Archive for April, 2010

Someone Point that Man to the Salad Bar

April 8, 2010


Good lord, man. Did someone find Sir Sidney’s old diet plan in the clubhouse? (Yes, that wouldn’t make sense, the O’s were in Ft. Lauderdale, not Sarasota, when Sidney was with the team, I know…still)

On the bright side, at least he finally got a hit last night, and had the game been at the Yard, that double would have likely been a home run. Garrett could still use a few laps around the stadium before games, methinks. Or maybe a few weeks on that diet that his uncle came up with…

Atkins Diet

:whomp whomp:

O's Pick Up Right Where they Left Off, but Fans are Torn

April 7, 2010


The Baltimore Orioles opened up 2010 by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, as has pretty much been their staple over the past decade-plus.

The O’s had plenty of chances to seal this game before Mike Gonzalez ever even took off his jacket in the bullpen. They were an abysmal 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and, despite putting up 9 hits, the Orioles’ only three runs came on solo home runs – one each by Adam Jones, Luke Scott, and Matt Wieters.

All of that was a moot point by the time the bottom of the ninth rolled around though. The Orioles debuted their new $12 million closer, who started off strong by whiffing Pat Burrell, but would fail to record another out. Carl Crawford’s bases loaded single scored the tying and winning runs, and just like that, the O’s were in the loss column despite never having trailed in the game.

After the game, in the Facebook and Twitter universes, O’s fans were going at each others’ throats in quite a disturbing manner. Cries of the “ugh, we’re terrible again!” sky-is-falling variety were met with “it’s only one game you fairweather fans!” replies from the orange kool-aid brigade.

If nothing else, it’s at least good to know that a team that has become so irrelevant to the rest of the baseball world can still elicit such emotions from the home town faithful. When (and I do mean when) the O’s return to relevance, you can rest assured that the stands at Camden Yards will again be full night after night – of that I am reasonably certain.

However, I find myself somewhere in the middle of the two fanatical extremes pointed out above. Both sides have very valid points, to my mind.

Yes, this is simply one of 162 games. It is equally true, though, that losses DO count in April. As Rob Long pointed out on his show on FOX1370 today, “the Orioles are not 0-0*. They are 0-1.”

Yes, there were plenty of good signs – Matt Wieters picked up right where he finished 2009, stroking a home run and barely missing another; Adam Jones hit the ball hard several times; Luke Scott launched one that might have just landed; Nick Markakis had a typical Nicky Mark game: walk, outfield assist, opposite-field double; Kevin Millwood, while unspectacular, was solid; The bullpen, right up until Gonzalez, was near perfect. These are all obviously good things. But they do nothing to alleviate the fact that the team lost the game in the end. You don’t have to be an eternal pessimist to say that the “culture of losing” in Baltimore is still alive and well after last night.

The ones that will accuse critics of being fair-weather fans, well…I just have to laugh. The term “fair weather fan” in itself implies that there are periods of, you know…FAIR WEATHER. Here in Birdland, we have been mired in a mix of “steady drizzle” and “torrential downpour” for the extent of recent memory. The clouds may be clearing on the horizon, but it’s still raining buckets on our heads. Indeed, the Baltimore baseball climate is one in which Al Gore would have trouble selling nary a single book – it hasn’t changed much.

To quote a guy from the other local team (you know, the one that wins): Bottom line, yes it was only one game. But, bottom line, every loss counts, and losing like that makes last year’s 98-loss season seem too close for comfort in that rear view mirror.


April 7, 2010

Os Rays


The Orioles started off their 2010 campaign at Tropicana Field (The Worst Stadium in Baseball) with the debut of several new faces on the diamond such as Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada (again) and starting pitcher, Kevin Millwood. The Orioles never trailed until the final run crossed the plate in the bottom of the 9th with a bases loaded single from Carl Crawford.

Adam Jones started off the season with a double in the first inning while teammates Brian Robers and Miguel Tejada both popped out swinging at the first pitch they saw in their at-bats.

Neither team would score until Adam Jones came up to bat in the top of the 3rd where he drove a full-count James Shields pitch opposite field over the right field fence for a solo home run and his second hit of the night.  In the bottom half of the inning, Nick Markakis tallied the first outfield assist of the season when he gunned down Dioner Navarro at the plate.

The hits kept coming in the top of the 4th inning where Luke Scott golfed a ball over the right field fence which fell right below the outfield Jumbotron. Once Scott finished jogging around the bases, Matt Wieters singled and Felix Pie drove a ball deep into the outfield. Pie’s long shot missed a home run by nearly a foot and ended up turning into a double, putting Wieters on third base. The Orioles were unsuccessful at delivering either base runner in scoring position home to end the 4th.

The Rays began to tally some runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th when Jason Bartlett doubled sending Pat Burrell to home plate, edging out a throw from left field from Felix Pie. The Orioles outfield has been getting rave reviews around the league and from various media outlets with their great young talent. Felix Pie’s arm seems to be one of the only set backs and teams should be testing him with plays at the plate until he proves them otherwise.

The future face of the franchise, Matt Wieters, has always hit the Rays well (.405 with 3 HR’s entering the game) and he continued to show it. Wieters took a James Shields pitch deep for another solo home run, the 3rd of the night for the Birds.

Not to be outdone by his visiting counterpart Luke Scott, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria absolutely smashed a ball into the upper deck at Tropicana Field. He hit the ball so high the TV cameras couldn’t even find it in the upper deck. Carlos Pena caught the Orioles sleeping with their infield shift towards first base and dropped a bunt down the third baseline for a hit. B.J. Upton followed with a single to place runners on first and second. Starter Kevin Millwood was pulled for Matt Albers, who earned his paycheck tonight. Albers forced a double play and struck out Sean Rodriguez to end the inning.

