Monday, April 30, 2007

Changes need to be made.

OK, something needs to be done about this team.

I know it's still only April, as the O's Kool-Aid drinkers on Orioles Hangout would say, but the offense has been dreadful for a majority of the season so far. They're still impatient. They still struggle against LHP. They still shut down late in games. They still leave too many players on base. And it's 2007. We knew all this stuff back in 2002.

No one thought that the Orioles offense would lead the league in slugging or on base percentage. But no on expected them to be this bad, either. They currently have a .713 team OPS.


I know that the Orioles have always had a streaky offense because they don't draw a lot of walks, so 6 out of the 9 guys in the line-up need to be hot for this offense to score runs on any given night. This team definitely isn't the Red Sox, who could score 3 runs just by drawing walks alone. But that is no excuse. This team has had problems with patience for years. And the only guy who has been here over that time span is hitting coach Terry Crowley.

To Crowley's credit, it's been said that he's helped players like Corey Patterson and Nick Markakis. But let's be real. Patterson is still a free swinging strikeout machine and Markakis would be a solid hitter even if I was his hitting coach. But if anything, working with Crowley has made Markakis a less patient hitter, something he definitely was not in the minor leagues.

If Kevin Youkilis was the "Greek God of walks", then Nick Markakis was his younger brother.

Not anymore.

It goes much deeper than just Terry Crowley too. It's Perlozzo, Trebblehorn, and Dempsey, or as I like to call it, the Good Old Boy Network. They are like the bulletproof lackeys at million-dollar corporations. No matter how shitty a job they do, the boss pats them on their head and gives them a promotion when they should be fired. But all this Good Old Boy Network has done consistently, is lose. And other than Angelos, who let's face it, isn't going anywhere, the GOBN is the one constant that has been here since the O's took their 9 year long nosedive in 1998.

Players, managers, and GM's may have come and gone since then, but the GOBN has remained. It's not all their fault, but I do believe they are a big part of the problem. After all, how are a bunch of coaches who have never won squat supposed to teach a team that has never won squat, how to win?

If Angelos really wanted to try and win without spending a lot of money, he wouldn't keep the GOBN around. He would fire them all, hire a manager outside of the organization, and allow that manager to hire his own staff, which hasn't been allowed since Davey Johnson was made manager in 1996.

But, Angelos feels comfortable around these guys, feels they will do what he tells them to do and won't ask many questions. After all, Angelos doesn't care about winning, he just wants to give families an affordable good time out on the town. Little does he know, that if the Orioles were winning, and still playing in Memorial Stadium, the place would be close to full every night and fans would be having the time of their lives.

Angelos doesn't need to spend a lot to win like the Yankees or Red Sox. But he does need to spend in the right places. And hiring the right people is the first step to doing it. But the people Angelos currently have in place deserve to be fired.

Hell, they all deserved to be fired 5 years ago.

So it's no wonder this team is following the same pattern they've held for the last few years. Jump out to a good start in April, then go on an extended losing streak, and then struggle to get back to .500 for the rest of the season, ultimately finishing 20 games out of first place.

The same people are running it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Comfortably Numb

I had to go back and edit my entry after the loss to the Yankees in the 5th game of the year a few days after I posted it. You know the one that ended eerily similar to tonight's loss?

I was ashamed to read what I had written.

So you should expect me to be dropping F-bombs and saying the "O's suck" but what is the point? I already knew that. And after your favorite team loses 3 games by giving up grand slams in 3 weeks, you kind of get used to it after a while. Yeah, I am pissed off right now, but it's not the "throw your remote control through the TV screen" kind of pissed.

It's more like the "crying like Darryl Hunt because you don't know what else to do" kind of pissed. Pure frustration. It's the kind of thing where you just shrug and shake your head and then turn the channel even though deep down you are screaming for help, for someone to hold you and whisper into your ear, "everything will be alright, baby."

But unless you have a wife that cares about how much emotion you invest in the Orioles, you are likely to look for comfort on message forums and call-in radio shows. But there are others like us out there. The numbers are getting fewer and fewer, as has-been fans turn to lawn care and other hobbies to spend the spring and summertime nights. I don't blame them. Shooting Round-Up at the weeds growing from the cracks in the sidewalks is much more fun than watching this team play right now. It's more productive too.

The bottom line is this. The Orioles baseball limbo is not going away anytime soon. Had the O's improved from last year, like we're prone to believe each April, they wouldn't have followed up an impressive 4 game winning streak (and winning 5 out of 6) with an equally unimpressive 4 game losing streak. They would have found a way to keep the momentum going. To stay above .500 for just one more day.

They would have found a way to beat good, tough teams like the A's and Red Sox at home. But no. Same old Orioles. On the road or at home, they just can't seem to get anything going. To show the big dogs that they aren't going to be their doormats anymore.

After tonight's loss puts us at 11-11, it's likely that the O's are below .500 by the weekend as they travel to Cleveland and Detroit. And then they might not make it over .500 again for the rest of the season. Let's see, it's almost May so that feels about right.

I'll still tune in from time to time, but with every heartbreaking, infuriating, frustrating loss, my patience grows thinner and thinner, and the weeds growing through the sidewalk are only growing thicker and thicker. Plus I saw a nice basket of pansies that would look great in my front yard. But where will I plant the hygrangas?

And that is how most people in Maryland spend their summer nights these days.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Reality setting in...

Since I was completely wrong about Melvin Mora starting in my previous post, let me get back to things I am absolutely sure of.

The Orioles are not a good team.

We've fooled ourselves in the past when we said that the Orioles were a mediocre team. Mediocre to me means going 81-81, or something close to that. But in the last 9 years the Orioles have rarely come close to going .500, so mediocre need not apply. Let's call a spade a spade, these past 9 years the Orioles have been downright horrible.

This year's team is mediocre.

We've seen that they can score runs over the last week or so, right up until the A's series earlier this week. We've also seen that those runs come in bunches, and usually against middle to lower-tier pitchers. Throw into the mix that the Orioles consistently falter against LHP and you've got yourself another season of struggling to get to the 81 win mark.

This team has problems, lots of them, even though we didn't want to see them as the O's took 2 of 3 from the Devil Rays and then swept the Blue Jays. Most of these problems have to do with the offense and the roster management, which I've talked about ad nauseam. There are only so many posts I can make about Jon Knott before people think I have a man crush on him. But the fact remains: Freddie freaking Bynum currently holds his roster spot. Then there are the mental errors, which always seem to happen at just the right time to cost this team a win or 2.

