Results tagged ‘ Richard Bleier ’

Baltimore Orioles: How does the new bullpen rule affect the Birds?

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the league will have to deal with a major new rule in baseball this year that will have big time affects on games. In short, when a reliever comes into a game he’s required to pitch to a minimum of three hitters, except in cases where the inning ends. An exception is obviously made in cases where a player becomes incapacitated or injured beyond playing.

Up front, let me state that I’m not a fan of this new rule. It’s being done to assist in baseball’s quest to improve on the pace-of-play, however I’m just not in favor of legislating how and when teams can use the bullpen. But like the rule or not, it’s coming. And it’s coming this year.

So how does this affect the Birds moving into 2020? Ironically, it could make the bullpen somewhat more solid overall. I’m taking NOTHING away from a guy like Richard Bleier. Absolutely nothing. However he’s a left-handed specialist for the most part. Every team has had one up to this point. Perhaps now instead of using a lefty specialist, teams will look to just bring the eight best relievers north out of spring training.

In the specific case of Richard Bleier, he would probably still make the team. He’s also subbed as a long man in a pinch. So he may well be one of the eight best people to put into the bullpen for the O’s. But in the case of some teams that may or may not be the case. It may well shake up how bullpens are constructed.

What the rule will definitely do is change how managers call games and use their relievers. Invariably (save for injury), managers are going to know that they can’t change pitchers on a whim once they bring someone in. This will be true for the Orioles, as well as for Oriole opponents.

This meaning that if an opponent brings in a pitcher who’s having control problems that game, that’s to the Orioles’ advantage. Obviously it could also work against them as well. But time will tell – we’ll have to see how things shake down.

Baltimore Orioles: Richard Bleier sounds off on shifts

The Baltimore Orioles are once again being talked about due to a public spat between a player and a coach. Reliever Richard Bleier came out of last night’s loss in Washington, and appeared to have words with third base coach Jose Flores. Later it was confirmed that the issue at hand was defensive positioning:

I think I just let frustration kind of boil over about some stuff that … some balls that I thought maybe defensive positioning, I guess. I probably could have done better for myself to keep my mouth shut, and unfortunately, I may have said something and you guys saw the rest.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Bleier surrendered a single down the first base line in last night’s game, on yet another play where the Orioles played a shift. And the ball would have been hit right to the first baseman had the shift not been on. As has been chronicled in this column ad hoc, teams seem adept at beating the Orioles in a shift. Bleier went onto say:

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I mean, I think that we’re all adults. It’s not like I’m mad at anybody. Right now, we’re not thrilled with each other, maybe, but I’m sure we can move past this and get back to a healthy relationship.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

First and foremost, regardless of anything else I’m not a fan of players verbally confronting coaches in public. I always remind folks – this game is a job to these guys. Think about your job, whatever that may be; if you have an issue with how a boss or supervisor is conducting things, do you verbally confront him in the middle of the office? In general, no you don’t.

Now having a closed door meeting with your superior and airing your concerns in a civilized manner might be another story. In general that’s a much better conduit for change. It also comes across as much more professional. And if you look at those quotes Bleier seems to understand that.Perhaps he understands it in retrospect, but he seems to understand it.

That said, I obviously agree in principle with Bleier. My personal view is that the Orioles play these shifts far too often. And on top of that, when they play them they usually play fairly radical shifts. There may be only one opportunity for a guy to get a base hit with some of these shifts – but they’re finding that one hole of daylight, all other things be damned.

Not all of this can be avoided. Some hitters just luck out at times. However how many situations have we seen such as in last night’s game where the ball is literally being hit to the exact spot a fielder would have been had there been no shift? That’s something that should stand out to fans.

I think what we’re seeing is that at the end of the day these shifts are just going to make guys into better hitters. The idea behind a shift is to cover the spots on the field where the hitter usually hits the ball. The fatal flaw of the shift is that the game’s still played by human beings. Sometimes fluky things happen. And if I were the Orioles, it would give me pause when I saw that they seemed to happen to me an awful lot.

Baltimore Orioles: Richard Bleier’s season on the brink

One of the bright spots for the Baltimore Orioles this season has been reliever Richard Bleier. At various points he was spoken about as a potential all-star selection. Now his season might be over after leaving yesterday’s 5-1 loss to Boston with an arm injury.

Bleier threw one pitch, retiring a batter, and felt immediate discomfort in his throwing arm. Heunderwent an MRI at Camden Yards last night, which showed that his elbow was structurally fine. While that’s good news, the term lateral muscle has also been thrown around. Manager Buck Showalter is taking the “wait-and-see approach,” but even he didn’t sound overly promising (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Hope for the best. Obviously, he was in a lot of discomfort, so we’ll see. He never had anything like that before. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him for very long. He was pretty down as you can imagine

Odds are Bleier might want to start looking to next year. Assuming this is more than a 10-day DL stint, there’s no reason for him to rush his way back this year. And it’s a shame, because Bleier’s a reliever that was ready to go in any situation. And the Orioles seemed willing to insert him into the game in just about any situation.

