Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Roster Moves and Such

The O's sent down Adam Stern to AAA Norfolk today. Given that Sam Perlozzo has said they want to carry a defensive specialist, it appears that Freddie Bynum may actually make the team which I would not have predicted in a million years. Jason Dubois remains a dark horse.

Baltimore traded away a schmuck who happened to have a nice year at AA Bowie for journeyman catcher Alberto Castillo. Castillo will go to AAA but if you were thinking of making this move anyway, why not keep Donachie and release Bako? Just asking...

Erik Bedard gave up three runs to the Cards today. Bedard's big mistake (if you can call it that) was to challenge a career minor leaguer with moderate pop in his bat named Tagg Bozied. Tagg got lucky and put one over the fence. As a pitcher, you challenge that guy 10 times out of 10. It happens.

There is talk of trading for Reggie Sanders. Other than the fact that Sanders appears to be a good luck charm as he gets to the postseason a lot, I can't understand why Baltimore needs him on this team.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Baltimore - 3 Florida - 5

Some game notes.

Trachsel looked bad. He only gave up two runs in the first but is very lucky the Marlins decided to test Ramon Hernandez's arm in the second and ran themselves out of an inning. At least he settled down after that and pitched a decent 6 innings in total. Really, this is about the best you can hope for from him on most nights.

Patterson has been hitting in the 2 spot more than I would expect at this point in the spring. A sign of things to come or just trying to get him more at bats?

From Roch Kubato's blog during today's game; "The Orioles really wanted to keep Rule 5 catcher Adam Donachie, but the Kansas City Royals wanted too much in return. They're not taking the loss lightly" I do feel better that they seem to have made every attempt (save leaving him on the roster) to secure this guy.

Wow, the Marlins don't learn. Hernandez has thrown out 3 of 4 would-be basestealers today. According to Roch Kubato, if Brian Roberts hadn't dropped his throw, he would have thrown out Hanley Ramirez too.

Brian Burres came in and gave up a two-run homer to Dan Uggla.

Game Over.

Base Hits: 3/27/2007

The mayor of Aberdeen is looking to unload Ripken Stadium as it drains city resources. Cal Ripken's group is the leading candidate to buy the facility.

Rule V draftee Adam Donachie was returned to the Kansas City Royals. Baltimore decided against the young defensive specialist in favor of an old defensive specialist. I liked how this guy played, in the AFL and this spring and would have liked to have seen him stick. An organization is built through lots of little moves and Baltimore has no viable major league prospects. We could have used Donachie in this organization. (Rick Dempsey himself liked the guy!) If Ramon Hernandez goes down, you're now going to see Paul Bako and Eli Whiteside. Pick your poison.

The Canadians are checking in. First, an article on Adam Loewen on the CBC site. Second, this writer hopes that Erik Bedard brings the Cy Young north of the border this year.

When you are in a colossally bad band like Good Charlotte, you have a lot to answer for. But Benji Madden is a big Orioles fan, so I'll give him a pass.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Payton Pulls A Hammy...

...expected to be out one to two weeks.

Jay needs to be ready to play on April 2nd. If not, he needs to go on the DL to make room for another position player. With a short bench, Baltimore cannot afford to have Payton taking up a spot on the roster if he can't perform. Or Perlozzo needs to go with 12 vs. 13 pitchers to start the season.

Adam Stern and Jason Dubois look to benefit should Payton go on the DL.

Orioles - 5 Twins - 3

No huge strikeout numbers but Adam Loewen shut down a Twins lineup chock full of regulars with 3 hits over 6 innings and only one run. Loewen induced 12 groundouts, struck out 2 and picked Tori Hunter off of first. It's tough to lose when you keep the ball on the ground.

Ironically, Sir Sidney shutout the O's for 6 innings while striking out 3.

Jon Knott has turned it on lately (but it's probably too late) with four extra base hits in his last two games raising his average from .192 to .265.

Nick Markakis hit another homer bringing his total to three for the spring. Markakis was slugging over .600 (!!!) for the spring coming into the game.

Mr. Reluctant and Scott Williamson were solid in relief but Chris Ray was shaky and gave up two runs. Baltimore wins it 5-3.

