Tag Archive | "sherrill"

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Do the White Sox covet George Sherrill?

Posted on 29 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty on the MLB trading deadline. The Cliff Lee deal today and a few other minor deals will have folks buzzing over the next 36 hours.

Ken Rosenthal floated some information today that was interesting in regard to George Sherrill at Fox Sports.

From Rosenthal:

“As many as eight teams are pursuing Orioles closer George Sherrill, and two or three are “actively engaged” with Baltimore in discussions, according to a major-league source.

The Orioles expect that the number of teams serious about Sherrill actually might grow once the big-name starting pitchers get traded — or not.

The Dodgers have maintained interest in Sherrill, and a number of their prospects appeal to the Orioles. The Angels are “mildly” involved, according to one major-league source.

The Phillies are unlikely to act on Sherrill now that they are preparing to trade four prospects for Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.”

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Rich Hill looked like McNally or McGregor; Birds win 1-0 in Seattle

Posted on 02 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

12:26 a.m. — George Sherrill threw three straight balls to start the ninth inning but did his best Don Stanhouse escape, ultimately shutting the door on the middle of the Seattle order as the Birds defeated the Mariners 1-0 in a hastily played, well-pitched “old time” ball game.

Rich Hill was extraordinary, going seven innings and allowing just two hits while retiring the final 14 Mariners in order before exiting to perfect relief from Jim Johnson and Sherrill.

It’s a good homecoming for Adam Jones, who scored the lone run of the game.

1-0 games don’t happen too often. Savor them! It was a great night to stay up late watching baseball.

12:18 a.m. — Rick Dempsey: “You never would’ve thought that the Orioles could get pitching this good!” An odd thing to say, but Dempsey is great for these one liners. And for the record, about two weeks ago I would’ve agreed with him. This team is finding energy from the young pitchers. That much is obvious!

12:14 a.m. –We’ve come a long way from the days of waiting for The Baltimore Sun and the little black boxes on the front page, haven’t we? Jim Johnson has pitched a stellar eighth inning and George Sherrill is about to come in and shut the door. The pitching tonight has been superb. Hasty baseball. Lots of strikes. Almost “National League-esque” in its efficiency and execution. One thing Orioles pitchers can do to win back the fans: work fast! The four-hour games over the past decade have been glacial, boring and LATE. The pace tonight has been a joy to watch even as the midnight hour approached. Matt Wieters just struck out looking to end the eighth. He’s 0-for-4 tonight if you’re wondering…that’s 2-for-15 on the weekend. That means Matt Messiah is batting .133. Hey, even Brooks Robinson struggled.

Be nice on the message boards and no calls tomorrow calling for Gregg Zaun!

12:03 a.m. — Not only was Rich Hill in command on the hill tonight at Safeco Field in Seattle, he is making it even harder for the Orioles to decide what to do once Koji Uehara comes back from the disabled list.

What a night for Hill! Seven innings, two hits, ZERO runs, 106 pitches. A helluva effort. Just fantastic by any measurement. Along with Adam Eaton’s gem six weeks ago, this was the best-pitched game of the season for the O’s.

Offense has not been at a premium tonight but the effort by the Birds three times zones away is there. They had their chances to get some insurance runs in the sixth inning, but came away empty when Melvin Mora and Luke Scott ended a little rally which netted the Birds only run on a Aubrey Huff sacrifice fly that scored Adam Jones.

No matter. The roadtrip is off to a nice start and Matt Wieters can join David Hernandez and Jason Berken, who are all “feeling their way” through the big leagues and their first big league hotels and per diems. They’re just rookies tonight in Seattle. No one in Safeco was there to see Matt Messiah. They just came for a ballgame.

And they got a pretty good one. How many games go to the ninth as a 1-0 game?

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Adam Jones wins one: Orioles outlast Nats 4-2 in 12 innings

Posted on 23 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Somewhere, there’s a Bob Hope like joke here somewhere. Ya know, “What the only thing worse than watching two last place teams play for nine innings?”

Of course, deadpanned: “Watching them play for 12 innings.”

But that’s what I did tonight as the Orioles and Nationals pitching staffs combined to duel well into the night in a 2-2 deadlock until Adam Jones hit a two-run double, improbably scoring pitcher Danys Baez who also vultured the victory in Washington D.C.

Nolan Reimold got the “Battle of The Beltway” started with a homer in the first inning off of rookie starter Jordan Zimmerman but that was all of the offense the O’s could manage before the 12th inning.

O’s starter Rich Hill was decent, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing just three hits although he walked four Nats as well. Manager Dave Trembley used four members of the bullpen — Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, Baez and George Sherrill — so there will be an extra tax for the extra baseball tonight.

