Giants/Orioles Series Preview

If you read this month’s issue of Giants Magazine, you probably noticed a brilliant column in praise of Jon Miller. Every word in the article was perfectly placed, and the column was funny and smart – just perfect is what it was. It was the kind of column that makes you think about baseball, if not life, just a little differently. You should read it and send the author money for blessing you with his prose.

Anyways, it drew a parallel between Miller and Barry Bonds. Both are among the all-time greats in their respective professions. Both became free agents because their old organizations didn’t realize how unique and irreplaceable they were. Both were snatched up by the Giants. Both of their old organizations haven’t been over .500 since they left.

It’s not like the Orioles are bad because Jon Miller left. But, hey, it’s as good of an explanation as any. Well, except for poor drafting, poor development, poor roster construction, and bad luck. Other than that, though, I’m sure the announcing crew has something to do with the decline of the Orioles.

And, sweet Ripken’s jock, what a decline.

The AL East is no joke, especially with the unbalanced schedule, but the Rays have been able to have some success, and the Blue Jays have at least been able to tread water. The Orioles have been awful for a while, but this year they’re taking the bowl of awful they’re making and licking the beaters, fishing out all sorts of previously unnoticeable awful. They have injuries, disappointing youngsters, and Garrett Atkins. They’re hitting like the Giants of 2007, and they’re pitching like the Giants of 1984.

They have a good core. Things should be looking up aaaaany day now. Matt Wieters has been a disappointment, but he’s just a couple hundred at-bats into what should be a long, productive career. If Adam Jones can repeat his numbers and defensive performance just from last year, he’ll be a valuable player for a long time. Nick Markakis is a legitimate face of the franchise. Brian Matusz is going to be one of the best left-handers in the American League, and soon. Billy Rowell has already won two Cy Youngs, and he’s…wait, no, that was Tim Lincecum. Sorry about that. Point is, there are some enviable pieces in Baltimore.

Right now, though, the Orioles have to be a hard team to follow. It’s easy to complain about the Giants when they aren’t hitting, but, man, imagine if Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez were replaced with Todd Wellemeyer, Todd Wellemeyer, Todd Wellemeyer, and Todd Wellemeyer. And imagine if Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla were all replaced with Todd Wellemeyer, Todd Wellemeyer, and Todd Wellemeyer. Would you want to watch that team? Exactly. Todd Wellemeyer.

Hitter to watch:

Matt Wieters is a reminder that every golden prospect is subject to an adjustment period. Even though Baseball Prospectus projected him to be able to deflower virgins with his plate approach, Wieters is scuffling right now, and he’s a reminder not to get too cocky with Buster Posey, praise be unto he, just yet. Wieters should start hitting any day now. Hopefully he can hold off for one more series.

Pitcher to watch:

Way to go, Sabean. Yet again, you’ve given away a AAA reliever with an ERA over 6.00 and watched them turn into a closer somewhere else. Giving away Alfredo Simon is going to haunt this team for years, just like Joe Na…

Simon. Alfredo Simon? You remember. He came over in the Ricky Ledee deal and pitched like molten garbage in the minors until the Giants let him leave as a minor league free agent. He also had a curious role on this site as the quasi-prospect I was always willing to give up for replacement-level veterans around the league. Anyways, he’s the Orioles’ closer now. Yeah. I was surprised, too.

Prediction:

Now that I’ve spent all this time writing about how bad the Orioles are, they’re going to make me look like a total schleprock by taking the series. Sorry about that. It wasn’t intentional.

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