Mid-Term Report Card

Yesterday’s sloppy 5-4 win over the Indians marked the half-way mark for the season.
The O’s now sit at 41-49 at the All-Star break. Injuries have taken their toll on the Orioles.
Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons, Daniel Cabrera, Javy Lopez, Todd Williams, Chris Gomez, and David Newhan are the most notable on the O’s DL this season.

Outfield-
Corey Patterson has been a surprise in center. When we got him for Single A spare parts, I thought it was a nice low-risk pick-up. Then the season started and he got off to a wretched start, part of which was due to being glued to the bench. With injuries to David Newhan and Former Oriole Luis Matos (How nice it is to type those words), Patterson got playing time by default and ran with it. With the exception of yesterday, he plays great defense. He’s made several spectacular catches this season. He’s been a nice surprise, but I want to see how the second half of his season goes before I get too excited.
Nick Markakis has finally found his groove in Right. His average has jumped to .268 over the course of the last few weeks. I think his strong spring rushed him to the O’s when maybe he should have started the season in Ottawa, but that’s too late now and it looks like he’s gonna be ok.
So where does Nick play when Jay Gibbons comes back? Jay’s been plagued by injuries since that crash into Anahiem’s outfield wall. I like Jay’s bat (10 HR and 29 RBI in 48 games), but his defense is average at very best. I hope the second half ushers in the era of Jay Gibbons-DH or 1st baseman. Nick looks like he’s found his groove in Right Field and that’s where he should stay.
Left field is a revolving door with Jeff Conine, Ed Rodgers (who was thankfully sent back to Ottawa today), Brandon Fahey, the ex-Oriole Luis Matos, Luis Terrero, and Kevin Millar have played there this season.
Conine’s defense scares me.
Ed Rodgers can be an error waiting to happen.
Terrero is 0-17 so far.
Fahey, I like. Outfield is not his position, but anyway to get him in the line-up, I’m in favor of.
the former Luis Matos? Good luck in KC, Pittsburgh, or wherever you end up.
Grades-
LF- D
CF- B
RF- w/ Markakis Incomplete w/ Gibbons- B-

DH
Javy Lopez has been a disappointment this season. The great first base experiment ended abruptly and has been the primary DH, except when he catches for his bro Rodrigo. A recent a surge has him at a .280 average with only 7 dingers and 29 RBI. Javy has been on the DL for a stint and won’t be an O much longer if the front office can find any takers. I’ve been a fan of Javy since his Braves days, but I think his stint as an Oriole has been less than memorable. When and if he gets traded I’ll delve into this more.
Grade- C- (the Cleveland series kept him from getting a D)
Kevin Millar has DHed when Javy hasn’t. a .248 average w/ 6 HR and 33 RBI isn’t impressive, but I like Millar. He’s second behind Brian Roberts (31) for walks with his 30. Say what you will about his average, Millar can work a count. Besides, this was a CLUBHOUSE PRESENCE signing. Anything else is supposed to be gravy.
Grade- C

1st
It’s been first base by commitee. Javy Lopez was supposed to be the first baseman this season, but that didn’t work out in spring training. So it’s been the two-headed monster of Conine and Millar or better known as Conlar.
Conlar is an aging two headed monster at first.
I remember the epic depths Conine started the season with. With a .050 batting average and an eye for a pop-out, I seethed at the meer mention of the name of Jeff Conine. BUT Conine has fared well of late. I hope this ups his trade value and he’ll be able to fetch the O’s some spare parts at the deadline.
Millar’s defense at first has been a little spotty.
Conlar is a stop-gap for the fact that we have no other solution at first.
Grade- C

2nd
Brian Roberts so far has a .298 average with 1 HR and 33 RBI (and 22 games missed) has put in another fine season. There’s no one else I’d rather have batting lead-off and playing second base. Roberts has 22 stolen bases (second to Corey’s 31) has shown that he’s healed from his injury. Grade- A

SS
Will he be traded? Is there a Grimsley link? Is he hurt? I’m tired of all the Tejada questions. Tejada has been great on offense with a .315 average 17 HR and 61 RBI, his defense has been lacking. His range has suddenly become limited. I wonder if there’s an injury that he’s not talking about. Why would his range so suddenly shrink? There’s not much hustle either. He runs about as fast to first sometimes like he’s got a piano tied to his back. The next few weeks should be interesting.
Grade- B

3rd
Good old reliable Melvin Mora. Maybe the contract extension was a year too much, but hey, it’s Melvin. He plays good defense at 3rd and swings a pretty good bat. He’s been a little more prone to the slump lately, but he’s still on pace for 22 HR and 88 RBI, which would equal last year’s total of RBI.
Grade- B

C
Well to Baltimore, Ramon Hernandez. Ramon’s been a welcomed addition to the Orioles. Not really known for his offense, he’s heading towards a career year in all offensive catagories. He’s got a cannon for an arm, throwing out 28 of 56 steal attempts. He’s going to have career highs in errors and passed balls, but that’s the price you pay for working with Daniel Cabrera.
Grade-A

Tomorrow or Wednesday I’ll run down the pitching.

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