Jeff Weaver….ouch

Last offseason, I was kind of hoping the O’s would sign Jeff Weaver. Of course, that didn’t happen and he went to Los Angelos Angel of Anahiem/Orange County of Califorina USA. While with the Angels, to put it bluntly, he sucked. That is actually and understatement. Weaver was 3-10 with a 6.29 ERA and was told ‘get out of here, we made a mistake.’ The Angels cut their losses while they were behind and DFA’ed Weaver.

The St. Louis Cardinals found Weaver on a street corner at a busy intersection one morning with a sign that said ‘Will Pitch for Food.’ After losing their gamble with Sidney ‘The Fat Flameball Fiasco’ Ponson, they Cardinals said to themselves ‘What the hey, he can’t be any worse that that fat kid we just got rid of.’ So Weaver went to St. Louis and went 5-4 with a 5.18 ERA. That is not good, especially in the NL…but he got them by. Then the postseason came and Weaver was electric. 3-2 with a 2.43. Everybody wondered ‘Where has this guy been? Why hasn’t he been pitching like this in the first place?’ Weaver got his ring and instead of taking alittle less money and staying with a winner, staying in the NL, staying with a good manager like Tony LaRussa and a great pitching coach in Dave Duncan, Weaver made a bad decision.

You should never return to a scene of a crime that you committed, but that’s just what Weaver did. He returned to AL West. The same AL West that one year earlier treated him like a pork chop in lion’s den. The Seattle Mariners dug up the mayonaise jars of cash they had buried in their backyard and had forgotten about and said ‘You are just what we need. Together, we’ll make this team a winner.’

It was a mistake. A big mistake than putting a roll of tin foil in your new microwave. Weaver parlayed his spiffy postseason with the Cardinals into a 1 year deal worth 8 million bucks. But now he was without Dave Duncan’s magic pixie pitching dust and his first four starts? Well, I’ll let those numbers speak for themselves. g

DATE GAME W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV SVO IP H R ER HR BB SO NP-S GO-AO
APR 10 @BOS 0 1 31.50 1 1 0 0 0 0 2.0 7 7 7 1 2 1 70-38 1-4
APR 17 MIN 0 1 15.75 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 10 7 7 1 1 3 96-64 11-4
APR 22 @LAA 0 1 13.91 1 1 0 0 0 0 3.0 7 3 3 0 0 3 68-48 4-2
APR 28 KC 0 1 18.26 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.1 7 6 6 0 1 0 29-17 1-0
 

Complete and utter carnage. A bad start against Boston could be understood. The Twins and Angels are no push overs either. But when the Royals tatoo you for 7 runs and the best you can is get one out, well…that’s something that should make one go to their room, turn out the lights, and think about the mess they made for the rest of the night.

Thank God the O’s  missed out on this prize.

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Whadda I say?

Last week at this time the O’s had just swept the Blue Jays and were a red hot winning 8 of 9. This past week?

Monday: Loss to Oakland 6-5

Tuesday: Loss to Oakland 5-2

Wednesday: Loss to Boston 6-1

Thursday: Loss to Boston 5-2

Friday: Loss to Cleveland 5-4

Saturday: Win over Cleveland 7-4

Today: Loss to Cleveland 6-1

Was our early success due to feeding on the likes of the Royals, Devil Rays, and an injured Bluejays team? Were these losses just a collection of bad breaks? Should we be concerned about the offense?

Some lowlights

  • Wasting a good performance by Daniel Cabrera Wednesday against the Red Sox by only salvaging 5 hits.
  • Chris Ray giving up a grand slam to Wily Mo Pena while holding a 2-1 lead late in the game. Ray hasn’t had a bad season, but two bad games where he’s given up grand slam blown saves. It stinks, but I’m not ready to give up on him. It’s early and the kid’s young. If it becomes a trend, we’ve got several guys who can close (Baez and Parrish).
  • Jaret Wright only going 3 innings and getting owned over 8.1 by Faustio Carmona. Wright….I don’t know if we’re going to see a lot him this season.
  • Jay Gibbons struggling something fierce, batting a meak 194. with a paultry .237. I don’t think it’s getting much better since he’s glued to bench with Millar outplaying him. It’s hard to get momentum when there’s little chance to play.
  • Bedard has been spotty. Monday he went only 4.2 innings against the A’s, 5 runs, 2 BB, and 6 K’s. Last night,  6 innings of work,  4 runs, 2 BB and 11 K’s. I think he’s coming around, but he’s had a round start as evidenced by his 6.09 ERA.
  • The offense is struggling.
  • The defense has been, shall we say…bad.