Time will tell for Bleier. But I would expect him to be put on the DL at some point prior to tomorrow’s series opener with Miami, and perhaps the likes of Hart or Scott recalled. And I wouldn’t expect him to return anytime soon. Just a prediction.

Baltimore Orioles, Richard Bleier make the Empire State lay low

There’s nobody on the Baltimore Orioles, or the New York Yankees for the matter, who deserved to be the winning pitcher in this afternoon’s game than Richard Bleier. Nobody. Bleier wasn’t even supposed to pitch today, except perhaps in an emergency. That emergency came, in the form of a twelve inning game. And Bleier was true to the challenge.

Mike Wright Jr. had a disastrous start, which saw him not even make it out of the first inning. Wright’s line: .2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, (2 earned), 1 BB, 1 K. You might suggest that two earned runs in the first inning doesn’t exactly look “disastrous.” However when runners get on base that represent potential unearned runs, you still have to worry about them. Wright didn’t do that.

So the Orioles and Wright spotted New York a 5-0 lead. However the O’s would start their comeback attempt almost immediately, as Anthony Santander got them on the board in the second with an RBI-single. And the Orioles chipped away from there – which is what good teams do when they get behind early on.

Tim Beckham would add an RBI-single in the third, and Danny Valencia‘s two-run homer in the fifth brought the Orioles to within 5-4. A Romine RBI-single would put NY back ahead by two in the last of the fifth, just to prove that the Orioles weren’t the only scrappy team in the ballpark this afternoon.

However the Birds came right back in response to New York’s answer. Manny Machado‘s RBI-single in the sixth would bring them back to within a run at 6-5. And one inning later the Orioles would take the lead when Santander smacked his first career home run, this a two-run shot. That was a huge lift for the team, as they proved to themselves that this was a game they could win.

Romine’s RBI-single in the last of the seventh would tie it at seven, however. This game also saw some strange plays with the Orioles in the field, however the Birds answered the bell every time. Stanton lined into a 6-3 double-play to end the sixth, and Judge decided to try to swipe second base in the last of the eighth – and was thrown out. Judge may be a lot of things, but a base stealer he is not.

The O’s brought Bleier in to pitch the ninth, and as I said above he wasn’t supposed to pitch today. Buck Showalter said that he wanted to stay away from him if possible. The fact is that it wasn’t possible. And Bleier mowed New York hitters down – big time. He was helped by an amazing over-the-shoulder catch in left by Craig Gentry, which saved the winning run from crossing in the last of the tenth. But Bleier was perhaps the best pitcher in a game that featured almost every pitcher on each roster. And there’s no doubt that he brings the right attitude with him into every game he pitches (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I told Buck I had nine years in the minor leagues, so I had nine years off. I’ll pitch every day the rest of the year. I really don’t care. As long as I’m in the big leagues, I’m available.

Showalter said that he kind of looked like a starter out there. And perhaps he did – in the sense that he put his team in a spot to win the game. That’s what you ask of your starters. Bleier isn’t a starter, but the team needed him today in a tough spot. And he answered the call big time.

The Birds would record a quick out in the twelfth, with Bleier still the pitcher or record. Alvarez would draw a walk as a pinch-hitter, and Santander would get aboard with a seeing-eye single. That brought Gentry to the plate, and his sharp liner to the left side found left field, and left the Orioles with an 8-7 lead in extra innings.

Unfortunately for the Orioles however, closer Brad Brach struggled in the last of the twelfth. He issued two walks, and then muffed fielding Romine’s sac bunt to the left of the pitching mound. Everyone was safe, and New York had the bases loaded with nobody out. Things didn’t look good for the boys from the Old Line State, but the bases loaded does give the defense one often overlooked but very big advantage…

…there’s a force at every base. And while Brach committed a pretty bad error to achieve that force at every base, he also got an opportunity to redeem himself. And that set the moment for the third and final oddity with the O’s in the field.

Judge sent a tapped back to Brach, who fielded it cleanly in his glove. He flipped it to Calep Joseph for a force at the plate, who then threw it to Machado covering third base for a 1-2-5 double-play. That in and of itself is pretty impressive, because 1-2-5 double-plays don’t happen often. However the fact that Brach had the wherewithal to throw the ball home, and Joseph the same wherewithal to throw to third was pretty special. Brach had the opportunity to atone for his mistake, and he did. He also struck out the next hitter to end the game.

Had they lost this game, the O’s would have split the series in New York. But in winning they were able to take three-of-four, which is a much better result. And these were hard-fought games – make no mistake about it. A team of lesser character and skill wouldn’t have won them. Brach easily could have given in after his mistake. He didn’t, and it sealed a hard-fought win. Bleier easily could have gotten knocked around and blamed lack of rest. He didn’t, and he helped win the game and series.

The O’s now head home for a short three-game homestand against Toronto. Dylan Bundy gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s J.A. Happ Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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