This entry is based on the theme of the song “Down By the Bay”. Why? Because as the verse goes, “Back to my home, I dare not go.” Well, this applies 100% to the Baltimore Orioles and their mindset as of now in terms of their reputation. The song then goes on to say “For if I do, my mother will say…” and then proceeds to list a lot of questions as to odd things this supposed mother would question the narrator in the case that he would go home. The Orioles would see just that. If this was already next weekend, and the Red Sox were in Baltimore to play at Camden Yards, the few O’s fans in attendance would not only be questioning the team, but why they are even there. Here are my questions that I would ask if I was the Orioles mother and they were coming home:
– What happened to the sacrifice bunt/fly?
– Can you ever hit anything more than one single per inning, if that much?
– Batters: Do you enjoy pissing off your starting pitching?
– Pitchers: Why do you put up with these guys at the plate?
– Dave Trembley: When are you submitting your application for employment back on the Enterprise?
– Is there any fight left in anybody besides the starting rotation?
– Do you even enjoy have fans at your home ballpark?
– If you answered yes to the above question, do you prefer those fans to be for the Orioles even?
– What the hell is going on!?
The funny thing is, the song starts off with the line “Down by the bay,” which is ironic since the Orioles play right downtown by the Chesapeake Bay and the Inner Harbor. Go figure.
MLB scheduled this 16 game-in-a-row stint for the O’s, and I don’t think one person, not even a Yankees or Red Sox fan, would think that the team would sink as low as 2-14 in that span of games. Maybe 4-12, or 5-11, but 2-14? Really? It’s almost difficult defensing the hope the team still has and that I have for it, but I still am with them 100% (but if they can’t win a game in Boston then it might drop to 99).
I could say that this off day couldn’t have come at a better time. I would be lying. It would have been much better off coming last Monday, right after the O’s brought their lack of offense home to Baltimore and put on a display of sucky baseball to get swept in their home opening series.
Here comes Boston. Well, here we go to them. The Orioles play a classic, 3 game series vs. the Red Sox this weekend.
Here are the probables:
Fri at 7:10 – Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 3.15) vs. Jon Lester (0-2, 8.44)
Sat at 7:10 – Brian Matusz (2-0, 4.34) vs. John Lackey (1-1, 5.62)
Sun at 1:35 – David Hernandez (0-3, 4.67) vs. Tim Wakefield (0-1, 6.38)
The Orioles not only get Miguel Tejada back, but go into this weekend with more hope than one could ever imagine they would have going into a weekend series in Boston after just being swept by a middle-end team.
Starting with pitching here. The Red Sox starting staff has a 5.63 ERA on the season. Bad, right? Well, even with Bergesen and his disgraceful outings, the O’s rotation still boasts an ERA of 4.74. Without Bergy, it’s 3.81! Not too shabby for a team that has always lacked pitching as compared to one where people speculated that their rotation could match up with and maybe be better than the Yankees all-star studded staff. If you asked any MLB follower about each pitching matchup for this weekend and who they thought was better and would have a better outcome, any and all of those responses would be a sweep of the three Red Sox names. Surprisingly enough, the O’s are not only still in the top 5 for most Ks by starting pitchers, but each individual pitcher’s ERA is lower on the Orioles than on the Red Sox. The most surprising, of course, is Matusz vs. Lackey, where Matusz has an ERA over a full point lower plus the better record.
Yea, we know the Orioles can’t hit. With a .225 team average, there is nothing to show off there. But, there is a bright side to facing the Red Sox. They are only hitting .252 as a team. Some of their key contributors last season and expected to continue this season:
Kevin Youkilis – .250 9Ks
Victor Martinez – .250
David Ortiz – .146 14Ks
Ellsbury was hitting .333, but he is on the DL now. So look at it this way, it could just end up being another boring, low-scoring series. That has been the trend for the O’s this year. Let up only a few runs, but make sure to score even less.
Baserunning has become an issue for the Orioles. Whether there are issues regarding hustling or errors in general, the mess-ups and bad calls will always be there. What I fail to understand is this:
Markakis – 15H, 9 singles, 1 steal attempt
Jones – 14H, 9 singles, 1 steal attempt
Even a guy like Lugo:
3H, 3 singles, 0 steal attempts
What is more acceptable is Izturis:
10H, 8 singles, 2 steal attempts
What we are really missing:
Roberts – 2H, 1 single, 2 steal attempts
As shown above, the speedy guys we have have gotten opportunities to show off their jets. Yes, there may have been times where the guy after them is hitting 2010 Orioles style and pops out on the first pitch, but I have seen many times still where a steal could work. Yet, no results. Did we decide that since our averages suck with RISP, we will just keep our few baserunners at 1st so that they aren’t falling into that category. Or is it that Trembley, and even more so Samuel and Shelby, have forgotten what the classic hit-and-run play is?
The Red Sox are the perfect team to play right now in baseball if we want to start stealing some baseball. Thanks to my handy-dandy statistics provider, baseball-reference.com, I would like to send a report to those coaches with the following catcher defensive stats:
Jason Varitek: 11 stolen bases, 0 caught stealing
Victor Martinez: 23 stolen bases, 1 caught stealing
Yes, I am willing to take an out if it means getting 34 stolen bases before that out or around it. With that statistic, we should even have Garrett Atkins steal, and I get mad at him every game for being a slow old guy who needs a walker (yes, maybe it was just my anger that he couldn’t run out to catch foul balls at the Oakland Coliseum where there’s about an acre of land in foul territory to his side).
Let’s go into Boston, get some extra-base hits, keep up the pitching, and bring it home with some wins. Please?