubrey Huff away for nothing. Every night the team is behind it seems.

And I’m not really sure that any of these young players know how to win or are surrounded by any positive role models who’ve won. Gregg Zaun was the only guy with a ring and they gave him away, too.

Here’s where the orange Kool-Aid drinkers will say: What about Adam Jones? And Nolan Reimold? And the promise of Matt Wieters? Blah, blah, blah…I hope they all step up in 2010 or beyond and make me eat my words. But for now, we report the truth.

And here’s the truth:

The ownership group of this franchise has lied to the city for years about just about everything.

“We’re close” or “we’ll win next year” or “we have some exciting young players” all sounds like incoherent babble at this point. MacPhail has bragged about all of the pitching in the system with the likes of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta coming to “The Show” and making the Orioles competitive in the elite AL East division.

I’ve now seen them all. They all have some nice strengths but some glaring weaknesses. None of them have the hype of a Ben McDonald and if they’re all as good as he was the Orioles might sniff .500 at their zenith of this era. Pitching is never a sure thing in the majors. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that.

Ok, so now what happens? This offseason won’t be much different from any in the past. How can this team possibly get better or find talent outside the organization during the winter to compete in the AL East?

When does this team finally turn the corner and even feign some competitiveness that will lead them somewhere near a .500 record in the future?

When will the team be able to attract any top free agents to come to Baltimore and help the team compete with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox?

Where’s that “veteran, straw who will stir the drink” that the Orioles will bring in to show some leadership?

Once they fire Dave Trembley, who will be the “next victim up” to try to get the Orioles out of the cellar?

When will the team stop banning free speech and allow the legitimate media back into the stadium to ask questions?

When will they stop running these stupid, mind-numbingly phony commercials on MASN that make the games all but unwatchable on top of a team that has been wretched over the past month?

When will residents of Boston and New York stop filling our city and our ballpark with out-of-town fans who boo and jeer young Orioles players from the moment they arrive?

It’s just a dreadful, dreadful product right now — the entire package of Orioles baseball. Going into September, I can’t remember a season worse than this because the promise of these young players from lips of MacPhail and the baseball “establishment” back in the spring was palpable.

We were supposed to feel better about the team at the end of the summer, not worse…

From going to the games to watching the games on TV to following the progress of the team even through the box scores and the standings every day — this really isn’t any fun.

It’s not fun to watch. It’s not fun to talk about. It’s not fun to listen to me on the radio talking about it.

Honestly, to any thinking person this is about the worst summer yet in a dozen horror shows since 1997.

But you don’t really want to hear that from me, do you?

They promised hope. They promised progress. They promised excitement.

They’re dangerously en route to playing the last two weeks of the season and not trying to hit triple digits in the loss column.

They made promises not only to you and me but also to Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis, who were the latest to sign multi-year contracts here under the guise that the team would show progress and get competitive.

Of course, Jim Hunter will tell you every night that 8-24 is progress.

Obviously, from where we sit today, it just looks like the latest batch of lies from Angelos and his henchmen.

Orioles Baseball 2009 — Feel The Tragic!

Ooops. That’s right. I’m not supposed to criticize the home team, am I?

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Orioles July Report card

Posted on 06 August 2009 by Keith Melchior

It is August 6th and the O’s are mired in last place, 17 games under .500.  Lots of good things have happened but the bad things just keep rolling on and on.

Brian Roberts- B  …I think he’s tired of losing and it shows sometimes—-

Adam Jones- A   …He is one of the few bright spots on this team. His All-Star at-bat was very productive. He won’t be a stranger to the All-Star game in the future -

Nick Markakis – B+  …He has been up and down but is still the best player on the team and still leads the AL in outfield assists—

Aubrey Huff – C-  .. His slump hurt his chances of being dealt to a contender, so why is this guy not hitting 6th or 7th? —

Melvin Mora – D..  A simple case of an older player thinking he is better than he really is. I didn’t realize he was second to Brooks Robinson in games played at 3rd base. Sadly, he never played a meaningful game or was part of a winning team while an Oriole, but he made a lot of money doing it —

Luke Scott – C … No clue what happened to him, but he had a terrible month of July at the plate. Still hitting a respectable .275 though —

Robert Andino - B.. Hasn’t done a thing to hurt his presence on the team—

Gregg Zaun – C..  He earned his spotty playing time by looking so bad for the first 3 months of the season. For a while I thought he was going to put up Wayne Gross numbers…10 HR and 20 RBI —

