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May 19, 2011

Bergesen as tonight's starter is easiest of Orioles' decisions today

When I left the home clubhouse at Camden Yards a little before 1 a.m. this morning following the Orioles 4-1 loss in 15 innings to the New York Yankees, President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor were meeting in the manager’s office. I wasn’t allowed in, but I didn’t have to be to know the topic of discussion.

The Orioles top decision makers will have their hands full today, trying to figure out who – if anybody – is available in the bullpen, who will start tonight’s game after Jeremy Guthrie pitched an inning in relief following Michael Gonzalez’s ejection, and what to do with a bench that was down to just two guys when last night’s game started.

ROTATION: The easiest decision will be naming Brad Bergesen tonight’s starter, which is little more than a formality at this point. Because of Tuesday’s rainout in Boston, which pushed Zach Britton’s start back to last night, Bergesen would be on normal four days rest. Guthrie said last night that he’d be fine to start tonight, but Showalter and Connor are not going to take any chances with a guy who has anchored the staff the past two seasons with 200-inning campaigns. Bergesen was originally scheduled to start Friday’s series opener against the Washington Nationals, but the Orioles have other options for that game, including Guthrie and Jake Arrieta, Saturday’s scheduled starter who would still be on normal four days rest if he pitches Friday night. And if needed, Alfredo Simon is expected to join the club and be available to pitch Sunday. He’s ticketed for a long relief role, but he’s obviously stretched out enough to start if needed.

BULLPEN: Jeremy Accardo, who threw two-plus innings and 55 pitches, will probably be unavailable until at least Saturday. I’d assume that Showalter will also try to stay off Jim Johnson, who threw two innings and 28 pitches last night. Koji Uehara pitched only one inning, but asking the veteran right-hander to pitch on back-to-back days is often a risky proposition. The rest of the seven-man group – Clay Rapada, Jason Berken, Kevin Gregg and Gonzalez – are probably available tonight. Showalter said after the game that the club will “probably” add another bullpen arm in time for tonight. Triple-A Norfolk left-hander Troy Patton is the most logical choice being that he’s been with the team for the past couple of days as a potential roster replacement if first baseman Derrek Lee goes to the disabled list. The club was hoping to give Lee a couple of more days to see how much he’d improve and possibly avoid a DL stint. However, they may not have that luxury anymore with how much the bullpen was taxed last night. It wouldn’t shock me if the Orioles added two fresh arms for the game.

BENCH: When last night’s game started, the Orioles bench consisted of backup catcher Jake Fox and infielder Brandon Snyder. The Orioles lost last night’s game because they went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 15 baserunners, making Bartolo Colon look like Justin Verlander and Hector Noesi look like Mariano Rivera (notwithstanding his last two appearances at Camden Yards). However, it has to be very hard to win an extra-inning game against the Yankees no less with a two-man bench. Showalter said last night that he had no updates on second baseman Brian Roberts, who saw team doctors yesterday to try to determine the cause of recurring headaches the past couple of days. I’d be surprised if he was in the team’s lineup tonight, though that’s speculation on my part because Roberts didn’t speak to the media before last night’s game. I talked about Lee above. The Orioles may have to make a decision today on both because they can’t afford to keep playing two men short. I was asked yesterday what would have happened if one of the infielders got hurt last night, and I didn’t have an answer. My best guess would have been Nick Markakis coming in to play first base with Luke Scott shifting to left field and Felix Pie going to right. Luckily for the O’s, it never came to that. But I can’t imagine that Showalter, who frequently goes over all the ‘What Ifs?,’ will take that chance for too much longer. One potential scenario is the Orioles calling up another infielder – Ryan Adams?, Brendan Harris?, Nick Green?, Josh Bell? – just as insurance for a couple of days until Roberts is ready to return. That infielder could then be demoted back to Triple-A to make room for Simon on Sunday, assuming Roberts is ready to play by then.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:30 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Minors



The bullpen defintitely needs a relief pitcher or two that can go 2- 4 innings a couple times a week. Maybe Simon will help alleviate the bullpen problem. Berken hasn't pitched in almost a week. Is he fully recovered from the labrum tear from last year or otherwise injuried?.

"I was asked yesterday who would have went in if one of the infielders got hurt last night, and I didn’t have an answer. My best guess would have been Nick Markakis coming in to play first base with Luke Scott shifting to left field and Felix Pie going to right."

