• Jul

    Step off the Ledge...It's ok!!

    Easy now, step away from the ledge…


    That’s it, it’ll be ok…


    I know it’s not fun to watch the Orioles go into a tailspin, but it’s easier to take if you just remember what this season was and is all about, and that’s development.


    Yes, I know we just dropped to two games below .500 and were swept by the Blue Jays after losing two of three to the Rangers. But I’ve been saying all along that we were pleasantly surprised by the Orioles start this year, but few truly believed they could keep it up.


    Orioles magic? After losing tonight, the Orioles have now dropped their last seven one-run games and are now 17-17 in one run games.


    George Sherrill has been better then anyone could have imagined through the first three months of the season, but he’s pitched on the edge all year. He’s now allowed runs in four of his last five outings, blowing three saves and losing two games in the process. The Orioles are now 1-4 in the last four games he’s appeared in.


    It’s kind of embarrassing he’s going to the All-Star game when the only stat that suggests he belongs there is the amount of saves he’s accumulated. Don’t mind the pedestrian ERA (3.72) or his downright unimpressive WHIP (1.32), and the fact that after tonight only Jason Isringhausen (7) has blown more save opportunities this season in Majors than the six he’s blown.


    It probably time for Dave Trembly to accept the fact that he may need to adjust the roles a bit in his bullpen and go with matchups. I had to admit when I saw the amount of right-handers coming up for the Blue Jays in the ninth I did not feel too good with Sherrill on the mound.


    Sherrill is going through a rough spell right now but let’s remember, he’s still the best left-hander reliever we have in the bullpen. Lefties came into the game tonight batting just .143 while putting up a paltry .498 OPS against the former LOOGY suggesting he’s doing what’s he always done, it’s just he’s now being a little over exposed in the closer role.


    The easy thing would be to move Jim Johnson into the closer role, but don’t look now, because Johnson is sporting a 12.46 ERA in his last four outings covering 4.1 innings. Even worse, it appears his velocity was down a bit in tonight’s outing if the radar gun was right at the Rodgers Center. He was sitting at 93 instead of the usual 96 MPH and he seems very reluctant to go to his curveball due to his inability to get it over consistently.


    With injuries to Matt Albers, Jamie Walker, and Adam Loewen, the Orioles bullpen depth is dangerously slim. Unfortunately, the two Orioles relievers they’ve counted on all season to win these close games can no longer be considered the sure things once seemed to be.


    Add into the fact that Dennis Sarfate has struggled to find the plate, Lance Cormier has a lifetime 5.60 major league ERA, batters are hitting .290 off Chad Bradford, Greg Aquino and Fernando Cabrera are trying to earn their manager’s trust, and Alberto Castillo is a guy who’s never pitched above Single-A before this season and is yet to retire a major league batter, and Trembley doesn’t have a whole lot of options right now.


    Now, add into the fact he’s got three starters who can’t get past the fifth inning, and I think you can understand why the Orioles are starting this tailspin.


    But, the good news is this season is about seeing who’s going to contribute in the future and we’re starting to know this now. Despite his struggles of late, Johnson looks like he’ll be a staple in the bullpen and Sherrill has at least shown he could probably fill Jamie Walker’s role after this year if he’s not traded before then.


    Adam Jones has responded to everyday at bats by batting .281 with a .728 OPS while playing an outstanding centerfield. Nick Markakis has cemented himself is one of the better young hitters in the game, and in the minor leagues, catcher Matt Wieters is pretty much showing everyone that he’s too good for the minor leagues.


    Jeremy Guthrie is showing he’s going to be part of an orioles rotation for a long time and Daniel Cabrera has done a good job of becoming a solid back of the rotation starter at worse. Down on the farm, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, and David Hernandez have taken steps forward at Bowie this year and Jake Arrieta has been sharp at Frederick.


    So even though Orioles fans need to accept the fact that the Orioles were due a spell like this, all is not lost. There are things to be excited about as long as you consider this the year for development.

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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.