Category Archives: Baltimore Orioles

Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week: Caleb Joseph?

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Caleb Joseph hammered the ever loving piss out of the baseball this past week. He hit the ball so hard so frequently, we’ve brought back one of our favorite features from the past on the blog.

Caleb Joseph is a 28 year-old rookie catcher who entered the week with three career home runs. He’s hitting .227 on the season and the chances are if you were in a pay phone booth and he knocked on the window and told you he needed to use it, you wouldn’t realize it was a big league player and you would keep talking.

Here’s what he did this past week:

8 for 18 (.444), Five home runs, nine RBI, a double, 1.778 OPS and that’s without anyone bothering to walk him.

That was career games 49 to 53 in the career of Caleb Joseph. He’s unlikely to ever have a run again in his career where he homers in five straight (he went 1 for 4 without homering today). Hell, he’s unlikely to ever appear on this blog again. But for what he did this past week, he’s brought back the HHMWMPOY. And it’s back to stay.

Baltimore Orioles 2014 Team Preview

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Mevs has been adding a paragraph to each one of my posts so far. And although I appreciate the marketing for the sites that I have written for and for my own Twitter account, I’m honestly just here for the LOLZ, the booze and the free finger food (cheese and crackers y’all. Cheese…and…crackers). But, before I get belligerent and filled up on tasty hor dourves, how about we talk about the Baltimore Orioles for a few minutes.

A few players come to mind almost immediately when thinking about the Orioles. No, I am not talking about Brian Matusz and his weird offseason that has included a wart removal and a peanut allergy scare. I’m thinking of players like Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado, the latter of which has run into a roadblock in his return from knee surgery.

Machado is a rather big deal for the Orioles. He wasn’t a big enough deal to warrant a substantial raise after last season, but, be real, Manny, even Mike Trout had to settle for contract renewal after his first season. But he is still a big deal, and ZiPS agrees with his importance to the club. The projections put Machado at the top of the list according to Szymborski’s WAR calculations with a projected mark of 4.5. He is most likely not going to be ready for the beginning of the season, which isn’t terrible, but is decidedly less-than-ideal.

After Manny, the Orioles have four offensive players that project to be worth more than three wins in 2014. Those players are Adam Jones, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters. After Davis’ power took the American League by storm last year, ZiPS expects him to come back to the pack in 2014 (If you can call 41 home runs coming back to the pack, of course). Personally, I am hoping for the over on Davis’ projection. Chicks dig the long ball, and so do bloggers. Continue reading

Hideous Ballplayer Week Theatre: A Timeline of Pitcher Sammy Stewart

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Young Sam Stewart, Baltimore Orioles Rookie Pitcher. 1979. “Earl Weaver hated me when I first came up with the big club. Come to think of it, he never really took to me even into when he retired. My rookie year, he told our equipment guy not to give me a hat, so I had to beg different teammates to let me borrow theirs on my day to pitch. No one would volunteer on the day I was photographed for my rookie card. One time I asked Eddie Murray to borrow his when he got out of a game early, and he punched me in the dick so hard I was nauseous until football season was over. My rookie year was rougher then people will ever understand.”

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Sammy pictured in happier times at home with his uni-brow. “The brow was the key to my legendary 1981 season. I had a 2.32 ERA that year because hitters couldn’t take their eyes off how stupid I looked. In 1982 I tried to grow the brow all the way down my cheeks into my mustache. I wanted to have what we call down in Carolina a ‘bush-face’. Didn’t work out, and that’s when the magic started to disappear.”

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Signed as a Free Agent in Cleveland in 1987. Still showing that sense of humor and charm that won him Montreat College Homecoming King in 1974. “The best part of my times in Cleveland didn’t come on the mound. I made friendly with this old hot dog vendor who worked at the stadium since the 50’s, and that old guy used to leave his stand unlocked for me after games. I would climb in there and down all the day’s leftover dogs. On a homestand I could put away 70, 80 hot dogs if we were in town for 10 days. It saved me a lot of money back then, and I didn’t have to return to my offseason job as a picker-packer right after I retired.”

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Stewart pictured in his luxurious office at Enka Middle school in North Carolina in 2oo4. Stewart is showing the photographer his arm motion that used to render hitters useless in the big leagues. Shortly after this picture was taken, Stewart helped a 7th grader un-jam his locker.

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Stewart preparing for his comeback to the big leagues in January 2005, at the age of 51. “I’ve got gall stones, broken bones, gout, the beginning stages of COPD, and I lose the feeling in my right leg when I run more than about ten strides,” Stewart said upon being interviewed. “But I’ve got more heart in my ass cheek then most of the pitchers in the big leagues today, and I will become the oldest big leaguer to throw in a game. Jamie Moyer can kiss my ass!”

