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).