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June 15, 2011

Some observations from Tuesday night's loss

After Adam Lind hit his walk-off homer in the 11th last night, there wasn't much life in the Orioles clubhouse -- as should be expected.

But the person probably taking it the hardest was second baseman Robert Andino, who made a key throwing error in the third that allowed a run to score and went 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly. In his last four at-bats, he came up with five runners in scoring position and stranded all but the one, on the sacrifice.

Andino entered the game just 5-for-33 with runners in scoring position. At some point a pinch-hitter could have been used (Nolan Reimold), but then Ryan Adams would have had to enter at second base, leaving no one but reserve catcher Craig Tatum on the bench.

Andino has been good in certain ways this season, but he's been dreadful in the clutch. And he knew it Tuesday night. He sat lifeless at his locker and, when interviewed, spoke almost in a whisper.

He said he was particularly frustrated by this loss: “For me it is [more frustrating] because I had a few of them [opportunities] and I didn’t come through. The pitchers kept us in it; we just didn’t come through when we needed to.”

Another alarming trend this season is the number of homers reliever Koji Uehara is allowing. Uehara has been very good this year, but he has surrendered five homers in 29 2/3 innings after serving up five in 44 innings all of last year.

Of the eight runs he has been charged with this season, six have come on home runs.

He started a second inning Tuesday for just the fourth time this season. He has allowed homers in two of those four. In the other two, he didn't allow a run, so it's not necessarily a product of his being gassed in his second inning.

If starter Chris Jakubauskas wants to stay in the rotation, he needs to throw strikes. Period. That's what he did in his first start, when he threw five scoreless innings against the Oakland A's. Tuesday, against the Blue Jays, he walked four, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter. Jakubauskas has walked 11 batters (and struck out just 13) in 23 innings in the majors this season. He walked just 27 batters in 93 big league innings before this year.

The Orioles have starting options with better stuff than Jakubauskas, but they went to him because he is a strike-thrower and that was desperately needed. So he must get back to that his next time out or he may not have a long stay in the rotation.

Manager Buck Showalter was asked whether the team's terrible record at Rogers Centre could be in his players' heads, and he quickly shot back, "No." I can't imagine it is much of a factor. Most players at this level don't think that way -- in fact, I'd be surprised if more than a handful of these Orioles knew that they've lost 15 in a row here (at least until we asked them after the game).

The truth is the Orioles rarely pitch well here against a good offense, and that's a much bigger reason for their woeful play here than anything psychological.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:06 AM | | Comments (23)


I feel bad for Andino. I have no idea why he had some problems in the area of throwing last night. I think his arm is pretty good and usually accurate. A lot of folks looked rusty last night. Adam Jones looked terrible at the plate last night. Is he looking at vintage footage again of Juan Samuel? Sammy couldn't lay off the low and outside slop. AJ for the past two games hasn't been able to lay off the low stuff, dive balls in front of the plate if you will.

As for pitching coaches, there's Brad Arnsberg, but from what I hear, he does better with veteran pitchers from what I hear. He did block Kranny and Kranny wasn't someone I was a big fan. So, I dunno about Brad. How about Mitch Williams, he's always been a favorite of mine. I really enjoy his observations on the MLB network. He loves pitchers that throw gas in the bullpen and so do I!
Maybe he could change the face of the bullpen by encouraging Oriole management to bring in guys who have high heat! I see Jose Diaz has been promoted to AAA, I say bring him up! He throws almost a 100 mph, let see what he's got! Also, I read his wiki page and he was a pitching coach for the Atlantic Surf, but apparently he isn't very good with paperwork and people skills. Paperwork ??? What???!!!!??? What exactly does paperwork have to do with pitching? The heck with that observation, I can overlook paperwork, the O's could get some intern to help out there. As for people skills, that might be a bit overated. I don't care if he's Oscar the Grouch as long as he gets the job done. So, ok put me down for a vote for Mitch Williams for bullpen or pitching coach. I like Mitch's sense of style. The question is does he want to leave the comfy studio of mlb network?

