"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Baltimore Orioles

Sam Perlozzo was fired after the penultimate game of a nine-game losing streak in late June. Dave Trembley’s first game as Orioles manager was the team’s ninth-consecutive loss, but since then they’ve gone 18-12 (.600). Along the way, their runs scored have surpassed their runs allowed, putting them in the Pythagorean black with a 51-49 make believe record. More recently, the O’s have won 9 of 12 and enter this weekend’s 3 1/2 game series on a four-game winning streak, the first three games of which saw them allow a total of just one run to the A’s and Devil Rays.

Indeed, pitching has been the reason for the O’s recent success. The offense is still awful, though it should get a boost with the return of Miguel Tejada from the DL for tonight’s action. Nick Markakis has been raking (.359/.435/.500 in July), but only has one homer on the month. Corey Patterson has hit his way into the two-spot in the order with a .337/.353/.530 line and team-leading four homers and eight steals in nine attempts in July, but other than a singles-driven surge from Chris Gomez, no one else could be described as “hot,” and only Kevin Millar, who has moved up to the cleanup spot in Tejada’s absence, and Brian Roberts have been acceptably productive. Rather it’s been the work of staff ace Erik Bedard (7-2, 2.09 ERA since the end of April and 6-0 with a 1.89 since the departure of Perlozzo) and the $40-million bullpen that has put the O’s on the winning track.

The Yankees are fortunate enough to miss Bedard this weekend, but tonight’s starter, 28-year-old fourth-year rookie Jeremy Guthrie, has pitched in as well. Guthrie held the Yankees to two runs over 6 1/3 innings and struck out six when these teams last met. In his last two starts he’s allowed just two runs in 13 innings. He did have something of a hiccup in between (a 6.11 over three starts, all Oriole losses), but that was his only rough patch since joining the rotation in early May. Guthrie has 13 quality starts in 15 tries this season and in one of the two “non-quality” starts he struck out seven and walked none while allowing just four hits in eight innings. In fact, that game was what is known as a “blown quality start” as Guthrie had held the Angels to three runs over seven innings, but having thrown just 88 pitches, was left in the game by Trembley only to surender a solo homer in the eighth to “blow” the quality start.

The good news is that the Yankees have a potential momentum buster with the completion of the teams’ suspended game from June 28 preceding tonight’s scheduled game. The game was stopped with the Yankees leading 8-6 with two outs in the eighth, Derek Jeter on second, and Hideki Matsui coming to the plate. That gives Matsui an immediate chance to break his RISP 0-fer. It also means the Yankees only need six outs to secure the win (though both Luis Vizcaino and Chien-Ming Wang, the latter of whom is on his throw day today, have already been used in the game; Mike Myers is the active pitcher). Of course, that win wouldn’t break the Orioles’ winning streak (though it could mess with Alex Rodriguez’s 500th homer), and an Oriole comeback could be devastating to the Yanks, who I’m sure have had this one penciled in as a win for the last month.

Andy Pettitte, who seems to have righted his ship in the second half (2-0, 3.38 ERA, 19 K in 18 2/3 IP) will start the scheduled game for the Yanks. Meanwhile, Chris Basak has been recalled, replacing Kei Igawa who has been optioned back to Scranton (which suggests that the fifth starter will be skipped following Monday’s off day and that Phil Hughes will take the turn when it next comes due). Meanwhile, could it be that Miguel Cairo could be heading to the Mets or Phillies, both of whom need a second baseman following the broken bones suffered by Jose Valentin and Chase Utley? That’s baseless speculation on my part, but youneverknow.

Baltimore Orioles

2007 Record: 47-53 (.470)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 51-49 (.510)

Manager: Dave Trembley
General Manager: Mike Flanagan

Home Ballpark (2007 Park Factors): Oriole Park at Camden Yards (99/99)

Who’s Replacing Whom?

Miguel Tejada (DL) replaces Melvin Mora (DL)
Brandon Fahey (minors) replaces Freddie Bynum (DL)
Danys Baez (DL) replaces Chris Ray (DL), Jamie Walker takes over as the closer
Cory Doyne (minors) replaces Scott Williamson

25-man Roster

1B – Kevin Millar (R)
2B – Brian Roberts (S)
SS – Miguel Tejada (R)*
3B – Aubrey Huff (L)
C – Ramon Hernandez (R)
RF – Nick Markakis (L)
CF – Corey Patterson (L)
LF – Jay Payton (R)
DH – Jay Gibbons (L)**


R – Chris Gomez (IF)
L – Brandon Fahey (UT)
R – John Knott (OF)
L – Paul Bako (C)
S – Luis Hernandez (IF)*


L – Erik Bedard
R – Jeremy Guthrie
L – Brian Burres
R – Daniel Cabrera
R – Steve Trachsel


L – Jamie Walker
R – Danys Baez
R – Chad Bradford
L – John Parrish
R – Rob Bell
R – Paul Shuey
R – Cory Doyne

15-day DL: R – Melvin Mora (3B), L – Freddie Bynum (UT), R – Chris Ray, R – Sendy Rleal
60-day DL: R – Kris Benson, R – Jaret Wright, L – Adam Loewen

Typical Lineup:

S – Brian Roberts (2B)
L – Corey Patterson (CF)
L – Nick Markakis (RF)
R – Miguel Tejada (SS)*
R – Kevin Millar (1B)
L – Aubrey Huff (3B)
R – Ramon Hernandez (C)
R – Jay Payton (LF)
L – Jay Gibbons (DH)**

*If Miguel Tejada is not activated from the DL, Luis Hernandez will likely remain at shortstop and bat ninth. I only assume it is Hernandez who will be demoted to make room for Tejada.
**Dave Trembley has been platooning Gibbons and Chris Gomez by shifting Aubrey Huff to DH and putting Gomez at third base against lefties.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver