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August 26, 2009

O's: Respectable trip

The Orioles salvaged a 4-5 record on the nine-game trip, which has to be considered respectable under the circumstances. They should have won last night, which would have put them in position for a winning trip against three pretty good teams, but they can take some consolation in outscoring the Rays, White Sox and Twins, 36-34, in the nine games.

Not looking for moral victories anymore, but they were competitive almost every day. Three of the five losses were by one run and a fourth was by two runs. The Orioles also won a couple of close ones.

The most important thing about tonight's game was another strong start by Jeremy Guthrie, who has been outstanding on the trip. Maybe he has worked something out, which would be very good news for the Orioles as they look toward next season.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:00 PM | | Comments (47)
Categories: Just baseball


hire trembley 4 more years

Yeah, I agree. There were a couple of moral victories in this series. Great to see Guthrie pitching like he should. Kudos to Moeller for a great game behind the plate. Kudos to Felix Pie for rebounding like a pro. Last, but not least:

Fire Trembley and Samuel!

Had to beat anonymous at least once this week.

I'm really liking what I see from Guthrie, and liking the fresh blood in Aubrey.

Really bush league by Samuel and Trembley calling out Pie.
That should seal their dismissal

Guthrie showed the last two starts just how good he can be. Still, he is no more than a No. 3 starter in a very good rotation, that's one of the reasons why I hope the O's can acquire a veteran starter for next season. I just don't like the idea of a rotation in 2010 consisting of Guthrie and 4 kids in their first full season.

We got the GOOD Felix being Felix tonite. I like him he IS entertaining and no worse than Wiggy or Mora - has WAY more possible UPside than either one AND consider this - since the all star break he is outhitting Wieters in near every catagory!!! Trembley probably due to his team's lack of committment and half ass effort probably needs to go so we can start fresh with a NO NONSENSE manager. "cause the remaining vets probably no longer pay any attention to him - you can see that in how they play much of the time. May not be ALL his fault but still.... I suspect another year of Dave will be more of the same. We need a WHIP cracker - now then, where do we find one?? Man great to see Guthrie looking like the one who "Went Missing" there for most of the season. What a lift if he STAYS back from wherever he went to, now and esp for next year. I really don't think we need ALOT IF we get lucky with a few things.

I think Moeller deserves a lot of credit for Guthrie's performance. If I'm not mistaken, the majority of Guthrie's wins this year have come when Moeller catches him. Remember that when Moeller was let go (so to speak) earlier in the season there were rumors that Guthrie wasn't thrilled about his "personal" catcher leaving the big league team.

Pete-Hate to disappoint the Pie lovers,but he is "instinct challenged' to but it as nicely as possible.
Re:DT and Samuels holding them accountable for base running-Fine time to bring this up,dummies!Its been your job to hold them accountable from day one.Damn it,you are the ones in charge.Instead of pussyfooting and defending their every mistake and every nonteam at bat(ie;moving runners,inability to bunt,mental mistakes,etc,you shols have been kicking them in the butt or pocketbook.
Thats why you should be replaced.You are slow learners to just reach this conclusion.

Brad Penny was released by the Red Sox today. If he would agree to come to Baltimore the Orioles should get him to see how he works out even though he got cut and is having some problems he is better than anybody we got currently.

Penny won’t come to Baltimore. I am sure he would be open to it but by the time Angelos gets around to it he will already be signed on a contender for months. He might be better than anybody we pick up this off-season lol

I think Trembley's managerial style has contributed to the Orioles postion in the standings this season.

This road trip has been a refreshing change. Yes, there have been the usual quota of dumb mistakes and a load of runners left behind, but for a whole week the O's have played competitive baseball.
That's all I was looking for in the second half, just some indication that they were not rolling over and playing dead for every team in the league. We've had a number of very good starts recently, and I remain very optimistic about our pitching for next season. The offense still scares me, and the base running is still at a lower minor league level, but for the time being, they no longer seem to be phoning it in. Keep it up O's, give us a reason to believe in you.


