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August 3, 2009

Orioles: Still more short-term pain

Danny Baez had struck out four of the six batters he faced tonight and was ahead on the count to Clete Thomas with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when the guy hits a 430-foot line drive that just clears the fence in straightaway center to win the game.

It wasn't even that bad of a pitch, a two-seamer that was tailing toward the outside part of the plate, but the Orioles are in a supreme funk and just about everything that can go wrong is going wrong for them.

The Orioles offense scored five runs off Justin Verlander in the first inning and then remembered he is one of the best pitchers in the game. While the Orioles hitters admired his pitching acumen for the next seven innings, the Tigers were able to come right back with three in the bottom of the first off rookie Chris Tillman and chip away until they had the game in sudden death.

Tough way to lose, especially when Matt Wieters was snake-bit the entire game, leaving several runners on base in spite of three hard shots in a row off Verlander. When that kind of thing happens over and over, it's not hard to figure out how things are going to end.

Apparently, somebody up there doesn't like the Orioles.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:37 PM | | Comments (107)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Pete,
Is that somebody up there Peter Angelos? JK buddy they played a good game tough break.

I understand the rebuilding process, I understand trading Sherrill and I see the young players improving, but what is it going to take to tip the scales. A new manager, a powerhitting first baseman, a veteran top of the rotation pitcher. One of the three. All of the above. This is just getting to be to much to watch year after year.

So funny, oh well not so funny, my wife & I were coming home from dinner tonight and heard the first half inning on the radio and I said "Not a good sign, the O's won't score again". (knowing the O's history of early scoring)My wife gave me a nasty look and said not to be so negative. We got inside turned on the game and it was 5-3.

WELCOME TO BIRDLAND!

Ugh!

Death. After checking out Matusz tomorrow evening, I might have to walk away from the TV for a week or so until they remember how to win a few games. This is becoming too much.

The last twenty games or so brings to mind the old Clash song "Train in Vain"


I got a bad feeling about the pitching matchups for this whole series..

Tomorrow will be interesting seeing Matusz up against J Washburn making his Tiger home debut

Then we have the adventure with Guthrie up against Jackson..

Then probably the most favorable Hernandez vs Porcello

Let the idiot negative comments begin. Remember folks, everyone....repeat, everyone, said the O's were going to be a bad team this year and wind up in last place. Keep that in mind when you start preaching that Tillman, Wieters, And probably after tomorrow, Matusz were all mistakes by MacPhail.

The Orioles still do not know how to win tight games on the road. Yes, it'a a rebuilding year. Sure, they were never going to win anything this year. But at some point they have to learn how to win these kind of games on the road. Once it got to 5-4 by the fifth inning or so, did anyone have any doubt what the result would be? I didn't.

I agree with you John.... The pitching matchups look less than favorable. Just would like to think that the light at the end of the tunnel was better days ahead and not a freight train coming our way.

Nasaldamus...who said anything negative about the rookies???

Yes, the O's were supposed to be bad, and yes, they are. But, why have sports blogs if you can't vent about a totally inept manager & coaching staff and some veterans acting as if they were auditioning for The Night of the Living Dead?

Is Loseitmore even in the AL East? Look at the standings

Yanks 63 – 42
Sox 62 – 42
TB 58 – 48
Tor 51 – 54

Oh yeah and our sentimental favorite the Os 44- 61

Anyone that believes we are competing in this division in the next 5 years with this current management needs to wake up. Put down the Kool-Aid and drink some coffee

My Daughters' HS soft ball pitchers show more poise than I see on this O roster. When you own a dog that is always ready to roll over on its back, It is time to either get rid of the dog or its MASTER !

Pete--You know how these things go. Wieters also had the misfortune against Boston to hit a rope that Okajima snared before it could land in center for a game-tying hit. But do you recall several of Wieters' hits during his hitting streak? Quite a few bloops, including two parachutes into shallow left and two flairs into right.

I think Matt is coming along just fine. Reading some bizarre comments from Steve about the inadequacy of position players Markakis, Reimold, and Wieters, I looked back at Brooks' numbers in his first three seasons: 1955--.091 AVG; 1956--.227 AVG; 1957--.239 AVG.

Like many, I picked Wieters to be the AL Rookie of the Year this season. That may still happen. But what a wonderful development to see that Reimold and Bergesen are hot prospects to earn that honor.

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Pete's reply: Wieters is doing great, but remember, the Orioles didn't win any of those games in which he got those bloop hits. I realize they all even out, but the O's are in one of those bad-team funks where their long fly balls are caught up against the fence and the opposing teams' are caught by a guy in the first row.

Awesome stat on the ESPN power rankings to cheer us up!
Bruce Chen and Sidney Ponson have combined to go 1-13 with a 6.73 ERA.
B w h a h a!!!!!

As soon as Detroit came back and tied up the game there was no doubt in my mind that the O's would blow this game.

I knew after the 5 runs scored early on that they would never score again in the game.

This book has been written all too often by the Orioles over the past few seasons and I just wish ONCE that this team could break through and win a tight game on the road. Just to let the fans know they remember how to actually play baseball.

Pete,

Maybe it not somebody up there but somebody down there that they didn't sell their souls to... whatever Lola wants, Lola gets...

Those who buy into the hype of prospects need to lower their expectations. They are just that, prospects. Until they prove everyone otherwise, like Bergy.

