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June 21, 2009

Mora: Happy Father's Day

Sure glad I gave Melvin a pass on that baserunning mistake a couple of entries ago, because he made the defensive play of the game with that diving play to save closer George Sherrill a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth.

The Orioles had a lot of things spin their way this weekend, not the least of which the illness that put Ryan Howard on the sidelines for most of the series and ended baseball's longest consecutive games streak at 343. They also got that questionable call in the eighth inning that Jimmy Rollins off base ahead of Shane Victorino's double.

The net result was a three-game sweep and an end to the Orioles' 0-9 streak in Sunday games on the road.

Nice outing for Jeremy Guthrie, who seemed determined to upstage my column today saying he is not ready to be a No. 1 starter. Well, he managed to outduel a guy (Cole Hamels) today who definitely is No. 1 material, so I guess Jeremy got the last word today. Good for him.

Postgame roster move: The Orioles optioned left-handed situational reliever Alberto Castillo back to Norfolk. They'll likely make the reciprocal move on Tuesday before they open a three-game series against the Marlins in Florida.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 4:07 PM | | Comments (40)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

What do you think the corresponding move to replace Castillo will be?


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Pete's reply: I really don't know yet.

One start does not an Ace make!

And a few starts do not an ace break. Guthrie's stats over the past 2 years are those of an ace, and after a few tough games this year, everyone seems to be throwing him under the bus.

Pete,

A few observations, first I too hope the O's ownership lives up to its words about spending some money when the team is ready because we are ready. In that I mean 3B and Melvin Mora, he has been a deal for the O's since his trade here, but his gas tank is empty for a competitive team. He's seems like a very moody player and his baserunning and mental mistakes are too much to bear for a young team trying to improve.

Gurthrie showed some guts today and that really helps. I hope they bring up a young starter and move Koji to the pen to give Dave more quality options out of the pen. If Baez isn't available were going to over pitch Johnson as these are the only two setup guys having solid seasons.

Pete,

Don't give Mora a pass for his base running mistake. He's been doing that all season. He's routinely tried to go first to third for some inexplicable reason. I guess his reasoning is that he can still run like he's 30, which is not the case. Mora was never a speedster to begin with. Trembley, who I'm becoming less enamored with with almost every passing game, needs to say something, if he hasn't already.

Actually Colin, Mora was a very fast player in his younger days. You may or may not remember that Hargrove used him as the leadoff guy for a season (actually one of his worst if not the worst as an Oriole). His speed also helped make him the best #2 hitter in our lineup for about three seasons. Get your facts straight.

Great win today! I feel good about his team for the first time since Rafy's roid year. That first half was one to remember but I don't think this team will end up like that one did. Here's to MacPhail!

Tettleton, I have my facts straight. I'm aware of when and how Mora was used years ago. He was not a speedster, though. I never saw him as a guy who was whipping around the base paths. Maybe that's why he never stole more than 16 bases in a season. And I know that there's more to stealing bases than just speed. But I would say that speed is a prerequisite. Sure, about six years ago he moved much better. But you're making it sound like he was one of the premier speed guys in the league. My point was that he's attempting to go first to third now like he is and was at one point a premier speed guy.

Thinking Johnjames went to the Steelers' school of spelling. Anyway, if Nick Markakis can get back on track against the Marlins, we might start holding out hopes of playing .500 ball again. Go O's!

Great series, as it shows when you get solid performance from your starters, you put yourself in a position to win. Hill, Bergy and Guthrie, all pitched very well against a tough hitting team.

I might be in the minority on this, but unless the O's get a major league ready 1B, I wouldn't trade Huff unless they feel they have no shot to re-sign him. He has been very good at 1B. I am not sure how you replace his #s and if the O's don't pick up Mora's option, Huff is even better at 3B than he is at 1B.

I feel the same about George Sherrill (who was awesome in this series by the way) because he has proven to be more than a 1 hit wonder. The fact that he struggled early on this year, but bounced back with a vengeance, proves the guy has the makeup to be a closer for some time.

