New Prospect List

Oriole Think Tank has added a top prospect page.
Check it out Hopefully, we’ll be seeing some of these guys finding success in Baltimore soon.

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Mash Unit

It’s been a rough weekend for the O’s The O’s are hurting

Miguel Tejada has a “balky left hamstring”
Brian Roberts is on the 15 day DL with a strained left groin
Kevin Millar got hit in the wrist with a pitch and is day to day
Javy Lopez is day to day with back spasms

Of course, with all this pain and misery, substitutions have had to been made.
*Corey Patterson is the new lead off hitter.
This didn’t work in Chicago, probably won’t work here…but who else can we bat
lead off? Once Roberts gets back, he’ll be back to lead off and Patterson can drop
back in the order.
*Brandon Fahey is our temp 2nd baseman.
Here’s his season numbers from Ottawa
*Tejada may be doing some more DHing
It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks. The bench is very thin without Millar and Lopez. We can only hope for some strong pitching, those who are healthy to stay so and hit, and those who are hurting to get well soon.

It’s depressing that all this hit at once. Saturday was a grim day, but it started out good. Corey Patterson hit a 3 run homer, that was a MONSTER shot…to put the Orioles up 4-0. Then our friend Jim Brower comes in and gives up the game. I feel bad for Brower because it’s not like he’s trying to give up walks, throw wild pitches, give up runs….but if he’s struggling, then I have more of a problem with Perlozzo putting him in at crucial point in the game.
Why not put him in during a blow out win or loss. It’s frustrating whenever I see him warming up. I feel bad for the guy, but he has a job to do and he’s not doing it.

Of course, I can trash Brower for blowing that game or you can look to the fact that Orioles had the bases loaded 3 times, maybe 4 and only got 1 run out it. So if the O’s could cash in a couple of runs, then the damage Brower caused wouldn’t have mattered.

So we got Toronto for a two game set Monday.
Ted Lily pitches Monday and last week the O’s couldn’t really get to him.
5.0 6 2 2 1 2 3 92-59 6-6

Corey Patterson

Last night marked the second straight 3 for 4 performance.
During his mini-tear, his average has jumped from .156 to .275. Will this last? Patterson has great speed and defense, but he strikes out so much….is it worth it to keep him in the line up?
I have noticed in the past two games that he hasn’t been swinging on the first pitch. Which is a good sign.

I like the bunting for singles. During last night’s telecast, Buck Martinez said that if Patterson successly bunts one game a week, his average will be 50 points better at season’s end.

Here’s Patterson’s career numbers

Games KO Avg.
153 142 .253
83 77 .298
157 168 .266
126 118 .215

If Patterson can go 2 for 4 consistantly and take some walks, then he’d be the every day Centerfielder no questions asked. But his hacking has made him a liability.
Let’s hope the past two games can become a habit and not a freak occurance.

Daniel Cabrera had a good night.

Baltimore IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Cabrera (W, 2-2) 7.0 4 2 2 1 6 1 5.68

If that home run ball had come Corey Patterson’s way instead of Nick Markakis I think he would have made that catch and saved Cabrera the only two runs he gave up. Regardless, Cabrera had a good game. Going seven innings was huge. Even though Seattle isn’t exactly a murderer’s row of bats, He still shut them down. It’s something to good to build off of.

Rumor has it the Cubs have asked about Jeff Conine. I have my fingers crossed.

I’m guessing once Luis Matos comes off the DL, Nick Markakis is going to get some quality time in Ottawa.
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
20 57 8 10 0 0 2 4 16 7 15 0 0 .277 .281 .175

I think it’ll do him some good. Last night he went 0 for 4 with 3 K’s and did not look good. Naturally, he’s going to have some bad games as a rookie. I understand that. But I think he’s been a little rushed. Give him a lot of at bats in Ottawa and by the break, Trade Matos and let him play out the year. At the rate he’s going now, his confidence will be in the toilet soon. He still has a lot to learn, like last night when him and Patterson were going for the fly and had Patterson not got out the way, there would have been a collison. The Left Fielder yields to Center. Rookie mistakes, yes. But I think a little time at AAA will do worlds of good for him.

Welcome back Todd Williams! Goodbye Jim Brower?

Bruce Chen gets the start against the Mariners today. It’s huge for him today. If he gives up another 7 runs in 4 innings, or something like that….It would not be a good sign. But I’m hoping for the best and he can get that first win today.

.500

Back at .500….
This isn’t completely unexpected.
As much as I love the O’s, there are holes on this team.
The rotation is young and with a new pitching coach, results won’t be seen right away.
The offense is inconsistant.
The bullpen is half young and half patchwork.
The outfield is an issue
*Before he got hurt, Matos has been a disappointment
*Markakis may need alittle more time at AAA to get some at bats and to get the
defense tweaked. He’ll be good, but I think he got rushed a little and if you
rush a player, well…look at Corey Patterson.
*Corey Patterson? I love his speed and defense, but he’s been a guaranteed out
thus far at the plate. He needs more at bats though.
*Jeff Conine…seeing him in left is not reassuring.
*Newhan and Gibbons are the two who I’ve been happy with.
Solutions for the outfield?
Wait til Newhan comes back
Give Patterson at bats and give him plenty of rope, so he can hang himself
(hopefully he’ll improve)
Trade Matos for an arm in the pen.
Luis Terrero, I have no idea. I’ve only seen him in two games. But I doubt he’s
the next Brady Anderson
Bring up Markakis back up after the break.
Carlos Lee. Trade for him and re-sign him or wait til he gets the market.
That would solve left field and put a great bat in the offense.
This season is going to require patience. We’ll win some and then drop some. If things can go right, this team can be .500. But when you have Kevin Millar and Jeff Conine as every starters, that means you have little depth. That’ll come back and hurt even more as the season progresses.

