« My take: O's already looking ahead | Main | NFL: Labor pains getting closer together »

June 15, 2011

Orioles: Sleep come free me

Yeah, I'm pretty sure a lot of your are still gnashing your teeth over the way the Orioles battled back from a 4-1 deficit last night and then just waited around for the Toronto Blue Jays to hit them with a big stick in extra innings.

That makes 15 straight victories over the Orioles at Rogers Centre, which is pretty hard to do -- even against the Orioles.

Here's the good news. Koji Uehara gave up that game-winning home run to Adam Lind while you could still get to bed at a reasonable time. The alternative was to stay up all night waiting for the Orioles to get a clutch hit, and you would probably be sitting in front of the TV right now because they seemed determined to get a couple of guys on base in every inning and then lay their bats down.

Don't want to point fingers, but if the defense had been adequate in the early innings, Chris Jakubauskus would have given up only two runs over five or six innings. And if Mark Reynolds looks at another called third strike with runners in scoring position and less than two outs, I'm going to stick my head in the oven.

Okay, I understand that hitting is hard and sometimes you guess wrong at the plate, but with the go-ahead run at third base and one out, most guys swing at a ball that makes a perfect bulls-eye inside that little strike zone graphic they use on MASN. The second time was a borderline pitch, but two called third strikes with RISP and less than two outs late in the game and you're probably not wondering why the other team ends up celebrating at home plate.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:00 AM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Just baseball


Mark Reynolds is batting .204. So you can only hope that he will get the bat off his shoulder and swing it.

That's how you hit .200 and strike out 200+ times every year. Reynolds is being Reynolds and exactly the guy the Os signed.

I don't gnash my teeth anymore Pete, that only happens if you have some hope. I went to bed after the O's got out in the top of the 9th last night. I didn't even consider the possibility that they would win it. After watching them blow games just like this dozens (hundreds?) of times over the last decade or so, and close to a dozen times this season alone, there are no surprises anymore. When Matt hit the homer to tie it, I knew it was now or never. If they could score again and go ahead they'd have a chance, but after Pie died at 3rd, it was all over but the after game interviews. I only stuck around for the top of the ninth out of custom.
Maybe after another loss or two, they'll start looking like a real team again and real off 3 or 4 wins, but they'll follow that up with another string of losses and we'll be right back where we are. This team just isn't very good.
So, do you think Andy will be asked to return if the O's once again finish the season under .500?

Pete, your comments are right on about Reynolds watching call third strikes. I'd rather see Vlady's approach there.

While we're pointing finger, when is Buck going to do something about Andino and those dumb errors he makes trying to make sensational plays.

He's done it in the last two games and cost a run both times. The guy made 35 errors in AAA last year. I think they need to either let Bryan Adams play or go out a get a second baseman the doesn't cost us the game. With the young pitching we have, we need to be solid up the middle and we are, except second.

If the guys were hitting, we wouldn't be having these conversation but when every run counts big time, these errors are costly.

Pete,regardless of who the manager is this team still doesn't do the little things that are needed to win at this level. They don't advance runners when they have to, they make defenses miscues on balls that have to be caught at this level and they leave entirely way to many runners on in scoring positions. If you take a team like Tampa Bay for instance, i wouldn't say there starting 9 is any better then ours, but they have smarter palyers on there team then we do. There just seems to be a complete lack of fundementals on this team that continue to make it impossible to get over the hump.

Really you go after Reynolds and not Andino? Personal vendettas don't fit a "journalist" well, just ask that Ravens "reporter" you guys have.

Pete's reply: Personal vendetta? I like both those guys. They just didn't get the job done last night. This is professional baseball. They get paid to play well and they are big boys who can accept criiticism when they don't. I'm guessing both Reynolds and Andino were way harder on themselves after last night's game than I was on them.

I try to make sense of why teams have these crazy unimaginable winning streaks against the O's and all I can come up with is: Because they are an awful franchise up and down, that's why.

Show me a team that doesn't have some kind of record against our team. Even mediocre to bad teams like Toronto or Oakland. When you are as bad as the Os, everyone has got something on you.

I hear Viviano, Garceau and others on the radio keep saying that the O's are lucky to be where they are because of the setbacks they have suffered this year. Cry me a freaking river. What team doesn't suffer setbacks during a full MLB season? The Redsox played with their triple A team last year and still made the playoffs.

Look folks, it comes down to talent and leadership. The O's don't have either. Sparse average talent here and there with no leadership at the GM or ownership position.

I watched Reynolds take called strike 3, twice with men in scoring position. One of them was a 3-2 fastball RIGHT DOWN the FREAKING MIDDLE. This guy is lucky to make contact let alone hit home runs. His pitch recognition ability is worse than a little leaguer's. He guesses. The said part is that he leads the team in RBI. This is how pathetic this team is.