From what I've seen in two outings, Tillman's fast ball is at best, very average. No movement and location 9/10 is down the middle of the plate. Pitching is like real estate, location, location, location. Unless he starts locating his fastball he will get hit hard. If there is a pitch everyone in baseball can hit, is the fast ball. His breaking ball is good when he locates it.

That said, it looks like he has the makings of a good pitcher. He composure on the mound is good. He does not look lost like Berken. You can't judge him based on two starts. My hunch is this guy will be pretty good.

I know it's the same as far as the results are concerned, but I'd rather see a young kid give up 5 runs rather than Guthrie who's a veteran.

One thing I've noticed about Tillman from his interviews is that he comes across as a bit overconfident (cocky) for someone who hasn't accomplished anything in the Bigs yet. He will have to learn to be a bit more humble and let his work do the talking.

It's exiting to see our young pitching develop before our eyes. Let's hope Matusz gets a win on his debut tomorrow.

The question remains…. WILL JJ GET A SAVE OPPORTUNITY?!?! And if he does will he blow it?! Maybe that’s why ol Dennys or however you spell his name stayed in an extra inning so fans wouldn’t question the great one Andy.

Lets see why did the Tigers beat the O’s tonight hmmm well they had one of the best pitchers in all of baseball (also being such a gifted pitcher he has the ability to go past the 6th inning that helps) they had 20k + fans show up.. Great 9th inning guy and they have a real major league manager that gets to run the team without a bad owner and washed up GM interfering. Yeah.. I think that’s why the Tigers beat the O’s tonight but forgive me if I am wrong I get easily confused.

The difference in this game in in the very first at bat for Tillman. When Adam Jones doesn't catch the ball hit by Granderson. This is where I keep thinking that Pie actually should be the CF, Jones the LF and work Reimold out at 1B. That would allow the move of Huff to 3B. Pie has the true speed of a CF. I know the masses are in all about Jones in CF, but he has a better range of a LF. Pie can fly like a granderson. And with a bit more work he will be fine. He is showing he can hit. At that point you can trade or us Wigginton as a DH. He doesn't strike out too much, but he definitely does not take enough pitches at critical moments of ball games.
Just an idea though.

Here's an "idiot" comment concerning the second half swoon.

“One of my goals for the next half is not to go through that swoon at the end of the year that we’ve gone through the last several years of this franchise. To me you avoid that by depth. And I’m hopeful that we’ve added to the depth of the franchise and hopefully we’ll have a better finish in the second half than we’ve had the last several years.”

That came from Andy MacPhail. So after hearing that a swoon is to be expected since this is a rebuilding year, and remembering that the GM mentioned not collapsing should be some measure of where the team is at, I feel really confused. I wish the GM wouldn't make "idiotic" comments like this and sow confusion.

Pete,
I don’t think its Short term Pain but more like extended long term pain.

Ouch, man, just ouch.

Missed you up in B'ore this past weekend Schmuckster, hopefully on the late season trip I take. Ah well back to the Tides games...

Hey, everyone! Let's think long-term here. Watching Tillman tonight, it's pretty clear he's got some pretty great stuff! His changeup even made "That's Nasty" at the end of Baseball Tonight!

And we get to watch Matusz start tomorrow! Come on everyone! Cheer up!

Obviously, constant pessimism, negativity and "Chicken Little" rants serve no productive purpose. However, reality should always be embraced. I agree that a 4-32 skid is not on the horizon but we're staring down the barrel of an 8-26. Doesn't reality sound much better. I hope the organization and the fans ultimately take the high road with Mora. Nine straight years of going to work and returning home a loser is brutal. BRoberts probably has some insight on the prospect of 9 years of failure. Everyone should be equally patient with the current plan but there should be zero tolerance for player apathy. Would somebody in that dugout break something, punch somebody or start a brawl, please. The manager can't be the only one willing to through a fit about losing. Losing will continue, regardless of a strategy, until the culture changes.

dedalus,

AM is the biggest tool ever. The guy is a dinosaur and is in no way able to fix the giant mess that is the Baltimore Orioles.

Didn’t Cub fans have a parade when he left? I remember last season Chicago sports writers were saying he deserved to trade Sherrill to them for all the damage he inflicted on the cubbies LOL

Peter - there are times I like to look at the glass half full. Would you rather Wieters go 2-4 with a few bloops, or go 0-4 knowing he was hammering the ball agains a guy with a top flight fastball? I take the latter - in fact that is the one thing that concerns me about Markakis and Jones - they sometimes seem to be overpowered by fastballs? I am hoping the same thing does not happen with Wieters and tonight was a good sign in my book!

Dan,

I'm not sure if you are delirious from a tough loss or speaking in jest. But, Pie in center over Jones? Drugs are bad.

Mike in Chicago,

Honestly what do people in Chicago think about AM?

MacPhail is the most on the ball exec this franchise has had in years. It seems things aren't turning out as well as he hoped. If he had higher expectations, I don't think it is unreasonable for the fans to also expect better this second half. All those who are quick to explain away the collapse should keep that in mind.

Hey O's fans,
I have read all the comments on this blog and I cant keep my secret anymore. I actually HAVE NO PLAN FOR THE ORIOLES!!! I'm just wheelin' and dealin' players for prospects in the hope that I get lucky and get to keep my job....so for those of you dumb enough to hope for a winning/.500 season any time soon; KEEP HOPING. hahahaha
~Andy McFAIL

ROFL on the MacFail post!

