Posted on 13 April 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 13 April 2012 by Luke Jones
The Orioles have spent plenty of time over the years pointing out the economic disparities in baseball that contribute to their inability to compete against the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
However, no road destination in the AL East has been a bigger nightmare for the Orioles over the last three seasons than Rogers Centre in Toronto, where they will play a three-game series against the Blue Jays this weekend. Baltimore is an abysmal 4-23 in Canada since 2009 and has lost 26 of its last 31 games north of the border since June 2008. The horrific spell reached its low point last June before the Orioles finally snapped a 16-game losing streak in Toronto.
In contrast, the Orioles are 19-35 at Fenway Park, 15-39 in the Bronx, and 24-30 at Tropicana Field over the last three seasons.
With the Blue Jays off to a 4-2 start after an impressive Grapefruit League, the Orioles will have their hands full this weekend against the club that many view as an emerging threat in the division. And the man who’s led the big leagues in home runs over the last two seasons, Jose Bautista, hasn’t even started hitting yet (.174 and one home run).
The club’s futility against the Blue Jays in recent years is a prime example of why many fans grow weary from the likes of former executives such as Andy MacPhail and current executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette belaboring how the Yankees and Red Sox can spend more money than everyone else in the division.
That argument might hold some legitimacy if the Orioles were routinely pushing into the 85-to-90 win range on a semi-regular basis and falling short of the postseason. But when you’re not even competitive against the Blue Jays — who have finished in fourth place the last four seasons — it’s difficult to buy economics as the primary reason for the club’s failures.
Taking the lead
It’s been a rocky start for Nolan Reimold as the leadoff hitter, with the left fielder hitting just .238 and failing to register a walk in the first week of the season.
Hardly a conventional choice for the top spot in the order, Reimold is eighth among regulars in pitches seen per plate appearance (3.52) and has appeared to be overanxious at the plate in his five starts at the leadoff spot. Of course, we’re talking about a very small sample size from which to draw any conclusions, and it’s unlikely that manager Buck Showalter abandons the idea before at least a few more weeks of using Reimold in the top spot.
Many fans and media have criticized the idea of Reimold as the leadoff hitter, but the Orioles aren’t exactly dealing with a plethora of viable options to use in the top spot with second baseman Brian Roberts still sidelined.
J.J. Hardy served in the role for an extended time last season, but his .310 on-base percentage in 2011 and .320 career clip doesn’t exactly stand out as a no-brainer for the spot. Second baseman Robert Andino could eventually settle into the spot if he continues to develop as a regular, but Showalter appears content to leave Andino in the ninth spot to help turn the lineup over. Andino’s career on-base percentage is only .304 as he’s served in a limited fashion in his eight-year big league career.
Strictly looking at the numbers, right fielder Nick Markakis is the Orioles’ best option to hit in the leadoff spot, but it’s clear Showalter wants to keep him in a run-producing role. It’s easy to crunch the numbers and discuss the matter as if everything were in a vacuum, but any manager must always deal with egos and politics in the clubhouse when trying to fill out a lineup.
In a perfect world, Reimold would not be the leadoff hitter, but his underrated speed and .336 career on-base percentage are legitimate reasons to allow the experiment to continue for a few more weeks before making a switch.
Too much discussion is exhausted on the batting order — you simply want your best hitters getting as many plate appearances as possible — but it doesn’t take a sabermetrician to see more production is needed from the leadoff spot than what the Orioles have gotten in the first week.
What to do with Reynolds?
Posted on 12 April 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 28 March 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: Women’s College Lacrosse-Towson @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm from Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex live on AM1570 WNST.net); Auto Racing: NASCAR Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (Sunday 12:30pm from Martinsville, VA live on FOX), IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of Alabama (Sunday 2pm from Birmingham live on NBC Sports Network); High School Basketball: McDonald’s All American Games (Girls Wednesday 7pm from Chicago live on ESPNU Boys Wednesday 9:30pm from Chicago live on ESPN); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 63 (Friday 8pm from Uncasville, CT live on MTV2); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Hank Lundy vs. Dannie Williams (Friday 9pm from Mashantucket, CT live on ESPN2); Soccer: Team USA Women @ Japan (Sunday 6:30am from Sendai, Japan live on ESPN2), MLS-FC Dallas @ DC United (Friday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on NBC Sports Network); Bill Maher (Saturday 8pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome, Sunday 8pm Strathmore); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); “Goon” & “Wrath of the Titans” out in theaters (Friday); “Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)
10. Van Halen/Kool & The Gang (Wednesday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Mac Miller (Saturday 8pm Patriot Center); Blue October (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Mr. Greengenes (Thursday 8pm Recher Theatre); The Bad Plus (Sunday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); All Mighty Senators (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Sleigh Bells (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), The Temper Trap (Saturday 6pm 9:30 Club), Andrew WK (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre); Patti LaBelle (Friday & Saturday 8pm Strathmore); Leon Redbone (Saturday 7:30pm Birchmere), Three Dog Night (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Of Monsters And Men (Monday 8pm Black Cat)
The new Van Halen is TERRIBLE (at least the song is-I haven’t listened to the record), but it doesn’t change how freaking awesome this is…
I don’t worship Bruce Springsteen. (Some of you would have to admit you do.) I DO freaking love this song though…
I have no idea what Three Dog Night even looks like at this point. I would be more than happy to sing along with this though…
Here’s another fantastic tune by a band called Of Monsters And Men. So now we’ve done that…
9. NBA: Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers (Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Philadelphia 76ers @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (Sunday 6pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet), Milwaukee Bucks @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)
Since Sonny Weems doesn’t play for the Raptors anymore, he won’t be there when the ‘Zards visit Canada. It’s a shame because if he was he could bring his creepy foot…
I get the feeling there won’t be many folks willing to click on Page 2 or Page 3 after that, but we’re going to keep going here anyway.