Take Faith….here’s a little bit of positives

  • The games have been close. We’re just finding ways to lose.
  • The bullpen has still been solid.
  • Loewen went six innings and looked fine, he just needs to cut those walks down.
  • Daniel Cabrera has cut down on his walks.
  • Ramon’s back and is making a difference.
  • Miguel Tejada has a robust .340 average.

It’s now on to Detriot for 3 against the Tigers, then back home for 4 against the Indians and then 3 against the Devil Rays. Hopefully we can get the offensive ills righted and get back to winning these one and two runs games.

I guess it could be worse….we could be the Yankees.

Notes

The O’s blew two games they should have won against Oakland. Bad defense, an impromptu bunt by Melvin Mora, and more bad defense resulted in a two game sweep.

At least Jeremy Guthrie pitched great yesterday, and hey, Aubrey Huff had a nice series. Glad to see that since here lately I’ve been dreading his at bats. Here’s hoping I see more of the Huff who played these last two games and not the one with the bat glued to his shoulder.

Anyways:

Scott Williamson is Dl’ed/. It’s only 15 days, and says that he should be fine in only 3 or 4. With Williamson’s medical history, this was the smart move. In Williamson’s absence, Jim Johnson will take his place. Johnson is 0-1 this season with a 2.81 ERA. I would have preferred Jon Knott myself.

Ramon Hernandez and Jaret Wright played last night for the Keys on rehab assignments. So far, it looks like they’ll both be back soon.

Live Semi-Blog 4/22 Jays v. O’s

Gonna try something new here. Got the game on the radio, it’s not on Extra Innings (thanks alot Nats). I’m not going to stay everything that happens, but events of significance and whatever I feel like saying.

  • Brian Roberts is out another day with the flu that hit the Devil Rays, Chris Gomez is starting again in his place and Jay Payton will bat lead-off.
  • I hope I see something from Huff’s bat today, because so far I’ve been underwhelmed from this self-professed “slow-starter.”
  • Joe Angel says our bullpen has gave up only 1 run in the last 29 innings. That’s miles away from last year’s trashballers.
  • Scoreless first for Trachsel, 1 walk and nothing else. Let’s see the offense now.

Bottom of the 1st

  • The Jay Payton era begins NOW!
  • Gustavo Chacin’s picture on Gamdeday amuses me.
  • O’s got 1-2-3. Payton grounds out, Mora K’s, and Markakis pops out.

Top of the 2nd

  • Frank Thomas pops out.
  • The fact that Frank Thomas is now “old” makes me feel a tad older.  It doesn’t seem that long ago when he was a rookie on the White Sox with Jack McDowell, Wilson Alvarez, Alex Fernandez, and Robin Ventura. Geez,
  • Aaron Hill takes Trachsel yard. Jays 1 O’s 0
  • Trachsel strikes out Jason Smith to retire the side.

Bottom of the 2nd

  • Time to see Miggi hit with some power.
  • Alas, ground ball out.
  • Aubrey Huff is hitting .219, make it .215. He just popped out.
  • I think Joe Angel is awesome, but Fred Manfra isn’t my thing. He could describe an alien attack on spring break and it would sound boring.
  • Millar ground out. 1-2-3 inning again. Not a great start.

Top of the Third

  • Patterson slams in the walk making apparently a great catch on a ball hit by Royce Clayton. Manfra didn’t get too excited though.
  • I thought Royce Clayton was older. Royce Spencer Clayton is 37 years old. After being the guy LaRussa benched Ozzie Smith for (that’s what I remember him for),  he’s played for 8 different teams.
  • 3 up, 3 down.  56 pitches thus far for the elder statesman of the O’s pitching staff. I really hope he can go 7 or 8 today and give the pen a rest today. The pen’s been great, but I don’t want Jamie Walker and company having 100 inning a piece year. That’s one reason I miss Kris Benson, he could eat innings like fat kids eat ice cream.

