Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo

Anybody get the reference?

So lets look at the good, the bad and the ugly from this past week.

30-3. Odd how most diehard Orioles fans laughed this off but many dopes in the national sports media actually read something into this. As if 30-3 is really indicative of what this team is about. (The Orioles are not a great team but we surely aren't Devil Rays bad...). Which is worse? 30-3 or 12-0 and 16-0 over two games (I'm looking at you guys in pinstripes...) It was a perfect storm and now it's over.

0-7 against the Twins? Sure, when Johann Santana's on the mound they're one of the best teams in baseball but without him are they really that much better? 0-7. And 2-4 against the Rangers. 30-3 doesn't bother me nearly as much as dropping that series.

The Baltimore Orioles' record now stands at 58-71 meaning they have to go 24-11 to close the season to hit .500. Guess what true believers? That ain't happenin'. So play the kids with abandon and keep the bullpen audition rolling.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
- Arab Proverb

Using this axiom, it is difficult for me to hate the Red Sox that much. I would rather anyone win the division than the Yankees and it's nice to see them finally falling off the pace and AL East title has officially slipped away from them. Now if Seattle (Or Detroit) can snatch the wild card away too...

Erik Bedard did not have a great outing but did finally take over the top spot for most strikeouts in Baltimore Oriole history on Sunday. He is now third in franchise history:

Ks Year
Rube Wadell 232 1908
Bobo Newsom 226 1938
Erik Bedard 221 2007
Mike Mussina 218 1997

With an average outing, Bedard should pass Bobo Newsom on Friday.

Congratulations to Kevin Millar for setting the club record for consecutive games reaching base that ended on Sunday. 52 games is pretty impressive, I don't care how you do it. His combination of patience and modest power has made him at least the third best Oriole at the plate this season.

The good news? Tampa Bay is up next.

There's a lot of talk about the Orioles' annual September swoon. This team is not going to go 4-32 to close the season. No way. But I don't think there's a lot of wins to be had when Garrett Olson and/or various AAA pitchers are getting a crack at teams. That's just the way it is.

An interesting article over at The HardballTimes about great platoons of the 60's and 70's. No surprise that Hank Bauer and Earl Weaver are featured as putting together some very effective platoons overt the years.

Barring a September tear by somebody, no Oriole will hit 20 homers this year, the first time that will have happened since 2001. What is so shocking to me is that when I looked up and down the lineup in Spring Training, there was no pure 30+ HR slugger but a bunch of guys who could have reasonably hit 20:

Miguel Tejada
Melvin Mora
Nick Markakis
Aubrey Huff
Ramon Hernandez
(a healthy) Jay Gibbons
Brian Roberts

Hell, you even figured Millar and Patterson to be good bets to hit at least 15 if they got enough at bats. Guess you never know...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nestor Takes Aim At Our Ace

Nestor Aparicio has a blog. Perhaps you've seen it.

From Nestor Aparicio's blog entry 8/18:

Your Orioles Cy Young candidate at work ...

Erik Bedard has made few friends within the local media, which has now led to a new "national" perspective on his churlish behavior en route to a possible Cy Young Award this fall.

You know that little saying about not learning history and being doomed to repeat it? May I invoke the name of Eddie Murray here? Nestor is not alone in criticizing Bedard's lack of grace with the media but I think everyone needs to remember one name: Eddie Murray.

Yes, it's a joy watching him pitch, but

Allow me to use the wayback machine here. "Yes it's a joy watching Eddie switch hit with power not witnessed since the days of Mickey Mantle but..."

apparently he has become a real pain in the ass to deal with for everyone.

"...apparently Eddie is a real pain in the ass so lets ship him to L.A. for Juan Bell, Brian Holton and Ken Howell." My God, people! Am I the only one who sees the parallels here? (Now Nestor has me raving like a lunatic...)

In this story on ESPN.com, the cat is out of the bag on his asinine behavior toward the media, fans and the like.

First, the story primarily focuses on Erik Bedard's breakout season. Second, there is not one mention of him being rude to the fans. Not one. In my lone interaction with Bedard, he was nothing if not polite even if he wasn't particularly chatty. So rudeness to the media automatically means he is antagonistic to the Baltimore Oriole fans? According to Nestor, yes.

But of course, when your owner is an ass, insulting the fans again and again and encourages his employees to do the same...I suppose your star Cy Young candidate can treat people like garbage as well.

Not people Nestor, just the media! I keed, I keed...

Bedard is a Cy Young candidate, but I don't see the stands filling up on nights when he pitches.

To their detriment. Fans don't know what they're missing. The team is losing so I blame no one for staying away but it's one of the finest performances by an Oriole pitcher in the history of the franchise. No, really.

Funny, too, is that when I PREVIOUSLY had a press pass --

Hoo boy, here we go again. He's kind of like a crazy but harmless uncle...

