Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back In Town...

I should leave town and lose track of the O's more often it seems.

I have been in Tulsa, away from the internet and ESPN (mostly) for the past five days and the O's have won every game.

I am still catching up with all the news and boxscores and I have still not changed my expectations for the team after writing off the season last week but we would all agree that winning is better than losing.

Quick observations: Steve Trachsel pitched his annual complete game this week. How big was Nick Markakis' homerun last night?

Pretty big as it turned out, moving the WPA .132 with a single swing and effectively putting the game out of reach. (Courtesy

Mr. Reluctant looks like he has finally pitched himself out of the setup role which is a good thing. Funny how Baez was reluctant to accept the setup role and now the O's are reluctant to have to send him to the mound in any meaningful capacity.

More analysis to follow...

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm Set Free

I've been set free and I've been bound
To the memories of yesterday's clouds...
And now, I'm set free

- Lou Reed

Sorry I have not been posting, I am leaving town for Memorial Day weekend and needed to work a little extra before I left...

It's an annual tradition for me and last night that tradition has continued. I have written off the season and will be far less tortured for the next few months now that I realize there is little hope for a 2007 turnaround.

The standard was set back on May 17th after the O's were swept by Toronto. if the O's don't win the rest of the series for the month, they will have no shot at contending for anything and I will divorce myself emotionally from this team. As you all know, the O's beat the Nationals but were unable to win the rubber game with Toronto last night. Was it a lot to expect? Maybe. But if the O's aren't better than the Nationals, an injury depleted Blue Jay team, an injury depleted Oakland team and the Royals then there isn't much hope for success this year. None of those teams (save maybe Oakland) is going to be very good this year.

They are now 5 games below .500.

It's over.

After this post, I can continue the rest of the year with cold statistical analysis and looking for trends for next season and I won't be so miserable when Mr. Reluctant blows yet another game. I won't be miserable when Sam Perlozzo make some silly move to put the game in jeopardy. I won't be miserable when the infield botches double plays.

I'll still be watching but I will be a lot more at peace.

I'm set free.

Minor League Report

Norfolk: 18-26

3B Mike Cervenak has been raking it this season slugging .485 and has hit 6 homeruns. On the mound, SP Garrett Olson continues to impress striking out 44 in 54 inning with a WHIP of 1.06. He's only an injury away from getting his shot with the club.

Bowie 22-21

OF Val Majewski is hitting .2.65 and slugging an anemic .368 which saddens me to see. The best hitter on the team, OF Nolan Reimold, has been injured for much of the year. Only IF Oscar Salazar has put together a decent season at the plate hitting over .300 with 5 homeruns thus far.

The starting pitching has been nondescript but James Hoey and Felix Romero are racking up the K's out of the bullpen. Romero has struck out 39 over 25 innings for an eye popping rate of 14 K/9. Hoey's doing even better striking out batters at a 14.1 K/9 rate while only walking 3 batters all year? Would he look good in Baltimore setting up for Chris Ray? Yes, he would.

Frederick: 21-20

The Keys are in first place in the Northern Division of the Carolina League and are led by several players having fine years with the bat. 3B Ryan Finan leads the way with 4 homers and slugging .469 on the year. There is also a trio of regulars batting better than .300 in 2B Jonathan Tucker (.304), SS Blake Davis (.319) and LF Jacob Duncan (.323).

On the mound only P David Hernandez has distinguished himself as a starter with a 3.26 ERA and 50 K's over 47 innings. Brandon Erbe has been disappointing, sporting a 5.35 ERA (and a deceptive 3-1) record. The culprit: he's walking 4.7 per 9 and has giving up 5 homers.

Shorebirds: 20-25

Brandon Tripp has been the Shorebirds best player this year but has also been on the disabled list since May 6th. Without him, Chris Vinyard has led the way belting 9 HR with a .291 average.
The good news is that 1B (C) Brandon Snyder has been the third best offensive force on the team but the bad news is he's doing it hitting .265 with 5 HR.