(Continued on Page 2…)
Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff
Odds to win the 2012 World Series
Philadelphia Phillies 11/2
New York Yankees 13/2
Los Angeles Angels 7/1
Detroit Tigers 8/1
Texas Rangers 10/1
Boston Red Sox 10/1
San Francisco Giants 15/1
Tampa Bay Rays 18/1
Miami Marlins 20/1
Cincinnati Reds 20/1
Atlanta Braves 22/1
St. Louis Cardinals 25/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 28/1
Milwaukee Brewers 28/1
Washington Nationals 30/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 40/1
Toronto Blue Jays 40/1
Chicago Cubs 40/1
Colorado Rockies 40/1
Cleveland Indians 60/1
Chicago White Sox 65/1
Minnesota Twins 75/1
Kansas City Royals 80/1
New York Mets 80/1
Oakland Athletics 80/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 100/1
San Diego Padres 100/1
Seattle Mariners 100/1
Baltimore Orioles 150/1
Houston Astros 200/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL Pennant
New York Yankees 13/4
Los Angeles Angels 7/2
Detroit Tigers 4/1
Boston Red Sox 11/2
Texas Rangers 11/2
Tampa Bay Rays 9/1
Toronto Blue Jays 22/1
Cleveland Indians 28/1
Chicago White Sox 35/1
Kansas City Royals 40/1
Oakland Athletics 40/1
Minnesota Twins 40/1
Seattle Mariners 60/1
Baltimore Orioles 75/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL Pennant
Philadelphia Phillies 9/4
San Francisco Giants 7/1
Atlanta Braves 9/1
Cincinnati Reds 9/1
Miami Marlins 9/1
St. Louis Cardinals 11/1
Milwaukee Brewers 14/1
Washington Nationals 15/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 14/1
Colorado Rockies 18/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 18/1
Chicago Cubs 22/1
New York Mets 40/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 40/1
San Diego Padres 50/1
Houston Astros 100/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL East
New York Yankees 2/3
Boston Red Sox 3/1
Tampa Bay Rays 9/2
Toronto Blue Jays 12/1
Baltimore Orioles 100/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL Central
Detroit Tigers 1/4
Cleveland Indians 10/1
Kansas City Royals 12/1
Chicago White Sox 12/1
Minnesota Twins 16/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL West
Los Angeles Angels 4/5
Texas Rangers 1/1
Oakland Athletics 30/1
Seattle Mariners 45/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL East
Philadelphia Phillies 1/2
Miami Marlins 11/2
Atlanta Braves 6/1
Washington Nationals 8/1
New York Mets 50/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL Central
Cincinnati Reds 7/5
St. Louis Cardinals 2/1
Milwaukee Brewers 11/4
Chicago Cubs 18/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 30/1
Houston Astros 100/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL West
San Francisco Giants 5/4
Arizona Diamondbacks 2/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 11/2
Colorado Rockies 7/1
San Diego Padres 15/1
Over/Under Regular Season Win Totals
Arizona Diamondbacks 86½
Atlanta Braves 86½
Baltimore Orioles 69½
Boston Red Sox 90½
Chicago Cubs 73½
Chicago White Sox 75½
Cincinnati Reds 87½
Cleveland Indians 78½
Colorado Rockies 80½
Detroit Tigers 91½
Miami Marlins 85½
Houston Astros 63½
Kansas City Royals 78½
Los Angeles Angels 91½
Los Angeles Dodgers 80½
Milwaukee Brewers 85½
Minnesota Twins 72½
New York Mets 73½
New York Yankees 93½
Oakland Athletics 72½
Philadelphia Phillies 93½
Pittsburgh Pirates 72½
San Diego Padres 73½
San Francisco Giants 87½
Seattle Mariners 71½
St. Louis Cardinals 85½
Tampa Bay Rays 86½
Texas Rangers 91½
Toronto Blue Jays 81½
Washington Nationals 83½
courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).
