Archive for April, 2010

Time For Trembley To Go

Ok let me preface this little rant by saying that I rarely call for a coach to be fired. To me it just doesn’t make much sense. I usually defend the coaches of my local teams tooth and nail. I can’t explain it, maybe it’s because I would want the same from my fan-base if I were in the position of leading a team.

A few local examples have been former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick and current University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams.

I defended Billick because I liked his attitude and because he brought the city of Baltimore a championship. Many did not like his attitude, he rubbed people the wrong way. People didn’t like that he was an “offensive guru” and couldn’t improve the offense of a team built on defense. But he was unique. He always defended his players even if it meant offending the media. He didn’t care what others outside the team thought, he just wanted to win. I admired that about him.

And I defend Gary Williams, every season it seems like, because a monitory of Terp “fans” are clueless and want him out. I defend Mr. Williams because he is Maryland basketball (with all due respect to the likes of Lefty Driesell and the late Len Bias). He took over a program that was having a hard time recovering from the whole Bias incident, and went on to win a national title in 2002. He has always done more with less talent compared to the Duke’s and the UNC’s. Just like Billick was, Gary is a players coach. Gary is a hard worker, a grinder. You always hear about how hard his guys play for him. They do it because they know he has their back and he believes in them.

I really could go all day talking about how great Gary is and how moronic it is to ask for him to be fired, but I’ll save that for another day. This post is about Orioles manager Dave Trembley.

For a while I’ve always taken his Trembley’s side, given him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he is managing the Orioles.

Last year the Orioles had more than their fair share of base-running miscues. My dad, whom I always vent my Oriole frustrations to, blamed it on Trembley. He said there are some things you cannot control: things like whether the guys are hitting well, or whether pitchers are throwing strikes. But mental lapses on the base paths? He put that one on Trembley and said he should be gone. I wasn’t as ready to cut him loose.

NOW I AM.

As of this morning the Orioles are 2-14. A civic embarrassment. They have lost every series they have played so far in this young season, including three sweeps. They have the worst record in the major leagues. It really is unbelievable.

The final straw for me was Tuesday evening. In the second inning Julio Lugo grounded to short and jogged is way down the first base line and was out easily (See my piece on Derek Jeter). That isn’t Dave Trembley’s fault. It was Lugo’s decision to do that. However I was waiting for Dave to chew him out on the bench or even take him out of the lineup, because that is not how you play that game. That is NOT the Oriole Way. Instead we got nothing…absolutely nothing. Trembley sat there, stone faced, and the game went on. Oh and the team lost…AGAIN!

Hold all the closed-door meetings you want, Dave. But I need to see that you care. The fans want a manager who has pride. I need to know that during a game it bothers you that one of your guys isn’t giving 100%. Cause you know what? It’s a reflection of YOU when that’s happening. I’m not a major leaguer. But if I was and I knew my manager was going to humiliate me and remove me from the game like it’s freaking little league, maybe I’d give 100%. As if being paid $9.25 million (Lugo’s 2010 salary) isn’t enough of an incentive to give it your all.

Yesterday when asked about the fans calling for Dave’s head, right fielder Nick Markakis said, “I don’t think you can blame Trembley, we’re the ones out there pitching and hitting. I think he’s done a good job overall. There’s only so much a manager can do. The rest of it is up to the players. If you’re going to point fingers, you can put it on my shoulders. I’m not swinging the bat the way I’d like to.”

God bless Nick, he’s my favorite Oriole, but what else can he say. It’s not like he’s gonna blame his boss. I feel bad for him because he has to answer these questions in the first place. All the guy wants to do is play ball.

Why was Mr. Trembley brought back for 2010? And why do I have a feeling it is going to take a while before his time as the O’s skipper is up? Earlier this week WNST’s Nestor Aparicio made an interesting point that I keep thinking about. He noted that president of Orioles baseball operations Andy MacPhail is most likely in no hurry to can Trembley because as soon as the manager is fired, blame for the losing will turn to him. Because whoever the next guy is, will be MacPhail’s guy. That could be stretch, but it makes sense to me and very well could be true.

So we shall wait and see. I’m horrible at predictions, but I’m going to say his days are numbered. I’d be shocked if he was still in charge by the All-Star break.

There you have it. I’m now on the ever-growing “Fire Trembley” bandwagon. And you know what? I’m happy I am.

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Ravens 2010 Schedule Officially Released

The 2010 schedule is finally here! The Ravens’ opponents have been known for quite some time now but now we know when the games will be played and which ones will be in prime time.