This is the kind of stupid stuff that makes me want to burn my Orioles hats and forget about baseball altogether. I recall Markakis calling out teammates last year for not playing intelligently at the plate, and this seems like the exact same stuff.

When you have RISP, less than two outs, and two strikes already on you, you should view the strike zone as effectively bigger. There is no way, in that situation, that you should take a called third strike, even if it is borderline. You know pitchers are going to nibble on the corners (and remember, YOU put them in the position to do that by falling into a two-strike count), so you have to swing at anything close, trying to either foul off anything bad or make decent contact with anything else you can. If you at least put the ball in play, there is probably a better than 50% chance that runner on third scores. Given that it happened multiple times, this was definitely the difference between winning and losing last night.

On Reynolds, I can't help but remember all those "A strikeout is just another out" evaluations when he became an Oriole.

Pete's reply: The odd part about that is that he has cut his strikeouts down by about 20 percent this year, but last night was really hard to watch.

You said exactly what I was thinking about Mark Reynolds. How can you watch fastballs down the middle of the plate with RISP and less than 2 outs? My only answer is that he must be guessing and got fooled. What begs the question of why are you guessing with 2 strikes? It seems that his swing is sooooo long that the only way he won't be ahead of the breaking ball is to guess. He really needs to go back to basics with 2 strikes and choke up or find something to shorten the swing so he doesn't have to guess. Unless there are 2 outs and none on, his approach only shows a low baseball IQ. Which brings me to my second comment. It seemed that when Buck arrived last year the baseball IQ of the team took a MAJOR jump in the right direction. Now this year it seems Buck has let up a bit and you see bone head plays on the bases and hitters with no clue of the situation at the plate. Buck really needs to tighten this up. Even if he has to have 1-on-1 with every hitter in the on-deck circle.

i have not been watching very much oriole baseball of late. i feel there is no need to watch such a pathetic team play. i watch the oposition play and they look like they have more will and heart to play the game. the orioles are starting to plan for 2012. i have read about prince fielder becoming a free agent after this season. many fans will say go after prince fielder. my feeling is, no forget about prince fielder for first base. i agree with one poster if ryan adams is supposed to be the 2nd baseman of the future why aren't the orioles playing hiim. robert andino sure cannot cut the mustard. also why is nolan reimold not playing. luke scott is a hinderence when playing left fiels with his shouldier situation. even though jj hardy is injury prone,sign him for 3 yeras and give manny machado some more time to develop. start looking for a replacement for brian roberts if the orioles are not going to play ryan adams. i think the biggest quesrion is, will andy maxphail be the president of baltimore baseball operations when his present contract expires.

beat me to it. i have supported Reynolds realizing that the difference between .200 and .250 over 500 ab is only 5 hits..a fair trade off for 30+ hr and 80-99 rbi. But last night was ridiculous..he didn't need a hr just a sac fly and the O's are home free (or at least until Gregg blws the save). you cannot take a down the middle pitch with the game on the lie. Pressley? what does he do?

Agree,,,, and getting tired of replacing Luke and/or Vlad for pinch runners when it's tied late in the game. Recent history shows we usually stay tied for several innings and seems like we always need Luke/Vlad-like at bats later in the game. And in this case I know Pie hit a nice little single but maybe Luke could've driven something.

Another game they should have won. This team needs a few contact clutch hitters that can drive in runs to win games.

The problem that the O's have is that they're in love. They're in love with Little Miss .500. Every time that they sneak up on her, and get just close enough to smell her intoxicating perfume, they go into an absolute swoon. They just can't quit her!

Pete's reply: I hate to admit it, but I agree.

The Orioles are just a very average team that beats bad teams but can not consistently beat good teams. Period. Many local announcers (Oriole paid most of them) completely overvalue our talent. That goofball Dempsey is so lost. After every game, he talks about how the Orioles lineup is as good as anyone. Who is he kidding? The Orioles batting is horrible. Horrible. Adam Jones is a stud. Weiters is decent at the plate. Hardy is decent. Vlady is ok. After that, good luck. With Markakis shrinking every year, how can these guys with a straight face talk about him like he is a great hitter? Please. A typical Oriole media over reaction was when Fox was sent out for assignment. Everybody assumed that we lost him and how bad that was that someone else would pick him up because he's such a good hitter and how we should have traded him, etc... And what happens? Nobody wants him!! The guys that we think are good, the rest of the league laughs at. Like Izturis. Like Andino. And like the worst of them all - Felix Pie. No way should Pie be on this team next year. No way.

With that said, there are some reasons for hope down the road: Machado, Bobby Bundy, Townsend, Dylan Bundy (if he signs) and a big sleeper in the system - Jonathan Schoop. And Esposito out of Vandy is a player to watch. Other than Wieters, Jones, (and Markakis if he ever bounces back to respectability) and some of the good arms (Britton, Matusz, Arrietta) it is bleak. That is why we lose to these good teams all the time.