Posted on 12 March 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 11 March 2012 by Ed Frankovic
There were no two ways about Sunday’s Washington Capitals game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Caps had to win this contest with a five game road trip on the horizon. Brooks Laich continued to carry this club scoring a key shorthanded goal in the opening frame, Alexander Semin set up Mathieu Perreault for an early third period marker, and Michal Neuvirth stopped all 23 shots he faced en route to a 2-0 victory in his 100th NHL start.
It wasn’t flashy hockey, but it was team hockey as the Capitals did a super job of limiting Leafs odd man rushes and opportunities while generating puck possession and scoring chances for themselves. The victory moves Washington to 76 points with 13 games left and they trail the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers by a single point. More importantly, the eighth place Capitals open up a four point cushion on the ninth place Sabres and Jets.
The Caps played some very good hockey this week going 3-0-1 and if you want to know my theory on why things have turned around check out yesterday’s blog where I discuss, in detail, the lineup changes that Coach Dale Hunter recently has made up the middle of the ice. Those moves continued to pay off again today as both Laich and Jay Beagle played big roles in the victory. The more balanced lineup is producing solid defensive hockey, something Hunter demands, and it is also generating more puck possession.
In my estimation, Hunter has taken far too much unnecessary criticism, especially on twitter. There are those that say he is in over his head or doesn’t know what he is doing with the scratches or goalies, or even worse, that his system doesn’t work in the NHL. I even heard seen some people say that Hunter is just tanking it so that he can go back to juniors. Horse hockey, I say.
I’ve known Hunter since 1987 when he came to the Caps and he hates to lose as much as anybody. As I was leaving the Verizon Center long after last Tuesday’s OT loss to Carolina I ran into ole #32 in the hallway. I asked him if he was having fun, his response, “I don’t like losing.” We then proceeded to talk about the game for a couple of minutes pointing out both good and bad plays. I walked away from that conversation knowing what I already pretty much knew, Dale Hunter is as committed as ever to helping the Washington Capitals win.
Hunter knows hockey and he didn’t exactly inherit the Detroit Red Wings when he took over. Throw in an injury to the one player he could not afford to lose most, Nicklas Backstrom, and it is impressive that the bench boss has been able to keep the ship afloat given some of its’ issues. But as I chronicled yesterday, the coach is getting a handle on what he has to work with and with Laich and Beagle both totally healthy for the first time in his tenure he is employing a configuration that fits what he wants to do.
Simply put, this Capitals team CANNOT be the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers or even the 2009-10 Washington Capitals. Run and gun won’t work with Backstrom out and the other weaknesses up the middle of the ice. But they do have a slew of hard working guys, that cobbled together with skilled players like Alexander Ovechkin, Semin, Perreault, and Marcus Johansson will equate to wins if the right balance is found. It takes 20 guys working hard and together. Right now they appear to have that, the question is, can they keep it going? My answer is, yes, if they don’t sustain any more injuries, especially to Laich, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. #21 has been outstanding since finally overcoming what looked to be a bad knee injury against Boston back in early February.
Add in the work ethic and desire of Beagle as well as players like Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Karl Alzner, etc and suddenly you have a cohesive team. Semin was outstanding this weekend and if Ovechkin works hard and trends up then this team starts to have some serious potential, especially if they manage to get Backstrom back.
But those projections must wait for now. The Capitals have a five game road trip that starts on Tuesday on Long Island against an Islanders team that has taken 5 of 6 points from Washington this year. The Caps must be ready from opening puck drop if they want to continue to try and win their division, or at the very least separate themselves from those behind them in the playoff hunt.
Today they did that beating a tired Maple Leafs team that worked hard under new coach Randy Carlyle but just don’t have the horses up front with Joffrey Lupul out. But everyone has injuries and good teams and coaches find ways to overcome them. Hunter is doing his best to do that, but the road ahead is tough, and the momentum gained this week must carry over for his team to get its’ fifth straight playoff berth.
Notes: The Caps only had one power play but it did everything except score. Washington had several scoring chances and had the puck in the Leafs zone the entire two minutes…the Capitals, by scoring shorthanded, won the special teams battle for the second straight game…Johansson missed an empty net late in regulation. The puck rolled on him after a sweet feed from Perreault and his shot attempt from four feet away went wide. MJ90 wasn’t happy but he was in the right place to score. His play has trended up since Hunter moved him back to the wing where he can be more effective in man to man coverage…the Caps lost the faceoff battle 24-15. Laich was only 4-10 but Beagle won 5 of 6 draws…there were lots of solid games by a lot of players and noone played less than 10 minutes. Each of Washington’s six defensemen played near the top of their ability as mistakes on the back end were definitely minimized.
