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The bullpen is a mess and the offense took the day off and went to the beach. I wish I had joined it.

The St. Louis Cardinals extended the Orioles' losing streak to five games with a 5-0 victory in Jupiter. The margin almost grew after Franklyn Gracesqui loaded the bases in the eighth, but Chris Britton got the last out.

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Gracesqui still isn't showing off that 98 mph fastball. "We didn't see a drastic improvement in his velocity," manager Sam Perlozzo said, attaching today's outing with the reliever's Vero Beach appearance, when one scout had him in the high 80s. "We were hoping to see him air it out, but it looked about the same."

I can't stand all the negativity that I'm dishing out here, so let's hit on some of the positive aspects of today's game.

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Pitching coach Leo Mazzone watched Hayden Penn work the third inning, turned to Perlozzo and said, "That's a major league pitcher right there."

The only way Brandon Fahey could draw more attention from Perlozzo and the coaching staff right now is if he took the field wearing only a thong. Playing shortstop in the eighth inning, he made a nice backhanded stop in the hole and got the force at second. He looked smooth doing it, too. He also made a great relay throw to cut down a runner at third base. Factor in his .417 average (5-for-12), and Fahey is having a huge spring.

"He's a ballplayer," Perlozzo said. "He's one of the kids who has taken advantage of the opportunity presented to him. He's going to play in the big leagues some day."

Here's the part I really found interesting: "Maybe sooner than you think." The words jumped out at us.

If Brian Roberts wasn't making such rapid progress, I'd like Fahey's chances of heading north with the club. As it is, we could see him at Camden Yards later this summer. It wouldn't hurt him to add a few pounds, pack on a little more muscle. Right now, he looks like he'd have trouble curling a broom stick. But he's doing everything well so far. He arrived here with a reputation for playing good defense. The hitting has been a bonus.

Ed Rogers had a double in the ninth inning today, making him 6-for-15. "If Brian's not ready, he's a candidate," Perlozzo said.

Eddy Garabito played right field again today. Perlozzo has done the same manuevering with Desi Relaford. The more positions these guys can play, the better chance they have of staying in the majors.

"We need some of them to swing the bat, too," Perlozzo said.

So much for ending this post on a positive note. Hey, I tried.

Eric DuBose starts tomorrow's game against the New York Mets in Fort Lauderdale, followed by Chris Ray, Jim Brower, Tim Byrdak and Ricky Bottalico. Steve Trachsel starts for the Mets.

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