Jeremy Guthrie dominated the A's and Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker finished off the job. the O's win 2-0 and win the weekend series. Baltimore in its heyday was built around pitching, defense and the three-run homer.
The O's have the defense. They are second in the AL in team DER and 1stin the AL in fielding percentage.
The O's are developing the pitching. After a rough stretch with the 'pen, Dave Trembley seems to have found a way to work the relief staff in a more effective manner.
Now, we just need the slugging.
The Case for Dave Trembley
I was under the impression that Dave Trembley's moderate success may have been a product of the soft schedule the O's have been playing lately but au contraire:
Record of O's Opponents Pre-Trembley: .515
Record of O's Opponents Post-Trembley: .513
Pretty much the same strength of schedule. Trembley has guided the team to a .535 winning percentage while contending with injuries to Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora, two of the O's better offensive players.
The funny thing is:
BA OBP SLG OPS
APR .253 .322 .392 .714
MAY .277 .344 .398 .742
JUN .273 .333 .401 .734
JUL .271 .327 .419 .746
The offensive production has not been much different from the rest of the year but Trembley seems to be managing it to a better effect in the W-L column. With injuries. Against similiar competition.
The O's and Their Draft Futility
I've highlighted the amateur drafts and Baltimore's general futility in building a functional farm system and I feel it's reason number one for the O's issues and the number one crime of the Angelos regime.
So, imagine my dismay when I saw this in the Baltimore Sun this morning:
With the Aug. 15 deadline to sign draft picks looming, Orioles director of scouting Joe Jordan remains confident that the club will sign its top two unsigned picks - Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters, the first-round selection, and Texas Christian pitcher Jacob Arrieta, the fifth-round selection. Both are represented by Scott Boras...
...The Orioles will not sign their 10th-round pick, Eryk McConnell, a pitcher from North Carolina State, or their 38th-round pick, Michael Harrington, an outfielder from the College of Charleston. Both likely will return to college.
OK, if you want to start building a farm system that is useful year in and year out, you have to sign the players you draft! Not all of them, obviously. There are some players who you take a flyer on in the late rounds and try to talk them out of going to college next season. However, at the minimum, you need to sign your picks in the first ten rounds! Why would you draft a guy that high that you did not reasonably think you could sign? This farm system needs bodies. In the words of Branch Rickey, "From quantity come quality." Every pick, especially at that point in the draft, counts.
So, forgetting Eryck McConnell for a moment, let's look at the 1st round pick Matt Wieters and 5th round pick Jacob Arrieta. Baltimore has to sign these guys. And I don't want to hear about big bully agent Scott Boras. Did anybody not know who their agent was? Of course not. They drafted these guys knowing exactly what they were getting into. If you don't want to deal with Boras, pass on his guys. Many teams do. You can't waste these picks if you're not willing to pony up the cash to make them Orioles.
We'll be watching.
Orioles W/L in Close Games
Even with their recent success, the O's are still only 6-9 in close games (decided by less than two runs, the sparks in red are close games, up in win, down is loss).
Daniel Cabrera's Future
There has been sentiment in the O's blogosphere, in the press and Baltimore fans in general that their patience with Cabrera is over and it's time for him to go. I have a rule of thumb when considering whether I want a player to go. Are there better players on the team to take their place? In this case, do the O's have five starters better than D-Cab? Let's see: Bedard, Guthrie...Guthrie...I can't think of anyone else better, even if he never improves. Maybe Garrett Olson, maybe Adam Loewen if they pan out...but he's still number 5.
If we can find three more arms better than Cabrera, trade away. Until then, Cabrera needs to stay.