Weird stat of the day: SP Pedro Beato is sporting a 3.50 ERA over 9 games and is 0-0. That's right, he has no decisions at all. The best pitcher so far has been Brad Bergesen with his 2.45 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Random O's Related Notes

I may be the only one left out here not calling for Sam Perlozzo's head at this point. Support for Sam has eroded with The Oriole Post and Oriole Central having joined Oriole Magic is calling for Perlozzo's removal. The general opinion of Camden Chat and the comments on Roch Kubato's blog echo the sentiment. Even Roch is questioning Sam's decision making and David Steele at the Baltimore Sun is calling for Perlozzo to be cut loose.

Why should Sam remain? I've got three reasons.

A) I believe a manager should be given a full two years to show what he can do. We should probably let him play out the string.

B) It's not his fault nobody's hitting.

C) It's not his fault Mr. Reluctant is a bum. (Although as I mentioned before, Baez has had enough second chances. Take him out of that setup role now!)

I don't agree with many things Perlozzo does (bench makeup, bullpen deployment, etc) but the O's should be a winning team even with a modest offensive output and they haven't been able to manage even that.

But this team will be in a lot of nip and tuck games and Perlozzo has not shown a knack for winning the close ones. Managers really don't affect the game much during games that aren't particularly close but good management is needed to guide the team to close wins. The sparkline below shows wins (up bars) and losses (down bars) for the O's this season. The red bars are games decided by one run.

That's a lot of red below the line (especially lately) and it's the most damning evidence of Perlozzo's poor management thus far.


John Maine got shelled on Tuesday and roughed up again last night. The beatings will continue, mark my words.


Former Oriole "Stumblin' " Jack Cust has been making the most of his latest major league opportunity with the A's hitting .283 with 8 HR in only 14 games. Good for him and I hope it works out for him this time. He's been an outstanding minor league hitter for years.


Paul Bako sucks. He lives on his reputation as a defensive specialist but I haven't seen evidence of it this year. His bumble of a pop foul induced by Brian Burres in his last start merely highlights his struggles behind the plate this year. And we all know what a lousy hitter he is. Really, there was no one better? Even Alberto Castillo may be a better fit.


A fine article over at the Roar From 34 about the state of the overworked bullpen. Although they proclaim they are not "statheads" they do a nice job of breaking down the stats to make their point.


A really interesting stat that is stunning to me is Jeremy Guthrie and his ability to adjust to hitters the second and third time through the lineup.

1st PA: .326
2nd PA: .163
3rd PA: .091

Not only is it unusual for this number to drop as the game progresses, it drops dramatically. Once he's "stretched out" completely, Guthrie could become quite a workhorse in this rotation.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Like Nailbiters? Get Used To Them...

When your pitching is respectable but your offense can't seem to hit the ball with authority, close games are what you're going to get. Baltimore had three extra base hits on Sunday for the first time in over a week. Every other team in the AL did this at least once this weekend. The O's have only hit one homer over the last week. Only the woeful White Sox offense keeps the O's from being last in the league in slugging.

How did this happen? Even before the injuries to the pitching staff, the offense figured to be more of a sure thing heading into the season. It's been anything but.

Here's the SLG for the key offensive players for this year and from last year:

2007 2006
Hernandez .380 .479
Markakis .426 .448
Millar .425 .437
Roberts .401 .410
Huff .389 .478
Tejada .378 .498
Gibbons .374 .458
Payton .371 .418
Patterson .309 .443
Mora .428 .391

So only Millar, Mora and Roberts are doing about what you would expect from them based on last year. Huff, Tejada, Patterson and Hernandez are all at least 90 percentage points lower than last year. This team is getting no power from the guys expected to drive in runs. That's how you collect 12 hits but only get 3 runs for you trouble.

Looking on the bright side, given Baltimore's futility at the plate and all their pitching woes, they are only four games under .500 which is miraculous at this point. If the bats start to come around there is still time to salvage the season but time is getting short.

More from this weekend: It's time to mention Jeremy Guthrie in the same breath as Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera and Adam Lowen when talking about the O's rotation of the future. Another monster game from Guthrie on Saturday as he scattered 4 hits, struck out 10 and walked none. He didn't get the decision but he shut the Nationals down. Is he another Bruce Chen or is he legit? I don't know for sure. He looked to me to be a guy who teams would figure out the second time through the lineup but that has not been the case. Will the league catch up? I still have a feeling they will but I'd love to be wrong.