Why do you always make excuses for the Orioles winning games against good teams? All teams get their share of breaks during the year. To say that the Orioles would have been swept, or lost 2 of 3, if Ryan Howard was healthy is a bit too much. I'm tired of Baltimore sports analysts across the board saying the Orioles got lucky against the Mets and the Phillies.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel Bird fans. The team is actually playing good ball and with a good series against the next two or three opponents we might be at .500 ball and then look out!

Sign Huff and Scott! Big bats are hard to come by these days. If you can get something good for Sherrill and Guthrie trade them now before their value goes down. If Mora can help someone and they offer us something respectable - take it. Bring up some more youth and see them improve!

I see a great deal of potential in this team. The ability to come back in the latter innings and beat quality teams like the Mets and Phillies should instill a lot of confidence in this team. This is something they've lacked for a long time. I only wish we were in a different division. If we can find a few quality starters, and keep the fine young players like Reimold and Markakis signed, than I'm willing to predict this team will compete for division championships in the future.

This was a great win. For a young team to come back and put the broom on the World Champs speaks to their character. I wish fans would get off of Brian Roberts' case. I think outside of Baltimore he is probably regarded as one of the best second basemen in the major leagues

Whoa,

Or better, stop right there! As we approach .500 through this little streak of ours lets not sell our future down the drain. Where in progression is Brandon Snyder? Will he be major league ready next spring. Based on that question, then we can decide the future of Huff. If Snyder isn't ready resign Huff, if not keep Huff. If we can get a legitimate major league 3B who can put up similar numbers to Huff, trade Huff, if not resign Huff. It's all about improving and I'm not sure anything is out there in Free Agency and MORE concerned that the O's won't make legitimate offers!

Next, would be Luke Scott, if we can get a useful AAA corner infielder or middle infielder make a deal, if not lets see if we can resign him as a DH or 4th OF.

Mora needs to be released!

Sherill is our stopper, and unless Andy is overwelmed, he isn't going anywhere!

Baez, we ate 2 years of that contract so if Andy can get any value he will and he will be traded.

Finally, Guthrie is going no where, he is under control for 2 more years and the O's love cheap!

While our primo studs from the minors have done well, the shelves are pretty sparse now for everyday players, so lets not be giving anyone away just yet!

O's have a great shot to keep climbing in the standings with their next six game against the Marlins and Nats. If they can manage to take four or five (or six, if I dare to dream), then they're going to start making waves. We're seeing some great young pitching from the starters (particularly Bergy) and some wonderful production from the young'uns (particularly Reimold). It looks like Adam Jones and Aubrey Huff may be getting out of their little slumps. Just have to get Nick untracked. I'm pleased with what I'm seeing on the field. I also like that this team fights until the end.


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Pete's reply: That was quick. A week ago everybody was saying that they hated the way the team wouldn't play hard. Now, I'm not going to say a word about the next six games. The last time I did that, and thought it was a soft schedule, they lost five of six.

Amazing turnaround for the O's with great wins that should do a lot to build confidence and momentum. Tremendous play by Mora in the ninth, diving to his left and making the quick throw.
Minor quibble, Pete: had the ball gone through, it likely would have been a single. Balls like that don't make it to the gap. Que no?

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Pete's reply: I thought it might get down the line, though I can't say where the left fielder was playing at that moment. You're probably right if the LF was shading toward the line to cut off the extra base hit.

After looking at the replies to this post and Peter's previous posts, I can only think of Tom Davis' remarks on his Morning Morning Quarterback show a few years back. After a Ravens' win, people were complaining about everything from the full back not getting enough carries to the QB not throwing enough. And this was after a win!

Tom said, on the air, that, for some reason, this town has always been negative and always will be. And he should know, being around here for 30 years. Some of the best radio is on MMQB after a Ravens' loss, the people are hilarious in their indignation.

