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Tag:Corey Patterson
Posted on: July 24, 2011 1:56 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Bard helps Francona get 1,000th win

Daniel Bard

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Daniel Bard, Red Sox: The right-handed reliever notched his 24th straight scoreless inning and team-record 23rd consecutive scoreless outing. It may not have been pretty, but got the job done after loading the bases with no outs in the eighth inning of the team's 3-1 victory over Seattle. Bard got Mike Carp to fly out to left, Jack Cust looking at a backdoor slider and Franklin Guitierrez to ground out, ending the inning. Bard hasn't allowed a run since May 23 and just 11 all season (and just seven since an opening day meltdown in against Texas), lowering his ERA to 1.85 on the season. The victory was the 1,000th for Terry Francona as a manager and extended Seattle's losing streak to 14 games.

Randy Wells, Cubs: The right-hander picked up his first win since April, allowing just one run on five hits in six innings against the Astros. Wells won his first start of the season on April 4 against Arizona before going on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, missing nearly two months. In nine starts since coming off the DL, Wells was 0-3 with a 7.38 ERA and the Cubs had gone 2-7 in those starts.

Sick Reds: Neither Jay Bruce nor Edgar Renteria felt well enough on Saturday to start the Reds' game against the Braves, but both came in when needed and performed. Renteria, battling a stomach illness, was forced into action when Zack Cozart suffered a hyperextended left elbow in the fourth inning. Renteria went 2 for 4 with three RBI, the most runs he's batted in since his three-run homer in last year's World Series.  Retneria drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the sixth, making it 3-2 Reds. Cincinnati would go on to score eight more, including another RBI single by Renteria in the seven-run seventh. Bruce, struggling an inner-ear problem,  was called on to pinch hit leading off the sixth and doubled off of Derek Lowe. He was immediately pulled for pinch-runner Mike Leake, who scored the team's second run of the day on Renteria's double. 


Houston Astros: How about this stat from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com? The Astros' last 27 hits have all been singles. That includes nine hits in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs and 10 hits in Friday's 4-2 loss in Chicago. Their last extra-base hit was Humberto Quintero's second-inning double on Wednesday. Houston has now lost 33 of its last 43 games.

Chad Qualls, Padres: Coming into Saturday's game in Philadelphia, Qualls had allowed just home run in 48 1/3 innings -- an intro like that tells you exactly what's coming: Qualls allowed three homers along with another hit and a walk in his 1/3 inning of work in the Phillies' five-run seventh inning. Michael Martinez's three-run shot broke a tie, and then Ryan Howard and Chase Utley also took him deep in the inning to give Philadelphia a nice cushion in an eventual 8-6 victory. Philadelphia has now beaten San Diego in nine straight contests.

Corey Patterson, Blue Jays: Patterson came into the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, but misplayed Michael Young's drive to right, allowing the winning run to score with two outs in the ninth inning of Texas' 5-4 victory. Toronto reliever Marc Rzepczynski came into the game in the ninth with a 4-3 lead and walked Mike Napoli before committing a throwing error on Mitch Moreland's bunt attempt. Jon Rauch replaced Rzepczynski, but the Rangers had back-to-back sacrifice bunts to tie the game and set up Young's game-winner. On Young's liner, Patterson got turned around twice and let the ball bounce off the wall, allowing Craig Gentry to score easily from third.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Pepper: Baseball's color issue



By Matt Snyder


There's a lengthy article in the Star-Telegram about the extremely low number of African-American players in baseball, and how it trickles down to fans. Curtis Granderson points out that he can rarely count 10 in the crowd, excluding stadium personnel. Is this a problem? Upon first glance, my thoughts were no. It's not an issue of racism, because it's pretty clear major-league teams will sign anyone that can help them win. My gut feeling is that more young African-American kids are drawn to basketball and football. Just look at the demographics and diversity in those leagues. As long as there's no discrimination, why does it matter what color the players and fans are?

