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June 16, 2009

Postgame Dave

Manager Dave Trembley tried to put the best possible spin on the 6-4 loss to the Mets, and particularly the performance of Jeremy Guthrie, who faltered in the fourth inning but held things together and worked into the seventh.

"Jeremy came out and started the game and pitched very well,'' Trembley said. "Tonight was the kind of game that you win more times than not, but we didn't do what we needed to do to win."

Guthrie did not give up a hit until Brian Roberts misplayed a routine double play ball in the fourth inning, then gave up a string of well-hit balls to spot the Mets a four-run lead. But Trembley chose too look on the bright side.

"I'd rather have him keep throwing strikes than walk people,'' he said. "I don't think he gave in one bit. He kept throwing strikes. His velocity was good. He kept us in the game."

Dave also took Aubrey Huff's seventh-inning error in stride. Huff tried to make an over-the-shoulder basket catch as Brian Roberts bore down on the play, but Trembley said he did not feel Roberts could be expected to get there in time.

"If you look where BRob was playing, he was shading toward second base,'' Trembley said. "If he's over more, he settles right under it. To our disadvantage, the ball wasn't hit high enough."

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 10:55 PM | | Comments (29)
Categories: Just baseball


Did Dave expect Brian to break to second to take Melvin's throw in the 7th inning?

Does Dave expect Brian to run hard to first base on ground balls?

Will someone from the press corps ever get around to asking these questions?

Pete's reply: We ask those questions all the time. I even asked Brian some of those questions tonight. We're not ducking any issues here.

The Orioles are so bad that the 16 year old Dominican phenom told them that he was 25!

The Orioles are so bad that when they show interest in a Cuban defector he GOES BACK.

Pete's reply: Where were you last week? The first one is priceless.

And the answers were...? Roberts is really been disappointing all year, really dislike his lack of hustle on ground balls. I feel like he is disinterested. Tough to watch, not the player I have enjoyed watching all these years.

Year after year it's like Groundhog day all over again with the Orioles! Poor darn near everything from managing to hustle to clutch hitting to dumb base running to lack of hustle! Roberts signs the big $ contract and looks like he tanks it half the time. His new wife must have him too drained to run hard to first or steal or bunt or???? Weiters is looking to much like a singles hitter. NO intensity in his swings. WHERE is the power, the pop?? His at bats are putting me to sleep. What a SAVIOR he is looking like. MY OH MY!!

what I want to know is, when is Jeff Fiorentino goign to get a 2nd shot. Adam Jones needs to stop swinging at low an outside breaking crap.

starting to look like Raffy Palmiero.

I want to know why the heck was Castillo out on the mound in a close game? When they brought him up after Walker was cut, I was hoping he would just be used in mop up duty because in all the times that I've seen him, I've never been impressed with him. I said it at the time so I am not just bashing him now because of the awful game he had tonight.

Brian had a bad night, it happens, but it seems like he is not hustling this year. Honestly, everyone goes through hot and cold streaks, but there are too many times this year on the field and running the bases, he seems to be thinking about something other than the task at hand. I love Roberts, but if he didn't want to truly be here, he shouldn't have signed a big deal to stay. If he is hurt, I get it, but if not, Dave should bench him, as he needs a wake up call.

Pete, I was a little shocked that Wiggy wasn't starting. He finally had his best game as an Oriole, but his reward was a seat on the bench. Reminded me of last week when Matt was on a tear and he sits the next game. I get that Dave sets up things in advance, but sometimes it would be nice to go with the hot hand.

"Tonight was the kind of game that you win more times than not, but we didn't do what we needed to do to win."

Really...I guess when you get dealt the best cards you win at poker too. When the Ravens score more points than their opponents, do they win the game? Really insightful words from a manager I supported while others called for his firing. I have to say, this team doesn't play to its potential, makes a lot of mental mistakes and seems to lack the kind of focus a really good manager would instill and more importantly, demand. Trembley seems like a good guy and I get that he's never been given a great roster during his tenure, but that can't always be the excuse. You should have won this game? Well you didn't and that may very well be the manager's fault as much as BRob or Huff. How many more wins does this team have with the right man calling the shots?

Pete's reply: You make some fair points, but the answer to your last question is, not very many.

Brian definitely had a terrible night. But I was thinking the same thing as you Pete, the way Guthrie fell apart after that error shows how much of a head case he is right now. The way he pitched before and after that inning shows that he let that error get to him even though his stuff was pretty good overall tonight.

When Brian stole that base late in the game the announcers were saying "No way he steals" but he did and on the perfect pitch to do so. I think that shows Brian does want to win and wanted to make up for his mistakes.

Everybody has a bad night, tonight was Brians, tomorrow will be better.
Go O's!

