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September 15, 2009

Orioles: Looking forward

Am I the only one who thinks the Orioles' 2010 schedule is front-loaded with a lot more soft teams this year. I'm comparing this year's April and May schedule with next year's and I'm starting to think the O's could get off to a pretty decent start if the young pitchers are for real.

This year, the O's opened against the Yankees and played almost all contending teams through the first quarter of the season. Next year, there's a string of 12 straight games against the Yankees and Red Sox in late April and early May, but the first two months are packed with the lesser Al West and Central opponents.

Guess you never know how tough the schedule is until you see how good those teams will be, but the early season outlook looks a little more promising.

Tonight's radio plug: Tune in at seven for Sportsline tonight, immediately following the John Harbaugh Show on WBAL (1090 AM). Jamison Hensley will join me as we look back on Sunday's game between the Ravens and Chiefs and look ahead to the upcoming road matchup against the San Diego Chargers. If you're out of signal range, go to WBAL.com and click on the "Listen Live" icon.

All Schmuck all the time: I take a look at the Chargers in my column for tomorrow's print edition, but you can read it right now right here.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:46 PM | | Comments (48)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Peter,
Please, please, give me some hope that next year won't be more of the same. I can't take another season of futility! Pleast tell me you think the front office will do what is right and infuse this team with much needed talent this winter. The weight of these past twelve years is almost unbearable. I feel like that greek dude who holds the world on his back! Who is that? Atlas maybe? Please a shread of hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Really don't know who Andy is going to play the offseason yet. I think the team will be better no matter what, but marginally better isn't going to cut it.

I know I keep thinking this is as bad as it gets, but this really has to be. There looks to be about 500 people at the game and Berken has just given up 4 runs in the first inning. We are well on our way to losing 100 games. It is just a pathetic situation all the way around. To top it off, we probably have to suffer through at least one more similar type season (probably two more but only one this bad I hope).

Hey, look at the bright side.
They said they needed to take a look at some guys, and they are. Unfortunately for
Hernandez and Berken , who look like they are pitching themselves out of contention s on next year's staff, the looks have been way short.

Go Os!!

I dunno Schmuckster, 21 out of the first 28 games against AL East foes is not very nice. Mix in a west coast trip against and up and coming A's and Seattle team looks pretty brutal. Will certainly show us something early in the season.

The 16 games in a row to start the season has me worried. Is the bullpen going to be wore out before May 1st?


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Hopefully, it'll be rested by then.

maybe berken needs to pitch his first inning in the bullpen...
BRob, looking good in the 3 tonite
He's as good as anyone they have right now

Really Juan ... really? Does anyone else see what I see?

Jeff, that is a rhetorical question, correct?

Seriously!

When your team is one game from being the worst in the league, can you really look at any other team as soft?

Think maybe other teams possibly consider teams like KC and the O's as the 'soft' part of their schedule?

Until this team can beat small and medium market teams, it doesn't matter who they play.

I know, I'm being negative.... but seriously?

Wayne(fill in name here) I am surprised at what I detect as a current of pessimism. Yet perhaps I have just misunderstood your last post, or some others, or even have you confused with (fill in name(s) here) Slugger or the many Anons. Kindly excuse me if I am, or have.(Insert famous quote here).

On a happy note, the boys have fashioned a rather nice comeback against (pitcher's name goes here) Mr Niemann, who by all accounts looks like a keeper.

No this was not a form blog.

Berken's pitch count is at 77 after 6 innings of work. DT needs to run him out there for the 7th. There is no need to go to that wacked out bullpen.Let the guy pitch.
I don't care if he gives it up. He has recovered nicely from a bad first inning.
There is no need to go to that wacked out bullpen. I mean, he's throwing pretty well.
He deserves at least one more.
There is no need to go to that wacked out bullpen.

There is no ned to go to that wacked out bullpen.

Well Jim they could get the shuttle going from Baltimore to Norfolk and cycle guys in and out of the bullpen. Or they could go with a a backup catcher and 15 man pitching staff.

Wayne,

Amen!

He let Berken start the 7th. I guess he had to go to the WOB.
Nice job by Castillo and Ray. That was strange typing that.
And Pete says this mixing and matching stuff doesn't work? Ha says DT! Ha!

Angelos and MacPhail said that when the team got to the point where just a few players needed to be added to make this team competitive they would be active in order to acquire those players. If they do not this winter, they very well may lose the last of this fanbase once and for all. We can't take another year squandered.

Unless we markedly upgrade the offence at 1st and 3rd without losing anything on defence we are in for another losing season.

Yes Peter, you are the only one.

7th inning: 1 out, 2 men on, lefty on the hill, Nolan sitting on the bench, DT lets Pie bat(SO) then lets Feurantino bat(SO). Question: has Trembly got some kind of a death wish?

