Cal’s quote of the day:
“Stubbornness is usually considered a negative, but I think that trait has been a positive for me.”
This moment in baseball: Cal made one of his final stadium stops in Florida, on July 17th, before he ended up retiring.
The Baltimore Orioles, didn’t think they were going to win the East, or come in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. The O’s just want a season over .500. and it looks like they are going to get it. With a 40-48 record, the O’s are going into Chicago with a new mind set, they wanna get to .500. And now, the Orioles head into the second half hoping to consolidate their gains. They want to watch Wieters continue to develop and Bergesen and Nolan Reimold make a charge at the league’s Rookie of the Year award. And then, after the smoke has cleared, they’ll know where they stand heading into the 2010 season.
Club MVP: He’s their breakout player, and more to the point, Baltimore’s best all-around talent. Adam Jones has jumped out of his mold and converted much of his potential into actual production. The fleet-footed center fielder was named to his first All-Star team and will be a central factor in Baltimore for years to come.
Call him “Ace”: It may take longer than 15 starts to gain ace status, but Bergesen has been by far Baltimore’s most reliable starter in the first half. The right-handed rookie completed at least six innings in 11 of his first 15 outings and allowed three earned runs or fewer in two-thirds of his starts.
Greatest strength: The Orioles have seen their outfield — which boasts Jones and homegrown talents Nick Markakis and Reimold — evolve into perhaps the best young unit in baseball. The Orioles have speed and power from all three slots, and Markakis and Jones are both dynamic defenders in their own right.
Biggest problem: Baltimore’s veteran grafts to the starting rotation (Mark Hendrickson, Rich Hill and Adam Eaton) didn’t take root, forcing the Orioles to go to their younger prospects a bit earlier than expected. Jeremy Guthrie has also struggled, laying even more pressure on the young arms to thrive immediately.
Biggest surprise: If it’s not Bergesen, it would have to be Reimold or Robert Andino. Reimold burst out of the gates for Triple-A Norfolk and hasn’t stopped hitting since a promotion to the parent club. Andino, meanwhile, came over in a late spring trade from Florida and stabilized shortstop while Cesar Izturis was on the disabled list.
Team needs: The Orioles just need time and space to grow. They’ve already seen Reimold and Wieters introduced to the big league level, and next they’ll see high-wattage arms like Chris Tillman. By this point next season, the Orioles will likely have Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz in the big league mix as well.
He said it: “No one ever gives you credit when your fundamentals are good. … But as soon as you make a mistake fundamentally, it stands out like a sore thumb. People are ready to jump on you. My approach is to talk to the player individually and to stress to the team as a whole that baseball games are won and lost with your ability to be fundamentally sound.” — Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, on playing sound baseball
Mark your calendar: The Orioles are tested right out of the chute in the second half. Baltimore will have to travel to Chicago, New York and Boston for a nine-game road trip right after the All-Star break. The Orioles also have a 10-game jaunt in September before finishing the year with a three-game series at home against Toronto.
Fearless second-half prediction: The Orioles will avoid the unmitigated September swoons that have plagued them in recent years and will finish closer to .500 than they have in any season since 2004.
The Orioles will begin the second half with a three-game series in Chicago that starts on Friday and, after that, they’ll head to road series in New York and Boston. Baltimore will then play host to Kansas City and Boston before making a two-city trip to Detroit and Toronto. And here’s why that’s so noteworthy: The Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers all stand as having among the best home records in the American League, and the Blue Jays have played far better at home than on the road this season.
They’re not alone: The Orioles showed a severe disparity in the first half, playing to a 26-21 record at home and a 14-27 mark on the road. And that disparity shows up in the statistics. Baltimore has a 5.96 ERA on the road — which stands as the worst in the AL — and a 4.16 mark at home. The Orioles also hit .237 and scored 167 runs on the road, marks that stand second-to-last in the league, contrasted with an AL-best .294 batting average in their own home park.
And if you look even closer, those splits affect nearly all of Baltimore’s regular starters. Brian Roberts and Adam Jones are the players that show the least radical swings in performance based on location, but the rest of the heart of the order isn’t as fortunate. Four players — Aubrey Huff (.295/.228), Melvin Mora (.310/.204), Nick Markakis (.328/.247) and Ty Wigginton (.281/.236) — show extreme splits that see them hitting more than 40 points better at home than on the road.
Luke Scott has been successful at both home and on the road, but he’s been far better at Camden Yards (.323/.419/.633) than he has been elsewhere (.288/.333/.538). The split even affects rookies Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters, who are both hitting in the .230’s on the road and in the .280’s at home.
Starting Pitching: C+ (Now the only reason the pitching gets a C+ is because Brad Bergesen and Jeremy Guthrie have carried the load and have been the aces on the staff. Without them the O’s would have an F.)
Bullpen: D+ (George Sherrill has really helped out the bullpen with 20 saves, but guys like Matt Albers, just aren’t getting it done. The O’s need some fresh arms to bring up to the bullpen, and shall do that in the second half.)
Offense: B+ (The addition of Adam Jones in the lineup, and the continuous production of Luke Scott has really come in handy to one of the top 12 offenses in the majors. The O’s have used Jones as a weapon, to protect Brian Roberts, and to get on base for Nick Markakis, who is also having a great year. The Offense is streaky at times, but overall, they are just having another great season.)
Orioles: B (although the pitching has been bad, very bad, the offense still has carried the load at times, and the O’s are 40-48 which isn’t too shabby. The O’s can still turn the season around and get back to .500)
All information copyright http://mlb.mlb.com/ and Spencer Fordin (Orioles Reporter)
Thanks for your time. 🙂 Let’s go O’s!