Orioles’ Manny Machado is Double Trouble for A.L. Foes
The anticipated correction that many predicted for the 2013 Orioles has yet to arrive. As the Major League Baseball season winds towards Memorial Day weekend the Birds of Baltimore are once again flying high in the American League East. Despite a tattered starting rotation and non-existent production from second base and designated hitter the Orioles are just 1.5 games behind the Yankees for the top spot in the division. The emergence of Manny Machado and Chris Davis as All-Star level players, coupled with the continued offensive maturation of Adam Jones, has kept the Orioles near the top of the AL standings.Pin It Tweet
It’s Hammel Time for the Orioles
With the O’s rotation in tatters Jason Hammel needs to step forward.
Over the past 12 months the Baltimore Orioles have morphed from a Cinderella story riding a wave of good luck to a legitimate contender with a lineup of young stars. While Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Manny Machado have powered the Orioles, the team’s most important player might be pitcher Jason Hammel. With Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez on the DL, and the fifth spot in the rotation a smoldering dumpster fire, Hammel needs to re-kindle some of his 2012 magic.Pin It Tweet
AL East Bias
A hot week from the Orioles and Yankees, coupled with a three game losing streak by the Red Sox, has resulted in a three way tie atop the American League East. New York is percentage points ahead of Baltimore so we’ll start our trip around the division with the Yankees.
New York Yankees
The Yankees continue to defy the odds, and logic, as they currently have the second best record in the American League despite employing Vernon Wells in the cleanup spot. Wells was acquired from the Angels in Spring Training in an act of sheer desperation. He’s responded by hitting .294 with seven home runs and providing lineup protection for Robinson Cano.
The Yankees benefited from an early season schedule heavy on home games. New York is 12-7 at Yankee Stadium but just 8-6 on the road. The Yankees took two of three from the Rockies in Colorado this week. New York will next travel to Kansas City and Cleveland. Ivan Nova was originally scheduled to return from the disabled list to start next Monday but he walked four in four innings in his latest rehab start and doesn’t appear ready to return. Nova has a 6.48 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in four starts for the Yankees.Pin It Tweet
Chase Utley Won’t be Orioles’ Keystone Savior
O’s second base woes continue.
The never-ending string of injuries to Baltimore Orioles’ second baseman Brian Roberts has been well documented. Roberts’ latest setback—he had hamstring surgery on Thursday—and the offensive struggles of replacement Ryan Flaherty have once again left Baltimore in search of a keystone partner for J.J. Hardy. The resurgence of Chase Utley, coupled with the Phillies’ crummy start, has led to some rumors that the free-agent-to-be could be headed to Baltimore. Don’t bet on it.
At face value the Utley to the Orioles rumor has some merit. The O’s clearly have a need and the Phillies need all the young talent they can get to supplement their bloated payroll. Utley is posting solid offensive numbers in 2013 after missing extensive time to injury over the past three seasons. Sound familiar O’s fans?Pin It Tweet
Orioles Weather Rough Early Season Schedule
The Baltimore Orioles’ success in 2012 was labeled as lucky, a fluke, or unsustainable by most media outlets. The O’s are off to a great start to the 2013 season despite a grueling April schedule and a revolving door at the back end of the rotation. It’s time to recognize that Buck Showalter’s club may just be pretty damned good.
The Orioles didn’t look so lucky when the 2013 schedule was released. Baltimore started the season with nine of its first 12 games on the road, including trips to division rivals Boston, Tampa Bay, and New York. After a 10-game homestand the Birds hit the road again for an 11-game/11-day trip to Oakland, Seattle, and Anaheim. Baltimore went 7-4 on the extended West Coast swing thanks in large part to the daily heroics of Manny Machado. The Orioles are at 20-13 after defeating the Kansas City Royals last night in just their third homestand of the season. Baltimore has played a league-high 20 road games and have gone 12-8 in those contests. Showalter’s club is just 8-5 at home but will look to improve upon that record with 12 of their next 15 games to be played at Camden Yards.Pin It Tweet
Robbie Alomar Deserved Election to Orioles’ Hall of Fame
It’s unlikely Rafael Palmeiro will follow.
The Baltimore Orioles announced on Wednesday that former second baseman Roberto Alomar had been elected to the team’s Hall of Fame. Alomar experienced incredible highs and one deplorable low during his three-year tenure in Baltimore. His induction will give Orioles fans the chance to honor and remember him for his on-field contributions and stellar play.
