August 2010

Os/White Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*Buck Showalter said the Orioles will give struggling reliever Jason Berken a day or two off to help freshen him up.
*Luke Scott is off today, which is good considering he’s got a head cold. Showalter said the feeling is they can just knock most of that congestion out today.
*The team has discussed going back to 12 pitchers and adding a bench player. If Guthrie pitches well that will come on the roadtrip, and could come as soon as after the game.  You’d think Armando Gabino would be the one to go given that Troy Patton is now the long man, but they could just as easily option Patton to Norfolk to give him more consistent innings.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Corey Patterson DH
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Jake Fox C
Cesar Izturis SS
Josh Bell 3B

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

WHITE SOX LINEUP
Juan Pierre LF
Omar Vizquel 3B
Alex Rios CF
Paul Konerko DH
Carlos Quentin RF
Mark Kotsay 1B
Alexei Ramirez SS
Ramon Castro C
Gordon Beckham 2B

Mark Buehrle LHP

Random thoughts and musings

*With a seventh-inning double in tonight’s game, Nolan Reimold has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games for Triple-A Norfolk. Reimold is batting .286 (20-for-70) with three home runs, 15 walks and 11 RBIs over that stretch.

*Jim Johnson started today’s Gulf Coast League game and tossed a scoreless inning with a walk. He’s expected to report to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday. Lou Montanez (oblique) also played in the game, going 2-for-4 with a walk.

*The Orioles have a 13-man pitching staff right now, which leaves them with a short bench of (usually) Julio Lugo and backup catcher Jake Fox. While new manager Buck Showalter said he understands the move and why the O’s need it, given their recent rotation surge, you wonder how long they’ll keep it that way. Troy Patton hasn’t pitched in five games, Armando Gabino (taking the place of David Hernadez) also hasn’t pitched and Mark Hendrickson has been used sparingly on this homestand. September callups aren’t far away, but my guess is they’d give the rotation another go-around before making a move. It’s hard with a young pitching staff to really determine if they’re out of the woods in that regard. 

Orioles/White Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*The Orioles will honor the late Johnny Oates and Ray Miller in a pregame ceremony tonight. The pair were inducted into the O’s Hall of Fame at yesterday’s  luncheon.
*Brian Roberts back batting leadoff has been good for Nick Markakis, as evidenced by the frequency the pair has been getting on base. However, B-Rob’s defense has been a little shaky, which manager Buck Showalter said is to be expected given all the time off he’s had.
*Long man Troy Patton has not pitched since he’s been up, a stretch of five games, (six if you include the one-day stint he had earlier this season).  Showalter acknowledged you never really want your long man to get a lot of course, because it means the starters are doing well, but sooner or later they’ll have to find a spot for him.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Cesar Izturis SS
Josh Bell 3B
Kevin Millwood RHP

WHITE SOX LINEUP:
Juan Pierre LF
Omar Vizquel 3B
Alex Rios CF
Paul Konerko 1B
Carlos Quentin RF
Mark Kotsay DH
Alexei Ramirez SS
A.J. Pierzynski C
Gordon Beckham 2B
Gavin Floyd RHP

Os win 4th straight

The Orioles secured their fourth straight win on Friday night and they’ve also turned in four straight quality starts. The O’s are pitching to a 2.28 ERA over that stretch and have Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergesen to thank.

They don’t even look the same team I watched drop three of four to Kansas City. The Buck Showalter effect? I guess so. Here are some extra quotes from the Orioles win that didn’t make it in the game story

Showalter on how this Orioles team is different now…

 “Anybody who sits and watches, and I told them all the time this in ESPN in those meetings, to sit there and watch the game, and then be there in the clubhouse and the dugout and on the planes, you don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and smugly say I knew everything. I know why we’re carrying 13 pitchers. I know the challenges that have been here. I never said at ESPN or wherever at home said, ‘Why don’t they do this? What’s wrong with this?’ Until you’re in their shoes and walking, there’s a lot of things that go on with a club and an organization that you’re not aware of. So far, so good. The guys are playing hard and getting a return on it. I’m happy for them.”