Greg V,
(I'm assuming your question wasn't rhetorical.) I have asked a few Cubs fans what they think about Andy and most do not have particularly strong feelings one way or another. Some of the people who post here try to claim that Cubs fans hate him--which is, with VERY few exceptions, completely untrue. A few have pointed out that he assembled the Cubs team that came within the "Bartman" ball and 5 outs of the World Series in '03.
I DO know of one fan base that loves him: Minnesota (See: World Series: 1987, 1991)

Once MacFail gets fired his “plan” will become an awesome joke between O’s fans. Also you can use “the plan” excuse to get out of almost any situation. Work, Wife Girlfriend School its an awesome excuse.

He should go back there

Peter,
I am very curious to get your take on the upcoming Michael Lewis book TURDBALL: The art of stealing from honest fans

Timmy--Sounds like you've had a lot of experience with "the plan."

You're use of the word "MacFail" impresses me as original, innovative, cutting edge.

Impressive stuff.

In terms of just the staring lineup, this team can't contend. This was just one of many games in which they O's score early and that's it. This team can't afford to have a light hitting SS. I thought before the season started that they could, but they can't. They need to think about getting a guy who can hit.

Let's say that three of the rookie pitchers, work out well next year and the team adds a veteran pitcher. I still don't see how this team can win because they need a new 3B, 1B, SS and a manager, but on top of that, everyone they sign, has to work out. Too many things have to fall into place. Wow!

Amber will be a cougar before this team starts to win and before they contend for a title, Jimmyville will be setting up shop in some retirement community in Palm Beach. Go Birds!!!!

timmy.......your an idiot

It's going to be fun to watch Brian Matusz toe the rubber Tuesday night in Detroit.

As a fan, I'd like the MacPhail plan to have a greater sense of urgency, with regards to pursuing free agency. That however is uncharacteristic of him. He prided himself in Minnesota for winning a World Series in 1991 without making a single trade.

While that mentality worked in Minnesota, a small market team, it didn't translate very well in Chicago, a bigger market team. And it won't work in Baltimore because of the money the AL East Yankees and Boston spend. You can argue that his thrifty ways is what appealed to Angelos.

Those who say MacPhail is not a talented GM are wrong. He has 2 World Series rings with Minnesota. That should account for something.

He is a conservative GM. Because of his past success he has afforded himself a longer leash than past O's GMs were afforded. He is a person with a vast knowledge of the game, as a well as a savvy business manager. Whether he will be successful in Baltimore, only time will tell, but he certainly has taken many good steps towards progress.

The spending of money lies in the pockets of the owner. If the Orioles are serious about winning they will have to make a big splash with free agency. We hear that Angelos is ready to do just that. We will see if he keeps good on that promise. I doubt Andy MacPhail would be able to repeat his magic without solid financial support.

Verlander was the star of this game. You felt if Detroit tied the score he was going to keep the O's off the board the rest of the way. Until the Orioles establish a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation to rival Verlander/Jackson, Sabathia/Burnett, Beckett/Lester & Shields/Garza they will not contend.

Please remember, when talking about signing free agents, there are a couple things going on over which we have little or no control:

1, the players can go to any team they choose.
2, there are 29 other teams also looking to sign free agents.

Because of the dismal performance of the team the past 11 (going on 12) years, we have to overpay to get anyone to even consider coming here, unless we wait until the tail end of the signing period to see who is still left. The Orioles have overpaid occasionally -- Albert Belle, Miguel Tejada -- in an effort to make a splash. How did that work out for you?

At the same time, you can't hold all 12 years of futility against MacPhail. Consider who he followed -- Flanagan/Duquette, Flanagan/Beattie, Thrift, Wren. You like their plans better? (Trick question -- none of them appeared to have a plan.)

It stinks that AM didn't bring a magic wand with him, so that he could change everything overnight, make it all good as quickly as it went bad from October 1997 on.

I have no explanation for the performance of some players on this team. From the lack of hustle (at times) to the baserunning gaffes to the managerial decisions (at times), and now, Melvin Mora blows a fuse -- Melvin? Never say a word Melvin? -- it's been a weird damn year.

I like Trembley, but something has to change. While you can't fire all 25 players -- although the team has done about a third of that since Opening Day this year -- there has to be someone out there who can help change the sulture of losing. I didn't believe it had taken root until this year.

Peter, who would you have on your short list of people for AM to call on October 5th, the day after the season ends, to replace Dave Trembley?

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Pete's reply: Not ready to go there yet. There will be plenty of time for that.

Robert--You've written a thoughtful commentary.

My picks for the next Baltimore Oriole manager: Buck Showalter, Bobby Valentine, Jim Palmer, and BJ Surhoff.

First off I can accept this loss.

I like what I have seen of Tillman so far, he just needs to make some more adjustments. Otherwise his stuff looks good.

Wieters was robbed twice by good plays in the outfield , not really his fault not every ball is going to land for a hit.

I am super excited for tomorrows game , I think Matusz will do great! just think this could be our future rotation next year
Bergessen , Hernandez, Tillman and Matusz. lets be patient and enjoy the games smaller victories.

Charlie--I agree with you. Things are looking up.

Peter,
Isn't it amazing how a 200+million dollar payroll with take all the luck out of the equation.
I don't believe in luck in sports. Especially in 430 foot homeruns. If there's a problem or a weak area you address it, the rest evens out in the end.