And it's the same way on this blog and many others. For some reason, too many people here cannot or will not admit that the Orioles might, just might, be on to something. Not this year, most likely, but certainly in the near future. But some people seem like they just want to wallow in their misery and negativity.

I read Peter's "Baseball 101" post and it's replies, and all I can say is, I am amazed. People around here love to say that Baltimore is a great sports town(it's not) and the fans here are very knowledgeable(they aren't). And postings like we see here prove it. I know I'll be raked over the coals, but I don't care.

What's more, I love that Peter Schmuck, veteran of that wretched hive of scum and villainy on the left coast, gives it right back to them. He even told one poster that his post was one of the most illogical he's ever gotten. And I agree.

The great thing about sports is that everyone has an opinion and it might actually be right, if only because of the human side of it. Baez strikes out Howard and everyone is saying what a great move. But the heretofore reliable reliever left one up in the zone and, sick or not, one of the majors' best HR hitters and RBI guys did what he was supposed to do with it. And people here go crazy.

If the fans here can't be happy spending their summers in one of America's truly great baseball stadiums, if they can't appreciate one of baseball's more promising teams, than I don't know what to say. All I know is, I'm going to support this club, as I have all my life, and if they loss or if they win, I'm there. I grew up with them, as have so many others, and I'll be garldarned if I'm gonna give up on them.(I spent part of my childhood on the Northside of Chicago, so I know a bit about pain and suffering.)

Thanks for letting me vent.

As interleague play winds down, I always like to keep tabs on the status of the league’s most passive hitter.

Our old friend Daniel Cabrera.

Currently a free agent after being released by the Nationals (makes it even harder to believe the O’s kept him for so long), Daniel had to be the least motivated batter in hisotry. Remember him standing at the plate with the bat resting on his shoulder, showing a thin smile that told us he had absolutely no intention of trying?

In 25 ABs Cabrera has struck out 23 times while grounding out twice in his brief career.

The most ironic stat? He reached base twice this year as a National, via the Ball 4 rule. I guess what goes around, comes around.

And Clayton Kershaw issued a walk to Cabrera, the other pitcher to do so was...

Hayden Penn of the Florida Marlins, who also finds himself NOT on a major league team. I like the Andino trade now, in retrospect.

Go figure.

Ken,you can vent all you want,but there is no way in Hades qith two outs that I'm not pitching very carefully with Ryan Howard at the plate.There's nobody else on that team that scared me more as an opposing pitcher or manager.Earl Weaver had a polcy that the other team's bst player was not goingto beat him.I would have gingerly pitched around him and faced the next much lesser evil with a force at any base.But then again I'm not Dave.And there's a lot of things I wouldn't have done,it's just a good thing my tv doesn't have years,and my upstairs neighbor is almost deaf.


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Pete's reply: Burt, there is no way Earl would have loaded the bases and taken a chance on losing the game on a single. No way. He would have told the pitcher, "If you're scared, buy a dog."

According to Roch, Chris Ray is coming back.

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Pete's reply: And Roch credited Jeff Zrebiec for that info, so I was the only one out of the loop.

Pete:

I think all the importance put on being "the No. 1 starter" is overtstated and hurts players like Guthrie psychologically.

After Opening Day, with the teams having different off days, rain outs, etc., the chances of two "No. 1" starters hooking up is one-in-five -- the same as any other match up with five man rotations -- until you get to the playoffs (which the Os haven't tasted in a few years).

It seemes to me that when a pitcher is on the mound his only thoughts should be about getting the batter he's facing out, in the short term, and winning the game, in the long run. If he's thinking about whether he is No. 1 material or not, that's a distraction -- and a sure sign he's not a No.1.

With the thin crop of potential free agents, I'd be opposed to signing a free agent pitcher to be our No. 1 starter next year while the young arms mature. We should get as many young guys out there as often as we can and see who has what it takes. You don't need another pitcher taking up a roster spot to teach the rookies to pitch, that's what the pitching coach is for. The cream will always rise to the top on their own.