How Baltimore Can Win The East Part III: The Case Against the Yankees

OK, let's poke holes in the original Evil Empire:

1. The Rotation is in Shambles

Perhaps a bit overstated but...Chien Ming Wang is your number one starter? Are they high? Expect a dramatic fall back to Earth in Wang's results. Why? 76 Ks to 52 BBs. Wang needs to learn how to strike guys out or improve his control to Bob Tewksbury levels if he want to repeat last year's success. Wang keeps the ball in the park and induces lots of ground balls. If he had better defensive player in the middle infield, I would say that he would be OK but Cano and Jeter are not great defenders up the middle...

(A slight digression so I can rant about the bogosity of Jeter's most recent Gold Glove award. The eye tells you that while Jeter can make a nice play occasionally, his range is not great. The numbers have backed that up for most of his career. The first number I look at for a middle infielder is their Total Chances (TC). TC is Putouts+Assists+Errors, it's basically how many balls a player gets his glove on the ball. I mean, you can't make a play if you don't even get there right? Jeter is historically at the bottom of the league on TC. Last year, Jeter had 610 TC, exceeded by Miguel Tejada, Jhonny Peralta, Michael Young, Carlos Guillen and three other AL shortstops who played in at least 145 games. Juan Uribe had 604 TC in only 132 games! His fielding percentage was worse than 4 of those guys too! Bogus! So Wang has a gaping hole to his right rear named Derek. OK, resume original post...)

...I can't find anybody with Wang's type of game who succeeded for long in the Majors. If there are, that club's very restrictive Wang, so don't tell 'em you're Jewish. (edit: since starting this post, Wang has been sent to the DL. That would be disappointing if Carl Pavano wasn't the replacement starter...)

Mussina is old but I don't see any signs of him falling off yet. I don't think he will sport a 3.51 ERA again though and should slip closer to 4 this year as he did in 2004-2005.

Andy Pettite did not have a great year in Houston and is already having back problems. Carl Pavano? Who knows? Igawa? An unknown. This rotation doesn't look very intimidating to me. Roger Clemens is the only man who could save it. (A distinct possibility)

2. Posada is Old

I've got to come up with five of these? Jorge Posada will be 35 this year and although this is a bit of a rehash of Boston's situation, this is the age where catchers begin to break down and when they do, they lose it fast. Posada is a prime candidate for a severe dropoff at the plate this year.

3. Jeter is a Boob

OK, I'm out of ideas. The bullpen looks solid, the outfield could be one of the most dangerous offensive outfields in the AL and A-Rod should rebound nicely even if Jeter falls off a bit from last year. A healthy Robinson Cano will wear out AL pitching from the bottom of the order. The only weak spots could be first base and DH, a problem the Yanks deep pockets can address during the season.


The only issue with this team is age but they aren't that old. O's fans could hope for some key injuries or declines in production with a crew that has starters all over 30 this year, save Cano.

But the pitching has the potential to be abysmal. This is not the Yankee juggernaut of past years, not even the team they were last year. I still say the door is open for someone to catch the Yankees before they open up the cash box to right the ship at midseason.

So while the division may be tough, it is not an insurmountable task to catch these guys or maybe steal a wildcard from the rest of the AL.

Just don't ask me if it's possible once June rolls around...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Random Thoughts From The Weekend

Erik Bedard struck out these batters is succession Friday: David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek. Not too shabby.

Which player has looked more decrepit this spring: Jason Varitek or Kevin Millar? Neither was hitting .100 this spring. But both had RBI extra-base hits on Friday: Millar an RBI double off Curt Schilling and Varitek a solo homerun off of Bedard.

I've been gone for seven years from Maryland. I wonder if they still sell Natty Bo? (edit: It appears that they do. Pabst brews it now.)

Hayden Penn didn't give up a run on Saturday agains the Mets but 4 walks and no K's in 4 innings isn't too impressive. The Tides now know who their ace will be this year. Kurt Birkins looked real sharp over two innings as well, striking out three. The relief corp in Norfolk will be formidable.

Daniel Cabrera looked shaky but the results were good. Expect to repeat this phrase most of the year.

Jaret Wright did not look good today. Neither did Todd Williams. Fortunately, the rest of the pitchers (Guthrie, Bradford, Walker and Parrish) did. O's edge the Cards 6-5 in 10. Nice to see some of the Baltimore regulars get some timely hits.

I LOVE that Carl Pavano is going to be the Yanks Opening Day pitcher. Love it. Can't wait for Baltimore to face him.

Penn, Fahey, Burkins Optioned to Norfolk

In my previous post, I mentioned Hayden Penn had better get used to the idea of Norfolk and today he and 4 others were sent there.

