Thursday, July 31, 2008

Base Hits: 7/31/2008

Shortly after I posted yesterday, I received a press release from MASN stating that Roch Kubatko will be joining MASN and that the Roch Around the Clock blog will continue of there starting on Friday. Here's the link to the news on Update your bookmarks accordingly.


It's going to be a tough August for the Birds. They only play two series against teams with losing records (Seattle and Cleveland) and they play those series on the road. Speaking of playing on the road, the O's play 16 of 28 on the road in August. The O's are only playing at a .400 winning percentage on the road this season.

It's looking like it'll be a rough August for the Baltimore Orioles.


Not a whisper about Aubrey Huff moving at the deadline. Huff has put together one of the best seasons ever (so far) by a Oriole DH:

OPS+ Year
H. Baines 150 1999
H. Baines 142 1995
A. Huff 140 2008
H. Baines 137 1993
Singleton 131 1983

Baines and Singleton...that's rarefied air in Orioles history.

He has also matched his RBI total from 2007 already and surpassed his home run numbers.

I have to grudgingly give Huff some respect for his performance this year. And I thought he was done as an impact bat. I was wrong.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

O's Win Again

The umps tried to sabotage the evening by ejecting D-Cab during one of his very rare good outings. But the O's won anyway and will take the series with the Yanks.

I hope the Yanks fall a couple games short of the postseason. Baltimore could point back to these games with pride.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about...


Bill Ordine continues to perpetuate the Mark Teixeira-may-come-to-Baltimore myth. Though he is hardly alone.

Let's set this straight. He's not coming and we don't want him! Not at $20mil per!

Tex doesn't want to come here. All that "Aw shucks, it's be great to play for the hometown team. Gawrsh, that'd be neat!" is just Tex being polite. Or being duplicitous. He says nice things about every team that shows the slightest interest.

An example from Buster Olney's ESPN blog:

"Inside the clubhouse, it was awkward. An hour before the game, with teammates in earshot, Teixeira gushed to reporters that the Angels were "the best team in baseball." While also being complimentary of his former teammates, it had a strange ring. Braves coaches recognized the situation and ushered Braves players into other areas of the clubhouse."

What a great guy. He'll say great things about whatever city he's asked about. Even at the expense of his current teammates.

More from Tex from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"I thought I'd be here the rest of my career," he said of Atlanta. "I really wanted to stay here, but business is business, and it's time for me to move on."

Teixeira said he had been "open" to hearing offers from the Braves all season, but got none. Wren said the Braves didn't believe they could re-sign him after making an "aggressive" offer during spring training and having it rejected.

The GM said the offer would have made Teixeira one of the game's highest paid players. He is making $12.5 million this season in his last year of arbitration.

Let's see. You thought you'd spend the rest of your career here but rejected an offer from the Braves that would have made you one of the game's highest paid players. You need a shovel handy when Tex talks to the press.

The guy seems to think he's a player who is the caliber of Albert Pujols or A-Rod. He's not.


Bye Roch. We'll miss you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Enormous Bullpen

You know, there's nothing like beating up on the Yankees in New York to lift your spirits. you even get cool headlines on

O's drill Yanks

I'm going to leave double entendre out of this one...

Mussina get's rocked, Guthrie pitches great and The Truth delivers his message of hope for the Orange and Black.

But that's not what I have come here to talk about today. It's our pitching staff.

We have only two starters in my estimation. Well, one and a half.

The one is Jeremy Guthrie. He is without a doubt our best starting pitcher. The half is Garrett Olson. He may be a good starter in time but he is far from a guarantee at this point.

The rest?

