clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Series Preview Q&A: New York Mets vs. Baltimore Orioles with Camden Chat

The Baltimore Orioles come into town to start a quick two game set with the Mets beginning tonight at Citi Field, so Mark Brown of Orioles' blog Camden Chat answered a few questions about the team!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Amazin' Avenue: The Orioles sit 3 games behind the Yankees in the AL East as of this writing. What were your expectations for this team coming into the season and what have you seen so far?

Camden Chat: I don't think I'm alone in having expected something of a crapshoot in the American League East this season. The Orioles were likely due for some regression in both their starting rotation and their bullpen - both of which O's fans have seen in evidence in the first month of the season - that would bring them back into the pack, and other teams were due to improve as well, what with the Yankees and Red Sox spending a bazillion dollars as usual.

I figured the Orioles would end up in the mid-to-high 80s win range and compete for one of the wild card spots in the AL. After the first month, I'm inclined more towards the mid-80s than high-80s, but I think they'll still be a solid team that's more fun to watch than not.

AA: Mets fans probably don't know much about Jimmy Paredes and Caleb Joseph. Give us a scouting report of each and whether you think their hot starts are for real.

CC: Ever since Dan Duquette became the GM, it seems like every year there's at least one player who shows up on the Orioles who nobody expects to contribute and they end up being an extremely key piece. Jimmy Paredes has exhibited the early signs of being that sort of player. He didn't even make the team out of spring training and is only here because of multiple injuries in the infield. He doesn't really have a position and might just be a DH. He's batted only 52 times but he has a 1.032 OPS at this moment. Of course he won't keep being that hot but he could prove to be this year's Steve Pearce for the O's.

As for Caleb Joseph, he's got one of the greatest stories in baseball. Toiled in the minor leagues with the O's for years because the knock on him was that defensively he wasn't good enough of a catcher. It took a major injury to Matt Wieters for him to finally get a chance at age 28 - this after Joseph's wife talked him into sticking with baseball a little bit longer when he thought about hanging it up - and he proceeded to throw out 40% of would-be base stealers and rate among the best catchers in the league for pitch framing. This year he's added to that with a hot start at the plate, which probably won't last because a .364 BABIP won't last.

AA: Steve Pearce was a revelation for the O's offense last season but is off to a rough start. What's been different for him so far this season and is his 2014 repeatable?

CC: About Pearce, we can throw around ideas all day. The simplest one is likely the best: The league adjusted to him and he has yet to adjust to those adjustments. Does he have that in him? I don't know. It's not likely the Orioles are going to give up on him after a slow April, but there's always the chance he was just a one-year wonder. That was great news for the 2014 Orioles but will be a problem if the 2015 Orioles keep expecting that to return when it's not.

AA: Ubaldo Jimenez was awful last season but his control appears much improved through his first four starts in 2015. What's he doing differently so far and what can we expect to see from him on Wednesday?

CC: There was a lot made throughout spring training about how Jimenez had cleaned up his mechanics and that meant things would go smoother for him. That didn't prove to be the case early in spring training but he's sure looked good since the flag dropped on the regular season. We can only hope those improvements are what's behind his improved control. He talked a lot about not having been able to pitch with confidence last year. Maybe he found his mojo again. He certainly has reason to be confident after his April.

There's a reason the Orioles gave Ubaldo the biggest pitcher free agent contract they've ever handed out. That reason is not that Duquette and company are idiots or fools. We didn't see the Jimenez they imagined last year. We might see that more this year. I'm a bad person to ask if it'll last though, because 14 years of losing Orioles teams has left me always expecting the worst all of the time.

AA: Last week's riots in Baltimore created a surreal experience on the field when the O's and White Sox played a game in front of an empty ballpark. Give us a rundown of what it was like to watch this on tv and how fans felt about this game taking place in the midst of the turmoil.

CC: How long do you have? Everything about the game with no fans was weird. You could hear everything the players were yelling at one another. You could hear camera shutters clicking with every pitch and nothing else. Chris Davis hit a home run that no one saw land - and you could hear the Orioles TV announcers screaming about Davis' home run on the White Sox TV broadcast. It's one of the strangest things I've ever seen and I hope nothing has to happen like that again.

As far as how fans felt about it, I think you'd get a different answer from anyone you ask. It was a very complicated situation and trying to squeeze Orioles games into the midst of that was just not something the city needed to worry about last week. I don't think that anyone spoke more eloquently about the whole thing than Buck Showalter in his post-game presser after the empty stadium game.

Thanks again to Mark Brown for giving us a preview of the Orioles!