So there's not much else to say. This team just isn't good enough yet to challenge for the division, the Wild Card or maybe even .500.

That isn't to say that this season won't be interesting, or occasionally fun. The starting pitching will be better, although Erik Bedard is struggling to regain last year's form. The bullpen is still strong, even though they remind us time and time again that they aren't perfect. But the offense and the roster management are costing this team games plain and simple. And those games eventually add up.

Just like they say that every new day is a gift, so it goes with the O's. Every day above .500 is a miracle when you're a Baltimore Orioles fan. Enjoy it while you can. It probably won't last long.

Mental Mora

Remember when calling someone “mental” meant that you were saying they’re retarded? Well, the O’s are mental. At least they have been during the last 2 games.

Monday night, The Orioles were able to chip their way back into a game in which they trailed the A’s 5-0. With 2 runners on base in the bottom of the 9th, Corey Patterson failed to run on a weak single up the middle that would have scored the tying run. Then, later in that same inning, Melvin Mora got cute and tried to bunt Corey Patterson in from 3rd base, only to bunt the ball directly to Huston Street, ending the game.

The next day, Mora made 2 errors in a row even though only one of them will show up in the boxscore. Mora failed to cover 3rd base after a ground ball had gone between his legs allowing the runners to advance uncontested. The Orioles went on to lose 4-2.

One would think that Sam Perlozzo would use these errors and a mini-slump to justify benching Mora against Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox. But, as sure as Amber Theoharis hot, Mora will no doubt be in the starting line-up tonight.

And that’s the problem with the O’s right now. There is little to no accountability, and there hasn’t been for years. Do you think Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken, Sr. or Davey Johnson would have put up with these mental blunders? Hell, even mild-mannered Johnny Oates probably would have pulled Mora aside and given him the hard truth.

But not Perlozzo. Not these Orioles.

Peter Angelos once said he cared more about making a night at the Yard affordable for families than fielding a competitive team. And the little things add up to support that statement.

These Orioles wouldn’t bench one of their “star players” even if they brought a pillow out to their position and took a nap during an inning or two. No way! There are kids in Laurel who have lived all 7 years of their lives to see Melvin Mora play baseball, and Peter G. Angelos would be damned if he was going to deprive an innocent child of his dream.

After all, it’s why Brian Roberts was not traded during the offseason. It’s why Jay Gibbons was signed to an extension. It’s why Melvin Mora was given a no-trade clause. And it’s why Miguel Tejada will probably play out the remainder of his contract in an Orioles uniform, no matter how good or bad the Orioles are over that stretch.

But I digress. Spend too much time talking about the Orioles off the field and you are bound to get depressed quickly. But the Orioles could come back tonight and tomorrow, take 2 from the Red Sox and make us all forget about this disastrous Oakland series. But that A’s series planted some seeds of doubt into the heads of the fans. The O’s were finding new ways to lose again.

Will it do the same to the players? It’ll be interesting to see how the O’s respond against the powerful Red Sox, whom they beat only 3 times in 18 games last season. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team end up at 11-11 by Friday.

But one would just think that a team heading into a decade of losing would care more about playing hard than upsetting the egos of its players or catering to what they think fans want.

And for the record, the Orioles are 18-46 against the A’s since 2000.

Monday, April 23, 2007

O's on a roll...

So the O's just swept the Blue Jays in a 3 game series at home for the first time since 1994. That almost makes you forget that the O's did exactly what we all knew they would, and sent down Jon Knott when Jay Payton came off the DL.

Not that losing Knott hurt the O's this weekend, but it could hurt them in the future.

Teams battling for first place, even in April, can't have benches consisting of Chris Gomez, Freddie Bynum, and one of Paul Bako or Alberto Castillo. Yes, getting Jay Payton back will mean that either he, Jay Gibbons or Kevin Millar will also be on the bench on any given night, but imagine what this bench could do:

Bako/Castillo (when Ramon comes back one of them will be gone)

That looks pretty good to me. And with the pitching match-ups the O's will have over the next week, the O's are going to need every extra run they can muster.

OK, enough about Knott. There is plenty else to be excited about.

1. The pitching. While the starting pitching has been good, the bullpen has been excellent. The starters are keeping us in games that our offense can squeak out late in the game (like Friday night) when our bullpen takes over. The starters do need to go deeper into games, but with our bullpen, and the amount of pitchers we have in it, taking the starters out a batter or two earlier than normal might not be such a bad thing.

2. The offense. They seem to be a bit more patient, although they are not the Boston Red Sox quite yet. They've made pitchers work and are being more selective in the past. Let's just hope that keeps up when we face Haren, Schilling and Beckett later this week. Nick Markakis is turning into a clutch player right before our eyes. He was huge the entire weekend.

3. Chemistry. The team is never letting themselves get down, allowing them to always be in the game. Win or lose, they've been in almost every game they've played and with this bullpen, that is going to translate into wins.

After 2005, I'm still going to be worried about the bottom falling out, but at least this team has a good foundation of pitching going for it, which is something the 2005 team never had. Our starters are coming into their own and our bullpen is on shutdown mode.

Let's see if it holds up.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Getting Knott here is half the battle

Jon Knott has been huge since he was called up from AAA Norfolk earlier this week. In that time, Knott has gone 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI,
3 R, and 1 BB.

Now he needs to make it past the ominous roster move that will happen when Jay Payton comes off the DL soon. And anyone familiar with the Orioles knows that Knott is in danger of being sent back down to Norfolk so Freddie Bynum can stick around in Baltimore to bunt and play the OF in the 8th and 9th inning.

Oh, the horror.

Now compare Knott's numbers to Bynum's: 3-13 with 1 HR and 4 RBI since the beginning of the season.

Essentially, Jon Knott has equalled Bynum's production in only 5 plate appearances. But this should come as no surprise. Knott's .901 OPS in the minor leagues translates into production at the MLB level, it's just uncertain how much production that will mean. But you can be absolutely certain it will mean more production than Bynum.

And with Jay Payton coming off the DL any day now, the question remains: Who will stay and who will go?

This should be a no-brainer, but come on. This is the Orioles we're talking about.

