Mr. Dave Trembley may not have a job for long. I am just here to debate over the pros and cons of Dave as a manager. Many fans still do like him, although most are beyond frustrated with some of his coaching decisions that they want him out asap.
There are three main aspects of baseball: hitting, pitching, and defense. I stick baserunning in their with hitting, only because I feel like if you hit you need to be able to make your way around the bases too.
With hitting this season, Dave has been mixing up the lineup. Not just a guy moving one spot up or down, but day to day flipping the lineup upside down. It’s debatable whether this is good or not, but I tend to go with skip on this one. Until something consistently works, there’s no reason to stick with any formal plan. By working, I don’t mean that you have to win every single game or else switch things up, but at least getting some strings of hits together in games and figuring out who works best in front of and behind certain guys. Some think he must just put the names in a hat and pull them out. Soon enough, Atkins will be leading off with Izturis cleaning up.
People say situational hitting isn’t there. We have seen many times where the right call for the right type of hitting was made, but guys cannot seem to get balls down at the right time, deep in the air at the right time, or even hits at any time. Crowley may be good, but the players need to be at a certain level already to be on a major league club, or else nobody at this level can help them.
Baserunning. Lots of people complain that we don’t steal, and that we
make errors on the base paths. I know he is part of it, but come on,
that’s up to Shelby and Samuel to fix. That’s all they get paid to do.
Pitching has been a big issue up and down for the O’s. For the most part, except for the occasional mishap, our starting rotation has been quite consistent and strong, which is something that O’s fans are not used to. The issues come down to our bullpen. There are times, even weeks, where the ‘pen is able to close out games and look perfect throughout, then others (like with Gonzo, and this past Saturday night), where it looks like we have nobody to trust there. A lot of it is just the player’s performance. Dave has no power over how guys do, he just picks and chooses who goes in out of the set of arms he has provided to him. People blame him for bullpen breakdowns, but I see no reason to. He goes by the book and sometimes takes some risks, just as any coach should, and the guys MacPhail has given him just aren’t always working out.
Ignoring the three fundamental categories above, Dave is also a fun guy… sort of. The big pro for Trembley is how he relates to the guys. He has lots of experience coaching down in the minor leagues, so it is actually quite useful that he has the communication skills for a ballclub like this one to be able to communicate well with a core of raw, young talent.
The communication, though, seems to stop there. Last night, his press conference was only 2 mins and 10 secs. That’s it. Not sure if the media ran out of questions for him (I hope that’s not it, because I have tons) or if they are just frustrated with his generalized answers. Yes, coaches and people in other organizations have been known to be short and broad with their answers at these things, but those guys are usually with winning clubs, so nobody cares. O’s fans want answers, and they want them now.
My issue is that we will never know where the problem really is. I have always loved Trembley with this club, because of the communication I spoke about above with the players. MacPhail provides him with a group of guys, and he has to work with what he gets. Where I get confused is to how much MacPhail is allowed to spend on guys, and how much say Trembley has in those decisions to enhance the ballclub. There’s no reason Trembley should be blamed for the horrible seasons by Atkins at the plate and Tejada at 3rd so far, since those moves were clearly not his doing. I feel like more is put on the man than he deserves only because so little is really up to him. The pitching is Kranny; the hitting is Crow. Trembley has these guys mindsets in his hands, and I think the team needs to just come together when they have an off day and just gel.
Well, as you read, I am more for Trembley than against. Specifically, people got upset with his decision Saturday night to put Simon in and not leave Uehara in after a great 8th. There is no reason why you don’t go with a guy there when he is someone you have been relying on lately to save. He may be risky at times, but no coach would have played that any differently. You will never see Girardi keep Joba in for the 9th and hold out Mariano just because the 8th was solid. Another thing Saturday was people arguing about replacing Wigginton with Lugo. Every coach would have done that also. Yea, in the end, it didn’t help in the bottom of the 9th to have Wigginton out. But look at it: You have a two run lead going into the 9th. If you can get 3 outs then you can go home and forget the bottom of the inning completely. To get those outs, you want a good defensive backup. On any day, any coach would want Lugo at the middle infield positions over Wigginton. Wigginton may be a good fill-in guy, but Lugo is the one with the glove.
A few speculations as to his job. Could be fired after the game tonight, win or loss, but because it will lead into a roadtrip to give a new guy a fresh start without dealing with the home crowd. Could be after the roadtrip; where the team is playing in DC on Sunday and it could be done that night or the off day Monday to give the new coach a chance to settle in for a day and meet the guys (unless it is someone like Datz, who knows them by now). Or it could be in June. Or never. Who knows. I hope MacPhail just realizes how a lot of this is not Dave’s fault, but more his. The team needs to see that more blame needs to be put on the players, not the coaches.
