The one thing that the Orioles could not afford to happen happened last Friday. Leadoff man Brian Roberts strained his abdomen in the home opener against the Blue Jays and was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Monday. This is a huge blow to the Orioles especially considering their recent struggles at the plate. The leadoff man is the most important part of the lineup simply because he is the tone setter. His job is to get on base and make things happen. Roberts has been very good at getting on base and giving the guys behind him a chance for some RBIs.
Now that Roberts is on the DL, the Orioles will have to try and fill that void with another guy capable of getting on base and having the speed that Roberts has. I think manager Dave Trembley made the right move by replacing Roberts with Felix Pie in the leadoff spot. To be honest, I’m not sure if there is anyone else who would’ve been a better fit than Pie. Toward the end of last season, he started to show signs of life in his bat as well as his play in the field. He hit .328 from June to September including a .333 average in August, where he played in all but seven games.
In the three games since Pie’s taken over the leadoff spot, he is batting .500 and hit a homer in his first game batting in the No. 1 spot. He actually has a decent amount of power and about as smooth a swing as any Oriole. He’s batting .438 on the season, but that wont matter if he doesn’t learn how to run the bases. I specifically remember a couple times last year where he made some crucial base running mistakes and he has already done some damage on the bases this season. It just seems like he doesn’t have any base running instincts whatsoever. He also needs to do a better job of listening to the base coaches and not trying to make something out of nothing every time he gets on base. Obviously, Trembley thinks this is a big enough deal considering he sat Pie Wednesday against the Rays. I don’t think Trembley was just giving him a rest for the sake of giving him a rest.
Even though you hate to see Roberts injured, this is an excellent chance for Pie to show Trembley and the rest of his teammates that he is ready to be an everyday player. He has a tremendous amount of potential; let’s just see if he can translate that into excellent play on the field. Personally, I really like what Pie has to offer. I think he is going to be a vital part of this Orioles team in the future. I just hope he learns how to run the bases sometime soon.