if dOwnsides melt away and upsides reassert themselves

Posted in sO which guys? on June 8th, 2014 by The Wayward O

It’s been awhile since Blog rapped at ya, but Blog thinks it’s pretty clear things have been busy. Also Blog did fantasy baseball again this year, which cuts into Bloggin’ time. Overall this 2014 vintage seems like a genetic hybrid of magical 2012 squad and frustrating 2013 squad.

Which strain ultimately will assert itself? There is reason to be hopeful.

Blog was confused when Caleb Joseph got nod over Steve Clevenger after team traded for Nick Hundley. But Blog now is starting to see why. Caleb is using his time with the big club to hone a good skill set. He appears confident that he will – sooner or later – establish himself in the big leagues.

Did Wei Yin Chen hit 96 on the gun Friday night?

Image via MASN

It’s not a mirage! And, more importantly, he’s working consistently in the mid-90s. Blog saw Chen as being a crucial component this year and, so far, he has been up to the task. Blogs far more sophisticated than Blog of Team suggest he’s working down in the K-zone more effectively — and more often — this year.

Chris Davis has turned into a complete ballplayer. Watching him run bases and play defense is a pleasure. And, unlike some Orioles, he does not disdain the base on balls. The massive gulf between his low batting average and high OBP suggests he simply gets game-planned by opposing managers every night. (“Don’t let Davis beat you with the long ball.”) We certainly know he gets shifted by opposing defenses.

Struggling a bit with the game this season is young Manny Machado. But  numbers aren’t that bad and defensive talent is still on on display. Speaking of defensive …

Image via MASN

Also from Friday’s game. I’m not mad at it. Manny normally is reserved on field of play but – well – not that time. He’s going to put it all together as season progresses and re-assert himself as one of the truly dangerous hitters.

And, even though Blog complains about Adam Jones, the guy is just so dangerous with the bat that, one can conclude, you simply have to live with the first-pitch ground-outs in situations where you’d expect selectivity? Probably hitters like Adam, who are used to being aggressive, can’t just turn that off and on.

There are at least four guys playing outside of the spotlight and putting together the kinds of seasons that can only be seen as building blocks toward a playoff run. They are Nick Markakis, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day. Workmanlike, effective, reliable and talented.

It’s hard to know what’s going on with Matt Wieters except that the organization clearly believes it must be exceedingly careful with his throwing arm. It’s a shame, too, because of the way Matt started with the bat. But, dumb question, either the tendon is busted or it ain’t?

All told it really appears to be all there for Team this year. It really does. Signs of hope are real. If downsides melt away and upsides reassert themselves, then the sky is the limit.

And Nelly Cruz.

diaspOra, part XX – papa cruuuuuz

Posted in diaspOra on May 4th, 2014 by The Wayward O

Name: Nelson Cruz Sr.
Status: Fan and father of certain Oriole
Location: JFK Airport, Terminal 4
Gear of Choice: Las Matas de Santa Cruz cap and Nellie Cruz No. 23 tee

Soy un gran fan

Wayward O Says: You never know who you’re going to meet at el aeropuerto! Also here is a long piece a Texas television crew did in 2011 about Nellie’s home town.

we can’t even dO that

Posted in arOund the big leagues on April 15th, 2014 by The Wayward O

Blogsk of Teamsk: You’ve seen the Deadspin gonna guess

StinkyPhillyChee6969: Duh

Blogsk of Teamsk: So great and sad

StinkyPhillyChee6969: So sad

Blogsk of Teamsk: And brilliant

StinkyPhillyChee6969: And sad

Blogsk of Teamsk: Yeah

StinkyPhillyChee6969: That’s the real shame of this team. Even a team with sh*t, older stars that can’t produce can put together decent relievers. Like, take minor league starters that throw strikes and remove two of their pitches. It’s not that complicated. We can’t even do that sh*t
And then our players DO produce and the bullpen f*cking sh*ts out a little white flag and buries itself in a pile of sh*t

Blogsk of Teamsk: It’s a pile o sh*t

StinkyPhillyChee6969: Why the f*ck Jake Diekman was in the game I’ll never know. Why do you throw a slider there? Make him beat you on something hard. [Dan Uggla] is a .180 hitter for the last two years

Blogsk of Teamsk: You’re not ready for humorous brilliance. I can see that. You just need a little time

Blogsk of Teamsk: This will take edge off

StinkyPhillyChee6969: Bahahahaha. It did!