But Corey Patterson of the Blue Jays makes a salient point (Star-Telegram).
"I really do like all of my teammates and I'm friends with them," Patterson said. "But it does bother me. It does. I'm not saying the whole stadium needs to be brown or black, it's not that. I could talk about this until I'm blue in the face, and you might sympathize, but it doesn't affect you, so you don't think about it too long.

"My mental processes might be different because of the environment I'm in.

"It's hard for me to explain. Someone might say it's fine and we're all cool, but it's easier said if you're the majority."
And he's right. Since I'm white, I don't know what the Pattersons and Grandersons of the MLB are going through. I always thought that just being accepting and supportive of everyone -- regardless of color -- was enough, but maybe the MLB does need to spend more money on campaigns to get all children in the country excited about baseball. After all, studies have shown most baseball fans are adults, while kids are more drawn to basketball, football and soccer. This could become less an issue of diversity down the road and more an issue of losing fans ... of all colors.

Getting defensive: The Rays are hanging around in the race this season despite having a less-than-exciting offense and having lost a lights-out back-end of the bullpen duo. They are, as usual, doing it with stellar defense. Steve Slowinski on TampaBay.com opines that this could be the best defensive team the Rays have had in the past decade. That's saying something, because they've been among the best defensive teams in baseball for the past four to five years.

Historic futility: The Mariners are on pace in July to have the fourth-lowest runs scored in a month -- in which the team plays at least 20 games -- in the history of baseball. No wonder they fell completely out of the race in a matter of two weeks. (The Seattle Times)

Runaway groom bride: A man wearing a wedding dress ran onto the playing surface during play at Turner Field Saturday night. The idiot was promptly tackled by security and arrested, but hey, I'm sure it was definitely worth it. (Big League Stew)

Pujols 'taunts' fans: After Albert Pujols' big three-run homer Saturday night in Cincinnati, Pujols told the Reds fans to quiet down, via body language (check out the screen-grab by clicking here). I can see some being up in arms about this -- because, let's face it, there is always at least one person who gets mad about anything these days -- but I have no issue. I actually kind of like it. Then again, I did grow up a Pacers fan and saw this from Reggie Miller on a regular basis. (via Hardball Talk)

Caught napping, literally: Saturday in Wrigley Field, the TV cameras caught Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica sleeping in the bullpen. Cubs broadcaster and former All-Star catcher Bob Brenly was aghast, calling it "embarrassing," though Mujica said it was less than five minutes that he had his eyes closed. Check out the video on MLB.com.

Already in trouble? As I noted in 3 Up, 3 Down Saturday night, Barry Zito had three really good starts before Saturday's debacle, but that seems to have been all he needed to shake the confidence of management. The possibility of skipping Zito's next turn is being discussed. Now, obviously it wouldn't be punishment of any sort, it's just that Zito is the No. 5 starter and the logistics of the schedule work out that a turn can be skipped. But had he thrown another gem Saturday, I doubt this would be a thought. (SFGate.com)

Let 'er rip, big fella: Adam Dunn has a pretty good shot at breaking the record for strikeouts in a season, and his manager isn't going to stand in the way. Ozzie Guillen told reporters that he'll bench Dunn if he's not helping the ballclub, but he won't specifically bench him to avoid the strikeout mark. (Chicago Tribune)

Cursed left hand: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was reportedly close to a promotion to the bigs before he was hit in the hand with a pitch May 31. The broken hand shelved him for weeks and he's now on rehab assignment. Saturday night, he was hit with a pitch on the same hand again -- only this time he walked away uninjured, due to a protective batting glove. At least he found out it works. (National Post)

Here today, gone tomorrow: Padres catcher Luis Martinez made his major-league debut Friday night and was then sent back to the minors less than 24 hours later. He still said it was a "dream come true" and is hoping to make it back. (MLB.com)

Happy Anniversary: Sunday marked exactly 70 years since Joe DiMaggio's famed 56-game hitting streak ended. Will anyone ever reach that mark again? I seriously doubt it. (Big League Stew)

