Thursday, June 28, 2007

Random Stats

(This post was written before Erik Bedard's stunning performance last night, so his numbers look even better now!)

The Emergence of Jeremy Guthrie

Let's put Guthrie's amazing performance into perspective:

AL Leaders in ERA

D. Haren 1.91
J. Guthrie 2.45
J. Verlander 2.78

AL Leaders in WHIP

J. Guthrie 0.920
D. Haren 0.943
J. Shields 1.037

K/BB Ratio

P. Byrd 9.2
C. Sabathia 6.4
J. Shields 5.3
J. Santana 4.2
J. Guthrie 4.1

Guthrie is the textbook example of why wins don't matter when assessing a pitcher's performance. Every peripheral that matters, he dominates in.

Erik Bedard is Still the Ace

Outside of two bad outings in April (vs. Minnesota and Oakland), Erik Bedard has pitched great this season and is pitching even better than last (even including those two rough outings). He lead the league in strikeouts, he's in the top 20 in the AL in ERA, and his K/BB ratio is 3.8.

But is he even better than he looks? His FIP is tied for third in the AL so the defense has been letting him down a bit. He is striking out a sick 11.1 per 9 and he's a staff workhorse (only Daniel Cabrera has more innings pitched, 103 to 100.). Make no mistake, he's still the team's best pitcher and probably one of the top 5 pitchers in the AL.

And What About That Other Workhorse?

Daniel Cabrera on the surface looks to have taken a step back this season. His ERA is up and the K rate is down. But how useful has he been this season?

As stated before, Cabrera leads the team in IP at 103. Every team needs at least one workhorse on the staff and Cabrera is providing that this year. When your former manager mismanages and overuses your bullpen, this role increases in importance.

The K rate is down but the K/BB rate is up slightly due to Cabrera shaving almost 2 off of his BB/9 rate. His WHIP is at a career low (1.38) too. So what's his undoing? The longball. He has already given up 14 HR, a career high and we're not at the All-Star break yet. He could be having a bad year as far as that goes but it's way out of line with his career numbers; he's always been really good about keeping the ball in the park.

He's still a great part of this staff but maybe as a third or fourth starter and not a number one or two. I say we don't trade him.

OPS Leaders for Baltimore

Roberts .854
Millar .785
Tejada .783
Markakis .777
Mora .746

First off, Brian Roberts is having an absolutely sick year. He leads all AL second baseman in OPS and that number doesn't even take into account his 25 stolen bases (at an 86% success rate!). I hate to say it but Peter Angelos meddled correctly when he blocked the Brian Roberts\Hayden Penn for Adam LaRoche\Marcus Giles trade.

Second, Kevin Millar is the O's second best offensive player and needs to be in the lineup everyday. Now, the fact that a guy with a .785 OPS is our second best player is not something to be proud of but it's also nothing to sneeze at. Millar brings decent pop to the plate and, something that this lineup really needs, plate discipline. He gets on base like a madman, only Roberts draws more walks.

The loss of Tejada was big.

Nick Markakis continues to develop his game. You have to remind yourself that this guy is only 23.

Although I had hoped for a Mora resurgence this year, his numbers are way closer to 2006 than his 2007 output. This is probably about what we're going to get from him from here on out.

Mora at Third

Although Mora has been a bit disappointing at the plate, that has not been the case in the field. Mora leads AL 3B in fielding percentage, is solidly in the upper half of in his Zone Rating (just above A-Rod, just below Brandon Inge; not too shabby) and is fourth in the league at making outs on balls out of his zone. If you've watched the O's regularly, you've seen him make all the plays, the routine and the spectacular.

I used to believe there would not be much of a dropoff if Aubrey Huff had to play third sometimes but no longer.

On a side note, before his injury Miguel Tejada was turning in the best overall performance by a SS in the field this year (1st in ZR, 2nd in FPct) although my criticism about him turning the double play seems to be correct (10th out of 14 in double plays started in the AL).

