April 2010

Albers stating his case?

Albers.jpg
Brad Bergesen will be activated to start Saturday’s game, meaning reliever Matt Albers’ days could be numbered. In 13 games, Albers has pitched his way to a 6.75 ERA –the worst mark of any active Orioles reliever – but he has strung together some solid outings as of late.

Albers tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two games against the Yankees and retired all three batters he faced in Friday’s win.

Albers who is out of options, knows the situation and said he’s not going out on the mound with the mindset that he has something to prove.
 
 “I just go out there and try to be successful and help the team win,” Albers said. “That’s really the approach I have to take, instead of trying to worry about what other people think. Obviously if I go out there and I pitch well, that obviously looks good.”

Manager Dave Trembley said Albers’ ball has more sink to it and his improved command has helped get him back on track. Albers suffered both losses in Boston last weekend, allowing four earned runs and recording just one out in that stretch.

“I almost tried to do too much, instead of just making my pitches and let my ball sink a little bit,” Albers said of his past struggles.

He has also talked with pitching coach Rick Kranitz about relying more on his breaking balls early in the count, which has helped keep hitters off balance and led to improved control.

“He wants the ball and he threw a sinker tonight with the exception of the 3-1 pitch to [Darnell] McDonald that was foul, he had movement,” Trembley said.

“And his command has been better. A lot less three-ball counts, a lot more strike ones.”

Has the team seen enough out of Albers to keep him and get rid of someone else? Reliever Cla Meredith would likely be the next to go, since he’s been used solely in one-out situations and still has options remaining. The team could also opt to take a position player off the 25-man roster, such as Julio Lugol, but given the Orioles’ limited depth that’s a long shot.

The decision will be made soon enough, seeing as though Bergesen will be activated for Saturday’s game.

A few musings

*Brad Bergesen will be activated for Saturday’s start. But who goes in his place? Tough to say. My guess is Matt Albers, although Albers had a nice 1 1/3 scoreless inning outing against the Yankees last night. He is out of options, so that could be a deciding factor in whether to send him out and risk losing him on waivers.  We could know post-game today, or early Saturday.

*In their four wins, the Orioles are 17-for-48 (.354) with runners in scoring position…In their 18 losses, they are batting .133 (17-for-128) with runners in scoring position…When the O’s score four or more runs, they are 4-3, but when scoring fewer than four, they are 0-15.

*The Orioles two runs in the first inning Friday doubled the run support David Hernandez has gotten on the hill in his first four starts. The team has scored 10 runs total, but only two have been while Hernandez is in the game. 

Trembley to fans: you stick with your team

Coming off a half-filled Camden Yards (made up of mostly Yankees fans) the last three games, Orioles manager Dave Trembley was asked what he would like to say to fans to get them to start coming out again.

“If you love your team, you love them through good times and bad times and you stick with them, because sooner or later this team will turn it around and you want to be here when that happens,” Trembley said of his 4-18 squad.

“And you understand in life that nothing comes easy, and you will go through it and you will struggle, and how you handle it will say a lot about how you’re going to handle it when it turns around.”

“This is what we have, this is our ballclub, this is our city, this is the Baltimore Orioles. We’re very proud. It will eventually turn around. There’s a lot of baseball to play.”

Orioles/Red Sox Part 2

Doesn’t it feel like the Orioles just faced them? Oh wait, they did. David Hernandez gets a rematch from Sunday’s game and will face Boston’s John Lackey in the series opener tonight…

*As expected Brad Bergesen was scratched from his Triple-A start tonight. He will be recalled for Saturday’s start against the Red Sox, a move which will likely cost the team a reliever.
*Wilfrido Perez cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Double-A Bowie

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott LF
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes DH
Garrett Atkins 1B
Cesar Izturis SS
David Hernandez RHP

RED SOX LINEUP
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Darnell McDonald CF
John Lackey RHP

Wrapping it up and looking ahead

You can look at Thursday’s loss a few ways. You can lament the Orioles offense, which went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position Thursday to lower their Major League-worst average to .193 (34-for-176). Or you can think of how Brian Matusz was just the latest starter to have a solid outing result in a loss, snapping his previous six-game winning streak.

But really, when Yankees starter A.J. Burnett is on, you have to give him credit.

“That guy has so much talent, when he has a day like this, it’s hard,” Orioles third baseman Miguel Tejada said of Burnett. “He was on his game today. He threw everything he wanted where he wanted. I don’t think he missed a pitch. Today was his day.”

“He had to work, but he didn’t lose anything from the first inning to the eighth,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said of Burnett. “He didn’t lose anything. Probably got better.”

The same can be said for Robinson Cano. The Yankees second baseman made a nice play on Nolan Reimold’s ball and went 3-for-4 with a double and two homers to raise his average to an astounding .407.