Peter,

Your closing comment "Apparently, someone up there doesn't like the Orioles" is a perfect example of the tolerance for losing that permeates AM, DT, and the local media. Can you imagine New York or Boston management and media tolerate losing so easily? Baseball players like people in any profession achieve the best results when expectations are high. If you coddle any of us, you get mediocrity.

Why can't AM show some leadership by saying: "We're going with younger players but we expect results. A losing record is not acceptable." Instead we're stuck with the PLAN which is: "We're going with younger players and we expect to lose for a few years."

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Pete's reply: Yeah. I think Andy ought to tell Brad Bergesen, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Adam Jones that they're a bunch of losers and if they don't win the American League East title, they're all going to be released and the O's are going to sign Pedro Martinez, because if he had done that in the spring, they would be winning now.

So we are having a "lets pick on Andy night" ?

God forbid if Andy's rebuilding plan does not yield results within 2 or 3 seasons from now .
If Andy cant make it work here , then who can?

To me Tillman looks pretty good. Nasty curveball which he threw for a lot of strikes. Good "separation" (to use an announcer's cliche) between the fastball (92-94) and breaking stuff (mid to high 70s).

There have been some good comments here yesterday and today but some of the negativity seems a bit mistimed considering the key thing right now is to see what guys like Tillman and Matusz can do.

Ironically, Mora may have bought DT some temporary job security. The club can't fire DT right after he's been unfairly attacked by a veteran player. What kind of message would THAT send?

Peter,

You were on the money in an earlier article about the O's lacking that "killer" instinct. They seem to be hyped before the games and then...wham...their bats go into a trance.

They are not motivated and expect to lose.

As for Mora, he pulled this "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" attitude to get his last contract. He's been moping about for a long time.

The team HAS TO HAVE players who want to win and expect to win. I think two players, Huff and Mora, have never really won during their careers, and don't know how to win or motivate a team during the game.

I think its pretty obvious that the stoic Tremley is not an in-game motivator.

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Pete's reply: Maybe not, but how much more motivation would have made a difference for Wieters on those three line drive outs in key situations. He seemed to have a killer instinct, but sometimes, the ball goes right at somebody.

Dennis - well said, my feelings exactly

p.s. Mora did win his first full year with the Mets :)

Hey I just want to compliment whoever came up with spelling Andy's name as McFail. That was pretty darn creative. You should be in advertising!

Maybe it was Dave Tremble (y)

Pete,

Regarding the word "respect", that gets tossed around a lot, mostly carelessly.

All MLB Players sign "contracts", but they're really not contracts, are they? They're honestly gifts for what a player did up to that point. There's no listing of what's required to get the base salary in the contract; because there IS no requirement to perform. Don't tell me about incentives --- they're add-ons beyond a base guarantee, right?

In the government contracting industry, like most industries, when you sign a contract, you don't get paid until you deliver a product or service. And it has to be accepted by the contract issuer before they pay.

Seems to me that "respect" tacitly includes a similar commitment by a player, and it doesn't seem to me that, in Melvin Mora's case, he is delivering. So who is dissing who?

I laugh when I hear about players wanting to "re-negotiate" their contract when they go beyond expectations --- you'll never hear an owner wanting to turn the tables when a guy is not having a good year, do you?

Try that in my world and they'll laugh loudly and long.

After the Great Purge of 2000, the fans were told that there was a three-year rebuilding plan. So we waited for 2003, only to be told to wait until 2005.

2005 became 2007.

2007 became 2009.

Now in 2009, what have we been told, wait two to three more years.

Only this time, there are actual prospects here now and soon to come. But the culture of losing has become toxic. That means this team must get players who:

1. Are still in their prime.

2. Will not tolerate the losing culture.

3. Show the the young players how to be professional.

Some prospects have more value as trading blocks, so IMO, the front office must make a bold move and speed this process up and at least get this team to at least rise to the level of " spoiler ", because after 12 years of being a doormet, enough is enough.


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Pete's reply: You're hot being asked to wait three more years. You're being asked to wait until next year to be more competitive and 2011 to make a run.

So if Guthrie is 6-1 with Zaun catching and 1 and awful with everyone else, why hasn't Zaun become his personal catcher? Wieters gets a couple days off a week as it is; no reason one of them can't be whenever Guthrie is on the mound. Both catchers switch hit, so the pitching match-ups aren't a big concern.

Yeah Andy MacPhail was a good GM but like anything that comes to Baltimore Orioles the glory days are long gone. I am glad that he is teaching us how to actually draft players and be cost effective for Angeloser to hoard even more money but his strategies so far have been ineffective in the AL East. Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman own this division with an iron fist for not only being amazing GMs but they have full support of some of the best owners in baseball. If Macphail and go out this offseason and get a veteran pitcher and at least a 3rd baseman (we also need a 1st and a SS) I will think differently but the guy has to show something you cant just put blind faith in him.

WOW the orioles have become a pretty trashy team! The only story it seems like people were interested in was employees hustling a man for the Wieters home run ball and Melvin Mora. If you’re a fan of this team those are pretty minor. Why doesn’t the Sun write about the O’s inability to win baseball games or the bad FA’s or even a story trashing Peter Angelos for being a loser??


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Pete's reply: The Sun writes about the Orioles losing baseball games every day. Maybe you should pick up a copy once in awhile.

