April 2010

Red Sox-Os in Pictures

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O's/Red Sox opener

 

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Greetings from Fenway Park where the Orioles will take on the Red Sox in a three-game set that starts with Jeremy Guthrie tonight.

 

*I checked in with Adam Jones since a few of you were wondering if he hurt his arm when he tripped over home plate Wednesday night. He said he’s fine and the MASN cameras that showed him wincing and grabbing his arm was mainly because he locked his arms to try to catch his fall.

 

*Miguel Tejada is back and excited about it. I spoke with Miggi earlier and he said the adductor injury will be in the back of his mind a little while running tonight, but he’s as close to 100 percent as he’s going to get. His energy is a welcome lift for the O’s.

 

*Koji Uehara tossed one inning yesterday and will throw one inning tomorrow. After that he will confirm with pitching coach Rick Kranitz to get Koji going on some sort of rehab assignment.

 

*There’s no new update on Brian Roberts, but it’s looking more like weeks than days. Not good news for the O’s

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*It’s no coincidence that Roberts’ absence has caused the O’s stolen bases to also disappear. Roberts has two of the club’s three swipes.  Considering Boston struggles against speed (the Rays four-game sweep and the recent Rangers series are great examples) it’d be nice to see some of the Orioles try to steal a few bases. Trembley said he was “well aware” of what Texas did, and pointed to Friday’s leadoff man, Lou Montanez, as a potential stolen-base threat. He’s not lightning fast, but Trembley said Montanez has good baseball instincts.

 

*The Orioles are hoping Brad Bergesen (who makes his Triple-A debut Sunday) can get back on track in time to pitch May 1’s game. With the team’s off day yesterday and another one on Monday, May 1 is the first day they will need a fifth starter. While using a long man like Jason Berken or Mark Hendrickson is an option, it’s not ideal since both of those guys are pitching well  in middle relief. And really, why mess with a good thing given that so many things are going wrong for this team?

 As for bringing up Jake Arrieta, pitching coach Rick Kranitz didn’t rule out that possibility but he made it clear it’s not the preferred option. While Arrieta’s been dominant in Triple-A, he’s still young and the team would like to keep his development on track rather than “throwing him to the wolves” in that start against the Red Sox.

 

“We need Bergesen here,” Kranitz said. Yes, they do. They need some runs as well.

 

ORIOLES LINEUP

Lou Montanez LF
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Ty Wigginton 2B
Matt Wieters C
Nolan Reimold DH
Garrett Atkins 1B
Cesar Izturis SS

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

 

RED SOX LINEUP

Marco Scutaro SS
JD Drew RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Josh Reddick RF

Jon Lester LHP

SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE?

 The Orioles enter the series with Boston with each of their three starters having a lower ERA than the Sox pitcher they are facing…According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Orioles faced the Red Sox with each of their starters in the series having a lower ERA than Boston’s was June 10-12, 2008 when Daniel Cabrera (3.98) faced Josh Beckett (4.07), Garrett Olson (3.86) faced Bartolo Colon (3.91) and Jeremy Guthrie (3.40) faced Jon Lester (3.50)…The Sox won two of three in that series (Colon and Lester recorded wins).

 

It's worth repeating..

While at this nice little Irish pub for dinner, I caught the
highlights from the Brewers’ 20-0 rout of the Pirates.  Naturally, covering the Orioles, I thought to
myself,” TWENTY RUNS! Have I seen 20 runs?”

Yes, I have (although never at once). But, do
you know how many Orioles  games back you have to go to equal the Brewers output from
tonight? Eight.

Yup, you have to add the O’s offensive output from the last
eight games (where they went 1-7) to equal what Milwaukee did with their
historic win. It’s fair to say Baltimore could use some runs.

Also, if you took an off day with the team today (and I can’t say I blame you), I previewed the Boston series earlier in the blog and wrote an Inbox on some of the biggest questions surrounding the team. Check ‘em out. Let me know what you think.

Red Sox- Orioles Series Preview

Greetings from Boston,
where I had the rare luxury of flying here a day before the Orioles-Red Sox
series.

 As some of you might have read, I flew home
from San Francisco on Monday to get my stuff and drive and move into my place
in Baltimore. I’m back now and having read up on the Seattle series, as well as
having caught snippets of the games, it doesn’t look like I missed much.

SAME OLD STORY: The
Orioles have three more losses and the story lines are virtually the same: When
will this team start to hit? If you take out Ty Wigginton the offensive stats are even more alarming,
considering Wiggy has five of the team’s last seven homers and seems to have
some part in every rare Orioles run.

BRING ‘EM IN: Wednesday
night the O’s went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven
runners. The sad thing is, that number is better than nearly every other game.
Baltimore is 17-for-110 (.155) with runners in scoring position, and they had
more hits Sunday with RISP and two outs (three) than they had in the first 12
games combined. If you’re wondering, they went 3-for-7 with RISP and two outs
on Sunday. And that was one of their two wins this season. Coincidence? I think
not.

In 16 games they’ve left 109 runners on base which is an
average of 6.8 runners stranded per game. 
If they could just push one or two of those runs across per game it’d be
a huge lift considering eight of the O’s first 16 games have been decided by
two runs or less.

