May 2010

Tejada, Jones look forward

Fresh off a three-game sweep in Toronto the Orioles are 21 games under .500 and have lost 10 of their last 11 games. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier, as the Orioles next nine games are against the Yankees and the Red Sox.

“It was a bad month,” Miguel Tejada said. “Tuesday we’re going to start another month and we have to do it from there. It’s a new month. We have the perfect team to start playing good against, the Yankees and Boston, and the Yankees again and the Mets. That’s going to be the start of us playing good again.”

“We just have to play better baseball. [Manager Dave Trembley is] doing the best he can to get us to play better baseball. I know they always blame the manager, but I think we as players, we have to start to pick it up.”

Said Adam Jones: “We have a good day off tomorrow. I hope it’s nice weather. Guys can go out and enjoy New York, watch a play, get our minds off baseball and come back against the Yankees.”

Some sobering stats

On the Bullpen: The O’s have allowed at least one run in the eighth inning or later in 28 of 51 games, with 66 of their 253 runs allowed (26 percent) coming after the seventh. On Sunday, even Will Ohman wasn’t exempt. The lefty surrendered his first earned runs of the year, snapping an American League leading 15 2/3 scoreless innings with a pair of eighth-inning homers in the Orioles 6-1 loss to Toronto.
Granted, those runs weren’t that big of a deal since the Orioles were already behind and showing no signs of rattling Toronto’s Ricky Romero.
But the O’s have allowed the tying or go-ahead run to score in the eighth inning or later 13 times, including in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays. Giving Ohman a pass (because he’s been far and away their best reliever) the question now is how do you get the ball to him with a lead?

The Orioles hit .207 as a team and were out-scored 16-3, out-homered 9-0 and collected one extra-base hit (Cesar Izturis’ doubled on Saturday). Toronto had more extra-base hits in the first inning of Sunday’s game than the O’s had all series.  Yes, the Blue Jays are a homer-happy team and are leading the American League in several offensive categories.

But all three of Toronto’s starters posted quality starts in the series, and the staff as a whole pitched to a 1.00 ERA, with 25 strikeouts against just four walks. Saturday’s starter, Brett Cecil didn’t even have a three-ball count all afternoon.

The Blue Jay starters tossed 8,6, and 9 innings means the bullpen needed to cover just four innings. And it doesn’t hurt that Toronto’s closer, Kevin Gregg, picked up his 13th save on Saturday afternoon, which tied at the time tied the American League lead.

The Orioles have allowed opposing starters to pitch into the sixth inning 36 times in 51 games, 26 of which have lasted into the seventh.

They’ve been outscored by opponents 253-175 this season and have scored three runs in their last 29 innings, dating back to a two-run seventh-inning in Thursday’s 7-5 loss to Oakland.

I know people have called for manager Dave Trembley’s head, but some of the blame has to fall on the players and front office as well. This is a team that has been ravaged by injuries and has been playing baseball with no fundamentals. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier, as the Orioles next nine games are against the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Os/Jays lineups

Just the lineups, as pregame was pretty quiet. Random fact on last night’s perfect game by Roy Halladay, the last no-hitter in Phillies history prior to Halladay was Orioles right-hander Kevin Millwood. I’ll have some Millwood comments on it up later on the site.


LF Corey Patterson
2B Julio Lugo
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
3B Miguel Tejada
DH Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
SS Cesar Izturis

RHP Jeremy Guthrie

LF Fred Lewis
2B Aaron Hill
DH Adam Lind
CF Vernon Wells
RF Jose Bautista
SS Alex Gonzalez
1B Lyle Overbay
C John Buck
3B Edwin Encarnacion
LHP Ricky Romero

Tillman on his debut

Top pitching prospect Chris Tillman, who was officially recalled following Friday’s game, made his season and tossed 5 2/3 innings in the Orioles 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays, yielding only a pair of homers.

The 22-year-old Tillman allowed a double to the first batter he faced but responded by striking out the side, ending with a 10-pitch ‘K’ of cleanup batter Vernon Wells, who saw a steady diet of low 90s fastballs.

“I thought that double was a pretty good pitch, you know?,” Tillman said. “They just came out swinging. I wasn’t too disappointed with the pitch, obviously with the result. Like I said, [catcher Craig Tatum] took control there and I just stuck with him and we were pretty much on the same page for the most part.”

“His fastball was sneaky at times,” Wells said of Tillman.  “I think he’s another guy that’s still kind of learning at this level. He’s got good enough stuff to be a really good one, especially in this division.”

Tillman -who was sent to Triple-A to work on his fastball command and cutter – showed signs of improvement but was also mistake prone, running up a high-pitch count early and often falling behind  batters.

“I missed with two pitches and they took advantage of it,” he said. “I didn’t throw a cutter today wasn’t too comfortable with it in the bullpen so I tried to stay away from that. Threw a couple change ups, one missed up, [I] would have liked to mix in a few more and get them off that fastball a little bit.”

Tillman allowed a two-out homer to Lyle Overbay and didn’t allow another Toronto score until Aaron Hill went yard to open the sixth. The Blue Jays entered Saturday’s game leading the American League-leading in homers and Overbay’s second blast -off reliever Alberto Castillo — was the club’s 50th long ball of the month, setting a new franchise record.

Following Hill’s homer, Tillman erased Adam Lind’s ensuing single with a double-play ball but was lifted followed Jose Bautista’s double down the right field line.  He threw 96 pitches (60 strikes) in the debut no-decision.
“I thought it was OK,” said Tillman when asked to evaluate his performance as a whole. “Didn’t think it was great, didn’t think it was bad.”

