• Mar

    Thoughts during the O's vs Nats game

    Thanks to MASN’s first telecast of the spring, most of us are getting our first eyes on the team.


    David Pauley started against Daniel Cabrera and after watching Pauley throw strike after strike and watching Cabrera be well, Cabrera, I’m already thankful the Orioles are placing an emphasis on guys who throw strikes.


    Speaking of Pauley, after watching him today the first thing that came to my mind is he’s Brad Bergesen without options. Very similar stuff as Bergesen with a sinking 88-90 MPH fastball, good change with fade and short late breaking 83-84 MPH slider. He even tosses in an occasional curveball although it’s not a great pitch from what I saw. He works fast, keeps the ball down, and looks confident on the mound. He’s going to give up his share of hits because he’s around the strike zone so much, but I like what I see and think he could be solid number four or five starter if he can get through an order three times.


    Not to knock a guy when he’s down, especially when I personally like Cabrera, but his inability to hold runners or throw consistent strikes is going to continue to kill him, especially in the National league. He was helped out by two outstanding plays by his left fielder and a bad at bat by Luke Scott, to keep the O’s to just a run through two innings, but he was on the cusp of disaster through both innings.


    Speaking of Cabrera, you have to give credit to Aubrey Huff who said he would wait until Cabrera walked him and then steal a base off him. Huff drew a walk and then stole second. That’s classic.


    Ryan Freel made a start at shortstop and the results were inconclusive thanks to some loose dirt in the first inning. He was tested twice in that inning, first fielding a ball in the hole that he probably should have just eaten but he made the throw, slipped a bit on the dirt and threw the ball away for an error. He then made a nice play to his right and made a solid on target throw later in the inning. If the Orioles end up taking 13 pitchers north, and count me as a guy who hopes they don’t, Freel will almost assuredly end being the backup shortstop since he will be part of a three man bench that will include a backup catcher and Ty Wigginton.


    How about Adam Jones today? Two-for-two with a HBP and three stolen bases in the first four innings? Jones has indicated he hoped to steal more bases this year and it certainly seems like he’s well on his way. Yes, I know two of those stolen bases were the backend of a double steal but both times he drew the throw.


    It’s good to know that Nick Markakis is a perennial slow starter. He was a major rally killer through the first four innings K’ing twice with runners in scoring position and ground outing in the first inning on a bouncer to second even though that did score Roberts from third.


    The Orioles stole six bases in the first four innings (Jones had 3, Roberts 2, Huff 1).

    Matt Wieters made his game debut in the fourth inning and showed exactly why he’s a no-doubter as a hitter. He worked the count to 3-2 before taking an outside fastball and laced it to the opposite field for a double. I said it when I saw him last spring in Sarasota, in Frederick, and then Bowie, but he’s a special, special hitter.


    Chris Tillman came on in the seventh inning and was a little shaky with his command in his first inning before settling down a bit in the second. The triple he gave up in his first inning was not really all his fault as right fielder Jolbert Cabrera played the ball into a triple. He came back and eventually struck out the last batter of the inning to get out with only giving up one run. In his second inning he ran into some trouble again when left his fastball out over the plate twice, once for a hard single to left and the second one a rope down the left field corner that went for a double. He was going almost exclusively with the fastball at this point so with two on he went to the curveball and ended up getting a ground out to second to end the threat on a nice hammer.


    First impression of Justin Turner is he’s no little skinny guy. He’s built more like a spark plug and I can see why scouts don’t think he has the ideal body-type for a shortstop. I hope he ends up at Bowie this year to start off so I can see him play some short before making an official opinion.



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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.