I get it, I get it…the Bad Boy LeRoy Brown thing really is a stretch. However I do like Jim Croce’s music, and the O’s are opening up a series against the ChiSox tonight on the south side of Chicago. While they lost the finale yesterday, the Orioles are hoping to carry the momentum of taking two-of-three over the weekend in Toronto into U.S. Cellular Field. For the record, this is a ballpark in which the Orioles found success last season, taking three-of-four in an April weekend series.
With an off day last Thursday prior to the Toronto series Buck Showalter appears to have reshuffled the rotation just a bit. Perhaps more specifically it looks like he’s skipping Wei-Yin Chen’s start and going right back to the top of the rotation with Jake Arrieta getting the ball tonight. Arrieta is coming off of one really great start on Opening Day, and one so-so start last week against NY. The Sox will counter with Phillip Humber, who’s making his 2012 debut tonight. Humber was supposed to start last Tuesday in Cleveland, however the game was canceled due to weather and Humber’s turn in the rotation will be skipped.
As the Orioles glance into the third base side hometown dugout in Chicago this week they won’t see the familiar character of Ozzie Guillen as the skipper of the team. Instead they’ll be facing the Robin Ventura-led White Sox for the first time. I liked Ventura as a player and I do think he could be a great manager, however I did raise my eyebrows when Chicago hired him with no previous managerial experience (at any level)…a leap of faith to say the least. Say what you wish about ChiSox GM Ken Williams, however needless to say…he’s a gamble; and he stands about 6 ft 4. All the downtown ladies call him tree top lover, all the men just call him sir. Again, I get it; the whole LeRoy Brown thing is really a stretch! (Maybe when they head to NY to play the Yankees next time I can make reference to Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road…but I guess that’s in the style of northern NJ moreso than NYC!)
As I wrote on several occasions over the weekend, the O’s seemed to come to life exactly when needed in Toronto. That trend will need to continue in the baddest part of town, however it might need to be in a different form. Much of the clutch hitting that was done by the O’s in Toronto came in the form of homers. That kind of clutch hitting is always going to be welcomed anytime any where, however the weather in the windy city tonight and this week is going to be on the chilly side. It’ll actually be very similar to Baltimore last week; low 60’s during the day and down into the 30’s and 4o’s at night. Tonight they’re calling for SW winds at 20-30 MPH in Chicago. My point is that it’s tougher to hit-for-power in chilly conditions; so with the game on the line and runners in scoring position late, a Wilson Betemit or Nolan Reimold single might just do the trick.
I noticed that after yesterday’s debacle a lot of people are once again heaping onto reliever Kevin Gregg – and perhaps justifiably so at that. Most people’s attitudes are that the O’s should just outright release him and cut their losses. That’s not something that would be advisable or smart from the Orioles’ perspective. If someone picked him up, that team would be on the hook for the league minimum ($400K) while the Orioles would have to continue to pay the rest of his salary. If nobody picked him up, the O’s would be paying him his full salary in essence not to play. Neither option is really that great of a business decision.
If Gregg were to be released and he actually was picked up be another American League team, he could end up facing the Orioles at some point. The Orioles would then be paying Gregg for his services in trying to beat them. Again my point is that you don’t just throw money away like that. There’s no doubt that Gregg’s contract is a bad one from the Orioles perspective, but there’s no point in going into that now. As I said yesterday, I think part of the problem is that Gregg is billed as a guy that “doesn’t give in.” So in essence hitters know what he’s going to throw for the most part. So am I saying that the Orioles keep him? Yes, I suppose I am; but only for business reasons, because it seems that things are on thin ice whenever he comes in.
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