June 2010

Os/Nationals lineup

ORIOLES LINEUP
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Scott Moore 2B
Julio Lugo SS
Jeremy Guthrie RHP

NATIONALS LINEUP
Nyjer Morgan CF
Cristian Guzman 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam Dunn DH
Josh Willingham LF
Roger Bernandina RF
Mike Morse 1B
Alberto Gonzalez SS
Wil Nieves C
Luis Atilano RHP

Bergesen's day

Brad Bergesen had a rough outing in his first start back since being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk for the second time this season.  When asked after the Orioles 6-5 win if Bergesen would get to make his next start interim manager Juan Samuel said, at this point, yes.

“He only gave us 4 innings,” Samuel said. “He needs to throw his bullpen. As it is now, yes, he is going to get his next start. You hope he can relax and give us some innings next time.”

After throwing 36 pitches through the first two frames, Bergesen tossed 29 in the third, allowing four runs and putting the Orioles in an early hole for the second time in less than 24 hours.

He issued a leadoff walk to No. 9 batter Ian Desmond, and plunked Cristian Guzman one out later. Ryan Zimmerman’s ball found a hole on the left side of the infield, with Cesar Izturis making a great back-handed stop but couldn’t throw to third in time. Izturis’ play was one of several just-misses for the Orioles, who weren’t charged with any errors but had several chances to get out of the inning.

Bergesen allowed another run in the fourth inning and hasn’t allowed less than four earned runs in a start since he held Kansas City to three runs over 6 2/3 on May 17.

“We still didn’t see a whole lot of sink, and we know he needs that,” Samuel said.  “He needs to sink the ball. We saw some earlier in the game, but as the game went on his pitches started staying up. He needs to get his sinker back. That’s how he’s going to have success.”
Bergesen said he felt like he had a decent sinker for most of the game, but had a few mistakes that proved costly.

“I felt like I had all my pitches, I felt like my arm angle was good,” Bergesen said. “But really that leadoff walk in the third inning and then that pitch to Dunn were really my two big mistakes.”

“He didn’t have it all the time [on Saturday], but he showed signs of the old Bergy sinker,” catcher Matt Wieters said.  “Especially when we’d go away from left-handers. We’ve got to get back to where we can throw it into right-handers as well. It will come.”

Bergesen is 3-4 with a 6.83 ERA in 13 games and has had two separate stints in Triple-A Norfolk to work on reestablishing his sinker. While Samuel said Bergesen is in line to make his next start, it’s something to keep an eye on. He is next scheduled to pitch against Boston at Fenway Park, and if he’s not right that could be an ugly game, damaging to the Orioles and to Bergesen’s confidence.

Old Orioles on this year's squad

As you might have read, the Orioles had a nice on-field celebration for the 1970 World Series Champion Orioles team earlier Saturday afternoon. At the press conference, several old Orioles chimed in on the current state of the O’s…

Paul Blair: “I just kind of think that we don’t have the kind of leadership and coaches that we need here to make this a better organization, an organization like we had when we were all playing. There’s no structure here, there’s no leadership. Until we get that, we will continue to struggle the way we’re struggling.”

Frank Robinson: “I am not going to sit here and try to tell you what’s wrong with this organization or this team right now. But it saddens me to see the course that this organization has taken for quite a number of years, 13 or 14 years. It bothers me and I don’t feel good about it, because I always take a lot of pride in wearing this uniform, and I always will. Hopefully we can get going sometime and that’s it. I know they’ve been saying that for a lot of years, I know they’re trying, but they just haven’t had the right mix.”

Davey Johnson: “I love Baltimore. All my kids were born here. I had great years playing here. I really enjoyed managing here. We had some fun, we came up short. All of us hate to see Baltimore fall on hard times.  They’ve got a nucleus of some pretty good young players. I keep looking for them to bounce back and start doing the things that they’re capable of doing. As far as commenting on what’s going on, I’m working down the Beltway for the Nationals. As far as Baltimore, I hope they straighten out it and start winning.”