80-dollar dog: Yes, there's a hot dog for sale with the hefty price tag of $80 -- the Broxton Rox, of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball. Here's the description of the monstrosity: "The foot-long wiener will get the royal treatment. After deep frying, it will be rolled in truffle oil, then coated in porcini dust. The dog is to be topped with white truffle shavings and crème fraiche. If that doesn't gild the lily enough, the frank will be finished with caviar and fresh roe." (ThePostGame.com)

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:19 am
Edited on: May 29, 2011 1:34 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Clutch Corey



By Matt Snyder

Corey Patterson, Blue Jays. Does it get any better than a five-hit game? It does if the fifth one was a walk-off home run in the 14th inning. Patterson went 5-7 with four runs scored and the provided the big blow in the Jays' extra-innings victory over the White Sox Saturday afternoon. Granted, he may have seen a pretty fat pitch with the great Jose Bautista (are we getting used to that yet, or does it still sound weird?) standing in the on-deck circle, but Patterson still had to deliver. He did, in a big way. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are still lingering in the AL East (3 1/2 games back).

Paul Maholm, Pirates. I could have included the entire Pirates team here, as the offense pounded 10 hits and four home runs en route to a 10-0 victory over the Cubs. Here's why I didn't, though: This was the least the offense could do for Maholm. He entered the game with a respectable 3.65 ERA and was just 1-7 because he was receiving an average of 1.42 runs in support per start. Talk about your bad fortune, and because of it, people who still judge pitchers solely on wins and losses -- and there are plenty of them -- would think he sucks. Throw that 3.65 ERA in 61 2/3 innings on high-powered offensive team and Maholm's a pretty solid pitcher. For comparison's sake, Max Scherzer is 6-2 with a 3.86 ERA. Jon Lester is 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA. Anyway, when Maholm got the support Saturday in Wrigley, he made it stand up. He needed only 91 pitches to slice through the Cubs' lineup, allowing only three hits, no walks and no runs. That ERA is now all the way down to 3.18. He deserves respect, so please ignore that unfair 2-7 record.

The Brewers' walk-off win. Jonathan Lucroy stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth Saturday afternoon. He brought a .328 batting average, five homers, 23 RBI and had a 1.110 OPS since May 8. He entered as a pinch-hitter for fellow catcher Wil Nieves. Oh, and Lucroy had zero sacrifice bunts in 423 career plate appearances. So when Ryan Braun broke for home (from third base) and Lucroy put down a suicide squeeze bunt to win the game, it was a thing of beauty. You don't often see a walk-off suicide squeeze, and you definitely don't often see a team take a risk like the Brewers took Saturday. Say the inexperienced bunter Lucroy pops it up? Double play, inning over. What if he whiffs? Braun is dead to rights at home and now a two-out hit is needed. A sacrifice fly, base hit or fielder's choice wins the game for the Brewers, but instead they won with a suicide squeeze from a dude who never bunts. No guts, no glory.




Tony La Russa, Cardinals. After Jaime Garcia allowed six runs in the first inning and one in the second, I was ready to list him here. Then he suffered and suffered and suffered some more in the fourth inning until La Russa finally, mercifully removed his man. At the end of the outing, Garcia had thrown 106 pitches in 3 1/3 innings, having allowed 11 hits, 11 earned runs and four walks. His ERA went from 1.93 to 3.28. I'd really like to understand the rationale for a manager to just leave his best pitcher out there as he's taking a beating like that. There's no reason to tire him out when the game's out of hand -- Garcia told reporters after the game he was cooked -- and now you have to worry about confidence issues heading into the next outing. There's just no reason to leave him hung out to dry like that in his first bad outing of the season.

Sean O'Sullivan, Royals. There was so much bad about this, it's hard to know where to begin. O'Sullivan gave up a whopping 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up 10 runs. He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs in the second inning to Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Endy Chavez. He walked two yet struck out only one. The cherry on top -- via SI.com's Joe Posnanski -- is that O'Sullivan became the first pitcher this season to cough up five home runs in a single game. It has now only happened 87 times in baseball history. That's pretty rare. For some perspective, teams like the Reds, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs and Braves have played more than 15,000 games. So, yeah, rough night for O'Sullivan.