Daniel Cabrera - Only his ability to eat a few innings keeps him in the rotation. I have been fooled for the last time. He should be tried out in relief to salvage him but he is now through as a starter - Potential Setup Man

Brian Burres - I have harped on this before but Burres' future in the majors is in the bullpen. As a starter, he's been a failure. Only injuries to others has kept him in the rotation. - Swingman

Radhames Liz - He is young and was a bit rushed to the majors but even before he got here there were whispers among scouts that he may be better suited for relief. Now those whispers have grown to open conversation. Liz would be a crazy setup guy or maybe a closer but starter may not be where he projects. - Future Closer

You've got to love our bullpen this year and the prospects for next year. Randor Bierd, Jim Johnson, Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker, Dennis Sarfate, a healthy Chris Ray, Brian Burres, Rocky Cherry, Jim Miller, Bob McCrory...there's lots of options. It's deep and dynamic.

But who's going to start in 2009?

Matt Albers - I was really hoping Albers would get his shot but his season ending injury ended that thought. Look for him to compete for a spot in 2009.

Chris Tillman - Tillman is doing very well as a 20 year old in AA Bowie, much more than holding his own. He may not start the season in the rotation but he will be a quick callup in 2009.

Brad Bergesen - The 22 year-old Bergesen has been under the radar but has improved every year he has pitched in the organization. An extreme groundball pitcher, Bergesen is having a better season than Tillman in Bowie and demonstrates fabulous control. He is the type of pitcher who could make a leap to Baltimore next season but they may take it easy on him. ETA mid-2009.

Unfortunately, that's about all I could come up with. Anybody else with any ideas?

(edit: I guess the Orioles see Dennis Sarfate as an least in the short term.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Base Hits: 7/28/2008

OK, the Orioles finally broke their Sunday losing streak. Big deal.

A win is a win but they lost 5 straight coming into Sunday including three straight against Toronto. Toronto! The one AL East team that we are actually better than! Owww, quit it!

Nice to see a win but they are becoming few and far between. Excuse me if I don't celebrate.


On a positive note, Ben at Oriole Central has a great interview with none other than Brian Roberts! Nice job Ben!


You know you have a problem when you get your dander up about writers maligning a Baltimore Oriole from 110 years ago.

Chris Jaffe has written a two-part series where he rates the BBWA on their Hall of Fame selections and omissions for The Hardball Times. He had a problem with old-timey Oriole RF Wille Keeler:

That just leaves one man—Willie Keeler. He's way the hell back, behind (among others) Rusty Staub, Rocky Colavito, Elmer Flick, King Kelly and Sam Rice. Keeler was the sort of man who did one thing really well (hit singles), and that was about it. That's exactly the kind of guy who is normally overrated.

Keeler's a real oddity because he's the only 19th century position player they voted in. That makes his pick especially damning. If you're only going to put in one hitter from the 1890s, you damn well better get it right. They skipped over Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, Hugh Duffy, Jesse Burkett and George Davis for him.

Going by runs created, Keeler was the 17th-best batter of the 1890s. Shortstop Bill Dahlen was 16th best. Wanna adjust for his not playing in 1890-1? Fine—he's still clearly not the best, yet he's the only one in. I'm more tolerant of their omissions from the Paleolithic Era, which is why a sin of commission from that time period is so bad. He's the only problem in right, though.

This is what it has come down to. Willie Keeler is overrated. Pardon me while I bang my head into the keyboard. vqwefop l;qw ecl;qwjk

I am a baseball stat nerd. But I am also a baseball nerd in general. You have to combine the nerdiness to understand Keeler as a player.

(Let me just say that I enjoy Chris Jaffe's writing immensely, I'm just going to strenuously differ with him on this point.)

First, let's look at the assertion that Keeler was the 17th best player in Runs Created during the 1890's. That's cherry-picking the numbers. Keller played well into the next decade. you are judged by your career not an arbitrary span of ten years (of which you did not even play in two of them...).

So using Jaffe's choice of stat, the leaders in Runs Created from 1890-1910 are here. Here's the top five:

Jesse Burkett 1566
Ed Delahanty 1520
Honus Wagner 1416
Willie Keeler 1378
Nap Lajoie 1351

Now, I'm sure that most of you aren't that familiar with turn of the century baseball stars but that is damn fine company for Keeler. 4th in baseball over a 20 year span is nothing to sneeze at.