-- one of the 18 years when I had a pass before Peter Angelos went Fidel Castro on me -- Bedard was always pretty cool to me. Seemed like a quiet guy, but he was certainly NOT impolite in any way. I always got along fine with him.

So...you never had an issue with him when you were part of the media but because you hear he's difficult you write this little hatchet piece about how rude he is?

Gee, I can't imagine why Bedard would be distrustful of the media. They're so evenhanded and logical...

Guess I'm not missing much there these days ...Just what I need -- one MORE person in the organization treating me like crap and making up lies about me!

OK, Crazy Uncle Nestor needs to take his medicine now kids. Good night!

Nestor just implied that a man who has been criticized for not being talkative would make up lies about him. Why? To amuse himself? It wouldn't be to spread to the media now would it? This is forgetting the fact that Bedard would have no motive to make up lies about Nestor Aparicio. Oh wait, I missed this quote in the ESPN article: "Nestor Aparicio likes to dress up goats in women's clothing," remarked Bedard, "Why would I want to grant him an interview?"

Lies! Damn lies!

(In case there are some of you who don't get jokes, Bedard did not say anything of the sort...see the irony?)

Think about this kids. Nestor now is so paranoid (with delusions of grandeur) that he believes the ace pitcher of the Baltimore Orioles is out to get him. Really, take a few minutes and ponder what that means...

The biggest joke is on the Orioles, themselves. They think winning is ALL that matters. And here they have the best pitcher in baseball and NO ONE in town really cares enough to spend a few bucks and come downtown to watch him work.

Let's walk through this.

They think winning is ALL that matters.

They're right. They haven't done that in 9 years so they are really bad at it but WINNING IS ALL THAT MATTERS! You couldn't even get Free The Birds 2 off the ground when the O's had a winning month! If this team started to compete, all would be forgiven by the casual (and 99% of the hardcore) fans.

And here they have the best pitcher in baseball and NO ONE in town really cares enough to spend a few bucks and come downtown to watch him work.

Because...(bangs head on desk)...this is a losing team! They've lost for going on ten years now. You have stated this yourself ad nauseum. If this team was winning Bedard's season would be of more interest. Because they lose, it isn't. Thank you and good night!

And everybody leave Erik Bedard alone. I'll take a surly Cy Young candidate over a cheerful 4-15 hurler anyday.

Odds And Ends

Trembley's Solid

Dave Trembley will be announced today as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles which I think is a pretty good thing. Rick Maese is conflicted and seems to think some big names may be available in the offseason. Ozzie Guillen? Won a series on the strength of and amazing pitching staff but seems to be losing his players only a year or two removed from World Champion glory. Joe Torre? Knows how to manage superior talent which the Oriole do not have. Tony LaRussa? I don't believe he would ever come to Baltimore. I'm guessing that Andy McPhail now believes that he has no chance or luring Joe Girardi (the next Yankee manager?) so we mught as well stick with the guy we have, who has shown some modest success since taking over. In my first post referencing Trembley, I referred to him as "that bullpen guy". He has certainly been making people notice ever since. Sometimes the guy just keeping the bench warm turns out to be the best man for the job.

More Help Off The Waiver Wire

The O's have signed RP Fernando Cabrera who the Indians put on waivers last week. This is a perfect signing for Baltimore as Cabrera is the prototypical low risk-high upside type of guy that Leo Mazzone was famous for straightening out in Atlanta. With the probable loss of Chris Ray for the 2008 season (an issue I haven't addressed here but will later) Cabrera could add some much needed depth and he'll be cheap to boot. Who knows? With his stuff and Mazzone's tutelage, he could be an important factor for Baltimore in 2008. It's certainly worked OK for Jeremy Gutherie, Brain Burres and to a lesser extent, Rob Bell.

The Answer in Left?

Tike Redman, huh? Although his career averages in production would surpass the production the Oriole shave trotted out the last two years, that doesn't make him a good player. He's ultimately no better with the bat then Jay Payton and although he's fast he isn't a very good basestealer. I'd rather see Freddie Bynum get the reps out in left than Redman. If Redman's anything other than a 4th outfielder on this team in 2008 I'll be very disappointed.

O's Unlucky?

Bill Ordine's O By The Way blog has pointed out quite correctly that the Orioles record is not as good as it should be according to the Pythagorean Winning Percentage. This formula predicts a win-loss record based on runs scored and runs allowed and is typically accurate within 3 or 4 games. This year the O's have a 58-65 record but an expected record of 63-60, a swing of five games in the wrong direction.

What has the Baltimore Orioles underachieving? Their putrid 10-24 record in one-run games. Now some of that is luck but I believe that bad management leads to a lot of close losses too. (It's no surprise that the last two seasons where the formula expected a winning ballclub and got a losing one was in 1998 and 1999, the Ray Miller years.) I blamed Sam Perlozzo for losing the close ones but has Dave Trembley fared any better?