Why is the guy (Scott) with the most homers per at bat, the most rbi's per at bat, etc. batting 7th, and regularly benched (e.g. just before the All-Star game)?
Why is Mora (I know his numbers are not good, but he has been treated badly) sitting while we wait for Wiggington to sprout hitter's wings? If loyalty counts for nothing for the O's management, what do they have left to lure good players? Certainly not money, status, or prestige. How do you get good players to play for a franchise which has made humiliation into a habit?
Finally, Peter where do you get off calling this a "short-term" problem? You'd better get out a calendar or perhaps a history book and check into the last millenium for a glimpse into when this short-term problem started.


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Pete's reply: Wow, I just woke up in the Catskills. Didn't know the Orioles have been losing so long. The headline was meant to be a bit sarcastic, since these losses came a few days after Andy used that term to describe the aftermath of the Sherrill deal.

Oh gosh.. are people really angry just now that the Orioles suck? REALLY? Everyone knew from day one with a guy named Dave Trembley managing the ball club they were mailing the season in. Not to mention the pitching rotation. I remember hearing during training camp about some 55 man audition or whatever. But any case when we saw the pitching rotation we knew the Orioles were going to mail it in this season with Eaton, Hendrickson, Hill. Not to mention the scary pickups like Koji a closer turned starting pitcher from Japan. Also Walker was still on the team. What a smug organization to be so outright about tanking.

Dave Trembley is a joke that will be gone next season. Guy can’t manage and is trying to take it out on Mora. This is a lost season anyway so at least lose with some dignity. This ballclub needs to become more than a tabloid. Trembley needs to accept it and let Mora play. Its like this Mora cant hit and Ty cant field so play them both but Mora has paid his dues to this @hit team and deserves to end his career without to much stupid drama. I think I can hear all the players in the league adding Baltimore to their no trade lists as we speak.

Well we move on to see Mutusz tonight. Yesterday is done!

As long as Peter is the owner, McPhail or any other GM will have to win with a restricted checkbook. Angelos plays the Baltimore fans like a fiddle and many still show up and watch his inept career sub .500 manager make lame excuses when the lose one run games while he makes zero effort to manufacture a run. Wieters has been smacking the ball yet he bats 8th where he has far fewer RBI opportunities. They're committed to rebuilding ... and rebuilding .. and rebuilding. This BS about the AL east being too strong for the O's to win is a myth. They used to dominate it when they had decent management.

4 and 15 since the break, this team is a train wreck ready to happen. We are lucky to win 60 games this year and the manager has the audacity to say he feels like it's christmas day because there is another toy under the tree in matusz. Then you post another blog titled MORE SHORT TERM PAIN.Pete i am telling you right now just like i told you before spring training starting, if you think for one minute that the orioles are going to put together a starting staff made up of entirley rookies you are smoking some great stuff. Every day you try and put a postive spin on things, and every day it keeps getting worse. I have really figured you out. The more you kepp posting that kool aid crap like you do i ahve noticed way more responses to your blog and most of them are in disagreement with you. Keep stiring the pot pete.Where is Rick Maease and David Steele when you really need somebody to tell the truth instead of somebody that watches evry game go down in flames and still finds a way to positive.


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Pete's reply: Bob, you apparently are the guy with the rose-colored glasses. "Train wreck waiting to happen?" The train is at the bottom of the culvert and has been for several years. The issue is whether it's possible to pull it out of there. I think the MacPhail plan is the best way to do that. You need to come up with a better plan, so we can all evaluate it. Maybe you really should be the GM, but we need more of an idea what you would do differently than MacPhail.

The Orioles are living in a different world when it comes to baseball. Throw all logic out the window. Local papers, television etc

Why don't you current O's bashers think back a couple of years and look at what Andy McPhail inherited. A bankrupt farm system and retreads on the field. Can ANYONE tell me who has made the trades and free agent signings better than Andy. And consider the amount spent on free agents. Look at the roster and forget this year and look to the future.

Andy had to live with Walker and Baez's contracts. He will fill in the gaps with this winters free agents. It has ALWAYS been about 2011 and beyond. The timetable was accelerated due to injuries and the fact some stop gaps didn't work out.

Give the young guys some slack. Wieters took some time to develop but look at his PROGRESS. Look at the progress Berken has made. Look at how much further ahead Reimold is than we expected. Adam Jones keeps improving and will be a star for years to come.

I'm tired of the whinning over this year. Relax and enjoy the improvements of the young guys and give them a chance. Be critical starting next year.

Pete -

Do you know how Mora is perceived by the younger players? + or -?

And in general, how is the overall clubhouse? An overall bad team with no leaders has got to create a bad environment to groom the young guys.


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Pete's reply: No real leadership in the clubhouse, but mostly good people. I think Melvin is pretty irrelevant to the younger players. He tends to keep to himself.

I think Pete has taken a sabbatical from replying in his blogs. I haven't seen anything in his last 3. Probably just letting us all slug it out. :)


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Pete's reply: I'm here, but you're right that I've been a little slow on the rebound. Been doing some medical stuff and had to write an unscheduled column yesterday. Also, you guys are cranking out the posts at fevered pace. I'll try to do a better job of keeping up.

Bill in Salisbury

I hear what your saying Bill but I cannot root for a team that takes vacations. They still have to try and be competitive regardless of any inherited situation. Let’s also not forget the main problem Angelos is still there so if they sell us on taking 1 or 2 years off I have to expect its more like 2-4. I don’t believe in teams not having any urgency what so ever and putting faith into the game plan.