We will see what the O’s decide to do. I think it would be sad if Trembley is dismissed without being given a shot with a true team, but that’s how life works I guess. Angelos needs to shell out some cash for some guys, or else we will never be able to compete. No one is playing well in Norfolk, so why is it all Dave’s fault that his entire organization is playing poorly? Who knows. Good luck to Dave.
Well, the O’s are back in the win column a little more often than not lately. That sounds so positive as compared to how the team is truly doing.
I had my first week of finals, and this week brings another. Hoping to be done everything by Wednesday. Also was in Cleveland all this past weekend, including attending the Indians vs. Tigers game Friday night. Caught 5 baseballs even without a glove, would have had 12+ with one because of how empty it was and how many I had to let drop so my hands wouldn’t break.
Instead of doing stat analysis, or game by game conversations, I am just going to look over a few topics shortly. This week, I will be once again doing the game by game stuff with more topics thrown in weekly.
The bullpen has been good, the starting pitching has been mostly solid, and the hitting is more inconsistent than Kyle Boller. Moves are coming soon. Corey Patterson is hitting .370 in Norfolk, and will probably be up for Montanez soon. By all the talk, that may not be all. In terms of pitching, there won’t be any big moves that we can foresee coming since no pitcher is really too far out of it. The hitting is the problem.
From the Orioles website (orioles.com):
Those are the averages of Orioles hitters. Names aren’t even important. Knowing the numbers of slugging and hitting with RISP aren’t important, either. It has come down to guys needing to hit in general, not just in the clutch. Markakis, Wigginton, and Wieters are all below .300. Nobody is above .300 (except Felix Pie, whoopee). Guys are below .200. That’s just great…
Good bullpen news:
The O’s seem to have found a closer in Alfredo Simon. And a new (maybe temporary but still for now) set-up guy in Uehara. In 6 appearances, Simon is 3-3 in save opportunities, and in 6 IP, has only allowed 6 hits, 0 ER, and has 7 Ks and only 4 BBs. Uehara, in his 2 IP in 2 appearances, has only allowed 1 H and 0 ER, along with 2 Ks.
Ohman, through 11 IP in 16 appearances, has still not earned a run. Berken and Meredith are both also set in position so far, neither with an ERA over 2. These 3 combined have the following stat line:
36.2 IP, 27 H, 5 ER, 26:11 K:BB ratio, and a stellar ERA of 1.23.
Pitching looks good. Matusz had his first rocky start after 4 consecutive quality starts, but he should be back on track soon enough. Especially with his T-shirt Tuesday being tomorrow night.
The Orioles homestand now looks like this:
3 games vs. Mariners
3 games vs. Indians
2 games vs. Royals
Even with 2 of those M’s games being against Lee and Hernandez, the O’s should be able to split this 8 game homestand, if not wint 5 or 6 at least. That would be a huge boost. We will have to wait and see what the club does in terms of roster moves to set this team straight.
Always remember to follow along with the sites I have listed under links. They will always have the best O’s info available.
Keep up with http://baltimoresportsreport.com/ They have daily articles and write-ups about Baltimore sports and a lot about the Orioles. Taking part in the discussions on the site is very interesting. They also have lots of interesting stuff like contests and interviews with players and commentators.
So as I said a few entries ago, I am busy in my finals weeks in school and have been loaded with papers to get in and tests to take, so haven’t had much time for extra O’s writing. But don’t worry, I have still been keeping up with it all and will be posting a big entry on the Yankees and Red Sox series overall, and including Minnesota in that too probably since I will write it Sunday night. Will be in Cleveland this weekend, and going to the Indians vs. Tigers game, so will put up a picture or two from that.
I currently do some writing for Baltimore Sports Report and this week I was asked to do a piece on the bullpen situation, specifically Arrieta vs. Jim Johnson. I was actually surprised by this request. I do not think the organization is debating in the bullpen specifically between these two. Instead, I will talk about the bullpen options and what I think should be done.
So here is the bullpen overall as of last night (Wednesday night):
Matt Albers, Cla Meredith, Jason Berken, Mark Hendrickson, Will Ohman, and Alfredo Simon. You can count Koji Uehara in too, though as of me writing this he isnt officially on the roster until gametime tonight in Minnesota.