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An improving bullpen is a good sign for O’s

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As an Orioles fan who hasn’t seen the franchise play a meaningful game in 12 years, living with the adage “one day at a time” has become a house rule. And for today, the bullpen and a quality start last night by Rich Hill gives a few causes for hope.

Hill threw 88 pitches, left the game in the sixth inning with a one-run lead and Danys Baez, Jim Johnson and George Sherrill took care of business, allowing just one Kansas City runner on base over the remainder of the game.

Of course, the Royals of 2009 won’t be confused with the 1929 Yankees, either. But a 3-2 win in Kansas City is acceptable and the Birds will send Koji Uehara to the hill today against Luke Hochevar.

Be prepared for fireworks: Hochevar (6-14, 5.64 lifetime ERA) gave up eight hits and seven runs in two innings during his 2009 debut last Tuesday against Oakland. And that’s only after Sidney Ponson stunk so bad they promoted this stiff from Omaha.

The Orioles go for another series win today. Only the delayed freight train of Zach Greinke could slow them down on Friday night.

The new ballpark design in Kansas City is also worth seeing if you haven’t tuned in all weekend. A fun day of baseball ahead.

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Orioles make it two in a row with mini-sweep of Twins

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It wasn’t a textbook victory last night for the Orioles (12-17) but they’ll take wins anywhere they can find them. After an evening of soggy weather and a six-inning win on Wednesday night, the Birds came back to Camden Yards and finished the mini-sweep with a 5-4 win over the Twins led by Melvin Mora and unlikely Lou Montanez.

Mora homered in the second and got on base in the eighth before Montanez singled to left to account for the game-winning RBI.

The usual speedy work of Brad Bergesen on the hill picked up the pace of the game, but he was in trouble most of the evening and worked some Houdini magic to avoid big innings. All told, the Twins managed 14 hits off of O’s pitching — including 11 off Bergesen in just six innings — but could never plate runs in bunches.

Reliever Chris Ray struggled in the 7th inning, allowing the Twins to tie the game after inheriting a one-run lead, but Jim Johnson was stellar in the 8th inning to vulture a victory and George Sherrill managed to finish a sweaty 9th to earn fifth save of the year.

Afterward, manager Dave Trembley gave praise liberally, especially to Mora whom he discussed in his pre-game speech.

Prepare the pinstripes: the Yankees (13-15) come to town mired in an early-season funk for three games at Camden Yards this weekend.

Tonight it’s a rematch of the Opening Day starters: C.C. Sabathia (1-3. 4.85) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (2-2, 5.05).

On Saturday, it’ll be Phil Hughes (1-1, 2.70) and Adam Eaton (1-3, 7.18) and Sunday afternoon Joba Chamberlain (1-1, 3.77) will face Koji Uehara (2-3, 4.42).

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O’s Win See-Saw Affair, A-Rod Official For Friday

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Neal Bortmes

The game went back and forth through the first three innings but the birds prevailed tonight over the Twins.  It was the first home series win against the Minnesota in four years albeit was only a two game set. 

 

Joe Mauer absolutely destroys Oriole pitching; he is batting .388 lifetime against them.  It’s too bad that he will inevitably be a member of the Yankees or Red Sox in the future so he can further torment us.

 

Adam Jones flashed some spectacular leather in centerfield again tonight.  If he continues to perform and doesn’t make the All-Star team it will be a traveshamockery.  This guy is the future for the Orioles.

 

Brad Bergesen went out to the mound and again gave the O’s a chance to win.  Who said that pitching in the big leagues will kill a young guy’s psyche, he seems to be doing well.  Other teams bring up their young pitchers with impunity why can’t the Orioles?

 

Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, Rick Porcello, Josh Johnson, Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill (the list is longer but you get the point) are all guys who were brought up by their clubs at young ages and haven’t been completely paralyzed by fear or messed up psychologically. 

 

That whole line is just a bunch of phooey which the Orioles love to shove down the fans throats.  The problem is the people who drink too much orange Kool-Aid actually believe that nonsense.  Just because the Orioles have tried to develop some head cases (Matt Riley, Sidney Ponson) doesn’t mean that all young pitchers are that way.  Chances are if they can’t do handle it now they well never be able to handle it.

 

It’s also good to note that the ol’ sheriff George Sherrill yet again put the tying run on base before saving the game.  I pray every day that Chris Ray will return to form so Sherrill can be deposed from the closer role.  A closer can’t put that many guys on base and consistently get the job done.

 

Troy Patton appears to be throwing well at AA, hopefully it is only a matter of time before we see either he or Rich Hill relegate Hendrickson to the bullpen.