Joining him were Brandon Fahey (a longshot to make the club even if he had hit well), Rob Bell (sporting a sub-1.00 ERA this spring), Kurt Birkins and Jon Leicester.

Penn didn't pitch badly this spring but didn't knock anyone's socks off either. With the emergence of Jeremy Guthrie as a long man candidate didn't help Penn's case either. It's nice that the club doesn't have to rush him and he will go take care of business in Norfolk. We'll see him Baltimore, in some capacity, this season.

Kurt Birkins had a nice spring and it's a but surprising to see the lefty reliever sent down at this point. The club has floated the idea of carrying 13 pitchers and Birkins would've been thought to be in the mix as a second lefty (behind Jamie Walker) out of the pen. Looks like that will be Todd Williams domain. (shudder...)

Brandon Fahey would've needed some injuries in front of him to get a spot this year. Rob Bell pitched great this spring but was a real long shot given his abysmal performance over the course of his major league career. Jon Leicester was basically signed for depth and was expected to go the Norfolk all along.

Keep your head up Hayden, they'll be calling you up before you know it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Base Hits: 3/23/2007

Jeff Passan has a nice Mazzone article over at Yahoo sports.


I usually keep this blog pretty Oriole-centric but it can be nothing but good for the O's that Jonathan Papelbon is returning to the bullpen. I think the guy would've been far more dangerous as a starter.


An article on Hayden Penn's unexpected uphill battle to make the big club. He says he's not thinking about starting the season in Norfolk but he'd better get used to the idea. i would imagine he won't be there for long though.


How quickly fortunes change. The O's beat the Dodgers 8-0. You can't get too high or low on Spring Training results but it's always more fun when your team wins. The last seven games? They start to mean something. The string of seven final games begins on Sunday


An article on Corey Patterson and utilizing his speed. His league-leading 17 bunt hits are a big reason he was more effective last year. He hit .276 last season. Take away half of those bunt hits, he hits in the .250s.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Training Recap

The O's beat the Cards yesterday 4-1 and Adam Loewen continued to look very impressive pitching 5 shutout innings with 4 Ks, 4 hits and 2 walks. Chad Bradford gave up the lone run and Jamie Walker and "Mr. Reluctant" Baez each pitched perfect innings. The horrible Paul Bako went 2 for 4 with an RBI which I am not happy about but I'll get into it later.

Spring Training is wrapping up as far as position battles, the regulars will now get more and more time over the next week and a half as the roster is cut down. I am still a bit confused about who will make the roster but I figured I'd take a look back at how everything shaped up this spring.

The biggest disappointments would have to be J.R House and Jon Knott. It was hoped one of these guys would have a nice spring and offer some right handed power off the bench but House hit .222 with one extra base hit (a double) and Knott hit just .200 with one extra base hit (a home run). I don't put too much stock in spring stats for established players but the fact that Millar is hitting .050 had to be a bit concerning.

Paul Bako got healthy and somehow is hitting .357, effectively ending Adam Donachie's chances to break with the big club. Donachie has had a fine spring with the bat when he got regular at-bats and defensively he has been praised by none other than Rick Dempsey himself. "In our organization, we need more guys like him," Dempsey said. "He's young and he's got a chance to be a pretty darned good defensive catcher." Hopefully the team can work out a deal to keep him in the organization because he won't make the 25-man roster. The team needs a third catcher less than a 13th pitcher.

On the plus side, Jason Dubois has played well enough to make the club this spring and could be a first call option if he continues to play well at Norfolk. I follow the Cubs and have followed Dubois' career a bit. In AAA, he's a free-swinging but productive slugger but has never translated that ability to the Majors. Jeremy Guthrie has exceeded expectations and looks to break camp with the big club as a long relief/spot starter role. Erik Bedard and Adam Loewen have been dominant and Daniel Cabrera has been much improved. Ruddy Yan has looked impressive but won't make the team. Our AAA team should be very good this year.

I'm ready for the real season to start.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

3 Bench Players?

Is anyone else disturbed by the notion that Sam Perlozzo is considering breaking camp with 13 pitchers? That leaves 3 bench players in case you are mathematically challenged. So the regulars will be:


With the bench being:


Really? This is a recipe for success? Hopefully, he just means to carry 13 until he can hash out who the 12 should be, maybe for a couple weeks? I thought 12 would be too much.

Any thoughts?

How Baltimore Can Win The East Part 2: The Case Against Boston

Part 2 in my continued fan-boy, wishful thinking column. Why do I sound so negative? Because I have to come up with five plausible reasons Boston may falter this year. Well, here it goes...

