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July 1, 2009

Oscar's winning performance

oscarsalazar.gifUtilityman Oscar Salazar is making a name for himself around here, one pinch-hit at-bat at a time. His three-run homer in the seventh inning gave the first inkling that the Orioles might have a chance to come back and win last night's game.

Dave Trembley called it his favorite moment of the greatest comeback in Orioles history, and it wasn't the first time that Salazar has come through in a pinch. He is 4 for 9 as a pinch hitter at the major league level this year, with five RBI and a ton of new-found respect from his teammates. Overall as an Oriole, he's 9 for 20 (.450) as a pinch hitter.

His homer off reliever Justin Masterson was the first Orioles' pinch home run since July 40 of last year and his first homer since Sept. 14, 2008 against the Minnesota Twins.

Fellow bench guy Felix Pie was also a major contributor to the comeback, gunning down a run at the plate in the eighth inning that would turn out to be pretty important. He entered the game after Adam Jones got his bell rung crashing the fence to try and rob Kevin Youkilis of his first-inning home run.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:35 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Just baseball


I guess Pie just put himself in the position to stay on the team for a long time. I think he is hitting like .280 since becoming a bench role player. Good for him at least he is earning his keep for now.

Interesting first pinch hit HR since July 40th. I do not remember that at all...

The interesting part of Salazar and Pie is that in about 10 days one of them has to go,unless they make a trade.

Pete: Your thoughts?

Pete's reply: I could have sworn there were 40 days in July. No wonder I keep missing the waiver deadline.

It may be time to cut bait with Mora when Izturis comes back. Overall, he's been a pro since he's been here but he's been a punch and judy hitter this year and isn't part of the plan to win in '11. Wiggington and Salazar may not be either, but they've got some pop and give the Os a better chance to win as many games as possible this year...which should be a priority even if they are building for the future.

Oriole fans, this was truly a night to remember. Oscar Salazar and Felix Pie came through and showed that they belong. If our Orioles can come back from being 9 runs down and winning it against a first place team with the caliber of players on this Boston team, the sky is the limit. in the final 3 innings, we faced the best relief pitchers that Boston had to offer. They did not hold back and neither did the Orioles.
Bill Bocchino

Remember, Oscar kept the rally alive against the Phillies as well. Glad to see him doing well. He seemed like a real genuine, cool guy when he was on Wired Wednesday the other week.

cb coach and cush -you both made point and asked the right questions . with cesar's impending return and koji's return sometime later , this month might see O's on trade market to trade , promote , demote , acquire or release deadweight player(s) .

they might also need to evaluate SP Dr Rich and Mr Hill

Hey Pete,
I think you should run your article again on Trembley's team not having focus!

I've been saying for a while now that they need to get Salazar in the lineup on a regular basis. Move Mora and/or Huff for prospects. Salazar can play third adequately and can cover at 1st well enough too if Brandon Snyder isn't quite ready next year. But get Salazar's bat in the lineup! He's been hitting the cover off the ball all year at whatever level he's played. And with Montanez available off the bench next year, the O's will have good bench strength in him and Wiggie.

And, oh yes, the Rich Hill experiment has run its course. When oh when will we see Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz, Patton, et al? Face it, they can't be any WORSE than Hill and Hendrickson and Ray, and Koji could be moved to long relief where his 5-inning limit is not a problem.

As a kid in 1973 or 74, I "thought" I remembered a huge comeback win against Milwaukee, something like 10 runs in the 8th or 9th to take the lead. Anyone, Buehler Buehler? Did I dream this?

Pete's reply: Yes, I believe you did. That would never happen to me, because I only dream about Jennifer Love Hewitt.


What exactly do you think we would get for Mora? He has no trade value whatsoever at the moment. I think everyone needs to calm down about Salazar. He is doing what he is best suited for right now. He seems to have a great knack for being a pinch hitter, but I think the idea of a 31 year old minor league journeyman turning into something special at third or first is wishful thinking (I'd be thrilled if I were wrong).

Also, while I agree it has been rough watching Hill pitch recently, your logic is flawed regarding our top minor league pitching prospects. It makes no sense at all to bring them up because they can't be any worse. They should be brought up because they are ready to have success. It's that type of knee jerk thinking that has kept this team a mess for the past decade. I know it's tough to watch at times, but AM needs to have the strength to NOT bring these pitchers up until he feels they are ready to succeed. I (like you and many others) hope that is soon, but I trust their judgement.

Go O's!

Let Mora and Oscar split time hahah since Mora can’t be traded and we owe him cash let him fight on a nightly basis to keep his job. The competition will either refine his game or show us that he’s not the man anymore. Pie proved last night he is not only a tremendous athlete but a baseball player also that deserves to stay in an Oriole uniform.