I'm not even beginning to think of next years schedule yet. I still want to see this team show some signs of life this year.
They took two of three from the Yankees and have staged a major comeback tonight.
Obviously it's waaaaay too late to make any difference in the final results this year, but when it comes to being optimistic about next season, I'll be much more impressed with a strong finish this year, even if it is only over the last couple weeks, than I am by a supposedly "soft" start to the schedule next year.
Let them finish strong the last couple weeks, and I'll worry about next season's schedule next season.

one out left, here comes the Rays!

The O's win. The O's win! The OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO's WIN!!!!!!!!!

ORIOLES WIN! Orioles win! ORIOLES WIN! Orioles win! ORIOLES WIN! Orioles win!

Well Pete, The O's are 1 for their last 1,
1 for their last 2,
3 for their last 4,
3 for their last 7,
5 for their last 10,
and only 2 games under 500 for sept.
Prediction: O's will split the non-sox games, and lose all three sox games. I know this is way more wins then the FO wants, but we can't lose 'em all.

Nice one all the way around. Berken righted the ship, I thought he (and the O's) was toast after the first inning. He's like a Timex, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Looks like Wieters is beginning to put it together at the plate. Also nice to see Luke hit one out (but too bad he couldn't do that when he had the bases loaded). Congrats to Roberts for a new team 2B record (let's hope he breaks his new record about 7-8 more times before the end of the season).

Nice defense by Pie and Izturis, especially that DP in the 9th.

One down note: Why is Samuel allowed to coach 3rd base? Have all the posters here got him so beat down, now "Windmill Man" won't send anyone?

Well Pete,
The O's are 1 for their last 1,
1 for their last 2,
3 for their last 4,
3 for their last 7,
5 for their last 10,
and only 2 games under 500 for sept.
Prediction: The O's will split all the non-sox games remaining, and lose all three sox games, to finish 5 games under 500 for Sept. I know this means way more wins than the FO wants, but we can't lose 'em all.

I think "soft" is a relative term compared to the way they had to start this year, not as in the teams themselves are soft, let alone compared to us. We can all agree there is a difference between the Mariners and the Angels right? OK, they both are better than the O's this year...haha, but you get my point.

As for Berken, the reasons that come off the top of my head include the fact that it was muggy/nasty and he's already pitched a full season of what he's used to, he had a chance to earn the win as opposed to the chance to get drilled the way Maddon let his guy take it, and there are 14 guys who need to be worked in pretty regularly to stay sharp so not using them actually limits their effectiveness the next time you really need them.

NormO's,

Not to be a total jerk, but how would you define a "rest" day? Also throw in seeing how guys who haven't been in Bmore very much react to getting to hit late in the clutch. After those reasons, then yes, I'd go with death wish.

Keith,

Do you ever legitimately get mad when the O's come back like that?

Hey jamie,

Could you set the bar any lower?

'only 2 games under 500 in september'? lol!

Wow, baltimore baseball is on fire. Thanks Jamie!

First time in a decade, it seems, that the O's have opened on the road. Hopefully it's a good omen.

Gutsy performance from Berken. I have no idea what type of pitcher this kid will be, but he is gutsy for sure.

Matt Wieters is sure looking good at the plate, as well as behind the plate. If you look at his first year, he has improved week to week and month to month. With his rookie year behind him, I expect that he will have the biggest production jump from anyone currently on the O's roster in 2010.

Felix Pie, was awesome with the glove tonight. He doesn't even look like the same player from game 1. No doubt, he's had a very good year in Baltimore.

What the hell is wrong with Juan? Does he know that it's the young pitchers that were shut down, not him? Are the O's, worried about damaging his arm with all those ill advised go home signs that they don't want him to hurt himself so it's now just station to station? I hope this guy isn't back next year and where is Anonymous? I thought he would have posted fire Juan.

I believe the Orioles opened on the road, in 2007. Before the Nationals came here, it was a given that the Orioles would open at home so the president could throw out the first pitch.

I am sure that a change may do them some good.

Birdlland Todd, Nice statements on Berken, Pie and Wieters. The team scored 10 runs tonight, and you are saying that Juan is not waving them home?

Hey Pete,

I'm sure you've probably had this discussion at some point on your radio show or something, but I was wondering how you feel about the unbalanced schedule in MLB (teams playing division foes more than non-division teams).

I'm a baseball player myself in my old age of 33 and I suppose more of a purist. But my thinking is, MLB ruined a lot of the aura of the game by playing regular season inter-league games and especially starting the unbalanced schedule.