The season is still young and there’s plenty of ball left to be played, anything can happen.

I do like the new batting order.

B Roberts 2B
M Mora 3B
M Tejada SS 4
J Gibbons RF
R Hernandez C
J Lopez DH
K Millar 1B (I could handle Conine starting here if he can keep up his “hot streak”)
J Conine LF *N Markakis
L Terrero CF *C Patterson

The * is indicating what I’d like tonight’s line-up to look like. Mora is better in the 2 spot. Drop Conine towards the bottom and let him find his swing.
I think we’ll get a win tonight, but even if we don’t, just remember Seattle’s next and if Seattle out hits us, then it’ll be time to call for Terry Crowley’s head.

I Suzuki RF .263
W Bloomquist CF .286
R Ibanez LF .315
R Sexson 1B .224
C Everett DH .232
K Johjima C .284
A Beltre 3B .175
J Lopez 2B .266
Y Betancourt SS .257

Delmon Young is an idiot. I hope he has to sit out the rest of season. Completely classless.

The NFL Draft this is weekend. I don’t have the patience or the 15 hours to spare Saturday to watch. Watching the draft is brutal. Here’s hoping the Carolina Panthers can snag DeAngelo Williams or get some more help in the secondary.

Day at the Ballpark

Last year we got a new minor league team to replace the AA Greenville Braves, who left to Missisippi after a dispute with the city over a new ballpark. The old ballpark was a dump in the strongest sense of the word. They didn’t get their park and left town, so last season the city got the Columbia Bombers up here and they played at the old dump. There were several teams wanting to come here, but the Bombers, a single A Red Sox team were here to stay.

They got a new stadium built downtown. Parking is a bit of an issue. The name was changed…to the Greenville Drive, a salute to the auto industry. We have BMW and Michelin down here. It’s a lame name, I could have dealt with the Green Sox or the Spinners (which was what the team was called back in the textile days) but the Drive, I’ll end up dealing with it. They originally wanted to call them the Greenville Joes, after Greenville’s own Shoeless Joe Jackson. Baseball did not allow it. The mascot is lame too, the Reedy Rip-it. The Reedy River runs through downtown. But a group of second graders designed it….and it’s just minor league baseball.

We had double A teams from the Cubs and I believe the Mets wanting to come to town. I would have preferred Double A baseball. The Met group wanted to built a park way out. I didn’t like the idea of cramming a park downtown at first. But after today, I’m fine with it. Parking can be an issue, but that’s the way it is. You can catch some Major Leaguers doing rehab assignments and the regular players have a good chance to play in the bigs. Like with the Greenville Braves, Chipper Jones played here awhile. You aren’t going to see as much of that with single A ball. But I’ll take it over nothing.

Wednesday’s noon game, so I went with my friend Chris. Parking wasn’t an issue since it was a day game. The Drive was playing the Kannapolis Intimidators. It was my first time at the new park. I have to say I was impressed. They built the park to mimic Fenway. For 6 bucks and 50 cents I had a front row seat on the first base line. Perfect view. They have a mini-Green Monster with buildings behind it. It’s go a real retro-feel for a minor league park. Here’s what the stadium looks like Jackson’s actually house is outside of the ballpark where it’s being made into a muesuem. It’s just a little rickety brick millhouse.

Greenville won, Here’s the actual game recap. It was a nice day to be at the park, minus the rain delay. For a single A team, the Drive’s pitching was good.
I think there was problem with the radar gun. There were pitches that went from 73 mph to 53 mph….I think the fastest pitch was at 83.

I’ll go to some games this summer. I’m always off Wednesdays, so I’ll make it down to some day games. Though I thought about it and if the guys on this team pan out, one day I’ll be booing them if they ever make it to Boston.

It’s nice to have a minor league team back in town.

Player of the Game

For Toronto:
Jim Brower 1/3 inning pitched
3 Runs 3 Earned Runs 2 Walks and 11.45 ERA
For the season…
In 10 games and 11 innings
17 Hits 14 Runs, all earned 3 hit batters 11 walks and 8 K’s
I think it’s time that the Orioles quit tormenting and release this guy.
He’s had two decent outings the last time, but after last night’s game I’ve determined the Jim Brower is the equivalent of Russian Roulet. Only there’s one good outing in the gun and the rest are bad bad outings.
I don’t have the same resentment towards Halama, but I definately want to see a lot less of him than I’m seeing now.
It’s ironic since I rambled about the bullpen yesterday.