While Bynum hasn't been as awful as expected, he is still a one-dimensional light-hitting speedster, and left-handed at that. And in a line-up that has consistently struggled against LHP and already has too many LH hitters in the line-up, Bynum just doesn't fit. He's basically a faster but worse hitting version of Corey Patterson.

Jon Knott can crush LHP and in only 5 plate appearances, he's already proven that he deserves to stay over Bynum. Knott might not be Willie Mays in the OF, but he is no worse than Jay Gibbons or Kevin Millar, who have both seen playing time in LF this season.

Bynum's speed and defense will be missed, but his weak hitting will not be. It's time we improve this team against LHP, or else we'll be hard-pressed to get above .500 for the first time in 10 years.

Are you hearing this Sam?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Silent but deadly

That's what it's like playing the Devil Rays in Tampa Bay. You think you're gonna go down there and sweep them, at least take 2 out of 3, and then the next thing you know, the Rays are handing you your ass on your way to the airport after taking 2 out of 3 from you.

I know the Devil Rays are a perennial doormat for the rest of the league, but for the Orioles, a perennial doormat themselves as much as fans don't want to admit it, the Rays are a formidable rival. And that shouldn't change anytime soon.

The Rays are finally reaping the benefits of finishing in last place for 9 straight seasons. They used their many first round draft picks to stock their farm system and it's finally paying off. They've got a young and speedy offense that should give Alberto Castillo and Paul Bako fits on the base path this series. It's still unclear whether Ramon Hernandez will play at all this series.

The Rays are still trying to find the young pitching to go along with their hitting, but as long as they throw a couple of LHP's against the O's, they should do pretty well, and the Rays have LHP's in Casey Fossum and Scott Kazmir going in the series, which doesn't bode well for the O's.

On top of that, Rays always play the O's tough, at least in their own backyard. They're like a Venus fly trap, slowly closing around its prey. The crowd noise (or lack of) lulls the O's to sleep. And when the O's are leading in a 3-1 or 3-2 game, suddenly other shoe drops and then BAM! -- they've lost the game.

Thankfully, the Rays no longer have Aubrey Huff and the O's no longer have Jorge Julio, who routinely served up meatballs for Huff to drill over the fence in the 9th inning for a win. Huff is now an Oriole, although O's fans may not want to admit it. Huff is struggling to find his groove and currently has a .707 OPS. But if there ever was a time for Huff to heat up, it's in his old stomping grounds.

The O's are also said be calling up RH OF John Knott for the series, but it's still unclear whether it will be Knott, who deserves to start against all LHP, or another scrubby speedster like Adam Stern or Ruddy Yan, who can run, but not much else.

If I weren't an Oriole fan, it would almost be comical, to sit back and watch as O's fans prepare to pad their record against the lowly Devil Rays in Tampa Bay, only to be surprised when the Rays have stolen 2 games from them in a 3 game series.

But it's not funny. In fact, it's downright pathetic. The Rays have routinely been the worst team in baseball since they entered the league in 1998, topping out at only 70 wins.

But then reality sets in.

While the Rays have been dreadful, so have the O's. And it appears that the Rays have found their rival, although the O's, and their fans, don't want to admit it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

So far, so good...

Going into the 2007 season, many fans were worried about the starting pitching, in particular, how the big three (Bedard, Cabrera and Loewen) would fare. Many also felt that Jared Wright and Steve Trachsel would be horrendous replacements for horrendous pitchers like Bruce Chen, Russ Ortiz and Rodrigo Lopez.

Well, outside of two bad starts from Bedard (on opening day in Minnesota) and Wright (2 days later), the starting pitching has been solid, all the way around. Trachsel has been the biggest surprise so far, pitching to a 2.63 ERA. Trachsel was a late substitute for Kris Benson when he went down for the season, and many thought his age and pitching in the AL for the first time would play a part in his decline. It still may, but Trachsel looks to be a decent replacement for Benson, and an innings eater that this team needs.

Coming in at a close second in the "pleasant surprise" department is Daniel Cabrera. Many were fed up with Cabrera's control, or lack of it, in his last 2 seasons, but in his first 2 starts, Cabrera has only walked 4 batters, and they all came in his first start. Has Cabrera's laser eye surgery helped him with his control? Well it looks that way. But it's still early. As Cabrera showed in his first start, he can still walk more people than he should, but he's also attacking hitters more, and challenging them to hit his stuff. In other words, it looks like he's finally got the confidence he needs to be a good, if not great starting pitcher.

Jared Wright succumbed to his usual arm problems, but not before wowing skeptical fans (myself included) with a solid 5 innings of work against the Tigers on April 10th. His status is up in the air, but it looks like it may not be as bad as initially thought. However, with Wright, you have to think that his arm problems will be a season-long problem. And it should come as no surprise either, since arm problems have plagued Wright for most of his career.

Erik Bedard came back from a shaky start of the season to hold down the Yankees after letting up 3 runs in the first inning, and looks to continue his success against the Royals tonight. Loewen has been solid, but is still walking too many batters (7 in 10 IP), and also needs to go deeper into games. When his stuff is on, however, it baffles fans as much as the opposing batters. If Loewen gets his control under... control, he could easily become the Orioles best pitcher.

I know it's only 10 games, and I know that guys like Steve Trachsel and Jared Wright are statistically average pitchers who are on the decline, but one can't help but be optimistic when looking at the pitching on this team. And for once, it appears as if the bullpen is not going to be a weakness either. Other than the disastrous loss in New York, the bullpen has been lights out.

Even if Wright is out for a long period of time, or becomes ineffective along with Trachsel, we've got a few guys in Jeremy Guthrie, Hayden Penn and Garrett Olson ready to step in make this rotation even younger and more interesting.

The hitting is another issue, but we all knew it would be streaky. Good pitching will easily shut this team down, and hopefully Hernandez and Payton will help the team improve against LHP when they come back from the DL. And hopefully the O's make the right move when they call up the minor league bench player they've been hinting at.

It's still going to be a long season, in my opinion, and I still think we'll be lucky to break even at .500. But from what I see, any problems this team is going to have this season is going to come from the offense, more than the pitching, which is encouraging in and of itself. Hitting is usually abundant in the offseason, and sooner or later, Angelos is going to have to put some of that MASN money to good use, especially if he knows that the pitching problem is pretty much solved.

So looking forward, the Orioles need to beat the bad team and play the good teams close. And in the end, maybe something positive can happen more than just player development.