"The Clemens Era Ends Tonight..."

My son is staying with my parents this week and my father, much to my chagrin, is an enormous Yankees fan. I was talking to my son last night at at the end of our phone call I said, "Tell Grandpa that the Clemens era ends tonight." And he did.

Yankees fans learned last night that having an ace under the age of 30 is much better than having an ace upwards of 40.

Erik Bedard out-Clemensed Roger Clemens by striking out 8 over 7 IP while Clemens struck out 0 for the first time in over 7 years. Bedard was masterful, giving up only two hits and a walk.

And tonight, Daniel Cabrera goes for the sweep against the overated Chien-Ming Wang.

Mike Boehm over at Oriole Magic has a great rant against Yankee fans. It's funny because it's true.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Base Hits: 6/26/2007

It's rough to be an Oriole fan these days but according to The Hardball Times, Baltimore isn't even close to being the worst team in the league. Small consolation but it could be worse...

The New York papers are filled with stories like this one, questioning Joe Torre and calling for his ouster after last night's 3-2 O's win. It's nice to be on the other side of one of these losses and I'm loving watching Yankee fans try to eat one of their own.

It looks like Leo Mazzone will be sticking around, at least for now, which is a good thing. The only reservation I had about firing Perlozzo was the potential loss of Leo. His work with the pitching staff (even with the struggles of some bullpen personnel) has been enormously successful.

The usually completely insipid Amber Theoharis writes a decent enough column in Press Box this month. (I give Nestor a lot of crap about inane, misinformed rantings but as far as the inane and misinformed, Amber gives him a run for his money...) I think Alyssa Milano writes better.

On the other Hand, I am really finding myself enjoying Phil Jackman's Press Box column called...well, On The Other Hand. Good stuff.

I have posted WPA graphs before and The Hardball Times have assessed some of the biggest hits of the year in terms of WPA. Jay Payton has the biggest hit of the year for Baltimore this stop pinch hitting for him in the 9th!

O's Defeat The Evil Empire...Despite Themselves

I'll take the win. A win over the Yankees in any capacity is great and should be celebrated.

After getting Patterson and Roberts on with no outs in the ninth, Chris Gomez popped out on a bunt attempt. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Ramon Hernandez was hit by a pitch and the ump blew the call. The ball went to the backstop and if Corey Patterson had simply hauled ass home, the game would have been over anyway but he remained on third. Hernandez worked the count full and Scott Proctor walked in the winning run for the 3-2 win.

And I understand bringing along a young pitcher slowly. Overworking young arms leads to injury. But can't we let Jeremy Guthrie try to pitch through the 7th inning? I think he can do it. Anyway...

Guthrie looked great again, he struck out 6 and only made one mistake to Johnny Damon, the two-run homer, that cost him yet another decision.

Why is Jay Gibbons pinch hitting for anybody these days?

Next up is Bedard vs. Clemens. Clemens has been shaky since his return, hopefully this continues but a great pitching duel appears to be coming up tonight.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wither Jay Gibbons?

"Believe me, I understand getting booed."

- Jay Gibbons

He ought to. The fans have really given it to him this year. He has also seen his playing time diminish and Rick Dempsey has threatened to use "domestic violence" on him if he doesn't start hitting.

It's been really bad for Jay Gibbons this year. It's so bad that if Freddie Bynum got all Jay's at-bats, the lineup would be appreciably better. He's barely outhitting Paul Bako.

Jay has never been the most patient of hitters (I always thought that the propensity to take a few more walks would make him a pretty fearsome slugger) but he always had enough pop that I have defended him. A guy who can OPS in the .780's is valuable, right? Even if he doesn't start everyday, you'd have a hard time replacing that kind of production.