Salazar will not pass through waivers now. He has shown that he is at least, a good PH and can play several positions - a nice bench player. Any team would like that, but, especially, NL teams would never let him get by now. I agree with Trembley, that blast was the turning point in the game.

I'd rather not nitpick and explore moves right now, I just want to relish this one. Watched it with my 9 year old son and for a change he knows what it's like to be proud to be an O's fan. I knew that my whole childhood. Here's to him getting more of that feeling. Obviously there's a long way to go. I have my questions about Trembley and some of the arms on the Major League staff are certainly question marks, but the everyday team, while somewhat boneheaded, is displaying some character and some talent. Why couldn't Mora be a bench player btw? Does everybody forget that glove is awesome not just on the hot corner but pretty much everywhere? Something to be said for an old, experienced, contact happy bat off the bench too. Go O's. Here's to a long, sad trip back for the BoSox invaders. I hope this cancels some future trips. Also, as noted last night, I never had much against Varitek, but cheating is cheating, especially feigning getting hit when up by 7 runs in the early innings. I guess Varitek, and most of those guys, are just replicating "Manny being Manny." (steroids and cheating boys, it's Boston for winning!)

Weird coincidence for whatever it's worth... in the game in Boston on September. 2, 1956, when the Birds erased an 8-run deficit in another 11-10 victory over the Red Sox, current Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s father—Tito Francona—went 0-for 6 & played right field for the Orioles.

Pete's reply: Great info. Thanks.

Weird coincidence for whatever it's worth... in the game in Boston on Sept. 2, 1956, when the Birds erased an 8-run deficit in another 11-10 victory over the Red Sox, current BoSox manager Terry Francona’s father—Tito Francona—went 0 for 6 & played right field for the Orioles.

Love how Jonathan Papelbon (aka the wannabe character from Martin scorsese’s the departed) was looking all pissed when the game was all over hahah what a dirtbag

Salazar should stay in the position where he is...pinch hitter and spot starter. If anything Wigginton should be the starting third baseman as he has a proven track record starting and is roughly the same age. Salazar is much more important and useful where he is now.

In regards to today's game...the Orioles just have to win. After reading the compilation in The Sun showing the Red Sox media reactions, it just makes me angry and I hope the O's feel the same way. What a classless fan base and even worse representation by the media. Childish garbage, I hope Luke greets Beckett like he did last year. Let's go O's!!

Pete's reply: Nice call on Luke. He did.

O's fan in the BX,

I hear you man but at least on ESPN they gave have been giving the O's respect all day for the W. This win is going to get people out today to support the Berg.

This is about the worst of it...

• Boston Sports Blog's Eric Wilbur attempts to rationalize the loss by putting the entire season in perspective.

The Orioles, of course, only have until this afternoon's matinee to bask in the glory. Did we mention Josh Beckett takes the hill? Which means this one -- and the ensuing overreaction by Sox fans -- should be forgotten somewhere around 4:30.
O’s fans need to come out today all of the fans need to come out today.. Like Gary Oldman said in the professional. Send Everyone…… EVERYONE!!!!! Let’s support Bergy and make them overreact a little bit longer.

Interesting to me to see so many posts focusing on the impending roster move. The beauty of baseball - 162 games to evaluate and project, makes even a "transitional" season (decade?) interesting. At what point do you cut ties with the veteran who has little chance of staying on next year? I think the Orioles erred in giving too much playing time to Payton and Millar last August/September, when Salazar and Montanez were on the bench. Melvin Mora is this years Millar, once again blocking Salazar.

I don't buy the "don't bring 'em up until they're ready" line. They are TELLING us they are ready by their performances.

Jim Palmer, and other solid major league pitchers, made the jump straight from A ball, and it didn't hurt them. If anything, the learning and development curve is accelerated at the major league level where you have the best coaching and veteran pitchers and hitters to teach pitching. The youngsters are already progressing from throwers to pitchers. Let's see what they can do in the bigs. God knows the guys they would replace aren't part of the future and are an embarrassing part of the present. It's not the hitters who are keeping these O's in last place (except for their baserunning).

salazar has been tearing it up for two years in the minors and has done well when called up here , the time is now to see what he can do on a more steady playing basis . melven is looking old at the plate and zalazar does not have his glove but do you really see melvein in a big role at 39 next year on a young team ?


I can't go with the Jim Palmer argument. For every Hall of Fame example you can give, I can give 20 young players that had their confidence shattered by being rushed to soon. I agree that they should be brought up if they are ready, but most of them are not. Many of the overall numbers look good, but if you dig a bit deeper you see why they are still works in progress. Most of our top prospects can't get out of the 6th inning (I believe all of the big 3 are averaging less than 6 inning per game). They are generally throwing around 100 pitches to get through 6 innings. That won't cut it in the majors where hitters are even more selective. I think they are getting close, but let's not cherry pick examples like Jim Palmer and present that as the rationale.

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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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