Alomar is one of the five best players I’ve ever seen. He could single-handedly tilt the balance of a baseball game with his switch-hitting abilities, adept base-running, and jaw dropping defensive acrobatics. If Alomar didn’t beat you by driving balls into the gaps and over walls he’d work a walk or infield single and drive the pitcher crazy as he danced off first base. When Alomar slumped at the plate his defense never failed to deliver. No second baseman went to their left like Alomar, who routinely turned would-be singles into almost routine outs as he tossed to first base from his knees in shallow right field. I’ve paid admission just to see Alomar play baseball.Pin It Tweet
Baseball’s Black Holes
Orioles, Yanks, Cubs & Tigers looking for answers.
Baltimore Orioles fans are all too familiar with the team’s struggles to find a reliable option at second base. Since Brian Roberts’ injury woes struck in 2010 the Orioles have trotted out the likes of Steve Tolleson, Ryan Adams, Julio Lugo, Omar Quintanilla, Ryan Flaherty and Robert Andino to second base. Roberts posted a solid spring, and decent first series in Tampa, before succumbing to another injury, his hamstring this time. Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla (aka: New Robert Andino) have done their best to fill in. Their best has generally been awful. Flaherty has just seven hits in 52 at bats this season. He and Casilla have combined to strike out 24 times, while drawing just five walks, in 84 at bats. The best way to describe the Orioles second base output would be non-existent. Jonathan Schoop, a well-regarded Orioles’ prospect, has been splitting time between second base and shortstop at Triple-A this season but his .218 batting average suggests he may not be ready for big league action this summer. If Roberts fails again in his latest comeback the Orioles could be forced to seek an option from outside the organization.Pin It Tweet
AL East Bias - 4/29/13 Edition
In my bi-weekly column for IhateJJRedick.com I wrote about the AL East and its preponderance of punch and judy shortstops. Also, Francisco Cervelli broke his hand over the weekend thus fulfilling my prediction for a decline in his performance.
The American League East is suddenly over run with weak hitting, punchless shortstops. Injuries to Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter, Boston’s ongoing shortstop quagmire, and declines from JJ Hardy and Yunel Escobar have left the AL East with a growing collection of unproductive shortstops. Jeter isn’t expected to return to the Yankees lineup for another couple of months. His absence has left Joe Girardi with the daily task of choosing between Eduardo Nunez (.467 OPS) and Jayson Nix(.612 OPS). Their names might as well be Punch and Judy. Jose Reyes’ severe ankle sprain has left the underwhelming Blue Jays with Maicer Izturis and Munenori Kawasaki and his career .505 OPS at short. JJ Hardy has been in a slump that’s now spanned two seasons for the Orioles. Hardy has been responsible for more cans of corn than Del Monte so far this spring. The Rays signed Jays’ castoff Yunel Escobar to bolster their production at shortstop but Escobar has rewarded Tampa’s $5 million investment with four runs scored and a .174 batting average in 2013. The Red Sox recently demoted Jose Iglesias to make room for free agent acquisition Stephen Drew. In 42 at bats for theBoSox Drew has just five hits and 15 strikeouts.Pin It Tweet
Rolando McClain is the Biggest Idiot
What should the Baltimore Ravens do with this dope?
The Baltimore Ravens signed linebacker Rolando McClain, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, to a one-year contract for $700,000 earlier this month. McClain had been suspended, and eventually released, by the Oakland Raiders (bastions of etiquette) for his numerous off-field transgressions and lack of on-field productivity. The Ravens were giving McClain a no-risk attempt to make good on his immense physical gifts. McClain returned the favor by getting his dumb ass arrested over the weekend after an altercation with police in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama.
In high school I developed a theory I call “The Bigger Idiot Theory” that’s served me well in a variety of situations over the past two decades. It simply states that no matter the professional, academic, athletic, or social situation that you find yourself in, there will always be someone there more ill-equipped and out of place than you—the bigger idiot. When I started at a private high school I quickly discovered that my new classmates were essentially the same numbskulls I’d just attended middle school with, only now they had different names and wore navy blazers. The same thing happened when I went to college. After about two days of feeling nervous, I realized that my new classmates were just older versions of the same idiots I had graduated from high school with just a few months earlier.Pin It Tweet