Here are a few of the highlights:

-Week 1: The Ravens will open their season on the road against Rex Ryan and the NY Jets on Monday Night Football (9/13).

-Week 4 will be played at Pittsburgh, and assuming Ben Roethlisberger is dealt a four game suspension, Baltimore will not have to face him in that match-up (10/3).

-Looking ahead to Week 13: The second Pittsburgh game…this one at home, will be a nationally televised Sunday night game (12/5) for the second year in a row.

-A week later, another prime time game. This time on Monday Night at Houston (12/13).

-And on six days rest, Baltimore welcomes in the defending champion Saints to M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 19.

Click here or above on the header titled “Ravens 2010 Schedule” to view the entire slate of games. Grab your calendar and mark down the games! This fall should be fun!

Caps Oust Habs, Take 2-1 Series Lead

Washington's Alex Ovechkin celebrates with teammate Mike Knuble after scoring the fourth goal against the Montreal during the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals

MONTREAL (AP) – Alexander Ovechkin scored the fourth goal of Washington’s second-period outburst, leading the Capitals to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night and a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

Semyon Varlamov, who got the nod over Jose Theodore, made 26 saves in his first start of the series for Washington, which has won two in a row after losing the opener 3-2 in overtime.

Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr each scored within a span of 7:27 as the Capitals chased Jaroslav Halak 8:33 into the second.

Ovechkin dropped to his knees at 13:50 to put a one-timer past Carey Price, who relieved Halak after Washington took a 3-0 lead.

Tomas Plekanec spoiled Varlamov’s shutout bid with a power-play goal 2:25 into the third.

Matt Bradley scored the Capitals’ final goal with 44.1 seconds left in the third.

Game 4 is Wednesday night in Montreal.

Varlamov got his second straight win since relieving Theodore early in Game 2.

Theodore, the 2002 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP with the Canadiens, was pulled after allowing goals on Montreal’s first two shots Saturday. Varlamov stopped 19 shots the rest of the way for the win in Washington’s dramatic 6-5 comeback victory in overtime.

Two nights later, Halak was yanked after he was beaten on three of six shots in the second. The Slovakian goalie stopped 10 shots overall. Price made 22 saves.

Washington’s special teams play opened the scoring early in the second as Gordon scored a short-handed goal to put the Canadiens up 1-0.

The Capitals, who boast the NHL’s top-ranked power play, have not scored a goal with the man advantage in five straight games, including the last two of the regular season.

Gordon, who did not dress for Game 2, backhanded his own rebound past Halak for his first goal 1:06 into the second. Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek slid backwards into Halak, pushing the Canadiens goalie into his own net and clearing the way for Gordon’s shot.

Laich added his first goal at 4:42 to make it 2-0 before Fehr scored his second goal in two games, ending Halak’s outing with Montreal in a 3-0 hole before the midway through the second.

What a statement game for the Caps. After the initial twenty minutes, this one looked as if it would be another close contest just like games one and two were in D.C.

Washington wasn’t going to have any of that though as they silenced the Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 with four unanswered goals in the second period, three of which came within the first nine minutes.

By the way I have to mention the Habs fans. They were amazing in the first period, much louder and into the game then Verizon Center was in the first two games. They booed Ovechkin everytime he touched the puck and you could feel their energy. Obviously four straight goals will smother that energy, but I still applaud the effort of the Canadiens’ fans.

What a swing of momentum when you step back and think about where Washington was at one point in the second period of Game 2. They were trailing 4-1 in the game and 0-1 in the series. Things were looking bleak. But since that point, they have outscored Montreal 10-2 !

Pardon the basketball analogy but the ball is certainly in the Caps court right now and they can take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a victory on Wednesday night before heading back to D.C. for Game 5.

O’s Finally End Streak, Dump Athletics 8-3

Ty Wigginton celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the ninth inning

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Ty Wigginton homered and drove in four runs, and the Baltimore Orioles snapped a nine-game skid by beating the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Sunday and spoiling Brett Anderson’s first outing since receiving a hefty new contract.

The Orioles avoided their first four-game sweep in Oakland since Aug. 23-26, 2004, jumping on Anderson (1-1) two days after the A’s gave the pitcher a $12.5 million, four-year contract.

Brian Matusz (2-0), like Anderson a hard-throwing lefty, delivered a much-needed morale boost for the struggling Orioles in his first career outing against Oakland. He struck out eight, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk in 6 1-3 innings.

Baltimore (2-11) had lost nine in a row since its lone previous victory at Tampa Bay on April 8, and is off to the franchise’s worst start since beginning 0-21 in 1988. The Orioles also ended a nine-game losing streak at the Coliseum dating to July 22, 2007.

