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Sunday Baseball and Meditations on Greatness

Matt Wieters crosses the baseMinor surprise from Camden Yards today as Roch reports that Matt Wieters is starting today at DH. I like this move by TrembO. Get the kid a chance to step back a bit, but maintain the momentum. Smart.

If the Orioles manage a win behind Jason Berken it will mean 3 out of 4 from the Tigers, who lead the Central and were .500 on the road entering this series.

The biggest thought on my mind today, though, doesn’t relate to baseball. As I type (spoiler alert), Rafael Nadal has dropped two sets in Paris to a fellow named Robin Soderling. This is the first time in his career that Nadal has dropped two sets at the French, and he’s never lost there (31-0).

Should Soderling pull off the upset, and should Roger Federer ultimately advance to the finals and win, is it something of a hollow victory?

Federer has only one thing keeping him from settling into place as arguably the best player in history, and it isn’t winning the French and completing the career grand slam. It’s Nadal. If Federer wins the French over anybody else, people will always (fairly or unfairly) discuss it with a “yeah, but…”

I wonder if that is the sort of thing that matters only to fans, or if a great player like Federer would also himself wonder. Does a great victory mean less when it doesn’t come against the best?

(photo via)

9 comments to Sunday Baseball and Meditations on Greatness

  • neal s

    Wow. Even as I wrote the post, I didn’t really think there was any chance Nadal would lose. Lose he did, though, and he is out in the fourth round.

    The scale of this upset is hard to pinpoint, but it’s massive.

  • Pretty crazy about Nadal. I was glad to see Wieters in the lineup. I know Trembley said he would use him as the DH, but I was expecting to see Luke there and Reimold in left. If the O’s win today they’ll finish above .500 in May (15-14)…that would be huge. It’s all on Berken’s shoulders though.

  • Chris

    Nadal lost, but Barça won the CL. It’s a trade-off Spain will welcome.

    Cataluña sobre todas.

  • neal s

    That’s an interesting point. I wonder how much Nadal is a source of national pride. Certainly nothing compared to soccer, but I wonder if the country takes this loss hard.

  • Greg

    Depsite losing the Sunday game (again), I’m not upset. 7 innings of solid 4-hit 1-run baseball from an Orioles starter (win or lose) is enough for me to get to sleep at night.

  • neal s

    Yeah, I tend to agree. A series split is by no means a bad result, and Berken’s outing was extremely encouraging. The losses kind of brought everyone down hard from the euphoria of the past week, but from the long view things are still looking pretty good.

  • sci

    It’s all about the young pitching, and said pitching looked pretty damn good in this series. The Tigers have some insane arms on their staff, and we just faced them when they were hot. A good series overall. Things are looking better and better.

  • Andrew

    I’ll take a split with the Tigers, who are incredibly underrated and very good at the baseball. I also will take it because I didn’t see either of the final two games, because I was staying in Cambridge, MA so I could see Phish play at Fenway Park yesterday.

    That was really, really, really, really bizarre. Seeing Fenway Park with the infield roped off and a huge stage set up in the triangle in center field was weird, but then the Red Sox still had their gameday staff working, including the vendors who walk around selling cracker jack for 7 bucks. Add to that the fact that about 40% of the people I saw were still wearing baseball jerseys (mostly Red Sox, but I saw a couple of guys in full Yankee regalia which gave me…pause). So, your regular Break Up the Baysox column will be around tomorrow morning, so as not to get overriden by some sort of Lebron James/Seattle Mariners/Neal ranting post(s) that might be up today.

    Anyway. All I can see is that Berken didn’t have the strikeout pitch working yesterday, but he was pitch efficient and guys didn’t square up on him much. I will say, though, that if he wants to be a fly ball pitcher he should look into getting traded, because he will give up a lot more home runs at Camden Yards.

  • Andrew

    Hey – I forgot in my post Phish haze (…um…) that it’s June 1st! So where do the Orioles stand? I can only assume Neal is already hard at work on something like this, but here’s my two cents:

    They had a BRUTAL schedule for the first two months of the season, featuring all but 3 of their 51 games against teams seriously competing thus far for division titles (those three games are of course the Nats series). Of those 48 games, all but 9 of them were against teams with positive run differentials (the Angels, White Sox, and Royals are your culprits). That is BRUTAL – especially the 26 games against the AL East.

    So it is actually positive for me to look and see that the Orioles sit at 5 games under .500, -38 run differential, and having 2 of their starting pitchers, the catcher, and the left fielder for upgrades (or at least, in the pitching department, lateral movements with upside).

    June brings interleague play and a very easy schedule: 3 Mets games, 2 Red Sox games, and 3 Phillies games are the extent of the “hard” series, balanced with Seattle, Oakland, Florida, Atlanta, and Washington and 2 more home games than road games. It would not shock me to see the Orioles standing at .500 on July 1st – but it would also not shock me to see them 10 under on July 1. Remember, of these teams, only Oakland and Washington have worse run differentials than Baltimore (although none of these teams have been run through the meat grinder like Baltimore has).

    Keys to the month, I guess, would be first and foremost seeing how Hernandez and Berken (or whoever doesn’t get bumped when Koji comes back) adjust to the majors and vice versa. Also seeing how Koji handles the summer weather will be important. Then there is of course our young hitters Reimold and Wieters. But its mostly on the pitching (duh).