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.
As I said in an earlier entry, the next few weeks may be scarce interms of my entries, and most likely will not have game summaries and info on a daily basis. Still trying to get out a post every day or two about different topics. Since I have baseball games myself also, I did not get to catch the first few innings of each Yankee game, so that’s another reason why I am behind.
As for this entry. I have a question for the O’s. What the hell happened? The whole Boston series, the team looked legitimate. May have lost 2 of 3, but were in all 3 games, showed tons of patience and hitting, and kept up with positive starting pitching. The bad part was the bullpen, specifically Albers who blew the two games we lost in that series. The good part was that the bats were coming alive. We were having double digit hit games, multi-hit games for a lot of guys, and the bats of Markakis and Jones looked to be coming back.
The O’s arrived back in Baltimore, and decided to just stick with the trends from the beginning of the season after beating the Yankees on Tuesday. While Sabathia and Burnett were on top of their games, specifically Burnett who pitched his best stuff in a long time (unfortunately it had to come against us), but why did the bats just die. At least against Sabathia we got some hits, but it just looked flat out horrible. We lost the touch that the guys were able to find against the Red Sox on Sunday and the Yankees on Tuesday to bring guys in who were on base and not rack up the LOB statistic. Wednesday went back to the old crap where we get hits all spread apart and not score. Last night was just horrific. We had 3 total hits, and the whole lineup just looked out of it, specifically Wieters. The last two nights he has look mezmorized at the plate. Not sure what is going on, but I am hoping Crowley can help him get back on track to hitting .300+. He dropped below .300 last night, which is hard to see when he was one of the positive aspects of our offense before. Wigginton continued his hitting with one hit in each of the two past games. Who would have guessed Cesar Izturis would be our hottest bat at any time in the season. More to come on him later. I want to write a post about it, but might wait to see how he does vs. Lackey tonight.
The bullpen went back to the ‘Opposite Day’ concept. Here is what the stats and happenings are for the bullpen guys:
-Albers has pitched 2.1 innings (1 IP Wed. and 1.1 IP Thurs.) and in those outings only let one hit thru and got a K. He looks to have gotten his fastball under control. That is a good sign since he is a guy the team is hoping to build with for the future in the ‘pen.
-Castillo was brought up and had solid innings before yesterday of strikeouts and no runs. Unfortunately for him, he was brought in to face Robbie Cano, who smacked his 2nd HR of the night off of Castillo’s low speed side arm on the 2nd pitch.
-Hendrickson and Meredith both pitched an inning on Wednesday. The difficult part of this one is that neither looked bad. They both looked on top of their stuff, just the Yankees lineup is overpowering and talented. Luckily, between the 2.1 innings they pitched, they only let up 1 ER, but had 7 hits combined. Would have been more runs but Hendrickson inherited some Guthrie allowed hits.
-Berken and Ohman came in for 9th inning pitching in the 2 games. Berken smoothly got 2 outs, and Ohman got 3 with 2 Ks and 1 H. Sad that they couldn’t be for saves.
Just looks like the pitching is going downhill. Starters haven’t looked stellar. Sorry to Matusz, but you threw some ugly pitches. Overall, still looked great, but against a team like the Yankees, you can’t even give up one bad pitch without paying the price. Guthrie just was disgusting.
Hopefully this weekend the O’s can rebuild on their offense and the power they have shown a little bit lately. My hopes are for Wieters to get back with it, Jones to have a 3-3 or 4-4 night (he sincerely needs it), and Markakis keeps the slugging up. The reason I think those things are most important are because they are the heart of the lineup and that has been troubling all season.
Side story to follow: Who will fill the 5th rotation spot? Brittany Ghiroli reports that it is most likely Bergesen, and all signs point to that. MacPhail said to the media that nothing could be announced since a corresponding move would have to be made the day of game for that pitcher’s first start.
With only 1 ER in 25 IP this year so far, Jake Arrieta has looked stellar for AAA Norfolk. The main issue with bringing him up is that the team does not want to go off the path of his planned out development. The O’s did bring up Tillman quite early last year, so I see no reason why they wouldn’t surprise us with another move like that this year. Bergesen, on the other hand, seems to be the guy they want up there now. It is not anything against Arietta, it is just that the team wants both guys to eventually be in the rotation, and since Bergesen is the guy who is already set in a rotation spot in the future, they want him to be able to fill his role as soon as possible. Arrieta, on the other hand, could use another month or two or brilliant starts at the minor league level in order to fully prepare him for battling the AL East, something with Bergesen already has experience with and would probably be the better option for instead of putting in the rookie for his first start against the Red Sox clutch lineup.
Bergesen did throw 7 innings of 2 hit ball for Norfolk this past Sunday, which was a positive start for him considering the way he was blown off his rocker in his first 3 starts for the O’s this year.
Other options include giving the ball to Berken or Hendrickson for the one or two time start, but I think the O’s would rather leave them in the bullpen where they have been fantastic and let the Bergesen issues work themselves out. We will see by this weekend what Mr. MacPhail decides to do!