Bottom of the 3rd

  • Nothing to see here. Another 1-2-3 inning. Keep moving.

Top of the 4th

  • Trachsel’s in a bit of a jam. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, but two outs.
  • Here’s something you don’t like to see, Ron Santo is in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat. Get well and back to work soon. If you haven’t seen the documentary “This Old Cub” , you should. I highly recommend it.
  • Trachsel gets revenge on Aaron Hill. Strikes him and gets out of the jam.

Bottom of the 4th

  • The no-hitter is over. Jay Payton singles for his first hit as an Oriole.
  • Melvin Mora is at bat. I’m surprised with the start that he’s had. I’ve always like Mora, but I thought after last season he’d be in decline phase and shouldn’t be batting second. 4 HR and 15 RBI is a fine start and should be batting 2nd.
  • Mora walks, 2 on and no out for Nick Markakis. Let’s get some runs RIGHT now!
  • Nick delivers with a TRIPLE that bounces off the top of the wall. An inch or two away from a homer, but that’s alright. We’re on the board and leading the game. Runner on 3rd, still no outs, and Tejada at the plate. O’s lead 2-1!
  • Tejada with a single and drives in Markakis. O’s lead 3-1!
  • Huff at the plate and…sigh..gets the first out. Apparently he’s more upset about it than I am.
  • Millar gets hit by a pitch.
  • Tejada’s on second, Millar 1st and Gomez at bat.
  • Gomez flies out, Patterson at bat.
  • Patterson flies out. Oh well, they got 3 runs. I’ll take it.

Top of the 5th

  • 2 outs and one on. Adam Lind at the plate. Trachsel is at 91 pitches. Probably going to see the bullpen after this inning.
  • Random Link: I wonder if they make this for dogs.
  • Joe Angel has a wikipedia page. Random fact: his son was a star in “Saved by the Bell: the New Class.” It wasn’t quite the classic as the original.
  • Trachsel got out of another jam. 2 on and 2 out and Wells pops out. He’s at 99 pitches, so it’s likely we’ve seen the last of him today.

Bottom of the 5th

  • Castillo lines out for the first out.
  • Jay Payton singles again. Welcome to the O’s, Jayton.
  • Mora is walked on 4 pitches. Runners on 1st and 2nd, with Markakis at the plate. Let’s hope he gets the homer this time and finish off Chacin.
  • Markakis doubles in a run. O’s 4 Jay’s 1
  • Chacin is done. The worm turned pretty quick for him, didn’t it? He embarassed the O’s for 3 inning and 1.1 innings later, he’s done for the day.
  • Scott Kazmir Victor Zambrano enters the game. Poor guy’s always going to be remembered for being traded for Kazmir.
  • Tejada singles in 2 runs! O’s 6 Jay’s 1
  • Random Link: Peter Angelos’ contribution list
  • Get on base, Huff.
  • Geez, Huff strikes out.
  • Millar gets hit…again.
  • The Marlins are thumping the Nats 12-2. Fine by me, since they’re on TV today and the O’s aren’t.
  • Gomez walks. Bases loaded for Corey Patterson, let’s get a hit here Corey and seal the deal.
  • More on the Nats: Starter Jerome Williams 6 innings, 9 hits 10 runs 9 earned 4 BB  2 K and 3 HR.
  • Patterson gets a hit and drives in Miggi. O’s 7 Jays 1
  • Castillo leaves them loaded.

Top of the 6th

  • Trachsel is still in. Hmmm. This could get a dicey.
  • Lead off walk to Overbay.
  • Patterson on the warning track, Thomas out.
  • Cards and Cubs are tied at 4 apiece in the 4th. Michael Barrett has hit his 4th homer of the year. He’s a very underrated player in my opinion.
  • Trachsel walks Zaun and he gets the hook. Shouldn’t have started the inning in my opinion, but I guess Perlozzo was hoping for one more inning of work to rest the pen.
  • Chadford Bradford comes in.
  • Where are they now? Tony Tarasco is now hitting coach for the Nats single A Vermont Lake Monsters.
  • Double play ends the inning.