Taking the Pythagorean Winning Percentage (PWP) using runs scored and runs allowed since Trembley took over versus the True Wining Percentage (TWP):

PWP - .543 - 29-25
TWP - .543 - 29-25

So what is apparent to the eye seems to hold true by the numbers. While Perlozzo had the team underperforming relative to production, Trembley has them right where they should be. That's good news for next season...

Erik Bedard is Masterful...Again

Erik Bedard was dominant against the Rangers last night, striking out 11 and moving himself up in the Oriole record book.

Rube Wadell 238 1908
Bobo Newsom 226 1938
Erik Bedard 218 2007
Mike Mussina 218 2000
Mike Mussina 210 1996

How about that? Bedard struck out Adam Melheuse in the 4th to pull into 2nd in Oriole history and struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to tie the record in the 7th.

Now Bedard is chasing ghosts and has the all-time franchise record in his sights. And nobody seems to care.

Kevin Millar extended his streak of getting on base to 47 games. He has now pulled ahead of Cal Ripken for second and is just behind Ken Singleton (49) in club history. Not too shabby.

It's a great day for baseball. Let's play two!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tributes to a Legend

Wild Bill Hagy has passed on yesterday at the age of 68. The guys at Roar From 34 have a tribute to their namesake.

I typically don't have many nice things to say about Nestor Aparicio but he writes a nice tribute to Wild Bill in his blog.

James Baker wrote a nice tribute to Hagy over at Oriole Magic.

Anthony at Oriole Post has a remembrance along with a photo and video of Wild Bill.

Rick Dempsey remembers Wild Bill along with some classic Wild Bill Hagy video.
(edit: My original link didn't work. Try the link now and scroll down to the video clip...)

Here's the story from the Sun. The team also planned a moment of silence before Monday night's game and a video tribute to Bill. I assume those gestures will occur tomorrow due to the rainout.

I won't get too much into Will Bill Hagy, others have done it better than I could have. But his passing does bring to mind the differences between Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. Memorial Stadium had a much more working class feel to it, grittier, rougher and more down to earth. As fine a stadium as Camden Yards is, when it opened it immediately had a much more corporate, much more yuppie feel to it. In the early nineties it was actually difficult to get tickets (hard to imagine now, but true) but I always wondered how many people were buying up the seats because it was the hot ticket in town and how many were the diehard Oriole fans. That's why I used to see a lot of games against the Milwaukee Brewers - I couldn't get tickets to the premier matchups. Wild Bill Hagy was a link back to the days of Memorial Stadium, Natty Bo, and cartoon Orioles on the caps.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Meet The Neighbors

Erik Bedard is in rarefied Oriole air this season as he closes in on the Oriole record for strikeouts in a season. He has already passed the likes of Jim Palmer and Dave McNally and has only Mike Mussina to beat for the record. But there are more impressive goals that Bedard can meet this season. Remember, this franchise was the old St. Louis Browns whose history goes back to the turn of the last century and Baltimore's lefty ace has a very good shot at becoming the franchise leader in strikeouts as well. Here's the top five strikeout performances in franchise history:

Ks Year

Rube Wadell 232 1908

Bobo Newsom 226 1938

Mike Mussina 218 1997

Mike Mussina 210 2000

Erik Bedard 207 2007

Bedard is all but assured of passing Mussina's seasons (barring injury, don't want to jinx it) and with more than a month left in the season has a very good shot at taking the top spot as well.

So who are these guys? Any fan of Baltimore (or baseball in general) of the last 20 years knows Mike Mussina's story so I'm gonna skip him. Let's meet the rest of the company shall we?

Bobo Newsom (1929-1953)

Bobo had one of the most unusual careers (and nicknames) you will ever find in baseball. He was the classic journeyman but was able to parlay modest successes into an unusually long career. He played for 9 different teams over the course of his career and made multiple stops at most of them including 5 different stints for the Washington Senators and 3 different stops as a St. Louis Brown. He started his career in Brooklyn in 1929 playing for manager Wilbert "Uncle Robbie" Robinson. This gives Newsom yet another Baltimore connection as Robinson was the great catcher for the champion NL Baltimore Orioles of the 1890's.

Bobo was an eccentric character and pioneered the art of referring to oneself in the third person 40 years before it was popularized by Moses Malone and Rickey Henderson. Bobo pitched opening day during one of his games for the Senators and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in attendance. An errant throw by his own third baseman fractured Bob's jaw but he continued to pitch and finished the game. When asked why he stayed in the game he replied, "When the president comes to see Bobo pitch, Ol' Bobo ain't a-gonna disappoint him."

The highlight of his career was in 1940 when he won two games for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series and pitched a masterful game in a losing effort in Game 7 as they dropped the series to the Cincinatti Reds.

In 1938, Newsom went 20-16 despite his 5.08 ERA. He struck out 226 in 329.7 innings (!). He has held second place on the franchise list for 69 years.

