Britton shines in his debut

Britton shines in his debut
Another day, another excellent outing by an Orioles' starter. One run by O's starters in 20 innings in Tampa. Sure, I'll take that, works for me. Zach Britton's performance in his debut was outstanding today. It looks like the O's will go to the pen in the last of the seventh. We could not have asked for much more. He will leave this game tied 1-1, allowing just a run and three hits over six innings. He threw 96 pitches. Sure he got into some deep counts and walked a couple, but to...
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Adams and Henson likely to start at Triple-A & Mahoney at Double-A

Adams and Henson likely to start at Triple-A & Mahoney at Double-A
The minor league rosters for the Orioles four full season affiliates are not officially set yet but it appears that second baseman Ryan Adams and outfielder Tyler Henson are likely to begin the year with Triple-A Norfolk. Adams hit .298 with 43 doubles, 15 homers and 68 RBI at Double-A last summer. He had ten hits in 19 at bats in Major League spring training games. Henson, a fifth-round pick in 2006, batted .278 with 12 homers, 37 doubles and 60 RBI at Bowie in 2010. O's 2010 Minor League...
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Talking with and about Zach Britton

Talking with and about Zach Britton
As lefty Zach Britton gets ready to make his major league debut today, I am reminded of the fact that Britton has been written about an awful lot on my blog over the last few months. He has always been available for interviews and there are plenty of others that I have interviewed to get their opinions about the 23-year-old prospect. Just about a week ago, I interviewed ESPN's Tim Kurkjian and got his thoughts about Britton. In a February interview, Baseball America's Jim Callis said...
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Some stats & facts from the first two games

Some stats & facts from the first two games
*Today the Orioles go for a three-game sweep at St. Pete vs. Tampa. They have not swept three from the Rays in their home park since September 30 to October 1, 2005. The Orioles have now won six of their last seven games vs. Tampa and are 4-1 at the Trop during that stretch. They now lead the all-time series, 113-111, vs. the Rays. *The Orioles have won these two games despite scoring just seven runs on 11 hits and with a team batting average of .175 to date. But O's pitching has allowed...
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An exciting win and 2-0 start for the Orioles

An exciting win and 2-0 start for the Orioles
From 2 and 16 to 2 and 0. Pitching, defense and a three-run homer. Somewhere Earl Weaver must have enjoyed tonight's 3-1 win over Tampa. For someone like me that enjoys pitching and defense more than a high-scoring game, these have been two very fun games to watch. Yes, like many of you I will bet, I thought Ben Zobrist had hit a game-winning, three-run homer. But it didn't happen and Nick Markakis, maybe the best fielder in the game today without a gold glove, made a superb, game-saving...
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Taking a closer look at Chris Tillman

Taking a closer look at Chris Tillman
Well, just a few days ago we were wondering if Chris Tillman would make the Orioles' roster and now he is starting the second game of the season. That shows how much in a state of flux this rotation is in right now, due to injuries and pitchers getting hit with line drives As Tillman gets ready to take the mound tonight against Tampa, fans may be wondering why Tillman's Triple-A success the last two years has not yet translated to big league success. Over the past two seasons, Tillman has...
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Looking back at first game and ahead to Britton's debut

Looking back at first game and ahead to Britton's debut
The injury to Brian Matusz put a damper on the first day of the season. But if we could put that aside for a minute, the O's performance last night was very encouraging. Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis led the offense, the Orioles made a few very solid plays on defense and Jeremy Guthrie pitched a brilliant game. Guthrie did a great job using his secondary pitches to offset his, at times, mid-90s heater. It may have been one of the better nights ever for his "secondaries." It was nice to...
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Guthrie dominant in O's opening win

Guthrie dominant in O's opening win
What a performance by Jeremy Guthrie. After going 8-4 with an ERA of 2.76 after the All-Star break last year, Guthrie opened the 2011 season with eight brilliant, shutout innings tonight in a 4-1 win over Tampa. Ben Zobrist homered off Jim Johnson leading off the last of the ninth to get Tampa's only run. Guthrie gave up just three hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Tampa batters went just 3-for-26 against him. Johnny Damon, Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez were a combined 0-for-9 vs....
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Despite today's news, the O's should not call on Britton yet

Despite today's news, the O's should not call on Britton yet
Here is a quick thought on Zach Britton. If the Orioles were not going to have him on the opening day roster, and they did not, they should not call him now if they need another starter due to Brian Matusz's back injury. In terms of Britton, that should just not change anything. I think the O's should stick to Plan A and call him up later. If needed, they can find someone to add to the rotation and there are only four dates in April when they need a fifth starter anyway. Let Britton get...
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Tonight's pitching matchup: Guthrie vs. Price

Tonight's pitching matchup:  Guthrie vs. Price
Here is a breakdown of tonight's starting pitchers. Jeremy Guthrie will make his third opening day start in the last four seasons for the Orioles. Guthrie is 1-1 with an ERA of 6.35 in his previous day one starts in 2008 and 2009. Guthrie against Tampa in 2008: 5 1/3 IP, 9H, 6R, 5ER, 1BB, 2K. Guthrie against NYY in 2009: 6 IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K. I remembered that Guthrie was good after the All-Star break last year, but the stats show he was really, really good then. He went 8-4 with an...
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A quick glimpse at the O's minor leagues