Those days are gone. Jay says he's healthy. But he still hit only .197 in April and .152 so far in June. I figured those would be career lows but as it turns out they aren't. Jay has hit sub-.200 for a month a few times before (I knew he was steaky but not that streaky.) so that leaves hope for a rebound in July. But...

The power outage that seems to be affecting most of the lineup this year has caught up with Jay too. Only 3 HR and slugging .320. If he was getting regular playing time, he would be on pace to set a career high in strikeouts.

Jay turned 30 this season and sometimes that spells the beginning of the end for marginal but useful sluggers like Gibbons. Anybody remember Rico Brogna, journeyman first baseman? Check out his career after 30. Another guy was 60's 1B-OF Lee Thomas. Scary similarites to Jay in their career trajectory and both players' production fell off the table after they hit 30.

Better get to hitting Jay, Rico Brogna is breathing down your neck....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nestor and Angelos: Like Looking in the Mirror

Something Nestor said yesterday morning on WNST got me thinking about how he fired Terry and Jeremy this past fall and comments about how the O's treated Sam Perlozzo.

First, Nestor's comments from earlier this week:

...this is just three hours after they had him walking around town this morning looking and sounding like a fool, a dead man walking who was still under the belief that he wasn't getting fired as far as he knew!

That was the wrong thing to do in Nestor's opinion. This was how Nestor treated his former morning team:

Terry Ford and Jeremy Conn much to their surprise were fired. Somewhere just before 9AM the entire morning crew was asked to leave the building and not long after their return, the profiles and email addresses of Ford and Conn were wiped from WNST’s database and website and severance checks awaited them. Only Drew Forrester was left standing.

Hmmm. Guess these guys have more in common than we ever knew...
(photo from

Miguel Tejada and the Integrity of the Game

For those who may be outraged about Miguel Tejada's bogus bunt to maintain his streak, consider the following:

Friday, September 25, 1987: Against the Yankees, Cal Ripken strikes out looking in the first and uncharacteristically (and somewhat suspiciously) argues balls and strikes until ejected.

Monday, August 7, 1989: Cal takes the field in the top of the 1st against the Twins and then is inexplicably lifted in the bottom of the first for Rene Gonzales (???).

Sunday, September 29, 1996: Against Toronto, Cal has one AB and is lifted for Manny Alexander.

Sunday, July 20, 1997: Cal strikes out looking in his first AB and is replaced at third by Aaron Ledesma.

What do all those games have in common? Cal had 1 AB or less in each game and the streak remained in tact. And don't get me started on Lou Gehrig's streak...

If you stood up and applauded Cal when he broke the streak, get off of Dave Trembley's and Miguel Tejada's backs.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

No Girardi...Now What?

Before I get started with this, Dave Trembley put Miggy in the starting lineup, let him bunt Brian Roberts over to second and immediately put Chris Gomez in as a pinch runner. His consecutive games streak intact, Tejada probably has some very good feelings about Mr. Trembley today...

Joe Girardi has turned down the job with the O's, not the biggest of surprises considering he is a hot commodity right now. The only chance the O's had was his relationship with Andy McPhail and the fact that the O's may offer him a lot of cash. But no dice. What's next? The other candidates:

Rick Dempsey: I'll start with Rick since my blog is dedicated to him but he probably has no chance in hell. In Rick's favor, I think the players would like him a lot and he is kind of an enthusiastic loose cannon in the Ozzie Guillen mode who could possibly jumpstart the team to short-term success. However, as you see in Guillen's case, that method only works for awhile. Like Girardi, he was a major league catcher.

Don Baylor: Don's going to get a call if for no other reason than he will fulfill the minority interview requirement. Baylor has had success, his Colorado teams overachieved at times but his Cub teams tended to underachieve. In Chicago, he managed Joe Girardi.

Davey Johnson: Peter Angelos could achieve the Steinbrenner dream by rehiring a successful manager he has previously fired. Davey has no recent track record, he last managed the Dodgers into second place in 2000 with 86 wins. He is the only manager on this list with a winning record throughout his career. Johnson managed the Orioles the 1996 ALCS against the Yankees, featuring Joe Girardi.