“In New York, I felt good — just a play away from an easy inning. Then this happened,” said Brower, who has also had his share of struggles thus far. “The linescore’s going to look real bad. I clearly didn’t get the job done, but all I can do is make pitches and try to repeat. I just didn’t repeat to Wells on the sixth pitch of the at-bat.

Sigh

Rodrigo Lopez had an uneven performance. Much improved…yes. More work to yes.
107 pitches, 58 for strikes over 6 innings is a lot and 58 is a low number for that many pitches. Maybe he’s having some growing pains with Mazzone’s ways, maybe he’s just struggling. Forunately, Lopez’ next start comes against weak hitting the Seattle Mariners If he struggles Saturday, then I’ll worry a little.

Speaking of Seattle, Think they regret this signing now?

I like the title of this movie. I would recommmend a sequel called “I hate Rich Garcia.”

Has Albert Pujols rattled Brad Lidge beyond repair?

The Bullpen and Big Money

The Post has a good article about Chris Ray’s big Friday.

We’re really lucky that Ray looks to be the real deal. Imagine how things would look if he wasn’t. That would make LaTroy Hawkins closer by default, and I don’t care to see him in the ninth again. Not after the Angels game. Some times you’re lucky and some times you’re good, in this case I think the O’s front office got lucky that a young player could handle being a big league closer without a lot of minor league experience. With Ray closing, Hawkins doing the 8th, Rleal, Williams, Parrish, and Parrish, the Brower of late, and Halama…the bullpen will be good. Not the best in the league, but it would be pretty solid.

The bullpen has become a huge part of baseball. Complete games aren’t as common anymore. Pitchers usually make it through the 7th. Maybe the 8th. There’s set-up guys who’ll through the 8th inning. The Closer pitches the ninth. There’s your middle relief, who’ll pitch the 6th and maybe some of the seventh if you’re starter stinks that day. Then there’s specialists, who’ll just pitch to one righty just to get an out.
I went to Baseball Reference.com and looked at some stats.

Mariano Rivera made $10,500,000 last season for 78.3 innings worth of work
BJ Ryan signed a 5 year 47 million deal pitched 70.3 innings
Billy Wagner is making $10.5 million this season pitched 77.7 innings last season
Jason Isringhausen made 7 mil for 59 innings
Trevor Hoffman made 7 for 57.7 innings
Keith Foulke 45.7 innings and 7.5 million
Eric Gagne made 8 million, but he was injuried most of last season

If I had the time, I would figure out how much that was per inning, but I have neither the time not the math skills. But it would be a lot.

You’ve got starters who pitched 200 innings last season who didn’t make that money.
If a team has got a top closer in the pen who can get the three outs in the ninth and keep the bags clear, then you have to keep him. The O’s tried to low ball Ryan last season and it could have backfired after got a huge deal with the Jays.

There’s several levels of closers
The young generation- Chris Ray,John Papplebon, Huston Street
The solid but unsung- Ryan Dempster, BJ Ryan, Brag Lidge
The old- Tom Gordon, Jose Mesa, Bob Wickman
Top Dogs- Wagner, Rivera, Hoffman *Gagne was…we’ll see how he comes back.

Though the O’s pen isn’t the best in the majors right now, I think when Williams and Parrish comes back it’ll be better. Over the offseason this should be an top priority. The starting pitching can be top notch, but if the pen can’t hold a lead, then it doesn’t matter.

Isn’t it amazing how ESPN and the media has latched onto Papplebon? This kid is going to be a really good closer, but you’d think this kid is Rivera, Lee Smith, Gossage, and Sutter rolled into one. He’ll definately be good, I’m not denying that, and I’m going to have really learn to hate him since I’m sure he’ll be a Red Sox for a long time.

This was from Buster Olney on Monday:

Daniel Cabrera has already issued 22 walks in his first 18.1 innings, but new Baltimore pitching coach Leo Mazzone spoke positively about Cabrera the other day. “I think he’s doing fine,” said Mazzone, who has talked to Cabrera about not dwelling on previous mistakes during games.
Cabrera allowed one run in five innings to Tampa Bay on April 12, with nine walks and 10 strikeouts. After the game, Mazzone walked up to Cabrera and asked, “How many runs did you give up?” One, Cabrera replied. “I rest my case,” said Mazzone.

The Orioles are also pleased with the early showing of young closer Chris Ray. “He’s got a mound presence that’s above and beyond that of a first-year closer,” said Mazzone.

Fans think MLB still hasn’t gotten it right with steriods.

The Giants and Rockies played some basebrawl Sunday.
Maybe the next book I should read is “Omar!” by Omar Vizquel. Any book that anyone famous writes and uses their first name with an exclaimation mark is usually a book that I won’t read. Besides, what really had Omar Vizquel done at that point or this point to require an autobiography?

The Yanks want Clemens. I could see this happening….but I still say Houston has the inside track, especially with their strong start to season (which in my opinion, won’t last). If he signs with the Yankees or Boston it would make me sick to my stomach.

The O’s get some love from John Donovan

Rodrigo Lopez pitches tonight. Here’s hoping that he gets things back on track and the O’s get back into the win column.