After scoring 3 runs in 33 innings, the Orioles finally came through in the clutch and won a pitching duel for once, beating the Royals 2-1 in 10 innings.

If there's anything to get encouraged about the Orioles for, it's their pitching, which has only suffered 2 or 3 bad games out of 10. The starting pitching has been solid all the way around, with Steve Trachsel being the biggest surprise. Having come off a year in which he pitched to a 4.97 ERA for the Mets, Trachsel has had 2 quality starts in a row (2.63 ERA), and carried a no-hitter well into the game last night. Much can also be said about the bullpen, which has shaken off the loss in New York and come back to shut down opposing teams late in close games.

But the thing to be worried about, and greately, is the offense. The O's actually had 12 hits last night, but they also grounded into 3 double plays and left 8 men on base. Collectively, the team is hitting .226 and has an ominous OPS of .666, which is fitting, because it feels you're trapped in hell watching this team hit.

There have been rumors that the O's will call up a player from Norfolk after this Sunday's game, but why wait? The team clearly needs offensive help now and bringing up John Knott would help a lot. Knott bats right-handed for one, and would bring some balance to a line-up that had 6 of it's 9 hitters batting from the left side of the plate last night. As it currently exists, the bench offers no help in this department, with Gomez being the only decent RH bat.

There is always worry that Perlozzo will fumble the ball again, and call up a speedy utility player like Brandon Fahey, Ruddy Yan or Terry Tiffee, but I think the verdict is in. We need more offense and John Knott is the no-brainer right now.

Plus, it's unclear when Hernandez and Payton will come back from the DL, but the word is "soon" for both. Hernandez may be back for the Tampa Bay series, but we all know how players who appear ready to come off the DL mysteriously end up back on it again.

So if I sound redundant, it's for good reason. This team is in desperate need of some offense and a RH bat and John Knott will help in both areas. It's time to see what he can do. And it's time to stop wasting good pitching performances by scoring some much needed runs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


If you've been following this team for the last few years, then you'll know that the Orioles usually sleepwalk through games in which they face a good pitcher. They'll go to the plate, swing at pretty much everything, and then shake their head on the way back to the dugout after striking out, popping out or grounding out weakly.

So it should come as no surprise that the Orioles scored 1 run in 12 innings last in a loss to the Detroit Tigers, who took the series 2-1. That now puts the Orioles run total in the last 2 games at 2 runs in 21 innings.

But what makes these losses so disappointing is that the pitching has been pretty much lights out. Jared Wright and the bullpen did an excellent job on Tuesday, holding the Tigers to 1 earned run. Then Adam Loewen pitched out of a few jams, and the bullpen did their jobs until the 8th man in the bullpen, Kurt Birkins, came into the game, and promptly gave up a grand slam to lose the game. Welcome to Baltimore, Kurt! Glad you're here!

That brings us to Birkins, who is the most redundant player on the team. He's the 8th man in the bullpen, and other than an extra-innings game, there was almost no chance that he would get into a 9 inning game. Hell, he didn't even deserve to pitch in last night's game, being the most recent call-up with the game on the line in the 12th inning. The relievers all did an excellent job, but were yanked for some reason after pitching only one inning each. I don't know what Perlozzo is thinking sometimes, and last night was no different. Relievers can go more than 1 inning, Sam.

So chalk up another WTF moment for Perlozzo, who is quickly becoming the weakest member of the Orioles. He'll never be fired because he's Angelos' meat puppet, so if the Orioles are going to make any progress this season, it's going to have to be in spite of Perlozzo's damaging moves, roster management and otherwise idiocy.

The Orioles face the Royals for a 4 game series, and then travel to Tampa for 3 against the Devil Rays, so one could say that the break in the tough schedule couldn't have come at a better time. But think again. The Royals and Rays are much better than they have been in the past, both teams filled with some good young talent. Their pitching may still be suspect, but at the rate the O's are swinging their bats, you don't know what to expect from them. God forbid any of the pitching they face in the next 7 games are left-handed.

The good thing is that the O's have faired well against bad pitching so far this season, but who knows now. The Orioles are 3-6, swinging the bats like they're riddled with holes, and their defense is always ready to make a mistake to blow the game.

Orioles magic. Can you feel it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Left behind

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the Orioles roll up like a potato bug being poked and prodded by an annoying kid when they face LHP.

The result was no different tonight, as Nate Robertson beat the O's like they were his [insert Don Imus racial remark here]. Man, I seriously need to start betting against the O's when they face a LHP. Now can someone explain to me how I bet on baseball? What's a run line?

Anyway, tonight's loss featured a bunch of things that were going to happen sooner or later, based on the way this team is designed.

1. The O's struggled against LHP. The O's may as well have been swinging with their dicks tonight. Talk about your basic M & Mer.

2. Jared Wright was taken out after hurting himself. The shame of it is, he pitched really well tonight. I'm not saying I want to see him miss a few starts, but the O's should make the right move and get Hayden Penn in Baltimore ASAP if Wright has to miss a start or 30.

3. The Orioles made a costly error. After Scott Williamson fanned Gary Sheffield with no outs and the bases juiced, he induced Carlos Guillen into hitting a patented double play ball that Roberts threw into the dirt and Millar came up empty, allowing 2 runs to score. That error didn't hurt (hey, you gotta score at least 1 run to win, even if the other team doesn't) until Corey Patterson hit a solo bomb off Joel Zumiya in the bottom of the 8th. Hey Angelos, Marcus Giles wouldn't have skipped that ball across the dirt like a kid skipping stones on a pond. Just kidding, just kidding.

4. The Orioles were forced to bat a scrub catcher because their bench still blows. Yep, Alberto Castillo was the sacrificial lamb offered to Zumiya right after Patterson homered. Talk about a rally killer. If ever there was the time to use John Knott, Jason DuBois or J.R. House as a pinch hitter, then this was it. Castillo looked about as poised as a deer in headlights out there. I hope having Kurt Birkins as the 8th pitcher in the bullpen was worth not having a power RH bat here, Sam. But man does Kurt look nice in that O's jacket!

So hey, there isn't too much to complain about in this loss, because we all knew the game was pretty much over before it began, but it would be nice to see the O's realize that the last 2 pitchers in the bullpen are getting free money. Guthrie hadn't pitched since opening day and who the hell knows when Birkins will get into a game.

