Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Orioles Team Report Apr 29, 2008

One of the high hopes the Orioles had coming into this season was to have their everyday catcher Ramon Hernandez revert to his performances of the 2006 season after struggling all of last year. While the season is still young, there has been no sign of Hernandez coming out of the doldrums, although he did hit an 11th-inning home run on Monday in cold and rainy Chicago.

Manager Dave Trembley’s decision to sit Hernandez on Monday was largely because of his .181 batting average and .215 on-base percentage. The manager also had to realize that Hernandez has been unable to get his average above the .200 mark in the last 20 games.

“I think sometimes he tries to do somewhat a little too much. I think he gets frustrated with himself because he has very high expectations all the time,” Trembley said. “I see him really trying too hard, swinging at a lot of bad pitches.”

Hernandez is a traditionally slow starter, but his bat is needed right now. And even though he knows he’s having trouble, he doesn’t seem to realize that the manager can’t keep using him because of that. Trembley noted that Hernandez actually asked to play on Sunday and the manager accommodated him. He said, “I don’t see him in a fielding slump, as far as throwing. I just think sometimes he tries to rush. I think sometimes he tries to be too quick when he doesn’t have to be.”

“I’m not hitting, and if you’re not hitting you’ve got to let the other guy play to give you opportunities to win,” Hernandez said. “He’s the manager. He makes the decisions, and he’s trying to make the best decision for the club.”

In addition to his hitting woes, Hernandez has struggled defensively, as his four errors are the most of any American League catcher and the 17 steals against him are tied for the most in the league.

ORIOLES 3, WHITE SOX 3 (Suspended after 11th inning): Ramon Hernandez and Jose Uribe traded 11th-inning solo home runs to forge the third tie in a game that was delayed 2:06 at the start and again before it was ruled suspended because of the cold, constant rain. Aubrey Huff and Carlos Quentin exchanged home runs in the second and sixth innings as Daniel Cabrera and Javier Vazquez engaged in a pitchers’ duel. Then Paul Konerko singled home Nick Swisher, one of seven Chicagoans walked by Cabrera, in the seventh before the Orioles sent the game to extra innings on a Brian Roberts double and Melvin Mora single in the top of the ninth. The game will be resumed at a later date.

Notes, Quotes

• RHP Daniel Cabrera remains hard to figure out. After one very good start followed by an outstanding outing, he gave up only two runs on Monday. Although he gave up only four hits, including a home run, he walked seven and hit a batter in 6 1/3 innings, while failing to get his first three consecutive win string in almost three years.

• 2B Brian Roberts extended his hitting streak to eight games with a leadoff double in the ninth inning on Monday then stole third base and came around to score the tying run on Melvin Mora’s single.

• LHP Adam Loewen, already on the DL because of discomfort near his elbow, had an MRI and CAT scan done on Monday in Baltimore to get more of an idea about his problem. The Orioles expected information when they arrive back in Baltimore late Monday.

• RHP Jeremy Guthrie (0-3) continued to pitch well on Sunday, but also continued to lose. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in five of his six starts this season, and dating back to 2007 has given up three or less runs in 11 of his last 15 starts but hasn’t won a game in those starts since July 27 of last year.

• C Ramon Hernandez, who hit an 11th-inning home run on Monday, was batting just .181 when manager Dave Trembley filled out his lineup card for that game, which was probably a big reason why he was given a day off before being pressed into action late in the extra-inning game.

By The Numbers: 30—RHP Daniel Cabrera didn’t walk a batter in his April 23 start at Seattle. It was the first time in 30 starts that the still developing right-hander did not issue a base on balls.

Quote To Note: “Obviously, you’d have to use some common sense. I have to look down the road. I understand there is an interest from fans and everybody wants to know, but I can’t give answers to things that I don’t have answers for and I don’t like to speculate because I get myself in trouble when I change my mind. So I’d rather not change anything.”—Manager Dave Trembley, about what he’ll do with adjust his starting rotation.


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