Last night’s game was one of the best, if not the best, Orioles game I have ever seen. It had it all. Lots of homers, good defense, sweet heads up plays that the O’s never make (picking off Jeter), great bullpen pitching, and the uberclutch bat of one Alex Cintron. The one thing it didn’t have a good start by Brian Burres. Burres was due for this, but he’s been good this season and I’m not going to hate on him after that.

I was thinking of something to relate this game too. The movie ‘Memento’ came to mind. If you haven’t seen it, the movie starts at the end and ends at the beginning. The game last night started with all the fireworks of a blockbuster movie and ended in a pitchers duel. Perhaps LaTroy Hawkins isn’t the one you want in that (or any) situation. But I thought that was a good comparsion. The game started like a shoot out and ends rather matter of factly after a 67 minute rain deal and a couple extra innings with a hit by Cintron.

This game wouldn’t have happened any time over the past few years. Any of those O’s teams could bang 9 runs at some point. Any of those teams could have a starter give up 8 runs in 3.2. It happened. Alot. What those teams couldn’t do was have a bullpen come in and hold the Yanks to 1 run in 7.1 innings. I’ve seen a couple hot starts by the bullpen before and then they come crashing down to earth in flames. I’ve been slightly apprehesive about the pen, with the visions of John Parrish, Steve Kline, and Jorge Julio in my head. But these boys are dealing. Jim Johnson has been reborn in the pen. Matt Albers is a good swing man/spot starter. George Sherrill can close. Dennis Sarfate has come back around after a rough patch. Lance Cormier is defying the odds. Bradford and Walker are still around too. Just goes to show you that you can’t buy a good pen. You can buy a player for your pen, but you can’t overspend on a name guys and expect a good pen. Its the guys who haven’t had success before as a starter that convert to long relief and guys who you luck into getting and some cheap free agents.

How sweet is it seeing LaTroy Hawkins come in to pitch for the Yankees? I saw him come in last night and said “Hallejuah. It’s LaTroy. I’m glad he’s not pitching for us anymore.” LaTroy promptly served up some fat pitches for the O’s. In other bad ex-O reliever news, Jorge Julio got DFA’ed by the Indians today. I’m happier to see Johnson, Sarfate, and Albers to come into games now than Walker and Bradford. I like those guys good enough, but I’m excited to some young pitchers come in and establish themselves with some nastiness on the mound.

 

Homerun Derby

  • Bottom of the 8th, Kyle Farnsworth throws 4 or 5 pitches to Freddie Bynum with Adam Jones at first. During Bynum’s at bat, Farnsworth throws at least ten attempted pickoffs to first to try to get Jones. At first it was close, after the first five pitches…Jones gets the idea. Farnsworth still throws and still throws over there. I’ve always hated the repeated attempted pickoff pitch. The exception of course is when Derek Jeter gets picked off at first like he did tonight. To Jeter’s defense, it couldn’t have possibly been his fault. Nothing ever is.
  • How about those homers tonight. The O’s went back to back twice tonight. Millar hit two. Ramon, Scott, and Mora all hit one apiece. The Yanks also got in the action, with 4 of their own.
  • Neither starter was effective tonight. Brian Burres went only 3.2. He served up all 8 runs and 4 homers. That means the bullpen has a shutout going thus far. Kennedy only went 3 and was obviously, not effective either.
  • I thought Lance Cormier would be a Broweresque disaster. So far, he’s filling Randor Bierd’s shoes pretty good. He went 2 scoreless tonight and has an ERA of 1.59. I doubt he’ll keep that up, but I’m not going to hate on him. He’s doing a good so far. Hope he keeps it up.
  • I wish Trembley would have keep Jim Johnson in for the ninth instead of going with Sherrill. Johnson can pitch multiple innings and is more of a shutdown pitcher than Sherrill. Besides, I’d rather save him for a save opportunity. The pen is getting spent. As I type this, Sherrill strikes out Jeter.
  • Rain…nasty rain. Looking like a delay is heading our way.
  • Trachsel’s status? Trembley has said (I’ll link to this in a day or two) “When the team needs a 5th starter, we’ll use Steve.” In other words, they’d rather use a 4 man rotation rather than use Traschel. No complaints out of me. Looks like he’ll be DFA’ed in a week or two.  