Felix Pie- C- ..  He has made the most of the playing time he got and hit close to .300 for July.  He has busted his butt working with the Crow but still looks way overmatched on occasion. He still doesn’t belong on this team. Can’t believe Trembley sent him up to pinch hit (strikeout) last Friday night

Ty Wigginton- B+ .. The team’s premier utility player, with some pop. He has been more productive with less at-bats than Mora. He should be playing every day until he stops producing —

Matt Wieters - B- .. He’s still growing up and can only get better. Hasn’t turned out to be the phenom that people believed he’d be from day 1, but he’s only been here 2 months..time will tell —

Nolan Reimold - B+.. Power numbers dropped off a bit in July but he’s still one of the top rookies this season. Why does Trembley feel the need to rest Reimold more often than Jones and Markakis and play Pie out there?  —

Cesar Izturis – B .. Came off the DL and played the way he did before the appendicitis. He’s adequate and solid at SS for what they get from him. -

Various Pitchers;

Jeremy Guthrie- C- ..  His stock is going down as the HR’s allowed pile up. Dempsey was making excuses for him after his last start. Maybe the Orioles were right in cutting his salary, maybe they should cut ties with this guy altogether  —

Koji Uehara - MIA  .. I thought they were targeting his return for late July. What’s going on? I haven’t heard a thing about him in almost a month -

Danys Baez – D .. The new home plate special…..DANYS GRAND SLAM   nuff said -

Brad Bergesen- A+  ..He has improved enough to be the Orioles ace this season. A very pleasant yet unexpected surprise —

Jason Berken - D.. He had endured butt kicking after butt kicking. I hope his psyche isn’t damaged. Hard to say what will happen to him in August and beyond. I think he deserves a chance to remain in the rotation and work things out. Don’t we have a pitching coach on this team?

Jim Johnson..  B  .. Has been a decent set-up guy. Now he is the closer with the trade of Sherrill to the Dodgers. Let’s see how he handles the job. -

Matt Albers- B .. Middle to late inning relief on the Orioles can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Albers hasn’t hurt his spot but throwing much gas on the fires. -

David Hernandez - B+.. Started 8 games and has a 3.28 ERA, best of the current starters. He earned a spot in the 2010 rotation.

Brian Bass- B … Still the most valuable long-relief guy the Orioles have. Tied for 2nd in wins with Hendrickson.

Mark Hendrickson – B .. Great move taking him out of the rotation. He’s been a pretty good reliever and has gotten out of a few tough jams.

Rich Hill-  F…  wow….talk about miserable… Look that word up in the dictionary and see Hill’s picture next to it. Now on the DL and probably shut down for the season. If he was hurt all year as he claimed he was, why didn’t anyone figure it out? Was it a slick way to remain on the team and get paid?  Of course.

Dave Trembley- D- .. Camera shots of him on the bench sometimes make him look  like he lost his best friend. After October 1, he’ll probably lose his job too. Good managers make adjustments and improvements, Trembley makes excuses. He’s got enough talent on this team to win ball games, but he isn’t getting the most from his players.

Flagship – D .. Like many people, I usually listen to Oriole games on the radio while driving to or from home.  Anyone heard the pre-game shows on the flagship station?  It’s really brutal. You get maybe 60 seconds of Tom Davis/Dave Johnson followed by 3 minutes of commercials, followed by another 60-75 second segment, then 3 more minutes of commercials. I know they have to pay the bills and try to recoup some of the money they invested in getting the broadcast rights, but OMG, it’s so hard to take sometimes.  And what’s with Joe Angel and the “Mr Jones” thing?  Fred Manfra still over-says the batter’s names.  I counted 23 times he said Luke Scott, Luke, Scott or the Oriole DH.  I have to turn it off when Manfra is doing play-by-play. Thank God for JACK and the classic rock stations.

MASN - F ..  What’s my defining moment?  Changing the channels when those stupid commercials come on. Buck Martinez and Rick Dempsey have to go.  Martinez sometimes sounds like he’s had too many adult beverages before the broadcast. And what’s with that hair?  Lately Dempsey has been very quick to make excuses. When they are on the road, the studio has those monitors in the background showing the same highlights over and over. That is pretty distracting. Are they trying to make it look like a professional news/sports broadcast studio. They are doing a terrible job for all the money they made off this network.

