PiR: O’s Take the High Road, Kim Gets a Hit Off a Lefty

REALITY: Manny Machado and Dustin Pedroia kept their cool when the rest of their teams didn’t.

PERCEPTION: I gained a lot of respect for Dustin over the weekend. That statement from him after Sunday’s game says it all, and it should end any more retaliation talk. Pedroia knew Manny didn’t try to hurt him on Friday night. And Pedroia did not like that his pitcher threw at Manny’s head.

How often do you see a player in a team captain role throw a teammate under the bus like that? Matt Barnes and John Farrell both said that the pitch got away from him, and Pedroia said, “That’s not how you do that… It’s definitely a mishandled situation.”

But apparently the Boston clubhouse needs to get together and talk. Orioles pitcher Zach Britton told BaltimoreBaseball.com:

“Dustin, him telling Manny, ‘Hey, that didn’t come from me’ may be even more frustrating. Because he’s the leader of that clubhouse and if he can’t control his own teammates, then there’s a bigger issue over there.”

If it were a flipped situation, and he was planning to hit a batter in retaliation for what a team did to one of his teammates, and he was told not to by a veteran Oriole, he’d listen.

Pedroia knows “how things work” in baseball (as stupid as many “unwritten rules” are), but he did not agree with the way that his team did things. And you can’t say the pitch “slipped.” Then what do you call the three pitches in the 6th inning that were WAY inside… three straight pitches got away in the same spot? Get real.

This says it all:

It seems that everyone inside, and outside, of baseball agrees… it was a cowardly and childish pitch that MLB has to do something about. Barnes needs to be suspended. But not only that, the players need to do something. If throwing at someone is “a part of baseball,” then fine. But as Gary Thorne and Mike Bordick said over and over again during the MASN broadcast… that pitch has to be at the shoulders and below. Throwing at the head could kill someone, or end their career.

The manager and the pitcher should have manned up and said “Look, it was a bad pitch. Yes, I meant to come in on him, but I did not mean to go at his head, and for that I apologize.” But to act like they didn’t even mean to throw at him is ludicrous and their own player called them out on it.

Want to know the difference between Boston’s manager and Baltimore’s?

Baltimore has a manager that talks with his players and the players respect and listen to.

REALITY: Hyun Soo Kim got his first hit off a Left-Handed Pitcher in his career Sunday.

PERCEPTION: It took a 326 at bats to do it (but just 23 against LHP), but Kim finally got the “monkey off his back” when it comes to hitting against a left-handed pitcher. Maybe now Buck will let him play more.

Of the six Orioles to play outfield this season, Kim is 2nd in batting average and 3rd in on-base percentage. So I’m confused on why he is 5th in at bats? The only guy with fewer is on the disabled list.

Kim proved last year to be a fully capable outfielder, while adding a lot to a line-up that needed a guy to just get on base. Kim does that. There is no reason that your everyday outfield can’t be Kim, Jones, and Trumbo, with Trey Mancini at DH. If you want to get Seth Smith in the game, you can, but Kim should be getting more at-bats.

REALITY: The O’s are 14th in baseball in fielding percentage.

PERCEPTION: I cannot remember a time in my life that the Orioles have not been of the top five teams, defensively, in baseball. But early on this year they are struggling. Their 10 errors is 18th in baseball.

As much talk as there about the lack of strong defensive outfielders on the team, the infield has been where the real issue has been on this young season. Now, I’m not expecting that to continue. They will find their rhythm, and I still expect them to be in the top 5 by the end of the season, but it’s certainly been a concern early on.

REALITY: The Orioles have the best record in the American League and are tied for the best record in baseball.

 PERCEPTION: At 12-5, the Orioles have a .706 winning percentage, the same as the Washington Nationals. Man, that could be a fun World Series… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The O’s are 10-4 against the AL East, and are 5-1 in 1-run games. Of all the stats you can look at, those are the two most important. In 2012 of course, they had an unbelievable 29-9 record in 1-run games. And if the Birds keep winning against their division then, they win the AL East… it’s that simple. And their next 10 games are against divisional opponents.

It’s a long season, and the Orioles seem to be similar to last year’s team in this… inconsistent pitching and hitting. Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley, and Dylan Bundy had three great starts and then Kevin Gausman lays another egg. While their pitching did great in giving up just one run during a three-game span, their offense only scored two runs per game. That’s not going to cut it. They are 16th in the league in batting average. Their offense needs to find a spark, because no one believes we can rely on Jimenez and Miley to keep up their production…although our fingers are crossed.

But that bullpen…that bullpen continues to be the best in baseball. They haven’t missed a beat with the best closer in baseball on the DL. Brad Brach has picked up the ball and been just as good. Donnie Hart, Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day, and Alec Asher have been very good. Jayson Aquino did a not job Saturday. Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter keep making it work with mixing and matching players.

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

One Cheer about “PiR: O’s Take the High Road, Kim Gets a Hit Off a Lefty

  1. avatarGod's Left Hand on said:

    The Orioles should free Kim now. It is clear they don’t want him and his manager is offended at his mere presence. So cut bait and let him go somewhere that he is actually wanted. Off the top of my head, Pittsburgh would be a great place for him. So get whatever u can for him and move on and continue playing your scrubs and let the guy have a chance to have a decent career in MLB instead of wasting away at the bottom of the bench. If given the chance he would slash around .300/.370/.440 in an everyday role and has proven he can hit in MLB. Give him the f’ing chance for God’s sake.

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