Well, let’s look now at the options in the minors (that I consider to be MLB bullpen ready):
Alberto Castillo, Jim Johnson, Jake Arrieta, Kam Mickolio, and Pedro Viola.
Now how are those guys doing? Castillo was on and off, having solid outings, but then having no so great ones, like facing Robbie Cano in Baltimore last week (I don’t like thinking about that). He is also a lefty with Hendrickson and Ohman, so the O’s don’t feel the need for another lefty in the ‘pen, especially with his inconsistent pitching types (throws overhand, side-arm, and every so often a 3/4 pitch). He can be kept in AAA for now and will be used when needed. Good to have a veteran guy there though if need be for one.
Kam Mickolio won’t have a chance at anything until he gets his command issues under control, and until that happens, there’s no reason to even discuss him as an option. Pedro Viola is a high ERA pitcher with some experience in AAA, but he is also a lefty and won’t be used this year unless injuries really start coming. My consistent on Jake Arrieta is that he has a great arm and needs to keep with his development work in Norfolk, and I see no reason to mess with it. Especially with the record we have now, we are not in contention, so there is no reason to mess up a guy’s track in the organization when he could turn out to be a great starter of the future for the O’s.
Now to Jim Johnson. The guy is given no breaks on a club that gives too many breaks to almost every player. Trembley did finally work with MacPhail and punished some guys like Mickolio and Atkins for their horrendous stats, but then there are guys like Jones, Reimold, and Scott who are still consistently playing despite their terrible hitting numbers on the year. Johnson is a veteran of the team, despite being only 26, and he should be given breaks as much if not more than a guy like Jones who hasn’t even played a full season with the team yet. Also, people do not realize this, Jim Johnson is not doing horribly in his set-up role. His overall ERA may be 6.52 overall, but in the 8th innings, he has a 4.05 ERA. While that might not be incredible, it is still early in the season to be judged on ERA completely and he was pushed past his limit by pitching 2 or so innings in some games. That is not what he has been good at, and it is not something he is used to. Side note: He has better command during day games. 7:1 K:BB on day games and 2:3 on night games. Allowed his only homerun on the year during a night game as well.
Hm. Well, Albers definitely has proven himself lately after blowing 2 straight games against the Red Sox a week and a half ago and being on the chopping block for a bit until he caught fire and has been great as of late, finding his control once again. Cla Meredith, Mark Hendrickson, Jason Berken, and Will Ohman are basically locks for the season as long as none of them making any negative transitions. There are basically 3 spots or so that are up in the air and most likely will change at least a few more times throughout the season.
Arrieta needs to stay and develop. Don’t push him. Viola is worse than Castillo, so if any lefty would be used it would be Senor Alberto. Gonzo is still hurt. Mickolio does not have his command down yet.
The best bullpen would be Meredith, Hendrickson, Berken, Ohman, Johnson, Albers, and Simon. I love Alfredo, and he is on the top of my list to be the closer until we figure out the Gonzo situation. If we let him close, JJ can go back to set-up, and I think we are set with that. That is the order that has obviously worked best, so I do not know why we have strayed away from it. I know I have left Uehara out so far. That is because I have no opinion on him. He hasn’t really shown much for the team. Ever. Except that he can get injured. So this bullpen isn’t the one as of now since Koji is taking JJ’s spot (for now), but I expect him to get injured or for JJ to come up somehow. By the end of this month, the bullpen should be what I said or switch maybe Simon out for Uehara (I hate that idea but the O’s will do it because they don’t like winning it seems).
Now, the other issue is what to do when Arrieta and Tillman are ready for the bigs. Both will get rotation spots soon enough, and whoever is kicked out is either off the team or in the bullpen, depending on who. For instance, Hernandez could be converted to a bullpen guy. Guthrie, though, is a starter and we would not try him in the ‘pen. We will just have to wait and see how that works out along with the constand and nagging injuries that come about. The issue they will have to deal with is that the starting pitching has been very good quality so far, and the bullpen is the main issue (in terms of pitching, the hitting is what overall drags us down the most), so it will be a tough decision to demote a guy like Hernandez or Guthrie if they keep up with solid starts (both of them have had bad starts their last times out, but we will see if that trend continues, although both were against the Yankees).
Well, the O’s certainly know which option they would pick as of now.
Alfredo Simon started off this season at AAA Norfolk. That lasted a few weeks. After having a very strong spring in Sarasota, impressing coaches all around like Trembley and Kranitz, the Orioles decided to bring him up from the minors only 3 weeks into the season. Simon had a 1.59 ERA at Norfolk, going 1-1 in 17 IP and only 3 ER. With a solid 14:5 K:BB ratio, Simon came to the Orioles home in Baltimore yesterday ready to play. The stat that shows his ability to pitch an inning of strong relief is his career WHIP in the minors, 1.394.
When Trembley asked him pre-game if he was scared, and Simon answered no, that was all Trembley needed to hear. Or at least in his mind. Without going in depth right here on Trembley, people question him lately, and a quick decision to throw the guy in at closer right away seems odd. I know he is shuffling things around, but he hasn’t closed since his 2005 season with Norwich when he recorded 19 saves.
Simon had Tommy John surgery just last year, and he has recovered more than perfectly from such a procedure. Here is the summary of the inning he pitched last night (courtesy of Yahoo! sports):
Top 9th: NY Yankees
|– J. Lugo at second|
|– A. Simon relieved J. Johnson|
|– C. Granderson struck out looking|
|– N. Swisher singled to shallow center|
|– N. Johnson hit for R. Winn|
|– N. Johnson walked, N. Swisher to second|
|– R. Pena ran for N. Johnson|
|– D. Jeter struck out swinging|
|– B. Gardner safe at first on shortstop C. Izturis’ fielding error, N. Swisher scored, R. Pena to third|
|– M. Teixeira singled to shallow right, R. Pena scored, B. Gardner to third|
– A. Rodriguez grounded into fielder’s choice, M. Teixeira out at second
Simon topped out at 97 with his fastball. Not just once, but consistently throwing 96 and 97 MPH heaters through the end of the inning. That was impressive. Although he was a starter in Norfolk, throwing mid-90s in a close situation past 20 pitches shows a true fight he had. He ended the inning with 29 total pitches, 20 of which went for strikes. His 2-seamer was shocking, and even moreso on replays when they tracked the motion of his 96 MPH throw that got Jeter to swing and strike out. With 2 Ks in the inning, and what should have been 0 runs scored, Simon had a very strong outing. Luckily, the score table counted both runs as not earned, due to Izturis’ error on Gardner’s ground ball that should have ended the inning with 2 outs. He kept his composure strong through the third out, eventually barely made my a flip from Lugo high to Izzy.
Trembley post-game said that he would feel 100% confident going with Simon again if his arm is feeling loose and ready to go. It will be interesting to see how this situation pans out. He is the most successful closer for the team so far this season, being the first to come through on his first save opportunity in the season.
Well, the Orioles welcomed two new things to Baltimore today. The new Jackie Robinson #42 statue outside of the H gate will call, and a home win. For the first time this season, the Orioles are on a winning streak!
I am beginning finals weeks (yes, 3 weeks of finals) right now in school, so the next few weeks of entries may not be as in depth as the first bunch this season. There may be times, of course, that I have down time, and instead of studying for an exam that could get me college credits, I would spend a few hours analyzing the Baltimore Orioles.
I will start it off tonight with this. The entry on tonight’s game will be more about some concepts and happenings that I took note of during the game. Just as a game recap, I am providing you with the scoring summary (courtesy of Yahoo! sports):
|Bot 2nd: Baltimore|
|– C. Izturis walked, L. Scott scored, T. Wigginton to third, N. Reimold to second|
|Top 3rd: NY Yankees|
|– B. Gardner safe at first on third baseman M. Tejada’s fielding error, N. Swisher scored|
|Top 4th: NY Yankees|
|– J. Posada homered to deep right|
|Bot 6th: Baltimore|
|– R. Hughes singled to shallow right, L. Scott scored, T. Wigginton to third|
|– N. Reimold singled to shallow left, T. Wigginton scored, R. Hughes to second|
|– C. Izturis singled to shallow left center, R. Hughes scored, L. Montanez to second|
|Bot 8th: Baltimore|
|– C. Izturis singled to shallow right, J. Lugo scored|
|Top 9th: NY Yankees|
|– B. Gardner safe at first on shortstop C. Izturis’ fielding error, N. Swisher scored, R. Pena to third|
|– M. Teixeira singled to shallow right, R. Pena scored, B. Gardner to third|
So, thanks again, Orioles, for another last second win where you go with the “give me a heart attack” play and get men on in crunch time before closing it. Two in a row. Only a few more and I will start to think Sherrill is back. I say that because while Gonzalez did get us into tough situations, at least Sherrill would finish 95% of them off. Hence, I am okay with the O’s winning by a thread every night, as long as they still add one to the win column.
I have things to say about all 4 pitchers.
Just a summary:
|A. Castillo (W, 1-0)||1.2||1||0||0||0||3||0||0.30||0.00|
|J. Johnson (H, 3)||1.0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1.62||6.23|
|A. Simon (S, 1)||1.0||2||2||0||1||2||0||3.00||0.00|
Millwood: Another tremendous night. Proved again why he is the 1 spot in our rotation. In times of need, he came through with big pitches to create big outs. Still looking for a win, but then again, throwing 5.1 innings of solid baseball with really only the 1 earned run off of the Posada shot. Props to him for keeping up the good work.
Alberto Castillo: Wow. Even without the stat line above, I have been thinking ever since he was taken out about his 1.2 IP with 1 H and 3 Ks. He looked great. Lots of confidence, and able to really throw strikes and move the ball around the zone. Great stuff from a guy who is fighting for a roster spot.
JJ: Solid. Nothing incredible, but got the job done. Got thru the 8th with 1 hit, still would like to see more Ks out of him, but happy none the less with the job well done. I really prefer him in that role. Trembley, please see how successful the guy is in the 8th and just the 8th.
Alfredo Simon: Who are you? Well, you made a name tonight all around baseball. Recording a save over the New York Yankees is difficult to do, let alone when it includes 2 Ks in 1 IP, and one of those Ks was of Derek Jeter. More to come on this guy later. In the long run, great stuff. I was extremely impressed with the wicked 2-seamer. I feel like that would be one of the hardest pitches to hit in baseball if he could perfect the control. Topping out at 97 was insane to watch.
-Hughes again with an RBI single and run scored. The dude knows what he wants and knows how to get it.
-Adam Jones, (going off of memory here) in the 6th inning, struck out after the O’s had just taken the lead. His K ended the inning, and after his ‘too-far’ check swing, he belted the bat at the ground and chucked the helmet in front of him. I understand his frustration. He was supposed to be the leader of the lineup and have the year of his life. He did come on later to hit a double. Either way, I think Trembley has another decision to make here. Atkins was one that Trembley decided to act on by bringing up Hughes to give Atkins some sitting time. Jones provides such a glove (while some may argue against it, and even at times I have said how I see a lack of effort in the field, and still no one can deny that his throws have been off this year), so it is difficult to bench him. I think a night off would do him some good though. Hitting barely over the .200 mark is not what the team needs right now with all of this sudden firepower showing through.
-Markakis seemed to have found his bat. He got 6 doubles on the road trip, which sounds dandy. But when, in the bottom of the 8th, he comes up with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd, I expect RBIs. Once again, Markakis hasn’t found the clutch side to his hitting yet. Hopefully it’s coming, since his new found bat just seemed to arrive within the past week.
-Izturis. Buddy. Whoever told you it was opposite day was kidding with you, man. You went 2-3 with 3 RBIs and a BB (which was an RBI), yet gave up the first run in the 9th on a bad hop play at short. I know Gardner is fast, but dude, field the ball. Unacceptable there. I am not sure what I like more, this offensive side of Cesar, or the little Venezuelan gold glover without a bat side. Hmm… How about mixing the two into a… wait for it… legitimate 5-tool player? Surprise the league! I’m all for that.
Watched Trembley’s post game press conference. I am going to now recap my personal Trembley timeline.
Before the season – trusted him and Andy 100% to do the best for the organization and its growth.
Beginning of season – felt bad for him since Gonzo was blowing up and it wasn’t his fault, especially when the organization had just paid for the dude, he couldn’t just sit Mike after 1 outing.
As of late – not so happy. He made the mistake of using Albers in Boston the night after his loss in relief, and then blew it again. Used JJ for too long too. I am not liking the pitching change decisions. Then again, I like his open outlook.
Well, this press conference hurt. Trembley seemed like he had given up on the team. Repeatedly, he would say things about how anyone could fill any duty and that there were no true assigned spots in the bullpen, and how the team played great tonight but still would be shuffled with. Man, you’re burning me up inside. I liked you, but now you have to go sound all pessimistic and act like you are just totally shut down already. I know it has been rough, but be a professional and talk to the media like you mean it.
That’s all tonight. Notes for tomorrow:
It’s CC vs. Guthrie. I was thinking of saying different points about hitting CC and Guthrie being back in domination form, but then I found this:
Repeat, please. Big nights from Jones and Markakis are due, along with solid nights from Wigginton and Scott. Everything is looking like it is falling somewhat into place, so let’s go get it done.