 

I’m anticipating the good times rolling into the weekend because I would like nothing more than to see the birds beat down the Stankees.  And yes it is all but official A-roid will be in the house on Friday.  The Yankees are hoping he can provide insurance in the lineup for their faltering investment at first base.  Tex-liar and A-rod will probably get along famously because they are both so fake they might even make each other sick.

 

I’ll be at the Yard probably on Saturday, but definitely on Sunday so if you see me down there feel free to say hello.  Also stay tuned for a Manny blog coming tomorrow.

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If I Were In Charge Of The O’s

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Neal Bortmes

If I were in charge of the Orioles’ front office what would I do?  Well the Orioles are mired in a six game losing streak and have lost 14 of their last 18 games.  The precipitous fall down the standings has come about two months early this year and I for one would like to change that.

 

 

The first thing I would do is cut Adam Eaton and his 7.17 ERA.  Yes he did have that one good start against the White Sox, but as the saying goes a broken clock is right twice a day.  He is hardly the “veteran” presence that the O’s need when they eventually call up their pampered pitching prospects.  The second thing I would do is call up David Hernandez to take Eaton’s spot in the rotation.  Hernandez is a young guy who has been in the system a while and he deserves a shot, I think at worst he could post a 7.17 ERA and 1.73 WHIP.  And for those of you who are scared about hurting our young pitcher’s psyches it doesn’t appear that he is in the team’s long term plans for the future so seeing what he has to offer affords very little downside.  Right now Hernandez isn’t exactly tearing up AAA Norfolk but I guarantee you he can do better than Eaton.

 

 

As soon as Rich Hill proves that he is ready to return from the DL I would recall him and send Mark Hendrickson to the bullpen.  This move also has little downside because if Hill does not pan out the O’s didn’t really lose anything, but if he does regain the form that made him into a touted prospect he can help solidify the rotation.  I would say to cut Hendrickson but as he is owed considerably more than the $400,000 they are paying Eaton (1.5 million to be exact) he can serve out his term as a lefty reliever/mop-up guy and spot start in a pinch (he doesn’t have much arm left so blowing it out isn’t a concern).  This move of course would send Brian Bass and his 6.62 ERA to Norfolk to get some more “seasoning.”

 

 

The last pitching move I would make would be to replace George Sherrill as the closer.  Last season Sherrill showed signs of his inability to be the primary closer when he scuffled in the second half.  He has continued to regress this season from his All-Star worthy performance of a year ago.  I personally don’t care for the idea of a left-handed closer anyway.  With the game on the line I think the better match-up would be to have a right-handed power arm and it just so happens the Orioles have one of those in Chris Ray.  I think Ray will eventually round into form and reclaim the job as the season progresses but until then I would use a combination of either Jim Johnson or Ray (occasionally Sherrill) to finish games.  Let’s be honest with ourselves the Orioles will seldom be in the lead late in games this season so blowing saves will severely hamper the win total.  Sherrill is best in small doses as primarily a situational/set-up guy.

 

 

As far as the Felix Pie experiment I would have to call it a day for now and bring up Nolan Reimold.  Again Reimold has been in the organization for a few years and he deserves a shot with the parent club, especially the way he is tearing the cover off of the ball.  It would be a tough decision on what to do between Pie and Lou Montanez.  I would like to see Pie develop into something special but that day may never come.  He is a liability in leftfield, he runs the bases haphazardly like Melvin Mora, and he can’t pinch hit, so being the 4th outfielder is not really going to help him progress.  I have a feeling he may slide through waivers and if so I would send him down.  However if I thought he may be selected by another team I would have to send Montanez down just because of my desire to see Pie reach his promise.   As far as Ryan Freel is concerned I would try to trade him to the National League where he can get more playing time and not be such a distraction.  I don’t think he realizes that utility players batting well under the Mendoza line don’t play often in the American League.  If I couldn’t find a trading partner I would probably see if he would accept assignment because injuries could play a factor down the road and depth is something, as O’s fans we know all too well, is hard to do without.  Outright release would be the next option as far as Freel is concerned.

 

 

These are some of the moves I would definitely make if I were the in charge of the birds.  I would also like to address the Matt Wieters situation in more depth later because it is an interesting topic unto itself but obviously Greg Zaun isn’t cutting the mustard.  These are my thoughts what do you think they should do?  Post a comment so we can discuss.