1. Catcher Will Be a Problem

Jason Varitek had a poor year at the plate and a rough year behind it as well last year. Varitek will be 35 this year and the mid-30's are when catchers traditionally tend to start breaking down. It happened to Mike Lieberthal, it happened to Sandy Alomar, Jr., it happened to Darrin Fletcher. I mention these guys in particular because these are some of the most similar batters to Varitek through their age 34 seasons. Doug Mirabelli is a very good backup but is not a viable option if Varitek gets hurt. Josh Bard is no longer on deck as he was shipped out to San Diego last year. The catching position looks to be an offensive black hole for the first time since 1995.

2. The Rotation Is A Question Mark

Even though he has never been a starter at the major league level, Jonathan Papelbon is probably the surest thing the Sox have in their rotation. Schilling? He's very, very old. There's no telling if he finally starts to show his age on the mound or if he suffers serious injury. Ditto for Tim Wakefield. Dice-K could be fantastic but he could also be Hideki Irabu once the team goes north. Nobody knows. Josh Beckett was knocked around on his first trip through the American League. He may have won 16 but he had an ERA of 5.01 and a whopping 36 homeruns! Assuming this will be a dominant rotation is a huge assumption at this point. It could be an Achilles heel.

3. The Infield Offense is Lackluster

We all know the heart of the order (Ramirez, Ortiz, Drew) should be formidable but what about the rest? The infield doesn't look like they will strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitching staffs. Mike Lowell is a defensive wiz and a solid performer at the plate but at this point in his career, 20 HR is the best you can expect and he was only slightly above league average as an offensive player last year. Julio Lugo's offense fell off the table once he was traded west to the Dodger last year and he battled injuries the first part of the year. A .270-ish hitter with 12 HR isn't going to scare you. Dustin Pedroia is being handed the job at second base even though he sports a .191 BA in his 89 at-bats in the majors. And while his all-around game is just fine, Kevin Youkilis has never developed the power he was supposed to. He hit only 13 homers in 569 at-bats last season. Like Lowell, above average offensively but not much. Only Peroida looks to be a real liability here but no one else listed could be described as anything more than "solid".

4. It An Odd-Numbered Year for J.D. Drew

Everyone familiar with J.D. Drew knows he has been injury-prone throughout his career. But did you know that there is a pattern? In even-numbered years, he averaged 140 games played. In odd-numbered years, he averages 96 games played. If J.D. Drew doesn't miss significant time this year, he will be breaking an 8 year pattern. J.D., buddy, you're due.

5. No One Knows Who Will Close

Certainly not the fans or the writers in Boston. There is no established closer in the pen, no one has stepped up to take the lead this spring and there are some nagging injuries among some of the more seasoned veterans. Closer-by-committee looks great on paper but the actual humans in the bullpen like to have established roles. Thus far, there are none. Huge weakness for the Sox at this point.


Lots would have to go wrong for this to be a losing team but there's plenty of stumbling blocks waiting for this team, enough that they could be a mediocrity. All Baltimore should be looking for is an open door and Boston doesn't look like they will slam the door on anybody this year.

Next Up: The Yankees

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Angelos Speaks, Everyone Comments

Peter Angelos attended a Spring Training game on Sunday, a rarity for him, then granted answered questions for reporters, another rarity. An everyone has something to say about him.

Thomas Boswell ripped him, especially for the voided Brian Roberts/Hayden Penn for Marcus Giles/Adam LaRoche deal. Says Boswell, "Angelos doesn't have to sell his club. But he has to take his hands off its throat because, as we see again, he's still strangling to death the team he loves." Ouch.

Peter Schmuck was a bit more accepting of Angelos (calls him "relaxed, funny, engaging") and gives him credit for trying to reach out to the press and the fans but also states, "Yes, he has a law firm to run. But he also has a baseball team to save."

Mike Boehm over at Oriole Magic fights his instincts and tries to write an objective article about Angelos (picture of Angelos dressed as Emperor Palpatine notwithstanding). The whole article is good so I won't quote him. Go read it.

Over at Oriole Post, Anthony makes the truest statement on Angleos' recent meddling in a potential Brian Roberts trade:

"I figured in this instance, time will only tell if Peter Angelos is right.
However, you hire people to do one job, and you have to them do it, so in this
case, he steeped over the boundaries of the front office and that has been a
main complaint of fans and the media alike."