That brings us to Friday’s series, which starts a stretch of
12 straight games against divisional foes Boston and New York. 

ON THE HOT SEAT: It’s no secret the Orioles need to win some games for manager Dave Trembley to keep his job. Trembley was vocal about the team’s dismal play in a meeting on Wednesday (For more on what I think of the situation check out Orioles.com later today for my latest inbox.)

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GOOD GUTHRIE: Does
Kevin Millwood’s 3.38 ERA warrant a
win instead of an 0-3 record? Of course. But Friday’s starter, Jeremy Guthrie’s ERA is even better -3.15
– and he’s also searching for his first win. Could it come in Boston? The
Orioles hope so.

To do it, Guthrie (0-2) would have to buck the trend. He’s  1-5 with a 4.74 ERA in 12 career starts
against Boston and has never won at Fenway Park, going 0-2 with a 5.46 ERA.

Hates to face: Jacoby
Ellsbury (11-for-28), Dustin Pedroia (9-for-28), David Ortiz (7-for-23, 2 2Bs,
2 HRs)

Loves to face: Adrian Beltre (1-for-18), Marco Scutaro (4-for-17), Mike
Lowell (4-for-23)

Key stat:  Guthrie’s
turnaround from a dismal ’09 starts with the first inning. In 37 starts last
season, Guthrie posted a 7.99 ERA in the first inning, yielding 57 hits (14 for
extra-bases) and 14 walks. This year he’s allowed just four singles and hasn’t
given up a run in the first inning.

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Oriole killer: Guthrie’s mound counterpart, Jon Lester has been nothing short of spectacular in his career
against the O’s, going 10-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 12 starts.  But the lefty has been struggling this season
and has yet to produce a quality start in his first three tries. Lester has
posted a career 4.88 ERA in April/May with a 1.49 WHIP.

 It would certainly be a great time for the
Orioles’ bats to break out against Lester, who admitted to Boston reporters
that he’s had trouble establishing a rhythm while on the mound.

 

Hates to face: Matt
Wieters (5-for-9), Ty Wigginton (6-for-13)

Loves to face: Luke
Scott (0-for-8), Nick Markakis (7-for-35, 10 Ks)

Key stat: Opponents
are hitting .313 off Lester in his first three starts.

INJURY UPDATES:  If Miguel
Tejada
returns to the lineup on Friday it would certainly be a boost. He’s
a career 4-for-9 off Lester, with two walks.  Miggi’s presence would also move Wigginton
over to second base, a move which upgrades the defense slightly, in my opinion.
It also strengthens the lineup, which is the Orioles biggest problem right now.
Trembley told reporters in Seattle that Miggi was 90 percent on Wednesday and
he expected him back in the lineup for Friday’s series opener.

Adam Jones appeared
to injure his shoulder of some sort, with MASN replays showing him gingerly holding
his right arm and he tentatively relayed the ball in on his next putout. Jones
is a gamer, so it will be interesting to see if he’s OK after taking Thursday’s
off day.  Jones is a career

The Orioles are already without Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Mike Gonzalez and Koji Uehara and when you factor in the (hopefully temporary) demotion
of Brad Bergesen the team is missing
nearly 20 percent of their projected Opening Day roster. Only Uehara didn’t
break camp with the team, but the reports out of Sarasota are that he’s close
to returning.

MAGNIFICENT MATUSZ
: Stopper Brian Matusz takes the
hill after Guthrie on Saturday against John
Lackey
, and so far, Matusz sports Baltimore’s only two wins. You have to
like your chances with him on the hill, regardless of what else is going on. He’s
that good.

If the Orioles can steal two out three games to a reeling
Red Sox team (who rebounded from a four-game sweep by visiting Tampa Bay with a
series win* over Texas) it would be huge for the club’s confidence going
forward. Can they do it? We’ll see. It should be an interesting weekend, and as
always, you can follow along here on this blog, on Orioles.com, and on Twitter.

*The Red Sox have a shot at the sweep, but I’m writing this
blog before that game’s being played.

Seattle

Hi all, just wanted to let you know I won’t be in Seattle (I’m finally moving in to a place in Baltimore) and will rejoin the team for Thursay’s off day in Boston.

This does’t mean much for you (besides a slower Twitter frequency) since all the O’s news will still be on Orioles.com.

With Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez and Kevin Millwod scheduled to take the hill, it should be interesting series for the struggling O’s. They have to face Felix Hernandez, but I think taking two of three would go a long, long way in helping the O’s get back on track before heading to Fenway. If the rotation stays the same they’ll face Lester, Lackey and Wakefield. (Although don’t quote me on that order.)

Koji Uehara was supposed to throw a simulate game today, and if all goes well you’d have to image he’s 7-10 days away from rejoining the team. Keep an eye on Miggi, who basically said yesterday he will play through some pain if he has to. I don’t expect Trembley to start him today, but he could certainly get in during this Seattle series. His energy and hustle is sorely needed.

