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News » Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2009-05-02

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2009-05-02

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2009-05-02
The Orioles entered the 2009 season knowing the rotation would be a trouble spot. But after three weeks, three other problem areas have come into view for Baltimore's coaching staff and front office.

Left field, middle relief and the bottom-third of the batting order are glaring issues on the Orioles roster after 23 games.

As pointed out in an in-depth report in The Sun, the Orioles' Nos. 7-through-9 batters were batting a collective .189 entering Friday. That average ranked 26 points lower than any other bottom trio in the majors. Gregg Zaun (.138), Felix Pie (.157) and Cesar Izturis (.232) are the main culprits at the back-end of the O's lineup, which will get a boost with the future additions of catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Nolan Reimold. In the meantime, an extra runner on base before the top-third (Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis) will boost a productive offense.

The Orioles seem to grab early leads, only to watch them slip away when the ball is turned over to the bullpen. Right-handed middle relievers Brian Bass (6.35), Dennis Sarfate (6.39), Chris Ray (7.56), and Matt Albers (7.71) have individual earned run averages above 6.00. Albers is now at Class AAA Norfolk.

Many analysts and club officials think Lou Montanez might be the answer in left field. But president Andy MacPhail is being patient with Felix Pie, a former prospect and one-time MacPhail signee with the Chicago Cubs. The long-term solution is most likely to be Nolan Reimold, a right-handed slugger who had eight home runs at Class AAA Norfolk as of Friday.

Expectations were low entering 2009, but solving the bullpen, bottom-third of the order, and seemingly never-ending left field carousel will lay the groundwork towards competing in the coming two seasons.

BLUE JAYS 8, ORIOLES 4: Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay survived Nick Markakis' two-run homer in the first inning and earned his fifth win on eight innings of work. Toronto had 14 hits, led by Rod Barajas and Aaron Hill with three each.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 2, 2009

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