On the importance of Nick Markakis hustling to get to third on Luke Scott’s single in the 10th..

“It changes a lot of things. You’ve always got to think about what if, if you do this and you do that. Did it change it? Sure. There were some things that change. This guy’s a big split-finger, it makes him a lot more tentative about the split with a man on third base. It’s 90 feet. I think sometimes, because there’s nobody out, there’s two outs, we’re going to be real passive. That’s not always the case.”

Bergesen on his outing..

“Any time you feel like you have confidence in your pitches, it’s a great thing and you just try to roll with it. Getting good depth on my fastball tonight was key for me.”

“We always talked earlier in the year that we wanted to make it that way. One guy goes out and has a good outing and the next guy wants to go out and have an even better outing. When you create that little competition between the starters, you can really start rolling with each other.

I really think it’s a combination of both. I’ve been working with Kranny so much this year. We’ve been working and trying to find new things. Really for me, just simplifying it and focusing on tempo and arm angle are the big keys for me, and I obviously have more conviction in my pitches.”

White Sox/Orioles lineups and pregame tidbits

I was briefly at the Orioles Hall of Fame luncheon today, and will have a story up after Saturday’s pregame ceremony honoring new inductees, the late Johnny Oates and Ray Miller.  Not much pregame news, except Julio Lugo is batting sixth. Buck Showalter said  Lugo hits lefties well, so he wanted to put him up there. Josh Bell is back in the lineup after being off yesterday (although he was available) with left hamstring cramps.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Julio Lugo SS
Matt Wieters C
Felix Pie LF
Josh Bell 3B

Brad Bergesen RHP


WHITE SOX LINEUP:

Juan Pierre LF
Brent Lillibridge CF
Paul Konerko 1B
Carlos Quentin RF
Mark Kotsay DH
Alexei Ramirez SS
A.J. Pierzynski C
Dayan Viciedo 3B
Tim Beckham 2B

John Danks LHP

Buck does it again. And against big, hairy guys.

That would be 3-0 now for the Orioles under the Buck Showalter Era. Wondering how long it took his predecessors to get to that mark?

It took the O’s until game 19 under Dave Trembley, when they won at Fenway Park. I remember that game because Cla Meredith got the save and said that the O’s wouldn’t celebrate getting the win because it would be pretty “bush league”.

Under Juan Samuel’s watch, it was game No. 11 in San Francisco. Jake Arrieta got the win in that one and allowed just one run — a Pablo Sandoval homer — over seven innings.

I know there was a lot of hype going into the spring, and I also know the Angels have been scuffling. But it’s still reason for some optimism. Here are some more extra quotes that didn’t make it in my game story. By far the best was when Showalter was asked if the O’s seemed deflated after Jason Berken game up a game-tying homer to Torri Hunter.

“I looked for that,” Showalter said, adding that he didn’t see any give. “[It's] part of playing, not only in the big leagues, but in the American League. Big, strong, hairy guys here. They hit it where the grass doesn’t grow. And that’s part of playing in this division, this league.

“That’s part of it. We’ve got some big guys, too. Maybe not as hairy.”

Showalter admitted he let rookie Jake Arrieta have a lot of rope, by allowing him to go a career high 7 2/3 innings and 108 pitches.

 “He was pitching well enough to continue,” he said. “It’s just like sending Berken back out there after the home run. I want to see how he responds, and he responded well. You want to see these guys smell it, sniff it, finish it.”

“[Angels starter] Danny Haren’s outstanding. You see why guys like that are so coveted at the trading deadline. Everybody has those moments. It’s how you respond to adversity. That was impressive on all their parts. Jake was the difference in the ballgame, though.”

You might be wondering if Showalter is thinking- how is this team the worst in the Majors? After all, they’ve played well in all facets of the game these last three days.

“I came into [this situation] completely open-minded,” he said. “Nothing’s as bad as it seems and nothing’s as good as it seems. Like I said before, I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some players who won 100 games in a year when I was the manager, and we had periods when it seemed like we weren’t ever going to win another game.

