I can’t say that the Orioles blew a lead last night like they did last week against the A’s, and I can’t even say they blew the game. Here is the issue.
With Jeter on 3rd, Swisher on 2nd, Matusz’ pitch count at 108, and Hernandez being the righty and fully ready to come out of the ‘pen, Trembley made the 100% correct decision in making the pitching change. In terms of Trembley, he put the best lineup and set of guys out there provided to him. Everybody seems to finally be catching onto the whole MacPhail issue now, when I have been saying all along how 90% of our losses are because of the roster Andy handed to Trembles on Opening Day. As for this in game situation, Hernandez came in and did his job. He induced a ground ball with 2 outs from one of the top clutch hitters in baseball in the last decade (clutch hitters: see Andre Ethier). Props to Hernandez in his 2nd relief appearance getting the job done again. He has quality stuff in the short inning game, which is why the move to the bullpen fits him perfectly. Well, the ball went to Tejada, arguably the O’s strongest infielder. What happened after that was just a breakdown of this season so far, with Tejada’s across the field throw hitting early in the dirt and to the right of Wigginton, causing him to fall on his butt and make the Baltimore franchise look silly. Here is the second by second picture collage of this event:
I can’t even think that with that even if that play was made properly (see: fundamental baseball) that we would have won the game, but it would have given us a chance. Yes, may sound foolish thinking that, but it’s still more of a chance than without the throw and catch being made.
To read more about the game, Brittany Ghiroli provides insight here, and you can check out the box score and game recap from Yahoo here. Not in my best interest to go through it all without using obscenities.
What is hitting me finally is the infield problems. Why is Tejada at 3B? Why was Atkins acquired to play 1B? I get it. It’s so that Izzy can stick around and have another .250 season while giving us a decent glove at what some may call the most important infield position, or even the leader of the team on defense. Well, he was a gold glover, yes. But that was 6 years ago. You can give me all the graphs and stats you want to show that he is still a top defensive SS, but I really don’t care. He make small mistakes, and provides no leadership or offense to the club. He is hitting .222, lower than his career average surprisingly. Why is it that we don’t look at shortstop. I rant on about this all the time, and I have since January when I first noticed it, but why was our priority in free agency this past off season the corner infielders? To give time to the guys in AAA so they will be ready for next season to be in the bigs?
Tejada should have been signed as our SS. Atkins, giving him the benefit of the doubt pre-season, should have been signed as our 3B. Izturis could either be utility or just not make the roster, I don’t care. I have never seen too much in him besides a useless 9 slot shortstop. Aubrey is perfectly capable of coming up to play 1B, and there’s this feeling somewhere that Moore could do it too (not sure if he left his bat bag in Norfolk or what). Either way, the mishaps of this club come down to positions. Not one guy besides Izzy was in their right spot. Tejada should be SS, Lugo is SS (not 2B), and Wigginton isn’t really much of a glove anywhere besides a utility role (as opposed to 1B). I know the bats are different, but maybe this year would be easier on the team if we wouldn’t jumble them around the diamond, and instead let them gel together in their natural spots to be able to spend more time out there swinging the bats. That, my friends, is a problem totally put onto us by Andy MacPhail.
On a side note:
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