Posted on 06 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: Boxing-Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday 10pm from San Juan, Puerto Rico live on Showtime); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 60 (Friday 8pm from Hammond, IN live on MTV2); Soccer: MISL Eastern Division Final-Rochester Lancers @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena, Leg 2 Monday 7pm in Rochester); Tennis: ATP Tour/WTA Tour BNP Paribas Open (Saturday-Monday 2pm from Indian Wells, CA live on Tennis Channel); Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena)
10. Black Keys/Arctic Monkeys (Friday 8pm Verizon Center); Boyce Avenue (Wednesday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Pat Green (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live), moe. (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Orgy (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Cris Jacobs Band (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club), Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Kindred the Family Soul (Friday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Playing for Change Band (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Mutemath (Saturday 7pm 9:30 Club), Young The Giant/Grouplove (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Experience Hendrix feat. Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Tuesday 8pm Strathmore); Travis Tritt (Tuesday 7:30pm Birchmere); North Mississippi All-Stars (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Bruce Springsteen “Wrecking Ball” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)
The Black Keys sold out the Verizon Center. That’s amazing. I’ll most look forward to the part where the place that usually houses smelly Caps fans turns into one large Phoenix Coyotes rally…
Boyce Avenue is not an act I should ever voluntarily admit to enjoying. I should ABSOLUTELY never admit to enjoying their cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella”…
The PFC band is fantastic. You’ll probably remember this…
Young The Giant authored perhaps the single most underrated song of 2011…
9. Bill Bellamy (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Kevin Pollak (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade/Shamrock 5K (Sunday 1:15pm Inner Harbor/Downtown Baltimore); “Friends With Kids” opens in theaters (Friday)
One-I love a good St. Patty’s Day throw down a week before the 17th. In honor of that, I think I’ll make a stop at the Tilted Kilt in White Marsh after the parade…
Note: I’m aware that’s a Scotish thing. It’s late. I’m tired.
Note 2: Does it really matter anyway?
And since we’re here, I actually think “Friends With Kids” has a bit of a “watchable chick flick” feel. It also has Jon Hamm. As in THIS Jon Hamm…
Posted on 21 February 2012 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: NHL-Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators (Wednesday 7pm from Ottawa live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Montreal Canadiens @ Washington Capitals (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NHL Network/Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday 7pm from Toronto live on NHL Network/Comcast SportsNet); Monster Jam (Friday-Sunday 1st Mariner Arena); Tennis: ATP Tour Regions Morgan Keegan Championships (Saturday 12pm & 4pm Sunday 4pm from Memphis live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Marcos Maidana vs. Devon Alexander (Saturday 10pm from St. Louis live on HBO), Friday Night Fights-Juan Carlos Burgos vs. Cristobal Cruz (Friday 9pm from Dover live on ESPN2); High School Basketball: MPSSAA Playoffs Opening Round-Games include Catonsville @ Mergenthaler, Paint Branch @ Dulaney, Poly @ Blake, Perry Hall @ Sherwood, Chesapeake-AA @ South River, Great Mills @ North County, Leonardtown @ Broadneck, Severna Park @ Meade (All games Friday); Women’s College Basketball: North Carolina @ Maryland (Friday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)
10. Blake Shelton (Saturday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Several Species: The Pink Floyd Experience (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Citizen Cope (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre); Guns N Roses (Thursday 10pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Flogging Molly (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Estelle (Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rick Ross (Thursday 7pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Fun. “Some Nights” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)
I’m not really a Blake Shelton fan.That said, I wish I could tell you I didn’t enjoy this tune…
I am particularly bitter that my trip to Indy this weekend will prevent me from getting to the Cope show Friday night. If you’ve never seen him, shame on you…
What’s happening in Silver Spring won’t ACTUALLY be a GNR show, but it doesn’t mean you can’t sing along…
Just in case you forgot, Flogging Molly is the one that ISN’T Dropkick Murphys…
9. Portlandia The Tour (Tuesday 7pm & 9pm 9:30 Club); Jeffrey Ross (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Jim Gaffigan (Thursday-Saturday Warner Theatre); Rodney Carrington (Friday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Rich Vos (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “J. Edgar” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “Act of Valor” and “Wonderlust” out in theaters (Friday); 2012 Academy Awards (Sunday 7pm from Los Angeles live on ABC)
Can someone ask Jeffrey Ross if he’ll come on my show this week and make fun of me? It’s that good…
Also funny? Jim Gaffigan. It’s just a very different type of funny…