The Orioles are broken and they have to be fixed. Tape and glue won’t hold them together. Don’t bother pushing a cart through Home Depot unless your deck needs waterproofing or you have loose tiles in your shower.
The offense has to be repaired. The bullpen has to be put back together.
You know it’s bad when fans are clamoring for Matt Angle after 14 games in the minors this year, the last two at Triple-A Norfolk.
Angle, by the way, covers a lot of ground in center field. He’s a human tarp. He also stole 40 bases at Single-A Frederick last year. He’s a human...stolen base machine.
Maybe he’ll force a debate later this summer about the wisdom of shifting Adam Jones to left field and making room for him on a tryout basis. Wouldn’t that be a juicy one?
That is, if such a move wouldn’t slow the Orioles’ pursuit of the wild card.
The last time I saw Angle, we were poolside on my last day in Sarasota before I drove to St. Petersburg for the Opening Night workout. Angle was preparing to have surgery to remove a broken hamate bone. I initially thought I was talking to Jeff Salazar.
I made a quick recovery. So did Angle.
As for the bullpen, the Orioles don’t have an obvious replacement for Alberto Castillo if they decide to send him down again and insist on keeping a left-handed “specialist” on the roster.
Chris George, back in Norfolk’s rotation, has a 3.96 ERA in 10 games. Lefties are batting .196 against him in 16 innings, but we have no idea whether he can cut it as a major league matchup guy.
I do have a pretty good idea about Pedro Viola after his 11 appearances with the Tides. That 17.65 ERA, with 18 hits allowed in 8 2/3 innings and a 3.12 WHIP, make him a logical candidate to come off the 40-man - at least in my world.
We’re left with a bunch of right-handers, most of them non-roster guys. Out of that group, the two relievers who demand notice are Dennis Sarfate and Armando Gabino.
Sarfate has allowed two earned runs and struck out 18 in 13 2/3 innings, and batters are 6-for-47 against him. He’s pumping mid-to-upper 90s fastballs. He’s also issued nine walks, which equates to one concern. Gabino has posted a 1.80 ERA and struck out 31 in 30 innings.
Kam Mickolio is on the 40, but his ERA is heading toward that same number (it’s actually 9.42 in 14 games.) He can’t enter the discussion without jumping the back fence.
We’ve been reduced to considering a bullpen that would include Gabino and Frank Mata. I’m not taking a shot at either guy, but they won’t make Dave Trembley sleep any better at night. We’re talking experiments here, not obvious solutions.
Maybe that’s what the last four months are all about, experimenting and playing the role of spoilers. Depressing thought, I know, but it’s becoming as synonymous with Baltimore as crab cakes and humidity.
(A guy at my gym asked how my job was going and whether the Pirates are hiring. Ouch.)
If you’re wondering about Bowie, left-hander Mike Hickley has made five appearances since leaving extended spring training. He’s allowed one run and three hits, with three walks and five strikeouts, in six innings.
The Nationals got rid of Hinckley last May after he allowed five runs and eight hits, and walked 11, in 9 2/3 innings. He fell out of the running for a roster spot with the Orioles early in spring training. He’s worth tracking this summer, but he’s not the next man up.
Just ditch the specialist title. Get rid of it. Make it go the way of the Dodo bird. Find a guy who can get hitters out, no matter which hand he uses.
There’s no reason to obsess over pairing a lefty with a lefty - at least in my world.