Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1/4 of the way through

I haven't been able to post much as I'm not exactly in the country, but I looked in and saw we're about a quarter of the way through. If things continue this is what the O's are on pace for:

1. Their record will be 53-109. My guess is they will just barely avoid 100 losses.

2. Ty Wigginton will hit 49 home runs. I'm going to cut that number in half.

3. Garrett Atkins will finish with 0 home runs and 24 RBIs in 446 ABs. I seriously hope the O's would be smart enough to find someone else to play first base if he keeps that pace up,

4. In 479 ABs, resurging Corey Patterson will have 147 hits, 37 of them home runs, and add 37 more stolen bases. He'll also strike out 111 times. Of all those numbers, I trust the 111 the most. He'll fade some naturally and move down in the lineup when Brian Roberts returns,

5. Will Ohman will retain his perfect ERA while appearing in 85 games. This guy is too good to be true, something's gotta give.

6. Kevin Milwood will pitch 250 innings of 3.64 ERA and be winless with a record of 0-16. I hope the poor guy has some luck, that's all he should need - you know a run or 2 every once in a while.

7. Alfredo Simon will save 36 games, striking out 71 in 71 innings while issuing 50 walks. Those numbers are a little extreme. Let's give him 20-25 saves and shrink those other numbers by 10 each.

8. Luke Scott will go back and forth from hitting .177 with 3 home runs in 24 games to hitting .455 with 6 home runs in 9 games. Absolutely true - which puts him at a .259 average and 37 HRs at the end of the season.

Monday, May 10, 2010

(9-23) After winning first 2, O's split series with Twins

The O's can't seem to put it all together. They either hit or pitch, but rarely both.

In the opener, pitching was enough. All Brad Bergesen needed to win his second straight game was a 2-run homer from Ty Wigginton, number 10 on the year. Other than that, his 6 2/3 scoreless innings and perfect relief from Will Ohman, returned from injury Koji Uehara, and Alfredo Simon's 3rd save carried Bergesen to a 2-0 victory. Wigginton also had a double and Miguel Tejada had 2 hits.

The O's even beat hot starter Francisco Liriano with a 2 hit, 3 RBI performance from Nick Markakis. Julio Lugo, taking over for struggling Adam Jones (who had 2 hits in this game) in the leadoff role, had 3 hits, temporarily raising his average to .244. Cesar Izturis scored 3 runs on 2 hits and Nolan Reimold scored twice on 1 hit. This made it fairly easy for Jeremy Guthrie to earn his 1st win of the season, 7-3.

The night game of the doubleheader ended diffrently. To be exact it was a 6-1 loss. Kevin Millwood (0-4), allowed 3 runs in a quality start of 7 innings, but the O's had just 4 hits, and 1 run off a homer by Luke Scott. The bullpen didn't help, as Mark Hendrickson and Matt Albers gave up another 3 runs in 1 combined inning.

The finale was a surprise 6-0 loss, as Brian Matusz (2-3) lost his 3rd straight start. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, gave up all 6 runs, and didn't get any help. Matt Wieters had 2 of the O's 6 hits. On the bright side, Jason Berken (1.62), Cla Meredith (2.00), and Alfredo Simon (0.00) kept their ERAs low with 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

In other news, demoted reliever James Johnson has an elbow injury and will miss several weeks. Anyone got any good news? And I don't mean the rumor that Corey Patterson will be called up to replace Lou Montanez.

Friday, May 7, 2010

(7-21) Sweep by Yanks puts O's back in place

After a 3 game win streak, the O's failed to carry through against their rivals in New York.

Matt Wieters' solo home run was the only run in a 4-1, series opening loss. Jeremy Guthrie 7 innings, 6 of them scoreless, but gave up 4 in the 4th and fell to 0-4, his 8th consecutive loss.

The 2nd game was also a 4-1 loss. Brian Matusz dropped to 2-2 as he allowed 3 runs (1 earned) in 6 innings. Garrett Atkins had 3 of the team's 6 hits, and Miguel Tejada had 2.

The bats returned in the finale, but the O's still fell short, 7-5. Ty Wigginton, Nolan Reimold, and Wieters all added home runs, and Julio Lugo led the way with a surprising 3 hits, but David Hernandez had his worst start of the year and extended his league-leading 11 game losing streak. He allowed 6 runs in just 3 2/3 innings.

In other news, Alberto Castillo was sent to AAA to make room for Koji Uehara.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

(7-18) SWEEP!!!!!! (that means they won)

Who called it? Who called it? In case you were wondering, it was not me.

David Hernandez only allowed 2 runs in the first game, but walked 5 and had to be taken out in the middle of the 6th inning. Luckily, Miguel Tejada had 3 RBIs, including 2 late in the game off a solo homer and an extra-inning single that made up for demoted reliever Jim Johnson's blown save. The final score was 5-4. Matt Albers redeemed himself for his first win.

The next game was a little more high scoring. 12-9 to be exact. And Brad Bergesen was the 2nd Oriole starter to get a win! Granted, he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings, but when Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, Ty Wigginton (2), and even Luke Scott hit home runs, you don't need much. Alfredo Simon picked up his 2nd save with a scoreless 9th. Btw, Markakis had 5 RBIs!

The sweep was completed with an outstanding performance by Kevin Millwood, who once again pitched well and didn't get the win. Seriously, the guy's 0-3 with a 3.15 ERA. He threw 8 innings and gave up just 2 runs. Wigginton's RBI double put the O's on top in the 10th, leaving the final score at 3-2. And Albers got another win!

