September 2010

Orioles/Blue Jays lineups and pregame tidbits

The Orioles will try to take an impressive 4-2 road trip and use the momentum to beat the Blue Jays, who have gone 12-0 against Baltimore this season.

*Brandon Snyder will make his first Major League start in Baltimore. He made his debut in Detroit over the weekend, but the local product (he’s from Virginia- and estimated it’s about an hour’s drive) will have some family in attendance tonight. Manager Buck Showalter gave Snyder and Roberto Andino a pair of starts consecutively to try to get them to be a little more comfortable.
*The Orioles six-man rotation will stay on turn for the rest of the week, and could stay on schedule next week as well. While some of the younger arms, Jake Arrieta in particular, are nearing their innings limit, the team will not skip any starts but just shut down guys when they feel necessary. Arrieta will definitely make one more start, and possibly two more, before his season ends.
*Despite a crowded bullpen, there are no plans to shut down a reliever before the season ends. Alfredo Simon is coming off his first season from Tommy John surgery but team officials feel like he is good health-wise, and Michael Gonzalez’s recent neck/back issues aren’t anything more than a minor issue.
*This is not an Orioles related tidbit, MLB fantasy football team is officially 1-0. :-)   


Brian Roberts 2B
Robert Andino SS
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Jake Fox DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Nolan Reimold LF
Brandon Snyder 1B

Brian Matusz LHP

Travis Snider LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Adam Lind DH
John Buck C
Edwin Encarnacion 3B

Marc Rzepczynski LHP


Going for the sweep


*Michael Gonzalez is dealing with some soreness in his neck/back and was unavailable the last two games. He did some pregame catch and got some treatment and said he could be used today if needed.

The Yankees on the Showalter Effect

I prefaced this a little last night with Nick Swisher’s comment, but the Orioles play these last two games has certainly raised some eyebrows on the other side of the field.

And don’t think manager Buck Showalter isn’t taking these wins in the Bronx to heart. When asked about acting very businesslike in taking the series from his old team, Showalter responded: “Publicly, I do.”

Here are some comments from the Yankees regarding the very different Oriole team they’ve been beaten by the last two games.

Derek Jeter

“They’re playing well. I don’t know because I never switched managers in the middle of a season, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of guys over there trying to make an impression.”

CC Sabathia

“They’ve got a pretty good team. They’ve got some young talent over there. They’re trying to impress their manager. The fact that they got Roberts back and Jones came off the DL today, I think that definitely helped their lineup.”

Swisher, (following Monday afternoon’s loss)

“Since they got the new manager over there, they’ve got a different style of play…They pitched a little differently [on Monday], a lot more offspeed.”

*In keeping with Swisher’s comments, the Orioles starters ERA in the first 105 games was 5.61. Under Buck’s 34 games, it’s 3.26. And the pitching staff as a whole owns a 3.57 ERA under their new manager. Several of the young arms have mentioned that they are “auditioning” and that certainly looks to be the case.

*The Orioles have won five straight road games now, dating back to the first game in Anaheim. They’ll try to extend that season-high mark to six games in Sunday’s finale.

Orioles/Yankees lineups

*More tidbits are in my previous post, but just a day off for Matt Wieters and Cesar Izturis. Both of them took pregame BP.

Brian Roberts 2B
Felix Pie LF
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nolan Reimold DH
Craig Tatum C
Robert Andino SS
Josh Bell 3B
Jake Arrieta RHP


Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Lance Berkman DH
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Ramiro Pena 3B

CC Sabathia LHP

Patton here too, Jones in lineup, Gonzo out etc

*Lefty Troy Patton was told late last night that he would be coming to join the Orioles in New York. So with his car packed to go home, he drove to Baltimore and then flew here.

He will join David Hernandez and Pedro Viola in a crowded bullpen, and is expected to be used in long relief. Patton has been called up twice before but not used. Here’s hoping he’s get a chance this time.

*Also, Adam Jones is back in the lineup tonight and feeling good.

*The Orioles might start to alter their six-man rotation after this weekend’s set in Detroit, but for now it will go as scheduled.

*Michael Gonzalez is dealing with some back tightness and wasn’t available yesterday. He pitched back-to-back outings Saturday and Sunday and would only be used in an emergency situation today. 

Hernandez, Viola to join the Os Tuesday

NEW YORK– The Orioles will get an extra set of arms in New York on Tuesday, with right-hander David Hernandez and Pedro Viola expected to be join Baltimore prior to a 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees.

Hernandez (left ankle sprain) tossed a rehab outing for Double-A Bowie Monday afternoon — giving up one hit in an inning of work – and has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 6.  He struck out all three batters he faced at Bowie on Saturday and manager Buck Showalter said prior to Monday’s Oriole game that the organization felt Hernandez was “real close.”

Viola struggled at Triple-A Norfolk, pitching to an 0-2  record and a 17.65 ERA in 8 2/3 innings a before moving down to Bowie.  The lefty went 3-4 with a 3.59 ERA, including 19 walks and 64 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings with the Baysox. Viola matched his season high with six inning son Monday in Bowie’s season finale loss to Richmond and it’s possible the Orioles will wait several days to activate him, given that he just started.

Both Hernandez and Viola are on the team’s 40-man roster, although this will be Viola’s first trip to the big leagues. The pair will add depth to an Orioles ‘pen that has been surging since back-end guys Jim Johnson, Michael Gonzalez and Koji Uehara returned.

