I am no Jeff Zrebiec.
I have more hair (not a lot, just more than JZ) and a slightly better attitude (stress slightly).
And I don't do an observations blog nearly as well as Jeff does.
But there were some things that struck me during – and after – Monday's 4-1 win against the Minnesota Twins that may be worth sharing. So, with apologies to Jeff, here we go:
Ryan Adams is going to get a legitimate look at second base. Orioles manager Buck Showalter often downplays these things and he mentioned Monday night that the rookie would get an opportunity. Didn't stress more than that.
But the Orioles demoted Josh Bell and don't really have another true third baseman on the roster besides Mark Reynolds, who has been pushed into first base duty with the injury to Chris Davis. So that means Robert Andino is going to play a decent amount of third, which opens up second for Adams, especially with the demotion Monday night of Blake Davis.
The Orioles need to see what they have in Adams, who has a good bat, but his glove at second hasn't looked major league-ready in the past.
Speaking of Davis, his demotion wasn't a surprise, but it opens up the question of who will replace him on the 25-man roster. The Orioles have a two-man bench, so it has to be a position player. They don't have a backup first baseman and also are really limited from the left side right now. Against right-hander Carl Pavano on Monday, the Orioles had one left-handed hitter (Nick Markakis), one switch-hitter (Matt Wieters) and one lefty on the bench (Felix Pie).
So Rhyne Hughes would fit if he weren't struggling so badly. He recently was in a funk where he fanned nine times in 11 at-bats over three games.
Kyle Hudson and Matt Angle are left-handed-hitting outfielders, and Robbie Widlansky is primarily an outfielder and has been at Norfolk for only a month. Jake Fox and Brandon Snyder can play first base, but both are right-handed.
Frankly, the most worthy of a call-up is Hudson, but he's not a great fit.
J.J. Hardy couldn't get a bunt down twice Monday. So he tried it again with two strikes, and it worked. That wasn't called, by the way. Hardy did it on his own. And it wasn't a smart play, not from one of the team's best power hitters in a clutch situation.
But Showalter wasn't too upset about Hardy's decision, saying it was like a 30-foot jumper that is a great shot when it goes in. I think what Showalter liked about it is that Hardy was so mad with himself for not getting it down previously that he was determined to get it right. And Showalter loves that type of competitiveness.
Michael Gonzalez is pitching well. I blogged on this earlier, but I wanted to point it out again. He looks like a different guy out there – except when he falls off the mound and pumps his fist on a third strike.
The Orioles can complain about having to use their DL 15 times this season, but they'll get no sympathy from the Twins. They have used the DL 23 times. Only two members of their Opening Day lineup – Danny Valencia and Michael Cuddyer have escaped it – and Cuddyer nearly went on this month.