Tagged: baltimore orioles

Beckett Charged with Six

beckettabreu.jpgJosh Beckett was hit with a six-game suspension after throwing at the head of Bobby Abreu. He appealed it right away. He’ll miss a start and is expected to make his next start at home in Boston against Baltimore.

Is it even reasonable to even issue this suspension to Beckett?

I don’t think it is. There’s a reason he wasn’t ejected from the game. The umpires didn’t feel it was necessary, and it wasn’t. Beckett says he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Bobby’s head. But even if he was, that’s the way it used to be. If a player waited a while to throw the pitch and then after an extreme amount of time the batter finally calls a timeout, the batter should expect one in his ear.

Throughout baseball history, there have been many players that return the “favor” to the teams and players that deserve it. Roger Clemens is one of the most recent to throw up and in. When he nailed Mike Piazza once he said after the game, “I pitch the way I pitch.” Clemens has plunked 159 batters in his career. Ironically enough, Beckett’s idol growing up was Roger Clemens.

The most notable pitcher to drill batters is Bob Gibson. The hall of famer was fiery pitcher who loved to knock down batters. Hitting 102 batters in his career, it’s said that they lowered the height of the mound for Gibson.

A current pitcher that has been known to to brushback hitters in his presumable hall of fame career is southpaw Randy Johnson. The Big Unit leads all active players with hit by pitches with 188 and is in third place all-time, trailing HOFers Eddie Plank (196) and Walter Johnson (203).

It’s part of the game, and some of the best pitchers of all-time are on the leaderboard for career hit batsmen. So even if it was intentional, it’s justifiable by the unwritten rules of the game. For now though, I’ll believe Beckett, he’s my favorite major leaguer.

HAPPY JACKIE ROBINSON DAY

Writing a paper last night about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and whether it was ethically right, I came further to realize what Jackie did for not only the game, but the country. In the experiment, scientists used uneducated, illiterate blacks in the south to let their syphilis go untreated so the scientists could see the later stages of the disease. The experiment lasted forty years from 1932 to 1972. And it’s ironic that during that span of time, the country saw the likes of Jackie, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. come across the civil rights scene.

Jackie joining Major League Baseball formed this country to become the way it should be. It was the first of the historical events and the most respected by myself.

All of Major League Baseball is expected to wear Jackie’s 42 on their jerseys today, which is nothing new for Yanks closer Mariano Rivera, who is the last player who wears the number.

Snow, Sun, and CC

Oh central Pennsylvania. It’s currently sunny outside and snowing. The weather here never ceases to amaze me. I cannot wait to go home to Philly for good where the weather doesn’t go haywire. I’m taking time out of a hectic few school days (a couple exams and a paper) to write this post because I can’t stay away from baseball, come on, it’s opening week. My professors will understand, I hope.

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So as I watched the Orioles/Yankees game yesterday, I wasn’t suprised that CC Sabathia was all over the place. I don’t think Yankees fans should be concerned though. I saw a statistic yesterday that last year he started the season with some awful stats (I forget what they were, it was like one win and a skyscraper ERA through five or so starts). Then he turned into a savior in Milwaukee and put up unbelievable numbers there. As much as I want him to do poorly in New York because he’s playing for money there, he’ll definately turn it around.

Speaking of playing for money, did anyone hear Mark Teixiera get booed as if he flipped the bird to every Orioles fan in the park. Well, they weren’t pleased that the “hometown boy” turned down the Orioles offer this offseason to go play in the Bronx. Well Big Tex ended 0-for-4 and left five men on base. O’s fans were certainly pleased. As was I.

How about that Orioles offense? Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis combined to go 8-for-11, scored seven runs, and drove home four. Every Orioles starter had at least one hit except Luke Scott, who worked two walks and had an RBI. This lineup will produce runs this year with a nice combination of young stars and veteran players, if only they had some pitching to go along with their potent offense.

