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April 14, 2009

Orioles: Time to get on the Norfolk express

The Orioles figured to stick with the current incarnation of the starting rotation at least for the first month of the season, but they'll have to consider dipping down into their minor league pitching reserves to fill the slot in the rotation that was just vacated by No. 3 starter Alfredo Simon.

Simon left the game in the second inning with elbow soreness and is headed back to Baltimore to have it evaluated. It fair to assume that he won't be available for his next scheduled start, so the Orioles will have to come up with another starter. They could use Brian Bass -- depending on how much he's needed over the next few days -- or call up one of the more experienced Triple-A guys, either 2008 Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Year Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez or Chris Waters.

I'm going to guess they hold off on a pitching move, since middle reliever and possible swingman Matt Albers already is on the way back to take the roster spot vacated by Melvin Mora when he goes on the DL Wednesday. If they go for a position player to replace Simon, it probably would be Scott Moore.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 10:33 PM | | Comments (45)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Pete,

Was it strange that I thought Johnson would pitch the bottom of the 10th? I know he had already gone 2 innings, but had only thrown 20 pitches? It wasn't even a save situation. Is 30 piches or so too much for Johnson and if he gets in trouble, you then bring in Sherrill.

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Pete's reply: I wondered about that, but they also count the up and downs.

This is a really great opportunity for the O's. We've been chomping at the bit to see Bergesen. If he plays that one game, it gives a chance to gauge his progress. If he pitches really well, keep him around, or send him down with confidence knowing he won't need much more seasoning in AAA. If he does poorly, you see early on what his MLB weaknesses are, and assess them in AAA. The offense has been too good for us early on to neglect giving everything we have as an organization to compete at the highest level possible! Put Bass in if you think the team needs an extra day off.

Daniel Cabrera woudl look good in orange & black about now wouldnt he...I said it once,,,Ill say it again...stupid move.

Guys that throw 150+ innings pitched per year dont grow on trees.

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Pete's reply: Really? He's given up 17 baserunners in 11 innings and the Nats lost both his games.

Would you personally rather see them bring a young guy up like Bergesen or Hernandez rather than let Albers or Waters pitch?

Thanks

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Pete's reply: Yes.

Brad Bergesson is the next Derek Lowe.
George Sherrill is giving me premature grey hair.
Adam Jones is a stud.
2011 O's win the world series.

Cereal Blogger: I beg to differ. I am looking forward to seeing the Birds clobber him when they face him. I don't wish him any ill. Just a good hammering when he pitches against the Birds. IMHO he's the last thing the orioles need.

This is an exciting time for the O's. People have been clamoring for some of the moves that are about to happen, let's see what we've got a bit.

C'mon Brad.

Cereal Blogger's milk must have gone sour....or his Corn FLAKES have gotten as soggy as his brain.

To wax nostalgic and say that losing the un-coachable nincom-feces Cabrera was a "stupid move" proves once again that ANYONE with a computer and a short memory can post even the most incredible drivel and dreck.

Betcha "Cereal Blogger" didn't bother to watch the Nats play the Phillies with Cabrera butchering another game....that would be a "stupid move." Wouldn't it?

Pete - if that's true they start Bass then that's just goofy.......bring up Bergesen......I'm wondering what's in the bowl cereal blogger is smoking

The Orioles have to bring up a 13th pitcher to replace Melvin Mora. It would be a dumb waste of time and space to bring up Scott Moore.

Ty Wigginton and Ryan Freel can both cover 3B while Mora is out. Wigginton could also play 1B while Huff switches to 3B if needed.

The Orioles need pitching, not players who won't get enough at-bats. Chris Waters should replace Al Simon. Brad Bergesen ain't ready.

~~This is an exciting time for the O's. People have been clamoring for some of the moves that are about to happen, let's see what we've got a bit.~~

Were you referring to recalling Albers or bringing up Liz?

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Pete's reply: I was referring to the eventual arrival of Wieters and Bergesen and some of the more promising young players.

Is Huff still trade bait? Or are the O's planning on keeping him around for the future?

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Pete's reply: Too soon to tell.

It is the second week of the season and already the faithful is regretting the loss of wild thing daniel cabrera and wondering where the pitching salvation will come from? Uehara hasnt thrown more than 150 innings in 5 years.

What they have to do is resist the urge to compete this year and ruin the young arms in the system. They have to win as many games as they can with the bats and the gloves which should net out to about 70-75 wins in my humble opinion.

Also given the fact that the Orioles seem to be very hard on shoulders and elbows, why havent they invested in a shoulder/elbow program ala the Boston Red Sox.

