The Genius of Perlozzo

To a great baseball manager, the game is like a chess match. Sometimes for Sam Perlozzo, the game is like Connect Four or Candyland. Let me start out by saying,  I don’t think Sam is a horribly inept manager, but at times I question his strategy or lack there of.

Here’s a prime example. Last night in the 10th inning at Texas, with a runner on…he has Markakis bunt. In a game that you have to win in the tenth, because if the game goes to the 11th and beyond, Russ Ortiz and Bruce Chen are the only pitchers left available in the pen.(I watched most of this game, but I listened to the last two innings. One of the Rangers radio guys said “Is Perlozzo trying to lose this game? Bruce Chen is warming up in the pen and the Rangers have owned him over the years.” If this guy wasn’t a moron, he’d realize he said 30 seconds earlier that Chen and Ortiz are the only bullpen arms left and Latroy Hawkins can’t pitch more than 2 innings. Of course, if Chen and Ortiz were DFA’ed and Winstion Abreu and another bullpen guy with talent were called up, this horrible situation wouldn’t have possibly occured. the end). Back to Perlozzo, he has this bunt fetish that frustrates me. Patterson bunting is fine. He’s got the speed to make it to first safely and I understand bunting with runners on first and second. What I don’t understand is Markakis bunting in the tenth. The kid is on fire and he has him attempt to bunt. Brandon Fahey bunting in that situation is fine, because he’d probably strike out anyway. Melvin Mora bunting in that situation is understandable (let’s face it, that contract extenstion looks bad at the moment). I might not love it, but I can understand it. Nick Markakis, the same Nick Markakis who hit a 2 run homer in the same game, bunting in that situation is insane. It was a horrible decision. If the Orioles ended up lossing that game, then it would look even worse.

To his defense, I’m not going to make a final judgement on him until next season. When you have the Millars, Conines, and Ed Rodgers of the world starting on your team, you’re already in the hole.

While I’m complaining, I hope we’re seeing the last days of the Todd Williams era. Last night he coughed up 2 earned runs and 0.1 inning and forced Chris Ray to go out early and get stuck with a blown save that was Williams’ doing.

Carl Pavano is a walking disaster.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2565358

Remember when the Orioles were in the running for this ass? I remember that offseason two years ago where it was the O’s, the Red Sox, and the Yanks. I think it was Sports Illustrated where I read how the O’s look him to Camden Yard and had him on the mound and had his picture on the Jumbotron and said he would the Orioles’ opening day starter….and he went to the Yankees.

Thank God.

He’s 4-6 in in two seasons (he hasn’t pitched for the Yanks this season). He’s hurt his back. He’s hurt his shoulder. He’s hurt his shoulder. He’s hurt his butt. Now he’s broken two ribs. How did the incredible collasping man do this?

From the ESPN.com article.

Pavano crashed his 2006 Porsche into a tractor trailer in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 15, causing $30,000 in damages to his car, according to a West Palm Beach police report.

Pavano’s car hydroplaned, he lost control and the vehicle struck a tractor trailer, the report states.

First, I’m glad he’s ok. He’s lucky two broken ribs are all he walked away with.

Here’s the kicker.

Damages to the truck, which belongs to the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, were estimated at $20,000 in the report.

A Porsche crashes into a dump truck and causes $20,000 worth of damages to THE DUMP TRUCK. How fast was he going…300 mph? Does his Porsche have a missle launcher? Of course, he neglected to tell the Yankees about the wreck and the two busted ribs and continued to pitch. I’m wondering when the Yankees cut their losses and dump the walking mash unit known as Pavano.

Speaking mash units…the Red Sox are done.

Manny, David Ortiz, and Wily Mo Pena are all out indefinately.

Manny’s knee, Ortiz has an irregular heart beat, and Pena has a hand issue. The Red Sox’s pitching has not been good, but they’ve had their offense to carry them, now they have no offense, no pitcing (outside of Schilling), no chance. At least they have Javy Lopez and his broad shoulders to carry them to the playoffs…wait, scratch that…

And the O’s are losing 7-3 in the 7th against the Rangers tonight. Rodrigo Lopez started tonight, so you know there likely wouldn’t be a shutout. He didn’t do bad, thanks in part to homeplate Umpire Larry Vanover’s everchanging strikezone. The 7th is where it all went so horribly horribly wrong. Wait, it’s now 9-3 in the 7th and the inning isn’t over yet. Russ Ortiz is warming up in the bullpen.

I’m thinking this is sign that I need to catch up on some sleep.

Good Day to be an O’s fan

First, The Orioles swept the D-Rays with Miguel Tejada driving in Nick Markakis at the bottom of the ninth to get the win. Loewen didn’t look amazing, but did work his way out of some jams without giving up too much. Miggy also had some great plays on defense, including one that was amazing. Jeff Conine drove in 2 RBIs….which leads into reason number 2

2. Jeff Conine (and cash) was traded today to the Phillies for a player to be named later. Conine had a nice series against the Rays, but it’s clear that Conine needed to be playing ball somewhere else. He’s an aging player who you can’t build a team around. I’d rather see Luis Terrero be in Baltimore or see Tatis get some more playing time so we can see what we have in the other players who could be part of the future instead of starting a 40 year old band aid. With that said, I wish Conine luck in Philly and hope they can get the wildcard.