Jerry Manuel: The anti-Dempsey. He's boring. But he got results, he's a winning manager, if not a great manager. Not sure this is the kind of guy Baltimore needs right now though. He lived in Chicago at the same time as Joe Girardi.

That Bullpen Guy: The current manager needs to go on a tear, win 9 out of 10 while the managerial search continues to have a prayer of getting the job permanently but I do like some of the lineup changes he is trying. If he gets the job, he will really owe Joe Girardi.

Nestor Aparicio: Raving Lunatic

Sit back and enjoy more from the frothing carnival barker:

Because I believe in presenting BOTH sides of the story...

Good one.

Only time will tell...but the track record of "momentous" days like today where Peter Schmuck believes whatever the Orioles tell him and writes fluffy, flowery pieces of wishful fiction...are too many to name.

This is a common Nestor tactic. Anyone who works for The Baltimore Sun or WHFS is automatically discredited, they are brainwashed lapdogs, pawns of the evil Angelos Empire. WNST is the only true source for O's information. Remember the away jersey story? Complete truth, that one. No axes to grind here, no sir.

Blah, blah, blah...every time there's a "new" addition people like Schmuck are out selling the discounted orange Kool-Aid!

See? Jim Jones reference with that one. Classic.

I'm trying to figure out what makes Andy McPhail more important or significant than Jon Miller, Pat Gillick, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken or anyone ELSE who won't work for Peter Angelos?

Let me help you "figure" this out because three out of four of these are easy.

Andy McPhail is more important than:

Jon Miller because: Jon Miller did not pick players or coaches. He talked about the game while people played and did it very well but his Vin Scully impression never once created a run for the Baltimore Orioles nor prevented the opposing team from scoring one. Nor did his witty repartee ever lure a free agent or select good players in the draft. That was easy. What's next?

Brooks Robinson because: Brooks was a Hall of Fame baseball player but is now, like, 137 years old. I don't think he can hold down third base for us anymore. And since he has repeatedly stated that he does not want to be a coach or manager, I would say that he can't help the team by playing, hiring good players or coaching them to wins. Next!

Cal Ripken because: Cal wants to own the team. He does not want to coach. He does not want to pick players. He does not want to play again. He wants to run the whole show. So until Angelos decides to sell the team, Cal cannot help us. But McPhail may be able to. Wow. Easy stuff. Next!

Pat Gillick because: Pat Gillick was a really bad GM. Wow, that was easier than I thought. Look here at the 1998 draft. Brutally bad. it took him 10-15 years to build a winner in Toronto. Then he screwed up Baltimore, went on the decimate the Mariners and is now mismanaging the Phillies.

There you go Nestor. Please continue in clarity.

If you ask me, all Peter has done today is found a new lap dog, another "unemployed" baseball executive who wanted a job and has "delusions of grandeur."

He won't back up his assertions here but he has managed to discredit a man who has been on the job two days as a "lapdog". (He just loves that word...) If John McGraw returned form the dead and agreed to manage the Orioles, Nestor would dismiss him as a lapdog. If Sparky Anderson returned (he's still alive) and agreed to manage the Orioles, Nestor would dismiss him as a lapdog. If Jesus Christ returned from the grave and agreed to manage the Orioles, Nestor would dismiss him as a lapdog.

(And as long as I'm defecating on Schmuck, how many times is HE going to buy their rubbish before he starts feeling foolish himself? I know I stopped buying it right around 1998, because I SAW what was going on around the franchise from the inside!)

Do you know who defecates on other people? Babies, the mentally deficient and the insane. Nestor qualifies as at least two out of three so I'll allow the foul comment. Continue.

I HOPE McPhail is not a flunky, but the evidence on Day One is pretty damning! I ain't holding my breath, if you know what I mean!