I couldn't have said it better myself, whether you agreed with the trade or not.

Which I did. As much as I like Brian Roberts, it would've appreciably improved the team this year. Brian Roberts and Marcus Giles will both be 29 this year and even with a down year in 2006, Giles would have been a good bet to deliver similar production. Adam Laroche would have given you a legitimate power-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman who would only be 27 this year. I like Hayden Penn a lot but he probably won't make the team out of Spring Training and is still an unproven commodity on the major league level.

So basically, Angelos screws the club again.

Flannagan and Duquette have done a decent job since they've taken over. Why not let them do their jobs?

The only hope we have is that Angelos has been a bit more hands off in recent years and we can only pray that continues.

Base Hits: 3/20/2007

At The Hardball Times, a (depressing) look back at the debacle that was Albert Belle's career with Baltimore...


A mention in The Washington Post in the team notes on Adam Donachie. And I quote:

"Donachie is quickly gaining favor in the organization, first because of his work behind the plate and more recently because of his hitting...Donachie said he hoped the Orioles could work out a trade so he could stay with Baltimore. 'I love the organization,' Donachie said. 'I love the guys that are here.'"

Donachie has said and done all the right things since he got here. There needs to be a place for him in this organization.


Did you know Rick Dempsey caught for pitchers who combined for 18 Cy Young award winners during his career? Can you name them? Ben over at Oriole Central can.


The biggest non-story over the past couple of weeks is here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

How Baltimore Can Win the East Part 1: The Case Against Toronto

The odds are insurmountable they say. Even with improvement from the O's, the competition is just too stiff. But the opponents are not as formidable as they are made out to be.

Oh sure, if things go well for the other teams in the division (especially Boston and New York) it will be tough to compete even if everything goes right. But there are chinks in the armor that could bring the Evil Empires crashing to the ground.

So, this series is based on two premises:

1. Tampa Bay is not a factor. They have young talent to be envious of but they don't have a lot of it on the mound. Outside of Scott Kazmir, expect a mess of a pitching staff. The young hitters won't be able to bail them out. Devil Rays, I summarily dismiss you.

2. Baltimore gets appreciably better in several areas and avoids major injury. That means the young pitching develops well, some players have bounceback seasons and the free agents perform as advertised. While Baltimore has only one player who can be reasonably expected to hit 30 HR (Tejada) you can add several who are capable of exceeding 20 (Huff, Mora, Hernandez, Gibbons, Markakis). So the offense and pitching would have to be solid, not spectacular, for a run to be made.

Got it? Great. The first team to dissect is Toronto:

1. The Outfield Reverts to Form

Every principle player slated for the outfield had a career year (Reed Johnson, Alex Rios) or approached their career year (Vernon Wells) in 2006. Based on past performance, none of these guys can reasonably be expected to surpass these performances. I would find it highly unlikely that they match them as a unit. Expect some declines and assume that this unit will be worse (maybe way worse) this year.

2. Frank Thomas Breaks Down

Frank Thomas is a formidable hitter, even at 39. At least when he's healthy. He has played in 135 games or more only 3 times in the last 6 years. He's another year older, so do you bet the over or the under here? I'm betting the under. His replacement would likely be Greg Zaun most nights, a significant dropoff in power.

3. The Infield is Suspect

Lyle Overbay is a nice fielder at first but up until last year had a very Millar-like bat. Expect him to return to form this year. At second, the young slick-fielding Aaron Hill who'll hit for a decent average but has never hit for much power. At short, the hideously all-around bad player that is Royce Clayton. He can't hit his way out of a paper bag and the only boast he can make about his fielding is that he is better than Derek Jeter, which isn't saying a whole hell of a lot. Troy Glaus is a power threat at third, a hitter to be feared but strikes out more and walks less these days. You can pencil him in for 35+ homers but also an average in the .250's. He's another guy with a history of injuries and the Jays don't have a lot of depth to pick up the slack.

4. The Pitching is Suspect

The Jays have a stud and a half. Roy Halladay is the stud, A.J. Burnett is the half. Much like the O's and Erik Bedard, the Jays are screwed if Halladay doesn't start 32 games this year and he does have a well known history of inuries. If Burnett starts more than 20 games, I'll be shocked. By the way, he is still just a .500 pitcher for his career at the age of 30. Behind them? Gustavo Chacin, Tohmo Ohka and John Thompson. Anybody shaking in their boots when these guys take the mound? The bottom of the rotation could prove to be quite the disaster. Josh Towers will be the first one called in case of injury and I think we are all familiar with how little he brings to the table.