You have to remember that Keeler played before the Deadball Era officially began. The ball was really dead in the 1890's. Keeler hit a lot of singles but that's what most of the best players did during this period in baseball. And he was a slap hitter and hit leadoff. You don't ask Tony Gwynn to jack homers!

The rest of the argument revolves around the writers not voting in Ed Delahanty. Very true that Delahanty was (and is) overlooked but that's hardly Keeler's fault.

Add to this that Keeler was considered the greatest rightfielder of his time and I think it's clear that Keeler is solidly deserving of the Hall of Fame. I mean, really.


Roch Kubatko is leaving the Baltimore Sun according to his blog. I guess details will be forthcoming but he will be greatly missed and will leave a gaping hole in the Oriole blogosphere.


Matt Wieters is coming. Not today, not tomorrow but soon. .333/.419/.519 at Bowie. Get to Bowie and see him so you can say "I was there when..."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Little Homer Analysis

Just for fun, a little home run analysis of the Orioles for the season thus far using some data from

First, just the raw home run leaders for the O's in 2008:


Huff 19

Scott 17

Markakis 15

Mora 15

Millar 12

Going into September of last season, it didn't look like any Oriole batter was going to hit 20 homers (and without a power surge by Markakis in September, no one would have...). Now, we have 4 players already at 15. Low standards to be sure but it's an improvement.

So, the longest home runs (so far) by Standard Distance:


Markakis 447 ft

Quiroz 443 ft

Scott 442 ft

Huff 433 ft

Huff 430 ft

Now the leaders in True Distance. I won't go into great detail on all of the definitions here so here's the Hit Tracker glossary. Basically, it's the distance a home run would have travelled if it had continued, uninterrrupted, to field level.


Scott 444 ft

Scott 421 ft

Markakis 421 ft

Mora 421 ft

Scott 421 ft

Look at Luke Scott! A lot of raw power coming out of leftfield. But wait, there's more. The most No Doubt homers by an Oriole:

No Doubts

Scott 6

Huff 3

Markakis 1

Mora 1

Millar 1

Scott has a ton of monster shots. More than double the next guy and no one else has more than 1! Scott is a flawed player but I am a big fan of having at least one guy who can just crush the ball way over the outfield wall. The Orioles haven't had a guy with such raw power since Albert Belle.

Now the Just Enoughs:

Just Enoughs
Markakis 8
Hernandez 6
Huff 6
Mora 5
Millar 4

It's not really a surprise that Markakis leads this list. He does not have a classic home run swing; he's a line drive hitter with power. Since one of the qualifiactions for "Just Enoughs" is "the ball must clear the wall by less than 10 vertical feet", I am almost surprised he doesn't have more!

As hard as Ramon Hernandez is hitting the ball, he ssem sto be getting a little lucky with his homerun totals.

Speaking of luck, the leaders in Lucky Homers (affected by wind, temp, etc)

Lucky Homers
Hernandez 6
Markakis 4
Huff 4
Scott 2
Payton 2

More than half of Hernandez's homers have been classified as "lucky". Not a good trend. Markakis is here again due to his line drive swing. Sometimes his homers are just inches away from being doubles...and vice versa.

Finally, the leaders in Average Standars Distance or as Hit Tracker calls it, The Golden Sledgehammer:

Avg. Std. Distance
Huff 397.2 ft
Scott 395.4 ft
Mora 391.6 ft
Markakis 388.1 ft
Millar 371.3 ft

Aubrey Huff in an upset! Huff just edges out Luke Scott by less than 2 ft on average. I was kind of surprised to see Melvin Mora come in third though.

Just a footnote: Adam Jones has only hit 6 homers but only 1 of them was classified as "Just Enough". Our centerfielder also has some nice raw power if he can harness it. He is The Truth!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Base Hits: 7/22/2008

Just to catch up on a few items here...

First, I am bummed that Freddie Bynum is no longer a Baltimore Oriole. Especially to make room for a player the caliber of Juan Castro.

