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As I start writing this the Orioles are 61-81.  I think they are still scheduled to play all of the 162 games this season.  If they are they will have to win two more games to prevent them from having a 100 lost season.

A few weeks ago it looked as if they may fight enough to be close to a .500 team, but today they are a team ragged team.  They might score 10 runs, if the hitters hit, but with the current pitching staff 10 may not be enough to win.

A staff of starters who are nothing more than minor league players.  Will any of the starters for the rest of the season be on the team next year?  Only Cabrera and if he starts any more Guthrie.

I’ll hope for the best, but am up for the worst since I’m not sure they can win those two games to keep them from the 100 lost season.

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It looks as if the stars are not looking favorably upon the Orioles. Nine loses in a row, the last three against the Devil Rays, and looking towards a series against the Red Sox in Boston. Ouch.

I was thinking what can be done over the off season to make this a .500 team. Let’s just look at .500 first and then look towards a playoff spot.

Let’s start with the starting Pitching, since for the last 10 years they have started the season with people saying, ‘they will only go as far as the pitching takes them.’

They seem set with Bedard as Number 1. Since Cabrera still has a future of being a good if not great pitcher, let’s work on it, but as the 4 or 5 starter. That leave 2 and 3. Even though Guthrie has had a few bad games lately, its probably as much due to teams starting to understand him, he just needs to move up a notch and at number 3 that can happen. Number 2? Is there anyone on the disabled list to move here. Only Lowen, but he’s a big if. Let’s look for the Number 2 outside of the system and take some pressure off of the young guns, who I think will be ready for 09/10. And let’s consider resigning Trachsel and letting Benson go.

Relief Pitching: It’s time to start all over again.

1st Base – Millar isn’t the typical 1st baseman, but he’s better than average in the field and can get some hits and has a way of getting on base. Besides he will one day become a great couch even manager, let’s keep him for that reason and let him alone at 1st.

2nd Base – Looks ok to me with Roberts.

3rd Base – This needs an upgrade. Mora should be one of those players that can and will move from spot to spot as an everyday player to give a break to the real everyday player at that position. Mora can play all of the outfield and probably all of the infield, let’s use him that way.

SS – Tejada is a great player, but he seems to be losing some at that position. Move him to third and let’s get a glove man at short. Hernandez from the minors? Either that use him in a trade for s couple of good young players (relief pitchers?)

Outfield – Markakis, leave him alone. He’s a player. Patterson at center is alright if its the Patterson of 2nd 1/2 2007 and not 1st. Right. This is where we need to pick up a big stick who can hit 30 Homers and drive in 100. That player is not on the team today.

DH – The Orioles were one of the first teams to use the DH the way it’s played today. An older player who still has pop at the bat, but can’t play the field (or should I say can hurt them if playing in the field) Remember Lee May, Ken Singleton etc. Let’s find that older player who looks as if they are done, put them at DH and leave them alone for 162 games.

Game Notes:
Tampa Bay 8 – Orioles 6
WP: Kazmir
LP: Guthrie

When Sam Perlozzo was fired as the Orioles Manager, it was just looking like another disappointing season.  Yes, we knew going in that the Division would be a high reach, but .500 didn’t nor did a possible third place finish.  When he left. .500 looked way out there and 4th place looked like it could be 5th.

Then Dave Trembley came on.  A long time minor league manager who had rarely sat in a big league dugout, if he ever had.  He was hired to be the bullpen coach, when Dempsey took a job with MASN.  A little over 30 games ago he became the Manager.  As I understand only the 7th in modern baseball, who never played Pro Baseball.

Right after that happened, something seemed to happen with the team.  Even with key injuries to the left side of the infield as well as injuries to non-key player, the team played with heart.  They played with emotion.  As I have said in an earlier article, they didn’t give up, playing until the last out in the last inning as if they could come back to win.  And amazing they sometimes have.

Now there’s a report that Dave Trembley will be named to be the manager of the Orioles in 2008.  From here it sure looks to be a good move.  Maybe they won’t be any better than a 4th place club again next year, a lot of that will depend on moves over the off-season.  But if they continue to move in a forward direction, It will be fun to watch again.

There are about 6 weeks remaining in the 2007 baseball season and many people are saying that there are as many as 18 teams still in contention for the playoffs, I thought I’d put down my prediction and thoughts on the division champions and the 2 Wild Cards.

