• May

    Guthrie, Birkins and Don't Look Now

    Well-Spoken Guthrie a Hit


    Every time I hear Jeremy Guthrie talk, not to mention pitch out of the rotation, I get more and more impressed. From a press and fans point of view, Guthrie is a Godsend in a clubhouse where the star players are not exactly the most quotable bunch.


    Hangout Game reporter Paul Folkemer had this to say about Guthrie after last night in the locker room, “Jeremy Guthrie is one of the most eloquent Orioles I’ve ever encountered. He’s the anti-Bedard and Markakis (no offense to those two, but they’re on the quiet side). For every question from reporters, no matter how simple of an answer it required, Guthrie would gregariously speak for several minutes, explaining every detail to a tee (I almost filled up my entire mini-notebook just with Guthrie quotes), even elaborating to tell about his Cleveland days. For the record, he holds no grudge against the Indians for giving up on him this spring.”


    It’s easy to forget the Guthrie went to Stanford and was a number one pick in the 2002 draft, the same draft in which the Orioles choose Adam Loewen. Although he’s struggled in short relief roles, Guthrie has been money so far this year in long relief and in his two starts (1.64 ERA as a starter), and with Loewen and Wright on the shelf, he’s been a nice surprise.


    With a great demeanor and friendly attitude, he’s one guy I’ll be rooting extra hard for to keep pitching well and hopefully make himself into a starter option for now and the future.


    Battered and Demoted


    His any pitcher ever been used more roughly than Kurt Birkins this year? The guy doesn’t pitch for weeks at a time yet the only time he’s been used has been with the game tied in an extra inning game (The famous Perlozzo one-inning reliever affair) and then with the game tied and the bases loaded in the fourth inning last Sunday against the Indians.


    I’m not going to get too deep into that poor Perlozzo decision to use him in the fourth inning, in that situation, but the fact that Perlozzo would bring him in to face a right-handed inning with the game tied and the bases loaded was not fair to a guy who hadn’t pitched in over nine days.


    Birkins has only pitched eight innings in Triple-A this year to go along with his four innings in the majors, yet Perlozzo stuck him out there in a high leverage situation. Most likely this was because Birkins was supposed to be the long reliever and in the Managing in the Majors for Dummies book it says the long reliever must be used before the fourth inning, so that’s what Perlozzo did.


    We all know what happened to Birkins and the Orioles in that game and because of that he’s now sitting back down with Norfolk sporting a 15.75 ERA. Birkins may not be a star, and might even be a borderline major league pitcher, but his overall inactivity combined with the situations he was used with the Orioles suggests he was not given a fair shake.


    Prospect Trackers


    Is anyone following these again? I know we got behind early on but the prospect tracker is back online and updated pretty regularly. There’s updates on Billy Rowell and Brandon Tripp as well as information on several pitchers who have increased their prospect standings so far this year. We discontinued the Orioles tracker (yes I know it needs to be removed form the site), but the prospect tracker is going strong (yes I know we still need to change the Ottawa logo to Norfolk).


    Don’t Look Now


    • Batters are hitting .351 against Chad Bradford this year including a .500 mark by left-handers. Bradford has never relied on velocity, but in his last outing he was throwing a 69 MPH curve ball and 79 MPH “fastball”. I just hope the radar was off a bit because he’s going to struggle this year if that’s all the velocity he can muster.
    • Orioles pitcher have allowed lefties to hit .272 with 1.66 WHIP off them vice .246/1.34 against righties. 
    • In his last six appearances, John Parrish has walked 10 batters while striking out four in five and a third innings. Let’s hope this is a blip on the radar screen for him because I’ve also noted his velocity has not been the high of late and the sudden lack of command is a warning sign of a possible injury. We always root for JP, so hopefully he’ll be able to recover.
    • Steve Trachsel is just 1-3 with year despite pitching to a 3.70 ERA. He’s held AL batters to a .236 average despite a less than stellar 14/17 K/BB ratio.
    • The Norfolk Tides have been affected by the Orioles injuries as well with relievers Andy Mitchell, Nick McCurdy and Victor Moreno being forced into emergency starts due to promotions of Jim Johnson, Jon Leicester, and Brian Burres at various points this season. The Tides are a disappointing 11-18 so far this season despite being loaded down with a bunch of 4-A players.
    • Miguel Tejada is batting .344 so far this season but his .427 Slugging PCT is his worse slugging since 1999, his second year in the league.
    • Melvin Mora’s .805 OPS is above his career .800 OPS and is .068 above last year’s disappointing numbers. He has a .903 OPS against lefties walking ten time to just two strikeouts in 33 games.

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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.