And as much as Angelos is a stickler for money, I'm surprised he hasn't buzzed Perlozzo and told him to make sure the pitchers in the bullpen at least do some chores to earn their money while they aren't pitching.

I hear Pete's limo needs another coat of wax.

Who thought I'd be this blahzay after a loss, sending the O's to 3-5? Let's just say I can see the future.

The O's can erase this loss with a win tomorrow, which looks like it'll be another pitching duel (Verlander vs. Loewen) but hey, we'll probably lose that one too.

Now excuse me, I've got to call my bookie.

3-4 Defense

As usual, the Orioles played well and won their first game in Baltimore for the 7th time in a row. The temperature was cold but the bats were hot, and Daniel Cabrera was scorching.

7.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K.

Cabrera threw 120 pitches, 70 of them for strikes. That also means that 50 of them were balls, which may be more than you'd like to see from Cabrera, but he made every pitch count. It's even more encouraging to see him throw that many balls, and still not walk a batter. And while Cabrera has gotten off to a good start after usually taking a few starts to find his groove in the past, it's not time to anoint him as another ace. Cabrera needs to string together 3 more starts with good control, like his last 2, to get me to believe that he is a new and improved, more accurate Daniel Cabrera.

I'm not saying that he has to come out and put up zeros every time he pitches, but he has to maintain his control. Because if Cabrera does that, he'll be an excellent pitcher.

Back to the offense: the Orioles had 10 hits and have scored at least 6 runs in their last 4 games. No small feat for an offense that is going to be very streaky this season. They're definitely on a hot streak right now. But that has more to do with the O's having faced Kei Igawa, Darrell Rasner and Chad Durbin in their last 3 starts than anything else. So let's hope this hot streak lasts because there are really only 8 "hitters" in the O's line-up and the opposing pitching isn't going to be this bad all season.

But regardless of who has pitched against them, the Orioles have won 3 of their last 4 games, all coming against the Yankees and Tigers, 2 post-season teams from a year ago. And let's face it, a win in Yankee stadium would still be wonderful, even if the Mayor of Cincinnati was pitching against them.

One could still go back to last Saturday's devastating loss to the Yankees and spoil the current "good" feelings surrounding the O's, but to their credit, the O's bounced back from that loss and have shown that they can move on from such setbacks.

However, the O's managed to end losing streaks before they began last season, mostly because of Erik Bedard, and then promptly started them up again afterwards. So until the O's actually put an impressive wining streak together, I'm just going to enjoy the wins as they come and not think too hard about the future.

Today they sit at 3-4 as they start to face the meat of Detroit's starting rotation. Tonight they face LHP Nate Robertson, and we all know how the O's do against LHP. Even worse, the O's send out Jared Wright to the mound. Yikes.

And tomorrow they face Detroit's best pitcher last year, 17 game winner Justin Verlander.

So one can't help but get a little excited about the Orioles as the bright spots on the team shine a little brighter, but it all comes back to this. In 2005 the Orioles were first place for more than 60 days. Many people, myself included, had bought into them. They were finally going to be in the thick of it this season. I was even wondering if my European vacation in October was going to conflict with a possible Orioles post-season appearance. Silly me. The bottom fell out in June and the Orioles ended up losing close to 90 games amidst so many off the field problems that the O's looked like an NBA team.

So when can one allow themselves to get excited about this team? Today? This weekend? May? June? July? For me, it's always better to be winning early in the season as opposed to losing, but when you're the O's, you're always going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hell, the O's could be 5 games up on the Yankees on the last day of the season and somehow I'd think that we could still finish behind them.

And while the Orioles have looked good in their last 35.2 innings, there is still a lot of baseball to be played, and a lot of things can still go wrong.

So root hard, but always beware that disappointment is waiting around the corner.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sam's favorite movie? Clueless.

After wasting a roster spot for a week on an injured Ramon Hernandez, who we all knew was going to spend some time on the DL, Sam Perlozzo and company did stupid thing number 367 so far this spring.

They called up Kurt Birkins, mediocre journeyman relief pitcher extrodinaire, instead of calling up John Knott or J.R. House, the power hitting minor leaguers who have never been given a chance at the MLB for no reason.

After a while, you just expect the Orioles to do dumb things and I've been expecting dumb things for a long time. I think it's been since about 2000. Yesterday's gut-wrenching 10-7 loss to the Yankees was a prime example of just that. But that was on the field. That dumb mistake was on the players. Roster management shouldn't be so hard. You're not competeing with anyone, unless it's yourself. And we all know that the Orioles love to compete with themselves. Maybe that's because it's the only way they can win.

More than half the players on the 25 man roster are pitchers! It's not like our rotation has done a horrible job eating innings. Bedard and Wright did, but Cabrera, Loewen and Trachsel all did well in that department. Maybe if Perlozzo wasn't so intent on labeling his bullpen (Baez, you're the set-up man. Ray, you're going to save every game. Walker, you're the LOOGY), yesterday wouldn't have happened.

Our bench still consists of Chris Gomez, Freddie Bynum and one of Paul Bako or Alberto Castillo, who are hitting a combined 4 for 25 (.160 AVG). Now would have been the perfect chance to call up John Knott, a right-handed hitter who could spell Jay Gibbons in LF against LHP. Or J.R. House, who would have given us the perfect chance to jettison one of Bako or Castillo. (Unfortunately, the best of the bunch, Jason DuBois is on the DL.)

Now J.R. House isn't known for his defensive prowess but at least he can make-up for what he lacks on defense in the hitting department. So far, Bako looks shaky behind the plate and at the plate, not to mention he's a left-handed hitter, something this team needs less of, so he'd be the one I shitcan first.

Bako is just another example of the Orioles competeing against themselves. They paid $900,000 for Bako, a catcher who isn't wanted by most AAA teams. However, the O's paid almost double what they needed to for him, and then signed a better defensive catcher in Castillo for the league minimum when Hernandez came up gimpy on opening day.

The O's also did this with Payton, spending $9 million on him when they could have signed Jose Cruz, Jr. for $500,000 like the Giants did, and inserted him into the line-up against LHP, which he hammers just as well as Payton, if not better.

But I forgot. Payton is going to be our starting LF. Silly me!

Anyway, the Birkins move seems like a knee-jerk reaction from yesterday's loss. They think they need more bullpen help, but what they need to do is not be so strict with the roles of the bullpen pitchers. Baez doesn't have to pitch every 8th inning, and when he struggles to throw strikes, take him out. Ray doesn't have to save every game, especially when he's pitched the night before and has a terrible track record against the Yanks.