Erik Bedard was a monster today too. He struck out 12 and walked three while surrendering a lone run but the bullpen blew it for him today. And for good measure, he collected two hits and drove in a run.

Mr. Reluctant is looking bad these days. He gave up two runs today and takes the loss as the Nats pulled ahead in the 8th. Baez also started the Mother's Day Massacre rally last Sunday and made Friday night's win two runs closer than it needed to be by giving up a homer to Ryan Zimmerman. Before the season, I pointed to Baez as the weakest link of the relief pitchers signed in the offseason and so far he is proving me right.

A day off today, hopefully the O's hit the batting cages. And muscle up on the ball. The Blue Jays and A's are coming to town, two teams that aren't any better then we are...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Can Anybody Hit One Over The Fence?

The O's are power deficient. While they don't have a premier slugger, they do have several guys who were expected to pop 20-25 HR and a couple that could maybe hit 25-30 HR. We're a little over a quarter way through the season and Melvin Mora and Nick Markakis are on pace to hit 19 apiece. Not too bad until you consider that this total would lead the team. Only Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar would top 15. (Considering Millar's limited playing time, he has hit pretty well this season. He leads the team in HR per plate appearance and at-bat for at-bat has been the best Oriole run producer this year.) For the Twins this might be acceptable but not for the guys we have in this lineup.

Of course, homeruns aren't everything but the O's are an anemic slugging team overall, slugging sub-.400 which indicated they aren't "just missing" and stroking doubles instead. Unless you have a team full of Ichiros, Mark Graces and Tony Gwynns, having your sluggers hit in the teens for HR totals is not going to get it done.

Mazzone has done as well as could be expected this year given the injuries. The offense needs to pick up the slack.

Hit some out fellas. Please?

Stunned Silent

Maybe this blog thing wasn't such a good's way too depressing sometimes.

It's been over 72 hours now and I think I'm finally in a good place to write about the Orioles again.

I was plugging away at a post Sunday afternoon that was going to be all about the positive steps the O's were making. It was going to be about how the O's have won 7 out of 10, taken two straight series against division rivals. It was going to be about using this last 10 game stretch to springboard into a stretch of games against the woeful Blue Jays, Royals and Nationals to finish the month. It was going to be a hopeful entry that the O's were righting the ship and on their way to respectability. Baltimore was up 5-0 with one out in the ninth and Jeremy Guthrie was leaving the game.

Then the wheels fell off. I won't detail it again, it's been done plenty in the last four days.

Whose fault is it? Nobody's really. (Yes, I mean it...) The only man who you can lay some blame on is Mr. Perlozzo and that's only for his mismanagement of the bullpen. Mr. Reluctant couldn't hold the lead, couldn't muster two outs. (But to be fair, he may have a tired arm. All the major components of the bullpen are on record paces for appearance and innings. At some point Sam, you have to leave a starter in who doesn't have it to take one for the team.) Ray didn't have it and that will happen. If Melvin Mora would have been at third instead of nursing a jammed finger in the 9th, the O's probably survive. If Ray holds on to the ball, the O's survive. It sucks but it happens. I should take my own advice obviously but you can't have an NFL mentality when watching baseball.

There was nothing wrong with Perlozzo taking out Guthrie. They're trying to stretch him out and I'm sure next time he'll get the chance to finish. You don't want to get the guy hurt by having him do too much, too soon. I'm sure Mazzone had some input on that and I'll defer to him on that decision. If your bullpen can't hold a five run lead and get two outs, there's not much to be thrilled about in tighter situations.

Then to add insult to injury, Baltimore lost two nip and tuck games to Toronto the last two nights.

To highlight the good, the loss on Sunday doesn't diminish Guthrie's accomplishment. That was a beautiful game he pitched on Sunday. And Brian Burres pitched a great game to win on Friday. These were two guys thrust into the rotation due to injury and they have performed admirably. Both of these guys were claimed off of waivers when other teams didn't want them. The front office got them for nothing. If only one of them develops into a serviceable starter this year, the Duquette/Flanagan duo have a nice feather to put in their cap. (I have watched Burres pitch tonight and he did a nice job again.)