“I tried to come into it with a real open mind about it. There’s enough track-record players here that you know they’re better than that, but things snowball. We all know that.”

 

Orioles/Angels lineup and pregame tidbits

*As expected, David Hernandez (left ankle sprain) is on the DL with Armando Gabino now up here from Triple-A Norfolk. He wasn’t on the team’s 40-man roster, but the trade of Miguel Tejada last week freed up a spot. Hernandez will stay with the team through the homestand and will likely go down to Sarasota after that. He won’t resume throwing for about 7-10 days, given that it’s his landing foot, and will undergo an MRI to make sure there’s no further damage. He was told on a second doctor’s visit that it could be longer than initially thought, and he might not be ready to come off the DL at the 15-day mark.

*Josh Bell is available, but not in the lineup. He left last night’s game with a left hamstring cramp, and new manager Buck Showalter said he could use him if necessary.
 
*B-Rob is fine and back in the lineup.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Luke Scott 1B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Corey Patterson DH
Cesar Izturis SS
Jake Arrieta RHP

ANGELS LINEUP
Erick Aybar SS
Maicer Izturis 2B
Bobby Abreu LF
Torii Hunter RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Howie Kendrick 1B
Jeff Mathis C
Peter Bourjos CF
Dan Haren RHP

Hernandez likely to DL , B-Rob/Bell OK

Wednesday’s win came with a price, as David Hernandez exited the clubhouse on crutches with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain. Hernandez said he was told it would be 10-14 days, making a scenario where he avoids the disabled list very unlikely.

He will be reexamined tomorrow, but head athletic trainer Richie Bancells said that the tendon that’s the most sore is one that is a slow healer. So, it’s not looking good. Hernandez suffered the injury trying to protect home plate on a wild pitch and didn’t feel his heel roll, but felt something off. He can put pressure on it, but was told not to.

Obviously this is a big blow to an O’s bullpen that was just starting to look like it had regained even footing.  Buck Showalter said he has already talked to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail about a potential roster move, so you can bet that the O’s will have some movement (maybe Armando Gabino- but he’s not on the 40-man) should Hernandez go to the DL. 

On a brighter note, Josh Bell (left hamstring cramp) and Brian Roberts appear to be OK and both said they would play on Thursday. Roberts was ruled to have a left shin bruise and said it had nothing to do with his back. Phew. 

B-Rob exits with left shin contusion

BALTIMORE– Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts left Wednesday’s game following a 24-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth inning with a left shin contusion suffered in the first.

Roberts opened the O’s half of the game with a single off starter Ervin Santana and promptly stole second. Angels catcher Jeff Mathis tried a throw down to pick off Roberts and nailed him in what looked to be the left ankle area. Roberts appeared to be in pain and took several hobbles off the bag, but remained in the game. He was sitting on the top step of the dugout talking to head athletic trainer Richard Bancells in between innings, and waited until the last minute to jog out to second.

Roberts grounded out in his next at-bat and didn’t look to be running full force but stayed in the game until heavy rain suspended play two outs into the sixth. He was replaced at second by Julio Lugo with the Orioles leading the Angels, 9-1.

Given Roberts extensive injury this season, he returned from the 60-day disabled list (herniated disk in his lower back) on July 23,  new Orioles manager Buck Showalter noted prior to Wednesday’s game that he would be cautious in giving Roberts some time off.

Orioles/Angels Start of Showalter

Buck Showalter’s era as Orioles manager has officially begun. He spoke to the players, along with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail on Tuesday afternoon, and a few of the O’s mentioned that he used the word “accountability” a lot. That’s a good thing.

Showalter said he will try to keep the lineup and rotation the same for a little while — so he can observe how things are going– before making any changes.

Below are your lineups, with big news on the Angels side with top outfield prospect Peter Bourjos called up to play center field. Torii Hunter is playing right field.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Josh Bell 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

ANGELS LINEUP
Erick Aybar SS
Maicer Izturis 2B
Bobby Abreu LF
Torii Hunter RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Howie Kendrick 1B
Mike Napoli C
Peter Bourjos CF

Trevor Bell RHP

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