Happy Memorial Day

Lost this post in translation earlier today, so its time to fix it.

  • I hate it when people think a young pitcher is not going to pan out after a handful of starts. After Olson’s bad start against the Yanks last week, I saw some downer stuff on Olson. Stuff like “He’s not going to cut it,” “He was overrated anyway,” ” I knew his stuff wasn’t that good.” It’s going to take the season before we know what we might have with Olson. All young players are that way. Take Adam Jones. He’s going to progress at the season goes along and hopefully, he’ll closer to what we hope he might be. You can’t judge a player who’s used to playing against the Bucksnot Warthogs or the Podunk Mudturkeys and put them against the Yankees and Red Sox and immediately expect the same results.
  • Olson went 7 innings against the Yanks and completely shut them down. 7 K’s, 3 hits, 0 R, and 4 BB. The walks are a little high, but that’s something to work on as the season goes on. The fact that he got back on the horse against the same team that knocked him down hard the last time out and shut them down is huge for a young player. Hopefully this gives him so confidence that’ll translate into some more good outings. I’m not expecting Olson to be an ace, but I think he can be a good middle order pitcher. With an outing like this, he’s heading in the right direction.
  • Nick Markakis was slumping badly. He’s not getting much to hit and he was striking out a ton. Today he went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI. One of the RBI was a solo shot. Markakis as gunned down Johnny Damon at home. Kid’s got a cannon for an arm.
  • Aubrey Huff hit a 3 run HR. That’s good. But I fear now he’s going to go 0-16 for the next 4 games.
  • Jamie Walker gave up the only run. He’s not the same guy he was last season at this point, but I like Jamie Walker and think he’ll get himself straighten out.

Not of best of days for Cabrera…or myself

So I’m missing the game today. Yeah I can watch the end up of it, but after being stranded in Pickens for three hours with my acursed lemon car…I feel more like taking a nap. I guess I can’t complain since this is the first time this year its broken, compared to 3 or 4 last year. That’s enought of that..

Daniel Cabrera pitched today and didn’t look as sharp as he has as of late. The big guy went 5.2 innings, gave up 4 runs (all in the 3rd inning), struck out only 1 and reverted somewhat with 6 walks. It was what it is, but the game is tied 4-4, so he won’t be getting a loss today.

No matter how good Cabrera will be, he’ll always have days like this. Look at Carlos Zambrano. He’s turned that corner a lot sooner than Cabrera, and I don’t think Cabrera will be as good as Zambrano will be. Tht said, I think Cabrera is turning into a good pitcher. Zambrano, as good as he is now, still has a few games a season wherre he only goes 4 or 5 innings and walks 5 or 6 guys. It happens and it’s still going to happen. I think Cabrera has started to turn that corner, but he’s not there yet. Even if does, bad days will still happen.

 Think its off for a nap and dream of my car getting the squeeze treatment at the old junkyard.

Steve Trachsel…not too good

Looks like the layoff did not pay off for Steve Trachsel. The Rays stole his lunch tonight and made him their own personal batting tee tonight.

The line for Steve Trachsel is downright ugly

1.2 innings- 7 hits 9 runs (all earned) 2 walks 1 K and 2 homers, both of which were hit by Evan Longoria who owned Trachsel.

So yeah, this is probably the end of the road for Trachsel. That average start in KC bought him another shot albeit on a short leash. I read on the Sun’s site that Krantiz worked with him and tweaked something but sadly I think the only way Krantiz could salvage Trachsel is if he had a time machine.