Frankly, it's pure BS in my book. I'm fine with all the divisions now for playoff purposes, nothing wrong with getting more teams into the playoffs. But the unbalanced schedule is not fair on so many levels. For example, put the Orioles in the AL Central with an unbalanced schedule, playing those teams more, and we're probably a .500 ballclub vs. flirting with 100 losses in the AL East.

That's just one example, mind you. Others include the very likely possibility of having a team with a record just above .500 make the playoffs, while a team playing .600 ball in another division in third place not even make it. Granted, that could still happen with a balanced schedule, but it's a stronger possibility with an unbalanced schedule. Especially when teams in the cellar roll over in August when their season is clearly over, allowing their more dominant division opponents on top enjoy mopping up the wins (sound familiar, again, this year?).

In my mind, there's three things baseball needs to do to 'fix' the game:

1. Lose the unbalanced schedule. They played a balanced schedule for 100 years and it worked just fine (for those wondering what I'm talking about... all teams in the AL, for example, would play each other equally through the year. None of this play the Yankees and Red Sox 18 times and only play the Royals or Indians 10 times- or whatever the numbers are). Playing a balanced schedule would even everyone's chances a little bit better.

2. Ditch Interleague games. What a gimmick, money-making scam that is. I'm so disinterested in interleague that it feels like I'm watching scrimmage games when it happens. You might say that each division opponent plays the same interleague opponents year to year. Okay. But what if the AL East draws St. Louis, Philly, LA and Colorado and the AL Central draws Washington, Pitt, Arizona and San Diego? Advantage AL Central teams for that year.

Ditch interleague.

3. I'm sure everyone would agree with this one... IMPOSE A SALARY CAP. I don't care if the players sit for 5 years. This has to be done to save baseball, period. I used to be a diehard fan. Frankly, now, I don't even really follow baseball, at all. Even if the Orioles do get better and begin to contend, I might casually follow them a bit. But my passion for MLB has gone down the toilet thanks to the mockery the game has become with the unbalanced schedule, interleague games and out-of-control salaries.

Basically greed has ruined the game.

How do you feel about some of this stuff, Pete?

Thank goodness we have the Ravens. I bleed mostly purple, but there's still a little orange left in there. I'm hoping MLB wises up soon so I can balance that out some before it's all purple.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I would prefer a balanced schedule, but baseball did it for a couple of reasons -- to enhance rivalries and save travel costs. It has done both, but the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays are left between a rock and a hard place, with no escape in sight.

It's good to see Berken battle and come away with a win.

I think fans should not give up on Hernandez, though. He has gone through a rough stretch, but I believe this young pitcher has talent--and grit--too.

Great game, I'm waiting for all of the haters to go away like they proclaim they will.

Sorry it's not hard to see progress with the youngsters. If you can't see it, then yes give up your tickets. Maybe you should've done that during the Perlozzo or Mazzilli days.

There was no where near as much optimism for this franchise then. It's pretty cut and dry. We've had some young kids come up and demonstrate that they are ready for next year.

I'll let the haters count them out and then you tell us if we are in a position to not be respectable in years to come. Sick of the garbage being posted by a$$holes. Say one more thing about Eaton and I'll ask you where is he now (btw, a team that will probably win the wildcard in the NL signed him to give him a shot, no matter of the outcome of his tenure with said team.) K, thanks for playing.

Hey Pete-Any idea why the teams are releasing their '10 schedules so early? Is it so RedSox Nation can begin making their travel plans?

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Early? Didn't really notice that MLB did it any earlier than usual.

Peter-
Zreibecs column really scares me.
Here is why. If Macphail is not prepared to trade for the ALL-Star type 1b we need in this lineup, and trys to go cheap, like a Wiggington, Huff, type, and the reports that Boston is going to attempt to go after Fielder,...
We will NEVER win again. What happen to the franchise that went out in 1995 and signed Alomar and Palmiero, then later Davis.
The team that went out and signed Belle? Or, god forbid this bad luck happens, but even the team that went and traded for Glen Davis?
Or Frank Robinson?
The FINAL piece to this team's offense, the one that makes everyone else better, as Weiters and Reimold go into their sophmore years where usually players show double power increases, is that big legit feared bopper at #4.
I am scared to death we will try to bargain basement it and be talking all the same stuff next year at this same time.
If Fielder and Gonzales are on the trade market like everyone says they will be, the O's HAVE TO GO AFTER 1 or the OTHER!!!!
Tag a couple kids as untouchable, obviously Tillman and Matusz, probably Erbe and Arrieta, but there should be plenty to get a deal done.
This free agent class is pathetic, unless Reimold's injury is serious enough to warrant a move to 1b and they go after Holliday, there is nothing there.
It is TIME to pull the trigger like in 66 and 95.

As long as the O's schedule includes games that count in the standings, there is no such thing as a "soft" schedule for them. In fact, the other teams' fans would look at a schedule including the O's as a chance to rack up some easy victories.