Jake Peavy will be available this July - I say go for it.

I like the Bergeson call up even though it is way too soon. Given the Orioles improved defense aka Cesar Itzturis, a groundball pitcher could do well for the Birds.

Beating CC was great, but this was the best O's win of the young season in my opinion, as the BP was simply brilliant till they got to George. Every time he comes out, it looks like Dave is morphing into Fred Sanford and ready to join Elizabeth from suffering the big one.

Kranny was saying that Hill looked the best he has seen since he joined the O's, as it would be nice to see Brad Bergesen and Rich Hill take the roles of Eaton and Simon (if the injury is severe).

Word is they are bringing up Liz instead of Bergesen.

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Pete's reply: Wouldn't surprise me. They can't call up Bergesen now because he just pitched. I think, if they do that, they'll use Liz as the long guy and give Bass or Albers the spot start. I still think Bergesen is on the way very shortly.

I wouldn't get too excited about McPhail bringing up Bergy and it would be crazy to start yanking him up and down if they did.I would dump Bass and replace him with Berken also. Hernandez prolly needs a few more starts.

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Pete's reply: Yes, Bergesen can't come up after pitching today.

Your analysis of the O's hitting and pitching was telling, but you neglected to mention the third part of any winning team's performance. DEFENSE. Pitching-Bad. Hitting-Good. Defense-Great.
The 2009 Orioles will not give away many games. Defense is as least as important as pitching and hitting.

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Pete's reply: It wasn't an oversight. It just wasn't what I wanted to focus on yesterday. I agree with you that it is a critical component of any success they might have.

Pete, If the Orioles do decide to bring up Moore, who gets removed from the 40 man roster, does Rich Hill just move the the 60 DL to make room?

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Pete's reply: I really haven't thought it that far through. I think they could bring up Liz or another pitcher, though I don't like 14 pitchers at all unless it's just for a day or two.

David Hernandez? Never heard of him. Who is this guy and why is he promotion worthy? I checked the player stats for spring training and saw that he pitched one inning. Do you know anymore about him than the one inning of work?

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Pete's reply: He just had a great outing at Norfolk. He's a decent prospect who had a very good year at Bowie last year, but not on the level of the ones you hear about every day.

We need to do something about the pitching soon! It would be a shame to waste the hitting talents on this team, with a wait until tomorrow attitude. Tomorrow, the hitting might not be like it is today. Will Huff still be an Oriole next year? Will any of the good hitters have an off year? When you keep on hearing how great our offense is, but how long a season it's going to be because of the starting pitching (and you know poor starts will wreck hovoc with an overused bullpen), it's time to do something. The future is now...we need to grasp it before it passes us by.

A lot of us wanted to see Bergesen sooner rather than later, but the ideal situation for him would not have been to make his first start in Fenway. Sometimes fate takes a hand. It will be interesting to see what moves they make. Would be nice to see Hendrickson go 7 full today and leave with a lead.

Pete: Do you think the plan is now to wait until Simon's turn before sending someone out and recalling Bergesen to start that game? It's just too coincidental that his next regular turn at Norfolk would be right about the same day that the empty rotation slot comes up in Baltimore.

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Pete's reply: I think it is a coincidence, but I also think Bergesen will be here fairly soon.

Another tense effort from Stanhouse, I mean Sherrill. He scares the hell out of me. The BP did an admirable job except for that, so maybe they're rounding into shape, but we have got to get some starters who can eat some innings. With Simon's injury I'd like to see Bergesson get a shot, but I can see the case for going with Albers for now. Either way the O's are 6-2 and tearing the cover off the ball, I just hope Boston doesn't wake from it's slumber against them.

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Pete's reply: George scares the hell out of everybody, but I have to admit he's exciting to watch.

The future is exactly why the Orioles should have spent money this year on some over-the-hill cats like Randy Johnson. The pitching by numbers tact makes an argument for 150 innings from Daniel Cabrera plausible even if I don't agree with it. A four-run 10th inning isn't even safe.

The Orioles are heading in the right direction but keep the revolving door to Norfolk and Bowie well-lubed. The 'pen will be burned out by mid-May unless the Orioles go to a 15- or 16-man staff. Heck, even then ...

The Plan may be in place but the Orioles will have their top prospects up -- all of them -- some time this summer. And it won't be because it will make a 78-win team become an 85-win team. No. It will be because a 30-pitcher team will need to become a 34-pitcher team.

And I still don't see the O's getting a 60th win this year.

But keep rebuilding. It is still the right direction even if we're in the slow lane.

