Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nestor Is At It Again...

The Orioles had a five game losing streak! Leap from the bandwagon, Nestor!

Orioles go from penthouse to outhouse

How original. How droll. The wit is simply amazing here. Who but a professional sportswriter would think to juxtapose "penthouse" with "outhouse"? That's where that journalism degree comes in folks. Pure genius.

Don’t look now, but the Orioles have gone from an “interesting” spring team with some exciting evenings to quickly becoming a team on a fast course to nowhere.

Let's assume that the Orioles were "falling back to Earth" as Nestor imagines. Is that a path to nowhere? Didn't we assume that rebuilding is good and that it would come with its share of growing pains? Should a few losses change that outlook?

That is, if they can't find a way to start hitting the baseball.This morning, they wake up on a 80-degree Memorial Day again mired in last place of the AL East in the midst of a five-game losing streak....And here come New York and Boston to attempt to kick them while they’re down…

Mired. An interesting choice of language there.

Mired - entangled, entrapped or hindered as if in mire

On the morning this post appeared the Orioles were "mired" in last a division where being one game under .500 will land you in last place. They were a full 5.5 games out of first! How will the Orioles ever get above .500 again?!?! Oh yeah, win a couple of games. We are de-mired.

Before the inevitable (and foolish) "Nestor hates the Orioles" comments start flooding this blog,

Gee, why would anyone think that?

Right now, with seven games coming against the Red Sox and Yankees at home – where their talent will be overwhelmed every day – it’s not looking so good...

Look, outside of the fact that we don't have a true "ace" on this staff, I'll put our pitching staff up against anybody in the AL East save for Toronto. And pitching has been the great equalizer this season. Unless the pitching fails us, we will never be overmatched for a series.

The real problem is very clear to anyone who watches the team on a daily basis: the offense is atrocious and there are very few signs of it improving dramatically any time soon.

Yes, the offense is not good. But no signs of improving? Anyone who watches the game would see signs that the team is hitting the ball hard and catching some bad breaks. Or you could look here. Or here.

This is and will probably remain a poor offensive team, and any hopes that both Luke Scott and Adam Jones would be the next coming of last year’s Nick Markakis are starting to dissipate.

Nick Markakis hit .300 with 23 home runs last year. Nobody thought Scott or Jones were going to do that this year. Nobody Nestor. N-O-B-O-D-Y.

And just so we're clear here, on May 31st, 2006, (Markakis' first year in the majors) his batting line was .219/.301/.314. The Truth is batting .253/.303/.368 with almost triple the number of extra base hits (14) than Nick had (5). And Jones still has 3 games to go this month!

Sure, you’d like to think that Brian Roberts isn’t going to hit .263 this season.

He's not.

Or that Nick Markakis is better than his current .247.

He is.

But the rest of the roster – including a rapidly aging Melvin Mora and a “just glad to be here” Kevin Millar – are what they are: mediocre major league players. And don’t get me started on Aubrey Huff, who’ll make his $8 million this year while hitting his usual .250 with 20 homers.The situational (and specifically late-inning) hitting was superb during the early-season stretches where they won cardiac ballgames in the late innings. And those were on the nights when the starting pitching was outstanding and the bullpen was even better than that.

No argument with the bats in this lineup, although I would quibble about Millar being mediocre. he is better than league average. And Mora can pick 'em over at third.

Daniel Cabrera is 5-1. I have no reason to believe he’ll be 10-2 and 15-3 before it’s all over with. I’m not convinced that we’ll see the same guy every five days once this team inevitably drops well below .500 and goes through the summer doldrums that teams that hit .240 will struggle with.

Two things here: win totals are a poor evaluation of a pitcher's performance (see Guthrie and Bedard last year, far better than their win totals) and batting average is a poor indicator (by itself) of offensive prowess.

First, the offense. The team OPS is .712, 7th among the 14 AL teams. And they are swinging the bats better than the results...but if you've read this blog you know where I'm going with this and I don't feel like proving it again. Trust me, the bats will improve.

And no, Daniel Cabrera would be hard pressed to win 15. I love the guy but he's giving up too many homers to win consistently.

But note that it is "inevitable" that the team sinks far beneath .500. Only a .240 batting average as proof.

It was fun while it lasted – and maybe they’ll go 7-0 this week against the big boys and resurrect their flailing season– but it’s hard watching this team get four and five hits a game and struggle to manufacture runs, especially when Steve Trachsel takes the ball every five days and puts them in a major hole.

That's all folks! Take down the tents, the party is officially over - unless of course it's not over then feel free to stick around. Way to hedge your bets Nestor.

Steve Trachsel. One way or another, a temporary problem.

Maybe they can escape last place before the end of Memorial Day?
Or maybe I'll just want to vomit at the sea of Yankees fans I'll inevitably be forced to endure in my own ballpark for the tenth year running...

Confusing parting shot. A hint of optimism after all the downer talk. Then a reference to the Yankee fans taking over the stadium, 10 years of losing and bodily fluids being expelled. I guess some habits die harder than others for Nestor...


the wayward o said...

but he's so "edgy"!!

DempseysArmy said...

And evidently, biploar!

Wasn't he "embracing" the Orioles again just a couple months back? (The team not the management...)

Jon Shepherd said...

Yeah, I think he flips to whatever will help sell. Plus, if he claims both sides he can always be right and . . . that wrong stuff . . . you just misunderstood.