The stathead side of me knows that Bynum is not helping the cause at all. The rabid baseball fan in me says that one day, if he just gets a chance, he just might be a good player.

Dempsey's Army bids Bynum a fond farewell and wishes him the best of luck.


Speaking of good luck, Jay Gibbons is reportedly close to signing a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

First, I wish Gibbons good luck. I always thought he was a good guy. Second, if this is true Gibbons is incredibly lucky. I thought he'd have to hit better than .280 in independant baseball to get a sniff from a major league club.


More good luck wishes go out to Adam Loewen who will be abandoning his career as a pitcher and pick up a bat.

Very sad to see Loewen's career end up like this. I know that he may come back as a good hitter since scouts were split on wether he was a hitting or pitching prospect coming out of college.

But there's a reason a story like Rick Ankiel is a story. It rarely happens. Hell, even a failed hitter like Brooks Kieschnick becoming a modestly successful relief pitcher was a novelty.

I hope he comes back but realistically, his big league career is over.


I will take a split with the Tigers coming out of the All-Star break any day...


You know, everyone talks about the Orioles' poor 1-15 ecord on Sundays but what about their great 10-4 record on Tuesdays? Do you think Shawn Marcum is shaking in his boots?

You also don't want to face the Orioles on Fridays (11-4), Saturdays (10-6) or Mondays (5-2). Maybe the O's could start a TGIF promotion for Fridays?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pre-Season Thoughts in Review: Boston Red Sox

Another look back on my thoughts about our AL East opponents. Finally, the Red Sox

1. Schilling Hurts More Than They Want To Admit

I was pretty much wrong on this one. Beckett has pitched well, if not like a Cy Young candidate. Jon Lester has taken a big step forward at age 24. Dice K has been dominant and Tim Wakefield is having one of his best years ever. The only letdown has been Clay Buchholz.

Add all this to the good bullpen performance, they have the staff to contend. They are not really missing Schilling at all…

2. Mike Lowell Falls to Earth

Yeah, this was easy. He obviously wasn’t going to hit .324 again but he’s still having a pretty good season. He didn’t fall far enough to hurt…

3. Some Guys Are Just Plain Getting Old

After a couple of down seasons, Jason Varitek has finally fallen off the table. David Ortiz is banged up. Manny Ramirez has seen a small drop-off but he’s still damn good. A mixed bag on this one but the kids have picked up all the slack.

4. The Ellsbury Enigma

Is Jacoby Ellsbury going to hit .350 and slug .500 this season? Hell no! I would expect something in the range of .290 while slugging something closer to .425 or so.

Ellbury has not even lived up the the reduced expectations I had for him. The pluses are that he has already stolen 35 bases and his defense in center has been better than previously advertised.

He does enough but is only posting an 82 OPS+…exactly the same as the much-maligned Coco Crisp.

5. Will Lugo and Drew bounceback?

Lugo has not. Drew has.

I was hoping against hope that Drew would follow the Kirk Gibson career trajectory and start to breakdown in his early 30’s but history shows that Drew has a good year every other season.


Many of the problems I highlighted have come to fruition but not to the extent I thought. And when they did, the weaknesses have been masked by unexpected success in other areas.

They are a flawed team but they are the best equipped to win the AL East at this point.

Pre-Season Thoughts in Review: Tampa Bay Rays

Another look back at my preseason predictions. This time, the Rays.

1. The Rotation Is a Question Mark After Kazmir

I was dead wrong in this assessment. Shields has improved on 2007 and Matt Garza took a big step forward in his game. It has made them (Kazmire-Shields-Garza) arguably the best starting three in the game. How about the 4th and 5th spots? More on that later.

2. Carl Crawford...and Then What?

Crawford is a star player but he's just about the only sure thing in the lineup. And even he is not the kind of hitter that can carry a team.

This was true.

Rocco Baldelli is injury prone.

That was true.

Carlos Pena came out of nowhere to post MVP type numbers in 2007. Is he really going to repeat that performance?