The bullpen will be fine as long as Sam rolls with the punches, but it appears as if he's OK just standing there while he gets pummeled in the face.

So it all comes down to roster management, and again, the O's are showing you why they're a horrible team. They can't do anything right, whether it's on the field or off it.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

5...4...3...2...1... SELF DESTRUCT!!!

Talk about a night and day difference.

Last night, the bullpen did what they were supposed to do, take over after the offense had given them a lead and hold the game for a W.

Today, the bullpen picked up a shotgun to shoot down the enemy and accidentally had the gun pointed at themselves when they pulled the trigger, blowing their brains out all across Yankee stadium.

What a disgrace this game was. This team is quickly becoming a disgrace too. Screw that, they are one already. They suck.

The O's started off well, making Kei Igawa embarrass himself as he walked batter after batter and gave up hit after hit. He looked like he belonged on the Orioles, truth be told.

The score at one point was 7-2 O's. But then the O's offense fell asleep on the job, thinking their day was over, and the Yankees (big surprise here), chipped away at the lead, making it 7-3 and then 7-6 after Danys Baez walked 2 batters and then gave up a 3-run shot to Jason Giambi. Jamie Walker came in and cleaned up Baez's shitty mess, preserving the lead for the time being. Me thinks Baez is going to be this year's Steve Kline or Mike DeJean.

But after Markakis lead off the inning with a basehit off of Mariano Rivera, the O's went down 1-2-3 like usual. Then Chris Ray came into the game for the save, like he had done the night before. All he needed to do was retire the 8, 9 and 1 hitters. It's not like he was facing the meat of the order. Well, at least not to begin with.

Chris Gomez saved a double off the bat of Doug Mientkavich, but it was only prolonging the inevitable. Ray struck out Melky Cabrera and then the trouble began. Robinson Cano had a basehit up the middle. Then the O's had their chance to end it after Derek Jeter amazingly didn't get his way for once after acting like he had been hit. But then Ray walked him so I guess Jeter did end up getting his way after all. Then Ray hit Bobby Abreu for real to load the bases. And then with a 1-2 count, Chris Ray served up a meatball to A-Rod and he crushed it to the deepest part of the stadium, dead center.

Ballgame, folks.

Again and again, the O's find ways to lose games. Whether they are up small, or up big, they are pissing away games like last night's leftover beer. Year after year, game after game, no matter who is on the roster, the endings are looking more and more alike.

I know playing in Yankee stadium is tough. I know that "statistically" we still have a chance to win the series. But screw that. We could have easily swept the Yanks with the pitching match-up we have tomorrow and come home at 3-3, erasing the stale opening series against the Twins.

Now we're guaranteed a losing record on opening day, which still means little this early in the season, but then again, it means a lot. We're losing the games we normally lose in July and August in April. Plus this team acts like getting back to .500 is like climbing Mt. Everest in Borat's lime green bikini without oxygen.

So even at 1-4, this team is going to struggle mightily to get back to even for the rest of the season. Hey that rhymed!!!

I know some homers will say that "we're getting these kinds of losses out of the way early" but somehow I don't think that's the case. I think we're going to be losing these kinds of games all season.

Same old O's.

Being wrong never felt so... good.

For those of you who hang around on the forums at Orioles Hangout (, you'll know me as the "doom and gloomer" NewMarketSean. You'll probably also know that my signature is "I hope the Orioles prove me wrong."

Well last night I was wrong. And when it comes to the O's, it feels good to be wrong, because it seems to rarely ever happen.

So for those of you who love to gloat everytime I am wrong about the Orioles winning a game, I've got you beat. In these cases, nothing feels better than being wrong. Believe it or not, I am still a fan, even though that glass of Natty Boh I've always got in my hand never seems to waver from it's half-empty status.

Anyway, about last night's game, it's about time that a game went according to the Orioles' plan. They got an early lead, and were able to hold onto it by using their new high-priced bullpen, in New York no less.

I still believe that the O's are going to need more offense to be able to do this kind of thing consistently, but it's good to know the bullpen is there to take over on the rare occasion that our offense has staked them to a decent lead. Because, like we saw in the Twins series, it's going to need to be a leader bigger than just one run, and I don't think this offense is capable of doing that consistently.

Friday, April 6, 2007

It still hurts...

Tonight the O's play the first of 3 against the Yankees in New York and an old familiar friend will be taking the mound against his former team. Mike Mussina.

I don't know what's worse. Watching our former ace pitch well late into his career as a Yankee, or hearing Yankee fans chant "Moose" like they invented it.

It's been almost 7 years now, but that doesn't ease the pain of watching the Orioles best homer-grown player since Cal Ripken, Jr. pitch for the most hated team in professional sports. Mussina could have become a communist, moved to China, declared war on America and it still wouldn't be as bad as watching him scatter 3 hits over 7 innings against the Birds like he's sure to do tonight.

Mussina must have really wanted to stick it to Angelos when ol' Petey dicked him around in contract negotiations after the 2000 season. I don't blame Mussina for leaving, but I do wish he would have considered the fans feelings before he decided to do about the worst thing he could have done to O's fans that offseason.

And while having to watch Mussina dominate the Orioles every time he pitches against them is a punishment that Angelos deserves, I just don't believe Angelos cares. Let's face it, Angelos believes that he is right in whatever he does. He's a megalomaniac to the nth degree. He believes that he's right in letting Mussina go. He believes he's right in forcing Davey Johnson to resign. The examples go on and on and I don't have enough space in this blog to list all the examples of how Angelos is the worst owner in professional sports. Maybe not the worst, but definitely the most destructive.

Anyway, the fans, however, do care and they're the ones bearing the brunt of this disaster, and have been, ever since Mussina left town. Mussina leaving wasn't just a bad thing, something you think about every now and then when highlights of his last game appear on ESPN. Instead, it ruined O's fans. It made them turn on Angelos and not care about the team. It had an impact that is immeasurable, the way that no one can ever really know how many people a nuclear bomb kills.

Had Mussina vowed not to sign with another AL East team, like Andy Pettitte did when he left the Yankees in 2003, I think this whole thing would have blown over by now. We could have at least said "Mussina did the right thing. At least he cares." Watching Mussina pitch for the Padres or Diamondbacks would be much easier to do.

