Friday, July 4, 2008

DL Bound O's And Four Against The Royals

I've been feeling under the weather recently; thus the lack of posts. A lot of things have happened in the last few days, including a flurry of roster moves.

*Brandon Fahey was called up in favor of Oscar Salazar to give the team a second shortstop.
*Matt Albers was put on the DL with a torn labrum and may be done for the season - no point in rushing him back, as they won't be playing for anything.
*Jamie Walker was placed on the DL with some elbow inflammation, and Adam Loewen was called up to take his spot in the pen. I like the move - Loewen isn't in a position to be an effective starter yet, but still has good stuff. I believe the usual improvement going from the rotation to the pen is in the neighborhood of 1.5 runs per nine (say, 6.00 ERA to 4.50).
*Alex Cintron went on the DL with a strained hamstring, and Freddie Bynum was called back up. The O's have a pretty sad shortstop situation, but it's better than trading David Hernandez (or whoever) for Eckstein or Jack Wilson.

There was also a four-game series with the red-hot Royals, who had won 11 of their last 14 games.

June 30th: O's - 5, Royals - 6

The Good: Every starter reached bases on offense, with Razor hitting a home run; they put up 5 runs against Zach Greinke; Brian Burres gave up only one in his five innings of work.

The Bad: The offense got shutout by the Royals' pen; the O's pen wasn't so lucky, giving up 5 runs, including the the game-tying two-out two-strike solo home run by pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo off of George Sherrill in the ninth - the second time in as many games that Sherrill had blown a save in that manner; the Orioles reverting the their pre-2008 ways, blowing a 5-1 lead and losing in extra-innings.

July 1st: O's - 7, Royals - 5

The Good: Radhames Liz walking just one in six innings (and it was in the sixth) and pitching a quality start (6 IP, 3 R); Adam Loewen coming out for the first time since April and going two scoreless; George Sherrill coming in with runners on in the ninth and locking down the win; Huff and Ramon continuing their hot hitting with two hits each; and a homer and a stolen base by Brian Roberts.

The Bad: Dennis Sarfate walking a pair with a four run lead in the ninth, and Sherrill allowing both runners to score. Not much else to complain about, despite the close score.

July 2nd: O's - 5, Royals - 2

The Good: Daniel Cabrera (CG, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K) throwing 75 of 105 pitches for strikes and saving the bullpen; Aubrey Huff hitting a home run; Razor going 3-4; and Roberts and Markakis each getting on twice and scoring a pair of runs.

The Bad: They only scored five?

July 3rd: O's - 7, Royals - 10

The Good: The exciting two inning stretch where they put 7 runs on the board - three via a pair of homers by Aubrey Huff (he now has 17, which is two more than he had all of last year) and two more on back-to-back triples by Jones and Fahey; Fernando Cabrera pitching a prefect ninth with a K.

The Bad: Garrett Olson giving up 6 runs in 5.1 IP including a home run to Tony Pena Jr. (he of the .214 SLG and 4 career HR); Adam Loewen relieving him and giving up three straight singles before being removed (all three scored) as part of a 7 run KC sixth; blowing a 7-3 lead to split the series instead of taking 3-of-4.

I was disappointed that they only won two of the four games at home, but I think a lot of it is just regression (to the mean) by a bullpen that was pitching over it's head for the first half of the year. Hopefully that unpleasantness is over with, and they'll go back to keeping leads and holding the other team down for the offense to come back.

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