If you're a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, this tweet yesterday from ESPN's John Clayton (@claytonESPN) should send chills down your spine: "Tavaris Jackson remains the Seahawks starting QB, but Charlie Whitehurst is closing the gap"
See you in the Super Bowl.
In the darkest of seasons, fans usually can find a sliver of light. I'm just not sure what the Orioles have done this season to brighten your days.
They're on pace for more than 100 losses, but at least ...
I've got nothing.
A little more than a month remains in the 2011 season. There's still time for at least one of the young starters to finish with a flourish.
Not that late-summer success automatically carries over into the following season, a painful lesson we learned this year. But the Orioles aren't going anywhere without their young starters maturing into quality starters.
Zach Britton might be able to lift your spirits tonight. He's back in the Orioles' rotation and looking to improve on his 6-9 record and 4.66 ERA in 110 innings.
In his last three starts with the Orioles, Britton has allowed 23 runs (17 earned) and 25 hits in only 6 1/3 innings. He's been optioned and placed on the disabled list. He's in serious need of a healthy run - physically and statistically.
Ryan Adams should be playing every day at second base, as I've been preaching. Robert Andino has done a terrific job as Brian Roberts' replacement. He's earned a spot on the 25-man roster next season. We know what he can do. Now let's find out what Adams can do with regular at-bats and innings.
Maybe he'll lift our spirits.
(I'll mention here that Andino should have tagged up at second base yesterday on Felix Pie's long fly ball to center field. It was another example of the Orioles not doing the big or little things that win ballgames.)
Will the Orioles blow up this roster before the end of September?
They've already done some work on the 40-man by outrighting pitchers Brandon Erbe and Luis Lebron. More changes are coming for sure.
Pie played for the first time in eight days yesterday, and he looked lost in left field. He's batting .220 after going 0-for-3 with a walk. Do the Orioles continue to carry him as an extra outfielder? Do they continue to worry that another team will claim him off waivers?
Maybe the Orioles can move Vladimir Guerrero before the Aug. 31 deadline for contenders to set their playoff rosters. Or after the deadline. Trades can be made in September, too.
Open up the DH spot for Chris Davis if it takes some of the stress off his right shoulder. Continue to play Mark Reynolds at first. Take a look at Davis at third.
Try to accomplish something this season.
Britton and Brian Matusz need to stay in the rotation unless they completely fall apart. And consider promoting Steve Johnson and putting him on the 40-man roster. He's allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his last 11 starts (including a rain-shortened outing.)
Nobody is beating down the door in the minors. If Johnson is knocking, it might be time to answer. He can become a minor league free agent after the season. Figure out if he's a keeper. Sink or swim. And maybe the Orioles sell a few more tickets by promoting the local kid.
Jo-Jo Reyes could be next year's version of Mark Hendrickson, a left-hander who fills a variety of roles - long relief, middle relief, matchup, spot starts. But I don't think he needs to pitch every fifth day.
Give Jim Johnson a few starts, but be prepared to cover for him by the middle innings. He's gone more than two innings only once this season, and it happened Saturday night. Maybe Reyes can piggyback on those days.
The problem with experimenting is games can turn ugly real fast. We saw it happen yesterday, though not because Matt Wieters started at first base. I was actually rooting for the ball to be hit to him. Just keep it away from the left side.
Yes, it can get ugly, but can it honestly be any more grotesque than what we're seeing now?