Blogsk of Teamsk: Haha

StinkyPhillyChee6969: Cause you think it’s the Randall Simon vid. And then no. The poor guy just face-plants on his own

Blogsk of Teamsk: #Chorizo’d

nO big deal, ace

Posted in the rOte on April 8th, 2014 by The Wayward O

My man Chris Tillman spent his first two starts besting Jon Lester and Justin Verlander, the latter performance an absolute tour de force.

Original photo via Sun

You sir, have earned your Blingie!

diaspOra, part XIX – signs, etc.

Posted in diaspOra on April 1st, 2014 by The Wayward O

Name: Unknown
Status: Orioles fan
Location: Camden Yards, Section 80
Gear of choice: Grapefruit League tee and homemade signage

Where do we sign?

Wayward O Says: Another tremendous Opening Day!

Bonus coverage from Opening Day ….

Pickles was packed!

I’ll have two, please

Blogger of Blog of Team, aka Wayward O, was on the TeeVee!

Serious face. Silly hat

Yankee fans were converted!

Not a moment too soon

Famed Orioles fans were sighted …

Wieters Wieners

And a crisp, tightly-contested victory was procured courtesy of great Chris Tillman pitching, great bull-pen pitching, Nellie Cruz heroics and Ryan Flaherty defense.

2k14 divisiOnal preview – AL East

Posted in 2014 predictiOns on March 27th, 2014 by The Wayward O

Five teams have plausible path to victory. Somebody’s coming in fifth. Injuries and closers will dictate outcomes. Nearly impossible to pick a winner in late March.

Baltimore Orioles - Power at every position and deep — if arguably not fearsome — rotation with talent waiting in wings. Can Ubaldo Jimenez be the other consistent power pitcher alongside Chris Tillman? Trade for Steve Lombardozzi came late but appears to have yielded a true second baseman. The concern would be if rotation’s back-end – guys like Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez – aren’t good enough to keep pace. A lot of blown saves could damage hopes as they did in 2013.

Boston Red Sox – The big pitching staff returns. So do the free agents Boston brought in for its 2013 title run. Can Koji Uehara keep up his magical pace in relief? Doubt it. They’re also very excited about Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field but excitement won’t by itself replicate Jacoby Ellsbury’s otherworldly production. Blog also wonders about David Ortiz and whether his age will catch up to him.

New York Yankees - Most either are battling or have battled significant injuries. The exceptions would be new catcher Brian McCann and stand-in, free-agent third baseman Kelly Johnson. The pitching corps looks to have big upside with its talented Japanese imports but the fact is the offense is likely to struggle to stay on the field. C.C. Sabathia is “only” 33 years old but the big lefty has 2,775 innings under his belt and his ERA leaped from 3.38 in 2012 to 4.78 in 2013. Are his best days behind him?

Tampa Bay Rays - Rays give opposing teams lots of looks and have a strong rotation now back-ended by Jake Odorizzi, acquired in trade that sent James Shields to Kansas City. It’s historically tough to beat them in their own house of horrors. Can they win another 50 games inside the carpet-stained and freedom-rock blasting confines of the Trop? That’s your playoff indicator right there. Aside to Orioles: Get up for those games, boys. They’ll dictate your future!

Toronto Blue Jays - Really, Jose Reyes is gimpy with a hamstring? Jays are going to have another home run-hitting offense and you can expect a bigger year from Brett Lawrie but ace R.A. Dickey’s best days are behind him. Tommy John survivor Drew Hutchison is probably the most interesting question here. Blog sees injuries plaguing this squad again.

Predicted order of finish:
Orioles, Rays and Red Sox closer to top and in playoff mix
Blue Jays and Yankees closer to bottom