The bats need to wake up. Only the Royals and the Angels have hit fewer homeruns in the AL this season. If you have pitching like the Angels, you can win like that for awhile but we don't have that kind of pitching. Right now the two major issues are the overworked bullpen and the lack of power in the lineup. Even with the injuries to the starting rotation, the starters are pitching well enough to win.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Scanning The O's Blogosphere

I haven't done this for awhile for her it goes:

Heathir Irvin provides yet another fine series preview, this time about the Boston series. Heathir's making predictions now too! Good stuff!

The Baltimore Flock reviews all the stories of the past week.

Anthony over at Oriole Post buys a half price ticket to see a supersized offensive performance the the Yard.

The Wayward Oriole takes umbrage with a Dallas sportswriter who suggests that the Rangers should get Nick Markakis in a trade if Baltimore is interested in Mark Texiera.

Christopher Heun has a nice in-depth look at Miguel Tejada and potential O's cleanup hitters over at The Roar From 34.

Oriole Central has a quick blurb where they bag on my boy Rick Dempsey. Wow, am I the only one who finds Buck Martinez way more annoying than Rick? At least Rick in new. He can improve. This is as good as Buck Martinez is ever going to get! I need to start taking notes.

Roch Kubato's blog over at is, in a word, indispensable.

O's Complete The Sweep

I don't care if it is the Devil Rays, any sweep over an opponent in the AL East is a big deal. The O's have won 5 of 7 as they head to Boston for a weekend series.

The bats have been waking up just in time. Corey Patterson is now hitting .286 for the the month after a slow start in April. And don't look now but Jay Gibbons is hitting .294 and OPSing a fat .929 in his limited playing time in May. I know Jay's bitter about lack of playing time but hopefully he learns that he's part of a three or four man rotation in the LF/DH role. He can still be very valuable playing 125 games for is this year. Aubrey Huff is crushing the ball since May Day as well, at a .361 clip while OPSing .895. If this kind of production keeps up, Baltimore will be able to play with anybody.

Look at the matchups for this weekend in Boston:

Burres vs. Tavarez
Trachsel vs. Schilling
Guthrie vs. Beckett

Yikes. The Burres/Tavarez matchup really isn't bad, only Burres' being green makes it iffy. Really, tonight is the game we need to get, the other two are uphill battles before they throw the first pitch.

Has anybody seen Freddie Bynum? He appears to be missing but is still taking up a spot on the roster...

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?

Monday, May 7, 2007


...about how I'm feeling as a Baltimore fan today.

The bats have awakened and Baltimore looks to win the four game set from Cleveland today. That's good.

The O's have lost Adam Loewen to an elbow injury for most of the rest of the season. That's very bad.

This does give the younger pitching prospects a chance to get major league innings. That's a silver lining.

The best O's pitching prospect (Hayden Penn) is also injured. That's the dark cloud.

Loewen is out until September, Penn is out until late July, who knows when Jaret Wright will be feeling better, Kris Benson is long gone and two middle relievers look to take the mound for the foreseeable future as Baltimore starters. Did anyone have this as our mid-May rotation?

Erik Bedard
Daniel Cabrera
Steve Trachsel
Jeremy Guthrie
Brian Burres

I like Guthrie and Burres a lot as middle relievers. I sure don't like then as starters. (OK, I like Guthrie a little more than Burres in that role.)

Garrett Olsen is not ready yet. Rob Bell has pitched well but has been hurt for much of the season and I have no idea what kind of stamina that guy has. All the other top starter prospects are in single A.

Still, I don't see trading for Byun-Yung Kim or Josh Fogg as a good solution. OK, if we can get them for nothing (cash and a player to be named later) we can take a flyer.

For now though, the O's need to be patient. Bed-Rer-Sel has pitched well so far and perhaps Guthrie or Burres will prove to be a serviceable starter. That'll give Garret Olsen and Rob Bell a few more starts under their belt before they have to be tapped. And maybe Wright comes back healthy (lol).

Nice to see Millar back in the lineup this weekend, he deserves more playing time given the O's offensive struggles. Todd Williams is back from his banishment thanks to the rash of injuries and Scott Williamson should return soon.

Outside of the Red Sox, every team in the division has been dealing with injuries too so all is not lost yet...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Base Hits: Non-Orioles Edition

The O's are far too depressing these days so a special Base Hits with no examination of the O's whatsoever! It's cathartic for me...