Pena has done little this season when he isn’t facing Jamie Walker. This is true.

This lineup could score a lot of runs but they're going to have to count on a lot of youngsters make giant strides to do so.

That wasn’t completely true but if not for Evan Longoria this lineup would be severely underperforming. They are winning in spite of their bats. More on that later…

3. The Bullpen Stinks

The Rays bullpen was the worst in baseball last season (yes, even worse than the O’s) but has done a Baltimore style turnaround this season to post the 9th lowest ERA in the majors. (Baltimore is currently 8th…). Dead wrong on this assertion as well.

4. They Can't Catch The Ball

Regardless of the metric you use, the Rays are among the best defenses in baseball. The addition of Lonoria at third, Jason Bartlett at short and the conversion of Aki Iwamora from third to second has stabilized the infiled and the continued improvement of B.J. Upton in center has helped immensely. Again, dead wrong.

5. The Key Contributors on Offense...Will Be Kids

This was true and some contributors have struggled in the first half. But Longoria has not. The offense has been good enough to contend.


Tampa Bay was a chic pick to take a big step forward this season and have been quite a surprise. But the fact that they are doing it with pitching and defense is the real shock. It was supposed to be the bats of Carlos Pena, Crawford, Upton and Longoria that were to lead Tampa to respectability but instead it’s been the glove and the arms. Even bottom of the rotation guys like Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine are benefiting from the improved glovework by the Rays.

Will the pitching hold? Maybe. Will the bats come around? If they do, they will be a juggernaut.

I was dead wrong about these Rays…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"We Win, You Win 2"

Just a quick note to highlight a promotion just announced by the Baltimore Orioles. the summary:

In an effort to snap their 14-game Sunday losing streak, the Orioles have announced a sequel to the popular “We Win, You Win” promotion from July 6. The “We Win, You Win 2” promotion will raise the stakes, as all fans in attendance at the 1:35 p.m. game on Sunday, July 20 against the Detroit Tigers will receive two complimentary tickets in the same seating category to any future non-prime game, if the Orioles win.

This is great on many levels:

1) The O's are being open and honest about the team's abysmal record on Sundays. It may not seem like much but in the past negative traits of the team were glossed over, not copped to.
2) They are turning a negative into a positive.
3) It is designed to reward fan support and potentially boost Sunday attendance.

It's a good idea and shows that the Oriole public relations team is continuing to look for new ways to reach out to the fans.

Full details of the promotion can be seen here.

Pre-Season Thoughts in Review: New York Yankees

Revisiting (and revising) some of my preseason looks at AL East teams. Now, another look at this February post about the Yankees.

1. Like Last Year, the Pitching Staff Will Be a Problem

And it has been.

Andy Pettite has been league average, as I expected. Wang was good but now is injured. Phillip Hughes and Ian Kennedy have already flamed out.

The wild cards here have been Joba Chamberlain and Mike Mussina. I thought Chamberlain would be a good starter but I didn't expect him in the rotation this soon. Mussina has recaptured some skills and is having a hell of a last hurrah in pinstripes. If not for these two, the staff would be tryuly abysmal.

The question will be if these two can continue their good performances. Chamberlain looks strong and I expect him to pitch well in the second half. Mussina has tired late in the season the last couple of years. Moose looks more likely to suffer a setback.

2. Jorge Posada Falls to Earth

Well, he has but who really thought he would hit .338 again?

Since his injury, Posada has hit at rates that you would expect Posada to hit at but time will tell if his 36 year old body continues to betray him this season (Look at Jason Varitek for a cautionary tale...)

3. Derek Jeter is the Worst Fielding Shortstop in Baseball

As much as it pains me to say this, Jeter is having one of the best fielding seasons by an AL shortstop in 2008.

By nearly every measure, he is one of the top fielders in the league. His errors are up but they're not at crazy levels. The only thing I could say is that the competition among AL shortstops is light. Outside of Michael Young and Orlando Cabrera, there are no regular AL shortstops with stellar defensive reps.