Bottom of the 6th

  • Payton flies out
  • Mora gets a hit
  • Wells steals a hit from Markakis
  • Tejada gets a single, Mora to third
  • Huff….c’mon man. Ice this baby.
  • No luck…ground out. End of inning.

Top of the 7th

  •  Huff is really starting to bum me out. In the long run, he’s player who will help this team but for the time being he’s awful. He’ll come around, but it’s painful to watch, or in this case listen to.
  • Scott Williamson enters the game.
  • Final numbers for Trachsel: 5.1 innings 113 pitches 66 for strikes 4 hits 1 R 4 H 3 K 4 BB and 1 HR which bring his ERA down to 4.37
  • Bradford 3 pitches-2 strikes in 0.2 innings. He’s got a 1.23 ERA thus far.
  • Williamson has a 3 up, 3 down inning.

Bottom the of the 7th

  • I think I want to see more of Jay Payton in the leadoff spot, at least against lefties. Brian Roberts is my boy, but he’s having a rough start. It wouldn’t hurt to mix things up in the line-up. Bat Payton lead-off against lefties. Drop Huff in the order, that’ll happen when Ramon returns.
  • Millar better not get hit by another pitch.
  • Corey hits a one hopper to end the inning.

Top of the 8th

  • Jamie Walker comes in.
  • Walker K’s Wells.
  • Tejada gets Overbay out.
  • That was a quick inning.

Bottom of the 8th

  • Castillo out
  • Jay Payton…another single. Nice debut.
  • Mora at the bat. I’d love to see them lay it on at this point.
  • Cleveland got 4 runs in the 9th against Tampa and our friend Brian Stokes to win 6-4.
  • Mora hits into a double play, inning over.

Top of the 9th

  • Huff overruns a pop out.
  • Brian Burres is in.
  • Greg Zaun is struck out.
  • Hill pops out quickly to Markakis.
  • Here’s a sad piece on the family of the late Dodgers/Indians Tim Crews. Hard to believe it’s been 14 years.
  • Cubs have tied up the Cards 7-7 and the Braves beat the Mets 9-6.
  • Ugh, bases loaded….2 outs. This game needs to end NOW.
  • Chris Ray is warming up in the pen. It’s now O’s 7 Jays 3
  • It’s too bad Ray has to come in. He’s pitched 6 straight games.
  • Burres strikes out Lind to end the game
  • O’s win 7 to 3 and sweep the Bluejays!

Today I Weep

Jon Knott has been optioned back to Norfolk with the return of Jay Payton off the 15 day DL.

What can I say? I completely disagree with this. Freddie Bynum stays while Knott goes down. I’m not going to trash Bynum completely. The guy did fill in worlds better than I could have concieved of in the absence of Corey Patterson, but Knott offers more to the team than Bynum.

Let’s break it down

What Bynum Offers

  • Speed
  • Good defense
  • Great Pinch running
  • occasional saving the day
  • VERSITILITY

What Knott Offers the O’s

  • Great Bat off the Bench
  • Can hit Righties or Lefties
  • Did I mention he can hit lefties?
  • Untapped potential

 Now let’s see the Cons

Freddie’s liabilites

  • Career .256 hitter
  • 17 career RBI. almost 25% came in the last week
  • 40 career hits, 51 career strikeouts
  • .301 career OBP, you can’t use speed if you can’t get on base, that is unless you’re a pinch runner.

Cons of Knott

  • Probably not the best defensive outfielder
  • Not a speed demon like Bynum
  • Relatively unproven at the major league level (14 career games, 24 at bats)

Weighing the pros and cons, I still think Knott’s the guy you keep. Knott’s inexperience is the only thing one can fix by keeping him up. The front office’s thinking in this in this decision can only be

“We’ve already got Millar and Gibbons, why do we need someone else in that mold?”

Again, I disagree with this. But what can I do? I take comfort in the fact that we’ll all see Knott again real soon. How do I know? Jay Gibbons will probably get injured soon. It’s an annual rite of spring.

I haven’t linked to my brother sites like I should, but the Oriole Post has and does a damn good job at it, so click here for your O’s linkage.

I’m nuts for Knott

My new favorite O of the moment is Jon Knott. Knott was called up last weekend with Patterson going on the bereavement list and Birkins being sent back down.