Your sentiments reflect the reality of current status of the rebuilding plan...4 and 5 on a road trip is actually a bonus considering some of the awful play that we have witnessed since the All Star break.

I applaud Samuel for publicly stating the obvious about some of the baserunning we have seen this year. I coach a 14-20 American Legion team up here in York and my players are smarter on the bases than Pie, Mora and some of the others who are vying for the Alan Wiggins "Die of Dumbness" award for 2009. I doubt any of my boys will ever make the majors but they don't get picked off, they know how many outs there are, and when they try for third base on a hit or a steal they better make it.


I find it interesting that you think two Latin American players and some others should be called out by the coaching staff. Are Izturis, Baez and Hernandez included in the 'others'?

To clarify notion of intent I must disclose that I'm a blonde hair, blue eyed Caucasian.

Being in total agreement with Ronin va, I wish I could express myself as eloquently as he. I'll add that we must get a couple of longknockers at the corners (30 or more Homers) to be competative in the AL East. Until then it's #5 in the standings.

Hi Slugger,

Pie and Mora have made the most bonehead baserunning mistakes this year. Mora is the all time bonehead. He was once thrown out at the plate trying to tag up from third base on a pop up caught by the shortstop for the final out of the game with the team trailing 4 to 2.

Roberts and Huff and the others you mentioned have also been guilty of poor baserunning also. It is a teamwide affliction and exhibition of dumbness on the bases.

If the shoe fits, wear it, regardless of race, creed ,color, and/or sexual or political orientation.

Mr. Alan Wiggins was a tortured soul who paid the ultimate price for his indiscretions. May he rest in peace.


Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you were suggesting anything. I've read these blogs for a long time, and I see a trend that people perhaps subconsciously call these two guys out more than anyone. It's the cynical side of me that leads me to believe that if their names were Jimmy and Bob and they spoke fluent English they would be viewed differently.

I can sit here and show you worse embarrassing blunders committed by Roberts, Jones, Wiggington, Scott, and Huff that have not received anywhere near the scrutiny as these two guys.

Pete's reply: I actually don't think you can. I defended Pie for a long time, but he has had some of the most egregious mind lapses I've ever seen. Brian's forgetting how many outs was right up there, but most of Huff's blunders were based on overrating his own baserunning ability.

John -

Here are some stats for you.

Last five starts:

Brad Penny: 26 innings, 9.11 ERA, 20 k, 12 bb
Jeremy Guthrie: 31.2 innings, 4.83 ERA, 14 k, 7 bb
Chris Tillman: 30.2 innings, 4.40 ERA, 16 k, 13 bb
Brian Matusz: 23.2 innings, 6.46 ERA, 23 k, 10 bb
David Hernandez: 23.1 innings, 6.56 ERA, 16 k, 14 bb
Jason Berken: 23.2 innings, 7.23 ERA, 13 k, 8 bb

So, in reality, Brad Penny is WORSE than EVERYONE we have currently. Even Jason Berken.

It's not 2007 anymore. Brad Penny is terrible.


I went to a Thursday afternoon home game a couple weeks ago where Nick Markakis got thrown out on then back end of a double steal attempt at a critical point in the game. Roberts had third base stolen standing up. I posted on the blog that It was a bonehead play by Nick that may have cost us the game.

I have roasted Roberts for getting picked off, wiggenton for getting thrown out by 20 feet and Jones for getting doubled off. I go to a lot of games and in my opinion Pie is the worst baserunner on the team because of his lack of awareness of the game situation and he runs with his head down. Melvin Mora knows what he is doing, he just continually makes bad decsisions on the bases and has done so throughout his career.

The best baserunners I think I have ever seen on the team were Luis Aparicio, Frank Robinson and Don Baylor. Shortstops on the other team hated to look over at first base and see Robinson or Baylor at first base. Aparicio was just so smooth and rarely made a baserunning error.

I think people post their opinions about what they see on this blog and I have never detected any overt or sublime racial over tones from any of the posters and never really thought about it until you raised the issue.