Seattle fans/security. Four times -- FOUR! -- a fan ran onto the playing surface Saturday night in Safeco Field during the Yankees-Mariners game. The third one was stark naked. What an absolute embarrassment for the four morons who think they did something cool, but even more of one for the Mariners organization. I can see how one or even two could slip past the goalie. There are lots more fans than security personnel. But after being beaten twice, you gotta pull out the big guns and start lining up employees along every single section to make sure there are no more. Not only is a field intrusion a nuisance, but it's a severe risk to the players, coaches, managers and umpires. Who knows what these people running on the field are capable of? Lock it up, Safeco Field.

As for any fans who might think it's cool and/or funny to repeat the feat? It's not. If you disagree, you are a loser in major need of a life.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 5:06 pm
 

On Deck: Dempster charged with stopping Ethier

Ryan Dempster

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Streak watch -- Ryan Dempster is the pitcher trying to stop the hitting streak of Dodgers' outfielder Andre Ethier. Last night, Ethier's fifth-inning infield single against Cubs starter James Russell extended his hitting streak to 28 games. Ethier is hitting a healthy .350/.435/.700 in 23 career plate appearances against Dempster, with seven hits, including four doubles and a homer in 20 at-bats. Dempster managed just one out while facing 10 hitters in his last outing, Thursday against the DiamondbacksCubs at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET

Another streak -- Call Philadelphia's Raul Ibanez the anti-Ethier -- Ibanez has gone 14 days and 34 at-bats without a hit. Ibanez is batting sixth for the Phillies tonight against Washington's Livan Hernandez. Ibanez is 2 for 7 (.286) in his career against Hernandez with no extra-base hits. Nationals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

One star in, one star out -- Evan Longoria makes his return from the disabled list tonight, but another star, Jose Bautista is not in the line for the Blue Jays tonight. Bautista left Sunday's game because of stiffness in his neck and the team was off on Monday. Rajai Davis is playing right field for the Blue Jays in Bautista's place, with Corey Patterson in center. Blue Jays at Rays, 6:40 p.m. ET

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:44 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Kennedy outshines Lee

Ian Kennedy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks -- Nobody -- or at least this nobody -- expected Kennedy to do much against Cliff Lee and the Phillies, but what did he do? He threw a three-hit shutout against the Phillies. Kennedy struck out 10 and didn't walk a batter. And it wasn't even his best night this week. Early Sunday morning Kennedy and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child. Heck of a couple of days for Kennedy.

Philip Humber, White Sox -- The Chicago starter was superb on Monday. The White Sox had lost 10 of 11 entering Monday's game in the Bronx and the right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Alex Rodriguez's single. Humber was able to get out of the jam and left the game after that inning, stranding two runners while protecting a one-run lead. The 2004 first-round pick by the Mets is now 2-2 with a  3.20 ERA this season.

Brandon Wood, Pirates -- The former Angels prospect doubled in his Pittsburgh debut, driving in the eventual winning run in a 4-2 victory over the Nationals. Wood drove in two with the fourth-inning double.

Starlin Castro3DOWN

Starlin Castro, Cubs --  Talk about a bad night for the Cubs talented young shortstop, not only was he hitless in five at-bats, he had three errors in the Cubs' loss to the Rockies. All three of his errors came in the three-run Rockies second, with all three runs unearned.

Jamey Carroll, Dodgers -- With a 4-3 lead, two on and two out in the ninth, Jonathan Broxton got an easy ground ball from Florida's Scott Cousins to seemingly nail down the Dodger victory, except Carroll booted the ball, allowing the tying run to score. Omar Infante followed with a liner misplayed by Jerry Sands to score the winning run.

Colby Lewis, Rangers -- The Texas right-hander gave up back-to-back homers to Toronto's Corey Patterson and Jose Bautista, then walked a batter and gave up another homer, to Juan Rivera, in a six-run fifth inning. In 22 innings this season, Lewis has allowed eight home runs. He dropped to 1-3 with a 6.55 ERA.