Team overall grade- D .. They claimed they weren’t going to win in 2009 and they are correct on that prediction.  They were 9-16 in July after starting the month 5-6 prior to the All-Star break.  They did finish the month on a 3 game “Sunday” win streak. Last month’s battle cry that had everyone buzzing was “the comeback.”  That is a distant memory.  This month it’s the 6-0 record the team has when a pitcher makes his major league debut. Next month (August) when the team is 30 games out and 20 games under .500, it’ll probably be GOOOOOO RAVENS!!!!!!

Future - The future is now as Wieters, Bergesen, Tillman, Reimold, Matusz, Hernandez, Jones, Roberts, and Markakis are all together on the field. That leaves Jake Arietta as the last remaining piece of the original McPhail rebuilding plan. With the addition of the AA 3rd baseman and pitcher coming in the trade for Sherrill, it appears the wheels are still turning to continue developing the minor leagues. The “arms” are here. Most likely they will all continue to perform under the Dave Trembley “100 pitches by the 5th inning = a quality start”  program.  Let’s see how they do.  

 This team needs to get rid of the stench from having a losing record in 12 straight and 13 of their last 15 seasons. Right now on August 6th, Dave Trembley’s 2 1/2 season managerial record is 153-208  (.423), the worst since Mike Hargrove’s .414 from 2001-2003. Hargrove finished at .425.  Sam Perlozzo’s record was .426 in a year and 2 halves. Even the much maligned Lee Mazzilli had a .479 winning percentage before the coaching staff he inherited stabbed him in the back. Ray Miller had the best managerial record in the post-Davey Johnson era with a .484 winning percentage. If ownership wasn’t pleased with Ray’s performance, then Trembley is definitely out. Then again, Ray Miller came in on the heels of the ALCS loss in 1997 and the subsequent Johnson/Angelos feud.  If they Orioles front office decides to let Trembley go, they should also fire all the coaching staff and let the new manager bring in his own coaches. Start fresh with a totally new attitude and that means no more ex-Orioles as manager or coaching staff, please!!!

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Orioles update: They’re still in last place

Posted on 06 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

While we were all busy following the tragic death of Steve McNair over the weekend the Orioles were still busy losing and playing bad baseball. It seems like the franchise goes further into the witness protection program when they play on the West Coast but all of the mistakes and lousy pitching hasn’t been lost on me.

I actually watched all of the late-night garbage over the Fourth of July weekend.

Where to begin?

Well, they’re still in last place at 36-46. They managed to cross the official “midseason” point in the cellar. They still manage to regularly find ways to blow big-early game leads. And, thankfully for me, Jim Palmer is still employed by MASN so I can actually have a few chuckles with my unending yield of losses after midnight.

Palmer continually called it “bad baseball” and reinforced his opinions with many facts, observations and criticisms that would qualify as comedy after midnight if it weren’t so sad. I think he’s almost bored with it and was more interested in making funny faces with Gary Thorne than watching the Orioles blow one more game after a decent starting effort.

I could itemize the entire weekend and point specific fingers but I’ll limit my abuse to simply discussing the Nick Markakis-Brian Roberts fiasco in right field on Saturday night and wonder how the team’s two best players – Adam Jones’ All-Star berth not withstanding – could watch a game-changing routine, can-of-corn pop up land at their feet late in the game.

Of course, after giving up six more runs in the ensuing innings, this boneheaded play seems irrelevant but it was the greatest source of my personal frustration over the weekend.

The Orioles lost three of four in Anaheim. They’re now headed to Seattle before coming home to play Toronto here this weekend. Something tells me there will be a giveaway or a special “2110” promotion.

All I want is some quality baseball and some decent pitching.

Another All-Star Break looms at week’s end and the Orioles are once again in last place.

Some things never change…

I’ll be back on the air at 2 p.m. to discuss all of the baseball you didn’t watch over the weekend because you had better things to do than watch this lousy team lose again after midnight.

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Positives, negatives and neutrals

Posted on 02 July 2009 by Keith Melchior

I have been accused of doing nothing but bashing and being totally negative about the Orioles this season and for the last few years. So, I thought I’d celebrate MY independence and share some of the positive, yes  positive things about the Orioles. In the interest of being totally objective and fair, I am also going to share the negative and neutral feelings I have as well.