I’m not going to hate on Trachsel and say how bad he is and how he needs to be cut now. Obviously, he’s not good anymore and he does need to go. He’s got a 8.82 ERA and he looks worse and worse from start to start. The guy’s always been a medicore pitcher who just managed to get by on the skin of his teeth and his ability to slow the game down to a snail’s pace.

Of course, I know that he’s trying his best out there. I know he’s not going out trying to be bad. He’s trying but at this point, he’s running on fumes. Some pitches can get by on finese and pitch til they’re 45, look at Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, or Roger Clemens. Trachsel ain’t that guy. He’s been playing for a long time and he’s gotten by. Now he’s spent. DFA and let him ride off into the sunset.

For his spot in the rotation….Albers and Johnson can start. I’d rather them stay in the pen where they’re doing good in the roles they have. If one of the two have to start, I’d take Albers. Hayden Penn or Radhames Liz could be called up. Liz needs to stay in the minors for awhile longer, maybe Penn. That’s doubtful, because Rocky Cherry or Fernando Cabrera will probably take Trachsel’s spot, thus Albers or Johnson will take that role.

Sometimes the Worm Turns quickly…

One thing that I’m guilty of, and for that fact every fan is, is being fickle. My man crush on a certain player can end abruptly. It can stay that way forever (ie Jay Gibbons) or it can resume when that player comes back around (ie Daniel Cabrera). I thought about this while watching the game tonight. I turned in on wanting to catch a few innings before I left for Friday night activities. Ramon Hernandez was at bat and I saw his average. It’s sitting at a paltry .208 with an OBP of .244 that would even embarrass Corey Patterson. I thought back on 2006 when he first came to the Orioles. That season he hit 23 HR and had 91 RBI and thus I loved Ramon. That was the career year for Ramon. He had the most homers and the most RBIs of his career. Sadly, I doubt he’ll match those numbers. 2007, I was expecting a banner year from Ramon. The logical part of me knew that he was unlikely to match those numbers and cautioned my fanside to tempered the expectations to more of his career norms. The deluisonal fanside of me said “He was great last season, know that THE Aubrey Huff will batting in front of him…he can do even better.”

That was a false and foolish statement to believe. Ramon was not in the best of shape and had that nagging oblique injury all season. I didn’t sour on him because I knew he was hurt. 2008…I thought, He’ll be back.

In training camp, Dave Trembley said “Ramon was rebuilt and revitalized” and “Ramon is the best shape of his life.” If that shape was a circle, I’d believe it. Behind the plate and at the plate, he doesn’t look good. To his credit, he does work with the pitchers well. We now drool at the prospect of Matt Wieters behind the plate and Ramon else where. It’s just another example of players we once love and then we fall out of love with. Sometimes the love returns, other times the love is gone.

A few notable ones from the past:

Jay Gibbons- I thought Jay Gibbons was gonna be a star outfielder with a power bat. That was far far far far from the truth.

Javy Lopez- I watched him with the Braves and figured he’d a solid addition to the club. Lopez did nothing with the O’s cept for whine and moan and sit on the DL.

Chris Ray- 06, my fanside said “Ray is gonna be a stud closer.” He still might be a ok closer. Last season was not good for him and it could be for the fact he was pitching hurt. I’ll reserve judgement for later on him. But the love was not was it was. This also applies to Adam Loewen. Although, I’m more optimistic that Ray will return and can be a viable pitcher rather than Loewen.

Todd Williams- There was a point where I thought Todd Williams was a useful bullpen arm. He had good days and bad days, but usually the good days outnumbered the bad. Then the bottom fell out and there were no good days. Every appearance Williams made made me literally sick.

There’s plenty more that I add to this list and I’ll probably do that later in a different post. You love some players and you hate some. Sometimes you can love a certain player forever. Sometimes the worm turns and the player who gave you 2 good seasons suddenly falls apart. Sure you stand by your player for a season or so and hope the boat rights itself. Sometimes though, the ship sinks and all you can do is to boo the ship as it sinks to the depths beneath.

