August 2013

Buck and Johnson on closing situation

Does Orioles manager Buck Showalter still believe Jim Johnson is his team’s best closer?

“Yeah. I think we have a lot of options and he’s one of them,” Showalter said of Johnson, who blew his third consecutive save opportunity in Arizona on Wednesday. “We’re lucky to have all those options.”

Johnson, who set a club record with 35 consecutive saves earlier this season –dating back to 2012—hasn’t looked nearly as crisp as last year’s All-Star form. He entered Friday with Major League-leading 39 saves in 48 opportunities –the most blown saves in baseball—and is 3-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 57 outings.

Asked where his confidence is at, Johnson said it’s right where he needs it to be, although Showalter — pressed as to whether the right-hander needs a few days off following Thursday’s off day—left the door open in terms of whether he will go to Johnson in the next save situation or give him an extended layoff.

“There’s some merit to different things of that [nature],” said Showalter, who could employ a committee-type closer situation based off matchups for the immediate future. “Depends on how I frame it…there’s something things we’ve discussed. I’ve had conversations. And if we decided to do that it’s not going to be some big announcement. It’ll be something I talk to people about. And fortunately you’ll probably know about it when the [bullpen] gate opens.”

The case of Johnson, who was an All-Star last season, is a puzzling one. He converted 10 consecutive saves prior to this stretch and had been the model of consistency for an exceptional Orioles bullpen until hitting a rough stretch –in which he blew four of five—earlier this season. Johnson said he doesn’t think his recent outings have been about command and said Friday he felt he made some good pitches in Arizona.

“I don’t think it’s a question of mixing it up as much,” Johnson said. “Earlier it was a matter of location. I don’t think that’s the issue [recently]. I’ve been making good quality pitches and just haven’t seen the result.

“I know what my strengths are as pitcher. My strengths are pitching to contact. I’m not going to try to go out and strike everybody out because that’s going to put me in worse situations. So I need to trust the process of what I do and stay true to who I am.”

If Showalter doesn’t go to Johnson in the ninth inning he has the benefit of having experience in his ‘pen with Francisco Rodriguez an option as well as fellow late-inning righties Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day. Lefty Brian Matusz could see time in the ninth depending on the matchup as well.

“I know the finality of it and I know the questions should and need to be asked,” Showalter said of Johnson.  “And it’s frustrating for Jimmy and me. Not frustrated with him, but frustrated for him. There’s something things we haven’t done in other innings too, but I understand the finality of that inning.”

 

Orioles vs. Rockies lineups and pregame notes

*Orioles manager Buck Showalter, when asked if Jim Johnson was still his best closer, said the team has a lot of options and Johnson is one of them. The struggling right-hander, who has blown three consecutive saves, said he still has confidence he can get the job. But it appears the Orioles will go with more of a committee for the ninth-inning –based off availability and matchups– for the time being as they try to get Johnson back on track.

*Jason Hammel is going to play catch today and said his right forearm area is feeling much better than it was last week. He was shut down after having some discomfort while trying to play catch in San Diego and had a Cortisone injection in the area after that.

*In case you missed it, Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair has left the club due to personal reasons and bullpen coach Bill Castro will take over his role. Scott McGregor was named the team’s new bullpen coach.

*Bud Norris, who pitched in relief in Wednesday’s loss in Arizona, will still start Saturday’s game and right-hander Scott Feldman will pitch Sunday as long as he’s not needed in emergency relief tonight. If Feldman pitches tonight, Miguel Gonzalez would start Sunday.

*Top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman will have his next start in Triple-A skipped due to arm soreness. The organization is saying it’s a minor issue right now and given that Norfolk currently has six starters and they’re trying to keep Gausman’s innings in check this season, they decided to be overcautious with the issue.

Here are your lineups as the Orioles try to snap a three-game losing streak…
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Henry Urrutia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

ROCKIES LINEUP
Dexter Fowler CF
D.J. LeMahieu 2B
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Michael Cuddyer RF
Wilin Rosario DH
Todd Helton 1B
Nolan Arenado 3B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Charlie Culberson LF

Juan Nicasio RHP

Orioles @ Giants lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from AT&T Park one more time as the Orioles, fresh off yesterday’s 3-2 loss, will play the series rubber match.