Johnson transferred to Major League DL

The Orioles transferred Jim Johnson (right elbow inflammation) from the Minor League disabled list to the Major League disabled list. The move was made official yesterday and is basically just a paper transaction that allows Johnson to keep his Major League salary intact while rehabbing.

Johnson was sent down to the Minors for poor performance, but was pitching hurt for most of the season. He’s currently down at the team’s Minor League complex in Sarasota and is on a conditioning program. Johnson’s DL stint started yesterday (May 28) although he will need much longer than the 15 days.

Tillman time: Os/Jays lineups and tidbits

*Brian Roberts took live batting practice swings from both sides of the plate, and fielded about 50 grounders at second base today. The report is he felt great and wanted to do the same again tomorrow. (He’s down at the team’s complex in Sarasota, Fla.) That’s encouraging news, particularly given the defensive woes at second (read: Scott Moore) as of late.
*When asked directly if he’d hesitate to go with Moore at second again, Trembley said on one hand  he likes to give guys opportunities, but you got to earn the opportunity as well. “He wasn’t playing like that in Triple-A,” he said.

*David Hernandez was glad he got his first relief outing over with since the anticipating was starting to build. Does he like being the team’s long man? No. But he understands that’s the best way to ease him into the ‘pen. I personally think Hernandez projects as a back end of the ‘pen kind of guy, and the Orioles have let on that they feel the same for his future. It’s just a matter of Hernandez getting some experience and, of course, pitching well.
*The Orioles have historically struggled against lefties and faced two southpaws in the final pair of games here in Toronto. Should be interesting.
And of course, Chris Tillman makes his season debut after being recalled following last night’s game. The first inning is big for Tillman- if he can get past that we’ll see what happens…

Julio Lugo 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Garrett Atkins DH
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis SS
Chris Tillman RHP

Fred Lewis LF
Aaron Hill 2B
Adam Lind DH
Vernon Wells CF
Jose Bautista RF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Jose Molina C
Brett Cecil LHP

Meredith to Triple-A

TORONTO– As expected the Orioles recalled right-hander Chris Tillman from Triple-A Norfolk following Friday’s 5-0 loss. To make room for Tillman, the club optioned sidearmer Cla Meredith back to Norfolk.

“I’ve been in a rut before, I don’t panic, but I’m not the one who calls shots around here,” Meredith said.

“I’m kind of at the mercy of my employer. I’m 26 years old, my arm’s very healthy as is the rest of my body and I envision pitching for a long time whether it’s here or somewhere else.”

The right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 21 appearances and still has an option remaining, meaning the Orioles don’t have to risk exposing him to waivers.

Meredith has been used in a myriad of roles in the wake of injuries to Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara and Alfredo Simon and acknowledged Friday night that it’s been a “weird” year for him. He came in lieu of Mark Hendrickson Thursday night and allowed a base-clearing double to the first A’s batter he faced, giving way to a Baltimore’s 7-5 loss. Meredith also allowed Sunday’s walkoff homer to Josh Willingham, sealing the Orioles’ 10-inning defeat to the Nationals.

“This [decision] is one those things I can’t really control,” he said. “I can control when I have the ball in my hand on the mound but I guess really I haven’t exactly done a stellar job. But, like I said, I’ve had bad weeks before and been just fine.”

“I envision the same this time. And we’ll go from there.”

Meredith hasn’t pitched in the Minors since the Padres optioned him to Triple-A Portland on Aug. 15, 2008. The club recalled him just two weeks later.

Orioles/Blue Jays lineups

LF Corey Patterson
1B Ty Wigginton
RF Nick Markakis
3B Miguel Tejada
DH Luke Scott
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
2B Scott Moore
SS Cesar Izturis

RHP Kevin Millwood
LF Fred Lewis
2B Aaron Lewis
DH Adam Lind
CF Vernon Wells
RF Jose Bautista
SS Alex Gonzalez
1B Lyle Overbay
C John Buck
3B Edwin Encarnacion

RHP Shaun Marcum

Jones on detainment

Adam Jones just spoke with the media to clarify what went on last night regarding his detainment…

“Basically, what happened, was they had the wrong person they thought I was somebody else. It all got situated but it took its time to get situated. It’s frustrating for me, I shouldn’t have put it out how I put it it out, its just frustrating. Now we can all just get on with it, there’s more stories, I guess, people want to stay something but everything’s taken care of on my end.”

[detained or further screening?] “We went to immigration so I would consider that detained.
Everything is cool. They said I had a criminal record, my mom raised me better than that. I have never been involved with anything criminal in my entire life. It was along, pointless situation to me because of the circumstances but I’m glad that got cleared and that won’t be a problem anymore coming into this country.”

[was it Adam Jones the NFl Player?] “I don’t know if it’s him. We got the same name obviously but I’m not going to say I was mistaken for him when I don’t know.”

“It doesn’t matter what I put on my Twitter page. It’s just something that never should have happened. Obviously putting it on my Twitter page, it’s gaining pointless exposure. I’ve learned my lesson [smiles].”

[were you alone?]
“I’m not going to say who was there with me. I wasn’t the only person there.”

Jones detained in Canada

Adam Jones was detained early this morning in Canada along with several other unnamed members of the Orioles team for an extra screening process that required them to leave the airport. An Orioles official and Jones confirmed he wasn’t alone in the matter.

Jones posted the following message on his Twitter page and then deleted it:

“Detained by immigration in canada for no false accusations till 5am and
appreciate someone from the team making sure were ok NOOOOOOTTTTT”

Jones replaced the comment with the following Tweet: “”I wish I could say what I want on here. That would be BRACKIN” before
ending with “last 10 hours have been a blast….yayy.”