“ALL HAIL THE PUTZ/K-ROD COMBO”

I’m one of few people who doesn’t believe this combo will be as lights out as everyone else thinks it will be. Sure they’re great and all. But it was what, 30 degrees in Cincinnati yesterday? It’s definately going to be hard to get around on a either one of Putz or Rodriguez’s pitches.

Johan looked good for the most part. His slider wasn’t too effective yesterday and he walked four, but I guess you can’t argue with seven strikeouts and one earned run in almost six innings. His counterpart, Aaron Harang threw a lot of pitches in just five innings of work and looked pretty good despite working deep into the count in what felt like every batter.

The two runs yesterday by the Mets were produced by not Wright, not Reyes, not Beltran, not Delgado–but Daniel Murphy. He hit a homerun and then later drove home Luis Castillo. This kid is pretty good, so look out for him this year.

 

Those were really the only games I sat down and watched yesterday. I caught some of the Cubs/Astros, Rangers/Indians, A’s/Angels, and Pirates/Cardinals but just a few innings here and there. I got a lot of studying to do and a paper to write.

Best matchups of the night:
Ubaldo Jimenez and Dan Haren try to cool the bats of eachothers’ teams after the D-backs and Rockies combined for seventeen runs and eight homers yesterday.

Scott Olsen faces off against his old team and Josh Johnson as the Marlins look to continue to roll after they posted a 12-spot on the scoreboard yesterday.

The Phils look to rebound from their opening night loss as they send Jamie Moyer to the mound against the Braves and Jair Jurrjens who was 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts last year against the Phils.

Brace Yourself Bronx

Season Preview: New York Yankees
Projected MLB Rank: 11th — AL Rank: 4th — AL East Rank: 2nd — Record: (87-75)
American League Wild Card Winnersyankslogo.gif

You think I’m kidding? Well I’m not. I do have the Yankees not ranked in my top ten teams this year.

Again, what you have just read, is correct.

Sure, I think the Yanks will make the playoffs. And of course they have the best rotation in the division, if not the league. But there’s something about the team that isn’t attractive to me.

ccandaj.jpgLet’s start with what is though–that rotation. I actually have them ranked second in the entire league in the starting rotation category. A huge portion of what has them there is the two offseason acquisitions AJ Burnett and CC  Sabathia. Sabathia has basically been declared the ace of the staff, recieving the starting job for both opening day in Baltimore and the home opener against the Indians. How can you not call him the ace? He did things last season for the Brewers that really no one even dreamed of. His arm and determination picked up that team and carried them into their short stay in October. Then there’s Burnett. Moving across the division from a team that could have won the division maybe if they were in the Central, to a team that has had the potential to win the division for the past 15 years and counting. AJ is a huge strikeout pitcher and a great compliment to Sabathia as the number two. What could scare Yankees fans is his potential for injury. He gets hurt all the time. He also has been known to pitch his best during contract seasons. My thought of Burnett is, his ERA will probably hover around 4.50 and when he’s fully healthy–then he’ll win you ballgames.

Chien-Ming Wang will also be pitching a full season this time around. Hopefully interleague play doesn’t cause him injuries again. He needs to regain some of the control he lost last season before the injury if he wants to make a big contribution to this team.This spring he has done a nice job thus far posting a 3.24 ERA in 16 innings while walking two and striking out seven. Andy Pettite, who turns 37 this season, should give the Yankees reliability as he returns. The fifth starter looks like it will be Joba Chamberlain (for now). They could make him a reliever by May, then a starter by July, then a reliever again by September, perhaps with some injuries in between. Just kidding. But in all seriousness, they need to settle on a role for this guy and stop messing with his arm.

Mariano Rivera anchors a bullpen that isn’t all too great. I feel like Rivera is never going to change. He’s always going to be this good. Damaso Marte had a nice strikeout rate last season in 65 innings but posted an ERA over 4.00. Edwar Ramirez looks like he will be the set up man. Although he has good stuff, he also has some control problems. Jose Veras also has control problems, but should make the 25 man roster. A highlight other than Rivera is Brian Bruney. In 32 games last season, Bruney posted a 1.83 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP and almost a strikeout per inning. The bullpen certainly has the potential to be effective, a few pitchers just need to establish their control first and cut down on the walks.

