If this is your first time here, please visit the "about" page. If you've been here before, thanks for stopping back in.

The comments are open, and your voice is welcome.

The Slow Fade

Daniel Cabrera is frustratedIt seems to have arrived without much fanfare, like it snuck in after dark while everyone was sleeping or drunk. By morning we had already adjusted — a matter of habit — and there it was. Comfortable. A well-known quantity.


Now here we are, about to close a homestand against baseball’s best team on a Sunday…with Brandon Fahey in the leadoff spot and Garrett Olson on the hill. The last ten games have seen us go 3-7, dropping the record to 48-55 and leaving .500 a distant memory at best. Or, to put it another way, the Lost Season is definitely, assuredly, back.

Which is OK. Really. This team gave us three+ months of competitive play, which is more than anyone expected. The Plan is still in place, and a quick glance down to Bowie and Frederick lets us know that hope is by no means lost. It’s just going to take awhile, as expected.

In the meantime I hope they keep hustling and making things interesting. I figure they will.

(Sun photo by Lloyd Fox / July 24, 2008)

25 comments to The Slow Fade

  • dan the man

    It’s alright, because two good things have come of this recent swoon.

    #1: It has provided Andy MacPhail with a reason to continue his makeover of the major and minor league rosters. He now has no option but continue The Plan, and I trust he will do so.

    #2: It has shed light on the real problem at hand: the starting pitching. Last year it was sort of the starting pitching, the bullpen, and the offense. This year, with Trembley igniting the offense, and AM making good moves to bolster the bullpen, those two areas are pretty solid. But it’s exposed our extreme lack of depth at the starting pitcher position, with our two main young dudes hitting the wall at the major league level. It has even forced Trembley to vent about it night after night, and he has suggested getting other guys up here just to keep the morale of the team up. In other words, just because there’s nothing to lose. Penn and Bergensen should be on their way soon, I reckon. And some trades should go down starting tomorrow, I would also reckon.

    Still an exciting season in many ways. But when you look at the matchups with the Angels… I mean. That ain’t cutting it.

  • And yet…

    We won. On a Sunday. That streak is snapped. Who knows what effect that will have on these dudes.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    This is why you have to leave Garret Olson in the rotation. He’ll work out how to pitch effectively, and then he will be good, like he was today. Outstanding effort from Olson. Nice to get off the schneid, anyway. But the schedule doesn’t get easy from here on in. The red-hot Yankees in New York then out west could be tough. But August is coming, and then it gets interesting. Will the team tank and give up?

  • Greg

    I’m beginning to think Quiroz calling Olson’s game may have a big impact on him. Sit Hernandez more and lets figure this out.

  • Mike L

    Finally we can stop talking about the sunday struggles. With a lineup consisting of Fahey, Castro, Payton, and Quiroz as well. Hats off to Olsen for a good enough performance. Johnson and Sherrill lights out. Textbook win.

    I’ll be in Yankee Stadium for Wednesdays game. Cant wait.

  • neal s

    So…Liz out, Walker activated, and Burres not assured of making his next start. Intrigue, anyone?

    Here’s what I’d do: bring up either Brad Bergesen or David Hernandez (my personal preference is Hernandez) from Bowie to take Liz’s spot. To make room you send down F. Cabrera, I suppose.

    Ideally after that we should bring up Penn (despite his weak numbers he’s the best option at Norfolk) to take Burres’ spot and put Burres where he belongs: long relief. To do that, though, we’d have to make a corresponding move and who do you send out? The only way it works is if a pitcher gets traded and all we get back is prospects.

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    I was pondering, driving home from Rochester last night, listening to the Red Sox dismantle Sir Sidney Ponson, whether shipping out Liz for Walker is a precursor to a trade. That would make sense, and then you get (most likely) Penn up here to show how AAA has matured him, if at all.

    That sounds icky, but then you remember that all Penn has to do is be better than Liz was, and I think that’s reasonable enough for the guy. He sure is talented, even if we’ve sort of forgotten that. I’d let FCab stick around, his numbers aren’t great but he’s been getting the job done enough. With this pitching staff, I’d be willing to bet you need as many relievers as possible anyway.

    Interesting stuff. I’m excited to see arch nemesis Moose against pitching savior the Stormin’ Mormon tonight. We utterly destroyed Mussina earlier this year, but he’s been sort of (literally) unbelievably good in every other outing.

  • dan the man

    I guess the thought is Chad Bradford, maybe?

    Although couldn’t they just send down Castillo? He’s been good in limited appearances, but you have to figure he’d be the first on the chopping block, especially with lefty Walker being back.

  • Greg

    I feel like this streak on Sunday being broken is going to be like our quest for .500.

    Great, it’s the headline in every paper, the top story in every 11 o’clock news sports report… what happens next Sunday if we lose again? Is that loss less significant because it wasn’t “in a row”? It’s still 16 losses on a Sunday, and the way people are looking at Sunday’s win is completely unrealistic in terms of progress for this club.