It doesn’t get any easier as the Birds leave the Bay Area, either. The Orioles continue their 10-game trip with three games in Seattle followed by three at Fenway Park against Boston.

Anderson, an 11-game winner in his rookie campaign of 2009, needed only 25 pitches to get through the first two innings. He retired the first eight batters of the game before giving up consecutive two-out singles to Cesar Izturis and Adam Jones and then Wigginton’s two-run double.

Nick Markakis followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0, Lou Montanez singled in a run in the fourth and Nolan Reimold hit his two-run double in the fifth.

Wigginton hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Chad Gaudin.

And as Orioles radio play-by-play man Joe Angel would say…”You can put this one in the win column!!”

The nine game losing steak is over and I’d have to believe an immense feeling of relief has swept through the Orioles clubhouse.

The bats finally came alive on Sunday as Baltimore tallied 11 hits. The birds also went 5-11 with RISP and only stranded four. Since Wednesday Ty Wigginton has four home runs and 10 RBI’s.

Brian Matusz was solid once again. It is hard to believe that Sunday was only his tenth career start. He has struck out seven or more in each of his three starts and has yet to give up a home run.

And give credit to closer Jim Johnson. He went out there and redeemed himself today after Saturday’s abysmal performance. Two innings pitched, one base runner, and no runs. A strong effort and he was rewarded with his first save of the season.

The road trip continues tomorrow night in Seattle with Brad Bergesen taking the hill for the O’s. Doug Fister gets the start for the Mariners. First pitch is 10:10

The Freefall Continues, Athletics 4 – Orioles 3

Oakland's Ryan Sweeney is mobbed by teammates after his game-winning hit against Baltimore on Saturday afternoon



Associated Press – Ryan Sweeney hit a game-ending two-run single with one out in the ninth inning, giving the Oakland Athletics a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Adam Rosales singled leading off the ninth and advanced to second on a sacrifice. Rajai Davis struck out but reached base on a wild pitch before the Orioles opted to intentionally walk Daric Barton and load the bases. Sweeney, who earlier extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 12 games, singled to right to drive in pinch-runner Eric Patterson — he took over for Rosales at second base — and Davis, who easily scored ahead of the throw from Baltimore right fielder Nick Markakis.

Jerry Blevins (2-0) pitched an inning for the win. Oakland has won nine straight home games against Baltimore. The A’s are 9-4, their best start after 13 games since 1992. They also moved five games over .500 for the first time since July 19, 2008.

The Orioles fell to 1-11, their worst start since opening the 1988 season with 21 consecutive losses, and lost third baseman Miguel Tejada to a possible leg injury in the sixth inning.

The Orioles scored a pair of unearned runs off Oakland starter Justin Duchscherer in the sixth inning then took a 3-2 lead on Ty Wigginton’s sacrifice fly in the eighth.

So I was following the conclusion of this game online with MLB Gametracker since there was no telecast. And staring at the screen, watching the little animated baseball diamond fill up with Oakland baserunners in the bottom of the ninth, I just had the feeling that the result wasn’t going to be good. And your boy was right haha!

Really, I mean at this point in the O’s losing streak, which is now nine, you begin to expect things to go wrong. Having a lead in the ninth inning seemed to good to be true…and it was! Jim Johnson had two wild pitches in the inning, and sure enough his lack of control ended up blowing the game.

Listen, they are doing things well, let’s not forget that. Those good things by no means make up for losing. But it is so frustrating to see yet another solid pitching performance go to waste.

Jeremy Guthrie gave up two runs and only walked one in 6.2 innings pitched. I’ll take that kind of line any day of the week from this starting unit. Although I would have liked some more runs from the offense, the fact is they scored three and Guthrie gave up two. In relief, Will Ohman, Matt Albers, Mark Hendrickson, and Cla Merdith were solid in giving up none! Johnson couldn’t finish the job and the end result is another W when in fact this is a game that Baltimore should have won.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be for Dave Trembley and his players to have to explain all of these defeats before and after every game. It’s tough watching these performances, it must be a nightmare to be living them.

No TV for Saturday’s Orioles-A’s Game

So I’m wondering why the O’s game scheduled for Saturday afternoon is not being aired…and after a quick Google search I stumbled upon this:

Due to Major League Baseball’s national broadcast restrictions, the Baltimore Orioles 4:00 p.m. ET game in Oakland on Saturday afternoon cannot be televised by MASN.

Major League Baseball’s agreements with national television networks forbid any regional network from broadcasting any Major League Baseball game during the window reserved for nationally televised baseball games.