3. Hayden Penn is being called up. All I can say is about time. I don’t know if they’re going with the 6 man rotation or sending Lopez to the pen. Personally, I wouldn’t mind Lopez getting an occassional start because it’s clear Benson is wearing down and Bedard’s never pitched this much before, so that wouldn’t bother me too much. But I want Cabrera, Loewen, and Penn to get as many starts as possible to end the season.

A sweep, a little bit of housecleaning, and a call up….It’s been a good day, kids.

My Little League/ESPN Rant

It’s not too often I use this blog as a soapbox to gripe about something, but I will today. For the past two weeks ESPN has been pulling the Little League World Series. There’s games on TV, there’s highlights of the games, there’s interviews with players.

anchor: “So what position do you play?”

kid: “1st base.”

Anchor: “What grade are you in?”

kid: “3rd grade.”

Anchor: “Who’s your favorite baseball player?”

kid: “Derek Jeter”

Anchor: “What’s your favorite food?”

Kid: “Mac and Cheese.”

That’s not an actual transscript, but it might as well be. I have yet to watch a little league world series game and I won’t. If ESPN wants to show the championship game, that’s all fine and good. I have no beef with that. But they’re showing game after game for day after day. These are little kids playing baseball. No one should really care except their family and friends. I wonder if there’s a lot of betting on these games.

Gambler 1: “Snoresbrook, PA is a powerhouse. I called Vegas today and they’re 20 to 1 odds. Can you believe that? I’m going to make a killing. They’ve got that kid pitcher whose favorite color is red and wants to be an astronaut. He’s amazing…I imagine that’s what watching Pedro when he was a kid was like.”

Gambler 2: “I betting 10K on Magglesnort, AK. Their shortshop, the one who likes cheese pizza and has a puppy named Pujols, is amazing. It’s like he’s could start in the majors and he’s only 12.”

It’s ridicilous. Little League’s great, but I think these kids are being exploited to an extent. ESPN and the Little League are cashing in and I guess the only thing the kids get are to miss school, be on tv, and have a pizza party. I’m all for little league, it’s great for kids and they’re the future of baseball, but don’t show it everyday on ESPN and cram it down my throat. When I have kids and if they want to play baseball…then I’ll watch their games, even if they make it to ESPN

Back from Duke

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Got in around noon from Durham. I had a good trip. Me and my buddy Chris got up there about 5 pm yesterday. I didn’t take many pictures, I’ve got one more that I couldn’t load that I’ll get later. But the one I have posted above I like best. There’s the classic bull out there above left. The sign says on the bull “Hit Bull Win Steak” and on the grass that the bull’s standing on it says “Hit Grass Win Salad.”

The stadium was great. They have this warehouse theme going on with the downtown, which we all can appreciate. There’s some trendy little places in “The American Tobacco” complex where everything is at. Durham’s built on tobacco money. The water tower and the smoke stack in the back ground is the old Lucky Strike factory. The view you see in the picture is the view I had. The city is, of course, home to Duke University. Since I love Clemson I hate Duke. But I’d hate Duke even if Clemson wasn’t an ACC team. Duke’s too easy to hate, you have your reasons and I have mine, I’m sure. A lot of Duke students go to Duke and there’s one thing I don’t hate about Duke…Duke Girls.

As for the game, The Knights shut them down and won 5-0. The Bulls didn’t really have much going offensively and only got 5 hits. The lovable Delmon Young played right and he got a bounce off the wall double in the ninth. Watching this game, it’s safe to say that the White Sox have a better future than the Rays. There wasn’t much about the game that was memorable. The Knights’ pitching handcuffed the Bulls. The Bulls made a few miscues defensively. There was probably about 10,000 people there and most them stayed until the end because it was a fireworks night.

Durham’s a nice place to visit, but I won’t want to live there. It’s definately two towns. There’s the downtown part and as I was driving to get to the expressway that got back to 40 West in a blink of an eye, I ended up in bad bad parts. I don’t know what it is with me and finding the ghettos, but I do. Luckily I managed to turnaround quick.

All in all, it was a good trip. North Carolina needs to get their stuff straight with road work because waiting 45 minutes…rather going 5 mph for 45 because there’s 20 ft of work going on in the right lane, there are no winners. Sadly I go back to work Monday, but it’s been a good run this week.

And quicky, our O’s have won the first two games against the D-Rays. Last night Daniel Cabrera handcuffed the Rays and went 7 innings and gave up no runs. The walk total was only 3. Now he’s got a 16 inning scoreless streak going. Stuff like this gives me some hope. The O’s had some productive outs and won 4-0. Today the O’s won 3-2 as Ramon drove in Corey Patterson at the bottom of the ninth to give the O’s another win. That’s 7 out of 10 now…which is great.

