Thursday, July 26, 2007

Devil Ray Love

You've got to love it when the Devil Rays come to town. First, it's good for a win streak almost every time. The O's are probably the hottest team in the AL behind the Yankees and the Rays make it so easy to win that you have to give them partial credit for both teams recent good fortune. Second, it makes you feel better that there are ballclubs out there that are in even worse shape than ours. Of course, you all saw Carl Crawford and Brendan Harris botch an easy popup that should've been the third out and instead it became two runs and allowed Jay Payton to plate another in the next at bat. Oh, to be a Rays fan. I can't imagine it.


Erik Bedard was not overly sharp last night (lots of hard hit balls right at fielders) but it shows his talent that he was able to dominate the boxscore without having his best stuff. The Orioles should lock his up ASAP. With a little luck in the win column, Bedard may be in serious consideration for the AL Cy Young.


He's not there yet but...if Corey Patterson continues to hit well, he could give the O's a hard choice to make when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Two weeks ago this was a no-brainer; let him walk unless he would return for a dirt-cheap incentive-laden contract. But now he looks like he is returning to last year's form.

Is part of that resurgence due to hitting second? Trembley toyed with Patterson in that role for a couple weeks (BTW, Perlozzo never did...) but (as I had hoped) Corey has been a fixture in the 2 hole for the last week with good results. Patterson is hitting .347 when batting second this season.

Another weird thing is that as Patterson has gotten less patient, his production has gone up. After his terrible May he has walked only 4 times and raised his batting average a full 60 points. Maybe he's one of the rare hitters who markedly improves when he gets outrageously aggressive at the plate?

Patterson is an enigma and unique among major league regulars. Win or lose, I am fascinated by this guy's game.


Luis Hernandez handles the bat better than I expected and is not too shabby with the glove either. Could he be a potential utility infielder when/if the O's part ways with Chris Gomez after this season?

Speaking of future utilitymen, Brandon Fahey gets the start at SS this afternoon.


The good news about Chris Ray going on the DL is that we get a longer look at Norfolk closer Cory Doyne against big league bats. The rest of the season is open auditions for next year's pen.


Steve Trachsel makes what may be his final start in an Oriole uniform this afternoon. Good luck against that lineup, Steve!


On a non-Baltimore related note: Does anybody remember Rick Ankiel? The 21 year old Cardinal pitcher who imploded in the 2000 NLDS and never regained his control? Well, he finally gave up pitching, switched to the outfield in the Cards minor league system and up to this point has hit .272 with 29 HR's for AAA Memphis! At 28, he's a heartbeat away from making it back to the bigs as a power hitting corner outfielder. Who says this isn't the greatest game in the world?

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