*Wilson Betemit will continue his rehab at the team’s High-A affiliate in Frederick while Lew Ford, who is coming back from sports hernia surgery, will report to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday.

*Through Casey Cares’ Celebration Vacation program and Christina and Nick Markakis, a Casey Cares 10 year old boy, Kevin, and his father were treated to two Orioles-Giants games, hotel, and round trip airfare to San Francisco this weekend.

Kevin is on treatment for Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), a rare disorder of dendritic cells.  While LCH is not a cancer, it typically requires treatment with chemotherapy similar to that used to treat many childhood cancers. Kevin is an Orioles fan and he and his dad, David, were able to spend time cheering on their favorite team on Friday and Saturday.

*The Orioles’ errorless game on Saturday marked their 88th of the season, which is nine more than the next closest teams, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. <p>

*Chris Davis is the 13th player in Oriole history to drive in 109 runs. The mark would have led 42 teams in Orioles history and puts Davis on pace to drive in 152 runs, which would break Miguel Tejada’s club record (150) set in 2004.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Brian Roberts 2B

Bud Norris RHP
GIANTS LINEUP
Marco Scutaro 2B
Brandon Crawford SS
Brandon Belt 1B
Buster Posey C
Hunter Pence RF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Roger Kieschnick LF
Gregor Blanco CF

Matt Cain RHP

Orioles @ Giants lineups and pregame notes

Back at it again at AT&T Park in the first of two day games to cap the three-game set against the Giants. The Orioles are fresh off last night’s 5-2 win (which you can read about here) and are 3-0 on their three-city West Coast road trip.

*Nick Markakis is batting fifth, a move that manager Buck Showalter thinks provides the best protection for a lineup without catcher Matt Wieters, who is getting  the day off.

*In case you missed it, Jason Hammel had a cortisone injection yesterday and the right-hander, who is dealing with tightness in his flexor mass –which is where the forearm and elbow connect– is progressing along slower than hoped. Hammel said today he’s aware that flexor mass issues often morph into elbow problems and –given that the ligament is fine now– he’s going to be careful and make sure things are right before he comes back. He will rest for a few days now and try to play catch either in Arizona or at home next week.

*Miguel Gonzalez will start Tuesday’s game, following Scott Feldman in Arizona.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Taylor Teagarden C
Wei-Yin Chen LHP

GIANTS LINEUP
Marco Scutaro 2B
Joaquin Arias SS
Brandon Belt 1B
Buster Posey C
Hunter Pence RF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Jeff Francoeur LF
Andres Torres CF
Chad Gaudin RHP

Orioles @ Giants lineups & pregame notes (updated)

Greetings from AT&T Park, one of my all-time favorite stadiums. The O’s are on the second leg of a three-city, West Coast trip and will play three games against the Giants before heading to Arizona.

The Orioles are fresh off a two-game sweep in San Diego, and a lot of guys were out early for batting practice coming off of Thursday’s off day.

*Jason Hammel (right flexor mass tightness) received a Cortisone injection today after Dr. James Andrews reviewed his MRI results and he will definitely not be eligible to come off the disabled list when eligible on the 13th. Hammel tried to throw earlier this week and still felt some discomfort and things have been moving slower than hoped, although the team remains hopeful that he will return to pitch this season given that there’s no structural damage in the area.

*I’ve been asked a bunch of times about Mark Reynolds and if the Orioles have interest. They do, but right now Reynolds is still the Indians property. As part of  being designated for assignment, Cleveland owns his contract and –while it’s unlikely they find a trade partner given his salary and recent performance– it’s out of the O’s hands right now. It’s a much more likely scenario that Baltimore would take a flier on Reynolds as a low-risk signing if he gets released, meaning they are off the hook for his money.