Then there’s the lineup. Some love it. Some hate it. Without Alex Rodriguez, I’m one of those haters. It’s getting to the point where Jorge Posada will have to rest more often, and Yankees fans shouldn’t like Jose Molina playing twice a week for their team. Moving on to Robinson Cano. If he’s supposed to be your top of the lineup guy, he should have an OBP higher than .305.

Captain Jeter. Still one of the best at going the other way with the ball but has become one of the worst fielding shortstops in the league and didn’t have a great WBC. Pertaining to bad fielders, let’s talk about Johnny Damon. He can still hit for .300, as he proved last season–but with Hideki Matsui in the DH role, it’s going to be an adventure in left field at New Yankee Stadium. It seems as if the quietest player with a huge bat in this lineup is Xavier Nady. He drove in 97 runs last year, so don’t overlook him. He’s basically won the rightfield spot (as if the .220 hitting Nick Swisher was putting up a legitimate fight).  The centerfield job seems to have gone to Brett Gardner (who has Michael Bourn syndrome). He’s fast, but he’ll only get the Yanks the steals once he gets on base. Really though, anything is better than Melky Cabrera.

All hail the Bombers’ Savior, Mark Texeira. Big Tex has switched uniforms the past couple seasons at a good rate and should find some comfort in staying in one place. He’s a sure thing MVP candidate if he can carry this team until Alex Rodriguez returns. Ugh… Alex Rodriguez. Well we’ll see what Cody Ransom’s really got. He’s having a decent spring, leading the Yankees in at bats and hitting .286. He’s not going to come anywhere close to A-Rod production but it’s only for the start of the season.

 

tex.jpgUntil A-Rod comes back, maybe May, the Yanks need to try to go at least .500 in that span. There’s just something about this team that I don’t like. I know I know, “what’s not to like?” Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up watching the dynasty Yankees. And hating them. This just isn’t the same. I say Wild Card champs.

Schill Leaves Winning Legacy

Curt Schilling, at 42 years old, is hanging up the spikes. In his twenty year career he went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts. He had a career 1.13 WHIP and was a six time all star. The legacy he will certainly leave with Major League Baseball is his winning tradition.

Whether he was on the mound against the Blue Jays for the Phillies in the 1993 World Series, bleeding on the mound for the Red Sox and helping them win the World Series, or winning a World Series MVP as he and Randy Johnson lead the Diamondbacks to their first World Series win — there seems to be a trend with the righthander. Winner.

He started his career in 1988 with the Baltimore Orioles and pitched three years for them. In 1991, he spent a year in Houston. While in those two locations, he was mainly used as a reliever. He then joined the Phillies in 1992 and threw ten complete games for the fightins that year. The next season, he lead the Phillies into October (I was three years old so I don’t really remember). He remained in Philly, which was his longest stay, until 2000 when he was traded to the Diamondbacks. The next season he propelled the Diamondbacks, along with southpaw Randy Johnson, to the top of the baseball world.

In 2004, he joined the Boston Red Sox. He would help them reverse the curse that year as they became World Champions for the first time in 86 years. In 2007, he was a World Champion for the third time as the Red Sox won their second championship in four years.

Schill will always be remembered to me as a winner and a Philly favorite. He wrote on his blog (http://38pitches.weei.com/);

“This party has officially ended.”

And what a party it was.

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Stadium Review: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Seating Capacity: 48,190

Surface: Grass

I have been to more than a few games at West Camden Street. It is one of the most beautiful and original stadiums in the league. The way the stadium feels when sitting in it is very homey and comfortable. The way it pioneered the open outfield stadium splurge makes it feel kind of historic. It’s best feature is the signature warehouse behind the right field wall and Eutaw Street. The view of the city is great past the scoreboard and the ivy covered batters-eye.