An interesting article at The Bronx Block on Yankees AAA pitcher, Colter Bean. Bean has been called up to the big club since the article and has posted a 0.00 ERA over 3 innings.

My latest guilty pleasure is over at MLBlogs where Alyssa Milano is posting a baseball blog. Maybe I am blinded by her pure hotness but it seems quite genuine and...quite a good read.

Remember that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? On, there is a feature called the Oracle of Baseball in which you can find a link between any two major league players by a shortest possible list of teammates. For example, you can get from Lou Gehrig to Cal Ripken through three players (Joe DiMaggio-Lew Burdette-Aurelio Rodriguez). A good time waster.

Turn a historical pennant race into a graphical horse race over at where you can watch, for example, the 1983 AL East pennant race "live".

On Baseball Reference, the sponsor of the Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown page delivers this message: "Thumbs up for being a great Cub." That's funny. Thumbs up for Three Finger? Get it?

The Braves Jarrod Saltalamacchia breaks the 100+ year old record for the longest last name in the majors. This fact and more over at the Bullpen on

Wow. It's unusually hard for me to find non-Orioles items to get too excited about. Here's to hoping the Cleveland series goes our way...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Random (and Troubling) Numbers for the Baltimore Orioles

OK, I pimped this fact when things were going well so I have to say it now. The O's were the hottest team in the AL not too long ago. The are now the coldest team in all of baseball! Yeesh.

So what's wrong? Plenty.

The Pitching

The pitching staff is greatly improved and leads the league in strikeouts but they also lead the league in walks. However, they are also the stingiest staff in the league (by a good margin) at giving up homeruns. Baltimore pitchers are actually pitching even better than their records and ERAs would suggest (except maybe Steve Trachsel and Adam Loewen).

The bullpen is good but is being terribly overworked. The games played projections for the "big 5" in the O's bullpen:

Baez - 81
Bradford - 92
Parrish - 81
Walker - 86
Ray - 81

Bradford's numbers would be the second highest total in the last 35 years. All the bullpen will be in the top 60 all-time for appearances if this keeps up. This will result in either reduced effectiveness or injuries before they get to these levels though.

The Lineup

The O's could be hitting better but they are 6th in the league in hits. The real problem is that they are 12th out of 14 in the league in slugging. They aren't getting enough extra base hits to score runs consistently. The O's OBP is not great either, no big surprise since the O's are not a patient team at the plate.

The bench mark for plate patience is pitches per plate appearance (P/PA). For reference, Johnny Damon leads AL regulars with 4.5 P/PA, Frank Thomas is at 4.0 and Vlad Guerrero (who is a freakishly great hitter but notoriously impatient) is at the bottom of the league at 3.2 P/PA.

The O's leaders in P/PA:

Millar 4.4
Roberts 4.2
Mora 4.1
Markakis 3.9
Hernandez 3.8
Gomez 3.7
Huff 3.6
Tejada 3.6
Gibbons 3.3
Patterson 3.2

No shock that Millar is the leader here and should probably be the starting DH/LF over Gibbons until he breaks out of his slump. Roberts and Mora come next with Markakis just outside the 4.0 threshold. Mora surprised me a bit because he swings a lot but I'm guessing he fouls off a lot of pitches.

Compared to the rest of the AL East? Boston has four regulars over 4.0 and only Mike Lowell is below 3.7. The Yanks have three over 4.0 but no one else exceeds 3.7. Only Frank Thomas is at 4.0 or above for the Jays and nobody on Tampa is over 4.0.

What does this mean? Who knows? It looks like the O's aren't nearly as impatient at the plate as I thought, especially compared to the rest of the division. The problem is not patience then but what they are doing to the ball once they get around to swinging.

Corey Patterson has been the most clutch Oriole this season. In addition to other feats he is hitting .364 with runners in scoring position. Nick Markakis, for all his late inning heroics, is only hitting .177 with RISP.

And finally, here's a graph that shows graphically how Baltimore has plummeted to Earth. They are represented by the blue dashed line.

Happy Thursday everybody!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

5 Keys To The Season Revisited: April

Just before the 2007 season kicked off I listed a few things that would have to go right for the O's to have a successful season this year. Let's see how the boys in black and orange are doing.