Who was the No. 1 in the glory days of '69-'71? Cuellar was the Cy Young Award co-winner in 1969 and got the first WS start. Off the top of my head I think McNally had the better stats in 1970 and Dobson in 1971, and yet Palmer is the Hall of Famer. My point, if you have a couple good pitchers, it really doesn't matter who you crown No.1. it's about winning not ego.

Ken -- wasn't it great of Burt to prove your point?

Well said Big E. Very well said. Sometimes I think Schmuck along with many others are living out their Sigmund Froid fantasies, with all this talk of number 1 is too much pressure, and it's too soon for Reimold to hit higher in the order because he might get scared, or that a pitcher dominating triple A ball shouldn't be rushed. What did Crash Davis tell Nuke in Bull Durham? These guys are gonna light you up like a pinball machine for a while but you don't back down. Stay cocky. Fear and arrogance. That's all these young athletes need to know. In the end it's survival of the fitest. Sink or swim. Always has and always will be. When you get older and look back on it you feel like an idiot for letting you head get in the way of your athletic talents.

So true, Peter. Earl Weaver believed that his pitchers could and should get themselves out of their own problems. But he and George Bamberger, then Ray Miller, let the pitchers know they were capable of getting out of trouble. He filled them with confidence and more often than not, they did the job. It is true Earl walked intentionally walked George Brett with runners on second and third, but that was during Brett's .388 1980 season, when he could have hit a golf ball with a broom stick. But just that once.

One of baseball's most incredible stats is that Jim Palmer never gave up a grand slam. Ya know why? Because he knew how to pitch out of trouble. With the sacks juiced, you couldn't very well pitch around a guy. So Jim went after the hitter and while he may have given up a few bases- loaded hits, he didn't give up the big blow. Ever.

So don't sit there and tell me the solution was to pitch around the guy. Baez went with his best, missed his spot and he paid, it happens. Ya don't put someone on in that situation. You just don't. It wasn't first base open, remember???

And the team picked him up. That's the mark of a winning club. The Orioles might not be all the way there yet, but bleep it, slowly but surely, they are getting there.

Burt, if you think the Orioles should always pitch around or even intentionally walk a Ryan Howard in such crucial situations, then I think you need to re examine how you view baseball.

moc,

Some people are hopeless.

tell 'em Ken.