If you read the comments and slurs thrown Mora's way when he was speaking out against Trembley, you will see exactly what I'm talking about.

Let's all agree that less than smart base running has no realtion to race, color, national origin, etc on this team-they all have made blunders this year. Geez!

As for adding a starter, I'm not so sure. Who would he replace? I realize Matuez, Hernandaz and Berkin have pretty terrible ERAs right now but at least Berkin is showing signs of improvement and he's had the most starts by far. The others have talent and I expect them to show improvement over their next starts as we move to years end. I'd rather see the O's spend money on at least one big hitter. Why not Adam Dunn? He can play first base , hits over 40 HRs every year, has a pretty high OBP and is fairly young.

Let's all agree that less than smart base running has no realtion to race, color, national origin, etc on this team-they all have made blunders this year. Geez!

As for adding a starter, I'm not so sure. Who would he replace? I realize Matuez, Hernandaz and Berkin have pretty terrible ERAs right now but at least Berkin is showing signs of improvement and he's had the most starts by far. The others have talent and I expect them to show improvement over their next starts as we move to years end. I'd rather see the O's spend money on at least one big hitter. Why not Adam Dunn? He can play first base , hits over 40 HRs every year, has a pretty high OBP and is fairly young.


having both pie and reimold creates a "problem" in left field. do u think the o's would try to deal one of them in the off season, or keep them both for some depth?

Pete's reply: I don't see them trading either one. They love Reimold and Pie is worth more to them than he would be in trade.

I am constantly amazed at how bad the 2009 Orioles are on simply baseball fundamentals. Baserunning, hitting the cut off man, pitchers walking the #9 batter with a .218 ave and 2 outs and so on and so on. And we have a manager who is supposed to be focused on fundamentals. This is real simple, Trembley is NOT the man for the job. I fail to see him display passion by arguing with umpires and he has clearly lost control of this team. Look at the whole Mora benching thing a few weeks back. And now to take responsibility and in the same breath say the players are accountable, is simply displaying that he is WAY OVER his head. Please, Please Mr MacPhail do NOT bring him back.

Tom -

The added starter would replace Berken. I'm thinking someone like Doug Davis or Randy Wolf. Not a guy who would break the bank, but a vet who could mentor the young guys.

And I'm with you on Adam Dunn. His presence in the middle of the order would instantly make the lineup credible. Add Dunn and a legit #2 hitter (Chone Figgins would be ideal since he can play third) and you've got a solid group of hitters:

1. Brian Roberts, 2b
2. Chone Figgins, 3b
3. Nick Markakis, rf
4. Adam Dunn, 1b
5. Adam Jones, cf
6. Nolan Reimold, lf
7. Luke Scott, dh
8. Matt Wieters, c
9. Cesar Izturis, ss

But what are the odds of Angelos springing the bucks and both Figgins and Dunn coming to Baltimore? One in a million? Maybe closer to one in a billion...

There is some more good news on the pitching front. I wnt up to Bluefield last night to watch Hobgood. He looked real sharp and is developing a knee bending curveball. I saw his first start and he looked like a high school kid. Last night he looked like a young professional. GO O's

"Praise in public, punish in private." They didn't need to mention Pie by name; it would be obvious by context who they're talking about. Having said that, I'm glad to see the bad base running infuriates mgmt. One would think that would be presumed, but since it continues to repeat itself, I was wondering if they ever address it.

Samuel ripping players for baserunning? The guy who consistently gets runners thrown out by a mile at the plate because he sends them when they have no chance to score?

Trembley ripping players? The guy who has cost the team numerous outs on the bases with his addiction to the hit and run on 3-1?

I didn't hear Jim and Buck, Tom and Rick, or Trembley obsess on Aubrey's blunder last night. A quick comment from Buck, nothing from the postgame crew.