Scan the post all ye sane and reasoning people. There is not one bit of evidence presented. It's all in his head. Obviously, he forgot to write the evidence part. But it's damning. Really, really damning. If you know what I mean.

Who knows? Maybe if I "suck up" to Andy McPhail, I'll get my press pass back so I can do my job...LOL!!! Especially, since now it's Mr. McPhail's decision, since he's "running the organization."

Nestor, I supported you in your quest for press credentials even though I knew you were an assclown but it's time to let it go and live in the now. Now take your medicine.

P.S. Today he writes an open letter to McPhail (the man he referred to as a lapdog in yesterday's rant) and whines about his press pass again. He requests that it be ready by Tuesday of next week and that if it's not, he'll "just assume that you're the latest liar to take Peter's money." Hey, that's logical. Or maybe he has more important things to do like hiring a manager and assessing the farm system. Or maybe he just realizes you're an assclown. Why does McPhail get so much shrapnel? He just got here on Tuesday...

Victory at Last

Jeremy Guthrie finally got some run support and shut down the Padres last night, striking out 9 and allowing a lone run.

I like Millar hitting 3rd in this lineup. He gets on base and has decent pop in his bat still. I think that could work in fron of Tejada.

Nick Markakis is hitting .306 for the month of June.

Brian Roberts is quietly putting together his best season since his monster 2005 campaign. The power numbers are not there but he's getting on-base at a .396 clip, hitting .306 and stealing bases at an 85% clip. It's not his fault the O's aren't scoring runs.

Joe Girardi could be named the O's skipper as early as today, more on that when and if it happens.

P.S. Melvin Mora is beginning to catch fire again...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Perlozzo is Wrong...

I saw this article referenced over at the Oriole Post (who was in turn tipped off by the guys at Roar From 34). Just wanted to point out a couple of things that make me feel better about Perlozzo getting fired:

The flaws in the team: "The flaw for me?" Perlozzo asked. "Baez going south and the offense. When Danys went bad it threw the team into the kilter, and we had to overexpose (other pitchers). The offense doesn't score enough to make up for any deficiencies. When you can't score five runs playing in the American League East, you've got problems.”

True, the offense is bad and that's not all Sam's fault. But the bullpen was overexposed well before Mr. Reluctant imploded and it was overexposed and overworked by Perlozzo and nobody else.

"Kevin Millar has a high on-base percentage, but doesn't hit home runs. Do you want me to start him on the bases? Check the on-base percentage and the runs scored. It doesn't jibe. We need three hits to get him in. You want me to start running Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons and Aubrey Huff?”

Wow. Where do I start? Yes, Millar has the second highest OBP on the team. That's good. But he does hit homeruns. Outside of Melvin Mora, he has hit more homeruns per AB than anyone else on the team. The only reason he only has 6 at this point is due to lack of playing time...and that's Perlozzo's fault. And then he makes a not-so-veiled "Millar clogs up the bases" argument? It's Kevin's fault that no one can drive him in? Three hits to get him in? A double would do.

Bad reasoning Sam. See you later.

More Nestor Today...

From Nestor's latest blog entry:

"The list is too long, but start with Doug Melvin and Jon Miller and move forward...pick ANYONE who has worked in this organization."

Really, Nestor. Stop the Doug Melvin rap. See my post two entries down. Melvin sucked here, sucked in Texas. He is poor at his job. There are far better examples to use...

"We at WNST deal with former players ALL THE TIME, who come to town and tell our reporters what a nightmare it was to play here and work for Mr. Angelos. Casey has former players come up to him at literally EVERY homestand, talking to him about what a mess this place was and how happy they were to leave Baltimore!"

Name one. I dare you. Name just one player who said these things and I will take these claims as credible. Otherwise, they are fabrications, like 'NST's "Jerseygate" stories. Unfounded.