I love how people read whatthey want into something someone else says.First of all,I never said they should walk Howard intentionally,I said they should pitch very carefully to him,and not give him a good pitch to hit,and if he walks,so be it,face the next guy.I've watched Trembley walk the bases loaded with less than two outs and can never remember it working out except for one time.Now I don't claim to be infallible but last time I checked this is a sports blog,and I'm entitled to my opinion just as much as anybody else,and I can remember many occasions when Weaver put the tying run on second base to get a better match up.The other point most of you may be missing is this isn't Weaver's kind of club,or owner,maybe even not his kind of general manager.It amazes me to hear Palmer,who pitched for Weaver rather sucessfully if I recall and Dempsey who was a World Series MVP ,point out similar things night after night,and Peter's response would have been,If you're scared go buy a dog.Give me a break Peter,if Weaver was manager Baez probably wouldn't even be here and most definitely would not have been facing Howard in that situation.And that's after I've gone on record as saying Baez has been a pleasant surprise.And to your other butt kissing buddies on here,well you can kiss mine.I still wouldn't let Howard beat me and I guarantee you I heard Weaver say that before and after games many times.Again,just because my opinion differs from somebody elses doesn't make it right or wrong as I've said several times before.If you're going to qoute me get it right.At the end of the day,we've won 5 straight,got good,some times spectacular starting pitching,and solid bullpen work with the one exception by Hendrickson,and I'll take that any time.As much as I dislike Trembley I'd much rather win with him,then lose with anybody else.I still think we're headed in the right direction,just not sureabout a few parts yet.What do we do with Izturis when he comes back?Andino has playedadequately offensively and spectacularly at the plate.What do we do with Melvin at 3rd?Defensively he has become a gold glove caliber player but can we live with 3 HR's and 21 RBi's out of the right side of our infield?And how longdo we keep playing Luke against lefties,he was totally overmatched two games in a row.I love him when he's hit but when he gets in a bad streak,it's really bad.Finally does anybody know when Montanez is coming back,and if so,what happens to him?Does he have options left?And will not having a lefty specialist hurt us later on,those are the kind of things that concern me,but like anybody else I'm entitled to my opinion and will continue to give it.I try to be respectful and polite,but like any body else who gets attackedby two or three people for giving their opinion will respond in kind.Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there.We didn't have a TV when I was grwing up and some of my fondest memories were sitting with my Dad on the front steps late at night or on Sunday after noon listening to ChuckThompson and Bill O'Donnell on a little transistor radio that took a 9V battery.Listening to the Orioles win the World Series on my 6th birthday in 1966 against the much ballyhooed Dodgers was one of my best birthday presents ever.It was best my bedtime,but my Dad said that one time I could stay up.And it's something we still talk about today.So thanks to all the Dad's who loved Orioles baseball and passed that on to their kids.I love football and I love the Ravens,but if you grew up with Brooks and Frank and Palmer,Belanger,Etchebarren,Boog Powell,Cuellar,McNally,Miller,Cal Sr.Earl Weaver and maybe the best coaching staff of all time,Bamberger,Miller,Hunter,then Elrod after his playing career was over,you were truly fortunate.I'll put my list of all time favorite Orioles up against any team in baseball,and like their chances any day.Have a good night,and like any fan,when it all is said and done,I just want this once proud franchise to win again and not be the laughingstock of baseball.Maybe this isa turning point,maybe not,but it was fun to watch us go 5-1 in the last 6 games.

Sorry for the typing errors,I should learn not to type after taking valium and percocet,not conducive to good typing skills,or indicative of spelling skills either.Suffice it to say it was past my bedtime then and probably is now.Goodnight,and come what may,as always Go O's.

Peter: Happy Father's Day

Sorry for not wishing it sooner. Glad the O's won for all the Baltimore dads. Hope you had a good one, and that you didn't let us get to you too much. Not to make you feel expendable, but I'm sure if you weren't here, the Sun would have someone else blogging. That would probably have to be your call though. Thanks for providing good topics and chiming in throughout the games. On behalf of all the other fans that read your articles and this blog, thanks for bringing the O's to us online and in the paper! Cheers!

Pete - Happy Fathers Day to you

I like to comment on your Guthrie story . I agree with some of your opinions , comments or however we call them . One thing that caught me was your saying that Andy should sign # 1 starter in this coming free agency season . That would be lovely EXCEPT how are you get one to sign/come here ?

Did I heard a blogger said Baltimore sports fans are negative and unknowledgable ? If you think we are that bad , you havent heard the boos Phillie players heard in their own ball park this past weekend =)
And I not even mention Yanks/ Red Sox's negative and rude fans yet .

Burt,

I'm at a loss. We're all entitled to our opinions, but we're supposed to kiss your ass if we don't like yours? Very nice.

Anyway, I agree on your other points about the areas of concern through this year and into next. If there were perfect answers to questions like that there'd have to be one GM at least with a dozen titles since no one else seems to be able to figure them all out.

Burt,

At least you are honest. The next time you write a novel, use spell check. But it was good and thought out. You have to stop those prescription drugs late at night.

Who do you think has a better chance at rookie of the year at this point: Nolan Reimold or Brad Bergesen?