Frank Robinson, on enduring the 1988 O’s season (101 losses) and what advice he gives to Juan Samuel, his players, and the next manager:
 
“Be positive. Look down the players in the lineup and see who you can be successful with that night. Manage the game as you see it and don’t try to worry about the games that have gone by. Think about the games to be, and do what you can do to win those ball games. And be positive. Try to take as much out of swapping lineups and players as you possibly can.
 
I became a comedian of sorts during the course of our ’88 season, because we had to laugh, we had to joke, we had to talk to reporters every day and keep them  away from the players and keep them from focusing on the players on the field.

You’ve just got to stay positive, that’s all there is to it. You can’t get down, because the players feed off of you. And you can’t fool them. They can look at you and see if you’re down or if you have confidence in them or whatever. That’s what you have to do. That’s the biggest job you have to do in that situation.”

Britton on the mark

In his first start since being selected to represent the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game, Zach Britton continued to dominate for Double-A Bowie. Britton threw one of the best games of his career Friday night, giving up one run off four hits over a career-high eight innings. 

He struck out nine batters with just one walk, as his ERA dropped to 2.48, third-best in the Eastern League.

My associate, Noah Rosenstein, did a nice job writing a feature on Britton a few days before his selection. You can read that story here.

Is Lou Montanez a Major Leaguer?

If you read yesterday’s story about Lou Montanez going on the 15-day disabled list, you
know that Montanez called this season the worst year of his career.

So it got reporters thinking about his career and whether Montanez is actually a legitimate Major League player.

“I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Louie could play in the Major Leagues,” interim manager Juan Samuel said.  “He’s a guy that has a lot of confidence, you need that. And he knows he is good because he tells you he is good. We have seen him, what he could do. I think Lou is a good outfielder. I think Lou can run. I think he is a good hitter.”

Even though Montanez was only batting .140 ?

“It is kind of hard when you sit on the bench for two and three weeks to go out there an face major league hitters,” Samuel said. “We know that. Lou thinks of himself as an everyday player. Lou is not a role player.”

“Those guys are (usually) veteran players that know the situation that they are going to be in. It’s hard for a young guy to sit three or four weeks and all of a sudden turn it on. Those guys need to play.”

Montanez will be out at least two weeks, and said the first week will be about resting and the second will be getting his legs. He’s never had an oblique problem before and didn’t anticipate it being a lingering injury.

Orioles/Nationals lineups and pregame tidbits

*Interim manager Juan Samuel said Brian Roberts started light baseball actives a few days ago in Sarasota, Fla. Roberts is really far away. At this point, I wouldn’t anticipate him coming back until August at the earliest. I know there has been no talk of shutting him down and getting surgery, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up happening.
*As expected Brad Bergesen was recalled for today’s start, with Lou Montanez being placed on the DL with a left oblique strain. That’s retroactive to June 21.
*Felix Pie was the DH at Frederick last night, and will play a few more games there before going to Double-A Bowie. Pie also played long toss and Samuel said that how he progresses in his throwing will be key. If you remember, Pie injury (an upper back strain) was frequently aggravated by throwing, and he’s been taking swings for weeks now.
*Ty Wigginton (back tightness) is out of the lineup but said he would be available to pinch hit if necessary. Samuel and Wigginton both said they are erring on the side of being cautious. Still this is an interesting situation to note if he doesn’t play tomorrow.
*Hitting coach Terry Crowley is back after tending to a personal matter and missing Friday night’s game.And no, he said he got no good-natured ribbing over the Orioles scoring seven unanswered runs without him in last night’s win.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Scott Moore 1B
Julio Lugo 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Brad Bergesen RHP

NATIONALS LINEUP:
Nyker Morgan CF
Cristian Guzman DH
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam Dunn 1B
Josh Willingham LF
Ivan Rodriguez C
Roger Bernandino RF
Adam Kennedy 2B
Ian Desmond SS
Livan Hernandez RHP

Edwin Jackson's no hitter

edwin.jpg

A note on Edwin Jackson’s no hitter against his former team, the Rays, which I watched from the press box tonight….