Nestor also goes on a long rant about how people should not be motivated by money and if Joe Girardi can only be lured here by $2 million a year then he is not the right man for the job.

But Nestor, if this is such a bad job, why would anyone of quality come here without being well compensated? You can't have it both ways.

5 Keys to the Season Revisited: June

It's June, let's look at the progress:

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

A 4.35 ERA was the goal and as of today the team ERA is 4.39. The pitching has slipped lately but considering the injuries the staff has sustained, we'll call this a goal met for now.

2. Markakis hits 25

Nick is on a pace for 21 homers. While that falls short of the goal, he is on pace for 46 doubles too. Pretty good slugging although he has been up and down. He slugged .524 in May but is only slugging .403 for June. I expect him to come around even though he is falling a bit short now.

3. Increased production from LF

Our leftfielders have only hit .253 with 1 HR all season. Our LF's OPS'd .681 last year and this year they are OPSing a measly .638. Anemic is not the word. It's a huge gaping hole in the offense.

Worse, when you combine this with the enormous dropoff in production from Corey Patterson in center, (our centerfielders are OPSing an abysmal .578) everything in the outfield left of Markakis is absolutely killing our lineup. To put it into perspective, Paul Bako is OPSing .558. Horrible.

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

After a pretty good start, Melvin was producing at 2005 levels but has slowly drifted down and looks more like the 2006 version lately which is completely unacceptable. I don't expect Mora to continue to hit in the .240's all season so I am still hopeful he will rebound.

5. Health

Health has not been on Baltimore's side this season. Ramon Hernandez has missed significant time leaving the terrible Paul Bako to pick up the slack (which he hasn't). Jay Payton has not been great but a healthy Payton all year would have really helped our dismal LF production. Kris Benson, Jaret Wright and Adam Loewen went down early and none is likely to return this season.

It's not the biggest factor for the O's failures this year but it certainly hasn't helped.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fire Nestor Aparicio

From Nestor's blog today:

"I'll say this: God bless ANYONE who is coming into this situation...and really expecting to be able to make a difference!"

Wow. How hopeful you are Nestor.

"All McPhail or Trembley or Girardi need to do is pick up the phone and call any one of a HUNDRED people who have tried to make this franchise and situation better -- good men like Doug Melvin, Pat Gillick, Frank Wren, Jim Beattie, Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove, or Sam Perlozzo who ALL had a press conference like the one that is currently under way in The Warehouse only to be shown during the "tough times" just who is running the show, but also who has ZERO accountability for the many, many embarrassments and failures.

ALL of them had success in other places, but couldn't figure out a way to make it work here because of the man who owns the company and rules with an iron fist."

All of them had success in other places? Let's see:

Doug Melvin: Traded away Eddie Murray for nothing. Glenn Davis deal? Yeah, his hands were on that one too. Don't remember the O's soaring during that time. In Texas, he signed A-Rod to big bucks but also Chan Ho Park. He traded away Ryan Dempster, Dean Palmer (for Tom Goodwin) and Kevin Brown (for Tim Crabtree). He did nothing but make the O's and Texas worse while at the helm.

Pat Gillick: Had some of the worst drafts in the last 20 years for the O's. I have detailed this before.

Frank Wren: No argument.

Jim Beattie: General manager of the Expos...during their suckdom and decline of the late 90's. Awesome success story.

Ray Miller: Failed in Baltimore, failed in Minnesota. A fine pitching coach (maybe), lousy manager everywhere.

Mike Hargrove: Was successful with several future Hall of Famers on his team in the mid-90's. (Players in the mid-90's: Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Orel Hershhiser, Eddie Murray, Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, Charle Nagy, Dennis Martinez, Jeromy Burnitz, Brian Giles, Jeff Kent, Sandy Alomar, Tony Fernandez, Matt Williams, David Justice, Bartolo Colon, Richie Sexson, Dwight Gooden. I could have managed that team to the World Series) He was mediocre in Baltimore and mediocre in Seattle...with mediocre talent.