    These are empty goals. If we get .500 this season and then get 53 wins in 2009… have we accomplished anything at all? Is it really worth getting riled up about? Based on the health of our farm system, I think things will get better, but I’m really tired of this Oriole fan mentality that says “let’s just win to get over the hump”. How about let’s win and go for the fucking gold? How bout it? Five hundred my ass.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  • rick

    IF Trembley can muster up one more starter, e.g., give Sarfate a shot, and IF Cabrera can right himself, I still believe this club – as is – can reach .500 or slightly better.

    Of course, we’ll see what, if anything, the trading deadline brings that may alter the equation.

    this roadtrip will be telling.

    hopefully, this gutsy club can string together some W’s.

  • neal s

    I’ve been advocating for the importance of .500 for awhile now, but at the same time I agree with most of what you said. To me, the two positions are not incompatible.

    In order to get to the playoffs (and ultimately the World Series) you have to be a winning team. That means finishing above .500. Getting there is the first step for this team and all the others like it.

    Let’s say that rebuilding and restocking are step 1 and winning the Series is step 10. Obviously, steps 2-9 are not ultimately where you want to be. But you still have to take them, and there’s no point in just repeating step 1 over and over and over again because of some strange idea that one day the process will allow you to jump all the way to step 10.

    .500 is important as long as it’s not looked at as an end in itself. It seems like your frustration stems from the fact that too many people see .500 as some magic number, and I totally agree with you on that.

  • Ryan

    Anyone read B on Mondays and Fridays?

    I get the Sun’s Express paper/Examiner clone shoved in my face every day on the way to work, and it seems interesting to me that Nestor Aparicio has a sports column in there.

    And while I recognize that it’s a column, and he can say whatever he wants, he claims that all of the recent changes — that he and Drew, etc. clamored for — are now just stunts to get people in the stands.

    Well, duh!? Isn’t that pretty much what they always have been. It’s nice to honor players and Championship teams and all, but isn’t it still about getting fans out and into the seats at the end of the day?

    He carps about how nothing’s really changed and how no one really cares about the Orioles now that the Ravens are in camp.

    I know it’s a rag, but it’s amazing they print the dude.

  • Greg

    “too many people see .500 as some magic number”

    Precisely. Five hundred is great, but not what we are trying to accomplish. It should be a side effect of some greater cause, and I think this Sunday losing skid snap is really just some makeup smeared on to a bigger problem.

    Anyway, some other news… our 8th round pick just dropped out of the OK All State game for unknown reasons, but speculation is that he’s going to sign.

    Roch isn’t leaving us, just the Sun. (!!!)

    MacPhail and Trembley not opposed to dipping into AA for some pitching help… could be exciting…

  • Mike L

    I’m not sold on hayden penn at all. I dont watch or follow the tides real close, only go by what I read. But looking at the stats theres a guy named Andy Mitchell who is 10-5 with a 4.52 ERA Looks like was a long reliver as he is 3-1 with an ERA around 2.00 as a reliver, and 7-4 as a starter since May. Why not give him a shot. Sounds like a Matt Albers type of guy.

  • Mike L

    oh yeah, he went to Georgia Tech too, just like some catcher thats supposed to be kinda decent. chemistry??

  • mark

    You know what you guys need? A fat DH!

  • random dude

    Did the birds do “we win, you win 3” or any other promotion yesterday? Or did we finally win when they stopped doing them?

  • neal s

    No promotions on Sunday. Thus it figures the team would go and beat the Angels, with a middle infield of Fahey-Castro, just as soon as there’s nothing in it for us.

  • dan the man

    Heh.. good for them for trying, though. Speaking of that infield, Fahey has looked nice and aggressive up at the plate. Not that he’s going to be a great hitter ever, but if you’re going to suck, at least swing good and hard at that first-pitch, down-the-middle fastball. And Castro, if nothing else, looks smooth at short stop, which is at least a nice change of pace. You sort of don’t get that worrisome feeling when there’s a ground ball left of 2nd base.

    Hey, Neal: got any “inside” info on any trades? 🙂 I’m mostly kidding.

  • dan the man

    Sorry for the emoticon… shameful.

  • Greg

    I think Gary Thorne (or whoever it was) mentioned Juan Castro and his “soft hands” like… 18 times during Sunday’s game.

  • dan the man

    @ Greg: That’d be good old Jimmy Hunter.

  • dan the man

    I still think Fahey plays a mean 2nd base.

  • neal s

    Heh…I’m not anywhere near “inside” enough to get trade info. From what I understand the O’s are pretty tight-lipped anyway. My guess for anyone who has good sources on O’s deals is that said sources come from the other teams, not the Warehouse. That’s just a semi-educated guess, though. I don’t actually know who talks to who.

  • jeffrey duncan

    re: this post…

    “dan the man Says:
    It’s alright, because two good things have come of this recent swoon.
    #1: It has provided Andy MacPhail with a reason to continue his makeover of the major and minor league rosters. He now has no option but continue The Plan, and I trust he will do so.”

    Why do you think macphail would be in react mode? AM has said repeatedly that he will make personnel decisions based on guiding organizational principles. He doesn’t need an excuse to continue with the plan. I forgot your #2.