(Poor Kranny has a tough gig, including getting Guts to be consistent.)
OK kids, start drinking heavily, prepare to light yourself on fire, or do whatever it is you need to do to get through this post, because it's time to grade the Orioles pitching staff on the first month of the season. This isn't going to be easy, but if we stick together, we can get through it. Hold my hand.
Before we dive in, let me address a comment left on yesterday's hitter's grades: I fucked up. I know Freel was traded for and didn't sign, and I just botched it. No excuse for that shit. So I manned up and admitted it, let's just move on. Oh, and Gregg Zaun deserved a fucking F.
Let's look at just how bad the pitching staff as a whole as been before we start dropping F-bombs, though. Here are a few numbers to chew on. Trust me, they're going to taste like rotten asparagus, so you won't want to chew on them for long.
Runs allowed: 134 (most in the majors)
ERA: 5.83 (tied for fourth worst. The Yanks have the worst team ERA. Tee hee.)
Average against: .303 (worst in the majors. Ouch babe.)
Hits against: 222 (worst in the majors. No one else even has 200 yet).
Doubles allowed: 52 (most in the majors. Feeling sick yet?)
Homers allowed: 37 (second most in the majors.)
Innings per start: 5.1 (tied for worst in the majors.)
Baserunners per nine innings: 15.0 (third worst in the majors.)
Fuuuuuuuuck. That about sums it up.
Add all of those with the fact that the O's have allowed a shit load of unearned runs, and it's enough to make you wonder how we've even won nine games. Matusz, Tillman and Arrieta can't get here soon enough.
And now, here comes your individual grades. We'll start with the, gulp, starters.
Jeremy Guthrie – 2-1, 5.20 ERA, . 298 avg. against, 27.2 IP.
Look, we all know Guts isn't an ace. Asking him to carry a pitching staff is like asking Steve Buscemi to carry a major comedy. If he can play a small part, he's fantastic. But he just doesn't have the stuff to be a headliner. Same with Guts here. He's a gamer. He'll give you all he's got. But realistically, he's a No. 3 starter. He's been a bit erratic this season, and he's got to start throwing more strikes and stop leaving the ball up so much. Whether he has the talent to be a stopper or not, that's what we need him to be.
Grade: B-. At least he has a winning record.
Koji Uehara – 2-1, 4.56 ERA, .231 avg. against, 23.2 IP.
Koji's one of only three pitchers on this staff with a winning record through a month. And no one has more than 2 wins. To quote Bill Simmons, "I will now gargle embalming fluid." It's hard to argue that Koji's been our best starter so far. And I expect him to keep it up. He throws strikes, he keeps us in games for the most part, and it's nice to get a little Japanese culture in the mix. Although the only thing I know about Japanese culture is Yokozuna and Ichiro. And Tom Selleck in "Mr. Baseball."
Grade: A-. Someone had to get an A on this staff.
Mark Hendrickson – 1-3, 5.40 ERA, .317 avg. against, 18.1 IP.
Hendrickson's a tall drink o' water. Port-a-potty water. There is absolutely nothing good to say about him so far. He's had ONE decent start, and usually throws upwards of 70 pitches per inning. This is going south in a hurry.
Grade: D-. The only thing saving him from an F is his one good start. You know what? Fuck it. He gets an F.
Adam Eaton – 1-2, 7.04 ERA, .338 avg. against, 15.1 IP.
Maybe everyone on the White Sox was at the Hustler Club in Baltimore until 6 a.m. the night before they faced him. That's the only way I can figure that he shut them down. I'll usually never side with Philly fans, but I don't blame them for booing him at the ring ceremony. What do you think of that Cowherd? Seriously. He sucks.
Grade: F. If I could go lower, I would.
Brad Bergesen – 1-0, 5.59 ERA, .326 avg. against, 9.2 IP.
Damn, it was refreshing to watch a young Baby Bird in his first start. Bergy was fantastic then. He got roughed up a little in his last start, but that was against Texas, arguably one of the best hitting teams in the bigs. But I feel like he's injected a shot of life into the rotation. I can't wait for the rest of the flock to follow him up. Love this kid.
Grade: B+. Keep dealing Bradley. Keep dealing.
Alfredo Simon – 0-1, 9.95 ERA, .308 avg. against, 6.1 IP.
Let's keep this short and sweet. The only thing good I can say is that he's out for the year. (All the best, though, Alfredo. I mean that!)
Here come the relievers. Wait, that implies that they actually provide "relief." Let's change that to "guys who come out of the bullpen."
Brian Bass – 0-0, 7.20 ERA, .317 avg. against, 15.0 IP.
Bass and I didn't exactly get off on the right foot, but I'll give credit where it is due – he has been much better lately. Not that he could've been any worse. For a while, I questioned why he wasn't being sent down, then I realized it. When the starters get shelled and it's 9-0 in the third inning, why not bring him in and let him take a beating? Every staff needs a whipping boy, and he's ours.
Grade: D, only because of his recent efforts.
Dennis Sarfate – 0-0, 5.73 ERA, .262 avg. against, 11.0 IP.
Explain to me again how everyone thought the bullpen was going to be one of the team's strengths in the preseason? Sarfate doesn't pass my "demise test." If a "guy who comes out of the bullpen" makes me want to kick my dog in the throat and shotgun 13 warm Keystone Lights before he even throws a pitch, he fails. Sarfate fails.
Grade: F. I'm in a bitter mood, what can I say?
Danys Baez – 1-1, 3.48 ERA, .139 avg. against, 10.1 IP.
I'm not sure I'm ready to live in a world where Danys Fucking Baez is maybe our most reliable reliever, but that's the world we live in. Love his average against, and his 10-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Not a whole lot to complain about here with Baez. Just hope he stays healthy.
Grade: A. Wow, did that just happen?
Matt Albers – 0-1, 7.71 ERA, .400 avg. against, 9.1 IP
Let's just put it this way: my "demise test" was created by Matt Albers.
Jim Johnson – 1-0, 3.00 ERA, .278 avg. against, 9.0 IP
Expecting Double J to be as lights out as he was for the first half of last season is insane, but he's still extremely solid. I feel confident when Skip calls on him to do work. One of the few bright spots.
The Brim Reaper – 0-1, 4 saves, 5.19 ERA, .306 avg. against, 8.2 IP.
When your closer's ERA is over 5, and hitters are hitting over .300 against him, people die of heart disease. It's science. T-minus 2 bad outings until Chris Ray's in the closer spot.
Grade: D. He just makes things too scary every time he comes in.
Chris Ray – 0-0, 5.14 ERA, .323 avg. against, 7.0 IP.
Ray's numbers aren't any better than Sherrill's, but if you watch this team enough, you know that his stuff looks better. He's been solid after his rough start, mainly by fixing his arm angle. At least that's what Jim Palmer says in between stories about himself.
Grade: C. But this could be an A by the end of May. I believe in this dude for some reason.
Jamie Walker – 0-0, 0.00 ERA, .385 avg. against, 3.1 IP.
At first glance, you might say, "Wow, Walker hasn't allowed a run all year! He's great!" But then you realize that his only purpose is to get left handed hitters out. And to teach teammates how to speak redneck. And then you see that lefties are hitting .500 against him, and suddenly he doesn't look so squeaky clean. But you can't ignore that ERA.
Radhames Liz – 0-0, 67.50 ERA, .667 avg. against, 1.1 IP
Back tomorrow with the latest round of the Bullshit Power Rankings.
Tonight's game and possible roster move - School of Roch
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