THE POSITIVES:

Brad Bergesen.. He definitely has emerged as the ace of the staff

Adam Jones…. He came into spring training with an energy that carried over into the first 2 months of the season. He HAS to be the Orioles representative in the All-Star game….Eric who?

Luke Scott… the type DH we have needed since Harold Baines

Nolan Reimold… a welcome addition to the outfield. Ranks tops amongst rookies. If he has a solid 2nd half he should be rookie of the year.

Jim Johnson, Matt Albers, Brian Bass….all 3 have done the job when called upon. Yes they have hit some speed bumps but are performing more often than not.

Nick Markakis… a slump came at the wrong time, but he is a force in the outfield and leads the league in outfield assists. He will bounce back in 2nd half.

Brian Roberts… A big contract hasn’t slowed him down. One of the top ledoff batters in the league and has singlehandedly won a few games with his speed and timely hits.

Matt Wieters…. The team chose not to have him here on opening day because of the service time issue. Fans are waiting for him to develop into the “savior of the franchise”  Hopefully the 2nd half he’ll tear the cover off the ball like he did in the minors. A definite upgrade from Zaun.

Ty Wigginton…Accepted his role and has produced when called upon. Perfect utility player with a little pop.

THE NEUTRALS:

Jeremy Guthrie… he has yet to emerge as the true ace and needs to have a better 2nd half. LAst year the team wasn’t scoring runs for him, this year he has fallen behind too often in early innings.

George Sherrill….Puts too many runners on base, but was pretty much money the last month. We’re approaching  the time when he melted down last season and had to be shut down due to being overworked. I think he’s trade bait.

Cesar Izturis, Robert Andino… Both are better than what the Orioles had at SS last season. Still need to see some improvement in the ablity to get on base from these two. Neither has hurt the team that much in the field. If they can get on base for the top of the order it’s a huge bonus.

Danys Baez… Hasn’t been too bad coming back from an injury but has been good at times and bad at times. Trade bait if a team is desperate for  middle relief help.

Aubrey Huff… Power numbers are down and some feel he peaked too early in the season. If he is still here after July 31st fans can hope he doesn’t get hot the 2nd half of the season since he is a free agent. He’ll cost the team too much to re-sign.

Jason Berken, David Hernandez….Both showing some grit and guts after getting called up to fill in the rotation. They still need to learn how to get major league hitters out consistently. Hopefully they’ll continue to grow in the 2nd half.

Mark Hendrickson…He looks more comfortable as the left-handed middle man.

Andy McPhail…. He made 2 seemingly great trades with Houston and Seattle. Other than that he hasn’t done much to help the team. If he has carte blanche from ownership, he needs to prove it to the fans and go spend a little money for some better quality players and not count on retreads to fill roster spots while waiting on the future.

The Future:  This phrase has Orioles fan chomping at the bit. The young arms are coming, but when they arrive, who will be the ace of the staff, who will be the closer, and who will be the manager. Fans cannot put all the eggs in one basket and hope that Tillman, Matusz, Arietta can continue developing  in the minors then step right in and become 20 game winners. Odds say that maybe 1 of the 3 will be that player that breaks through the barrier instantly. It would be nice to see that trio become the 2nd coming of Maddox, Glavine and Smoltz.. It’s a lot to hope for and a big risk. Time will tell. 

THE NEGATIVES;

Melvin Mora – Power numbers are down. He was already on the DL. Another trip could spell his demise. I think he’s a free agent after this season so trading him for a mid-range prospect isn’t entirely ruled out.

Felix Pie… Advertised as a 5 tool player. He never seemed to make the adjustment to playing almost everyday in April and is an option as a pinch runner in the late innings. Lately he has been busting his butt to try to make an impression. He is young and has a lot to learn about major league baseball.

Koji Uehara… Excitement over his first start and win over the Yankees turned into a weak arm, weak hamstring and 2 trips to DL. He simply does not have the endurance to be a starter. He has proven one thing, he was a waste of money.

Chris Ray… meltdown after meltdown hurting his chances to emerge as the closer or set up man again. But he’s coming back from Tommy John surgery. He should be in Norfolk all season to develop into the closer should Sherrill be traded.

Gregg Zaun… He started the season batting .091 and although on a recent hitting tear as a part time player, he still looks overmatched at times. That proved he was not an everyday catcher anymore.  He will probably retire as a backup to Wieters and help him develop his skills.