Rube Waddell (1897-1910)

Waddell was a pitching star at the turn of the last century and is in the Hall of Fame. Oddly enough, he too was quite an eccentric character although in slightly more frightening ways.

Waddell liked to drink but had some eccentric quirks besides. He used to chase fire engines, wrestle alligators and had to be escorted by teammates to ensure he would make it to the games. There's more, a lot more here.

However, his pitching prowess was never in question. At his peak with the Philadelphia A's he led the league in strikeouts for six straight seasons, set an AL record with 349 strikeouts in a season that would stand for 70 years (broken by Nolan Ryan) and recorded 50 shutouts for his career. Rube was famous for going out for the final inning of exhibition games and telling his outfielders and infielders to stay on the bench and then striking out the side. His fastball was only rivaled by the great Walter Johnson.

The Athletics sent him to the St. Louis Browns after the 1907 season due to perceived declining skills. He put together one last great season in 1908 going 19-14 with a 1.81 ERA. His 232 strikeouts that season were second most in the AL. The first time he faced his former Philadelphia teammates, he struck out 16 of them.

If and when Erik Bedard passes him, he will break a franchise record that has stood for 99 years.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Meanwhile, On the Field of Play...

...the Orioles struck a blow for all that is right in the world by beating the Yankees in extras and taking the series in the Bronx. Winning series against the Red Sox and the Yankees back to back...that's very sweet.

I feel bad that Bedard did not get the win but it was almost sweeter to come back and win it in extras.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Shelley Duncan? He hits that fluky three-run homer and gave me a heart attack. With a name like his he should be playing Peter Pan or something, not playing major league baseball. And I hate how he jumps up and down like a friggin' 8 year old everytime on of the Yankees hits a homerun. Sit down and act like you belong in the major leagues. Stupid little forearm bashes. He makes me sick...

Anyway, a win is a win. Jeter got plunked, Jeter made an error, Jeter went 0-4 with two strikeouts, all good things.

Trembley gets some heat for how he's using the bullpen but, hey, he's only using wht he's got. With injuries and bad free agent signings (Mr. Reluctant...I'm looking at you), he's done a pretty good job at juggling guys around. If it doesn't work, he's not afraid to change it and try something else. I like that about this manager.

So it's off to Toronto and then the Rangers, Twins and Rays come to Baltimore. Hopefully, the momentum will continue...

Dodging a Bullet

"Today I didn't even have to use my A.K. I gotta say it was a good day." - Ice Cube

Yes, the not so subtle irony of Ice Cube's "Today Was A Good Day" really applies to the Orioles this morning.

First, the draft. I had to scrap my original post about how the Orioles have failed yet again to secure their top talent and continue to strangle the farm system but somehow, some way, at the last minute Matt Wieters signed his contract and the Orioles brought him into the fold.

"They got the deal done," said an elated Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan. "You can tell the city of Baltimore that the old evil owner stepped up and took care of things tonight. We had to fight to the end."

Hey, f you dude. As if we didn't have reason to be concerned. As if not signing the top pick hasn't happened before in the last three years. Yeah, we don't like the owner and he didn't step up and take care of anything tonight. We got lucky.

As far as I can tell, the O's front office didn't come close to Wieters' demand of $10 million dollars. They moved from $5 mil to $6 mil and seemingly made most of that money signing bonus but it's not like they met him halfway. the bottom line was this: Wieters didn't want to go back to school. At all. So he took the best offer he could get and the Orioles dodged a bullet.

We got lucky, O's fans. The end result today was good but we're still stuck in south central L.A. when it comes to the draft.

On the plus side, the Orioles did manage to sign 7 of 8 of their players drafted in the first 10 rounds when it looked like they might not sign 4 of them a couple of days ago. I am of the opinion that you need to get all of your players drafted in the first 10 rounds into the fold but occasionally a player jsut doesn't want to go pro yet. 10th round pick P Eryk McConnell went back to school and eludes the Orioles' grasp. I would usually give that a pass if it wasn't such a pattern for Baltimore. They have failed to sign at least one player in the first 10 rounds for the last five years (the exception being 2005...the year after the Wade Townsend fiasco).

The bottom line is, we're lucky we got him but we did get him. And 6 other guys who can lend a hand. We are better off than we were 24 hours ago even if the front office succeeded despite itself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pinstripe Destruction

O's win. 12-0. Over the hated New York Yankees.

Take that one to your grave Phil Rizzuto.

Phil Rizzuto is the perfect example of why I hate the Yankees. If he had played in St. Louis, you never would've heard of him. Because he played on some great teams for the Yankees, it got him into the Hall of Fame. It's a joke. A .273 career hitter. Career OPS+ of 93. He somehow managed to win an MVP in 1950 even though he was only the third best player on his team that year (behind Yogi Berra and Joe Dimaggio). All because he was an average hitter who was little and played for the Yankees. He never led the league in anything but sacrifices. Feh.