Bob F

I think Ol’ Petey is recharging his spin battery and creepy positive outlook or Maybe Angelos stiffed him on last months payment LOL


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Pete's reply: Nice, what's it like to go through life with the name "Anonymous."

Bob F

I wouldn't blame Pete if he took a few days sabbatical from answering. He's probably sick and tired of all this bitching and moaning. I know I am. I've been a Birds fan since 1961, and I'm not gonna change. And I watch them every night, even though I know that at some point they're gonna pi$$ me off, blow a lead, and lose. I don't care, they're still my team, always have been, always will be.

Dave Taylor - I hear ya. Me too. I watched the whole game last night (with the exception of the 5 run first 1/2 inning which I heard on the radio) even though I knew after the first inning they wouldn't score again the rest of the game. (a rerun of many games this year)

I really would like to see a manager/coaching change though. It would be a good time with all these young naive kids.

dave taylor

This Orioles teams deserves every little bitch and moan for this horrible team they put on the field this season. My only hope is that they learn their lesson next season.

I would like someone on the team, during any interview to use the word "winning" once in a while. I understand "playing better", "playing the game", "improving", "working on things", etc. etc. etc.

But just once I'd like SOMEONE to talk about WINNING GAMES (yes, I am yelling...). So long as the modus operandi is "getting better", there will be a lack of a winning clubhouse atmosphere, and no hope of one arriving. How would a winning attitude develop this year?

It all starts with what comes out of their mouths. Maybe Zaun, Huff, or Wiggie needs to step up --- they seem to have some leadership abilities and would be credible, even though they have never been on a championship team.

One of the great things that Millar had was that ability --- but they didn't have hope or newbies when he was here. Things are different this year, but he's not here to tal about winning.

For the orioles losing has become business as usual

Question for you Pete - which O's players have cleared waivers and will be able to be traded this month? I am pretty sure no one will claim Melvin and he is probably at the point where he will waive his no trade clause. Have you heard anything on this front?


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Pete's reply: Not really. I'm pretty sure about 18 of the 25 players on the major league roster have been or will be sent through... but unless there is a deal brewing, word doesn't generally leak out.

I'm certainly not saying Tillman is a bust, but after seeing rookie performances from Wally Bunker, through Palmer, Mussina and even Bergeson, he is disappointing so far. Experts said his first-start stuff was not "him." Hope that goes for last night too.


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Pete's reply: If you're judging this kid on his first 10 innings in the major leagues, I'm not sure what I can tell you, except that one size never fits all. It's ridiculous to summon up the record of some other guy and say that if this guy isn't as good as that guy in his first two starts, there is even one ounce of useful information there.

Pete,
Why does Trembley only seem to call out Latin players? When B-Rob dogs it nothing is said but if Pie or Mora do anything wrong the guy seems to go mental.


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Pete's reply: Yes, this would be a great time to play the race card. I believe it was Mora who called out Trembley. Trembley hasn't said anything about Melvin.

I demand a winning season!

There, I said it. Anybody else want to jump onboard?

Maybe we can start a petition for the Orioles to win games, because that's usually the course of action people take when every other option seems lost. I mean, it's not like we can sue the Orioles for gross negligence, because they're owned by a lawyer, right?

I hope I'm not doing this again in a few months demanding the Ravens get some wins. . .

Go Ravens!!!

Sean,
You will never have to do that with the Ravens. Standup team all around even if they have a losing season they make their best effort possible to come back and contend the next season. They also know how to draft and develop rookies. Steve Bisciotti is one of the best owners in the NFL he knows and understands the fan base and what needs to be done to win.

Hey Pete-

Any word on whether or not Melvin is in the lineup today? If he does get released is there a minor league infielder who has earned a spot with the big club?

Michael Aubrey has the best numbers and MLB experience...maybe we could work some sort of three man rotation with Wiggy playing third, M.Aubrey playing first and Huff relieving them both?

Mora is not getting released. This is a non issue to distract the fans from the manager, GM and owner's incompetence.

To Bob F.,

And since the publication of that article, Trembley returned to the Guthrie-Wieters battery on July 31 with predictable results: a 6-5 loss with Guthrie giving up 6 runs including 3 HRs.

What's the point of Trembley using statistics for batter-pitcher match-ups et al. if he is going to ignore stats with such blatant disparity as those for Guthrie-Zaun vs. Guthrie-non-Zaun? What's wrong with trying to go with a winning hand once in a blue moon?

Wieters may be the Orioles' catcher-of-the-future, but I doubt Trembley will be around much longer as his manager.

To everyone griping about the "loser attitude" and "culture of losing", here's a thought:

Did you ever realize that it's kind of hard to win games and creating a "culture of winning" when your starting pitchers can't make it through three innings?

The fact is, this team is BAD. We all knew before this season that this team would be bad. Anyone who didn't agree that this team would be bad was living in a dream world.

That said, here's another thought: Bad teams lose. The Nationals are a bad team. They've lost almost 70% of their games. They Padres are a bad team. They've lost almost 60% of their games. The Orioles are a bad team. And, hey! Look at that! They've lost almost 60% of their games!

Moving on, how does a team develop a winning culture? By, get this, winning games! And what does it take to win games? A "winning attitude" or a group of really good players? I think I'm going to go with the second choice.