I was flipping back and forth between the Nats game (a rarity) and that inning with Reynolds. Jason Werth gets up with bases loaded and two outs - the Nats just scored 4 to tie. He gets two strikes and then punches an opposite field single over the 2nd basemean's head. Reynolds stikes fly ball or opposite field swing. He swings THE SAME WAY every pitch, no matter the situation or the location. We got 2 sac flies earlier in the game..and never when we need it.

Good point Pete. When I was 10 years old, a kid on my baseball team watched 3 strikes go by. His dad, an inebriated lawyer, pulled him out of the dugout and screamed "Swing the bat". After that, we just used the acronym STFB if someone was watching strikes.

So a message to Mark Reynolds: If there are men on and a strike comes in, STFB.

The Orioles are obsessed with complaining about the Yankees and the Red Sox and they can't beat Toronto or Tampa, and both have much lower payrolls.

Pete, not only last night but last Sat. as well. I know he hit 2 homers in that game vs. Tampa but he came up in the bottom of the 9th. or 10th. tied, runners on 2nd. & 3rd., 1 out, infield in & could he hit a single to win it??? No. How about a sacrifice fly??? No. How about a hard grounder that a drawn in infield knocked down but could not make a play on? No.
How about a freakin CALLED 3rd. strike??? That's our boy!
Looks like he's learned alot about making adjustments.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Buck leave this collection of has beens & never wills real soon & go fishing with Connor.
The more I look at this roster & the talent (or lack thereof)they bring the more I realize what an actual horrible job McPhail has done over the past 4 years.
This organization is absolutely as bad now (top to bottom) as it was prior to his hire.
Pathetic...our one constant!

I, too understand that sometimes a hitter guesses wrong and looks like a fool. But only a fool is guessing with two strikes. Until you have two strikes, feel free to swing only at a pitch you are looking for and in the location you want it. But after two strikes, choke up on the damn bat and be defensive. Ever notice how good Brian Roberts is at fouling away pitches after 2 strikes? It's because he changes his hitting approach. The other guys might try it. At least they wouldn't strike out so much.

1 for 15 w/ RISP. Striking out and balls at ankle level or in the dirt (save for Reynolds, who let hittable pitches go by for strike three twice.)

This is far from the first time that the offense has given away a game that could/should have been won, in spite of problems with other facets of the game. We saw the same on Saturday (0 for 7 w/ RISP, I believe.)

Until the O's build an offense that can pound opponents (along with a pitching staff that can shut them down), we fans will be watching a team whose ceiling in their best years is a couple of games over .500, but whose reality is continuing to finish below .500. We deserve better.

at least Reynolds is over the Mendoza line


Any word on when this approval system is going to end?

I'm reluctant to post or get into a discussion because several of my posts never showed up here.

Thanks for the updates

Pete's reply: Dave, have yet to get a final answer on this. If I can change it back to the old way, I will, because it makes my life a lot easier.

When looking a Mark Reynolds Strike-out totals I expected a free swinging machine like Pablo Sandoval or Vlad...just worse contact ratios.

I did not expect to see a guy that can stand at the plate and take close pitches...some of which are more "there" than "close".

His offense I'm more or less fine with (it's as advertised/expected) but the Defense. The Defense that was pointed to as "better than average/gold glove cusp" is a total sham. 14 Errors on the season??!!??!! By mid-June??? It's not his reaction time to the hit balls, it's seems to always be his transferring the ball from the glove to the throwing hand. I think he's got the reaction time for the hot corner...but his internal clock seems a bit rushed. (and why has he gone back to the glove that had a ball caught in the webbing? That was one error, and he played with a new glove for a couple of games, and now it's back to that old glove. Fool me once...)

When is the Andino experiment going to end? I like the guy, but he's been asked to fill in now for an All-Star for a couple months. With Roberts and Izturis out for so long...but my gosh.

I'll second dave in glen burnie's comments. Please get back to the instant postings. (I know it's not you Pete, but more folks mentioning can only serve to move it along...right?...maybe not)

Why do I feel like Romero is gonna throw a 60-pitch shutout? Oh yeah, I'm an O's fan so I expect these things to happen every day.

No doubt this offense sucks, but when they signed Vlad, Lee and Reynolds it should have been a big improvement. Doesn't seem fair to completely dump on Mcphail for that.
This team just has a 13 year losing infection. Buck almost got rid of it but he seems to have lightened up like someone said. I think he should go back to his everyones job is on the line attitude. Just too many dumb plays or missed chances.

Just a suggestion, Pete: Instead of putting your own head in the oven, just put Reynolds head there.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "q" in the field below:
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.

Schmuck column archive

Upload a photo of yourself or a friend wearing the new Peter Schmuck T-shirt, which is on sale at

Most Recent Comments
Photo galleries

Search our new database for every home run hit hit by the O's and the opposition — home and away — since 1992.

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Sign up for FREE Orioles alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for Orioles text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Stay connected