Pete...thinking ahead about our outfield....

With Nick and Adam entrenched in right and center field respectively, and Reimold and Pie's glasses appear half full as both are making a case to become solid everyday players in left, do you feel that both will stick with the team in the long run?

Fans love Nolan and appear to be warming to Felix as he gains poise.

I guess the thought is if both these guys become A Type players won't it be difficult to keep both to serve as the fourth outfielder, as typically lesser talents suffice; and wouldn't the club want to leverage this "surplus" in some other way?
Thanks...

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I think they'll stick with both unless Pie's value explodes during the offseason, which I doubt is going to happen. He's much improved, but he's not opening all that many eyes outside of Baltimore.

Everyone is assuming that our outfield will contain Markakis and Jones and either Reimold or Pie. I'm hoping that it turns out this way, however I'm concerned with Jones' hitting after the All-Star break. Did the league catch up with him? Usually slumps don't last 2 months. Jones' defense was spectacular throughout his "slump".

Wayne's post is brutally accurate and sums up the current state of the team.

Now, I understand that there are some that would construe his comments and those many of us have made as negative and that we are fair weather fans.

That viewpoint is myopic considering the fact that we who criticize also support the team financially by attending the games. I went the last two nights because none of my employees were interested in our season tickets. Our AA team in Bowie draws more fans than were at the game last night. Sad.

Yes, there is reason for optomism, but the siren call of possible success in the distant future does not soothe what we have had to endure for the last 12 years.

As I have said before and contnue to say, the fans deserve better, and the better needs to be sooner rather than later.

Matt,

I would like to add they need to do away with the DH also in the AL! Your a purist, I am surprised you did not mention it.

Funny thing is with all the changes made, baseball had a nice run of the best attendance they ever saw.

Keep in mind that there isn't a team in baseball that wouldn't be thinking that they caught a break by being able to play the O's. We need to prove something before we talk about weak schedules. Right now, we ARE the week schedule.

Really we are in that mix, that is a no brainer. The fact is if your the Orioles who would you rather play, the Royals or the Yankees?

Pete never said that we were not included in that mix, he simply pointed out that the opponent is weaker than opening against the Yankees..

Wayne and Gil,

Thanks for telling it like it really is. You weren't so much negative as you both simply stated the truth.

Wayne, it is amazing how everyone talks about the Yankee's and Red Sox. I agree with you that until we can beat smaller markets, we shouldn't even talk about NY and Boston.

Yet, we get blogs about the schedule looking more in our favor next year. Truth is, and like wayne stated, the O's are the 'soft' part of everyone else's schedule. Look it up!

I did a little number crunching on the 2010 schedule.

I used the 2009 win-loss numbers (as of yesterday) for each team on our 2010 schedule, separating for home and away games.

Example:

New York Mets in 2009 are 36-36 at home= 0.500 home winning %. They are 27-45 away= 0.375 winning %.

I then multiplied these winning % times the number of games we are scheduled to play them next year (using the opponents' "away %" for games at Camden Yards and vice versa).

Here's what I found:

A team with the O's 2010 schedule would expect to win 78 games (out of 162) next year. Keep in mind I'm not looking at the O's head-to-head winning % with these opponents, as we haven't played some this year.

Now let's look at the AL East factor:

Of the 72 games scheduled for 2010, a team would expect to win only 33 of them. Again this ignores the O's actual results against the AL East, which at this writing is far worse.

Of the 90 non-AL East games, a team with our 2010 schedule would expect to win 45 of them. Keep in mind I'm using 2008 numbers, where the New York Mets away winning % is .375. This means that their opponents have a collective .625 winning % at home. Since we are playing 3 home games against the Mets, we should win .625 x 3 = 1.875 games against them next year.

As you can see I did not round off to the nearest integer the number of games we expect to win per opponent (e.g., "1.875 games" we expect to win against the Mets would be rounded to 2 games). Rounding the number of games we expect to win per opponent actually makes the numbers worse, giving us only 75 expected wins (33 for AL East, 42 for non-AL East).

So this schedule is daunting for any generic team, let alone the Orioles.


Oops!

A minor mistake. I said "Keep in mind I'm using 2008 numbers" when I meant 2009 numbers (as of yesterday).

Statman,

When do you find the time for this? Amazing, however you will have to run the numbers again in the spring. You cannot factor in enough data at this point, player shifts, trades, injuries, coaching changes and a lot of other factors. Nice job though. How long did you work on that?.

Hey Peter, watch what you say; you're starting to sound like all the whining ravens kool aid drinkers who annually whine about the "unfair" schedule and how the NFL is out to get to the whiny wavens. Now all the bloggers from those "soft teams" you refer to will start whining about how MLB is out to get their teams.

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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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