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Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pepper: Silva released, Cubs blunder ... or not

By Matt Snyder

The Cubs just issued a press release that Carlos Silva has been, uh, released. Good riddance. Now, about how it all went down ...

I like Big League Stew and David Brown, so I hope we don't get into a whole thing here, but I have to say I don't understand this column . Brown uses a lot of words to call out the Cubs for having a pitching coach notify Carlos Silva he wouldn't make the team instead of general manager Jim Hendry doing so. I would generally agree with that sentiment, but then I see this quote from the Chicago Tribune :

"I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there's an injury between now and Opening Day," general manager Jim Hendry said. "We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs."

A little farther down in the same article, Silva mentions that the new pitching coach, Mark Riggins, was trying to talk him up and said, "Man, you've been throwing the ball good, you can pitch, all of that, blah, blah, blah. If you go out there to Triple-A and throw some games to continue building, to continue getting better ... "

If that looks like a weird quote, it's because it was Carlos Silva discussing the situation. It's an emotional Silva, too, who already isn't going to be mistaken for Derek Jeter in terms of eloquence, professionalism or, really, anything. From that, we're to gather that was how he found out he wasn't making the team. Sorry, I'm not ready to make that leap. And if I did believe every word Silva said -- I'm trying not to laugh -- the mistake would appear to be Riggins' for letting it slip. That above quote doesn't sound like Hendry sent Riggins in to break the news.

I don't want to come off like a Hendry apologist, because he's proven himself not a very good GM. When the Ricketts family pays Kosuke Fukudome eight figures this year or Alfonso Soriano $19 million in 2014 they might agree. I'm just saying this particular call-out was a big reach. Even if Silva was telling the truth, it was a minor slip-up -- in which a rookie coach accidentally let the cat out of the bag. It's much less a big deal than giving Milton Bradley a three-year contract -- which is the whole reason Silva's with the club anyway. In fact, the funny part of this whole thing is that Silva represents an actual good move by Hendry. He saved money in trading Bradley for Silva. Granted, it was his fault he had to deal Bradley, but he patched it up as best he could. That's about all you can ask from a middling-at-best GM.

MESSIN' WITH TEXAS: The Rangers are expected to make a decision on the fifth starter Sunday. Remember, they already did, but Tommy Hunter injured himself the day the announcement was made. What about Alexi Ogando? ESPN Dallas makes a case.

FIVE GUYS: MLB.com looks at five players who need to "get it together" this season. I actually think all five will.

DEBUT ... D'OH: Chris Dickerson was making a good impression on his new team Saturday. He joined the Yankees after a trade and promptely went 3-3 with a double. His encore was leaving the game with cramps. (MLB.com )

SMACKDOWN:
Earlier this week, crotchety curmudgeon Murray Chass wrote one of the more ridiculous things anyone has ever written. He used a second-hand story of a third-hand account of an event taken out of context to say Stan Musial was racist. The hilarious part is Chass likes to talk about how he's a respectable journalist and refuses to acknowledge that he's a blogger. Anyway, I'm not going to get into bashing him any further, because the great Joe Posnanski took him down better than I could ever hope to do. And you won't find a link to Chass' blog (yep, I said it, Murray) here or there. I refuse to give hits to that clown.

PATTERSON OK: Corey Patterson took a high-90s fastball to the head Friday. Fortunately it hit his helmet, but that's still an awfully big impact. The good news is that he appears to be just fine. "I seem to be doing OK," Patterson said. "I got checked out at the hospital last night and the doctor said everything looked fine. There weren't any concussion symptoms, but it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into that. Just have to keep an eye on it and make sure I'm in regular contact with our trainers." (MLB.com )

SILENT NIGHT: The A's may not have a radio broadcast on their flagship station this season. (Mercury News )

HOME SWEET HOME: Ryan Zimmerman wants to be with the Washington Nationals for a long time. It's just a matter of whether or not the Nats will pony up the kind of dough he'd command on the open market. (Washington Post ) The smart money is on them doing so. He's the centerpiece of the team and at 26, he's hardly too old to stay for a while. Plus, unless you've been listening to me scream about it for the past few weeks, you might not realize the Nationals have plenty of money.