I am confused. How would this shift solve an injury to Andino or Hardy?

Nice. So now what we have is a below average team hamstrung by injuries, the near-injuries who may or may not be on the DL, their refusal to move ineffective players, a FO that has done nothing to provide any real depth, and what will in all likelihood be the manager's refusal to play any of those guys anyway as he sticks with veteran players on a team that has a far better chance of finishing in last place than even in third place in their division. I like it. Good plan.

It would be nice if Gonzo was gone-zo by today. Waive the doofus. We do not need him and keeping him around may have fans just find and beat him anyway.

Shake up the roster by sending a message. If you stink at your job consitently, then you lose it.

People get fired everyday.


Not to second guess, but I will anyway. I know the O's were out of relievers, but if you have to go with a starter, why not Bergesen or Tillman? Why use your second best starter for what's basically mop-up duty at that point? Why was Guthrie used?

For the love of all things holy....please release Gonzalez today. I don't ever want to lose, but I'd rather lose with a young arm learning to become a closer than an old arm trying to find "it" again. Gonzalez is neither helping the team now nor is he going to be in the picture in the future...let's move on.

"My best guess would have been Nick Markakis coming in to play first base with Luke Scott shifting to left field and Felix Pie going to right."

I don't understand what you are trying to say. Luke Scott was already in the game at first base so why would Buck have to change the whole 1st base/outfield alignment if another infielder got injured.

I can't help but think that Gonzalez intentionally threw at Nunez after Cano hit that double in the gap. We will probably never know for sure, but if he did, he should never be allowed to throw another pitch for the Baltimore Orioles. If there is anything that Buck can't stand, it's disrespecting the game. I think Gonzalez definitely did that last night. As a guy who has loved this team ever since the Birds came here in '54, I truly believe that he has to go. Not for being ineffective, but for disrespecting the game. It's way too important to keep a cancerous person on our ball club.

Yes Gonzo has to go but Mr Reynolds was very his usual last night. How many times do you see a opposing club walk the SS to get to the 3rd baseman and of course it worked as he struck out with the winning run on.
Please bring up Patton to replace Gonzo Bell to replace Mr 190 and Adams or Reimold if Lee goes on DL. I am sure most fans never want to see Gonzo on the mound again especially after everybody pitched their hearts out last night only to see him screw up as usaul

Whatever else happaens, please, for the love of God, cut Gonzo loose.

Instead of releasing Gonzalez, put him on the 15-day DL and have him evaluated for injury. Last year he was equally ineffective until his injury was evaluated and rested, then he was useful for the 2nd half of the season.
If no injury is found, use the end of his DL time by sending him down to the minors for "rehab". If he is ineffective for Norfolk, THEN release him.

"who would have went in"?? And you make your living as a writer?

How do you lose to a guy just up from Scranton for his very first major league appearance ... How can we not beat-up a AAA guy? And don't forget Luke Scott's wonderful performance last night --- guy is not a clutch performer.....Asfor the $12M bust .. I agree with all above cut him, today.... show us Buck you can get mad.

How often is it a team gets to Rivera twice in one season, but still manages to lose both games?

Reynolds swings and misses.
Luke has Labrum tear and is faking it in the field and at bat.
Gonzalez is dunking batters.
Wild Man Gregg cannot be trusted with the closer. Not dependable.
Lee has abdominal strain.
Roberts has Headaches.
And yes they are all trying their best.

But is this good enough on a winner?????

The O's are trying to become a winner.
Their starters are mostly young and have some rough spots but are doing well.
Their defense for the most part is very good.
Their offense is Weiters, Jones, Hardy, ?????

Now the O's are faced with roster moves(?).
It is time to bit the bullet and continue with this season’s progress to 500.
1. Lee in spite of his anger will go to 15-day list.
2. Itzuris has and Snyder is up but must be used to check him out.
3. Roberts to DL with headaches for 15 days. Bring up 2b from minors
4. Gregg moved out of closer McPhail will not throw away $8 mill) with Johnson moving in. Koji cannot go day after day after day closing.
5. Patton comes up for Lee spot to help in bullpen.
6. Gonzalez is one of 2 lefthanders. But he cannot get anyone out. So bringing Patton up is still better opportunity. Let go Gonzalez.
7. When Lee comes back Scott goes to IR for operation. He is lost to Trade deadline and season help.
8. One spot left for Matzuk when he is available approx May 31.