That would be like your wife leaving you and moving to Hawaii with her new man. Yeah, she left you and that blows, but at least she's out of the continental U.S. Out of sight, out of mind. But in New York, Mussina is like the wife who leaves you and shacks up with your asshole neighbor. You know the one who has to have everything you have, but bigger and better. And oh yeah, he brags about it every chance he gets. In an annoying New York accent. But even worse, your ex leaves the curtains open so you are forced to see every naked thrust and hear every moan when they are doing the nasty.

By doing this, Mussina opened himself up to become the enemy. As soon as he put on the Yankees cap in his press-conference -- he became the enemy, and Angelos was just another bad owner. People wanted to see Mussina fail, yet they continue to pay good money to watch the O's lose games they should win. O's fans cheer when Mussina doesn't win a ring with the Yankees while the Orioles finish the season 25 games out of first place.

In the end, Angelos got what he wanted. And he believes he's right.

But Mussina is not the bad guy, even as he suits up in pinstripes tonight against his former team. Angelos is.

And yes, that's 2 examples of women leaving a man in a handful of posts. Have I been scorned by a woman? Amazingly no. But watching Mussina in pinstripes face a weak-hitting Orioles team tonight, I sure do know how it feels.

Pete must have really pissed you off, Mike. I just wish you would have considered the fans before you left the curtains open.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Home Sweet Home...

Regardless of the O's record when they arrive in Baltimore for the home opener on April 9th, the seats at Camden Yards will be full.

At least most of them.

Say the O's come home with an 0-6 record. If that happens, I'm willing to bet that some people would rather waste the $40 they spent on the ticket and stay at work rather than marching to the slaughter that is the O's taking on the AL Champion Tigers.

I don't blame them.

But for what it's worth, Opening Day in Baltimore is usually the best experience of the year at the Yard. The game is sold out (or close to it) and the crowd cheers loudly -- sometimes without even being told to! Plus, the O's usually put on a good show, having won the last 6 home openers they've played in Baltimore. Just don't expect me to clap and cheer for Paul Bako, Alberto Castillo, and Freddie Bynum when they're introduced. When that happens, I'll probably be quietly reflecting about how a $5 can of Natty Boh is a steal of a deal compared to the other $7.50 "beers" sold at the Yard.

But what is going to be depressing is the night and day difference that will occur from April 9th to April 10th. Barring a miracle that has the O's winning the series in New York or (!!!) sweeping the Yanks, the O's are going to come home with a 1-5 or 0-6 record. Not exactly a sign that the season is over, but hardly reason for more than 5,000 people to trek down to Baltimore in the middle of what appears to be a cold front (where the hell did this come from? I just put my deck umbrella up!) to watch a 0-7, 1-6 or 2-5 team play losing April baseball.

What I'm trying to say is that the O's are in for a wake up call this season. Peter Angelos loves the color green, and he's going to get a lot of it by way of empty seats at the Yard. Attendance has dwindled from the $3+ million that the O's regularly drew in the years after OPACY opened, to the paltry $2.1 million it was last year.

Expect it to drop south of the $2 million barrier if the early losing keeps up.

And while I would normally say that this would be a wake-up call for the owner of such a team experiencing a drastic drop in attendance, I'm pretty certain that Angelos will do nothing about it.

No apologies will be made, no admitting a mistake, nothing of that sort. Instead, he'll simply blast the fans that attend organized protests and claim that next year will be different, like he has done for the last.... how many years has this been now?

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2007 Baltimore Orioles!!!

Same shit, different season...

Unless you've been stranded on Dobbins Island for 10 years, and have avoided the people who climb up the hill to drop a deuce, you'd know that the Orioles are free-falling toward their 10th consecutive losing season.

Let's face it, the Twins, one of the best teams in all of baseball, stomped a mud-hole in the Orioles. The Birds were in oh... say 5 innings of the 27 played in the whole series. Yeah, I know they lost 3-2 on Tuesday night but let's face it, when you're sending up Freddie Bynum to pinch-hit against Joe Nathan, you might as well be losing by 10. And even in the earlier innings, when they were down by only 1-run, did you really think their offense would be able to get that 1 measly run back? They're averaging 2.6 runs a game for crying out loud!

So the O's are 0-3 to start the season. The first time they've started the season 0-3 since 1995. Sidebar. Ahhhh, remember 1995. That year my friends and I used to call the Orioles the "Borioles, the whorioles, the non-scorioles" because they were very mediocre what with Phil Regan at the helm and Brett Barberie at 2B. Now I'd give my left nut for a 71-73 record and Brett Barberie on the bench. And I'm pretty sure that Regan would be an upgrade over Perlozzo. If we only knew what lied ahead in the next 12 years...

Anyway, what is even more telling than the 0-3 record, which let's face it, is easily surmountable with a well-placed winning streak, are the errors and mistakes this team has been making for the last 7-8 years.

Players come and go, but the results are still the same...

1. No patience at the plate. Every time I see someone swing at the first pitch and then pop it up to the SS I want to fucking shoot myself in the head. Whatever happened to making a pitcher work for an out? Whatever happened to "a walk is as good as a hit?" Christ, I learned that when I was playing T-ball, and there weren't even walks in T-ball! And you even got snow-cones after losses!

2. Walks. It's still early, yes... but so far the O's have given away 13 base on balls -- which is already 4th most in all of baseball. The O's must really want to get that "most walks allowed" award they got last year again, because it's the only thing they're doing well. I thought Leo Mazzone was supposed to help our pitchers, especially Jared Wright, Mazzone's personal reclamation project, who walked 6 batters on his own in only 2.1 IP. Wake me when that happens, will you?

3. Errors. Whether it's over-running pop-ups in foul territory, mis-playing routine ground balls, or trying to throw out a crawling base runner from your knees, the O's are making plenty of mistakes, whether they be physical or mental. Remember Javy Lopez running past Tejada last year, which turned Lopez's 2-run HR into a solo shot? Remember Todd Williams' intentional walk that turned into the game winning hit? Remember Melvin Mora tagging up on a fly ball to the SS and getting thrown out at home to end the game? I do, but the Orioles obviously don't because they're making those same kinds mistakes again. Dumb mistakes that even good high school teams don't make. And remind me because sometimes I forget when watching this team, this is the major leagues, right? And players who are paid millions of dollars shouldn't be making these kinds of mistakes, right? RIGHT???!!!!