Mike Gonzalez was definitely the “Terd in the Bullpen” because he forgot to read the memo on how to be a successful reliever on Opening Day. The O’s received great relief from their bullpen to that point, with Albers, Will Ohman and Jim Johnson effectively pitching in their season debut.

The Orioles threatened in the top of the 9th with a double from Garrett Atkins followed by a bunt single from Cesar Izturis. Adam Jones, looking to hit the cycle, grounded into a fielders choice and of course the Orioles couldn’t deliver with the runners in scoring as Miguel Tejada lined out to left field.

Enter Mike Gonzalez into the game to get the first save of the year and que upset stomach feeling as I know something bad is about to happen… and it did! Gonzalez would only get one out in the bottom of the 9th as Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppack scored on a Carl Crawford single to right field with the bases loaded.

The Orioles have no one to blame but themselves for keeping the Rays in the game the whole night. Even though their offense showed some muscle by hitting three solo home runs, they also left ten runners on base- seven of which were in scoring position. They were a dismal 1-for-12 with RISP. There were many times where just a single would have helped give the Orioles a little bit more of the necessary separation they desperately needed.

Besides our awesome new closer, Mike Gonzalez, the Orioles pitchers threw very well tonight. Kevin Millwood made pitches when they were necessary and didn’t allow himself to get into many jams during the night. He finished with 5+ innings pitched, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.

Defensively, the team also played well. Miguel Tejada made a few good plays in his new position at third base and hopefully this ends up being a smooth transition for him. One thing that isn’t smooth is the fact that the 2010 Orioles look like the 2009 Orioles, a team with a lot of potential that can’t close out a game!

Something We and the Massholes Can Agree on

April 4, 2010



Rumor: Peter Angelos to sell Orioles

April 1, 2010

O's Sold

Even though it would be pretty awesome (as long as the team stayed in Baltimore), it’s just a lame attempt at an April Fools joke.

Being in the April Fools holiday spirit (and an April Fool myself – DOB 4/23), I figured it would be great to open the forum up to readers of the Nest and see what Baltimore themed April Fools jokes you could come up with.

Please feel free to post below…

O's Trade for Julio Lugo

April 1, 2010

Earlier today, the St. Louis Cardinals traded veteran infielder Julio Lugo to the Baltimore Orioles, in return for the infamous “player to be named later” and cash. Cardinals Manager and Drunk Driver Tony LaRussa confirmed the deal.

Lugo is no stranger to Birdland, having spent a good amount of his career in the AL-East (a-la former Oriole 1B-Kevin Millar). The Orioles will be his third AL-East team (Rays and Red Sux) and sixth overall in his career.

The trade became more necessary as second baseman Brian Roberts continues to battle back issues from the offseason. Lugo can also assist the Orioles in other infield positions besides first base. The O’s can rely on him to give either Miguel Tejada or Cesar Izturis some rest time on the pine.

The is low-risk move for the Orioles because they only have to pay him the league minimum of $400,000, with the Cardinals picking up the balance. Julio still has $8.6 million left on a 4-year $36 million dollar deal he never quite lived up to in Boston. After signing his deal in Bean Town before the 2007 Championship Season, Lugo was looked at as the “turd in the bunch bowl” and shipped to St. Louis last summer.

Lugo’s Career Statistics:

BA: .271

2B: 234

HR: 80


SB: 193

OBP: .336

O's Pitchers as Tired Internet Memes

April 1, 2010

With less than one week remaining on the calendar before opening day 2010, the Orioles’ pitching staff appears to be trying to squeeze out every last drop of the six-week long “working out the kinks” process in Sarasota.

Over the last three days, the motto of “better now than later” has been ringing extremely loud for the O’s. A bit TOO loud for this blogger’s tastes, as a matter of fact.

Jeremy Guthrie, set to be the O’s #2 starter heading into the season, started on Monday against the “A” squad of the New York Yankees. He allowed a 3-run HR to Robinson Cano in the first inning, on his way to a 5 IP, 4 ER performance. As Roch Kubatko tells us, Guthrie has surrendered 17 ER and 28 H in 20.2 IP this Spring, and is 0-4 with a 7.40 ERA. He hasn’t went longer than 5 innings in any appearance.

F My Guts

But hey, at least he beaned Mark Teixeira. I can get behind that sort of thing.

Tuesday, things didn’t get much better. Brad Bergeson, fresh off shutting down the aforementioned Yankees last week, had an even worse day. Bergy gave up 6 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, and 3 HR. Two of those home runs, hit by Tigers’ shortstop Miguel Cabrera, may not have landed yet. Bergeson, the O’s projected #3 starter, has a Spring ERA of 5.59.

Bergy Fail

But we’re not done yet!

Today, the Boston Red Sox decided to change things up a bit. Instead of beating up on the O’s projected starters, they picked on the fresh meat that will be coming out of the bullpen at the Yard in 2010. Jason Berken, projected to be a long reliever, started the game. He was chased after just 2.1 innings, during which he gave up 5 runs on 7 hits.

Next up was Jim Johnson, the O’s set-up man to-be (who I have been a big fan of in the past). The first four batters against JJ went like this:

Single, hit by pitch, single, grand slam.

JJ Berken


Oh, and just for good measure, the Red Sox later launched ANOTHER grand slam, this one off Dennis Sarfate.

The scores over those last three games?

Yankees 11 Orioles 7

Tigers 10 Orioles 9

Red Sox 14 Orioles 6

The O’s allow double-digits more often than the Ravens do (or did, anyway).

But hey, let’s look at the bright side here. Which is that THE GAMES DON’T COUNT YET. So, for now, we O’s fans should continue to remind ourselves of that, and repeat the mantra of “they’re just getting all of this out of the way now, instead of later!”


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