 

Down on the Farm: Kolodny POW

The South Atlantic League announced on Monday that Shorebirds first baseman Tyler Kolodny has been named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of April 8 through 18.  Kolodny leads the SAL in a litany of key categories including: home runs (6), slugging percentage (1.000) and total bases (44).

Through the first 11 games he is hitting .387 with six homers and 11 RBIs. He leads the Shorebirds in seven offensive categories, includings hits (11) and triples (3).

Kolodny was drafted by the O’s in the 16th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Ripken's response

Here is the statement issued by Cal Ripken in response to the FOX Sports report last week that said owner Peter Angelos turned down Ripken for a job within the organization.

“In my baseball experience, rumors and stories seem to break when
things aren’t going well. Let me address recent media reports.

“First I want to say that Mr. Angelos never said that he didn’t
want me to get credit for any success that the club might have. That’s
just not true.

“”I have had a very good relationship with Peter for a long time.
He has been an advisor to me, a great supporter of my foundation and
it is because of him that we have an Orioles affiliate in Aberdeen.

“I have met with Andy and Peter on a number of occasions to discuss many
subjects. Ultimately our discussions have turned to baseball, the
Orioles and me. I have enjoyed those talks very much, and yes the
subject has been broached about me potentially joining the organization.
I look forward to those talks continuing.

“I have been consistent in my statements about a return to baseball
since my retirement in 2001. With my son Ryan approaching the end of
high school in a couple of years I have been thinking more seriously
about a return to the big league game. I am more excited now to explore
all opportunities and find the right situation that could lead me to the
next phase of my life.”

How good is Brian Matusz?

As I sit here in the pressbox watching Matusz carve up the A’s hitters, I wonder, how good is Brian Matusz?

This is a little premature,maybe, but this is how Matusz stacks up through the first 10 starts of his Major League career with the last five AL Cy Young Award winners and their first 10 games. 

 

W - L ERA IP H ER BB K
Matusz 6 - 2 4.58 57.0 60 29 20 53
Greinke 2 - 6 3.57 63.0 53 25 13 42
Lee 3 - 3 2.87 59.2 44 19 24 50
Sabathia 6 - 2 5.36 50.1 54 30 27 30
Santana 2 - 3 7.66 47.0 61 40 20 34
Colon 2 - 5 5.77 53.0 60 34 26 37

O's/As finale

*As expected, Miguel Tejada is
out of Sunday’s lineup and manager Dave Trembley said he won’t even be available
to pinch hit. Tejada’s injury is not being called a hip adductor strain, and
given that he grabbed his right side, I’d say that’s where most of the pain is.

*Jim Johnson, who was charged with yesterday’s blown save, was
overthrowing by Trembley’s standards.
 He’s the only guy with closing
experience so he will continue to get the majority of save opportunities for
the O’s.

ORIOLES
LINEUP:

Adam Jones CF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Nolan Reimold DH
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Lou Montanez LF
Justin Turner 2B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brian Matusz LHP

ATHLETICS
LINEUP:

Rajai Davis CF
Daric Barton 1B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Kurt Suzuki C
Jake Fox DH
Adam Rosales 2B
Travis Buck LF
Cliff Pennington SS

Brett Anderson LHP

Tejada day-to-day with groin strain

 

OAKLAND — Orioles third baseman Miguel Tejada is day-to-day
with a mild groin strain suffered in the sixth inning of Baltimore’s 4-3 loss
to the Oakland Athletics.

Following the game, Tejada said the team’s training staff
told him the injury wouldn’t warrant a trip to the disabled list, but he will
likely need to rest for a few days.

With Baltimore’s offense scoreless through the first five
innings, Tejada tried to spark something with a bunt to the left side of the
infield. But after taking several steps out of the batter’s box, Tejada felt
something tighten up and dove headfirst into the bag, rolling around in pain as
he grabbed his right quadriceps area.

After several minutes on the ground with head athletic
trainer Richard Bancells examining him, Tejada tried to walk a few steps to
shake out his leg. But it was in vain, and he exited in favor of pinch-runner
Cesar Izturis.

“What Tejada did today was probably one of the most
unselfish team plays I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Orioles manager Dave
Trembley said of his cleanup hitter’s decision to bunt. “The guy loves to
win, wants to win. He’ll do anything for the club.”

Tejada, who singled in his previous two at-bats against A’s
starter Justin Duchscherer, said he was just trying to get on base in hopes
that designated hitter Luke Scott would connect for a homer.

“I know I’m hitting fourth but in this game when you
are struggling the way the whole team is right now, you got to make something
happen,” Tejada said.

The Orioles’ primary cleanup hitter this season, Tejada
entered Saturday’s game batting .186 with two homers and seven RBIs. He tied
his season high with three hits before leaving Saturday’s game.

For an already-injury depleted Orioles club, being without
Tejada will require some shuffling.  On
Saturday, Baltimore inserted Izturis at shortstop and moved Ty Wigginton from
third to second base, with Julio Lugo moving from short to second.

While Wigginton is the primary backup at third base,
Trembley could also opt to put Justin Turner at second instead of Lugo. 

“The doctor said it’s not going to be anything to worry
about [long-term],” Tejada said. “I’ll be ready in a couple
days.”

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