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2006: Comeback attempt briefly stalled. Stewart was caught smoking crack out of the sawed off muffler of his 1978 Ford Cortina. “I loved that car. First thing I bought when I signed my big league contract. It was an import vehicle,” Stewart said. Mr. Stewart is pictured above in his ‘room’ at Buncombe Correctional Center in North Carolina. “But who needs a car. Look at all I have here, this ain’t so bad. I’ve got my Keds sailing shoes, my Carhartt jacket, and the only outfit I’ve owned in six years. All things considered things aren’t so bad. Besides, the bed is comfy and the view here is great.”

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Present day. Stewart has been served his retirement papers by baseball, but won’t sign them. “I’ve used my one allowed phone call each day to call Peter Angelos and tell him I can help that team. Even at age 58, I can still pitch,” While on assignment, a reporter there to write about Stewart’s incarceration overheard Stewart pleading during a voice-mail message left for Orioles Owner Peter Angelos. Stewart was begging Angelos to become the Orioles mail sorter and then softened his stance before hanging up the prison phone and offered to water Angelos’ office plants. “I know I can help a young pitcher like Chris Tillman or Kevin Gausman. I have never told anyone how to throw the pube-ball. But if they can get me out of here and back on the diamond I’m willing to reveal my secrets.”

Stewart is now a habitual felon, and has spent 25 months in prison over six separate stints.

“It’s not that I’m a bad guy. But other than baseball, felonies were the next best thing I was great at doing.”

Happy Kevin Gausman Day

Gausman Waves Camden Yards tall

We’re not likely to celebrate it every May 23rd, but every big time prospect should get their one day that is theirs and theirs alone. That day is when they make their Major League debut. Today is Kevin Gausman day.

Here’s a scouting report on Gausman from Baseball Prospectus:

Gausman utilizes long arms, a high three-quarters release, and good extension to create hard downward plane on his fastball. The pitch comes with boring action and routinely sits in the mid-90s, with the ability to climb close to triple-digits (he has touched triple digits in the past). He shows comfort with the offering and can move it around the quadrants, showing no fear working inside to set up his plus to plus-plus changeup. The off-speed pitch comes with arm-side fade and late drop, mirroring the action on his fastball, and generally sits in the mid-80s with around a nine to 12 mile per hour delta from his heater.

Gausman wielded both a slider and a curve throughout his scholastic career, but he has focused his attention on the former since inking with Baltimore, making solid strides with the offering over the past 10 months. He will routinely sit in the low-80s with the offering, but can juice it up to the mid-80s with tighter action more closely resembling a cutter. When clicking, the pitch comes with heavy tilt and is tough to pick up against his fastball trajectory, helping it project as a third plus or better weapon once he finds more consistency in command and execution. He is an excellent athlete who repeats his mechanics and fields his position well.

Gausman has the stage relatively to himself with just a short slate going on around baseball. All that remains for the young former first-rounder is shutting down the Blue Jays the first time he takes the mound as a big leaguer.

Rank Relief: Jim Johnson blows second save in one week

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Matt Joyce reaches out and bumps a feeble double to take the lead.

 

Jim Johnson has had rough week.  Coming into the top of the 9th today to protect a 2 run lead, he didn’t even come close to protecting the lead.  After getting one out, the wheels came off.

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The tally for Johnson: 1 home run, 2 walks, 1 single, 1 double, 3 runs, only one out.  He came way with a 135.00 ERa and 15.00 WHIP.  Not bad.  Johnson wasn’t alone today either.  Darren O’Day came in to try and clean up the mess.  He didn’t help much.  Immediately giving up back to back doubles and walking in a run.  Bad day for the Orioles bullpen.  The AL East is shaping up to be a tough division again this year.

Rank Relief: Jim Johnson brings Orioles record in 1 run games towards the mean

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A single up the middle spelled disaster tonight

Jim Johnson has been pretty good this year with 14 saves and an ERA and WHIP under1.  Today was not a good day.  Trying to hold onto a one run lead.  Johnson gave up a pair of singles before he was gifted double play ball and his hopes for pulling a save out went up.  One single, later the game was tied.  An HBP and another single later, the lead was gone.  Details:

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The tally:  4! singles, 1 HBP. 2 runs and 1 blown save.  A lot of people think Jim Johnson has been pitching above his head.  I won’t say but his year just got a little worse tonight.