It’s a shame that the Orioles fans don’t come out more. Attendance has fallen and they fell short of bringing in two million fans last year. They have a beautiful stadium and if their team isn’t winning, they’re always hosting the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, and Blue Jays.

What to do in the city before the game: Go to the Inner Harbor and grab some lunch at Phillips. Check out the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum only a few blocks from the ballpark. If there’s enough time, the aquarium is very well done.

What to do when the gates open: Go to the rightfield wall and try to catch a batting practice homer. Check out Eutaw Street and they have plaques where some sluggers have cranked homeruns onto Eutaw Street.

Where to sit: The view while sitting on the third base side lower level is as good as it gets. So while it still daylight, you have a great view of the Baltimore skyline and then you have the warehouse at night.

Player to go watch: O’s outfielder Nick Markakis. The 25 year old is quietly becoming a star in this league.

Grade: A
It is one of my favorite stadiums to go to. What moved Camden Yards from an A- to an A is the fact that it doesn’t have a stupid corporation name. There are currently no naming rights to the stadium and I honestly hope it stays that way because it is rare to see these days. Even the name gives a more classic feel to the stadium and that what puts it at one of the elite stadiums in the league.

Moose: HOF Class of ‘??

Mike Mussina announced his retirement today. He broke into the league in 1991 for Baltimore Orioles and pitched there until 2001, when he became a New York Yankee. Over his career he’s worked 270 career wins, more than Hall of Famers Jim Palmer, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, mussina.jpgJuan Marichal, and Whitey Ford. His 2,813 strikeouts (19th all-time) are more than HOFers, Cy Young, Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Christy Mathewson, and Robin Roberts. He has less walks/9 innings than Fergie Jenkins, Dennis Eckersley, and Walter Johnson. He has more strikeouts/9 innings than Rollie Fingers, Tom Seaver, Jim Bunning, and Don Drysdale. His strikeout/walk ratio is thirteenth all time. His name is among some of greatest pitchers in baseball history. In 573 games he had a 3.68 career ERA and had an ERA over 5 only once (2007).

The stat that jumps out at me most is the number of wins. He consistently had win totals in the high teens throughout his career. He had 117 more wins than losses and in this day and age where even 20 wins a season is hard to come by, he finally managed the 20 win mark in his final season. It is rare to see a player with this many wins the way managers protect pitcher’s arms nowadays. So this begs the question…

moose.jpgAre the following statistics HOF worthy?
270-153 record — 3.68 ERA — 57 CG — 23 SHO — 2813 SO

I say yes in these times.

 

Meanwhile the Red Sox and Royals also made a trade today. Boston sent centerfielder Coco Crisp to Kansas City in exchange for Ramon Ramirez. This solidifies the centerfield spot in Boston as solely Jacoby Ellsbury’s and the Sox get some bullpen help in Ramirez.

Ramirez has a career 3.62 ERA coming out of the bullpen in three seasons with the Colorado Rockies and the Royals. He has 146 strikeouts in about 157 innings as a big leaguer and has issued 64 walks. The righty throws low to mid-nineties with a nice changeup and if he can become a consistent setup man for Jonathan Papelbon, it will allow Justin Masterson to get a chance to join the rotation.

The Royals however recieve a speedy outfielder and trade away another bullpen arm. Crisp is a career .280 hitter and doesn’t add the power that they were looking for in the outfield. But now Coco gets a chance to play everyday. Crisp’s best seasons came in 2004/05 when he was with Cleveland. He hit around .300 those two seasons with 15/16 homeruns respectively and around 70 RBI both seasons. The Royals do keep trading away quality relievers (Leo Nunez to Florida before this) and I’m hoping Dayton Moore keeps up the trading in acquiring some arms to replace the ones he’s traded away.

I think this trade has the potential to backfire on both teams involved but for now I’ll give the small edge to the Red Sox because of the way the rotation has the potential to shape up with Masterson.