Yeah, Angelos really held these guys back.

Angelos may be a coward (Nestor's words) but Nestor is an assclown.

Perlozzo Out

He's gone. What's next?

Dave Trembley for now.

Perlozzo didn't get much out of this team. No, he doesn't have much to do with the power outage in this lineup and it's not his fault Danys Baez sucks but he made questionable decisions with the lineup and, most damaging, riding his bullpen to hard, too soon, in situations where he didn't seem to need to. He listened to his players to a fault instead of setting expectations for them. He didn't take control.

Will the O's get better with a different manager? Doubtful. They slug like the Royals (actually worse) which means their pitchers have to be lights out everyday for the team to win consistently. That has to change before anything works for this club.

No winning season this year fans. The streak will reach 10 years and a fire sale seems to be in order. Goodbye Miguel Tejada, goodbye Corey Patterson, goodbye Steve Trachsel. I imagine Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, Jay Payton and Ramon Hernandez will all remain.

Onward into the void, people. There's a lot of baseball left and lots to look at as the season unfolds. I'll see if I can find it...

Breaking News: Duquette/Flannagan and Perlozzo Out?

According to this story at ESPN, Andy McPhail is coming to the O's and is arranging a meeting with Joe Girardi. McPhail and Girardi were both with the Cubs organization in the late '90's (Girardi as catcher) so this would make some sense I suppose.

Perlozzo's had long enough. Girardi will not only command respect being a former player, he has shown that he can manage in Florida. He got a team to overachieve. Wouldn't that be a switch?

McPhail has a good track record too. The Twins won two World Sereies on his watch and he built the Cubs into contenders.

Interesting news...

Conversation Overheard...

Jim Duquette: Danys, I think we're going to have to put you on the DL.

Mr. Reluctant: What for?

J.D.: Because of that tendinitis in your right forearm.

Mr. Reluctant: I don't have any tendinitis in my...

J.D.: Yes, you do.

Mr. Reluctant: No, I don't...

Duquette: Yes, you do.

Mr. Reluctant: Um, no I feel anything...

J.D.: But you do feel like collecting your ample paycheck for the rest of the year, right? And you do feel like coming back and trying to make the team in Spring Training '08 to collect the rest of it, right? How's that forearm feeling?

Mr. Reluctant: You know my arm actually does feel a little sore...

I'm back from vacation, let the festivities begin.

Mr. Baez had finally developed an "injury" allowing some fresh blood from the minors (including James Hoey whom I called for nearly a month ago...) so we'll see if this helps right the bullpen. It certainly couldn't hurt.

The O's keep finding ways to lose, close ones and blowouts. Want to get your team on a winning streak? Head to Baltimore.

Arizona had lost 6 of 7 then swept the O's.
The Nationals had gone a mediocre 5-7 before sweeping Baltimore.
Even the Rockies had been squeaking by with a 4-4 record before taking the series from the Orioles.

The talent on this team is not that bad. They should be competing against teams of this caliber, not lose 8 of 9 to them.

It's time for Perlozzo to go.

The $42 million bullpen? Jamie Walker, Chad Bradford and Scott Williamson have been pretty good this year. 3 outta 4 ain't bad I guess...

John Maine stats since the end of April: 2-4, 4.27 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, 7 K/9. A mediocrity in a pitcher's park.

More review of the season upcoming tomorrow. I'm going to check out the other blogs...

Friday, June 8, 2007

Haven't Been Posting Lately...

...I'm going on vacationand have been trying to get ahead at work before I leave and probably won't post again for another week and a half but...


Thank you, I feel better now.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Let The Boy Pitch...

I'm not one to second guess a manager when it comes to pulling a starter for a proven closer in a close game but...

When you bullpen has been tremendously overworked this year and....

