Thursday, May 10, 2007

Random O's Notes

I haven't seen a lot of talk about this during the season so I will try to drive this point home again: Melvin Mora has been a defensive whiz in 2007. He's a whirling dervish, a Hoover vacuum with a laserbeam arm. Outside of Joe Crede and Ryan Zimmerman, he's been the best defensive thirdbaseman in the league. Tuesday night's game highlighted that fact but he's been doing it night in and night out better than other AL defensive stalwarts A-Rod and Eric Chavez. I never thought I'd see the day when Melvin would be this good with the glove but so far I'm loving it.

Aubrey Huff's homer in the 10th was big. You don't need a graph to know this but it's still fun to look at:

(Courtesy of FanGraphs. Lots more about this game and others over there...)

John Maine? I'm still not buying it. If I am wrong about this guy, it will be the wrongest I have ever been. I don't believe he's going to continue to strike out NL batters at the rate that he has or that he will continue to exhibit the before unseen control that he has for much of the first six weeks of the season. He may be a useful pitcher in the NL, in a pitcher's park with one of the best infield defenses I've seen in awhile but his current level of pitching prowess will not last. Mark my words.

Is anybody still upset B.J. Ryan left? The Jays have paid $47 million for one stellar year. Ryan may come back full strength after Tommy John surgery but that's a real crapshoot, especially since he's over 30. Tough for an old dog to learn a new way to pitch.

Rick Dempsey has apologized for his comments during a weekend game when he cracked domestic violence jokes...repeatedly. This was discussed over at Oriole Magic earlier in the week and while I defend Rick's irreverent tone in the booth, (I genuinely enjoy his humor generally) his comments to Jay Gibbon's wife, Laura Giuliani, were not funny, indefensible and were very uncomfortable to watch. I was glad to see him apologize and hopefully he has learned from the experience.

With the troubles the Blue Jays have been having, is there any reason to believe that the O's couldn't finish above .500 and be in third place? The Jays have more problems and injuries than I care to list here and while Tampa has some good young bats, their rotation and bullpen isn't going to keep them close enough to win consistently. Even the Yanks are deeply flawed when it comes to pitching (Clemens returning or not). Third place should be the lowest expectation at this point.

Obviously, Erik Bedard pitched great last night but Jeremy Guthrie is the story here. To pitch that well on Tuesday night was quite a feat considering some of the dangerous hitters in that Tampa lineup. He was dominant. I had thought that Guthrie might be the kind of pitcher who gets solved the second or third time through a lineup but he has shown no sign of that yet and in fact it appears to be the opposite. Batters are hitting .365 against him the first time through the order but only .192 the second time through the lineup. Maybe Jeremy is the one figuring the batters out?

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