Anyway, the enigma that we call Daniel Cabrera shut down the Yanks last night for 6+ innings and allowed the mop up guys to mop up.

Hopefully, Erik Bedard shuts them down this afternoon and drops the Yankees further back in the playoff hunt.

Paul Bako Can Really Handle A Pitching Staff...

You heard that a lot about Bako when the O's signed him. Great glove man. Handles pitchers well. Intanglibles baby!

Well, when Paul Bako is behind the plate the league hits .267 against O's pitchers, a full 20 point above the .247 the league hits against Baltimore when Ramon Hernandez calls the game. They also slug 33 points better with Bako donning the mask (.409 to .376) instead of Hernandez.

While we're at it, opposing baserunners have stolen bases at a 72% success rate against Ramon this year. Not great. But our great glove man Bako has allowed them to steal at an 81% success rate.

Why do we still pay this guy?

Quick Notes

Aubrey Huff is (finally) having a truly great month in August, hitting .395 with 3 homers and 4 doubles thus far, good for an OPS of 1.191...Corey Patterson continues to (oddly) wear out lefty pitchers hitting them at a .322 clip for the season, 80 points better than his career average...If Erik Bedard strikes out 6 batters today he will pass Dave McNally (1968) and Mike Mussina (1996) to place third in Baltimore history in single season strikeouts (behind only Mussina's 2000 and 1997 seasons). He will also be 4th in franchise history which includes the St. Louis Browns.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quick note...

"If Jay Gibbons is really that hurt, put him on the DL and bring up J.R House. House can flat out hit and he doesn't have a position either!" - Me, August 10th

J.R. House finally makes it to the big club after posting a .295 average and 10 homers at Norfolk. How much he'll play is anyone's guess but if Tike Redmond gets playing time, why not House?

Despite the loss, as an objective baseball fan, it was a good game last night. Guthrie didn't have it but the bullpen held and the batters scrapped their way back in, keeping it close and tying the game off of Mariano Rivera. Only a seeing-eye grounder sunk the O's last night.

I read this in Jonathan Mayo's Geeking on the Draft blog on MLB.com:

The Orioles and No. 5 pick Matt Wieters are not going to get a deal done by the deadline. Word is Wieters is looking for a huge bonus plus a Major League deal and it's a price tag that might prove to be too high for the O's to pay.

Now obviously this is all conjecture at this point but if Baltimore does not get this deal done it's going to spin me into a world of pissed off I've never experienced in my life. (to paraphrase Ron White...)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sweet Victory

For a change, it's the O's coming from behind to win!

Two dramatic victories on Friday and Sunday capped a series win over the AL East leading Red Sox. Games like these are great on their own but are also fun for WPA graphs. Here's a couple. First, Friday's game. (I wonder if Red Sox fans are calling it the S'mores Day Massacre...)

The O's were dead to rights after the top of the 8th. Boston had given itself a 95% chance to win before the O's rallied to tie it up. (Thanks Eric Gagne...) Roberts and Mora delivered the big blows as far as WPA.

Now to Sunday...

Circumstances were not quite as dire but again in the bottom of the 8th the O's rally against Gagne to tie it up and win it in extras. As big as Millar's homer was, it was Tejada and Huff with the biggest clutch hitting of the game with Danys Baez getting the most crucial outs of the game.

The only negative of the series was that the Yankees have pulled within 4 games of the Red Sox with Baltimore's win. I don't care about the Red Sox but I've never been able to work up a good hatred for them like I have for the Yankees and Blue Jays, maybe because the Sox and O's haven't had title runs at the same time in the last 25 years. Outside of their annoying fatalism (at least from native New Englanders) I really have nothing against them. So Baltimore needs to smack down the Yankess over the next three days to even up the score...

Mora Flashes the Glove

Since he made a great play yesterday, I thought I'd check in with Melvin Mora's defensive prowess this year. He's second among AL thirdbasemen in Fielding Percentage, first in Range Factor and 5th in the league at reaching balls out of his zone, even with the lost time to injuries. Mora's fielding, if not his bat, has been a reason to watch the O's this season.

Gibbons Is Done

Mercifully, Jay Gibbon's 2007 season has been put out of its misery when the team put him on the DL for season ending shoulder surgery. While I guess it's a silver lining that some of his offensive woes could be due to injury, he certainly wasn't hitting before the May injury either. Jay will have to make a remarkable comeback and have a huge spring if he hopes to don the black and orange in 2008.

Friday, August 10, 2007

O's Swept, Winning Season Slipping Away...

...and Andy McPhail seems to see it that way too.

Looking toward the future, McPhail dumped (essentially) utilityman Chris Gomez and lefty reliever John Parrish yesterday.

