In attendance at yesterday’s Spring Training contest between the Orioles and Red Sox were Andy MacPhail, Dick Vitale, and most importantly Detective Tom Ludlow of the Eutaw Street Hooligans.
Yesterday’s game made me very happy. There were not as many Red Sox fans as I expected although they were well represented, and the O’s won. Yeah, it’s a meaningless game but it always feels good to get the best of those slimy bastards. The Red Sox did not play all of their regulars but number one on the ESH hit list was in the lineup, Dustin Pedroia. He appeared to be in mid season form, he had his cocky “ape swinging his arms” jog going and he still has not located his chin. He also still sucks horribly at not being a giant douchebag, as pictured here:
David Hernandez looked very good in his outing though he did pitch himself out of some jams in his last two innings. The Sox were also making some pretty good contact off of him that doesn’t show up in the box scores. Adam Jones made a couple of great catches in center, Nick Markakis saved a sure extra base hit in right, and Felix Pie also stopped a run with a great diving play in left. Still, it appears that Hernandez has found the strikeout pitch that he didn’t bring from the minors last year, and good slider. His breaking pitches appear to be much improved from what we saw last year in Baltimore and he now has swing and miss stuff that we never saw. Hernandez has always been a high strikeout pitcher in the minors and it is good to see it finally translating against major league hitters. He needs that if he is going to be a successful big league starter.
The big debate now is will he make the opening day rotation instead of Chris Tillman? An article from Dan Connolly in the Baltimore Sun suggests that the organization may be leaning towards Hernandez with Tillman being sent to AAA. This is slippery slope they are building if it is true. If we are going to put this much stock into spring training then why doesn’t it go for everyone across the board? There have been many fans grumbling about Trembley playing favorites and not treating everyone the same, this would be more evidence of that. If Tillman loses his job while not pitching terribly because Hernandez has been better, then why doesn’t Guthrie get squeezed out? In my eyes he hasn’t earned anything this year. He has been pretty bad in the majors for a year and a half and he can’t get anyone out this spring. If Guthrie hasn’t pitched his way out of the rotation then I don’t see how Tillman has. Tillman has already mowed down every level of the minors, he is going to learn how to get major league hitters out by facing major league hitters. We aren’t winning anything this year, he should be in the rotation.
The article also mentions that the Orioles cleanup hitter to begin the year will be Miguel Tejada. Man, I’d take credit for calling that if it wasn’t so predictable… and stupid. I will reiterate, Miguel Tejada has hit a combined 7 home runs outside of Houston’s ballpark in the last 2 seasons. You know Houston, where the fence is like 150 feet to left field. Hopefully we will be laughing at the days he was batting 4th by May at the latest. I’m fully expecting a line like .280/.320/.425 from him, and that is not a cleanup hitter. He is a 7th hitter in our lineup, batting him in the middle is nothing short of laughable. Miguel Tejada has not been a middle of the order hitter since 2006. Wake up, Dave Trembley. He also appears to be as fat as Ty Wigginton these days, though I credit Wiggy a little bit here because he appears to have shed the pounds that Miggi gained to catch up to him. Ty would totally still kick his ass in any eating contest though, I have no doubt about that.
On a positive note, Felix Pie still looks like the player we saw in the second half of last year. He played very solid defense in left and hit nothing but ropes during the game. He was robbed of a base hit when Douche Bigelow snagged a liner in his first at bat and Victor Martinez made a diving stop on a hard hit grounder down the right field line in his second. He then delivered an RBI single in his third plate appearance, and struck out looking at a pitch that he (and I) thought was ball 4 in his last. The umpire did not agree with us.
Another bright spot in the game was Garrett Atkins, who collected 3 hits and did not look like the scrub he has been recently. Granted, it is one game and I totally expect him to be an absolute flop but he did look good today. My fellow ginger Justin Turner also continued his fine spring with two more hits and 3 RBIs in the game. He would be my replacement for Brian Roberts if Roberts does not end up ready for the start of the season.
We made the trip up to Dunedin today to catch the O’s and Jays only to have the game rained out. There went a blog entry…. and 60 bucks. Brian Roberts was scheduled to play in that game, and we will have to see how the rotation shakes out following the rain out. I will be going to the minor league game tomorrow afternoon to see Matusz pitch before heading back to Maryland tomorrow evening. Until then stay classy, ESHers.