*The Orioles rotation going forward is Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Scott Feldman. Tuesday’s start is to be determined with Chris Tillman, who pitches tonight, going again on Wednesday.

Some good stuff from the O’s game notes today…

*Chris Tillman is going for his eighth road win tonight. Since the start of the 2000 season, only four Orioles pitchers have recorded eight or more road wins in a season Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera, Rodrigo Lopez, and Sidney Ponson. With a win tonight, Tillman would be come the 29th Orioles pitcher to record a 15-win season and first since Bedard in 2006. Jim Palmer holds the franchise record with 12 seasons or 15 or more wins.

*In his last 11 starts since June 4, Tillman is 10-1 with a 3.54 ERA and eight quality starts. According to Elias, the last Orioles starter to win 10 times in a span of 11 starts was Mike Boddicker from April 14-June 20, 1986. Steve Stone (1980), Palmer (1973), Pat Dobson (1971) and Mike Cuellar (1969 and 1971) also did it. With a win tonight, Tillman would be the first Orioles starter to win 11 times in a 12-start span since Stone won 11 times from June 30-Aug. 23, 1980.

*J.J. Hardy has 19 homers this season and is one shy of his third straight 20-plus homer campaign for the Orioles. According to STATS, Hardy would be the third Orioles shortstop with three consecutive 20-plus homer seasons, joining Miguel Tejada (2004-06) and Cal Ripken Jr. (10 straight from 1982-91). Hardy’s 71 home runs since 2011 are the most among Major League shortstops.

GIANTS LINEUP

Marco Scutaro 2B
Brandon Crawford SS
Brandon Belt 1B
Buster Posey C
Hunter Pence RF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Roger Kieschnnick LF
Gregor Blanco CF

Ryan Vogelsong RHP
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Brian Roberts 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

Os allowing fan to design t-shirt giveaway

As part of Fan Appreciation Week, the Oriols are allowing a fan to design a t-shirt for the giveaway on Thursday, September 26. The shirts will be distributed to the first 10,000 fans ages 15 and over attending that night’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Fans should visit http://www.orioles.com/fanshirt to see a complete list of rules and gain access to Orioles team logos that may be used for this purpose. Submissions will be accepted until August 31. Fans are encouraged to work on their designs now and upload beginning August 15. The winner will receive four tickets to the September 26 game.

After August 31, the Orioles will select the top three finalists and fans will then be given the opportunity to vote at http://www.orioles.com/fanshirt for their favorite t-shirt design.

Indians DFA Reynolds

The Indians designated former Oriole Mark Reynolds for assignment, a baseball source told MLB.com Thursday morning. Reynolds hit .215/.307/.373 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 99 games for the Indians, striking out 123 times in 384 plate appearances. The team now has 10 days to trade, release or have Reynolds clears waivers.

Signed to a one-year deal this winter, Reynolds had originally wanted to return to Baltimore and it’s unclear immediately how much interest his former club –which has struggled in the designated hitter spot– has in a reunion. Reynolds hit .221/.328/.458 in two seasons with the O’s and, while his bat is capable of carrying a team offensively, he’s also strikeout-prone and had a prolonged slump the first half of last season.

The Orioles declined Reynolds’ $11 million option this winter and later non-tendered him, making him a free agent. Cleveland offered him a one-year, $6-million deal with incentives in December. The Orioles DH spot is .210/.269/.389 with 16 homers and 46 RBIs and the club has employed a rotating cast without a true DH.

Always streaky, Reynolds followed a red-hot April by hitting .218 in May, .187 in June, and .098 in July. His playing time had diminished considerably and he’s 3-for-9 in August.

Orioles @ Padres lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from Petco Park again, where the Orioles will finish a quick two-game series against the Padres before heading to San Francisco in advance of Friday’s series opener.

*Jason Hammel tried to throw yesterday, but still experienced some discomfort and he could be not ready by the time his disabled list period ends on the 13th. Hammel, who is with the team on the West Coast, has been taking anti-inflammatory medicine and yesterday was Day 3 of that, according to manager Buck Showalter, so he could improve quickly in the next few days. But right now, he’s not moving as fast as the team had anticipated when they initially placed Hammel on the DL.