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The Orioles Weekend

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

Melvin Mora has been activated from the disabled list today which is surprisingly good news.  Ty Wigginton has been a butcher at third base so far this year and it may be because he needs to lose a little weight.  He rakes lefties but is much better suited to come off of the bench due to his lack of defense.  The return of Mora not only improves the infield defense but it also forces the Orioles to send Matt Albers down.  I think Albers’ slow start is due to choosing rehab for his labrum injury instead of electing to have surgery.  I still think that he is going to be a good reliever in the long run but he needs to get the surgery if he wants to return to form.

 

Over the weekend the Orioles lost a series against the Texas Rangers.  The Rangers are a team that contenders will routinely pound night in and night out because they lack pitching.  Losing 3 of 4 to the Rangers sums up the Orioles’ season thus far considering we hit well but couldn’t get anyone out.  I attended the game on Friday night and I was thoroughly impressed with the crowd.  The camaraderie in the stands was fantastic and it was evident that the town still loves the birds.  However, the strong showing probably had more to do with the great weather and ice cold beer than with Oriole magic, considering the amount of Yankee jerseys and apparel from teams not named the Baltimore Orioles seen around the yard.  There was a little too much alcohol flowing on this particular college night because a shirtless punk decided to run out onto the field, the game was delayed for a time but it was good to see the fans were at least paying enough attention to notice the idiocy. 

 

It is however apparent that George Sherrill is not a closer, he puts too many guys on base and he gives up too many hits.  Sherrill may have made the All-Star team last year but he is at best a situational closer as witnessed by his performance toward the end of last season.  Chris Ray needs to assert himself as the closer so that Sherrill can return to a more natural set-up role.  The fans deserve to leave the stadium in a good mood instead of departing with elevated blood pressure because Sherrill gives up a walk-off to Michael Young.  Having a lefty as a closer is tricky because they often face tough match-ups against good right-handed hitters at the end of the game and can be overmatched in that situation.

 

The offense is still clicking most nights which helps keep the game interesting especially if the Orioles are behind in the later innings.  How good is Adam Jones by the way, he is a complete stud and is rapidly approaching star status, his homerun on Sunday was only a harbinger of heroics to come.  I like the fact that we can slug it out with teams adept on offense, it’s truly a wonderful thing considering a couple of years ago Jay Gibbons was the power in the middle of the order.  But the truth is the O’s will not approach .500 until they get better effort from the starting pitchers.  I didn’t think I would ever say I am excited to see Rich Hill but I think he has a chance to improve the rotation when he returns.  Also, something appears to be wrong with Jeremy Guthrie and I hope that he does not have any residual effects from last season’s shoulder impingement.  Guthrie is no ace but he can pitch more effectively than what he has shown thus far.

 

The weekend didn’t go so well but hopefully they bounce back tonight against the Angels.  The birds have won all of their three game series this year so hopefully that trend continues.  Good luck to Adam Eaton, it would be great if he produced another miracle start just as he did on Thursday against the White Sox.  A sweep of the Angels would be nice in order to be in good standing heading into their match-up against Toronto. 

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Inexcusable 5-4 loss by the Orioles tonight…

Posted on 24 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

10:01 p.m. — These are the ones that kill ya. The Orioles went into the 9th inning with a one-run lead and George Sherrill on the mound and wound up losing. Big homer from Michael Young. Two outs in the ninth inning. Just a horrible, horrible loss.

Rick Dempsey is making excuses. Jim Hunter looks constipated. The purple hats are on display. I’ll never wear one…

My cable is going in and out. And it’s just as well…

They got a great start from Uehara, big hits from Brian Roberts and Nick Makakis. It still wasn’t enough.

These are the losses that make you a 90-game loser. Just unacceptable. Just embarrassing…

A dramatic 9th inning win for the Rangers. A homer by Michael Young with two outs in the ninth inning. Texas trailed the entire game. Koji ptched well. They got a lead. They held it. Until the end.

As Gary Thorne just said: “Wow!”

Buck Martinez is now making excuses. “They did a lot of good things tonight, ” he just said.

Just unacceptable.

10:15 p.m. — Dave Trembley is holding court. He’s not being quite as prickly as he usually is. I don’t know Trembley. He’s the first Orioles manager in 17 years that I don’t really know.

This is always interesting to me.

Everyone is a good winner. Losing a game like this tells me a lot. My cable keeps cutting in and out. It’s weird.

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How ’bout dem O’s!

Posted on 16 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

The Orioles are continuing their modus operandi from the past few years and are teasing us with winning baseball at the beginning of the season.  If you are a true orange and black fan it is hard not to get excited at the start of a new season, especially when they have started off so well winning each of their first three series.  Opening Day was an incredible experience this year and it surpassed past years due to the uncertainty of the weather and the eventual payoff at the end of the game.  The clouds threatened to rain on our parade and one of the best parties of the year in Baltimore.  The sun peeked out for a while in mid-afternoon but the rains came again right before game time which seemed like an omen representing the big bad Yankees hanging over our heads.