Going to Durham

I had hoped and had plans to go to my first O’s game this weekend against the D-Rays, but things fell through. There’ll be plenty other seasons and plenty more home games, so I’ll go next season. BUT I will making the trip up to Durham tomorrow. Me and a buddy will be making the trip to see the Durham Bulls host the Charlotte Knights.

Durham, of course, is home of the Durham Bulls. The Bulls are the Triple-A affilate for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and made famous by movie Bull Durham. Durham is about a 4 drive from Greenville, so we’re going to leave early and hopefully be able to check out the old park before the game. The Knights are the Triple-A team for the Chicago White Sox. If I have time I’ll go the Duke University Campus and…..I don’t know…boo them. I hate Duke (Clemson Tigers, baby).

About last night, all I have to say is that the Twins play AWESOME defense. If the front office builds the Orioles around pitching and defense, then the Twins should be a model. There’s not a lot of big money contracts and it’s a scrappy, smart team. I hope we can be that lucky.

I’ll be back later this weekend, see you then. 

Reasons for hope

It’s been a rough season, but over the past two weeks things have looked up. Last night was a shot in the arm for me, as was Cabrera’s shutout this past week. So I’m going wrap myself in orange and look for the good in this team.

1. Nick Markakis. What a tear he’s been on. Here’s his splits from MLB.com.

Mar and Apr     Baltimore Orioles 20 66 8 12 1 0 2 5 19 7 16 0 0 .270 .288 .182
May     Baltimore Orioles 21 71 8 18 4 1 0 8 24 8 10 0 0 .329 .338 .254
June     Baltimore Orioles 20 65 9 22 2 1 0 6 26 5 11 0 0 .403 .400 .338
July     Baltimore Orioles 22 77 14 31 6 0 2 10 43 6 9 1 0 .440 .558 .403
Aug     Baltimore Orioles 18 64 17 22 5 0 7 18 48 6 8 1 0 .400 .750 .344
Before All-Star     Baltimore Orioles 67 224 29 60 8 2 2 21 78 20 38 1 0 .335 .348 .268
After All-Star     Baltimore Orioles 34 119 27 45 10 0 9 26 82 12 16 1 0 .435 .689 .378

His game last night was something really special. I never thought of him as a masher. I don’t think he’ll be one. By that I mean, I think he’ll be a 25-30 homer guy a year and he’ll drive in a lot more runs on singles and doubles. Now that he’s in the 2 spot, he’s shot off like a rocket. I’m looking forward to his encore tonight.

2. Adam Loewen. He looked shaky when he was called up. Now that he’s got some starts under his belt, faced some teams twice, and a trip to the minors, He’s taken off.

again from MLB.com

AUG 05 NYY 1 0 5.72 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.1 1 0 0 0 5 8 101-55 6-4
 AUG 11 @BOS 0 1 6.41 1 1 0 0 0 0 2.1 6 6 6 0 2 3 76-41 2-2
AUG 16 @NYY 1 0 6.12 1 1 0 0 0 0 5.2 4 2 2 0 3 5 107-70 8-4
AUG 22 MIN 1 0 5.57 1 1 0 0 0 0 8.0 4 1 1 0 0 7 108-72 11-6

It’s a been a good month for Loewen aside from the Red Sox game.

3. Daniel Cabrera

He’s an enigma. Once he gets his control right and cut down on the walks, he will be an anchor of our rotation. I’m not sure when that will happen, but after Saturday, it could be soon. I think the trip to Ottawa was a smart move. Since he’s been back..

 yet again MLB.com

AUG 08 @TOR 1 0 4.95 1 1 0 0 0 0 7.0 5 2 1 0 1 7 92-66 6-8
AUG 13 @BOS 0 1 5.40 1 1 0 0 0 0 4.0 5 7 7 1 5 3 83-40 3-5
AUG 19 TOR 1 0 4.94 1 1 1 1 0 0 9.0 5 0 0 0 2 10 121-78 10-7

Again, throw out the Red Sox game and in 2 out of 3 starts since coming back, he’s only walked a total of 3 batters. Has there been a breakthrough? His remaining starts for the season will be interesting to watch.

4. And of course, Chris Ray.

29 out of 31 in save opportunities. Last night seeing him strike out Tori Hunter on 3 straight pitches to get a one out save was awesome. Did I mention what an awesome game that was?

it’s great seeing this young talent we’ve been hearing about producing for the big club. I want to Hayden Penn up soon. According to the Sun, Penn should be up in September as the team will have a 6 man staff. I don’t think this is bad idea. Bedard’s never pitched a full healthy season, so why wear him out. Benson’s been banged up. Give Penn a little experience.

Tonight’s game pits Matt Garza (0-2 11.74) of the Twins against our own Rodrigo Lopez (9-12 6.03). I’m hoping the good Rodrigo shows up and Nick can hit go 4-4 with 4 HR tonight.

I HAVE ONE WINNER FOR THE DVD SO FAR. CONGRADS AARON. I’VE GOT 2 MORE STILL HERE! IF YOU HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, CHECK MONDAY’S POST.