National League

East
Even though the Braves have improved their team and the Phillies have played well since May, I still think that the Mets will win the division. Although it may come down to the last weekend of the season before it’s decided.

Central
This division may turn out to be won by the team that doesn’t play the worst over the rest of the season. The Brewers looked as if they were going to run away with it and the Cardinals had faded. Even the Cubs looked like a team in turmoil. Now it’s a three team race. The Brewers are still in first place, but only because the Cubs haven’t played well over the past 10 games. While the Cubs and Brewers couldn’t decide who wanted to be first the Cardinals have sneaked up on them. I still think the Brewers will win, but it won’t be easy.

West
For awhile it looked like the Dodgers were off and running, but they faded and Arizona have moved into a 3 game lead over San Diego. They will keep the lead and pull farther ahead having the easiest time winning their division in the league.

American

Central
The Tigers, The Indians. One will win and one will not. Toss a coin and the winner is Tigers.

West
The Angels are the best team and they will show it over the rest of the season.

East
I left the home division until last. In June everyone was counting the Yankees out. Since then they have been nearly unbeatable, except when playing the Orioles. The Red Sox still have the best record in baseball, even though the Yankees are now just 5 games out of the division lead. But when it’s over the Red Sox will still be in first and the Yankees luck could change and they come back to earth and play like the Yankees of April and May.

That leads us to who will be the Wild Card teams in both leagues.

National League – This may be where the Braves wind up, but I think it’ll be the Cubs.

American League – It’ll be the Mariners by an eyelash.

Over the next weeks the Orioles will have a lot to say who goes to the Playoffs and who will have to wait for another season.  The Orioles will have to wait, but they sure can work on getting ready for 2008 and determine who’s in 2007.

I suspect the Yankees are starting to wonder who this team is.  The Yankees are 4-8 against the Orioles this year and even those games that they have won, the Orioles made them work for the wins.

Keep it up.  They are fun to watch.

Any fan of baseball should consider this a good weekend for the game.  Whether or not we think that Barry Bonds deserves it, he tied the all-time home run record with Hank Aaron.  Although you do have to wonder, “if Aaron played in today’s game where players can spend the entire year concerned only about baseball and conditioning would he have played 4 more years and hit another 70 or 80 home runs.”

Alex Rodriquez became the youngest player to reach the 500 Home Run mark.  Who knows where he’ll end up on the list, since many of those ahead of him had their best years from 33-36, which he still has ahead of him.

And Tom Glavine reach the 300 win milestone.  One that many who cover baseball think will never happen again.  Not only did he record the win, but it was his RBI base hit that  put the Mets ahead.

Since 300 wins is hard to reach, a pitcher needs to average 15 wins a season for 20 seasons, and some of the games current best are so far away, that may be one of those milestones that’s not reached again.  But with every good pitcher, it will be mentioned and that’s part of the game.

The game is made of records and every record can be broken, that’s part of the reason why we talk about them.

Any way Congratulation to Bonds, Rodriquez and Glavin.

For about a week now it seems that the only things that sports shows and writers seem to be interested in is the Home Run race of Barry Bond to reach 756, Alex Rodriguez reaching 500 Home Runs and the 300th victory of Tom Glavine.

Let’s get it over with so the conversations can switch back to baseball.

This is turning out to be an interesting season.  Here we are in the first week of August there are only seven teams that are more than 10 games out of playoff contention.  Why was there few trades made at the deadlines? Maybe because many teams still looked at the final months of the season and said, “we still have a chance.  Slim, but a chance.”

The Orioles are 10.5 games out of the Wild Card.  Is it reachable?  They have been playing good ball since the first of July.  So Why Not!

They have plenty of games left against the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays.  Winning series from them would be a step in the right direction.

Is it time to bring back the feeling of Why Not!

Why Not!

One of the things that I felt was a problem with ex-manager Sam Perlozzo was his ever changing lineup. It seems as if over the years the best teams have had a constant lineup and varied it only when certain backup players played. But even then only in the bottom 1/2 of the lineup.

Here is how I would place the lineup with the players they have today.

1. Brian Roberts – 2B
2. Jay Payton – CF
3. Nick Markakis – RF
4. Miquel Tejada – SS
5. Aubrey Huff – DH
6. Kevin Millar – 1B
7. Jay Gibbons – LF
8. Paul Bako – C
9. Melvin Mora – 3B

Patterson needs to be pulled out of the regular lineup and be made the 4th outfielder, that is until you can move him.