1. The O's lower their ERA by a full run this season

The number to watch here was 4.35 and as of today the O's staff is sporting a 4.20 ERA. Not too shabby considering injuries and that the starters (especially Erik Bedard) have not pitched up to their abilities yet. We'll call this a success so far.

2. Markakis hits 25

Nick had hit three homers by April 18th but has had none since and only 3 extra base hits. He looked to be easily on his way to 25 but now is on a pace for 18. I expect (hope) this to change over the coming months as Markakis seems to really drive this offense these days. So this mark is lacking but still very reachable.

3. Increased production from LF

Last year our leftfielders OPS'ed .681. This year so far they have and OPS of... .637. Ouch. That is really, really bad. Historically bad. Our backup catchers we have deployed in the month of April have out-slugged our leftfielders. (They OPS'ed .664.) As bad as our leftfield situation was last year, it has been even worse this year. Brutal.

As a side note, not one homer from the LF position, even with Huff and Gibbons getting some time out there this month.

Our centerfielders have OPS'ed .711, basically the same as the .715 from last year and considering Corey Patterson missed a few games, not too bad.

This is obviously one aspect of the team that needs to get dramatically better to be competitive n the AL. I said a .275 BA with 15 homers would be a huge improvement and brother, we ain't even close.

4. Melvin Mora circa 2004....or at least 2005.

Don't let his .250 average or his oddly timed bunts fool you. Melvin has been crushing the ball to all fields. He already has four homers and an eye-popping 8 double through the first 26 games and his OPS is right on track for 2005 levels. Sure, we would have preferred 2004 levels but he's easily been the best offensive player for Baltimore thus far. Success.

5. Health

So far, we haven't had good health. Jay Payton and Ramon Hernandez missed most of this first month. Jaret Wright is already banged up, as is Scott Williamson. And although it wasn't an injury, Patterson missed a few games due to bereavement.

All told, Baltimore has had all its projected front line starters in the lineup twice out of 25 games. We'll have to hope for better health in May because we didn't get it in April.


Melvin Mora has not only been the offensive star this season but the defensive one as well. You heard me right and if you've been watching you've seen it. He is third in the league among 3B in Assists, fourth in Total Chances and has started more double plays than any AL thirdbaseman not named Joe Crede. He has made the tough plays and the routine plays this season.


Jay Gibbons got a golden opportunity to help the team and play the field in Jay Payton's absence and posted a .236 BA with 5 doubles and no homeruns. (edit: OK, he cracked one homer on the last day of the month.) The add insult to injury, he hit even worse as a DH. He has been coming up small all year long.


I've been really impressed with Brian Burres. Outside of mop up duty against Toronto, he has been lights out since his mid-month callup. Here's to more great pitching from Mr. Burres this season!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Machismo Will Get You Nowhere...

OK, before I talk about the events of the game, I have to comment on something I've never seen in a ballgame before. Ivan Rodriguez swung the bat so hard that he hit himself in the back of the head and broke his bat. You see something new everyday in this game...

Hey, Miguel. Bonderman was not trying to throw at you! He pitched you inside and instead of acting like a leader you acted like a petulant child. Then your pitcher went out there and tried to protect you after your tirade and plunked Gary Sheffield. this wouldn't bother me normally but your team just lost 6 of 7 and is in a tie ballgame against a tough pitcher. Why on Earth would you want to give someone a free pass? Sheffield handled getting plunked like a professional hitter would. He stole second, then third and then came around to score the go-ahead run. And in his next at bat he hit a two-run moonshot to put his team ahead for good. For good measure, you committed an error on what could have been a double play ball and did nothing offensively after being "thrown at" initially. Nice job.

Hey, Sam. When Jim Leyland makes a big mistake (leaving Jeremy Bonderman in to pitch to Jay Gibbons instead of calling for the lefty Willy Ledezma) and Jay Gibbons makes him pay with a monster blast to center, this is called "a rally". When Ivan Rodriguez in behind the plate and the relief itching is wild, you do not run yourself out of the inning by trying to steal on arguably the greatest defensive catcher of his generation and 12-time Gold Glove winner? Why would this seem to be a good strategy?

Needless to say, Baltimore would not score again.