• Apr

    Questionable Roster Management

    In case you were wondering, and I know you were, Sam Perlozzo is not the first manager to send up Paul Bako as a pinch hitter as he did in the ninth inning last night. In fact, Royals manager Buddy Bell, with a career managerial winning percentage of .414 including a .383 mark last year, sent the light-hitting left-handed hitting catcher up three times last year. Of course Bako struck out all three times, but that didn’t stop Perlozzo from using him in the ninth inning last night against closer Al Reyes.


    In Perlozzo’s defense, perhaps he was looking at matchups? Bako was actually one for one with a double and a walk in his career against Reyes. The only problem with that was that Chris Gomez was 1-for-2 with a triple off him and we all know Gomez is a much better hitter than Bako.


    Apparently, Gomez was on deck to pinch hit for Adam Stern, but you can’t have a guy like Bako pinch hitting late in a game when Gomez is still available.


    Now this might be seem like Monday morning quarterbacking a bit, but the bigger problem was the fact that Perlozzo was given Jon Knott on the roster yet choose to start Jay Gibbons and Aubrey Huff with left-handed Casey Fossum on the mound for Tampa Bay. Had Knott started in either spot, Perlozzo would have had a real left-handed pinch-hitter available late in the game against the right-handed closer.


    Now let’s look at matchups to see if this is what Perlozzo was thinking. Huff was 3-for-10 (.300) against Fossum coming into the game and Gibbons was 7-for-20 (.350), but Fossum had a .565 OPS against lefties this year vice a .849 OPS against righties. Also, if Perlozzo was so concerned over matchups, he could have given Kevin Millar the day off since he came into the game just 4-for-17 (.235). Instead, he kept a lefty-masher like Knott on the bench until the 8th inning when Tampa manager Joe Madden made the right move by bringing on the right-handed reliever to face him. Knott hit the three-run homer anyways, but we’re left to imagine what he could have done against the lefty all game.


    Had Perlozzo started Knott instead of either Huff or Gibbons, Knott would have had at least three at bats against the left-hander and Perlozzo would have had a much better left-handed hitting hitter on the bench for the mainly right-handed Devil Rays bullpen.


    Perlozzo’s lack of roster management will continue to haunt the Orioles in close games until he changes his approach. I’m not holding my breath, especially after he came out and said that Knott will be used mainly as a pinch hitter. Perhaps his home run last night will change his mind. Or perhaps Jim Duquette needs to get in Perlozzo’s ear about his 25-man roster management.


    Trachsel’s Meltdown and Burres to the Rescue


    Let’s face it, Steve Trachsel is going to have night’s like this. I was more surprised by his first two dominating starts then I was from this one, but let’s keep some perspective here. In reality, Trachsel has had one really, really terrible inning.


    Trachsel doesn’t have good enough stuff to lose his command and that’s what happened last night in the fourth inning. In fact, his meltdown happened so fast that it’s hard to fault Perlozzo for not having Brian Burres up earlier. As good as Trachsel had pitched before this fourth inning, I think everyone expected him to find his way out of it. Besides, after using Guthrie last night for an extended period, I know Perlozzo didn’t want to have to go into his bullpen early for a second straight day.


    Luckily for him, Burres was in the bullpen and he did a fantastic job keeping the Rays at bay while the Orioles attempted another comeback. In case you were wondering, and I know you were, Burres now has a 1.46 ERA in 13 major league games. Batters are hitting just .133 off him in his two appearances this season.


    Don’t look now


    • According to ESPN’s projections Jon Knott is on pace for 149 home runs and 447 RBI. I’ll settle for a start against a left-hander.
    • Knott was 1-for-9 with a double as a pinch hitter before last night.
    • The Orioles .326 OBP is good for sixth in the AL. Oakland, the team that stresses OBP is 13th in the AL with a dismal .293 OBP.
    • Nick Markakis has hit safely in 10 of 14 games this season but only has one extra base hit (grand slam) in his last nine games.
    • Paul Shuey tossed a perfect inning for Bowie in yesterday’s second game of a double header. He should be on his way to Norfolk where he will continue is attempt at a comeback.
    • Nolan Reimold has started out red hot for Bowie batting .351 with five doubles and three home runs in his first ten games. The only down side is a disturbing 9:1 K:BB ratio in 37 at bats. Reimold hit a 425 foot home run to center field last Thursday on a changeup.
    • Former number one pick Beau Hale has a 2.20 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 16.1 innings through his first three starts.
    • In a double header last night, Frederick Keys starting pitcher Chorye Spoone and David Hernandez were outstanding. Spoone carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up two runs (one earned) and Hernandez tossed six shutout innings allowing just one hit and four walks while striking out a season-high nine batters.


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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.