Viola is the second pitcher to be recalled under the expanded roster, with the Orioles adding starter Chris Tillman and a trio of position players in Nolan Reimold, Roberto Andino and Brandon Snyder.

Orioles/Yankees lineups

*Manager Buck Showalter is hoping this is the day Adam Jones is mad at him. Jones isn’t in the lineup but is taking pregame batting practice and could be available later in the game if he states his case. Either way, look for Jones –who had a cortisone shot in his left shoulder prior to Thursday’s game — to be in the lineup Tuesday night.

*David Hernandez is throwing an inning for Bowie  today and could be activated after that. Showalter said the team thinks he’s close, although much of that will depend on how he fares in tommorow’s inning. Having Hernandez back could help set Rick VandenHurk up for a spot start or two later this month. 

Given that the O’s have a six-man rotation right now, VandenHurk probably wouldn’t get a start until the team shuts down one of their younger arms. You want to see what you have in VandenHurk- who is out of next options next spring — but you don’t want guys pitching on seven or eight days rest, either.

*There’s no word yet on whether the Orioles will call up any more arms in the final few weeks. The Minor League season ends today and Double-A Bowie is fighting for a playoff spot. Norfolk is out of contention.

*As I blogged yesterday, a trio of top prospects –including third overall pick Manny Machado — are headed to Frederick.   

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

LHP Brian Matusz

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames LF
Jorge Posada DH
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner CF

RHP A.J. Burnett

Next step for Machado, Narron and Givens: Frederick

The trio of Manny Machado, Connor Narron and Mychal Givens are playing in short-season Aberdeen’s season finale game today, and will head to Class-A Advanced Frederick after that.

Machado was the team’s third overall pick this season and appeared in his seventh game for the IronBirds on Sunday afternoon. Narron (the O’s fifth-rounder selection) and Givens (09’s second-rounder) have played in eight games, respectively. The plan right now is for the three infielders –who are considered to be among the organization’s top position prospects — to just work out with the Keys, who end their regular season on Friday.

Given that Frederick is postseason-bound, the Orioles could opt to get the infielders some more in-game experience before the unofficial instructional league starts on Sept. 21. All three players are expected to take part in those workouts which run until Oct. 1 and will be at Camden Yards.

Machado is also expected to be introduced at Camden Yards sometime over that stretch. He wanted to wait until his mother Rosa Nunez, who had a  ecent surgical procedure, was cleared to fly which pushed back his initial unveiling.  The immediate emphasis has been on getting Machado –who signed just minutes shy of the deadline — as much work as possible before the season ends.

Givens, who made the trip to Camden Yards last season after signing, has been telling Machado what to expect and how much fun it was to be a Major Leaguer for the day and take pregame batting practice with the Os. 

Garza calls Scott a hypocrite

Rays right-hander Matt Garza doesn’t really care what Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott thinks of him. But he did have a rebuttal for Scott’s comments –which included referencing the Bible — to chastise Garza’s boasting. 

Garza, who considers himself religious as well, told the St.Petersburg Times prior to Saturdya’s game that religion is  something “that shouldn’t even be allowed” to be brought into a baseball game.

“That’s a topic where you don’t ever bring that up,” Garzas said of Scott referencing proverbs that included “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

“My feeling is that God has a lot better things to worry about than if I’m going to throw a strike on a certain pitch,” Garza told the Times. “A lot of other things. I’d rather (Scott) not bring it up.”

The firery Rays righty made waves prior to Friday’s start for comments he told reporters
in St. Petersbrug, which included the desire for a payback outing against the Orioles that would  basically be like telling them to “shove it down their throats.”

After holding the O’s to one run over 5 2/3 innings, Garza said the mental game had been won, and Scott –who admitted Garza backed up his words — also voiced his displeasure over the public trash-talking. 

Garza also told the Times that Scott’s post game comments were somewhat hypocritical given his elaborate  home run celebration that includes pointing to the sky, hugging the on-deck hitter and high-fiving multiple teammates in what many Orioles have referenced as a “happy” home run celebration.

“It’s the same thing, where you’re showing up the other guy,” Garza said. “The game’s gone that far to where it’s acceptable. It’s just what it is.”

Big Smooth

Lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson was one of a few bright spots in Friday’s loss, giving the Orioles three scoreless innings of middle relief. Hendrickson entered after starter Kevin Millwood and collected the final out of the sixth before going on to strike out the next four Rays in a row.

The 36-year-old Hendrickson has turned in scoreless outings in eight of nine appearances under manager Buck Showalter and it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“When you’re with him, you understand exactly why people have wanted him around and what he allows you to do as a manager as far as versatility,” Showalter said of Hendrickson, who has been used a starter and reliever this season.

“There’s a reason they call him “smooth.” He understands it. He understands what he’s here for and how he can stay in the Major Leagues. He’s mature.  Sometimes, I wish some of our young pitchers would listen to him even more than they do. He carries a voice of wisdom here.”

Hendrickson is a free agent at the end of the season if the Orioles don’t pick up his option, and the organization will have a tough decision. Sure, his spot could be filled by a younger arm with an eye on the future, but how much does Hendrickson’s veteran presence and consistency factor in? You know what you are going to get with Hendrickson and the Os young arms have all spoken highly of what he’s done for them.

Jason Berken in particular credited Hendrickson for helping him make the transition from a starter to the ‘pen this season.