I’ve seen Knott the past two games and it won’t make me happy if he gets sent back when Payton comes back. Sure the guy’s only played two games but 3 for 4 with a HR and 3 RBI and a BB is a nice contribution. He’s a big boy, so his outfield defense will not be gold glove calibur, but he’ll be better than Millar and equal or better than Gibbons.

Of course when Payton comes back he’ll start taking time in left. What I’m hoping for is that he gets starts in center against LHP because Patterson sucks at hitting lefties. There’s going to be a veteran log jam with Millar, Patterson, Payton, Gibbons, Huff, and I hope Knott vying for playing time at DH, LF, CF, and 1B.

Even if he doesn’t have his name in the starting lineup everyday, I want Knott to stay in Baltimore for the sole fact that he will be a bat on the bench that can deliver a hit. I don’t think Freddie Bynum, God bless him, has that ability. He had a good series against Tampa, but I don’t think that’s what we’d see from Bynum on a day to day basis. Knott, I think, has more to offer to the team. Whether on the bench or in the line-up.

With Payton returning, here’s what I suggest:

Send Bynum down

Keep Knott

Split Left b/t Payton and Knott

Keep Millar in the lineup everyday until he cools off, at 1B or DH ONLY

Don’t be afraid to sit Huff a little, he is a SLOW starter

Using Gibbons as a part-time DH and hope he gets streaky

Sit Patterson against lefties, Have Payton start in center those days

Use Knott as DH from time to time

I like Knott and I hope he stays, but he’s going to have to keep this up so that management can not find a reason to send him down. Things like when Millar was stranded between home and 3rd and Knott went ahead and ran to 2nd just to get caught in the run down so Millar could score, things like that will hopefully keep him on the team. That was smart baserunning on his part.

Comeback win

The O’s took down the D-Rays tonight on was an unbelieveable game. It was a horrible game that turned into a great game. I don’t know how to explain it. It was pure magic..unless you’re a Devil Rays fan. We looked hapless, we look inept and Freddie Bynum looked at his team and said “No way are these guys beating us tonight. Jump on my wirey shoulders and I’ll carry the Orioles to victory!” Freddie Bynum would not let the O’s lose tonight.

Here’s the Honorary Freddie Bynum Recap of Notable events

The following happened:

-Adam Loewen did not have good control tonight, walking 5 in 3.2 innings. His ungluing point was…

-A 3 error play on a grounder. Huff had 2 error and Paul Bako had 1. It was one of, if the worst play, I’ve ever seen. After that…Loewen was rattled.

-Bases then loaded and Loewen gets the hook. Jeremy Guthrie comes in and his first pitch was an inch from a grand slam. Three runs come in and Guthrie calms down and gives up only one run allowed to him.

-Then the magic happens. Freddie Bynum, who I thought would only contribute an 0-4 and a couple catches in center, hits a two run shot. It’s now a 7-3 game. I missed the first score because I turned the game off for a little bit out of disgust.

-Melvin Mora hits a two run homer. The hits start coming and the O’s start to feast on the carnage that is the D-Rays bullpen.

-Jay Gibbons drives in two with a nice double.

-Freddie Bynum continues his epic career night and drives in the go-ahead with a grounder.

-The bullpen was clutch.

-Bradford gave up 2 hits and with two outs, my new favorite O John Parrish got a strike out to stomp on the Rays hopes. Parrish has 12 strike outs in 6.2 innings. 12. Baez had a 1-2-3 8th.

-Aubrey Huff wakes up after the two error play to get a double AND a stick it to you Tampa solo shot.

-Melvin Mora makes a leaping catch to steal a hit. He had to have seriously get 3 or 4 foot off the ground.

-Chris Ray gets the save. Number 4 on the year.

Games like this makes it great to be a fan. Yes it was Tampa, but coming back from 7 down is huge. We’ve won 4 straight and are now 7-6. The offense came tonight and the bullpen is clutch. There’s two more against Tampa and I’m hoping for the sweep and the O’s can go back to Baltimore 9-6 and have Ramon and Payton back in the lineup.

Tonight, and maybe tonight’s the only night anyone can say this, Freddie Bynum…you are the man.