The one bright spot is the bullpen, anchored by B.J. Ryan and Justin Speier but beyond them, no one is the bullpen has proven themselves over multiple years.

5. Catcher is a weakness...

...defensively when Gregg Zaun is behind the plate, offensively when Jason Phillips is behind the plate. They may actually be worse off with Benji Molina gone.


Does this look like the 87 win team from last year or the losing teams from 2003-2004? John Gibbons may not survive the season. This is a team that needs everything to go right to even repeat last year's performance. How does 4th place look to you guys? Baltimore should have no problem overperforming this crew.

Next up: The Boston Red Sox

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Orioles Catch-Up

OK, it's been a while since I posted. What's happened over the past few days?

The O's rocked Dice-K while beating the Red Sox but that would be the last time they would win.

Erik Bedard continues to be solid as do the primary bullpen corp.

Jeremy Guthrie continues to be impressive and probably has the inside track over Hayden Penn on the long relief role out of the bullpen.

Daniel Cabrera returned to his wild ways and gave up a three run homer in his last outing. I can't be too worried about one outing as Cabrera typically doesn't give up the long ball and this particular long ball was off the bat of Miguel Cabrera.

OK, let's hope for a win against the Twins today...

Paul Bako has returned and has yet to get a hit this spring (update: he got a hit this afternoon) and has been a bit suspect behind the plate. Adam Donachie continues to hit well and show some defensive prowess, hitting .333 for the spring in limited action.

Jason Dubois is making a case to stick with the big club (although he's still a long shot) hitting like crazy and showing some versatility playing leftfield and first base lately. J.R. House and Jon Knott will definitely get aced out if Dubois keeps hitting this way.

Perlozzo has all but named Jay Payton his regular leftfielder and Jay Gibbon's experiment at first base is abruptly and officially over.

Jaret Wright struggled this afternoon against the Marlins as the air of invincibility of the starting rotation begins to be chipped away.

Oh, and Brian Roberts finally signed an extension that will keep him in Baltimore through the end of 2009.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Baltimore - 8 Mets - 7

I watched this afternoon's game and was really impressed with Daniel Cabrera. 3 IP, 0 runs allowed, 4 K's, NO WALKS. Even when he got behind on hitters, he didn't panic and just went about his business. Honestly, how can O's fans not be excited about this season?

I can't remember the last time Baltimore had a young player who was as fun to watch as Nick Markakis. Today, I watched him go from first to third on Aubrey Huff's groundball single to centerfield. Awesome.

Not that I have neglected to mention him before but I'm going to really start beating the drum for Adam Donachie. He is a fine defensive catcher and has hit a little bit this spring including a 3-run homer off El Duque in today's game. There has to be a place for him on this roster somewhere right? Is Bako really better behind the plate than this guy? I know it's only 9 plate appearances but he's hitting .375 and slugging .750...

Nice to see Jim Hoey turn in some nice work in the 9th striking out two and getting the save.

Baltimore - 2 Florida - 2

Dontrelle Willis was great giving up 1 hit and no runs, striking out three and walking none over three innings. Erik Bedard was even better: 1 hit, no walks, no runs and 4 strikeouts. Gotta love it, even for Spring Training.

The only other thing of note here is a second straight tie game of 2-2. I don't think I ever seen that happen before...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Base Hits: 3/7/2007

A good Q&A with Brooks Robinson over at Oriole Post. Nice job!


Danys Baez “begrudgingly” accepts his role as a setup man. Baez neglects to detail how he half-heartedly signed a 3-year $19 million contact in the offseason and how he will reluctantly cash those checks every month. Big of you pal.


Garret Olson, among others, were sent down to the minor league camp in Sarasota. Not partucularly surprising but I though Olson would get a longer look in the big camp.

A make-or-break year for Perlozzo? I think putting him on the hot-seat this year would be a big mistake. This team needs A.) consistency and B.) Leo Mazzone. Without Perlozzo, Mazzone probably takes a hike. Short of losing complete control of this team, Perlozzo needs to stay until the end of the contract, which is through the 2008 season.

