I devoted my final entry last night to the Orioles’ defense.
I hope it didn’t contain any errors.
I recall a time when the organization stressed tightening up the defense to assist the young starting pitchers. Just using last night as an example, you’ve got center fielder Corey Patterson in left, rookie work-in-progress Josh Bell at third, corner infielder Scott Moore at second and third baseman Ty Wigginton at first. Most nights, shortstop Miguel Tejada starts at third. We’ve seen plenty of shortstop Julio Lugo at second. We’ve occasionally seen designated hitter Luke Scott at first.
Tejada no longer belongs at shortstop, but it’s been a bumpy transition to third. He’ll make a nice stop, and he still has a cannon for an arm, but then he’ll mishandle a fairly routine ball.
Moore broke into professional baseball as a shortstop, but he’s more of a third baseman who also can play first. He’s trying hard at second and the Orioles will continue to tutor him, but he’s lost at times trying to get in the proper position, and he’s far from polished when trying to turn a double play.
How many extra outs can the Orioles keep giving these teams?
Patterson is 12-for-24 during a six-game hitting streak that includes a homer, three doubles, two RBIs and two walks. He has 10 multi-hit games in his last 18.
But about that defense...
Patterson is proving that playing one outfield position doesn’t mean you can play all three. He’s getting poor reads on balls, with the obvious difference in angles, and it’s become more than a job for him. It’s an adventure.
Felix Pie will soon replace him in left. That would be center fielder Felix Pie.
Adam Jones won a Gold Glove last year. He won’t win one this year.
I’m told that MASN analyst Jim Palmer used the term “atrocious” to describe Jones’ play in center, proving again that the Hall of Famer needs to stop mincing words.
The Orioles need a big bat in the middle of their lineup. That’s the No. 1 priority this winter. But they also must address their deficiencies in the field.
One suggestion: Have Paul Blair tutor Jones, since the Orioles are suddenly so keen on bringing back former players to offer instruction.
Just be prepared for a harsh assessment from Blair, who would rather hold a rabid dog than his tongue.
It’ll be good to watch Oakland’s Ryan Sweeney from the rearview mirror. He’s 14-for-33 (.424) with six RBIs against the Orioles this season, has a 10-game hitting streak against them - batting .432 during it - and is a career .364 hitter against them.
Trade for him.
Hey Josh Bell, again, welcome to the big leagues. And good luck tonight with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
My guess is Bell serves as the designated hitter, with Tejada returning to third base. And we could see Bell again on Sunday against John Lackey.
Not so sure about Saturday and lefty starter Jon Lester.
Has anybody seen Jake Fox?