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May 26, 2011

Your .500 Orioles

OK, maybe it is just baby steps. And you are sick of baby steps after 13 years. You want teenager leaps.

But with their 6-5, 12th-inning win on Thursday afternoon, the Orioles are 24-24 this season, the first time they have been at .500 since May 1, when they were 13-13.

Think about this: The Orioles weren’t .500 all of last season. Not even after Game 1.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said repeatedly that the Orioles’ goal shouldn’t be .500 baseball. But considering the injuries they’ve encountered, as well as the early offensive struggles, the club feels pretty good heading to the West Coast on Thursday night with a 24-24 record.

“It’s a mark you have to hit and pass if you want to be a part of this, to have some fun in September and October,” Showalter said. “I don’t think anyone’s won the World Series under it.”

Here’s what Jeremy Guthrie had to say about the mark: “I think it’s big. We would love to be a team that plays above .500 ball and play meaningful games at the end of the season. … I think if you can look at the record as we stand right now, we know we’ve missed a lot of opportunities, and if we can continue to take advantage of those, we’ll be better going forward. But our record will put us in a position to play important games in the second half of the season.”

Here is Nolan Reimold, Thursday’s hero, on now being part of a .500 team: “We’ve got a little win streak going, so it feels very good. Now we’ve got to get on the road and keep it going.”

And Vladimir Guerrero, through an interpreter: “I'm very happy about that because that's something we've been working on all year. Got to keep working hard.”

Here’s one little dose of reality, because you can’t expect this space to be all roses and champagne.

The Orioles now head to Oakland, where they are 1-9 in the past three seasons, and Seattle, where they are 3-6 in the past two years.

So it’ll be a challenge to keep the record up -- and get beyond .500 before they come home.

“With this team, and the couple setbacks we’ve had with BRob and DLee, we have to have to have that momentum going, especially going against teams that are not in our division,” Robert Andino said. “It should be pretty good going into Oakland if we can keep that momentum going.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:57 PM | | Comments (28)
        

Comments

Dan:

Classic line: "The Orioles weren’t .500 all of last season. Not even after Game 1."

I'll let your business/finance department do the math on how that would be possible.

Cheers!


--
I was just being silly. I make myself laugh anyway.

This one SHOULD have been won in the tenth inning when we had the bases loaded with nobody out.

Again, Mr. Buck allowed Luke Scott to bat against a lefty that Ned Yost brought into the game specifically to pitch to Scott. Predictably, Scott dribbled a ball to the first-baseman, who threw home for the force out. Then, he bats Weiters for Tatum, and Matt hits into a tailor-made double-play to end the threat. Yeah, Matt hit the ball hard.... that's what made the DP that much easier to turn.

OK. Why in the hell didn't Weiters bat for Scott ? If he (Weiters) hits the exact same ball, they have to throw home first to get the DP.... and if they do, there's still only two outs. Then you bat Adams for Tatum. It's just a better plan all-around than letting Luke keep getting minimized/neutralized by these tough lefties.
Yes, we ended up winning.
But no thanks to Buck and his oblivious managing and wasted opportunities.

I've been following Insider prolifically for several years now and something profound just occurred to me: A significant percentage of the readers that post here ain't too bright.... Just some food for thought...
___________________________________
Response from Steve Gould:
Nothing personal, C-Lo, but I feel obligated to point out that the blog has been around only since before last season.

I agree with all of the positives mentioned but I have one disappointment in Showalter. He went the first month and a half of the season sticking solidly with his lineup even though they were not producing anywhere close to expectations but wouldn't shuffle the lineup or sit players for love nor money. It seems ironic to me that this burst of consistency and more enthusiastic and positive play happens to coincide with a spate of injuries that forced him to shuffle the lineup and bring in fresh players!

Has there been any whispers in the front office about Andino possibly being the full-time shortstop next season (and letting Hardy walk)? The walk rate is encouraging and I think he's got more pop than he's shown this year. Seems like he could be a bargain.