One of these is not like the others: A look at the MLB leaders in home runs

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Chris Davis, Michael Morse, Justin Upton.  These are your current MLB leaders in home runs at 6.  Who cares if it’s only April 11th.  The season has been going FOR ALMOST TWO WEEKS ALREADY.  Time to start keeping track.  All three of these players were somewhat recently cast off by their former teams.  Davis went to the Orioles last year, Morse was traded to the Mariners in the off-season, and Upton was trade for 50 cents on the dollar from the Diamondbacks.  These guys have been hot to start the season and Upton is making my Upton brothers projection looking really stupid.  The difference is that Upton is perennially touted as an MVP candidate.  The other two are not so much.  Here is the tally of their home runs so far this season.

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How much can these guys keep it up?  Projections:

  • Chris Davis: 33 HR
  • Michael Morse:  31 HR
  • Justin Upton: 29 HR

 

Joel Hanrahan Celebrates the longest sell-out streak in sports history by blowing a game

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In case you didn’t hear, the longest sell-out streak in the history of sports ended tonight in Boston at 794 games. The streak was actually 820 games if you count the postseason.

So how did the Red Sox say ‘thanks’ to the fan base that came out in droves for so long? By bringing in Joel Hanrahan for 2/3 of an inning and allowing him to take a 5-3 lead and turn it into an 8-5 loss. The whole thing only took about 15 minutes, which is shorter than the amount of time that it takes to bake most cakes.

Let’s take a look at Joel’s not so-winning ingredients:

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Hanrahan’s ERA climbs to 11.57 on the season, and his manager defiantly says “Obviously he’s our closer”. Obviously John Farrell is the smartest guy in the room. Hanrahan fits right in with the other relievers around the league who are blowing games at what seems like a record pace.

Cue up all the shitty, short-sighted fantasy owners in your league picking up Andrew Bailey before there’s even reason to do so. Hanrahan is going to have more lives than Rasputin, that I can guarantee you. John Farrell doesn’t want to look like anyone is smarter than him.

Chris Davis goes the eff off in the first week of the season

It’s always nice when your team or favorite player starts the year off hot.  I know fans off Mark Texiera have never experienced this, but trust me, it’s a good feeling.  If you are in the Chris Davis fan club (est. 2007 in Longview, TX, membership: 43) you had one hell of a week.  Davis, often maligned for his high K rate, absolutely exploded this week on opposing pitching.  His .455 is amazing but not really worth discussing since it’s such a small sample size.  Chris Davis hit 4 home runs this week.  That’s pretty amazing.  He already has 12% of his previous high, 33, home runs in the bag.  But I don’t know if that’s even quite that impressive.  Michael Morse and Justin Upton both it 5 home runs this week.  Josh Hamilton hit 4 in one game last year.  The number that stands out the most is his 17 RBI.  That’s and average of almost 3 per game.  That’s not bad.  Consider he is already halfway to the record for most RBI in April.  The most RBI in a month (since 1900) is 53 by Joe DiMaggio.  I don’t think he’ll get there, but even having an early shot is amazing.  Chris Davis is 27 this season and has always been a promising power prospect.  He is getting the chance to play every day on the Orioles so an improvement in performance isn’t unexpected, but nothing like this.  If Davis can keep the average between .265 and .280 and cut down on the Ks, he could easily be the best offensive player on the Orioles this year.  Likely, maybe not, but April baseball is all about the possibility.  Enjoy the 6 game logs:

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2013 Baltimore Orioles Team Preview

The Orioles exceeded anybody’s wildest expectations last year.  They made the playoffs as one of the wildcard teams.  Beat a Texas team that had represented the AL in the last two World Series and then nearly beat the Yankees in the Divisional series, losing 3-2.  The Orioles had the moniker of luck hanging over them all season and they did come up on the sunny side of the average.  They won 93 games but were only projected to win 82 based on run differential.   They were 29-9 in one runs games and 16-2 in extra inning games.  That’s probably not going to happen again this year.  Baseball being good in Baltimore is a good thing.  The ballpark is great and it’s a team with some nice tradition.

Did they make moves to take the next step?

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • None

The Orioles took it easy this offseason.  They have been building a solid team with Adam Jones and Matt Wieters.  They didn’t really need to add much to the offense – there is plenty of capability there.  They could have added a top line starter, but you can’t just go out and pick one off the shelf.  I’m assuming Baltimore figured it out and stood pat.

So they if they didn’t do much in the offseason, who’s left. Continue reading

You Don’t Say. This Guy Died of a Heart Attack? (Earl Weaver Goes Nuts on an Ump)

Somehow it’s a vintage YouTube baseball clip we’ve never seen before. If you haven’t either, you’re in for a treat.

Earl Weaver really gets his money worth here, and the crowd eventually gets into it. He eventually wins when he gets the umpire to verbally retaliate. “Law enforcement” should be above that. But the umpire mocks Weaver’s saying that he will be in the Hall of Fame and asks ‘For what? For fucking up the World Series?’. Also don’t sleep on the fact that the video begins with a boyish Eddie Murray talking jive to the blue.