Dave Trembley… In his 2nd full season as manager. When he replaced Perlozzo he promised a return to fundamentals and showed a fire and determination to lead the Orioles back into the winning ways. He will be remembered as the manager of a team that lost 30-3 and a team that came back from 9 runs down to beat the Red Sox. Other than those two “defining moments”,  Trembley has as much personality and grit as a cardboard cutout.

11 and possibly a 12th losing season… Losing is the most negative thing about this team. When veteran guys like Huff, Roberts, Jones, Markakis and Guthrie  have not experienced  playing meaningful games after August 1st, how can they be an example to the younger players, with the exception of being as positive and helpful as they can. Losing is contagious and the Orioles have proven they know how to lose. They need to learn how to win and build confidence so that winning may once again become as contagious as the losing has been.

 

So there you have it…Regardless of what manypeople think, I am not totally negative about the Orioles. Call it frustration over not seeing the team in the post-season but 3 times in the last 26 years. That’s more than half my life. It is time to return to the promised land of post season play, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride. If the same pattern of losing continues into 2011 and 2012, there will be more reasons to become negative about the Orioles. How cool would it be to have BOTH the Ravens and Orioles be winners year in and year out?

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Orioles get Philthy in Philly, complete sweep with 2-1 win

Posted on 21 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Orioles are still in last place but completed an inspired weekend of road baseball, finishing a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love.

Today, it was Jeremy Guthrie’s turn to step up with a big outing and Adam Jones and Brian Roberts driving in the key late-inning runs to beat the Phils 2-1 after a huge comeback on Saturday night on the heels of a great start by Brad Bergesen. Roberts has been the difference maker the past two days, stepping up as a veteran leader for a team trying to dig out of the AL East basement.

The Orioles have now won five in a row and take their final Interleague turn of the season south to South Beach and a three-game set meeting with the Marlins on Tuesday night.

Complete coverage at WNST.net here...

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A funny, memorable night in Philadelphia…

Posted on 21 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m just getting my sea legs under me on a Sunday afternoon from a long night of rain, baseball, cheese steaks, hideous Philadelphia sports fans and Miller Lite drinking with the Orioles and 50 awesome orange Kool Aid drinkers at Citizen’s Bank Park. We had a blast!

(And that was before the fireworks from Gregg Zaun and Brian Roberts…)

The video is just about done and I’ll get it up onto wnsTV so you can check out all of the mayhem. It was a funny, funny evening with lots of laughs, twists and turns and an a memorable outcome for the Birds.

I had at least 500 Philadelphians “remind” me that they’re the World Champions, many on video. It was as much fun as I’ve had at a ballgame in a long time.

The video will tell some of the story…

Is that an orange broom in a red ballpark or are you just happy to see me?

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Orioles: Shut out, swept & headed home on 5-game losing streak

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Bad pitching has become a hallmark of the 2009 Orioles but this weekend’s bizarre meltdown in Oakland has solidified the basement in the AL East for the Orioles who have a lot of problems coming back to face the Mariners here at Camden Yards on Tuesday.

Today, Rich Hill didn’t make it out of the first inning, walking four and hitting another Athletic en route to a three-run first inning that held up for the duration in a 3-0 loss to complete the sweep at the hands of the A’s.

Strangely enough, the A’s only had two hits yet still manhandled the Orioles despite amazing relief pitching from Brian Bass, Matt Albers and Jim Johnson who were nearly perfect.

The Orioles are now 24-33 and deeper in the basement than they’ve been in a while at 9.5 games back.

Some lowlights:

The Orioles offense managed just five hits off of Vin Mazzaro today. They scored just five runs in Oakland and surrendered 18 runs on the weekend.

Matt Wieters (0-for-4 today), who created mass hysteria and a one-weekend run on the orange box office last weekend, is now officially “slumping” in his big-league debut. He’s 4-for-28 and hitting .143.

Adam Jones was the leadoff hitter today as Brian Roberts got the day off and Jones got a pair of hits raising his average to .346. I’ve gotta say it was strange seeing Robert Andino and Ty Wigginton as the keystone today. And then there was Oscar Salazar at first base.

The Orioles have Monday off and return to Camden Yards on Tuesday with Brad Bergesen (2-2, 4.64) facing Jason Vargas(2-0, 1.93).

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