Adam Jones, the struggling leadoff batter, was 7 for 14 in the series, with 5 runs scored, an RBI, and gasp...a walk! Markakis was 7 for 12 with 5 runs and 5 RBIs, lifting his average to .312! Tejada was 6 for 11 with 3 runs and RBIs apiece. Wieters was 3 for 10 with 4 RBIs, and Wigginton was 3 for 8 with 2 runs and 3 RBIs. Basically, the batters rocked. Next comes a 2 game series in New York. No problem...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And just in case you were curious...

It's not much better in AAA. Let's take a look at how they're doing down there.

C Adam Donachie - .208 AVG 2 HR 6 RBI
1B Brandon Snyder .213 1 8 (3 errors)
2B Scott Moore .259 2 12 (8 errors)
3B Josh Bell .238 3 10 (6 errors)
SS Robby Andino .221 2 12
LF Jeff Salazar .292 4 13
CF Joey Gathright .217 0 6
RF Corey Patterson .125 0 0
DH Michael Aubrey .197 1 4

SP Jake Arrieta - 2-1, 1.16 ERA, 27 K in 31 IP
SP Chris Tillman - 2-3, 4.05, 21 in 26.2
SP Troy Patton - 1-3, 8.00, 14 in 18
SP Brandon Erbe - 0-4, 8.35, in in 18.1

Not exactly tearing it up apart from Arrieta. There doesn't seem to be much help ready in the minor leagues. The O's better pick it up then.

May predictions

Let's see...what will happen this month?

1. Brad Bergesen will rebound. After returning from the minors, that 12.19 ERA should come down. If he makes 5 starts, I will predict - 30 innings, 12 earned runs, and gasp...2 wins!

2. Kevin Millwood will be the first starter besides Brian Matusz to win a game. The guy has a 3.38 ERA - he'll win one eventually.

3. Nolan Reimold will step it up. With Felix Pie on the DL, the O's need him to. I predict his .193 average will go above .260 and he will hit 5 home runs in May.

4. Alfredo Simon will not be the closer. Neither will Jim Johnson, or anyone whose name has letters in it. There is no capable closer on this roster. Unless Mike Gonzalez miraculously returns to his former glory or all these relievers get their act together overnight, a closer by committee approach, which never works, will be the only option.

5. Dave Trembley will/will not be the manager. The biggest issue is the one I'm avoiding. I have no idea. Time will tell.

Forgetting April

If you can remember, 18 losses ago, I mean 1 month ago, I made several predictions about the month of April:

1. Garrett Atkins will be pitiful. I'm thinking an average around .200-.220 with almost no power. The O's may just stick with him or try Ty Wigginton or Luke Scott at first base, but I predict that Brandon Snyder will get off to a hot start in AAA and be on the verge of promotion by the end of the month.

After accumulating 3 doubles and 3 RBI's in the season's first 3 games, my prediction about Atkins came true. He finished the month hitting .224, 4 doubles, 0 home runs, and a .284 slugging percentage. Snyder is struggling in AAA with a .213 AVG, but 1B Rhyne Hughes, acquired in last year's trade for Gregg Zaun, hit .353 in AAA, earned a promotion, and has split time with Atkins at first base to hit a decent .263 in 19 at bats.

2. Koji Uehara will be on the DL. He will either not have recovered by then or have come back only to reinjure himself.

Correct! While Uehara is expected to make his much-needed return next week, he has been constantly set back in his recovery attempts.

3. Miguel Tejada will not be the cleanup hitter. Look for someone else to emerge, maybe Nolan Reimold or even Adam Jones.

False. Tejada has been the O's best clutch hitter, batting at a .293 clip with 4 home runs and a team high 13 RBIs. He is still the best option at the #4 spot, and Jones is busy leading off for some reason, in the place of injured 2B Brian Roberts.

4. Kam Mickolio will be on the roster. There are too many iffy pitchers on this team for all of them to survive the first month of the season. That list includes Jason Berken, Matt Albers, and Will Ohman.

Mickolio was indeed recalled when the bullpen struggled to hold any lead they got. However, he walked 3 and allowed 3 runs in his 3 appearances before being optioned back to the minors in favor of new surprise closer, Alfredo Simon, who has held opponents to a .222 AVG despite near blowups as well. Berken has been one of the most effective relievers, with a 1.88 ERA in 14 1/3 innings. Ohman, the lefty specialist, has yet to allow a run in his 12 appearances. Albers, after struggling mightily early on, has been scoreless in 3 straight appearances, avoiding a demotion that was instead given to Jim Johnson, of all people. Johnson had blown 3 saves, passing Mike Gonzalez for the honor of team lead. The difference was that batters were batting .349 against Johnson and .232 against Albers, even if their 6+ ERAs were comparable.

5. Matt Wieters will be leading the team in home runs and Brian Matusz in wins.

Wieters has hit well, with a .280 AVG and 8 RBIs, but has only 1 home run. Wigginton deserves that honor with his 6 home runs, 12 RBIs, and .308 AVG. He has been the surprise of April, earning the 2B role. Matusz is in fact the only starting pitcher with a victory. And he has 2! He has shown improvement in every area from last season. His innings per start have improved from 5.6 to 6.1, WHIP from 1.48 to 1.31, AVG against from .292 to .265, K:BB from 2.7 to 2.9, and HRs per 9 innings from 1.2 to 0.6.

The O's finished the month 5-18, 12 games back from the Rays. The season may seem over, but there is room for improvement and they have played better recently. Let's hope the April showers bring May flowers.