*Tsuyoshi Wada has had back-to-back scoreless outings for Triple-A Norfolk, going five innings in yesterday’s win, and SHowalter mentioned for the first time today that he could be a potential September call-up as a reliever. Wada takes a long time to get ready so that would require some advance notice, but Showalter didn’t rule it out. The lefty, who has yet to throw a pitch for the Orioles, is part of Norfolk’s rotation and could be an option should the team need a starter as well.

*Given the team’s two off days this week, Matt Wieters is catching the day game after last night’s win, with left fielder Nate McLouth getting a day off in favor of Steve Pearce.

*Scott Feldman is available in the bullpen today after three days off and Feldman –who won’t start until Monday or Tuesday in Arizona– will pitch regardless of if he gets in the game or not.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Pearce LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Miguel Gonzalez RHP

PADRES LINEUP

Will Venable RF
Chris Denorfia LF
Chase Headley 3B
Yonder Alonso 1B
Jedd Gyorko 2B
Alexi Amarista CF
Ronny Cedeno SS
Rene Rivera C
Eric Stults LHP

Orioles @ Padres lineups and pregame notes

*Brian Roberts has been reinstated from the paternity list and the Orioles optioned Danny Valencia to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a spot.

*The Orioles game notes has the following rotation following Bud Norris tonight: Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Norris again on Sunday. Scott Feldman’s turn would have been Saturday after Tillman, but he’s not listed right now. We should find out more from manager Buck Showalter later.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Brian Roberts 2B

Bud Norris RHP

PADRES LINEUP
Will Venable RF
Chris Denorfia LF
Chase Headley 3B
Yonder Alonso 1B
Jedd Gyorko 2B
Alexi Amarista CF
Logan Forsythe SS
Nick Hundley C

Edinson Volquez RHP

Orioles partner with Kids Peace for Trick-or-Trot

The Baltimore Orioles, OriolesREACH and Manager Buck Showalter and his wife Angela have partnered with KidsPeace to host the fourth annual Trick-or-Trot 5K/1-Mile Walk on Nov. 2.

Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume for the race, which begins and ends at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and enjoy a post-race party with the Oriole Bird. The event starts at 8 a.m. and benefits youth in foster care.

“Angela and I are proud to once again host the KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot event,” said Buck Showalter. “KidsPeace provides crucial support and services for foster children and families, a cause that has special meaning for both of us. This event will help raise needed funds to provide a bright future for foster children in our area.”

Gift certificates will be awarded for top runners, age group winners and best costumes. The top three fundraising teams will win prizes, such as Angela and Buck Showalter’s suite for a 2014 season Orioles game on a mutually agreed upon date (food/beverage not included). The top individual fundraiser will earn the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles’ home game on Sept. 26.

“The Orioles organization has had such an impact on the foster youth we serve,” said Gina Seyfried, KidsPeace volunteer coordinator. “Their support and that of the Showalter family reaches so far beyond the ballpark. We are honored to have such a committed partner for this community event to support the foster youth of Maryland.”

Visit http://www.kidspeace5k.org by Aug. 15 to run the 5K, and the $35 early registration entrance fee will include a ticket to the Orioles’ game against Toronto on Sept. 26. Additional game tickets for friends/family and walkers are available for purchase. The early registration entrance fee for walkers is $20 for adults and $15 for youth 3 to 14. There is no fee for children 2 and younger. The first 500 runners registered will receive an UnderArmour T-shirt.

To register as a team captain or to join a team, register as an individual runner then follow the directions for team registration. To create a fundraising page, follow the link in your registration confirmation email or register using this link: https://fundraising.active.com/event/KidsPeaceTrick-or-Trot.

All proceeds from the race benefit KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs of Maryland and Washington D.C. including KEYS (KidsPeace Empowering Youth to Succeed), a program that prepares youth for independence through life-skills training. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the race. For more information, please call 410-964-9329.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 318 other followers