Things sure seem to be falling into place for the Baltimore Orioles these days. Buck Showalter has the team just a half game out of first place in the very tight American League East. Scout Dave Jennings’ draft picks Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis and Xavier Avery all look to be top level MLB stars. Even Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy whom the team picked up from other MLB clubs are high level players in the league.
This brings us to the MLB draft and Jennings’ newest selection, Kevin Gausman. Gausman is not news to MLB. You may not know this but he was drafted out of high school by the L.A. Dodgers in the sixth round in 2010. However, he elected to go to college instead.
Of course he didn’t just go to college; he went to LSU of the SEC, playing for a team with a great history and a brutal schedule.
He was actually working out with minor league pitchers when he got the LSU offer and he didn’t blink an eye.
“I couldn’t imagine being in the Minor Leagues when I was 19. I was pretty immature and really didn’t know anything about pitching. And I didn’t have a pitching coach, so that was something that was huge. Continue reading
The good news is Brian Roberts is playing baseball again. The bad news, Mark Reynolds forgot how to hit home runs. Right now the Orioles are one of the hottest teams in baseball. The team has made several rosters changes already this season, but in the next few days and weeks they will be making some of the most important personnel decisions they have made in a long time.
Mark Reynolds has 92 at bats (AB). He has 2 Home Runs (HR) and 36 strike outs (SO). He has 6 errors already.
Buck Showalter was very patient last year with Reynolds and a few others (Felix Pie), but that was partially because he really didn’t have a choice. Things are different this year and I believe the Mark Reynolds experiment has failed and it’s probably time to move on. Continue reading
How can you not be excited about the Baltimore Orioles? After years of living in the basement of the AL East, the Orioles are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the division. They are doing it in all facets of the game too. Obviously their starting pitching has been key and the best it’s been in a long time, but their bullpen, wow! The bullpen is second in the American League in ERA behind the Texas Rangers.
Right now, even after the melt down last night against the Yankees (which you really can’t put on the bullpen…hint: Chris Davis, even Little Leaguers know to get in front of the ball), the Orioles’ bullpen is standing at a 2.28 ERA.
Oddly enough, right now the Orioles are one of the worst teams on defense with 36 errors (the only team worse than that is San Francisco with 38), but this team has a great deal of really good, young players who will vastly improve in time. Continue reading
The Texas Rangers have had the Baltimore Orioles’ number lately. Texas has won 7 of the last 8 against Baltimore dating back to last season. They most recently dismantled the Oriole’s pitching staff in back to back games to the tune of 3-14 and 3-10. The Rangers have done it with great hitting and great pitching. So, does Texas have Baltimore’s number? I don’t think they do and I think today we will see just how different this Orioles team is this season.
Because of yesterday’s postponement due to rain, the Orioles and Rangers will play a doubleheader today.
Game 1 will be at 4:05 P.M. and game 2 will not start before 7:05 P.M. In the first game we will have a chance to see just how great pitcher Wei-Yin Chen can be. What he’s done so far is impressive enough: 2-0 and a 2.76 ERA. He pitched an impressive 5 plus innings against the New York Yankees and even though he was roughed up a little, managed no decisions against both the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. His two wins are off the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A’s, but what’s been most impressive is his ability to command his fastball. He is not afraid to use a fastball on a fastball pitch and that was something rarely seen last season. Confidence. Continue reading
The Baltimore Orioles are off to a very good start this season. While there are several reasons for the better results in 2012, the most obvious improvement is starting pitching.
In 2011, the team’s most glaring problem was finding anyone who could pitch seven innings. It may not sound like much, but that one problem affected the entire team. It meant the bullpen was coming into games sooner which meant the bullpen pitchers were asked to pitch many more innings. It wasn’t uncommon for the bullpen to be utilized by the third inning.
This, in turn meant the bullpen was overworked and tired and not very effective.
The starting pitching not going seven innings also affected hitting. In most games in 2011, the team was coming from behind. This caused added pressure on hitters to do more at the plate and explains the high number of home runs and strikeouts.
In 2012 however, not only has the starting pitching greatly improved, but team pitching overall is much better because of it. The Orioles team pitching ERA is currently 2.83 which is second in Major League Baseball. Continue reading