In short, it's easy to complain about a losing team. It's easy to play GM and to play manager because so many things go wrong and hindsight is 20/20. But to say that a bad team is losing because of a "losing culture" is one of the stupid things I've ever heard in my entire life.

Good teams win games and have a winning attitude. Bad teams lose games and have a losing attitude. The Orioles are a bad team. But there is hope for the future. Anyone who can't see that needs to get their eyes checked.

Bitch, moan, bitch, moan, bitch, moan. You all are worse then Nationals fans, and they have something truly awful to bitch and moan about. There is talent in Baltimore, have some f@#$ing patience.

Pete,
I am not playing anything but I think Trembley’s treatment of Latin players needs to be put into question. We don’t know exactly what made Melvin do what he did and it could be a contributing factor to the losing.


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Pete's reply: I'm pretty sure what led up to Melvin's outburst. He's struggling and frustrated and Dave told him he wouldn't be playing as much, but Trembley kept him in the middle of the lineup for a long, long time after he stopped producing. There have been similar situations with other players, particularly Huff, but Melvin put it on the street. I agree that Dave called out Pie and doesn't do that to veterans, but I don't think it had to do with him being a Latin player.

Prediction: Matusz get shellacked tonight and doesn't make it to the 4th inning.

Welcome back Pete! Hope the medical stuff isn't too serious. (probably just indigestion from watching the last 20 games or so)

Have they announced who is getting sent down today yet?


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Pete's reply: Not yet. Just checked.

Doug,

Nationals and the O's are actually closer than you think. Nats are currently behind the O’s 10 games but play weaker teams and have been playing better since Acta got the axe so they might just catch up or get close to the O’s. The O’s and Nats run dif is separated by 36 so yeah the O’s are a tiny bit better they both need serious improvement. We shouldn’t be saying we are better than other bad teams because we are essentially both AAA teams filled with prospects.

The O's and Nats are worlds apart.

As far as under 30, big league talent goes, the Nats have Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann and, oh... come on... help me out here... wait, that's it. Oh well. At least they've cornered the market on Zimmerman(n)s. As far as prospects go, the Nats have zero high-level minor league talent.

The O's have , Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez and Jim Johnson. That's an entire outfield, two thirds of a rotation and a closer. Prospecting, the O's have Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Troy Patton and Brandon Snyder.

The O's are in infinitely better shape than the Nats.

And speaking of prospects, Brandon Waring (acquired in the Ramon Hernandez deal) has 18 homers and 67 rbi in 380 at bats in Frederick. K's are down as well. Last year, he struck out once every three at bats. This year, once every four. Still not very good for such a low level, but I like his progress.

Thanks for responding to my post Pete I wasn’t trying to make a statement just trying to get an idea of what is going on in the locker room.

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Pete's reply: No problem. I think Dave has made an extra effort to relate to the Latin guys, though obviously it didn't work with Melvin.

I think Trembley is much better handling the young guys than the old set-in-their-ways veterans. If I'm right, he'll do OK with the kids, and the sooner the O's part company with the over-30 bunch (Huff, Roberts, Mora, Scott - they should keep Zaun), the better.

What these young O's need more than anything is good coaching! Not someone like Samuel whose right arm looks like a windmill blowing in the wind waving runners into outs (as if the O's runners even look at him anyway!). And is Greg Maddux available as a pitching coach? He could teach these young O's pitchers how to PITCH instead of just throw.

The talent is rushing into Camden Yards these days. What is needed now is somebody who can teach these youngsters the fundamentals they don't learn in the minors anymore, and the MENTAL side of baseball.

Watch Markakis play the outfield. He knows how to play it and how to position himself and what base to throw to. Aside from Nick, their fundamentals run from mediocre to just plain bad.

Baseball is a mental game every bit as much as a physical one. These kids need some big league mentoring, and I don't think they are getting it.

Gee, if only teams could have a special pitcher whose job is to pitch the ninth inning when the game is on the line. Maybe call him the 'finisher' or something. Sound like a good idea? If a team had somebody who was successful at doing that, they'd never let him leave, would they?

b,

Every team has the hype factor in the local media that’s the only reason you know the O's players and not the Nats. Wait until the end of the season to draw your conclusions but its not very good to say your bad team is better than another bad team.

Gee, if only teams could have a special pitcher whose job is to pitch the ninth inning when the game is on the line. Maybe call him the 'finisher' or something. Sound like a good idea? If a team had somebody who was successful at doing that, they'd never let him leave, would they?

(Sorry about the multiple postings. My new browser does that when I refresh the page, I now know.)

Ron -

I'm a huge fan of baseball in general, so I tend to keep up with top prospects of all teams.

Since Jordan Zimmermann, Colin Balester and Ross Detwiler are in the bigs now, the Nats most talented prospect is a 19-year-old kid named Chris Marrero. He's got tools, but he's a long way off from the bigs. Same thing with their next best guy, Michael Burgess. Another 19-year-old with big tools who's nowhere near MLB ready.

Other Nats top prospects?

- Drew Storen. Reliever. The Nat's second pick in this year's draft. He's got a 1.13 ERA and 10 K's in eight innings in A-ball.

- Jack McGeary. 19-year-old lefty pitcher. Great command for such a young guy, but he's only in A-ball.

- Josh Smoker. 19-year-old lefty pitcher. Struggling in A-ball.