Slightly off topic but I know that I have been blaming the WBC all year long for Guthrie’s problems with the drastic change in planning and training in a pitchers off-season routine but hopefully Guthrie has gotten it worked out now. Many of the pitchers that participated have had issues especially dice k. ESPN said this morning he might be done for the season depending on how well John Smoltz can do… I also said we should have put Guthrie on the DL like they did with dice k but maybe letting Guthrie work out his problems on the field was the right move.. But then again Boston has more pressure and dice k is getting Boras money lol

Colin, Where in my last post did I say "premier speed guy?" No where. I said he was very fast. And yes, there is more to SBs then having speed. See Chuck Knoblauch who was slower then Mora yet put up gaudy base stealing numbers and then check out our extremely fast CF. I simply said the man was "very fast." Faster then Markakis is now and that's pretty fast. How many slow footed guys do you know that play CF (129 games between 2000 and 2002 when we still had Brady among others...I can look up stats too Colin) in the bigs and are asked to pinch run in the All Star game. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT! He wasn't Ricky Henderson but he would have destroyed Boog Powell in a 100 yard dash.

I think its important not to read too much into either the wins or losses this year, or next probably since this team is in transition. However, that transition is real, not like over the last decade when the O's were a rudderless ship going in circles. McPhail has things heading up (finally) and has somehow convinced Angelos to let him steer this thing. The thing to watch is the progress of the kids like Weiters, Reimhold, and Jones - all of whom have been terrific over the last couple of weeks - and wait with baited breathe for the pile of top notch arms to make their way throught the system and up to the Yard. The future is very bright but the present will require patients and perspective. Still, all that being said, Orioles Magic feel it happen!

While I originally was not a fan of the Seattle trade that included Bedard, I think it's been a stroke of genius. Bedard has spent more time on the DL than on the mound, we've gained a legit closer as well as one of the best young players in the game. We may be looking at a "steal".

This team reminds me of Tampa a few years back. At times the Orioles, due to their inexperience, are going to look awful. But I really think for the long term, players like Reimold, Jones, and Wieters will take this organization to another level. We need to keep these guys signed and secure from Boston and NY.

A lot of people want to compare this team to the Orioles clubs of the 60's and 70's. You really can't make these comparisons anymore because sports, as well as our culture, has changed drastically since then.

James C-It was meant to be a pun of sorts andsaid somewhat tongue in cheek.There are several posters in general who are very rude and acerbic when it comes to anybody questioning their opinion.Normally I try not to be but everybody has a breaking point.Especially when someone takes one thing you said out of an entire body of work,misqoutes it.and says I provedsomebody else's point because of it.Chances are quite good you won't ever see another post in that vein from me ever again.As to Colin,If I don't take the medication at night,I don't get through the night.That's what a car accident and 10 going on 11 surgeries Weds. will do to you.And if I haven't figured out how to get my spellcheck to work in here,hence I try to reread and correct my own mistakes,which is whhy I don't get on The Schmuckster for making them,if it's easy enough to do sitting at home,try doing it with a deadline and another story to do as well.I'm sure most of us would love to have the job,but don't ralize all that it entails,or we most likely would have second thoughts.

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Pete's reply: I'm not complaining. I get to go to games for a living, so I know I'm lucky. I think we all can lighten up a little about the typos. It is a blog, after all.

Well I for one am thrilled to see the team play the way they have. I think the Guthrie, number one starter issue is way overrated. The fact is he was number one, because there was no number one. The Orioles made a business decision not to go after and sign a big named starter to assume that role.

I am somewhat surprised that Ray is coming back this quick. You can afford to keep him on a short leash in the minors, where player development is what matters. It seems he should be treated with delicate hands now, instead of having to be pitching at the MLB level, where you do not have the ability to say one inning every other day. It seems to me that you should care about what he is going to be able to do at the MLB level in 2010, not this season. Also the left handed specialist issue is an interesting issue, it seems to me that this may be something that haunts the Orioles. .

Burt in Essex... Get a life!!!!! Its the computer for God's sake. JACKASS!!!

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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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