Of course, he's hitting more like David Eckstein than his normal it balances out I suppose.

4. Who's On First?

I ripped the Yanks for their personnel at firstbase but Jason Giambi has been better and played more games there than I thought. They're going to be fine at first for now.

5. Melky's the Man?

Before the season, I compared Melky to Corey Patterson and found him only slightly better at the plate. So far, Corey Patterson is looking like a better option.

Melky's OPS number for the last three seasons, including his partial 2008, are .751, .718 and .690. He's regressing. He's an easy out.


I was somewhat correct on the rotation. Only Chamberlain has panned out among the youngsters and outside of the surprising Mussina, it has been decimated by injury and ineptitude. However, the bullpen, outside of LaTroy Hawkins, has been stellar and bailed the Yanks out a lot.

The offense has seen unexpected very good performances from Giambi and Johnny Damon (when healthy) and great numbers from A-Rod (as expected). But the rest of the offense has been lackluster at best. The Orioles are scoring more runs!

Without some continued luck with their pitching staff, the O's could still catch these guys and the Blue Jays before year's end...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pre-season Thoughts in Review - Toronto Blue Jays

It's the All-Star break so just a look back at some of my pre-season predictions. I looked at potential problems with the Toronto Blue Jays...

1. David Eckstein is Playing Shortstop

He is the worst fielding shortstop in the AL and is a poor hitter to boot. Hitting .269. Horrible free agent signing.

2. Their Best Offensive Threat Is 46

And they cut him. Good job. Only Seattle has a more pitiful offense.

3. No Legitimate Catchers

Rick Dempsey's Nephew and Rod Barajas have been an adequate pair at catcher. Better than expected and a small bright spot in their offense. Kind of.

4. Injury Prone At The Corners

This has not come to pass but Scott Rolen has missed a few games. Lyle Overbay has been a virtual ironman at first but is only hitting .269 with 6 homers.

5. Legitimate But Injury Prone Rotation

Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum are on the DL. Roy Halladay is Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett has been up and down. Jesse Litsch is regressing toward his FIP form last year. Burnett may now be on the trading block. The bullpen is in good shape but outside of Halladay, there's not much in the rotation for the second half.

Only some bizarre wins and Roy Halladay kept the Blue Jays out of the cellar at the All-Star break. A puny offense and a banged up rotation won't get you through the dog days of summer. I expect them to sink lower in the short term and if they unload Burnett, they could finish below the Orioles in the AL East.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Base Hits: 7/14/2008

Finally, I am back in town. I will be home through the rest of the regular season, so I hope to get back to posting more regularly.

If the Orioles were going to start losing in miserable and painful ways, at least I was in southwest Florida where:

A) I didn't have any time (or access) to watch the games and
B) Beaches, fresh seafood and a general laid back atmosphere made me not care as much.

The bright side to this recent losing streak is that now The Warehouse can look to unload some of these veterans without much objection from Peter Angleos and/or the fans. There is (at the moment) no winning team to break up!

This is not to say that this team as currently constructed could not be a winning team. The Baseball Gods giveth and they taketh away. Baltimore has won a lot of close games this season and the pendulum does seem to swinging the other way at this point. But .500 should not be the ultimate goal here. The eye still needs to be toward the future with this team.

Who gets traded?

Aubrey Huff - Huff is having his best year since 2003 and given his tendency to hit better after the All-Star break, he may be on his way to a career year. His trade value has never been nor will ever be higher. Trade him. Ironically, Tampa Bay could use some offense and need a first baseman. Depending on David Ortiz's health, Boston could use him too. Let's get what we can.

Brian Roberts - I won't be upset if the O's keep Roberts but, again, the head says it's time to get maximum value. Trade him.

George Sherrill - Lots of contenders need relief help for playoff runs. Trade him now.

Speaking of Sherrill, a few weeks ago I looked at "The Nailbiters", the Oriole closers who would strike fear into the hearts of the O's faithful when they took the mound. Back then, I determined that George was not even in the top ten. No longer. With a WHIP of 1.412, Sherrill now makes the list. Solidly. To paraphrase John Cusak in "High Fidelity", "Congratulations George. You're now #6 in my top Nailbiters of all time. With a bullet."