To Bear the Birdfan- If Weiters hits for Scott and then Adams for Tatum and we dont score- We would then have Weiters catching and our DH would then become the pitcher. Yes a win is a win in the end but know the rules before you comment on how the manager runs the team

Nice nice stretch of games. I have to admit that I thought the team was going into the crapper for a longer span after that abysmal Boston game. But it shows some maturity that they came out of that funk quick and seem to have overcome the adversity of two tough injuries in Lee and Roberts. Kudos to the coaching and to the players.

The big talk now is .500 baseball and whether that is good enough or not. Buck says the right thing in talking about World Series aspirations rather than settling for just .500 ball. But the horse has to come before the cart. I remember when a football coach came to town in 1999. His first season was 8-8. The next season was a Superbowl win. Different sport, but the same process: break the cycle of losing and then shoot for the stars.

Specifically about the game... It's good to see some of the bench contribute, but let's not start talking about Andino and Reimold starting every day. Andino had a nice hit late in the game, but it doesn't minimize his inability to perform consistently (bad bunting and repeated fielding mishaps). And Reimold still looks bad out there in left field. The second inning would have ended much faster with less damage if it weren't for his fielding. He broke WAY late for a foul ball that was catchable, and then he missed the cutoff man later, turning a single into a double. I'm glad he redeemed himself with the bat, but he shows that he's still a big liability in the field. I'm not sold on the 27 year old becoming a star like many think he could if he just got playing time.

Can we trade Gregg? He almost blew another one. We can tell other teams he's great because he has a lot of experience pitching with a lot of men on base.

Also, if it looks like Reimold is for real, when Lee gets healthy Scott should get his surgery.

@ronm

what the heck are you talking about? Gregg didn't have a save opportunity and didn't give up any runs

Censorship, O's style...... It's an absolute shame you guys allow the O's to dictate what you can put through on the blog. I realize advertising rules, but it's shameful for you as reporters and shameful for the dying newspaper industry as a whole.

--
no idea what you are talking about.

I cringe to think of the Woes playing meaningful games at season's end and relying on mr. Kelly Gregg to save the day. Kansas city is where extra base runners go to die. Boston and new York and such are teams that cram 'em down your throat and then jam your head in the commode and tell you to breathe. A stretched metaphor, but I think I see my point.

Dan,

Is must be fun to cover the O's this season? They've been blown some games that they should've won and even when it looked like they were going to sink, they've stayed the course and have played some very good ball lately. The players seem to actually get excited when one of the guys does well. I haven't seen that in many years here.

--

They sure like to make us rewrite. But any time a team is competitive, and fans want to read about them, it makes our job more interesting/fun. No question.

To JP, whoever you are, or believe you are:
Since I AM reasonably well-versed on baseball rules (having worked as a high school and college umpire for over 35 years) I stand by my previous statements.
Your comment made no particular sense anyway, since we DID end up with Weiters catching (I'm not sure why that's a bad thing) and our DH (Guerrero) wasn't even a part of the equation in the tenth inning.
Perhaps you should go light up another joint and just float on outa here.

No Wayne, it's shameful that after a 5 game winning streak someone who calls himself a "FAN" has nothing positive to say. You're no fan. You just love hearing yourself talk and think you have some importance in this world because you post negative BS on a little internet blog. Get over yourself! You're a little peon who couldn't hold McPhail's jockstrap. He's more successful than you will ever be and it kills you.

The significant difference I am seeing with this team is that it is winning without Brian Roberts - no easy task.

With the way this team swings emotionally after big wins or devastating losses, don't be surprised that the O's do very well on this road trip.

I really think that the Orioles have as good of a chance of being 66-96 at the end of season than .500 at the end of the season. The hitting is still too in consistant to be competitive.