I like John Parrish. He's a product of the organization and he can be a good pitcher...in small doses. Parrish was overworked early in the season and was never really the same after mid-May. As strictly a LOOGY type who comes out only to face a lefty hitter or two each appearance, I think he would be fine. Unfortunately, this team doesn't have the luxury of carrying a guy like that, the bullpen is too unsettled and the starting rotation doesn't have guys that go 6 or 7 innings on a regular basis. If you're making a playoff run, Parrish can be useful but not for us. In return the O's get Sebstien Boucher, a AAA outfielder with some speed but a guy who hasn't hit much above A ball.

There seems to be some considerable angst from O's fans about the loss of Chris Gomez for basically nothing. I really don't get it the concern. Gomez is a nice part-time player but that's it. He's hitting .300 but it's a light .300 with as he's only slugging .391. He's versatile but won't Freddie Bynum be just as versatile when healthy? Or Brandon Fahey? Even Luis Hernandez has shown enough to be considered for a utility role. Gomez is also 36 and not in the team's plans beyond this year anyway. Again, a fine role player who I would love to have if Baltimore was thinking playoff run but he's not right for this team now. We have younger, cheaper talent that we can have fill that role next year.

I like that Jim Hoey is up again, hopefully for the rest of the season. He's dominated AA and AAA this year so it's time for him to learn how to get teh big boys out. Now, calling up Tike Redmond I really don't understand. If Jay Gibbons is really that hurt, put him on the DL and bring up J.R House. House can flat out hit and he doesn't have a position either!

Anyway, hopefully some guys who may be involved in the Orioles' future will get a look this fall.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


The O's get pummeled 10-3...Barry Bonds is the new homeruns champ...the Yankees are claing their way back into the AL East race...

Man, baseball sucks today. Time to have some fun with statistics and create a nice diversion for myself and maybe for you guys too.

Erik Bedard - Strikeout King

Erik Bedard has 192 K's with about 7 starts left on the year. Barring injury, he looks to be a cinch to pass Mike Mussina who currently holds the Baltimore Oriole record for stikeouts in a season with 218. However, he also has a shot at an even more impressive feat of passing the franchise record for K's in a season. Bedard only needs 41 mores punch-outs to surpass Rube Wadell's total of 232 that he set for the St. Louis Browns, a record that has stood since 1908!

O(riole)PS+ Leaders

Frank Robinson, 1966 199
Frank Robinson, 1967 188
Jim Gentile, 1961 184
Boog Powell, 1964 176
Ken Singleton, 1977 165
Frank Robinson, 1969 165
Chris Hoiles, 1993 163
Boog Powell, 1970 163
Cal Ripken, 1991 162
Boog Powell, 1969 160

First off, I knew Chris Hoiles had a monster year in 1993 but I had no idea how favorably it would compare to, say, Cal Ripken's MVP season. In retrospect, he was completely overlooked for MVP consideration that year, placing 16th in voting despite putting up the 4th highest OPS in the AL that season from the catcher's position! He didn't even make the All-Star team even though he hit .300 with 18 homers in the first half! Robbery!

Oh, to be an O's fan in the late 60's. You could've seen Frank Robinson put up three of the six best slugging seasons in team history. And you would have seen Boog Powell put up three more in the top 10 (give or take a year).

He's a Winner?

Since he arrived in 2004, only Erik Bedard has as many wins (39) as Daniel Cabrera. I don't know if that means anything...just sayin'.

How Good is It?

Brian Roberts' season? Pretty extraordinary for a secondbaseman. At this pace, he will steal 45 bases, hit 40 doubles and bat better than .300 this season. In the history of baseball, no other player has matched that combination of speed, power and contact except for Craig Biggio's amazing 1998 campaign (.325, 51 2B, 50 SB).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Where Are They Now?: The 1997 Oriole Draftees

I haven't done one of these in awhile so since there's an off-day, let's depress ourselves, shall we? Another Pat Gillick draft so brace yourselves...

Jayson Werth - C - High School - 1st Round

Werth is now in the Phillies organization and up until this point hasn't distinguished himself as anything more than a backup player at the major league level (he is a backup outfielder for Philadelphia now) but the O's traded him away for even less value than that. He was traded to Toronto in 2000 for P John Bale. Remember him? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. He pitched in 14 games in relief for Baltimore in 2001 and the O's miraculously were able to trade this marginal journeyman pitcher for Gary Matthews Jr. the next offseason. Matthews spent a year and a half with Baltimore before being released. The Orioles would've been better off just keeping Werth ultimately.

Darnell McDonald - OF - High School - 1st Round

McDonald spent 7 long years in the Baltimore organization and finally got a cup of coffee in 2004. He is now in the Minnesota organization. He has hit .269 and OPS'd .721 in 10 minor league seasons.

Ntema Ndungi - OF - High School - 1st Round

Ndungi rose as high as AA Bowie in 2001. Never hit much. Out of baseball.

Sean Douglass - P - High School - 2nd Round

Played bits of three seasons for the O's from 2001-2003 with an ERA over 6.00. Out of baseball.