Manager, coaches, and players all have responsibility. Pie (like Jim Hunter) thought Mauer caught the ball - if Mauer had, no way Pie gets thrown out. It was an aggressive play with a three run lead. Last night, Reimold tried for third on Wigginton's hit with one out and a three run lead. A good throw nails him by five feet, but Buck praises Reimold effusively, saying what a smart play it was in that situation (Wigginton barely beat the throw to second, but that was great running, also. Why? Because they were safe, and not named Felix Pie. Even if one was out, they wouldn't get the grief Pie does.)

Pete's reply: If Mauer catches the ball and falls into the dugout, Pie is awarded third base, but I wouldn't have expected him to know that.

I think the coaching staff comments on the players is a sign of a long season getting to them and that they are realizing the end of the line is near.

The Orioles need a manager who has enough confidence to make decisions without pandering and worrying about veterans who haven't really had any success. DT went too far out of his way to try and earn respect of players who weren't leaders or all that successful. The next guy will have some advantages since a number of the veterans will have gone (Huff, Zaun, Mora).
The W/L record isn't my biggest concern but instead setting the right tone in the clubhouse so that the young players don't go down the wrong road and get too complacent with losing and thinking 90+ losses is normal.

They need to watch the Red Sox/Yankees and see how their veterans at times will move runners over, hit to the right side of the infield with a runner on 2B, etc. It would be nice for them to get a Jeter like player but those aren't easily found, nor traded.


I do not see us signing a front line starter for next year. While the building blocks of a competitive team are being put in place, we are not there yet. We will not be an attractive place for top level free agents to sign until we show that we are becoming competitive.

2010 should be the year to let the young kids we have sort themselves out. Let us see how many of them are going to be successful. If Tillman and Matusz can step forward and join Bergesen and a rejuvenated Guthrie, we will have four fifths of a rotation that a top flight guy would want to join.

There is no doubt Felix Pie has made some blunders this year--mostly on the base path. Comparing him to Alan Wiggins or Jeff Stone is harsh because the latter two at their best don't measure up to what Pie has already done positively, and Pie has room to grow.

There is also a difference between instinct and getting caught up in the excitement of the moment. Pie doesn't just have tools (top speed, above average to borderline excellent arm, average power with potential for increase), he has ability. Those abilities are part of his overall ability and contribute to instinct as well.

No one knows if he will ever develop the potential that seems to be there, but I do see a player who makes adjustments.

Just because a fat slob American Legion player knows he can't make third or his fat slob opponent can't make a catch in a game that is in slow motion by comparison to MLB, that does not mean he and his kegging buddies have better instincts.

I see no reason or benefit for there to be a quick call to justice on what Pie will or won't become. The evidence--good and bad--is still coming in.

As for the 4-5 road trip, I agree given the circumstances it was respectable--at least to the point next year could be a year for improvement. It certainly contributes against my 58-win prediction (which I am glad).

I have to say, although I have been noncommittal about Trembley this season, and find most of the criticisms and second-guessing on here to be ridiculous, I think that he has singled out Pie in an unfair way, although Samuel's implication that he is not a major league player is much harsher (too harsh).

This speaks to a problem between the field manager and the general manager, which might be a problem for the team. I think Trembley probably feels some pressure to perform, but also feels that he has not been given the players to succeed. I can understand that frustration. But the bottom line is that the whole organization has to be on board with this rebuilding program, and if it's not, if attacking Pie is Trembley's way of attacking McPhail, then unfortunately something has to change.

If the Orioles don't trade Reimold, Scott or Pie, then what are they planning on doing with Montanez?

Montanez would be the sixth outfielder in that case.


My American Legion team is in the age group of 14 to 20 years old and are hardly fat slobs. Most are High School All stars. There are no beer kegs at the games

Of course Pie has tremendous physical gifts, no one denies that. He is just fundamentally poor baserunner. I hope he does get better, but these skills are learned at much lower levels of the game and become instinctive as players progress. Brooks Robinson was slow but was a good baserunner and understood when to run and when not to.


Brian Roberts leads the team in Caught Stealing stats and has since the day he put on an O's uniform (look it up). Why don't they rip him? Because he looks better than Pie doing it?