Baltimore - 2 St. Louis -2

Some quick notes from a fairly uneventful tie game...Markakis contunues his hot hitting going 3 for 3 with a double...C Adam Donachie went 1 for 2 and threw out a So Taguchi on a stolen base attempt as he continues to be the most impressive catcher not named Hernandez in camp...Jon Knott went o-1 and is hitless over 4 at bats this spring. He is "Knott" getting much of an opportunity this spring (hahahaha...)...Trachsel looked better and Ray, Walker and Bradford were all quite effective in relief...The Marlins are on deck (again) as Bedard faces off against Dontrelle Willis.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Baltimore - 5 Florida - 3

The Good

Loewen gave up no runs, a hit, a walk and an eye-popping 5 strikeouts over 2 innings. The Marlins had a lot of regulars in and Loewen struck out Aaron Boone, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Matt Treanor. Not exactly Hall of Famers (except maybe Cabrera) but all are experienced major league hitters. That's impressive. Jeremy Guthrie was effective again in two scoreless innings of work with a hit, a walk and a strikeout. Baltimore is now 4-1 in Spring Training games. Yes, that counts little for regular season success but it's better to win right?

The Bad

Jim Hoey got knocked around a bit. He went from low-A Delmarva all the way to the Majors last year and probably needs to go back to AAA for seasoning before he's really ready to face this kind of competition.

Baltimore - 6 Mets - 3

A few observations from following (listening) to yesterday's game:

The Good

Mora went 2 for 3 with 4 RBI, including a deep double against the fence that would have been out had the wind not been blowing in.

The Bad

Jaret Wright looked pretty hittable and only went one inning (he gave up no runs though). The O's played alot of regulars but didn't score a lot of runs against what were mostly Mets scrubs. They scored 5 of the runs in one inning on Phillip Humber, a top prospect but very green against this level of competition. Millar still hasn't managed a hit this spring.

Base Hits: 3/5/2007

Former O Steve Finley is still hanging around, this time on a minor league contract for the Rockies.

========== has a pretty good article on Leo Mazzone.


My Dempsey coverage has been pointed out as lacking but I couldn’t do any better than Mike over at Oriole Magic with his retrospective of Dempsey’s Oriole career.


I was listening to the replay of the WHFS radio broadcast of the O’s loss to Florida yesterday and Jim Duquette was asked by Fred Manfra to explain, once and for all, the Kris Benson situation. Duquette was terse and blunt explaining that Baltimore wanted to have Benson follow an off-season program to strengthen and rehab his shoulder, that they had arranged the rehab to happen near his Atlanta home, everything but, and I quote, “driving him there”. According to Duquette, Benson chose not to do so. It certainly sounds like the organization places the blame squarely on Benson for his bad shoulder and they are fairly annoyed with him.


Finally, an article on Adam Donachie, who I hope can stick with the organization in some capacity.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Baltimore - 7 Washington - 2

I watched my first Spring Training game today. Some observations:

The Good

Cabrera looked sharp over his two innings, giving up a hit, striking out two and issuing NO WALKS! Love it. Markakis went 3 for 4 including going down and golfing a sick pitch from Billy Traber for an opposite field double. Stole a base too. Love it.

The Bad

Um...nothing really.

Miscellaneous Notes

Nationals pitcher Joel Hanrahan walked 3, threw a wild pitch, gave up 3 hits and 5 runs in a third of an inning of work. Hanrahan was very wild. He makes Daniel Cabrera look like Bob Tewksbury....The Nationals announcers were annoying the hell out of me because they would not announce the O's hitters in a timely manner, sometimes not at all. I don't know who everyone is in Spring Training by number, do you? Thumbs down for Don Sutton and his partner....Adam Donachie went 1 for 3 with an RBI. From what I have seen of him, he is a patient hitter with a good eye. He is quick and looks good behind the plate, haven't seen much of his arm. No Bako yet in Spring Training and Donachie hasn't hurt himself yet in his bid for a roster spot....Tomorrow, Baltimore takes on the Mets and prodigal son John Maine. Light 'em up!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Orioles - 3 Marlins - 0

Baltimore wins their first Spring Training game today.

The Good

Erik Bedard looked sharp over two innings, as did other pitchers who will probably make the club (Scott Williamson, Paul Shuey, Chris Ray, Jamie Walker and Chad Bradford). They weren't exactly facing Murderer's Row but they one-hit the Marlins batters. Jay Gibbons went 2 for 2 with a double.

The Bad

Melvin Mora made his second error in as many games. J.R. House, who needs to swing a hot bat this Spring to make the club, went 0 for 2 in relief of Ramon Hernandez.