I love Buck. But he blundered when he had Adam bunt in the 12th. Jones failed ( no one on this team can bunt? ) but even IF Adam had bunted Andino to third, KC would have WALKED Nick AND Vlad. That would have meant our number two three and four hitters were ALL lost.

give reimold the left field job permanently, no questions asked I like his swing, beautiful contact with the ball doesn't resemble reynolds or lee at all! thank goodness it doesn't!!! he is probably one of a few players that can hit better in the majors than he does in triple A. I remember back in the day the richmond virginians had an outfielder that couldn't hit his weight in AAA but when the yankees called him up to the big leagues he was a .300 hitter. GO O'S

Bunting is becoming a lost art. A player can move from little league, to high school and college ball and completely through a major league farm system and never learn the art of laying down a clean bunt.

Saw a similar situation in the Clemson, Florida State ACC game the other day, except the popped up attempt wound up being caught on the 1st base side of the infield.

Those major leaguers who do master it, do so as a result of working on it individually in the off season.

on this day in 2008, the orioles were 27-25, they ended the season 68-93.

i thought it was questionable to bring Guthrie out for the 7th. The Royals had been knocking him around pretty good, and Chris Getz had Guthries number all day. Sure enough he gets on base. The lineout double play was rather fortunate.

Accardo was letting up some hard hit balls also.

I was glad Gregg walked Francouer and then the IW to Butler, Im pretty sure they would have brought that run in from third.

Aaron Crow really shut us down. Would be nice to have drafted him instead of Matt Hobgood that year.

Beato finally let up some runs recently for the Mets.

Yeh they've lost a couple that they should have won but to come back to .500 after that dreadful Boston loss shows the team has some heart. What I'm pscyched about is being .500 when Matusz hasn't thrown a pitch yet. Could make the next few months much more interesting than any summer in quite a while.

Agree but with the way baseball, and other sports for that matter, previous year records against teams do not matter as teams are not the same year to year. Players move around. So they go not Oakland and Seattle 0-0 each.

.500 isn't good enough but it sure feels a lot better then last year with the momentum going in the opposite direction. I think on May 27th last year the O's went on 9 game losing streak and dipped to 16 and 41 before it was over.

Remember when Weaver used to talk about deep depth all the time?

Yesterday Riemold became the latest O to come up from Norfolk and be a hero. This latest little stretch seems to be the first time he's looked healthy since he got hurt in 2009. 27 is a little old to become a star, but Riemold showed signs of becoming a solid ML'er back when he was a rookie in 2009.

Legs are huge for power hitters, a serious leg injury can take a longtime to overcome, looks like Riemold's got his power swing back. Maybe he's a partial answer to the O's problems against lefty starters. Left field could start to look a whole lot like an Earl Weaver style platoon as the year goes on.

The minors are not full of prospects at the upper levels except for BP arms. There are some BP'ers at Norfolk and Bowie that are putting up some very strong numbers. Look for Buck to dip into that well a few times before the season's done.

One general comment, if Buck's going to stick with Andino as his starter, I'd tend to think that Buck will end up calling up Green or Harris to be the utility guy off the bench and let Adams get regular at bats in the minors.

Ah, beloved Wayne makes an appearance here on the Insider. Since he disappeared over on Scmuck's blog, I thought maybe Wayne was out in the Bay "Trolling" for Rock...

So many spoiled brats. Always wanting more. This team is fun to watch, and playing decent ball. Stop crying.

To JP:

I think you would also be right if Weiters hits for Scott and hits into a triple play.

When is Matusz next rehab start and where. I live in harrisburg pa and the baysox are in town and I was hoping it was going to be with them. Thanks!!


...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Matusz pitches tonight (Friday) in Norfolk.

"I cringe to think of the Woes playing meaningful games at season's end and relying on mr. Kelly Gregg to save the day."

---

I cringe to think of a 350 lb. defensive tackle in the closer's role too.

wayne,can you stop being a downer, if just for one day? Marc, I thought it was Yogi who coined the phrase, "deep depth"?

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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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