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Pete's reply: I'll take the over on your 60-win prediction. This team won't lose 100. It's very hard to lose 100 games, especially with a decent offensive team.

Radhames Liz is going to be called up.

I would have rather seen Hernandez. I've never understood why he isn't held in high regard compared to some of the other farm arms.

Funny on Cabrera, I am happy we have closed the book on him, Thank God! There is only one pitcher I would like to see back in orange and black and that would be Erik Bedard.

Whatever happened to complete games? What happened to pitchers that could complete 12-20 per year, and never allow the bullpen in a game? Why are these guys so injury prone now?

The best move would be bring up Matt Albers & Brad Bergesen .Then the next move in ten days would be cutting Eaton & Bass for Mora & Hill.....then I will be a happy FAN. Please no more dead weight players O's have great team but a few players need to GOOOOooo.

Pauley had a good start last night (5.2 IP 0 ER) and would be on the same rest schedule as Simon. We'll know more when Brad is slated to start later this week. Troy Patton is a possibility as well.

Forget the pitching prospects at Norfolk, if Pie and Scott don't become more consistent by the middle of May, let's see Reimold and Montanez up in the majors. They are lighting up AAA pitching right now.

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Pete's reply: It's about need at the moment and they don't need outfielders.

Why hasn't anyone considered Jim Johnson for closer? Last year and so far this year he has been the most effective reliever.

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Pete's reply: He'll close some games, just not right away.

Pete,

What about Pauley?, he had a strong showing in his first start in Norolk.

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Pete's reply: He's a candidate for a spot start, but they need a long guy at the moment. It's going to be a shuttle system between Baltimore and Norfolk for awhile.

I completely agree with the way Andy McPhail is running the team right now. There is no sense in bringing up guys who aren't ready yet, especially if the team starts losing games soon.

However, I do agree with James from Salisbury. Bergesen seems like he is about ready because he knows how to pitch with control. I don't think it would hurt to bring him up and leave Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz, etc. down in the minors.

On a side note...

Is it just me or does anyone else think the strike zone has been a bit smaller this year? It seems like pitches on the corner are not getting called strikes very much. And for all teams, not just the O's.

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Pete's reply: It has seemed that way, but it might just be that the O's have caught some umpires with tight zones early in the season.

While we're playing "Where are they now?", I checked out Hayden Penn's stats. On your 6-1 Marlins, he pitched 2 innings, gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, and 4 SO. So much for a change of scenery, at least so far.

It's really too bad that the Nats didn't get Teixeira, they would have probably traded him to the O's by the All Star break. Isn't it great to see the Nats wallowing in the muck? I'm starting the countdown until they leave/fold. I give it 5 years then they pack up their tents. Then maybe Bud will grow a pair and talk legitimately about a salary cap.

Is it any wonder why we have so many sore arms in Baltimore . I love Trembley but he wears out our bull pen the way he marches them in and out of the game hardly getting any use out of them during a game before he marches in another pitcher . Then the next day they're in again not giving their arms a chance to recover . Baez and again last night it was Johnson , both were doing well and for no reason they are replaced with a fresh arm and also not knowing whether they'll be good or not . In the old days a releifer was allowed to pitch until either he tired of went wild and then he was replaced . I hope the manager wises up before it's too late and let the pitchers pitch.

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Pete's reply: I totally disagree with you on this. Jim Johnson came up sore early in spring training, not because he has been used for two many short outings. Simon was brought along just as you have suggested and he came up sore. Rich Hill was hurt when he got here. So was Hennessey. I know it's fun to blame Trembley for that kind of stuff, but it just doesn't hold water.

I am thrilled to be 6-2, but George Sherrill is going to bite us in the rear end eventually. I cant stand how people give him a pass by saying ``He is exciting''. No he isnt exciting, he is a struggling pitcher that needs to be fixed. Is there any thoughts by Os management to take him off as a closer?

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Pete's reply: Not when he's 4 for 4 in save opportunities.

According to rumors out of DC, people expect the Nats to put Cabrera on the waivers.

Never thought I'd see the day (especially this year) when Baltimore, Kansas City, and Seattle are in first place in their respective AL divisions.

Also, great article today Pete. Well stated. I'm also starting to think that this team can be competitive THIS YEAR, but right now there are still way too many question marks on the pitching side of things. Unless that clears up a bit and we get some solid help from Norfolk, I'm still projecting about 75 wins. The bullpen lived up to its billing last night. Wow, they were impressive (until Georgie showed up and decided to raise the collective blood pressure of O's nation, but that's another thing).