According to MLB’s website:

Due to Major League Baseball exclusivities, live games occurring each Saturday with a scheduled start time after 1:10 PM ET or before 7:05 PM ET and each Sunday with a scheduled start time after 5:00 PM ET, will be blacked out in the United States.

I mean thank goodness this isn’t an important game or anything. It’s not like anyone is going to be missing out on stellar baseball, but there are some folks out there (including me), who love the game and enjoy following their team day in and day out no matter how awful they are. Just a note: this also affects Athletics fans, they won’t be able to see the game on television in the Bay Area either.

For once I am going to direct my anger at a club besides the O’s, in this case it’s the Oakland. As the home team, they are in charge of deciding when this game is played. This is the fault of the A’s and whomever is in charge of their operations.

This is not Fox’s fault. They paid a lot of money to have exclusive rights on Saturday’s and it is common knowledge that when they are on the air, your local team’s broadcast can’t be. It’s the responsibility of the home clubs to schedule start times so that the game won’t coincide with Fox’s on Saturday or ESPN’s on Sunday.

And it certainly isn’t MASN’s fault either, they aren’t allowed to broadcast the game because of its time slot. If the game is played at 6 or 7 local time (9 or 10 on the East), fans of both teams would be able to watch.

I could understand and sympathize if this was in August or September and there was a scheduling conflict with the NFL’s Raiders (whom the A’s share the Oakland Coliseum with). But even that wouldn’t be a reasonable excuse at all! Because in the MLB, very rarely (if ever) is a weekend series over on Saturday. They always finish on Sunday or Monday.

What befuddles me even more is how this happens more than once! I just checked Oakland’s remaining 2010 schedule, and the same scenario happens four more times! So this goes beyond me being frustrated that I can’t see my Orioles. Fans of teams like the Indians and the Rays, among others, will be blacked out in their local markets when their teams have to play in Oakland on a Saturday.

I’m sincerely hoping that this is just a case of me not having all the information at hand and that the Athletics organization really does have some sort of legitimate reasoning for playing this game when they are.

Sorry for the rant haha. It’s all good though, I’ll still be able to watch the O’s lose on TV for all the other games they play this year. YES!

Have a great weekend everyone. Peace!

Make It 7 In A Row, Athletics 6 – Orioles 2

Associated Press – Ben Sheets pounded the strike zone like his old aggressive self and finally commanded his fastball, winning for the first time since September 2008 in the Oakland Athletics’ 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.

Sheets (1-0), who missed all of 2009 recovering from elbow surgery, pitched six scoreless innings and made good for the first time on general manager Billy Beane’s bold offseason move of giving him $10 million to be the A’s new ace. Beane believed Sheets could return to the form that has made him a four-time All-Star.

The 31-year-old right-hander gave up five hits, struck out four and walked three to win for the first time since a five-hit shutout of San Diego on Sept. 6, 2008, while with Milwaukee.

Oakland gave Sheets a one-year contract in January, 11 months after his elbow surgery.

Ryan Sweeney had an RBI groundout and a fifth-inning double to give him a 10-game hitting streak to start the season and Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Chavez each hit sacrifice flies for the A’s, who got back on track offensively. Cliff Pennington drove in a pair of runs.

Another tough loss to swallow. Although the birds had eight hits, including four doubles, their scoring continued to be a major cause for concern. The team went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. I’ll continue to post these numbers in my blogs because I feel that until Baltimore can improve them, they are going to continue to suffer defeats similar to Thursday night’s.

Of the eight hits, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones had half of them. The two were also responsible for driving in the only Oriole runs of the night.

There were two fielding errors, one by Jones and one by Ty Wigginton. Jones could have easily been charged with a second. In the bottom of the fifth Eric Chavez hit a line drive to shallow center and Jones caught it running at full speed. When he reached to take it out of his glove, the ball came out. The out was still recorded, but Oakland’s Ryan Sweeney was easily able to tag up and score the A’s fifth run.

At 24, David Hernandez is expected to go through some growing pains in 2010. Thursday’s outing was a prime example. He was able to strike out six batters in 5 innings pitched, but that was about all it did well. He gave up five runs on seven hits. Surely that was not the type of performance he would have liked, and this isn’t to make excuses for him, but it has got to be hard for him go out there and do well when in the back of his head he knows the offense isn’t going to give him run support.

The O’s will try to reverse their bad fortune tomorrow night two of this four game series against Oakland. Kevin Millwood takes the mound for Baltimore while Dallas Braden takes the hill for the A’s. First pitch is 10:05.


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