Matt Riley - P - High School - 3rd Round

"He's got a million dollar arm and a five-cent head." They were referring to Nuke LaLoosh but they may as well have been talking about Riley. Injuries didn't help his development either. He was traded to Texas for RP Gabe White who was way past being an effective relief pitcher by then. Riley is pitching in relief for AAA Las Vegas.

Shannon Carter - OF - High School - 4th Round

Made it as high as AAA but never learned to hit above A ball. Out of baseball.

Rick Bauer - P - Treasure Valley Community College - 5th Round

Rick had some success as a reliever for Baltimore for a few seasons. He was 11-14 with a 4.34 ERA over 6 major league seasons. He's now reunited with Matt Riley pitching out of the pen in Las Vegas.

Baleb Balbeuna - P - Long Beach State University - 6th Round

Did not sign. Wasted pick. Drafted and signed the next year by Seattle. Out of baseball.

Ricky Casteel - P - Northeast Texas Community College - 7th Round

Casteel went 10-20 with a 4.22 ERA over 3 minor league seasons. Never rose above low A ball.

Jay Spurgeon - P - High School - 8th Round

Got a cup of coffee in 2000. Out of baseball.

Top Ten Draft Pick Stats

Number that are\were regular contributors for the O's: 1
Number still in the organization: 0
Number traded for regular contributors: 0
Number out of baseball: 6
Diamonds in the rough: 1


Next to some other drafts, this one doesn't look so bad (but it ain't great). The diamond in the rough was Jerry Hairston who was almost good enough to displace Brian Roberts at one point but the only other player that was of any use was Rick Bauer. Except for Werth.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Return of Nestor

Nestor quit blogging there for awhile and even on the odd occasion when he did, the frothing, mindless spewing seemed to have been tabled. I would love to think I had just a little bit to do with that (hell, somebody is reading this) but I figure he just ran out of bile. No spewing from Nestor in his blog post last week concerning "Free The Birds 2" but a couple inconsistencies I would like to highlight:

Dear BALTIMORE Orioles fan:

The time for FREE THE BIRDS 2 has come…

Today, I am reaching out to you to see if you’re still interested in another massive event…If YOU are in, I'M IN! If not, we'll move on...

I have gone on record before saying that the declining attendence figures, half-empty stadiums and general disinterest of the fan base does far more to force Peter Angelos' hand than any staged protest (especially one where people put money in the owner's pockets in the process). The cynic in me also finds it to be a bit of publicity stunt for WNST and a cheap way to get national press. But fine, I'll take it on the face that Nestor wants the team to improve just like the rest of us. This is not what is bothering me today...

Sure, they’ve won a few games over the last month and the new manager seems to be an improvement, but has there been ANY signal that this franchise and this ownership group has “changed its stripes” in regard to how it treats the fans and the city of Baltimore?

Yeah, they've won a few. 15 in July. Winning at a .600 clip. Baltimore hasn't had a month like that since April of 2005. The franchise owes this to the fans; to field a winner. This last month has been a "signal" that maybe they are trying to do the right thing by fans. Just win baby.

We want our memories back and we want our good times at Orioles games back.

Ah, memories. Trading Eddie Murray away for peanuts. Trading Mickey Tettleton away for Jeff Robinson. Trading away Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley for Glen Davis. Starting seasons 0-21. Man, those were good times.

This franchise has not been a consistent contender for 24 years. The glory days were from 1964-1983; 20 years of contention. The most we have seen in the last 24 years is fleeting flashes of hope. I'm not pining for the old days, I'm hoping for something new now.

We do not want to stage an “empty” walkout, like those poor people in Pittsburgh.

OK, this is the part I don't understand. You would think Nestor would feel some comraderie with the Pittsburgh fans and cheer their efforts. Instead, he derides them (and this isn't the first time). Why is it empty? According to reports (AP, Pittsburgh Post Gazette) out of Pittsburgh, they had around 1000 people involved in the walkout. According to reports (AP, MLB) out of Baltimore, there were about 1000 people involved in Free The Birds last year. They were very similar in scope and focus. C'mon Nestor, share the love!

We had more than 2,000 people last September – anything less would be an embarrassment, so why bother?

See above. You didn't have that many people...

This is NOT a publicity “stunt” in ANY WAY!

Hmmm. OK. Don't you get suspicious of posts with big capital letters? Why is he protesting so vehemently?

If enough people are truly interested, we will organize it. If not, we’ll anxiously await the start of the Ravens season.

You can wait for the Ravens, Nestor. I'll be over here watching the O's take a shot at their first winning season in 9 years.

O's Done With Tejada

I was going to write a lot of stuff this morning about how admirable it was for Erik Bedard to again battle through for a win even when he didn't have his best stuff. or I was going to write about how I like Dave Trambley's no nonsense approach to building an effective bullpen. Or maybe I was just going to write that I'll take 3-3 over the last six games given some of the tough competition the O's have coming up.

