The Orioles Homestand and the Roadtrip Ahead!

Well, I decided that for these 6 past games, I would just write up a little summary of the 6 pitiful games at home this past weekend/week then look ahead to their trip to Oakland and beyond.

When a team starts 1-8, fans have plenty reason to be perturbed. 
Questions about Dave Trembley’s job security and Andy McPhail’s plan to
resurrect the Orioles abound.  I found it disappointing that so many
fans directed their ire at unseated and now injured closer Mike
Gonzalez.  That made no sense to me.  I was annoyed at his performance,
but give they guy a chance people.  I am proud to say that on a
previous post on the site, I did predict that he had nagging injuries
and I also said I thought his delivery was different.  Well, the
Orioles saw the mechanic failures to fix and then did something about
the injury.   Let’s hope he can recover and be effective in the ‘pen. 
It is sorely needed.

Well, the O’s have lost 6 in a row, now 0-6 at home, and are off for
a 3 series road-trip, including 7 games out on the west coast.  The
first four of which are in Oakland.

Aside from Brad Bergesen, Orioles starters have thrown the ball
well.  Brian Matusz and Kevin Millwood have looked very sharp at times,
and Jeremy Guthrie seems close to regaining his 2007 and 2008 form.  
The bullpen looked strong in Tampa last week except for Gonzo, but they
are just breaking down as of late.

The Orioles offense, however, has been putrid, hitting only .237 as
a team, with the outliers of Felix Pie (.438) and Matt Wieters (.345). 
After being 2nd in the AL in average with RISP, the O’s are a
woeful 10-63 with RISP position.  Even worse, with RISP and 2 outs,
they are 1-29 (.034!!!).  This is just unacceptable for an offense that
was expected to be the strength of the team.

Looking at those 4 match-ups in Oakland, there are some key things
the Orioles need to focus on now that they have already lost their
support when at home.  The way that they play determines how much
support will show up at OPACY when they come back at the end of the
month for the Yankees and Red Sox.

This series is important for so many reasons.  The A’s have come out
of the gate on fire, with their starting pitching being quite forceful
an pulling off a 6-3 record despite some bullpen faults.  That is all
more the reason that the Orioles need to get their bats ready and be
ready to score late in games, hopefully racking up some late heroics
and come from behind wins.  With only 4 teams that have less runs
scored on the year than us, the Orioles could really use not only some
wins, but some lopsided ones at that.

The key to hitting is the heart of the team.  Markakis, Jones, and
Tejada all need to step up and hit .300 like we know they can.  Jones
is a slugger supposedly, and other than the first game of the season
and then last weekend with a triple, hasn’t shown much of it. 
Wigginton has stepped up big time in the utility role, and Pie and
Wieters seem to be the Orioles only hopes at this point in terms of
every day guys at bat.

Trembley needs to restore some sort of order to a bullpen in
disarray.  Now that Gonzalez is gone, Trembley needs to quickly find
roles guys can succeed in. Does he have enough faith in a guy like Kam
Mickolio to run him out in save situations, or is Jim Johnson the guy
for the job.   Our guys need to get back to the fundamentals.  Go out
there, field well (been doing a sincerely great job before today’s
Izturis/Tejada error), make smooth baserunning moves (which has been a
problem twice now this season, once with Wiggy/Scott, then just last
night with Pie), and rack up base hits.  Each guy needs to just worry
about doing his job, not about trying to get the Orioles back in the
game with one swing, or by being  foolishly aggressive on the bases.

Well, thanks for reading, and I hope everyone can stay up late over
the next few days and cheer on the O’s!  Bring home some wins!!!  Here
are the pitching match-ups:

David Hernandez (0-1, 3.00) vs. Ben Sheets (0-0, 4.09), 10:05pm MASNHD
Kevin Millwood (0-1, 2.13) vs. Dallas Braden (1-0, 2.77), 10:05pm MASN2HD
Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 4.05) vs. Justin Duchscherer (1-0, 3.46), 4:05 no tv
Brian Matusz (1-0, 4.38) vs. Brett Anderson (1-0, 0.00), 4:05pm MASN2HD


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