Pete's reply: Slugger, now you're just playing the fool. Brian Roberts has been among the top basestealers in the league for years. Guys who steal a lot of bases get caught once in awhile. I don't know why you're down on the guy, but if you don't think he's a good player, you're proving you're just an angry guy who doesn't know what he's talking about. Let's get back to some rational discourse here, because this has gotten silly.


Prediction: Montanez and Scott will be traded in the off season for some up and coming Minor Leaguers. Mora will be gone. Roster spots will be filled by Aubrey, Snydor, and maybe (bell or Hughes) or they will sign a veteran like Hinske or Dunn (sounds good at first base), I think Garrett Anderson would be a good fit at 1B/DH.

Pete's reply: Garret Anderson? Are you kidding?


adam dunn signed a 2 year deal in the offseason. he's not even gonna be a free agent after this year, which means if the orioles really wanted him, they'd have to trade for him, and the nats would probably ask for a lot in return.

Gil, Amen! Well said. American Legion is special, not a beer softball league.

Is the heat getting to you, or early happy hour. Roberts leads in caught stealing because he is the only one on the team that steals. You could say the same for Ricky Henderson because he was caught 42 times the year he stole 130. Come on Pie has one out of four attempts, Roberts has 27 out of 33 attempts. Lets be fair about this stuff.

Slugger -

It's not too difficult to lead a team in caught stealing stats when you're the only one who steals more than 20 bags a year.

Instead of looking at caught stealing stats, look at Roberts' success rate. Over the course of his career Roberts has been safe EIGHTY percent of the time he attempts a steal. That percentage is on par with Rickey Henderson, which is pretty good in my book.

Pete's reply: You're wasting your times with facts. They're overrated.

CB Coach,

My point exactly. If you look at the leaders of Caught Stealing stats throughout the years you will see that those guys also lead in successful steals. Base stealing is not automatic. The fact that Pie and Roberts and others are being caught stealing is because they're hustling. I'll never knock on someone for that. I'm being devil's advocate for those who are ripping on Pie getting caught. He will learn the nuances and will turn out to be one of the best base stealers in the game. Might sound silly, but I believe he is an unpolished, but has the potential to be a phenomenal athlete. Instead of ripping on him, Samuel should work with him. There is a class act coach in Terry Crowley that worked with this kid and is making believers out of doubters, including yours truly.

Going back to Pie trying for third, it is ultimately his responsibility to know who catches the ball. IF the catcher makes the play, he is in easily. He has to know what is going on. Saying that, I don't pin the loss on him. He is just now getting to play with some regularity. Let him learn from these mistakes. No one is mentioning the catch he makes in the early innings that saved a couple of runs.

I do not think anyone is ripping Pie on stolen bases, but the point is not making sense. I would take Roberts stats any day of the week, he will score 100+ runs again, have 50+ doubles again and will have 30+ steals again. Most the time that Roberts steals is because he can as any player in baseball, I actually missed the game that Pie stole. I think they have worked with Pie on base running, but the question is why doesn't he steal when he is on base? Miss the sign or they have no faith he can do it? Or maybe they are trying to teach one thing at a time with the 24 year old that has played over 800 professional games now.

Larry if a player leaves the field of play the player gets awarded the next base.

This is right out of the rule books
"If the fielder or catcher, after having made a legal catch, should fall into a stand or among spectators or into the dugout after making a legal catch, the ball is dead and runners advance one base without liability to be put out."

So lets say Mauer catches it slides into the dugout, Pie gets third so why try it?

I agree. The rule gives him the extra base. You can't always tell if someone is going to fall into the dugout or into the stands.
I agree Pie needs much work on baserunning. There must be some reason why he doesn't have the green light when he seems to be the fastest on the team. If he can improve this area of his game, he may be a decent major leaguer.

Geez Pete, stop the fixation with Slugger already. LOL

Pete's reply: Sorry, the guy has gotten into my head and I can't get him out.

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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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