By the way, our defense has silently been contributing to these wins also. Everyone noticed Markakis' game saving catch on Monday (and B-Rob's insane diving stop two innings earlier), but did anybody notice Jones' play in the third inning last night, cutting off a long single to left-center, firing a strike to Izurturis who relayed it to Zaun on one hop, who put a great tag on the runner at the plate? The Rangers never threatened again until the game was mostly out of reach in the 10th. If that run scores, we lose the game 4-3 and Jones has no opportunity for extra-inning heroics.

This team is getting it done on both sides of the ball right now - especially Roberts, Jones, and Markakis.

I don't see what the O's see in Brian Bass. But I wouldn't rush Bergesen up either. We knew all along the rotation was going to be awful this year; the loss of Simon is no reason to change longterm planning (well-timed article on the topic).
Bring on Chris Waters. And duck.

Didn't it look like Jones was trying to dial up a homer? He took a monster cut at Eddie's 1st pitch & swung through it. Then next pitch = gone. What a difference a year has made.

By my count, Simon's next start is at Fenway. I'd rather have Brad B start a lower pressure game.

So I'm advocating that the Orioles call up Hayden Penn from the Marlins (assuming they didn't call "no-take-backs" on the trade.)

I understand the desire not to over-promote. We made that mistake with Penn and Cabrera. So I'm all for leaving raw talents like Hernandez, Tillman and Arrieta in the minors to improve their command. But Bergesen's command is polished, and we already know he can get minor leaguers out, so there's little reason for him to be in the minors. His walk rate doesn't need to drop. He's not too young. The real question about him is whether his stuff will get Major League hitters out. And no amount of quality starts in Norfolk will answer that question.

He had another solid start today in Charlotte (6 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K). Simon's next start was scheduled for Monday in the Patriots' Day game in Boston. If the O's don't want Brad making his major league debut in that setting, they can start Hendrickson on normal rest on Monday, and let Brad start the first game of the homestand. But it's time for him to be in Baltimore.

Pete,

At this rate our pen will be scrambled before the end of the month. Not once has a starter pitched more than 6 innings, and only ONCE has a starter REACHED 6 IP. Sad sad sad. I have Ugueth Urbina's number on my speed dial, so do you want me to try and contact him in his prison cell? I am hearing he can still crack 92-93 mph in prison. We could use some of that right now :)

Bring on Bergs and Wilfredo!

Matt: Well-stated argument for Bergeson.

And I know this was a while ago, but to cb coach: I've read some of the biomechanics stuff that is starting to become popular, and it sounds like a popular theory is that guys now are capable of adding more muscle strength (with better weight training/conditioning etc) but not tendon strength (which has always been about the same, which is why we'll probably never see a 110 mph fastball). So stronger arms pulling on the same tendons leads to more injuries.
Gah...watching what some of these guys arms go through in slow motion makes me nauseous.

All of these pitchers need to study things that pitchers did 30 years ago. We used to take an old bucket dump rice in it and work our fingers to the bottom of the bucket and then back up and do it again. We did not condition that hard. Did lots of leg work, drink lots of beer, maybe that was the key. But you look at today, no double headers, 5 man rotations that average about 6 innings a game. Same basic pitches, 4 seem fastball, cutter, 2 seem fastball, sinker, curve, slurve, 12 -6 curve, 9-3 curve, circle change, straight change, knuckleball, palm ball, fork ball and slider. The one pitch that has almost disappeared is the screw ball because of the pain that it caused almost all that threw it. Conditioning is better now, treatments are better, knowledge of the opponent is better. I agree on the tendon issue, but really it is ridiculous that when you pitch once a week and throw 60-80 pitches that you go on the DL with a sore arm. Maybe they are not doing enough in between starts or doing too much. Too much off season work or not enough. Go back to 1983 Orioles and that team had 36 complete games and that was sixth best in the league. In 1979 they had 52 complete games. In 1973 they had 57 The only time they would use a 5th starter was for double headers and rain makeups. Between 2002 and 2008 the Orioles had a total of 41 complete games, and pitchers are falling like flies. I remember guys like Steve Stone, who had to throw the slider to get people out, he knew it would hurt and shorten his career, but never would have had success without it. There used to be 10 man staffs and now we debate 12 or 13, I remember one year Earl took 9 out of spring training because that is all he thought he needed. Baseball needs to learn from the past. Ask Palmer he will talk for about a week straight why this has changed so much.

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Pete's reply: The Orioles have a rice bucket.

Good they have the rice bucket. Problem solved!

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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