I hope you have a couple of weeks to read this list, cause it is a long one. I was excited about the team this year, I told you to be patient when they started off terribly. I apologize. They suck.
Not everything has been bad. Kevin Millwood has pitched solidly and above my expectations. David Hernandez will develop into a solid bullpen possibly end of the game arm now that he is where he belongs and out of the starting rotation. He wasn’t terrible, but it was and always has been obvious he struggles the second time through the lineup but was dominant at times the first time through, exactly what you want in a bullpen guy. The injury to Roberts gave Ty Wiggington an opportunity to get into the lineup and he has taken advantage of it. And despite what most casual fans (who have no idea what they are talking about anyway) think, Nick Markakis is having a good year. Nicky is among the AL leaders in walks and on base percentage while batting over .300.
But while those things have been bright spots, they are far outweighed by the negatives. Let’s start on the field, and let’s start with what isn’t really a big surprise. Julio Lugo and Cesar Izturis are bad.
Julio Lugo is batting .225! I think that batting average alone is an overrated stat, but by any account, that’s bad. If you are batting that poorly, you better at least be getting some extra bases, and just so you know of Lugo’s 18 hits this season 18 of them are singles. Ok, well if all you are going to do is hit singles then you need to be able to stretch some of those and get into scoring position with a stolen base every now and again. Hey, look at that Lugo has done that 3 times this year. That isn’t often enough to justify him being in the lineup based on steals, especially when you factor into it that he is 3 for 5, so not only does he make a ton of outs at the plate but in the small percentage of times he gets on (which thanks to his 3 walks this year) is 25% of his at bats he still manages to make outs on the base paths as well.
Cesar Izturis is very similar. Batting .222 with 3 doubles an OBP of .289 and 5 for 10 stealing bases. As if having one of these guys in the lineup isn’t bad enough, they are, on a regular basis, both in the lineup at the same time. There is no excuse for that. But it takes more than 2 players to make a team awful so let’s move on.
Garrett Atkins. I shouldn’t have to say anything more than that, but I will. He is a joke. He has NEVER performed well outside of Coors Field, and hasn’t even done that the last few seasons. We hated this move since before the ink was dry on the contract. His .214 average, 1 homerun and 8 walks proved us right. That is inexcusable.
Miguel Tejada has been a liability at 3rd base and continues to ground into double plays whenever possible. He has 12 extra base hits in almost 200 at bats. And he doesn’t seem to be a fan of walking either, he has done so only 8 times this year.
And last but not least, Adam Jones. Corey Patterson could teach him a thing or two about patience, and I don’t even think Patterson knows a thing or two. Adam has walked 5 times in over 200 at bats so far this season. As Brady Anderson said last night in the radio booth “that’s hard to do.” In addition to swinging and looking and looking silly while doing it, swinging at bad pitches does not help you get hits. Why does any pitcher ever throw him a strike? This guys chases balls like they are being driven by Al Cowlings. You’ll notice a common theme among these players, and that is a lack of patience. That brings us to the next area of suckage in the Orioles season, the coaching staff.
How has Terry Crowley avoided blame for so long while his hitters have consistently performed so poorly? In his current stint as hitting coach (1999-present) has any batter improved under his watch? More importantly has anyone gone up in walks (not named Markakis)? It’s a rarity and thus suggests it is being taught that you should swing at pitches that are not strikes, increasing your chances of making less than ideal contact. He has to go because obviously his philosophy on hitting is not working, and for the last 10 years has not worked.
While we are getting rid of coaches, let’s do something about the manager. He is limited by the players he has available (as I showed above) but his ability to make a lineup and utilize a bullpen is staggeringly incompetent. You can’t stack the bottom 5 of your lineup with sure outs and expect to get anything accomplished. You can’t bring in Alberto Castillo in a lefty situation even though batters are hitting .450 off of him. He manages games like they are in spring training still, as if he has a script he has to follow and will do so no matter what the outcome is. Also, in what is rumored to be his last game as O’s skipper he has tabbed Julio Lugo to lead off. Dusty Baker called and said that is a dumb move.
My final point that is wrong with the O’s is their player management. Who makes the decisions on who stays on or off the 40 man roster? Who makes the decision to keep bringing up Alberto Castillo with his awful statistics? As much as I dislike Trembley, if he is not making these decisions then he is being set up to fail anyway and it may not matter. I’m not saying Justin Turner is a future all star, but exposing him to waivers while keeping or re-promoting Castillo to the majors is an awful idea. I understand that we only have 2 lefties in the pen without him but how is having a lefty specialist that can’t get out lefties any worse than having a right handed relief pitcher not get lefties out? But, this goes back to the managers tendency to play the match up game no matter what.
There it is, an actual, real post for the first time on this site in about two months. And it is just for you, Joe Zimmerman.
See you at the yard.