Andino is a utility guy, He is good in small doses but all his weaknesses are exposed when he's forced to play everyday. The O's have seen enough of him the past few years to realize that is his ceiling. Adams should be getting the majority of starts to see what he can do. They did the same thing last year with Justin Turner. Why not play the kid 5 times a week and give him a chance to get in a rhythm?

Was Buck Showalter asked about why he used Jeremy Accardo in the 7th instead of Johnson or Uehara?

He wasn't. Plenty of other storylines swirling around at deadline. But it's pretty easy to assume it was because they were trailing in the game. And a reliever besides Johnson, Uehara and Gregg has to pitch on occasion, right? There needs to be a bridge between the starters and those guys. The Orioles just can't find consistency there.

Andino is plain disgusting to watch. This guy is horrible, a real loser and that is why we are losers. He and the other players like,Pie,Tatum,Izturis they all need to go. If these are called utility guys than we need serious help. Send them all packing. Thirteen years of losing is enough.

It figures. Koji has a rare bad outing and now it's a concern. Lay off Koji, he's been pitching 'Lights Out' since the the last 2 months of last year.

He has been great. He'd be even better if he could keep the ball in the park more often. He'd tell you that.

I said it in Pete's blog as well but the O's need to either play Bryan Adams or go get a second baseman. Andino's made two error's in the last two games that cost a run and when you're not scoring that magnifies the errors.

I don't know what Buck was thinking when they decided to keep him on the big league club out of spring but the guy made 35 errors last year at AAA and nothing's changed.

On the pitching I said the other day but I'll say it again, put Simon in the rotation, period!!

The guy throws hard all the time, has four or five quality pitches. If you can keep him from becoming slider happy he could win many games for the O's, if we score some runs.

We keep playing around with these finesse pitchers, while we have Simon in the pen, makes no sense. Just do it Buck, before your magic wear's off in B'More.

Andino just doesn't cut it, chokes practically on a daily basis in the field and at the plate. Showalter is asleep at the wheel. Pie is somewhere in space on the basepath and in the field, etc... Really is depressing watching yet another lost year, how many rebuilding years is management going to shove down our throats!

I hope Showalter's infatuation with Andino is done. He's not been terribly impressive in the field, and he's death at the plate when there are runners on base. And then there's his bunting prowess (If you ever need someone to pop up a bunt, he's the one to send to the plate.) It's time to give Adams more of a chance.

Andino is beginning to make Izturis look like an RBI machine. Izturis had 28 RBI in 473 AB last year. Andino has 4 RBI in 151 AB, which projects to 13-14 in the same number of AB as Izturis had last year. And Izturis was the least productive regular in MLB! Why not bat for him? What's the point of having a bench you don't use?

How many times did they have a chance to pinch hit Reimold for Andino?
What were they saving him for? It was already in extra innings. Very disappointing by Buck. He seems to do no ingame managing. Just writes out the lineup card and that's it--Done.
Andino was horrible in the field and at the plate. Reimold should have pinch hit and Adams would have been an addition in the infield. Andino and Lee cost the team this game. Andino with his antics in the field and at the plate and Lee botching that throw home on the relay and then bothching the groundout and not being able to throw the guy out at home. With so many dead spots in the lineup this team is in neutral. Lee is awful and Andino is useless. But most sad of all, Buck doesn't seem to do anything once the game starts. Simply amazing.

Four rbi's all year is embarrassing. Andino is not a major league talent. Nor is Pie.

BTW all this jabbering about not playing well in Toronto----Didn't we just hear that about Oakland and Seattle and New York and Boston and.......maybe the Os just stink on the road --PERIOD!!! (Except in Tampa.) Thought Buck was gonna change that culture.