But the report from ESPN (and strangely nowhere to be found in the Baltimore Sun...yet) is that the O's tried to pass Miguel Tejada through waivers with the intention of trading him has grabbed my attention and now I can write of nothing else until I address this.

It was nearly impossible for Baltimore to trade Miggy before the deadline, being that he was injured and all and apparently only because they couldn't work out an acceptable deal with the White Sox is the only reason Tejada is still in the black and orange. The team says he will remain with the team for the rest of the year so, for now, it's a non-story except for one point. The Miguel Tejada era seems to be over.

For the first time, the O's have shown true interest in trying to trade Tejada and there is now obvious interest in the marketplace for him. Miggy is not the player he once was but how many teams out there would love to have a shortstop that can hit .300 with 15-20 HR pop left in his bat. That a nice upgrade for 75% of the teams in the league. Expcect Tejada to be somewhere else come Opening Day 2008.

The more interesting prospect is who will replace him. Luis Hernandez looks to be much better than Tejada with the glove at this point but will be a huge dropoff in offense (even though he has shown he can handle a bat at the major league level). Will Brandon Fahey be handed the job? Many in the organization seem to love the guy. Will it be addressed through free agency?

Lots to watch in Andy McPhail's first offseason, that's for sure.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Base Hits: 8/1/2007

The Wayward Oriole points out quite correctly that Dave Trembley bears a striking resemblence to William Shatner.


Hayden Penn is pitching rehab down in the Gulf Coast League. Don't forget about this guy. As impressive as Garrett Olsen's numbers look at AAA (9-6, 2.95 ERA in 20 games), Penn's numbers were even better last year (7-4, 2.26 in 14 games).


Ben over at Oriole Central covers the lack of movement at the trading deadline, Dave Trembley and his fixation with Mark Teixera.


I can't believe I'm doing this but I'm going to quote an Amber Theoharis article and I won't unmercifully mock it. From her column in PresboxOnline.com:

Here's a deep thought out of the mouth of a Yankees scout: Many hitters in the American League say Daniel Cabrera has some of the nastiest stuff when he's on. The problem is he can't always repeat that "stuff" inning after inning and start after start. If that's the case, why isn't he a closer?
Pause here. There isn't supposed to be any retorts in "Deep Thoughts," but there needs to be a voice of reason here. Cabrera is 25 years old. That's it. The man didn't pick up a baseball until he was 16. He's 6-foot-9 after growing two inches in the offseason. Cabrera is still getting used to his own body. Plus, in most of his starts this year, he has gone more than six innings. The Orioles would be crazy to cease grooming him as a starter this early in his career. Maybe in 10 years Cabrera will be a closer, not now.

Couldn't have said it better myself.


Also from Press Box, Phil Jackman's On The Other Hand column:

It seems a tad hypocritical for WBAL Radio to complain about not being allowed to play tapes of Cal Ripken career milestones leading up to Cooperstown by the current rights holder (CBS Radio) when it pulled a similar stunt last football season.

Outstanding point.


Haven't posted a WPA graph in awhile. Here's last night's game, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Erik Bedard was the WPA leaders for pitchers, Brian Roberts for batters...

Thoughts on The Win at Fenway

Hey everybody! You're reading a blog about the hottest team in the American League! The Baltimore Frigging Orioles!

Well, this didn't turn out to be the pitcher's duel we all had anticipated, not in the traditional sense anyway. Neither pitcher had their best stuff but both battled mightily to keep their team in the game, both pitching out of jams on multiple occasions. Erik Bedard surrendered but 2 runs but ran his pitch count so high he lasted just 6 innings. Josh Beckett gave up 5 runs but kept the pitch count down low enough to get through 8.

Did you see that catch by Nick Markakis to retire Manny Ramirez in the 8th? He laid out three rows deep in the rightfield bleachers and snatched the ball away from a dozen reaching Red Sox fans. I can't remember a better play made in the outfield this season (yes, including Corey Patterson's catch in the 1st) and it's right up there with any of the defensive plays Baltimore has made this year.

I don't want to second guess a winning manager like Trembley but...why try to have Patterson steal third with two outs? Not sure what payoff you have for taking that risk. With two outs, Patterson is going on anything and will surely score on any base hit. And with men on first and second with no outs in the ninth, why not let Jay Payton (2-3 at that point) swing away and try for a big inning? Instead, you gave the Sox a free out and didn't even move up the runners. We won but those calls were questionable.

Taking the interim tag off of Dave Trembley is a good idea because:

1) He has won with the same club (and more injuries) that Perlozzo was tanking with
2) If the team goes in the toilet for the rest of the season, you can still fire him
3) There's really no one better available right now anyway

Congratulations to Dave Trembley, it's nice to have a manager who manages what he has, not what he hasn't.
Photo Courtesy of the AP