Pirates LINEUP SET:
Andrew McCutchen has hit leadoff for 190 games in his early career. He's batted second 17 games and third 53. This season, he's going to man the three-hole for the Pirates, following Jose Tabata and Neil Walker. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

THE GRITTY GRINDERS! A clash between sabermatricians and old-school baseball writers has long been the contention that players like David Eckstein are either a) severely underrated because they do things you can't measure with stats; or b) severely overrated because the numbers show they don't help a team much. Well, the New York Times tries to bridge that gap by figuring team records with and without certain players. According to the metric, Ruben Tejada was the Mets' most valuable player while Alex Rodriguez is largely irrelevant to the Yankees ("they seemed to get along just fine without [him]"). There are several other oddities, such as six Reds having better winning percentages than league MVP Joey Votto. I'd be much more inclined to jump aboard here if baseball wasn't a team sport with so many factors to take into account in each and every game. For example, if a pitcher coughs up 10 runs with Votto at first base and then someone else throws a shutout on his scheduled off-day, how in God's name does that mean the team is better off without him? There are seemingly infinite examples at hand like this.

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Posted on: October 11, 2010 11:12 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:51 am
 

R.I.P. Orioles: Three managers, almost 100 losses

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Next up: The only AL East team to finish under .500 in the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles were a team with a budding youth movement at the end of 2009 with enough solid young players that it was thought 2010 could be the first step towards an eventual return to the top of the AL East.

Instead, the team cycled through three managers and a host of disappointing seasons from crucial players en route to the same old, same old.

WHAT WENT WRONG

In the offseason, the O's made three moves geared toward addressing the team's perceived weaknesses amid a push for .500. Those were bringing in Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millwood.

Atkins couldn't hit his way out of a brown paper bag before being released, Tejada played poorly in his first season as a third baseman and increasingly appeared disinterested before being traded to the Padres and Kevin Millwood ran up a 4-16 record and 5.10 ERA in 31 starts.

In addition, center fielder Adam Jones regressed, left fielder Nolan Reimold was sent to Triple-A, second baseman Brian Roberts struggled with back problems, limited to just 59 games and Nick Markakis' 12 home runs were a massive disappointment. Mega-prospect Matt Wieters' pedestrian season proved that you can't always depend on minor-league numbers to tell the whole story. (Wieters still figures to develop into one of the league's best backstops.)

And if someone can tell me why the O's didn't trade Ty Wigginton when he was very much in demand and a free agent likely to depart, please call me. Because that was one of the dumber decisions at the trade deadline made by any team, with only the Nats' decision to hang onto Adam Dunn perhaps worse.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Brian Matusz Brian Matusz (pictured, right) shook off a slow start and ended the year with a 4.30 ERA, impressive for a rookie in the AL East. The lefty should eventually develop into Baltimore's ace. He was joined by Jeremy Guthrie, who shook off a poor 2009 to return to his usual season of around 200 innings (209 1/3) and an ERA just under 4.00 (3.83).

On offense, Felix Pie established himself as the left-fielder of the future after questions surrounding his commitment and talent. Pie was injured for a major part of the year, and nomad Corey Patterson -- himself an ex-Cub top prospect -- filled in admirably for Pie.

Luke Scott powered his way to a .902 OPS and career-best 27 blasts, hitting .284/.368/.535 in 447 plate appearances, as Scott has established himself as a solid power-hitter in the middle of the Orioles' lineup. On a contending team, he would likely bat fifth and at 32, his value is running out. His age is not a concern thanks to having two more years of arbitration that other teams would covet. However, Scott will only get older and only get closer to free agency, so the O's should capitalize on Scott's best full-time year and deal him.