A quick glimpse at the O's minor leagues
Even though the Orioles' 2011 season begins tonight, the club has still not finalized its minor league rosters. The full season affiliates don't begin their seasons until next Thursday, April 7 (or Friday, April 8 in the case of Single-A Frederick). What I wrote about Feb. 12 has pretty much come to pass. It certainly appears that the Triple-A Norfolk roster will be one with more veterans than in previous seasons and not many up-and-coming prospects. One reason for that is Orioles manager...
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Tonight we see if the O's can turn optimism into wins

Tonight we see if the O's can turn optimism into wins
The long offseason is over and the Orioles begin the 2011 season tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Birds went 7-11 against Tampa last year and have not won the season series against the Rays since 2007. A lot of people expect a major falloff from Tampa this year with all the free agents the Rays lost. I don't see it. I still see a formidable pitching staff and a possible playoff contender. After years of watching top prospects join the Rays, it will be strange to see them rely on...
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Having just one bullpen lefty should not be a problem

Having just one bullpen lefty should not be a problem
I am not concerned in the least that the Orioles will begin the season with just one left-hander in the bullpen. First of all, pitchers like Mark Hendrickson, Clay Rapada, Troy Patton and Chris George all may start on the Triple-A staff and will be a phone call away if needed. Also, there is this big reason not to be concerned: The stat sheet says it won't be an issue. Of the six right-handed hurlers in the O's pen, all but Koji Uehara have better statistics either recently and/or in their...
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New season, new radio show

New season, new radio show
It's become a pretty important part of sports-talk on radio. That's the call-in show where fans and listeners can vent, analyze the game and react right after the game ends. Well, this year, after Orioles' games, you will have your chance to do just that and I will be the voice at the other end of the phone line. I am thrilled to officially announce that I will be hosting the "Baltimore Baseball Tonight" postgame edition on weeknights this year on 105.7 FM, The Fan in Baltimore. The show...
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The interesting story of O's minor leaguer Jose Nivar

The interesting story of O's minor leaguer Jose Nivar
He began the Gulf Coast League season in 2010 as a right fielder with a very strong arm for the Orioles entry in that league. He ended the year as a pitcher. Jose Nivar, like a lot of youngsters from the Dominican, apparently has a pretty powerful right arm. He was signed by Carlos Bernhardt on Sept. 7, 2006, and the next three seasons played as an outfielder, mostly in the Dominican Summer League. But Nivar struggled at the bat and many O's coaches and minor league instructors had wondered...
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New season brings new baseball show to MASN

New season brings new baseball show to MASN
With the start of a new baseball season, MASN is expanding its coverage of the Orioles and Nationals. The network that brings you 324 game telecasts of two teams in six states now adds "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report," a new 90-minute show each weekday at 5 p.m. The show makes its debut Thursday after the Nationals game and the "Nats Xtra" postgame telecast. Veteran broadcaster Tom Davis, who has been with MASN since its start in 2007, will host the show and will be joined by Dave...
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Hoes takes time to work on his defense and the mental part of the game

Hoes takes time to work on his defense and the mental part of the game
Over the last couple of years I have had the chance to interview many Orioles minor leaguers. Few have been as impressive as LJ Hoes. He's an articulate young man of 21 who has an ability to analyze his play and understand where he needs to improve. He seems very coachable and passionate about the game. This week, I asked him where he learned to value the mental aspects of the game so well. "My father and my high school coach have always stressed the mental aspects of the game," Hoes...
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Hoes relieved after his liner drilled Matusz

Hoes relieved after his liner drilled Matusz
For those watching at the time, it had to be an intriguing matchup. LJ Hoes was in the batter's box and Brian Matusz on the mound. But then Hoes took a swing and one of the O's top prospects hit a liner that drilled one of the O's top pitchers in the left arm. For Hoes, it was a scary moment. He didn't want his name to get in the headlines for this. He didn't want to be the guy that hit a line drive that injured Matusz. "He was trying to get his work in," Hoes said by phone last...
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Orioles cut eight players from spring camp

Orioles cut eight players from spring camp
The Orioles today announced eight spring training roster cuts, bringing their spring roster to 30 players. The Orioles optioned outfielder Nolan Reimold to Triple-A Norfolk and outfielder Randy Winn asked for, and was granted, his unconditional release. Non-roster invitees left-handers Clay Rapada and Mark Hendrickson, right-handers David Riske, Ryan Drese and Pat Egan, and infielder Nick Green have been assigned to minor league camp. With the moves, the Orioles have 30 players in camp...
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Two predictions for the O's win total in 2011

Two predictions for the O's win total in 2011
I am going to cut to the chase here today. My goal and also prediction for the Orioles for this year is for a season of 82 and 80. That would put to rest the streak of 13 consecutive losing seasons and provide the club with it's most wins since the 1997 group went 98-64, a wire-to-wire first place finish. That would represent a very nice improvement and provide the Orioles with some respectability. It would put them on the road to hopefully a two-year surge upward and perhaps back into a...
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