That's a good sign, I guess. You aren't content with any loss. Been a long time since that was the case (OK, so maybe in the past you weren't content, just resigned.)
Anyway, as I flew to Seattle from Oakland after Sunday's game, a couple things stuck with me based on your tweets and emails.
One: Many of you are unhappy with reliever
And several of you told me that he needs to be sent to the minors. What I didn't realize when I was flying -- and it serves me right for trying to write at 3 a.m. Eastern -- is that Strop is out of minor league options. That means the Orioles would have to try to get him through waivers before they could send him down. And there's absolutely no way someone with that arm and a solid enough track record would get through. And there's also no way the Orioles could afford to lose that arm.
Right now, Strop probably shouldn’t be used in late-inning close games. And the Orioles have the luxury of having
Strop has had some good outings. And yesterday's loss had more to do with errors than poor pitching from Strop. In the 10th he gave up one single up the middle before the two sacrifice bunts.
I'm not making excuses for him. Strop needs to pitch better. And if he doesn't, maybe eventually they'll have to cut take the risk of trying to send him down. But they absolutely can't do that now. I would just pick my spots with Strop for a little while longer, so long as he can get the ball over the plate.
Many of you wondered why
Simple answer: Matusz was the best option at that moment, regardless of which arm he throws with. O’Day had been used.
And Strop shouldn't be put in that situation right now if at all possible.
The easy thing to do was to roll Johnson out there again. But he had pitched in five of the club's last six games. Showalter was adamant that wasn't an option.
And I agree. I have seen so many Orioles managers over the years handle a bullpen as if it were the seventh game of the World Series and not a 162-game season. I've seen managers go to the same guy game after game because he is the most effective hurler – only to lose that pitcher to fatigue or arm injury by the all-star break.
Showalter is not a perfect manager. He makes mistakes in judgment at times. Everyone does. But he is by far the best I've ever seen in handling a bullpen. He lost the battle Sunday, but I bet you Johnson is ready for the war in September.
Plus, we'll learn plenty about Matusz in the coming days and weeks. A good reliever can bounce back after failure. Matusz has been consistently strong out of the bullpen. Now he encountered a disappointing moment. How he responds is crucial.
Showalter said before Sunday's game that the Orioles were still looking to add a backup catcher, but the market was thin.
Hours later the Orioles added one in veteran
Snyder has some pop, but he's not known as a particularly good defensive catcher. In fact, I asked people in the organization in March if they would try to make a run at Snyder (who was preparing to opt out in Washington) and was told that he was viewed as a defensive downgrade in comparison to Teagarden and his hitting was on par (some pop, low average)..
With Teagarden out, though, the Orioles needed an upgrade over their minor league catchers, and Snyder should be that. He is expected in uniform Tuesday in Seattle.
Britton makes his first start of the year for the Orioles on Monday. Expect him to throw sinkers and more sinkers. It is what has made him successful in the past, and he got away from that as his primary game plan in 2012. In his two good starts at Norfolk this year he threw more than 80 percent sinkers.