- Glenn Gibson. 21-year-old lefty pitcher. Struggling in A-ball.

- Justin Maxwell. OF. 25 years old. Hit .125 in 24 at-bats with the Nats this season. Career .263 hitter in the minors. Just optioned back to AAA.

- Colton Willems. 19-year-old righty pitcher. Decent in A-ball. Needs to work on his command.

So there you have it. A solid reliever, a bunch of 19-year-old pitchers, two 19-year-old power hitters and a 25-year-old outfielder. Doesn't look too good to me.

Oh, and for good measure, here are this year's Baseball America Top 100 rankings for O's and Nats prospects:

Orioles
1. Matt Wieters
22. Chris Tillman
25. Brian Matusz
67. Jake Arrieta

Nationals
41. Jordan Zimmerman

While I and others have expressed frustration at the state of the Orioles, there is no doubt that as an organization we are on the rebound.

We are rebuilding the right way, from the bottom up. It's the only way to go in a division with the Boston Deep-Pockets and the New York Deeper-Pockets.

Not to jar anyone's PTSD, but it was not too long ago that the Orioles were "fired" by their AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings. Remember their replacement the Ottawa Lynx? Scary stuff!

At the very least we have a bona fide, functional farm system with nationally-touted prospects. We finally have a permanent Spring Training home, too.

It seems pretty nutty that these things had to be destroyed before they could be restored, but at least there finally seems to be some method to the madness.

Now if we could only get our AAAA team to win some games...


Ed,

I didn't realize that George Sherrill was Latino. Letting it be known in public that his job as closer was on the line based on his short term performance made his comments to Pie seem like high praise.

b,

I believe you left out Brandon Erbe who was around 90th on that list. Not that it has mattered much beyone his first 3 starts this year, cuz I seriously doubt he'll be on there again next year.


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Pete's reply: No. Erbe was not on the BA 100 top major league prospects list.

An open letter to all you Orioles apologist who say they play in the toughest division in baseball and they are so young and the future is so bright and Trembly is doing the best he can with what he has to work with.
The last game was lost in the 7th inning. Justin Verlander had thrown about 150 pitches at that point. The only reason they sent him out there for another inning was to try and get him the win. You'd think that someone on the prized O's coaching staff (Terry swing at the first pitch Crowley maybe) would have told the batters due up to take some pitches, so that Verlander's arm would fall off. Markakis strikes out on 5 pitches (tough AB), then Huff grounds out on 1 pitch and doesn't bother to run to first base. Then Wiggy grounds out on 2 pitches. The inning to knock out the starter and get into the Tigers bullpen before their closer can come in, ends in 8 pitches. BTW, Huff and Wiggy are not rookies, just bad ball players. The O's hitters made 13 straight outs to end the game. This team quit a long time ago, like they do every year. As for the future, Tillman gave up 5 runs in 7 innings. He threw 3 wild pitches and walked 3. He also broke the cardinal rule in baseball by giving up 3 runs, right after his team scored 5. And this is something to celebrate?

Pete,

How can you say the Orioles are in a 'funk'?

Funks last eleven days, not eleven years.

~~ He prided himself in Minnesota for winning a World Series in 1991 without making a single trade.

While that mentality worked in Minnesota, a small market team, it didn't translate very well in Chicago, a bigger market team. And it won't work in Baltimore because of the money the AL East Yankees and Boston spend. You can argue that his thrifty ways is what appealed to Angelos. ~~


Why do you think that the way for us to beat Boston and NYY is to play their own game? Or are you saying that nothing will work?

Because of their respctive fan bases and the rich input of their cable networks they will always have more revenue than the O's. I know that the Steinbrenner family is richer than Angelos so if we take it to the ultimate, ridiculous extreme and they both liquidate everything and pour it into their teams, we still lose. Why do you think we can only beat the two juggernauts by outspending them . . . which we cannot do even if we tried!! The only way we can compete regularly, and hopefully edge them occasionally is to be smarter than them in talent acquisition, development and then get lucky. Lucky with health, lucky with a couple breaks and lucky on the field. We CANNOT outspend them unless they allow us to because they have more income and at least the Yankees have a richer owner. I dont know the net worth of the Sawx ownership. So I disagree that we can compete by beating them at their own game if that is what you are saying.

**presented in paragraph form per your request**

Why is the local media, except for a scant few Rob Long and WNST, just in the tank for this team. Rob Long had a story where he asked Trembly a tough question and as he was struggling to answer it, some media guy leaped over him to lob a softball toward our wonderful manager. If this team were in Boston, Philly, Chicago, NY NOBODY would tolerate 12 years of losing. The media in those cities are like pit bulls, here like poodles. Angelos has his own tv network where he is robbing the Nationals blind. He is guaranteed a bottom line sale price for his team, which is unheard of in a capatilistic society yet he still refuses to even try to field a winning team. Face it our team is full of losers, name one winner and the longer the young players are subjected to a culture of losing, they will become losers as well.


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Pete's reply: Speaking for the other poodles, I think the Philles went longer than the Orioles since their last World Series title until last year. Guess those pit bulls couldn't put up any W's for their team either. The Red Sox went 86 years without a title in spite of the run-production potential of their media. I think you miss the point. If this was a good team playing badly, I'd rip them up for it, but they are a bad team playing badly, so piling on is just boring. I'll leave that to you.

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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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