O’s crushing Yanks

The game is in the bottom of the sixth, so the crushing is not complete…

First off, the posting has been slightly sparse lately, but due to the number of off days the O’s have had, my work schedule, and having a full social plate lately…I’ve been busy. But now I’m back.

I miss the first 4 innings and then I come in and see the score’s 10-0 O’s and thought I was in a bizzaro world. We have been known to beat the Yankees on occassion, but not by such a lofty margin. The game’s not over, so let’s not get too full of zeal yet.

Mike Mussina, the ex-Oriole turned dirty Yankee, started tonight against the ACE known as Daniel Cabrera (side note: I bought a 6 and a half foot poster of Daniel Cabrera on Ebay this weekend. So yeah, I’m drinking that kool-aid). Moose had the the shortest outing of his career by going 0.2 innings. The boxscore will show that he only gave up 1 earned run while 7 runs were scored off him. The baseball messiah, Derek Jeter, had a throwing error that opened the bloodbath on a 7 run 1st inning.

Johnny Damon, who looks like his skills have further eroded, had a fielding error that allowed 2 more unearned runs to score. Thus, if the Yanks would have been able to field the balls…this would be a tie game. BUUUUTTT they didn’t. ha.

Daniel Cabrera thus far has gone 7 innings. He’s only given up 2 runs and once again…hasn’t walked anybody. This is his 8th quality start in a row.  I wanted to refrain a little on getting my hopes up until he got to face the Yankees again and the Red Sox. He has and he’s done great. Cabrera did hit Jeter on the head with a pitch. Word is that he’s only got a bruise on his hand and nothing more. LaTroy Hawkins, former Oriole bullpen arsonist, went head hunting on Luke Scott. His first pitch on him was waaaaay inside. The next one went straight for his head. Hawkins was promptly tossed and the benches cleared. I had always thought of Hawkins as a classy guy. I’ve read a few articles about him doing good things and all and I’m sure he is still a good guy…but throwing at a guy’s head is bush league. If you’re mad about Jeter being hit then plunk a guy on back with a ball. If he’s still bitter about having to be an Oriole, if plunking him in the side makes you feel better….ok. It’s stupid…but whatever. Throwing at a guy’s head is stupid. I don’t care who it is on whatever team. If that ball hit Scott in the noggin and that could be a career ender or worse you could really mess somebody up. Throwing at a guy’s head should earn a player 20 games off. That’s serious and it should be punished as such.

Next at bat, Luke Scott paid the Yankees back with a towering 2 run homer. That was HIGH….IT was DEEP….IT WAS GONE! That ball was crushed.

Adam Jones has gone 4 for 5 with 4 RBI. He’s had a double and 3 singles. Good night for him. I think he’s only going to get better as the season goes on.

The Yankees have gotten old quick. Posoda’s DLed. Damon has eroded away. Giambi is dead weight. Jeter is still Jeter, but he ain’t getting younger. The pitching staff outside of Wang is blargh. Their young pitchers (Hughes and Kennedy) have been trainwrecks thus far. They can turn it around because you don’t judge a young pitcher on 10 starts, but it’s been a bad start for them. Their bullpen outside of Rivera (who’s aging) scares no one. I will now openly mock Joe Girardi for passing on the O’s and taking the Yankees job.

The season is only a little over the quarter mark and the O’s have 24 wins. Most of the jokers in the preseason said this was going to one of the worst teams ever. My expectations were low, but as a fan, I’m always overly optimistic. Now they’re a win away from halfway to 50. The pitching, starting and relief, have really done it for this team. I’ve seen more 1 run games with this team this season than I ever have. More often that not, they’ve managed to win them. The starters, aside from Trachsel, have managed to go 6 or 7  and the bullpen has been great. Lance Cormier, who I openly called for his release in Spring Training, went 2 scoreless innings.

Daniel Cabrera is now 5-1. Dude is on a roll.