I still feel as if you need to have a constant 1st baseman so that the infielders have confidence that their throws will be caught. Millar has played a good 1st base and seems a little more comfortable there than Huff.

Put Gibbons in the outfield and leave him alone for at least a month, I think his average will increase and with that his production.

Moving Mora to the 9 spot may seem like a demotion, but I put him there more as a 2nd leadoff type player for the 2nd time and beyond through the lineup.

I have never felt that putting your weakest batter at the 9 spot was the right move. Even if I was managing a National League team, I think I would put the pitcher in the 8 spot maybe even the 7 spot. I am probably completely wrong, but you never know until you try it.

It seems as if when Sunday comes the Orioles find a way to lose.  Once again they lost a game on a Sunday that they could have won.   Although once again the blame goes to the player not doing their design job than a manager making a mistake.

I doubt if there are many managers out there who would not have turned the final inning of a one run game to their closer. But in this case the close doesn’t get an out and 2 hitters later the game is over.

But there was some good things to come out of this game.  Guthrie pitched another good game.  He kept a  good hitting Angels team to only 2 runs in 8 innings and both runs was due more to questionable fielding than his pitching.

There was some good base running  by Brian Roberts and Tejada.  In fact Tejeda created a run by advancing to both 2nd and 3rd on long fly ball outs.  He was able to score on a nice 2 out hit to left, a hit that he wouldn’t have scored unless he was on 3rd.

All in All the Orioles played well enough to have won 3 out of 4 in LA.  They only won one though.  Building on the good things is the thing to do as they head to Seattle and forget the last second lost of Sunday.  Remember they are still 4 and 3 on the road trip and winning a couple of games against Seattle will still make it a good road trip.

After winning six games in a row, the luck apparently faded from the Orioles.  Cabrera while not at his best pitched well enough to win.  He did only allow 3 runs in his 6 2/3 innings.  But once again the bats failed.

I didn’t have the chance to watch the game so I can only comment along with what has been said about the game.  It would seem to me that since Cabrera had pitched out of so many jams during the first 6 innings, Perlozzo should have allowed him to call it a night and let the bulpen do what they are paid to do, pitch the late innings.

It’s a belief that a manager will only make the difference in 10-12 ball games a season with his during the game choices.  It’s my feeling that this is one of those that should be put in the manager lost column.  He has a rested bullpen, why not use them.

Sure he’s in a no win situation. Many have complained about the starters not making it into the 7th. But when a pitcher has already allowed as many base runners and Cabrera had last night, why let him go out in the 7th.  And if you do why let him continue to pitch after 2 runners reach.

Oh well we all knew that streak had to end.  Winning 7 in a row would have been good, but winning 6-7 out of every 10 games is the goal.  And that still lives on.

I have never really been a fan of road trips to the West Coast.  I’m not a late night person and I rarely see or hear the games when they are out west, other than day games on the weekends.

For now this West Coast trip looks to be good for them.  They took a quick stop at Kansas City to play the Royals with a sweep and against the Angles, ones of the best clubs at home, they won the first game.  One more win and you can count it as a successful series and more you can call it a great on.

They have reached .500 for the first time in awhile and are looking good.  Roberts is playing well enough that he should be considered a candidate for the All-Star game.  If he keeps playing as good as he is, he should be an easy pick.  When he gets on base, which has happened a lot lately, good things happen.

One of the biggest hard luck pitchers that the Orioles have had this season is Erik Bedard.  He hadn’t won a game since Mid-April.  With each start in May his ERA has dropped from 6.09 when he started the game on May 4th until the beginning of last night’s game at 4.10.  In the first 5 starts in May his record is 0-1 with the team going 2-3.

Once again the Orioles bats fell silent with him pitching not scoring a run until the 8th with a total of three for the game.  A lot different than the past 4 where they averaged nearly 8 runs a game.  But Bedard pitched 8 scoreless innings dropped his ERA to 3.67 and won the game.

The starters are looking good right now, pitching into the 6th and 7th.  The relievers have had a good rest and things are looking good.

The team has pulled to within 1 game of .500 and right now is sitting in a solid 2nd place in the division.  But they are playing in the same division as the Red Sox, who have the best record in baseball, so they have a long ways to go to catch them.  They are however only 4.5 games out of the Wild Card, but would have to leap over 4 teams to be there.
But the winning against the Royals, while being a success, doesn’t prove anything.  They are on the way to LA to play the Angels, the West leaders.  If they play well there, then we can start considering this team as improving.

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