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New skipper, same results in Baltimore

Jun 5, 2010, 2:05 PM EDT

Juan Samuel Orioles.jpgClay Buchholz ruined Juan Samuel’s first game as O’s interim manager, tossing a complete-game five-hit shutout as part of an 11-0 victory on Friday night. The Orioles have now lost nine consecutive games and enter play on Saturday at 15-40. They currently sit an incredible 21 games behind the first-place Rays in the American League East.

It doesn’t look like things are going to get magically better any time soon, but Samuel’s sense of humor is still intact. For now, anyway. (via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com).

“Well, we got the first one out of the way for me.”

Friday’s starter Chris Tillman was only able to record four outs before he was yanked
after 57 pitches, giving up four runs on five hits while walking two and
striking out two. It was only his second start back in the big leagues, but the young right-hander is symptomatic of a core of young players — including Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen — who have taken a “giant step” backward this season, according to team president Andy MacPhail.

It’s hard for MacPhail to preach patience when the team needs to try to sell tickets — especially with the excitement in the region tilting in the Nationals’ favor — but let’s just say that the young core mentioned above isn’t the only thing that has diverted off course in the past year. I believe the Orioles unfairly raised the expectations of their fanbase by bringing in veterans like Kevin Millwood, Mike Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins this winter when they really didn’t need to.

The injuries to Gonzalez and Brian Roberts haven’t helped their plight, but contending should never have been a consideration this season anyway. The Gonzalez signing was especially absurd at the time and looks even more egregious now. With that being said, I still trust MacPhail’s overall vision for the franchise. I just hope it isn’t much longer before we see names like Millwood and Ty Wigginton give way to promising youngsters like Jake Arrietta and Josh Bell.  
 

  1. Xpensive Wino - Jun 5, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Ummmmm, just wanna verify: Are the players still the same?
    Ah, thought so.

  2. GimmeSomeSteel - Jun 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    As long as Angelos is around, there will be time, effort, money, and energy wasted on half-baked measures like signing or trading for mid-level or lower veterans. He can’t bring himself to admit the team needs a full rebuild.
    In other words, Oriole fans, your owner wants to be Pittsburgh East.

  3. Jeff V. - Jun 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    “I believe the Orioles unfairly raised the expectations of their fanbase by bringing in veterans like Kevin Millwood, Mike Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins this winter when they really didn’t need to.”
    Are you a Pirates or an Orioles fan? If not you have no idea what 12 losing seasons in a row does to a fan base.
    Have you looked at the attendence trends at OPACY?
    Have you seen what the O’s payroll has done since AM took over?
    AM needed to spend some money and make an attempt at respectability this season. Notice I said respectability not “contending” I have no idea where you got contending from, frankly I think you made it up, NO ONE had the O’s contending this season.
    You will notice that only one of the names you mentioned is on the payroll past this season. Now I will agree that Atkins and Gonzo were poor choices, and I would be spending much more on the draft and international talent.
    Also who would you have play first and third base for Baltimore? would you have tossed Bell and Snyder out there and hoped for the best? If so, have you seen Snyder’s numbers at AAA last season and Bell’s LH/RH splits?

  4. D.J. Short - Jun 5, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    All legitimate questions. No, I’m not an Orioles fan, so I can’t sympathize with 12 consecutive losing seasons, but I have lived in Maryland for most of my life and care about the franchise a great deal. I guess my question is, don’t you think stop-gap solutions are a little disingenuous?
    I was okay with the “idea” of Tejada or Atkins in theory, but not both. Why sign one more veteran when there’s Wigginton, who could play third, or Wigginton/Scott/Reimold/Hughes, who are all at least capable of playing third base? And that’s not even mentioning Snyder or Bell.
    Contention is a loaded word, to be sure, but I’m mainly talking about what MacPhail said yesterday about this was the year he wanted to see the young talent translate into wins. I like the grand plan of what MacPhail is doing (assuming that the young talent progresses) but it’s unrealistic to think they were ready to compete this season.

  5. D.J. Short - Jun 5, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    *First base with that Wigginton/Scott/Reimold/Hughes point, not third.

  6. Jeff V. - Jun 5, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    I think the informed fan base knew they were stop-gaps. The O’s had no one that would be part of the future ready at 3rd or 1st. If they had used Wiggy there they would have needed someone to replace him in the reserve role he had, also his production last year was rather poor. (I blame a fair bit of that on how he was used).
    You mean first base not third I assume, and there is no evidence that Reimold, coming off of surgery, could have played first base. From what I have heard he looks like someone that hasn’t played there since high school at Norfolk. Scott also has limited expirence playing first.
    I think you were reading too much into what Andy said, by wins matter he was putting the pressure on Dave to at least be competetive this season. As I said before respectability was the goal, and if you looked at the preseason projections, most had the O’s in the realm of 74 or so wins, which would have been respectable in the AL East.

  7. D.J. Short - Jun 5, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Understood. I just didn’t like how the decisions were made. I mean, announcing the Tejada signing at FanFest? They were trying to motivate people to buy tickets more than anything else.

  8. JBerardi - Jun 5, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    “Well, we got the first one out of the way for me.”

    Since they’re in such a helpful mood, the Red Sox also got the second one out of the way for him tonight, 8-2.

  9. al - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Yeah, great choice for interim manager, O’s! The same guy who was coaching third the other day, and got Tejada thrown out at the plate, while trailing 7-0, with no outs and the cleanup hitter coming up!

  10. Charles Gates - Jun 6, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Yes, that was purely marketing. But I don’t think the O’s were being disingenuous in doing so. The team’s goal for this season was to play .500 ball, not to compete for the wild card. Tejada put up respectible numbers last year and filled a hole at 3B before Bell was ready. Atkins, based on historical stats, had a nice upside for $4.5MM this year. In ball park figures, that’s about 1 WAR. Millwood is putting up an ERA+ of 100 and more importantly, averaging 6.6 IP/GS.
    Now I don’t know if Atkins and Millwood have the personalities to mentor young players, but any leadership they show, whether it be work ethic, preparation or off the field personal stuff would be hugely beneficial to a young team. While one can argue that Josh Bell might develop differently with more MLB AB’s, the it might make the team a bit more volitile without veteran leadership. That kind of stuff doesn’t show up in the stats, but it does matter.
    Tejada has done was they’ve asked of him. Millwood will bring back a decent prospect at the trading deadline. Atkins has been a complete waste. But, those are all monday morning pitcher evaluations. I think that at the time of the signings, they were pretty good moves. The O’s were supposed to be sniffing .500 this year and ready to sign some top flight FA’s in the offseason, not sitting in the toilet of Craig’s Monday Power Rankings. That’s why Trembley got canned.

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