 

As you know by now the game was not rained out after all and the Orioles were like a bright ray of sunshine cutting through the clouds.  The bats came alive for 10 runs that day and chased Cy Young award winner and 161 million dollar mercenary CC Sabathia in the 4th inning.  It was an absolutely fantastic day for baseball and it was made even better by the fact that loyal Orioles fans did not let the Yankee supporters in attendance drown out their cheers.  The infamous lets go Yankees chant that can be clearly heard at Camden Yards in the later months of the season as the seats turn from orange to green was overpowered by boos for Tex-liar.  For the first time in over a decade I could feel the camaraderie of O’s fans permeate the stadium.  The way the O’s dominated the majority of that game made the Boog’s BBQ and the ample amount of brew taste that much sweeter.

 

I have been impressed with the way the Orioles are swinging the bats this season.  Izturis capped off the great Opening Day win with his first and probably only homerun this season, but aside from that he is the only player who needs to significantly increase his offensive production.  He was signed to upgrade a poor up the middle defense and has been a drastic improvement over 2008’s garbage group barring last evening’s boot in the third inning against the Rangers.  Zaun has not dominated with the bat so far but as all O’s fans know he was signed to mentor Matt Weiters once he is called up, and Zaun has done an adequate job in his stead.  We are however waiting with bated breath for Weiters’ arrival.

 

Aubrey Huff has impressed me with his transition to full-time first baseman.  Like I said he will never be mistaken for JT Snow over there but he is serviceable, and a significant upgrade over Kevin “Red Sox” Millar.  Huff won a Silver Slugger at first base last year which is a significant accomplishment considering first base is typically an offense first position.  The way he has been swinging the bat lately I really think the O’s should try to sign him to an extension.  Three or four years might get it done and they don’t have anyone in the minors even close to ready to supplant him in the near future.  Gone are the days of guys like Calvin Pickering and Ryan Minor toiling in the minors waiting to get a shot.  Lets get over our huff about what Aubrey said (it really wasn’t all that bad to start with) and embrace what he has been doing for the ball club.

 

Speaking of toiling in the minors, the trade for Felix Pie, who has been yanked up and down by the Cubs over the last few years, was a low risk/high reward deal.  Pie represents a potential impact player on defense, and a capable offensive player with speed.  The only thing the O’s gave up was Garrett Olsen a below average lefty who had virtually no upside, and unless he pulls a John Maine and comes out of nowhere to be a decent end of the rotation guy this is a can’t lose scenario.  The mastermind of the Orioles recent terrific player personnel decisions Andy MacPhail has really outdone himself on his two biggest trades.  Trading a steroid using, older than he claimed to be, unhappy player with declining power and range for 5 players including Houston’s best pitching prospect in Troy Patton, Luke Scott our starting DH, as well as Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate who are strong bullpen contributors has to be one of the biggest hoodwinks of all time.  It is only outdone by MacPhail’s other conquest over former Seattle Mariner’s GM Bill Bavasi.  A trade in which he dealt a disgruntled, no heart, only wants to pitch six innings crybaby who never lived up to the potential of his great stuff in Erik Bedard for 5 players including future face of the franchise centerfielder Adam Jones, as well as stud pitching prospect Chris Tillman and All-Star closer George Sherrill. 

 

O’s fans may not agree with everything MacPhail has done but no one can argue that this team has not improved significantly over past couple years, especially with building depth in the minor leagues.  The one complaint that I would raise is to question why they are starting guys like Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson who are guaranteed to have an ERA over 6.00 in place of young players like Brad Bergesen.  Bergesen could give up a ton of runs and be chased in the early innings just as easily, however Bergeson is in his early 20’s and actually has some upside.  With a little bit of experience he is almost destined to be better than those two stiffs.   Hendrickson was drafted by the 76’ers, 31st overall in the 1996 NBA draft, to quote EJ Pipkin’s 2004 campaign catchphrase “Who Knew?”  Maybe he should think about a return engagement with the NBA and put us out of our misery.  Prospect Radhames Liz is thought to be a starter and has recently been recalled; however he is a bullpen guy, period.  Liz has no upside as a starter but as a reliever he may find some late inning success.

 

The off-season signings of Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts seem like a harbinger of good things to come.  As the team continues to develop I hope that MacPhail will be able to sign our young players to long-term deals and keep the core guys together throughout their careers from the minors to major league success.  Let’s hope the O’s can continue to remain competitive for the remainder of the season, I want to see a game that matters in September for a change.

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