This is a hell of a managerial ejection. They don’t make them like this anymore.

H/t: Deadspin

Wild Card Friday (& Predictions)

For the first time in the history of this blog (and the sport in general), the postseason kicks off with two Wildcard teams playing a one game play-in the day before the real deal gets going.

National League: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves

The last time Fredi Gonzalez was in this situation, he didn’t fare so well. He’s not a good manager, and his immensely talented team has brought him back for a chance at redemption despite his attempts to sabotage them all. It’s a testament to the winning culture in Atlanta, and the fact that they want to send their strong leader Chipper Jones out as he deserves; a winner.

The Cardinals had enough magic last season to last them a lifetime. If you were like us, you waited all season long for a Cardinals run that never really came. We have no doubts that the Cardinals will have some great runs in the future under Mike Matheny, and this season was a nice start to his managerial career. But these Cardinals are not made with the same ingredients that made them great at this time last year. They just aren’t.

They’ve still got the ability to score and knock down fences with the best of them, but there’s some smoke and mirrors within their starting rotation. Adam Wainwright has a lot of mileage on his arm, Chris Carpenter missed most of the season, and the wildcard game starter Kyle Lohse had a career year that seems to be an anomaly more than a constant.

The baseball gods will allow the Braves to extract some sweet revenge on the team that stole their spot like a thief in the night a year ago. Fredi and the Braves will win tomorrow night in Atlanta and give Chipper Jones one final crack at a ring that has eluded him since 1995. The Cardinals season ends tomorrow.

Prediction: Braves over Cardinals

American League: Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers

My goodness we love Ron Washington. His speech to his troops before World Series game seven last postseason is the thing that legends are made of. And how about those tricky Orioles? Who in their right mind had Buck Showalter and the Orioles here at this point? No one. Not a damn person outside the Baltimore fan base, and if you try to tell me otherwise you’re lying.

The Orioles have strung together a rag-tag bunch that includes Mark Reynolds, Robert Andino, Nate McLouth, and Chris Davis. Of course they’ll go to the Hellhouse that is the Ballpark in Arlington, to face all of those terrifying hitters and F-bomb dropping Ron Washington and they’ll start a pitcher (Joe Saunders) who I would consider waiver wire garbage. Were they trolling late-night for catfish the night that they found Saunders? He started seven games for the Orioles this season. They haven’t a season like this since I was still searching for my first kiss. And they’re going to let Joe Saunders decide their season? This is who you throw out there to decide the biggest game this team has played in decades? That’s TV I’ve got to see.

But you know what? The baseball gods are a funny thing.

Here are teams on the opposite side of the spectrum. One team is littered with superstars, while the other just appears littered. The Rangers will throw their high-dollar import special Yu Darvish to oppose Saunders. The Rangers have about as much postseason experience up and down the roster as anyone in the field this year. The Orioles have little to none.

Everyone in the world will pick the Rangers tomorrow night. It would probably make sense to do the same. But something in my gut tells me that this Texas team has learned the just how long and impossible the journey seems. They’re jaded. They dropped the World Series two years ago. Last year they climbed back up that tall hill only to see it slip away in the most gut-wrenching fashion possible in sports. If that wasn’t enough to kill the spirits of this team, getting caught by the Oakland Athletics and losing the division title after leading the way for 99% of the season has destroyed this team’s inner conscious. I’m telling you that they’re mentally cooked.

Look back at the other side now, those tricky Orioles. They don’t know what they’re about to embark upon. They haven’t been here. They can say ‘who gives a shit, the whole damn season has been crazy anyways’. They have been starting Mark Reynolds the last few seasons. What do they care? Here’s a situation where I think lack of experience helps a team. In this one game scenario, they can catch some lightning in a bottle because they aren’t able to fully grasp the moment. All the pressure in the world is on our beloved Ron Washington and his Cocaine Cowboys of the West.

Most of all, in this life when everything seems so certain; it isn’t at all. Go the other way with the pick that everyone will go one way with. When they zig, you zag.

Prediction: Orioles over Rangers

10 Bold Predictions for 2012: Matt Wieters, All-Star

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2012 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our seventh prediction: the Baltimore Orioles young phenom Catcher and the All-Star year that lies ahead for him.

We’ve been waiting on Matt Wieters to have a breakout season and enter he next tier of offensive players in the league.

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And until life got busy, I was going to tell you that Matt Wieters was a sure-fire All-Star this season. It was one of our 10 predictions.

I ask you, after last night’s 2 home run, 5 RBI performance in which he hit a grand slam in extras against the ChiSox, how are we lookin’?

I have to get credit for this. Dude is a stud.