Archive for April, 2011

Do the O’s have the best SS in the AL East?

Among the many upgrades the O’s made this offseason to their roster, and particularly their infield, none was more dramatic than at shortstop.  For while Cesar Izturis may be slick with the glove, he also has about as much pop in his bat as Brandon Fahey. OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but he did post a .622 OPS in 2010.   However, there were some, including myself, who wanted to keep Izturis and felt you could justify the anemic offense if the defense was truly above average, given the importance of strong defense up the middle. But then, in a shocking turn of events, the question of offense vs defense at shortstop became moot when the O’s traded for a player who was amply skilled with both the glove and the bat: JJ Hardy.  (more…)

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A Tale of Two Outings

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

OK, I’ll stop now.

Still, you can’t help but be struck by the duality that was on display during the Orioles doubleheader today versus the Rangers.  In the first game, Zach Britton descended from Orioles heaven and gave Baltimore another glimpse of what figures to be a very promising career.  But before Britton’s brilliance could induce rampant daydreaming throughout a win-starved fan base, the Orioles snapped back to reality with a rough start from Jake Arrieta.

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Showalter Me What You’re Made of…

As Adam eloquently wrote in his last post, how the team responded after suffering their first loss of the season was going to tell us a lot about the team.  If you watched the 9–5 win over Brad Penny and the Tigers, you know the team in most respects responded well.

Overcoming three deficits and exploiting the underbelly that is middle relief is what good teams do. Key parts of our lineup emerged from their caves of hibernation.  Notably, Guerrero destroying a fastball on a rope to centerfield and Jones getting into the action with a standout night at the plate and in the field. Nice save there Nick, if you’re reading.  It’s also worth mentioning the bullpen shut the door when it needed to get the job done.

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All Good Things

After a sparkling 4–0 start, the Orioles returned to Camden Yards (and to reality) tonight with a subpar performance against the Tigers.

Clearly missing Jeremy Guthrie’s leadership and capable right arm, the pitching struggled for the first time this season.  Brad Bergesen unfortunately picked up where he left off in spring training, racking up 89 pitches and leaving the game after only 3.2 innings.  He wasn’t helped, however, by sloppy defensive play that included 2 errors and allowed 2 runs to score.

It was an all-around bad night.

As disappointing as it is to see the Orioles winning streak come to an end, however, I think tonight’s loss will afford us the opportunity to take the true measure of this team.  Winning four games to start a season is great, but demonstrating the ability to bounce back from a deflating loss is greater, and may be the deciding factor that determines if this team can fulfill the promise of its encouraging start.

As much as the Orioles first four games told us, how they respond tomorrow night is going to tell us even more.

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