“The first home run, Wieters was like [half-joking], ‘We need to check that bat, because it sounded really, really loud,'”  Marcus Thames said. “I was like, ‘It’s been that way ever since Spring Training.’ Even in BP, if you watch BP, it’s the same thing. He’s making good, solid contact and having a lot of success right now.”

This is a loss that hopefully the Orioles can chalk up a hot hitter (Cano) and a hot pitcher (Burnett) getting the best of them. What this team sorely needs is some two-out offense -they went 0-for-2 Thursday to drop to 13-for-87 on the season.

Now halfway through a 12-game stretch against the Yankees and Red Sox the Orioles (4-18) are 2-4 with two series losses. It doesn’t get any easier, so the Orioles are going to have to do a lot of things better if they are going to win a series.

Friday’s match-up is David Hernandez vs. John Lackey. Saturday is likely Brad Bergesen vs. Dice-K, while Sunday will feature Kevin Millwood against Josh Beckett

A few mini tidbits

*Kevin Millwood’s ride-along with the Baltimore police on Wednesday afternoon will be televised on MASN’s pregame show Friday. Millwood said if he wasn’t a baseball player he wanted to be a cop, so the team arranged the ride-along.
*Orioles prospects Zach Britton and Caleb Joseph were on hand for Thursday’s game. Britton was a guest on the MASN pregame show, while Joseph joked he was Britton’s bodyguard for the night.
*Rhyne Hughes set an Orioles franchise record by hitting safely and recording an RBI in his first three Major League games. After sitting against tough left CC Sabathia, he was back in Thursday’s lineup.
*Jason Berken is third in the American League in lowest opponets’ batting average against lefties (minimum of 20 batters faced) at .091. He trails only Boston’s Daniel Bard (.080) and Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano (.087)
*Prior to Friday night’s game, Miguel Tejada will present Project Medishare with a check for $25,000 from the Orioles Charitable Foundation to assist in their Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Dr. Barth Green -who is expected to be in attendance for the ceremony– and Dr. Arthur Fournier founded Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc. in 1994.  Tejada is also going to donate money for each hit and homer he collects this season, although they haven’t determined exactly what amount that will be.

Yankees/Orioles finale

A series win? The Orioles have a shot tonight for the first time all season to get a series W. Against the Yankees, no less. Brian Matusz will oppose A.J. Burnett in what should be a good duel…

*Brian Roberts was scheduled to undergo on Thursday and was around at Camden Yards pregame, but no available to the media. He is still not participating in any baseball related acitives and when he returns is anyone’s guess.
*Alfredo Simon wasn’t going to be used back-to-back on Wednesday night even if a save situation came up. He could be in there tonight if needed.
*Manager Dave Trembley said he wasn’t considered that Jeremy Guthrie’s poor outing Wednesday night would have any ill effects on his season.
*Koji Uehara tossed a scoreless inning at Double-A Bowie earlier today but the team wants to see him throw against some stronger competition. He will fly to Norfolk Friday afternoon and appear in an inning for the Tides Saturday. He could throw Monday there as well but that’s not definite yet.
 
ORIOLES LINEUP:

Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Nolan Reimold LF
Cesar Izturis SS
Brian Matusz LHP

YANKEES LINEUP:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Fransico Cervelli C
Brett Gardner LF
A.J. Burnett RHP

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A series win? The Orioles have a shot tonight for the first time all season to get a series W. Against the Yankees, no less. Brian Matusz will oppose A.J. Burnett in what should be a good duel…
*Brian Roberts was scheduled to undergo on Thursday and was around at Camden Yards pregame, but no available to the media. He is still not participating in any baseball related acitives and when he returns is anyone’s guess.
*Alfredo Simon wasn’t going to be used back-to-back on Wednesday night even if a save situation came up. He could be in there tonight if needed.
*Manager Dave Trembley said he wasn’t considered that Jeremy Guthrie’s poor outing Wednesday night would have any ill effects on his season.
*Koji Uehara tossed a scoreless inning at Double-A Bowie earlier today but the team wants to see him throw against some stronger competition. He will fly to Norfolk Friday afternoon and appear in an inning for the Tides Saturday. He could throw Monday there as well but that’s not definite yet.
ORIOLES LINEUP:
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Nolan Reimold LF
Cesar Izturis SS
Brian Matusz LHP
YANKEES LINEUP:
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Fransico Cervelli C
Brett Gardner LF
A.J. Burnett RHP

Clearing up Guthrie

BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Dave Trembley isn’t worried about starter Jeremy Guthrie’s poor performance on Wednesday night having any ill effects on the rest of his season.   