Jackson threw 149 pitches and walked eight, but held on for the no-no. It couldn’t happen to a better guy. When I was an associate reporter with the Rays in ’08 I remember Jackson would always be in the parking lot signing autographs for fans every morning of Spring Training. He wouldn’t leave until he had signed them all. He did that same thing throughout the year, and was just always a pleasant guy to have around. He never got to high or too low and was just genuinely happy to be in the big leagues and to have fans.

As a quote, he’s not the greatest, which is hardly a reporter’s dream. But as a guy, he’s awesome. One of those pitchers who strolled in on afternoons he pitched and sat and chatted with you. He once told me he doesn’t like to get all weird and silent on days he starts, preferring to put on his headphone and get in the zone about an hour before first pitch.

I also remember his mother yelling at him to throw strikes from the stands. Hey, some lessons you never quite learn.

Anyways, just good to see him do well in Arizona. I know he’s still close with the Rays, especially B.J. Upton, who struck out in the ninth.
 

More on Atkins

I know Garrett Atkins has been the subject of fans’ ire all season, and he’s made it no secret lately that he knows his time is coming to an end. But I will say this about him: he’s been professional about it.

Atkins was at his locker today and conducted essentially the same interview four times, answering the same questions patiently and without any excuses. And it wasn’t exactly a pleasant topic given that it was about his poor performance and pending release.

“I know [interim manager Juan Samuel] feels bad, there’s only so many spots to go around in the lineup,” said Atkins who started for just the fifth time in 2 games on Friday.
 
“Guys that have been in my position have done a good job. So, you can’t really complain about not playing when guys are playing good.”

Atkins is very quiet, but in my opinion, he might be one of the smartest guys in that locker room. He knows the writing’s on the wall and his time in Baltimore is over when Felix Pie comes back, or even sooner.

“They might have given up on me, but I don’t think [being released is] going to happen this weekend,” he said.

A lot of guys would sulk, yell or refuse to talk about the rumors until they were true. So while Atkins deserves to be booed for his performance on the field, in my opinion he deserves a small amount of respect for taking the high road.

He did admit that being released and picked up by another team wouldn’t be a bad thing, and would be a “welcome opportunity.”

But how much can you fault a guy for wanting out given that he sits on the bench with little shot of playing, (because he’s been awful) while the Orioles are marred in a historically bad run?

Orioles/Nats game 1 lineups and tidbits

By now you know, the Garrett Atkins Era is still in full swing in Baltimore. Although, he told me a change would be a “welcome opportunity.” I saw Atkins talking to Pat Burrell when the team was in San Francisco, and he admitted that being released isn’t always a bad thing. Pat the Bat has found his stroke away from the AL East. What cruel irony that would be for Orioles fans if Atkins were to hit elsewhere.

Instead of Atkins, Lou Montanez will hit the DL, in a move expected to come down postgame.

*As was reported earlier in the week, Michael Gonzalez will go on a rehab assignment this upcoming week. He came through from today’s game with no reported problems and is on track to possibly join the team on July 2’s roadtrip.

*Felix Pie should be on that trip as well, if there are no setbacks. He played in Frederick yesterday and went 2-for-5 and is expected to get some more time tonight.

*Koji Uehara is coming back, either Sunday or Tuesday.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Julio Lugo 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Jake Arrieta RHP

NATIONALS LINEUP:
Nyjer Morgan CF
Cristian Guzman 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam Dunn 1B
Josh Willingham DH
Ivan Rodriguez C
Mike Morse RF
Brendan Harris LF
Ian Desmond SS
J.D. Martin RHP

Koji in limbo

The Orioles won’t activate Koji Uehara until at least Sunday. According to interim manager Juan Samuel Uehara wouldn’t have been available to throw on Saturday, since he pitched in a simulated game on Thursday. (Does that send off any red flags to anyone else?)

Anyways, Koji could be activated Sunday or the O’s could wait until Tuesday, depending of the shape that their ‘pen is in. Monday is an off day.

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