Another Look at Kris Benson's 2006 Season

In the Mailbag column on, Spencer Fordin was asked if Steve Trachsel could actually be better than Kris Benson might have been this year. Fordin doesn't think so (and I agree with him) but one part of his response got me thinking:

"Benson's ERA was skewed by a couple abysmal starts in 2006, but for the most
part, he pitched relatively well in his AL adjustment year."

That didn't ring true to me. I seemed to remember Benson having flashes of briliance followed by ineffective starts and many mediocre ones. Regardless, I decided to test Fordin's assertion that "a couple" of bad starts were to blame for Benson's poor ERA.

Benson had 9 starts where he went only 5 innings or less but we'll throw out what were his worst two starts. On May 24th, he gave up 6 earned over two innings in a 7-4 loss at Seattle and on September 27th, Benson gave up a whopping 8 earned runs over 2.2 innings at Yankee Stadium.

So, throwing out those two dismal starts gives Benson an drop in his ERA all the way down to...4.23. Much better obviously, even if it's still nothing to write home about.

Of course, if you're going to remove the extremes at one end, you should remove the extremes on the other end. It's only fair and gives you a pretty good idea of what a pitcher can be reasonably expected to deliver on the average night. Removing Benson's May 19th game against Washington where he pitched a complete game with a lone run allowed and his June 17th outing against the Mets where he gave up one run over 8 IP, his new ERA is...4.57. The league average ERA last year was 4.52. So, at best, Benson was a mediocrity last year.

I think the bottom line here is that Benson was not just the victim of a couple of bad outings; he really was pretty lousy last year.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Baltimore's First Spring Training Game... in the books, an 8-6 loss to the Florida Marlins. A quick look at the boxscore shows Steve Trachsel was not sharp (not a huge surprise) givng up 4 hits, a walk and 3 earned runs in the one inning he pitched. Jeremy Guthrie, on the other hand, was pretty good (a bit surprising) while pitching 2 innings of no hit ball with a strikeout. Other pitchers with a good shot to make the team: Todd Williams pitched a scoreless inning with a walk and a K, Danys Baez gave up a hit and a walk in an inning of work but no runs.

The offensive star was Chris Gomez with going 2 for 2 with a homerun and 3 RBI.

2007 Projections: The Outfield

Part two of this series, the first post concerning the infield is here. Now, the outfield!

Nick Markakis

Marcel 64 125 23 2 14 57 4 1 39 65 .295 .357 .458 .814
CHONE 74 140 29 2 15 71 3 1 49 81 .291 .360 .456 .816
B. James 86 168 35 3 19 84 2 1 55 78 .307 .373 .486 .859
AVG 75 144 29 2 16 71 3 1 48 75 .298 .363 .467 .830

You gotta love the Bill James projection for this guy. While I would love for his production to be on the high side, I am leaning more toward the mean here. I'm going to say Nick matches the average projection and hope that he can take a big leap to eclipse it.

Aubrey Huff

Marcel 63 128 23 2 20 73 4 2 45 69 .274 .341 .460 .801
CHONE 70 139 26 2 24 71 3 2 50 68 .278 .350 .477 .828
B. James 72 152 31 1 24 84 2 1 51 77 .279 .346 .472 .818
AVG 68 140 27 2 23 76 3 2 49 71 .277 .346 .470 .816

These projections are all pretty much in the same ballpark (no pun intended). Huff will exceed these projections this year, especially in homeruns. He will hit at least 25 this season.

Corey Patterson

Marcel 65 120 21 4 16 50 27 6 28 106 .261 .309 .429 .738
CHONE 62 129 22 4 17 62 31 8 28 103 .269 .315 .438 .754
B.James 81 150 27 5 20 63 38 11 31 133 .261 .303 .430 .733
AVG 69 133 23 4 18 58 32 8 29 114 .264 .309 .432 .742

I'm a fan of Corey Patterson and love him in centerfield but there's no way Corey hits 18-20 homeruns this year. I hate to say this but he will not match the average projection this year, except the stolen bases which I expect him to exceed.

Jay Payton

Marcel 69 137 24 3 13 62 5 2 31 60 .275 .318 .413 .731
CHONE 59 146 25 2 13 62 3 2 32 58 .287 .333 .422 .755
B.James 39 82 14 1 8 35 3 2 17 33 .278 .324 .414 .737
AVG 56 122 21 2 11 53 4 2 27 50 .280 .325 .416 .741

These projections are based on over 500 plate appearances so this is an easy call to say Payton will not approach these raw numbers although I imagine his batting average and slugging will be in the ballpark.