The Royals are in Baltimore, but they will be out of here way too soon. I say that because the O’s could use more games against sub-par teams like KC in order to boost their record and get to that .500 mark that they are dying for.
The Royals come into tonight’s game at 14-24, opposed to the O’s disgusting 12-26. Looking at the Royals schedule though, the O’s would have probably had a few more wins with a few series against the disappointing White Sox as opposed to all of these games versus the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays.
Royals hitters are actually 4th in all of baseball in batting average overall at .272 (Orioles are 20th at .250). But just like the Orioles, these Royals hitters have no timely hitting, being 22nd in the league in runs scored, which is cause for most of their losses. They match up with the O’s in the way that their starting pitching is very impressive at times, and their lineup is pretty stacked with guys who should be producing more but haven’t been in clutch situations.
I am more interested in this two game stint between the league’s worst duo because of the storylines behind each of the two games. Let’s look at the pitching matchups, and that will explain everything (with an extra stat thrown in at the end):
Tonight (Monday, 7:05 ET): Kyle Davies, RHP (2-2, 5.22) at Brad Bergesen, RHP (3-2, 5.76)
Tomorrow (Tuesday, 7:05 ET): Zack Greinke, RHP (1-4, 2.73) at Kevin Millwood, RHP (0-4, 3.69)
The extra stat is that Billy Butler is hitting .338 on the season for KC in 148 at-bats, with 8 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 22 RBIs.
I bring up the stat because of last season. The most interesting storyline behind tonight’s game will be the moment that Billy Butler steps into the batter’s box for his first at-bat against Bergesen since last season when he was in the box and smacked a line drive right at Bergy’s knee. That one swing ended his season, and eventually threw his mechanics completely off to give Brad a horrendous start to this year.
In the second game, everybody expects a pitcher’s duel between two quality starters that have gotten no opportunities this season to really show off their power as a solid pitcher due to lack of run support (and in many cases, defensive support) by the other 8 guys on the field. Both pitchers have pitched 50+ innings in their 8 starts each this season (Greinke 52.2, Millwood 53.2), so it will be interesting to see how each lineup fares with the opposing pitcher when placed in a situation where neither team is really expected to score many runs.
The O’s came into this 8 game homestand hoping to take 6 games or so against lower quality teams as compared to the AL East they have been faring poorly with. If the Orioles could pull out both wins over the Royals, they would take 5 wins and hit the road. That after a heartbreaker on Saturday, which threw the momentum off our side completely for the game the next afternoon, and eventually losing us the series to the Indians. Hopefully the O’s can come out and back Bergesen up for a 4th straight start, and then again Tuesday to hopefully pull Millwood his 1st W of 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.