I could easily go into the make-up of the roster again, a subject that gives me no shortage of pleasure discussing, since it's such a one-sided argument -- much like laying into your girlfriend after you just saw her make out with your best friend -- but no, I've already discussed that.

The bottom line is this. If players come and go, but the same shit keeps happening, who is to blame? Let's take a look... the only people to be here longer than a few years during this decade long losing streak are... Sam Perlozzo and Terry Crowley (which by the way is unfortunately NOT the Terry Crowley that Vic Mackey killed in The Shield).

So when are their heads gonna roll for this sloppy play?

If I were a betting man, which I am, I'd say that either of these guys should consider themselves lucky to make it through to the end of the season with a job.

As much as I loathe Peter Angelos, even he is not responsible for the circus-like antics the O's put on every night.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Wright is wrong... BITCH!!!

It's 6-0 Twinkies in the bottom of the 4th inning as I type this and somewhere, Bill Paxton from Aliens is yelling in that whiny voice, "Game over, man! Game over!!!"

How right you are, Bill. How right you are.

After only 2.1 IP, I've seen enough of Jared Wright to last me a lifetime.

6 BB's, 4 H, 4 ER.

What a line.

If that line was made of powder and sitting on a small mirror I might be compelled to snort it and then mournfully mumble to myself a la Tony Montana. But I would not be grieving over Manolo, no, I would be grieving over the winning season I thought the O's could have this season.

But 3 games into the season or not, with each full count, with each first pitch swinging pop-up, with each mental and physical error, my hopes for a winning season are being dashed about as quickly as Britney Spears went from hot POA to a bald DOA.

And finally, why must we always have a fat pitcher on our roster? I thought we had gotten rid of Ponson because of his poor work ethic amongst 40 other things. Jared Wright, who looks like a frat boy who had one too many Miller High Lifes during his 7 years in college to NOT become a doctor, is a walking candidate for the DL. And after tonight's pitiful performance, I wouldn't be surprised to hear Jared start whining about a sore rotator cuff.

Afterall, those buffet trays DO get heavy when they've got ten pounds of food piled on them.

Here's a thought. Let's only sign or trade for pitchers who take care of their bodies from now on, OK? If these guys don't care about their weight, how the hell are they going to care about their ERA? Unless they want to eat it?

Thank God we didn't trade an in-shape pitcher to get this fat bastard.

WTF is Perlozzo thinking???

You know how they introduce the opposing team's line-up before the game and the home crowd yells "Suck!" at the top of their lungs after each name is said over the PA?

Well, O's fans could easily do the same thing to the bench players come opening day on April 9th.

I'm talking about the Orioles bench players of course...

Freddie... Bynum... SUCKS!!!

Paul... Bako... SUCKS!!!

Alberto... Castillo... SUCKS!!!

Now I'm not one to boo the home team, but I do reserve the right to do so when they deserve it. And while I won't boo these players come April 9th, I will be mentally booing the O's management for giving these players a roster spot to open the 2007 season.

You see, the Orioles didn't just fill out their bench with has-been veterans and middle-of-the-road journeymen like they've been prone to do in the past. No, we could only be so lucky if we had some of the scrubs we've had in the past on this year's bench.

This year they really went for it, really strove for something that would get people talking. And not just O's fans...

Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus wrote about the Orioles bench, "I'm confident that the 2007 Orioles start the year with the worst bench in 25-man roster history. You probably have to go back to the days of 18-man rosters to find a worse one."

To be fair, the O's lost OF Jay Payton to injury a few days before the season began. Right off the bat that would have put Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons or Jay Payton on the bench on any given night, making the bench that much better. But they're still shitty, as the Japanese groundskeepers from Major League would say.

Anyway, to make matters worse, on opening day it was announced that catcher Ramon Hernandez was going to miss the series, and possibly be out even longer.

One would have thought that the O's would simply call up Jason DuBois (.918 career MiL OPS, .729 career MLB OPS) to take over Payton's duties until he came back and while they were at it, call up J.R. House (.919 career MiL OPS), a solid hitting catcher who may or may not be Chris Hoiles, Jr. defensively.

But no.

Manager Sam Perlozzo needed someone who had "flexibility" and who could "swing the bat a little." Whatever that means, Sammy.

With Paul Bako (.629 career MLB OPS) already taking up a spot on a bench that collected a total of 5 pinch hits in all of 2006 (yes, you heard that right), you'd think that the remaining bench spots would be filled with valuable players.

So who did Sammy choose to fill his "flexible little bat swinging" roster need?

None other than Freddie Bynum, the light-hitting speedster who has accrued a .709 career MiL OPS. To his credit, Bynum actually had a .764 OPS in 136 at bats with the Cubs in 2006, but as bad as Brandon Fahey was last year for the O's, Bynum is simply a slightly better, faster version of Fahey.

In other words it's like picking between a 3-wheeled Pinto and a 4-wheeled Pinto. The 4-wheeled Pinto can at least get moving, but it's still a piece of shit Pinto.

Ok, so did the O's make up for giving away a roster spot to Bynum by calling up J.R. House when Hernandez went down? Nah, instead they opted for the Latino version of Paul Bako -- AKA, Alberto Castillo (.591 career MLB OPS).

And in the first 2 games of the seasons, the sins of the Orioles have haunted them immediately. Trailing late in both games, Perlozzo had no choice but to use Bynum to hit for Bako and Castillo respectively, against Joe Nathan no less, and Bynum, surprising no one, has gone 0-2 in the role.

I'm not saying that J.R. House or Jason DuBois would have done better in those situations, but if you're going to lose close games, like last night's game was especially, you should at least be doing it with players who have proven track records. And while J.R. House and Jason DuBois don't exactly have proven track records at the MLB level, they have proved time and time again that they can hit, and hit with power, at the MiL level.

We saw it last season with Luis Terrero. Terrero was no MiL All-Star, but had some pop in his bat (16 HR's, .927 OPS) at Ottawa in 2006. Instead, the O's trotted Brandon Fahey out in 91 games (!), where he hit to the tune of a .614 OPS in 215 AB's but somehow became a favorite of Sam Perlozzo.

So in reality, it's no surprise that Perlozzo went with Bynum, the faster, 4-wheeled Pinto to Fahey's 3-wheeled jalopy.

And it's no surprise that this has lead to the O's an 0-2 start.


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