O's blogger Desert O (aka Appalachian Trail thru-hiker "Vegas") has made it past the halfway point to Maine and is solidly into Pennsylvania. Way to go and good luck!


After posting a .323/.349/.455 line in June, The Truth is hitting .341/.400/.545 in July.


Even with their recent losing ways, the Orioles managed to elicit a good grimace from Clay Bucholz on Friday night:

Yes, it's only 17 games but...
Matt Wieters. In Bowie, he's put up a .350/.426/.600 which is virtually identical to the .345/.448/.576 line he put up at Frederick. There has been no adjustment needed.
You never want to rush a prospect and in Baltimore's case there's really no need. But I expect we will now see Wieters in Baltimore on Opening Day 2009.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Put Brian Roberts in the All-Star Game!

I am on vacation with very tenuous internet access but I did want to drop a line to urge everyone to go to and vote for Brian Roberts for the All-Star game. Only Evan Longoria is arguably Roberts' equal as a deserving candidate.

Vote early, vote often! Go!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

More Cabrera

Daniel Cabrera's pitch location from last night:

Tons of fastballs and, for the most part, right around the plate. "Here it is. Can you hit it?" seems to be the prevailing philosophy.

The hits:

Nothing out of the ordinary here. The pitches were up a little but he lived there all night and they only manged one extra base hit. Nasty, nasty fastball.
The good Cabrera/bad Cabrera split is not as pronounced as it was last year. When he's off, he generally battles and give the team something to work with. He has only given up 6 runs or more 3 times and only three times has he failed to go at least 6 innings.
He's a league average innings eater. A decent third or fourth starter at this point. Unfortunately, he's our second best starter!
Ramon Hernandez hit .273 in June and OPS'ed .796. He'll need to keep hitting like that (and more) to overcome that dreadful start but it's good to see some of those well-hit balls finding the holes now.
More later...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The First Taste

OK, so everybody knows what happened to the Birds on Sunday (and Monday. Eeeesh...) but it was interesting to watch that game through the eyes of a 6 year old. It was his first time watching an extra inning game.

We're watching the game. Dramatic comeback in the 12th. Two out and one on. 0-2 to Ronnie Belliard. The Orioles are going to win. Then Belliard put that hanging slider into the leftfield seats.

The conversation picks up there...

Kid: What happened? He hit a home run?

Me: Yep. He sure did.

Kid: So now what happens?

Me: It's over. The Nationals win.

Kid: But the Orioles were about to win.

Me: They were about to. Only one strike away. But now they lost.

Kid: But don't the Orioles get another chance to hit?

Me: Not in extra innings. Not when you're the visiting team.

Kid: But that's not fair!

Me: Baseball's not fair, son. These things happen. Maybe they'll win tomorrow.

(Belliard is met at home plate by bouncing, cheering teammates)

Kid: I don't like them. They're bad guys.

And so, the tiny seeds of rivalry are sown...


The Win Probability graphs from those two heartbreakers, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Do you know what the odds are of coming that close to winning and then blowing the game two nights in a row? My college statistics skills are a little rusty but the rough calculation is something like 1 in 3.4 gazillion! Damn you, Baseball Gods!


Alex Cintron is on the DL and Freddie Bynum is back with the big club.

I have always been a fan of Cintron, even back to his early days with Arizona. Even though the production was not always there, I just love that guy as a player.

It's the same thing with Freddie Bynum. I'm just glad he's back. Somehow, I think he makes the team better.


Adam Jones vs. Nick Markakis (rookie years)

Jones' Batting Markakis' Batting
April .263/.311/.389 .182/.270/.288
May .226/.273/.312 .254/.329/.338
June .323/.349/.455 .338/.403/.400

It's encouraging progress.


I'm very curious to see how Adam Loewen performs out of the bullpen. More to come...