Okay, okay. I know that this is only one game and that it’s still April. I know we above .500 and that there are a lot of positives to look at. But for this post, I choose to harp on a few of the negatives (which is my right as an unpaid, fan blogger).
First, I HATE losing to the Yankees. If we could only win 18 games all year, and they were the 18 against the Yankees, I would feel that we had a successful season. That being said, we SHOULD HAVE WON last night. We had a five run lead going into the 5th inning. Jake Arrieta had pitched very well, actually no-hitting the Yankees through four. In the fifth he ran into some trouble with the big guns in the middle of the lineup – Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. After giving up back-to-back doubles with no outs, I could see where Buck Showalter would want to give Arrieta a chance to work out of it. His pitch count was still low, and Buck is big on seeing how the young guys do in the face of adversity. And Jake did great – getting the next three outs.
BUT I don’t know why Showalter wouldn’t have had someone up in the pen in the 6th inning. With these young pitchers, things can go south quickly. Arrieta got out of a jam in the 5th. Why give him the chance to have to get out of one again in the 6th? As soon as Russel Martin singled to lead off the 6th, I would have had Berken come in right then. Why did Showalter wait until after two more runs were scored? How many opportunities are you going to give a young pitcher in Yankee Stadium to get out of jams? Come on, cut the kid a break. Get Berken in right after that single and maybe Jeter and Texiera don’t get those hits and it’s still 5-1 going into the 7th.
Next issue – who exactly IS the Orioles’ closer anyway? I have been advocating for Koji Uehara since the Spring. Koji was the closer at the end of the season and was doing a very good job. I know with his history of injuries that the Orioles felt it was necessary to go out and get Kevin Gregg. But Gregg should not have been handed the closers job. That job belongs to Koji. Gregg should be the setup guy.
Gregg is one of those “relievers” that makes everyone (fans particularly) nervous. He is not the lights out type of closer that Koji can be. Let’s look at last year’s stats. Yes, Gregg had 37 saves – to Koji’s 12 - but that stat can be deceiving, because you can get a save and still give up runs. The bigger stat is ERA and WHIP. Koji’s ERA was 2.86, to Gregg’s 3.51. And Koji’s WHIP (walks + hits per innings pitched) was 0.95, versus Gregg’s 1.39. The stats paint a clear picture. Gregg puts more men on base and allows more runs to score than Koji. NOT what you want from a closer. So I am advocating that Buck give the closer role back to Uehara. Because, as a fan, I want to win games. Particularly the ones against the Evil Empire that is the Yankees.