Hey Pete,
In a previous post I made the case for moving Reimold into the 5th slot and moving Mora down. You made the statement "Why not hit him fourth" as a sarcastic answer because he's hit better than Huff lately.
That is totally apples and oranges. I'm not even saying it has to be Reimold in the 5th slot.
I'm just saying you don't keep someone in the 5th slot who is on pace to hit 9 home runs!!! Someone who appears to be at the end of his career. What is the big deal about moving him down? That is what I can't see????

Pete's reply: That wasn't sarcastic. I was using your reasoning and taking it one step further. If that is what you're basing the decision on, he should be batting fourth, not fifth. Mora was struggling like this early last year and ended up with over 100 RBI. That's why he hasn't been moved. The other side of this issue is, Reimold is doing great where he is. Why is everyone in such a hurry to put more pressure on him?

I never thought I'd say this but BRob dogs it. He doesn't hustle to first on ground balls. He doesn't do the little things anymore. He didn't cover second base on the ground ball to Mora to end the inning after the Huff/Roberts miscue on the pop-up. Mora picked up the grounder and was going to throw to second, but Roberts wasn't there. I find this very perplexing, not sure if the guy doesn't care enough or what, but it should be addressed, great players don't take plays off, period.

night after night, excuse after excuse, this is a really bad team and a really bad manager.. The manager needs to be fired and someone brought in who can light a fire under this team.I am surprised that the orioles only average 24,000 empty seat a game.

night after night, excuse after excuse, this is a really bad team and a really bad manager.. The manager needs to be fired and someone brought in who can light a fire under this team.I am surprised that the orioles only average 24,000 empty seat a game.

I think Roberts is a terrific ballplayer who wants to win badly. But losing does seem to get to him: he has also played frustrated and expressed frustration at times during the Orioles's annual August-September plummet in past years. (One of the most demoralizing things about the team: losing is one thing, throwing in the towel is another). But he's got to find motivation in other ways than winning, and I don't think he always is able to do that. Who am I to question such an excellent player's motivation, though?

Guthrie has regressed from being a pitcher to being a thrower. I don't recall him consistently throwing at 94-95 mph in previous years like he is this year. Along with the extra 3-4 mph came a reduction in movement on his fastball. He also throws a slider at only 1-2 mph less than his fastball.

I don't care how hard a pitcher throws, if you throw all your pitches at almost identical speeds, major league hitters will time you and bash away. Guthrie needs to take a couple mph off his fastball to get more movement (as Sandy Koufax finally learned to do) and get 6-7 mph difference between his fastball and slider speed.

He also isn't using his changeup and curveball nearly enough. Again, it's changing speeds. If you throw only fastballs and sliders at nearly the same velocity, you aren't going to get very far in the major leagues.

Execution is hard (which is why there are minor leagues and practice sessions in the bullpen), but the science of pitching is pretty simple. Disrupt timing by changing speeds consistently. Have good movement on all your pitches. No straight lines, please. And hit your spots. Nothing to it, except it takes skill.

Change speeds, get movement on the ball, and hit your spots. Do all those and you'll do what Greg Maddux said was the key to pitching. "Make your strikes look like balls and your balls look like strikes." That means movement in both the vertical and horizontal planes and hitting your spots. Then keep changing speeds.

It's such a simple game. It's just hard to do it.

"We're not ducking any issues here."

Well, when you start posting the responses to those questions, then from a journalistic standpoint you won't be ducking them anymore. Unless you report, it's just a question you asked, Pete. And one thing O's fans rarely hear are players being honest about their poor baserunning or fielding miscues. They'll say all sorts of junk about hitting and how it is hard and it's all about percentages and all that garbage, but act a fool on the field and there is silence.

I'm tired of it. If they comment, then let us hear it, whether it be an excuse or what-have-you.

Pete's reply: Do you read this blog regularly, or do you just come on, read a couple items, and make sweeping judgments that have no basis in fact? I have been calling the Orioles on the baserunning mistakes all season. Just about every one of them. I have been asking Dave about them at the postgame press conferences, and if you watch MASN postgame (I'm not shilling for MASN, because all-access ought to include some fan input on occasion), you should have heard those questions and the answers to them. When an answer is worth posting, I post it. Thanks, however, for the lecture on journalism. I needed the refresher course.

Too bad they gave Roberts that big contract. It will be impossible to trade him without eating a portion of that, and I don't think that would be a good move.

Why wasn't Wigginton in the lineup last night after hitting two home runs the day before? Doesn't Trembley believe in going with the hot hand? In my mind, he would have been justified in starting him anywhere on the field and if the guy whose place he took didn't like it that's his problem. A team that is in last place shouldn't be so picky about who starts.

Jeremy Guthrie is a stand up guy. Says all the right things. Roberts comment that "sometimes you get another ground ball and turn a double play to get out of it, but that didn't happen" doesn't sit so well with me.

Brian always plays too close to the bag. This wa the reason for Millar ranging too far off the base to get groundballs last year. Our coaching staff has to be aware of this and says nothing.


A quick note on Bergesen. His last four games (3-0, should have been 4-0)

9 5 2
8 5 0
7 5 2
8 7 2

Who is our best pitcher now? I would say Bergesen. He throws strikes, works fast and keeps the O's int he game.

Note to had this whole community up in arms two years ago when you were on the block. This town took you under like the second coming of Cal. People felt bad that such a good young player was stuck here with little hope for glory days. There was truly a warm & fuzzy feeling between O's fans & our second baseman. However, instead of trading you...the O's gave you one fantastic contract at a time many American's were losing jobs, taking paycuts & generally not doing all that well. I never heard a bad word about you Brian or your contract...people around here were happy for you & your family. That is until recently...just spent the weekend in the Charm City for the Braves series & trust me, people are getting more than put off with your new "tude", perceived lack of hustle & overall wise ass demeanor you now seem to carry. Clean it up Brian, run hard/play hard. I know it's a grind with this team but, Angelos is paying you damn well & if you need someone to jump start the "old" BRob...ask Larry Bigby & Jay Gibbons if they'd like one more chance at another "tough" season as a major league player!

Jim Palmer initally thought that Roberts should have called off Huff on the pop up but after seeing the replay, he did say that Huff should have probably caught the ball. I don't often get a chance to see O's games and they were offering a 'free MLB' preview this week and saw last night's game with the O's broadcast crew. I was a huge Jim Palmer fan in his playing days and I think he does a great job on the air. Maybe it's because a see a lot of the Jays games and their crew is homer-based and not that knowledgeable.
In contrast, Palmer knows baseball inside and out(and I'm sure he'll even tell you!) and he is a real pro in the booth. I know he has his critics but mark me down as a supporter.
Just wondering if he has ever expressed any interest in managing? I think he'd be an ideal guy to replace Trembley because I can't see him staying around beyond this year.


I wrote in earlier about not liking the new layout and I really appreciate your tip about finding the blog - that really helps. I guess the new format will grow on me - it's just hard to teach us old dogs new tricks. Thanks again for the tip and for your blog - I really enjoy reading it.

There were only two question just asked about Brian Roberts.Yout reply was that you asked him some of those questions.I'm confused,which one did you ask him because I certainly haven't seen you post a response as to why he hasn't felt like running out ground balls pretty much all year.Hissteals are down,and partof that is the managers fault in my opinion,his defense is sub par tp previous years,he just came out of one of the longest slumps of his career,maybe the mental side of losing is starting to get to him as much as it gets to us fans and sportswriters,hadn't really thought of it in that context the steroid allegations,even if unfounded have to weigh on you.I think it bothers me that players like ARod andGiambi and Thome and Ramairez,who are still playing will get elected in the Hall of Fame and Bonds,who I don't like but have to respect his numbers,and Palmerio who I still like will get the shaft,and probably Clemens too,even though their numbers warrant them being there.I think Roberto Alomar was one of the best second basemen I ever saw play for about ten years,but alot of people will never forgive him for the spitting incident.Not condoning what he did,just saying,one has nothing to do with the other.Just like Pete Rose.

This is a completely unrelated question, but because you haven't made any blog posts about it I thought I'd ask you here:

Any more news about the 16 year old shortstop they were supposedly making a run at? Do we know of other teams that are interested?

If you could answer, thanks.

Pete's reply: I know they are very interested and have worked the kid out. I would guess that there are 25 other teams saying the same thing, however, so it's hard to guage their chances of getting the kid.

I thought Trembley was a good manager until this year. He needs to go. This team makes too many mistakes and players seem to be unfocused at various times. I don't want to hear that they are as bad as this. When you step back and look at this team, they are better than this.

This team can easily be a .500 club this year with the current roster.(And I'm serious) I really think a change in manager is due. I don't know if they have a replacement in mind, but I'm sad to say that it may be time for Trembley to move on.

The hitting will shape up and be more consistent, they have the ability and the track record proves it. The pitching is much improved from last year. You just have to give the young guys more time. Dump Hendrickson and Castillo and bring back Hernandez to the bullpen. Kranitz is doing a fine job.

It's painful to watch my Orioles lose games on mistakes like yesterday or stupid plays as they have done in recent weeks. This team has potential to be good, just the way it is.

The BRob you see this year is the same BRob as previous years - a leadoff hitter with a power hitter mentality. He strikes out more than he walks and never tries to bunt for basehit when he is scuffling or to mix it up.

And most people think his lack of hustle this year is because he carrying his big sacks of money while he is running the bases but, in reality, he hustles just as much this year as in years past, which isn't on ground outs and only when the ball is hit in the gap.

My feeling has always been that you can 5'9" 175lb ballplayers with steriod baggage anywhere and they aren't worth $10 million a season.

Somebody get the Brewers or Cubs on the phone!

Jim--Your comments regarding pitching are Hall of Fame stuff. I wish you could get together with Guthrie and Kranitz.

Thanks for such a sharp analysis.

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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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