Why is Andino playing every day. He isn't clutch (5 RBI in 150 at bats). He could have been charged with another error when he pulled Lee off the bag. There have been many plays he should have made that aren't recorded as errors because the official scorers have decided to give out hits or because you won't get an error on a botched play that should have been a double play. They all cost us in runs and on extended innings (and pitch count). He's not that good defensively and he doesn't hit with men in scoring position. Why not find out what Adams can do? He has to hit better, at least

Why do we keep kicking around these third tier major league baseball players like Andino and Pie? Why if the organization thinks that Ryan Adams is going to be their 2nd baseman in a couple years is he not starting. Him sitting on the bench is only deteriorating his skills. As well as Nolan Reimold, why is he not starting everyday? Put them in there to play and see if this is our guy for that position. If not then you go into the offseason with a plan. Josh willingham is a free agent next yr who is a proven talent and puts up numbers. Get him hear and solidify the outfield for the next 3 to 4 years. I love Hardy but letting the Bartlett deal fall through was a bust. He has proven talent with leadership and a LEADOFF hitter that we are missing with Roberts on the DL. It really frustrates me that the organization keeps spending money yr to yr to fill stop gaps and does not BUY THE BATS and lock these guys up for a couple of years instead of thinking What if or Maybe. It time to say enough is enough and put a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM on the field.

Hi Dan,

This was not a good start to what is a crucial 9 game road trip. The Orioles need to dominate and win at least 6 games before coming home to play the Cardinals and the Reds as they begin to ease into the toughest 6 weeks of the schedule. If they win only 2 or 3 on this trip, then it is time, as Pete said in his column, to start thinking about 2012.

The losing is already starting to take it's toll, as the pitching coach suddenly resigned, falling on the sword ofr Buck.

I have not seen this mentioned in awhile but how many of you are tired of Gary Thorne. He almost seemed excited about the Toronto walk-off home run. I guess he just wanted to go to the hotel. I would rather listen to Jim Hunter. At least he wants the Orioles to win. Lets tell Thorne "adieu" and get rid of him.

And please get rid of Flanagan as well! Are you listening MASN?

Gil, i don't know if the frustration of this team is finally catching up with you as well, but your comments lately have out done me as far as negativity goes. I quess you can only go so far. Gil you told me way back in early may not to concern myself with the 2012 roster because it would make myself crazy over it. But it is now june 15th and when i try and look ahead to next year i start to cringe. We have 3 positions on this team that are fixed, adam jones, weiters, and Nick M who i still don't think is anywhere near the ball player that he was. But i have been beat down so much about him i will let the Media in this town win that battle because i can't come close to winning that one anymore. See The media in this town has all the advantages, they get the last word on anything you write or talk about on the radio, they hang up on you when they don't agree with what you say, and they always find something to make fun of you about because thy can. They get to do that because that is the profession that they have chosen, doesn't make it right but it's there right.

Posted by: blancione

Frankly, most of our loses have been caused by players playing - here comes that four letter word - DUMB. Dumb plate discipline, dumb running errors, dumb fielding mistakes, some cannot even keep track of how many outs. Intelligence tests first, contract second. Mental mistakes abound, fundamentals lacking, consistently making dumb mistakes for which most high school players would be strongly reprimanded and these guys are making millions for being, simply put, dumb? Can you imagine in the real world how long any person would last consistently making dumb mistakes in their field of supposed expertise?

This is so basic I hesitate to ask--but has anybody told Reynolds not to try his home-run swing every time? Has he been advised, and given practice, on simply meeting the ball when there is a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs? Or for that matter, when he has 2 strikes.

Did anybody really expect the Orioles to compete for first this year? That they've competed at all (in games... most of the time) is better than last year but... Guerrero and Lee were brought on to try bolster the win totals and make the fans a bit happier, Maybe Hardy too, though he's performed beyond expectations. The young pitchers have been inconsistent -- as young pitchers tend to be. The farm system has not been as productive as it needs to be (imagine what the team would be like without the vets they added...) Lee and Guerrero are one-season additions, Scott and Guthrie probably won't be playing key roles by the time (cross your fingers!) the team is battling with the best of them, so they might as well be traded while they have value to someone else. Hardy has been outstanding but will have to be dealt if the Orioles can't sign him before the end of July... Andino and Pie are making themselves disposable (if they would DFA'd, who'd claim them?). It's time to try a few of the young players, starting with Adams, maybe Davis...

IS BRIAN ROBERTS EVER COMMING BACK?????????????????????????

Here's another alarming trend...putting Mark Reynold's name on a major league lineup card!

After the homerun by Lind, I was sitting in silence for a few minutes as well.

If it makes Andino feel any better,

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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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