Guthrie allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) over a season-low 4 2/3 innings and said he was “embarrassed” by the outing in his postgame remarks, apologizing to teammates and fans on hand for the Orioles’ 8-3 loss to the Yankees.  

On Thursday afternoon, the nameplate above Guthrie’s locker was gone as were most of his belongings, besides a few jerseys.  Asked if he needed to remove some of the clutter, the right-hander agreed that was part of it.

“I think he really wanted to get one under his belt [Wednesday] night against the Yankees,” Trembley said of Guthrie prior to Thursday’s series finale.  “It didn’t happen for him, and I think he was disappointed. He felt responsible for it, and I told him today that he shouldn’t feel that way. He’s a guy with a lot of pride. He works real hard. I think he expects himself to be perfect all of the time. When he’s not, he takes responsibility for that and it bothers him.”

Trembley said he was on hand to film a MASN commercial earlier this season and saw Guthrie getting his running in despite a torrential downpour.

“The guy just prepares himself. He works, he cares,” Trembley said. “He’s coming off a season that wasn’t up to his standards.”

Guthrie (0-3) is winless in five starts this year, but has improved his numbers considerably from last season. He had tossed four straight quality starts prior to Wednesday and -most importantly – limited opponents to just two homers. Robinson Cano tagged Guthrie for his third long ball of the season Wednesday.  Guthrie led the American League in losses (17) and home runs allowed last season (35) and has made a conscious effort to revert back to his ’08 and ’07 self.

“Let me start by saying I’m embarrassed by the way the game started, I was embarrassed by the way the game finished,” Guthrie said following Wednesday’s loss in front of a crowd of 17,248 at Camden Yards.  

“I’m apologetic to fans who pay to come and watch the Orioles and watch us lose, in this case, because of me. I’m apologetic to teammates for the inability to help them win a game in four starts. I’m apologetic to Jorge [Posada] if he is to miss any time for yanking a pitch and hitting him.”
 
Also, my colleague at Yankees.com Bryan Hoch tells me Posada’s plunking was still a topic of pregame discussion for Joe Girardi.  Girardi had some words about Guthrie’s inability to command the inside pitch following last night’s game. Since the start of 2008, Guthrie has hit 17 batters, nine have been Yankees.  And that’s not including the pitch that Guthrie hit Mark Teixeira with in Spring Training.   

Koji's outing

BALTIMORE– Koji Uehara will pitch an inning for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday and could throw again Monday if the Orioles decide to err on the side of caution.

Uehara tossed a scoreless inning for Double-A Bowie earlier on Thursday with pitching coach Rick Kranitz on hand for the 13 pitch-outing.  Manager Dave Trembley said the team wanted Koji to throw against some better competition before being activated.

“He’s ready to go, he’d like to here now,” Trembley said.  “ut Kranny talked to him after his outing today and we’re going to get him to pitch at least one more time in Triple-A.”

It was Uehara’s second rehab outing; he also threw a scoreless inning –allowing a hit and a strikeout–for Bowie on Tuesday night.  Although both of Uehara’s innings have been quick, Trembley said he won’t need the right-hander to reach a certain pitch count to be ready.

“I don’t think it’s pitches at all,” Trembley said. “Because I don’t think he’d be a multiple inning guy when he comes here. He’s going to be a one-inning guy.”

Girardi "frustrated" with Guthrie

This will be in tonight’s game story as well, but wanted to make sure it didn’t get bypassed. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was not happy about Jeremy Guthrie hitting Jorge Posada in the right knee in the second innings of Wednesday’s game. Guthrie also hit Mark Teixeira in the right elbow in a Spring Training game on March 29, and combined with Posada’s plunking, it was enough to prompt some choice words.

“I really don’t think you’re trying to lead off an inning by hitting a guy. I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose, but he hits a lot of people. It’s frustrating for us,” Girardi said. We know he’s going to pitch inside and I don’t have a problem with pitching inside. But what do you expect, me to be happy our guys are getting plunked? I’m frustrated by it. I wish he had better command. “

“I like our guys to pitch inside, but when our guys are getting plunked, I’m not going to be happy about it. We don’t have Posada probably (Thursday), and we missed Tex for a few days in Spring Training. If it was during the season, we would have lost Tex for three or four days. I’m not criticizing Jeremy Guthrie, I’m just saying I’m frustrated by it.”

Posada told reporters he didn’t think it was a DL scenario and Guthrie apologized for the pitch, which was unintentional.

“I’m apologetic for the fact that if he were to miss some time, that would be a shame that it was a pitch that got away from me that had that result,” Guthrie said. “But ultimately, I’m going out there and trying to compete. I don’t ever want to give up free baserunners because I can’t afford those as we’ve seen throughout my career.”

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