• Jul

    Trembley has to take partial blame for this one

    Ok, anyone who knows me knows I'm a big supporter of Dave Trembley as manager. In fact, he's the first manager the Orioles have had since Davey Johnson that I've been a fan of at the helm of the S.S. Orioles. Saying all of that, I've got to say tonight's 6-5 loss to the Angels has to partly be his fault.

    It all comes down to one at bat in the 8th inning when he had submarining Chad Bradford on the hill with one out, a man at second, and left-handed hitting Garrett Anderson at the plate with the Orioles down a run 5-4. With right-handed hitting Howie Kendrick on deck, it seemed like a no-brainer to walk Anderson to set up the potential double play.

    Let's take a quick look at the stats that back this up. Anderson is 2-for-7 with two walks off Bradford for a .286 average and .444 OBP. Left-handed hitter were batting .300 off Bradford with right-handed batters batting .263 this year. Howie Kendrick was 0-for-2 off of Bradford and has hit more ground balls then fly balls in his major league career and Bradford has gotten 53.8% of the right-handed batters that have batted against him this year to ground out.

    Trembley even went out to the mound after Bradford threw the first pitch inside to Anderson and I was sure he was going out there to ask his battery why they were pitching to Anderson with the right-handed Hendrick on deck. Now I know Hendrick was batting .341 coming into the game, but Bradford is such an extreme case of a match up pitcher that the situation begged for an intentional walk of Anderson.

    Bradford pitched to Anderson and of course he knocked in the sixth Angels run and Hendrick grounded out to the shortstop in the next at bat in a what would have been a tailor-made double play ball.

    Kevin Millar's second home run of the night off of the Angels super closer Francisco Rodriguez should have tied the game but instead, it just gave the orioles that run back and they went on to lose 6-5.

    Now to be fair I have to give the Orioles credit for overcoming another horrendous starting pitching effort, this time by Brian Burres, with some outstanding relief pitching by Dennis Sarfate and Alberto Castillo, and some key hits especially the bases loaded double by Jay Payton, but in the end, it was a one run loss and Trembley's miss management of a crucial late inning situation cost the team a chance to tie.

    In the good news department, I really liked the way Sarfate threw the ball when being extended out for the three and a third innings of a shutout baseball.. In what was easily his longest outing of the season (previous high was was two and a third innings) he threw 26 of his 44 pitches (59%) for strikes. After tonight's outing, Sarfate has a 2.00 ERA (18IP/4ER) when he pitches two or more innings.

    Sarfate like most hard throwing pitchers was a starter in the minor leagues, so with the Orioles starting pitcher woes, it certainly makes you wonder whether they should give him a look in the rotation over the last six or so weeks of the season. They'll need to keep building his innings up in each successive outing but with Garret Olson, Radhames Liz and Burres in the current rotation that shouldn't be a problem. Since this is the year for development and for finding out what the Orioles have, why not give Sarfate a chance in the rotation? Although the jury is still out on Olson and Liz's futures as starters, there should be no doubt that Burres is in the wrong role as a starter and Sarfate should be given the opportunity to take his spot once he's able to go at least five innings.

    Speaking of Burres, the Orioles continue to do him a disfavor by miscasting him as a starting pitcher. He's never had the stuff to go through an order effectively three or more times and he's not built strong enough to withstand the rigors of starting every five days. He also wears down by summer time and after tonight, he has a career 6.88 ERA (104ER/136IP) from June through September. There's also this ugly fact that he now holds a career 6.60 (86 ER/117.1 IP) in 39 games pitched at Camden Yards. Think things will get better in August?

    Whether it's stretching Sarfate out, giving Hayden Penn another look (I prefer he pitch out of the pen in the majors for now) or possibly going with Brad Bergesen from Bowie (AA), the Orioles need to do something because right now, Burres is not doing the job and history tells us it's not going to get better for him.

    By the way, I saw Bergesen the other night and although I'll have a complete scouting report on him soon, I will say that although his stuff is not overwhelming, he works fast, throws all of his pitches for strikes, and gets ground ball outs with his sinker. Now he'll need to have pinpoint control in the majors with his stuff, but I don't think he'd be overwhelmed at the major league level. If his arm is feeling ok after the long season it might be interesting to see how he pitches in the rotation in September.

    That's about it for me for a few days as I'll be going on a mini-vacation until Wednesday. Of course my vacation includes Saturday afternoon and night watching the Delmarva Shorebirds, but what would you expect from me?

    Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board

Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.