HELP ON THE WAY

The Orioles debuted Jake Arrieta and brought Chris Tillman up for another shot at the rotation, giving the O's three nice arms with Matusz that will eventually be the foundation of the team. Tillman is still struggling to adapt to the majors but has plenty of time to figure out while Arrieta has a 2011 rotation spot locked up.

Zach Britton skyrocketed up the prospect rankings all season and should debut in 2011, eventually pairing with Guthrie, Matusz, Arrieta and Tillman to give the Orioles its best pitching staff since its mid-90s halcyon days and its best shot to take down the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Jays. Offensively, the club drafted shortstop Manny Machado in June, who will appear on many Top-100 prospect lists this winter.

Josh Bell didn't find the bigs to his liking in his major-league debut, compiling a .214/.224/.302 line but represents the O's best hope for developing a power hitter and will get every chance. Brandon Snyder will also get every chance to become Baltimore's long-term first baseman, but a poor 2010 calls into question how ready he is currently.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

Buck Showalter The Orioles ran through Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel heading up the clubhouse before settling on Buck Showalter (pictured, right). The longtime skipper posted a 34-23 record in town, giving many hope. While Showalter will combine with many budding, talented youngsters to give forth a strong effort, the team is simply not ready for prime time.

Shooting for .500 is a realistic goal, but the team may have to temper expectations given the mighty behemoth that is the AL East. Finishing with 88 losses could be as good as finishing .500 in any other division.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Orioles need to be focused on one thing and one thing only: surrounding the team with enough talent to compete. With enough money to make a play for a big free agent, the O's could strike big, but need to make these smaller strikes count as well.

The Orioles could make a play for Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford and sell them on having enough talent coming up to make a push. The dollars and sense won't likely work out, however, so the O's will have to go second-tier shopping. Taking a flyer on Jeremy Bonderman, still under age 30 and with plenty of talent, could work out in spades for the O's.  Jorge De La Rosa would be a safer get, but also come at a higher price.

On offense, the team could target someone like Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee, amongst a host of others, to come in to act as a veteran presence and occupy first base long enough for Snyder to develop. The Orioles could also strike to acquire Prince Fielder, giving the team a cornerstone power bat to build around for the foreseeable future. Baltimore would also be able to flash enough money to potentially keep the slugger in town beyond 2011.

2011 PREDICTION

The Orioles will take baby steps toward contention. The offense is major-league ready enough, but the pitching is lagging behind and needs at least a year -- if not two -- to settle down. Baltimore's task is to get its young hitters focused in the meantime while cashing in on chips like Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie. The Orioles will likely sniff 90 losses but could be primed for a breakout in 2012.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: June 24, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 6:52 pm
 

Reds sign Matthews to minor-league deal

Gary Matthews Jr. In a move that has been rumored since spring training, the Reds signed outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. to a minor-league contract, the team announced on Thursday.

Matthews played 36 games for the Mets this season and hit an abysmal .190/.266/.241. While Matthews was being mentioned as a trade candidate for the Reds this spring, some inside the organization scoffed at the thought of Matthews making the big league squad.

Center fielder Drew Stubbs has struggled so far this season -- .231/.306/.382 -- but that's still better than Matthews, and Stubbs' defense is monumentally better at this point than the former Gold Glove-winning Matthews. The Reds also have another better option in Chris Heisey (.280/.368/.600 in 57 plate appearances), who is more natural at a corner outfield spot, but both of those are taken in Cincinnati with Jay Bruce and Jonny Gomes. Laynce Nix is the fifth outfielder.

Matthews fits only where he'll be -- at Triple-A Louisville. The Bats haven true center fielder. Michael Griffen and utility man Chris Burke have been manning the outfield for Rick Sweet. The team has little other outfield depth, using two other part-time infielders, Todd Frazier and Yonder Alonso, in the outfield, along with one-time prospect Wladimir Balentien.

Sure, the usual suspects will cry Dusty Baker and bring up Corey Patterson and Willy Taveras, and that could be an issue if Patterson were to make the roster, but that's not happening. There's no place for Matthews in Cincinnati and baring and injury, don't expect to see him there anytime soon.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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