Trade Deadline
9. Look for relief help
10. Trade for 2b and or 3b for future from someone’s minor league.

11. Possibly think about moving Machado to 3b. Hardy looks to be good for several years. There are 2 other drafted in minors that may well be the future ss.

In the off-season McGhee from Milwaukee is free agent(?) . I think Milwaukee has too much money needed to pay him and he is a great target (3b).

All is not lost.
We knew we would not be world champs this year.

If you look close you can see the progress that is made. Starters, Weiters, Jones, Hardy, Johnson, Berkin, ... Yes there are holes but it is possible to fill them with Trade Deadline and off-season.

So Go O's and continue with the Plan.

I'm too old to watch: Reynolds, Gonzales, Lee,Accardo, Rapada, Scott, & now Roberts unfortunately can"t stay healthy, (who is his replacement?)
We are the fading vets last stop once again, it hasn"t worked for 14 long years. The biggest constant has to be Peter Angelos, your "record" speaks for itself.
We have no farm system, thanks to McPhail, Flanagan, Duquette, etc. Once again, the constant is PA. ENOUGH!!

Yes, the bottom line rests with the organization. The farm system, except for Manny, is depleted. Still no discernable progress with Latin American or Asian players. No one with any worth would want to play for what has become The Oriole Disarray. The Park should be virtually abandoned by summer.

Where is the farm system in all this decade plus of losing? Also if they rid themselves of Gonzo I would prefer he took the GM that signed him along with him.

What's up with Berken? Isn't he supposed to be the long man in the bullpen? Why use him for 2/3 of an inning in a close game.

Jeff Z's reply: SHowalter went with his closer in the top of the ninth to keep it a one-run game. Berken has also been struggling badly, so I'm sure Showalter was pleased to get him out of the game following a positive outing.


Great synposis of the roster situation. Any chance Patton is called up for Snyder tonight. It would really be a shame to lose Lee to the DL if he can be back in a couple of days.

Jeff Z's reply: Yes, good chance. I'm at Camden Yards and Patton is out on the field tossing the frisbee with Arrieta so he's obviously still with the team.

Luke Scott cannot hit with runners on base. He couldn't last year when he had his career year and he can't this year. Use his injury as an excuse to put him on the DL.

Gonzales has to go. He is really bad.

Gregg had the same up and down issues in Toronto so he is not in a slump. This is how he pitches.

Pie to LF. Snyder to first base until Lee is healthy (and maybe longer with Le''s lack of hitting).

Matusz replaces Gonzalez and Tillman or Bergensen to the bullpen.

No more Gonzalez or Scott. Enough i enough.

@ Bill the lifer O's fan: If Gonzalez had been aiming at Nuñez, he would have missed and hit the third-base coach. Believe me, he was not aiming at anyone.

@Jackson: That's not what Jeff Zrebiec wrote. Read the piece.

I don't understand Simon being granted a place on the roster just by showing up. Career MLB ERA over 5, career minor-league ERA of 4-and-a-half, and he's 30 with a manslaughter charge hanging out there against him. We have plenty of other quad-A filler at Norfolk that deserves a look before he does.

Notice that our AL acquisitions are performing reasonably well, while our NL acquisitions are pretty much busts?

GMs need to start heavily discounting the value of players acquired from the NL. It's a Four-A league these days, and a LOT of players who've played well there can't hack in the the AL East

Gonzalez should be given away to the Pirates or to some other weak NL club in exchange for a couple of Class A prospects, or for a year's supply of bubble gum..

these modern day pitchers have to groom themselves to pitch more than one batter or one inning. yea it also depends on the manager as to how long they pitch. mike gonzales ought to be sent packing even though the orioles do not have anything worth while in norfolk. 99% of the teams that lose to the yankees beat themselves like the orioles did last night with that pick off attempt at 2nd base. myself and many other posters have written that when up to bat the orioles do not show patience at the plate to make the opposing pitcher labor and work much harder. luke scott is very streaky more cold than warm. "i won't say hot". he along with adam jones swing at too many pitches out of the strike zone. lucke scott strikes out more with two outs and runners on base. they have blown many opportunities in games that they should have won.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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