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Birds Up, O's Down: 2-8 August 2010

I’m going to mix things up a little this week with your Birds Up, O’s Down. After all, it’s not like Duck is here to enforce the standard layout. There were so many ups this week that I couldn't in good faith just pick five or six. Instead I reviewed the entire team broken down by role. This may be the only week of the entire season that the team as a whole gets a positive review. I hope you all enjoyed it (the week, I mean, not the review).

The Rotation

The entire rotation was on fire as through six games they made six quality starts and put up the following numbers: 41.2 IP, 31 H, 9 ER, 6 BB, 32 K. That’s a 1.94 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.91 K/9, and 5.33 K/BB. They were a huge reason why the team went 5-1 this week.
  Jeremy Guthrie - 2 GS, 15 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Guthrie has been nothing but good since the All-Star break, and his outstanding game on Sunday was just the second time he’s pitched eight innings this year.
Brian Matusz - 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. It wasn’t the best start we’ve ever seen from Matusz, but after his other recent outings, it looked like a gem. His velocity maxed out at 91.1 which is a bit lower than we want to see, but a little better than what it has been on occasion. Another point in his favor: at Saturday night’s game we were sitting in the first row of the upper deck right behind the Orioles dugout, and Matusz didn’t leave the rail the entire time. It was great.

Brad Bergesen - 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. This was Bergy’s second strong start in a row after he pitched seven good innings last week in Kansas City. Do you think he’s tired of people speculating when he’ll be shipped back to Norfolk? Or maybe his triumph over Billy Butler (Butler went 0-3 against Bergy with two groundouts and a backwards K) gave him a confidence boost.

Jake Arrieta - 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Jake took a perfect game into the fifth inning and ultimately pitched the best game of his very young major league career. He threw 62.96% of his 108 pitches for strikes, including 63.16% of his curveballs. For the season he’d only thrown his curve for a strike 51.33% of the time and only once in a game did he top 57%.
Kevin Millwood - 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. Millwood’s start on Saturday was the first since 24 June where he allowed less than five earned runs, and only the second in which he allowed just one earned. Having seen the rest of the rotation put up quality starts ahead of him, The Mentor just couldn’t let those kids show him up.

The Lineup

The offense didn’t have as great of a week as the rotation, but when you break it down along the lines of Real Orioles and Guys Who Happen To Be Wearing Orioles Uniforms, it’s not so bad. As a whole the offense scored 28 runs on 63 hits and 16 walks. That’s an average of 4.67 runs per game or about 1 more than they’ve averaged over the season. They hit 17 doubles, 1 triple, and 5 home runs.
Adam Jones - The doctor is IN. AJ went 10-for-24 on the week with one walk, four doubles and one home run (.417/.440/.708). He still needs to walk more, but he only struck out twice, eight times less than the week before. His current OPS of .762 is the highest it has been since the third day of the season. He did get picked off of first and threw a ball from center field into the opposing team’s dugout on Saturday, but on the whole it looks like Adam is really coming around.
Luke Scott - Just another week for Luke as four of his eight hits were for extra bases (2 doubles, 2 home runs). Like AJ, he had just one walk on the week which is a shame, but unlike Adam that’s not normally a problem for him so we’ll let it slide. With a WAR of 2.2, Luke is the most valuable DH in baseball.
Nick Markakis - Nicky had nine hits this week with three doubles and a home run, hitting to a line of .360/.385/.640. As was the trend this week he only had one walk, but he made a couple sweet plays in the outfield.
Felix Pie - Eight hits for Felix including a double, a triple, and a home run. He was 2 for 2 in stolen base attempts and is looking really good in left field. He’s not, however, much for the plate discipline, with only five walks on the year and none this week. Let’s work on that for next week, ok Felix?
Matt Wieters - Matty didn’t have a horrible week, going 4-for-16 with two doubles and three walks, but he didn’t light the world on fire either. Even so, he’s been improving steadily since mid-June, especially with walks. He’s gotten his BB% up to 10.2, joining Nick Markakis as the only O with a double digit rate. On defense, after three Angels stole successfully against him early in the week he got it together and threw out four of the next six. 
Brian Roberts - It’s so good to have Brian Bob back with us, but he didn’t have a very good week. He had six hits (one double) and two walks for a line of .261/.320/.304, and is looking a little lost in the field. On Thursday he made an error in 6th inning and in the 8th he bobbled what could have been an inning ending double play, after which the Angels tied the game on a home run. He committed another error on Friday that luckily had no adverse consequences for team.
Josh Bell - Tough week for Josh Bell as he went 3-for-18 with seven strikeouts and has yet to take a walk at the big league level. On one hand it makes me happy to see him over there instead of Miguel Tejada, but he doesn't really seem ready. Let's hope this OJT works out for him.
Those other guys - Corey Patterson had two hits, a walk, and two bunts in two games; Julio Lugo went 0-4 over three games; Jake Fox managed a hit and a walk in eight plate appearances; Cesar Izturis had five hits in eighteen at bats including the walk-off single on Thursday and his 1000th career hit on Sunday; Ty Wigginton did a good job getting on base with eight hits and two walks but with just two doubles his power was down.

The Bullpen

Easily the most disappointing part of the team this week, the bullpen appears to be immune to the charms of one Buck Showalter. Thanks to the outstanding starting pitching, the bullpen didn’t get much work, which is only a good thing considering how they performed when given the chance. In six games the bullpen pitched 13.1 innings and gave up 13 runs (12 earned) on 24 hits.
Koji Uehara - One of only two competent relievers this week, Koji made two appearances and did not allow a run. 2.1 total innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, and five strikeouts. Please stay healthy, Koji! We need you.
Mike Gonzalez - The other reliever who didn’t stink. Gonzalez did get charged with a run, but it was a cheap hit after which he was yanked for Jason Berken who gave up a three run bomb to Torii Hunter. He also pitched in two games, a total of 1.2 innings with 1 hit, 1 run, 0 walks, and 1 strikeout.
Alfredo Simon - The nicest thing that can be said about Simon is that he was better this week than last week. He made four appearances this week. Two were good, two not so much. He capped his week on Sunday by allowing a two-run home run in the 9th inning to bring the White Sox to within one run, but ended it there. For the week he pitched 4.1 innings with 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, and 3 K.

David Hernandez - DH only got to pitch a third of an inning before he sprained his ankle covering home and had to go on the disabled list. Of course, in that third of an inning he allowed two hits and a run. Get well soon, buddy. We also need you.
Matt Albers - This dude just is not that good at his job. Two games, two innings, five hits, five runs. The first game was low leverage and while he allowed the game to tighten, he didn’t affect the outcome. Not so much in the second game as he was instrumental in the only loss the Orioles had on the week.
Jason Berken - Berken pitched in three games this week. The first was a perfect inning, but in the second he allowed a HR that tied the game in the 8th inning and cost Jake Arrieta the win (ridiculously, when the O’s came back to win, it was Berken who got the decision). In his third game he blew the lead and took the loss. Total line for the week: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K.
Mark Hendrickson, Troy Patton, and Armando Gabino - MIA. Hendo was last seen 1 August he when faced and struck out one batter in Kansas City. Troy Patton joined the Orioles on the same day but never made an appearance. He was optioned back to AAA after yesterday’s game. Gabino replaced David Hernandez on the roster after he went on the DL and he has yet to step on the field.