When your young middle reliever turned starter is acclamated to his new role and has been pitching well and...

He only has thrown 88 pitches...

...wouldn't you let him try to finish the game? At least let him come out and face the first batter? Just asking. Losing to Vlad Guerrero will happen but why not save Ray's arm a bit and let you starters carry the load for awhile? Guerrero could have just as easily knocked Guthrie around to but at least you would have had some good reasons to let Guthrie try to close it out.

I guess the thing about Perlozzo that bothers me is that he doesn't seem to have reasons for the decisions he makes. If you have a philosophy and it fails, fine but you have to make a decision basedon somethign other than gut instinct or what a player may say to you...

"Perlozzo said he asked Guthrie how he felt when he returned to the dugout and the pitcher said, "'Who's coming up?' That's not an answer I wanted to hear," Perlozzo said."

Dude, who's in charge here? That's what you based your decision on?

The O's have now lost 5 straight one-run games. When that becomes a trend, that's the manager's fault.


What a catch by Nick Markakis on Saturday night! I'm really happy he didn't crack a rib on that one...

I didn't expect the O's to win the sereis with the Angels but they didn't get run off the field. They played nip and tuck with the best team in the west all weekend and hopefully things will bounce our way in Seattle.

Friday, June 1, 2007

This Pitching Staff Won't Waiver

I love winning, man, I love winning! You know what I mean? It's, like, better than losing?

- Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh

The O's are back to .500 for the first time in weeks and there are three big reasons Sam Perlozzo's been able to keep this team afloat (and himself employed): Steve Trachsel, Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Burres. What do the 14 year veteran, the rookie former first round pick and the lefty converted from reliever to starter all have in common? All were picked up by the O's after other teams had waived them and all have been at the center of Baltimore's recent turnaround.

Jeremy Guthrie

When the O's claimed Guthrie off of waivers from the Indians this winter, I was sure he was destined for Norfolk. When I found out he was out of options, I figured he had an outside chance of making the team as a middle reliever, which he did, and performed quite well in that role until Jaret Wright went on the DL. Guthrie was pressed into duty and has impressed ever since.

When he moved into the rotation, I figured he would be the kind of pitcher that hitters would really catch up with the second or third time through the rotation but as I've said before, he's proven me wrong and been just the opposite in an extreme way.

BA vs Guthrie 1st PA: .322
BA vs Guthrie 2nd PA: .193
BA vs Guthrie 3rd PA: .081 (!!!)

With a trend like that, Guthrie could well be a workhorse. He seems to get better as the game moves along. this former first round draft pick has blossomed under Leo Mazzone's tutelage.

Steve Trachsel

Trachsel was waiting by the phone as Spring Training began and was seen as a desperation move for the Orioles, a scrapheap signing because nothing better was available when Kris Benson went down for the season with shoulder trouble. I thought the stepdown from Benson to Trachsel was no that far when the signing was made. I expected Trachsel to come close to duplicating Benson's mediocre numbers from the previous year which was probably the best we could have hoped for.

However, Trachsel has been our most consistent pitcher all year. While this may not last (Steve has walked 31 and only struck out only 18 thus far), Trachsel has made batters miss enough and induced enough groundballs to post a WHIP of 1.29 which is good enough in the AL to imagine future success.

Brian Burres

Burres was a 31st round draft pick for the Giants in 2000 and the O's claimed him off of waivers in January 2006. After some light relief work last year, Burres was a major player in the bullpen this season posting a 1.35 ERA as a reliever. When lefty phenom Adam Loewen was lost to a stress fracture in his arm, Burres was pressed into service and has performed better than expected. Although he may ultimately better at relief, it's nice to know we have a capable spot starter in the pen.

We must give credit to Mazzone on these guys since he has a track record of taking John Burketts, Jorge Sosas and John Thomsons and getting the most out of them. Kudos also to the front office for finding these guys in the first place and improving the team while giving up nothing for them.