7/5/13 Podcast: This Little Puig-y/Sal Loves JJ Redick

It’s time again for another edition of the PTY Podcast. Excuse the guys if they sound tired, this was recorded in the wee hours of the morning…well not really. But it’s early if you’re on “Joe Pa time”… The guys talk Scott Feldman, Yasiel Puig, Chris Davis vs. Albert Pujols, the first-half Most Valuable Oriole, Sal declares his love for JJ Redick in another edition of his NBA Shootaround, Joe tells the listeners how he almost got kicked out of OPACY and of course to top it all off, a few Confessions!

0:00-20:00 The Rundown: The guys talk about the Arrieta/Strop/Feldman trade, Whether Yasiel Puig should be considered for the All-Star Game and Jed Rigney’s internet troll-like article on having Albert Pujols start over Chris Davis.

20:00-22:00 Sal’s NBA Shootaround: Sal breaks down the latest trades and post=draft action in the NBA…bet you can’t guess what happens next

22:00-30:00: The guys recap the O’s impressive sweep of the Yankees and break down the upcoming series in the Bronx

30:00-33:00:Joe Pa tells the listeners how he was almost kicked out of OPACY during the Sunday night game of the Yankees’ series.

30:00-36:00 Joe Pa’s Stat of The Day :Joe Pa gives you a stat about the O’s pitching that may just blow your mind…

36:00-42:00: Sal, Cal and Joe Pa each pick their Most Valuable Oriole of the first half that isn’t Chris Davis

42:00-55:44 Confessions and Signoff: Sal is addicted to something other than gambling, Cal worries that he may not truly be a Baltimoron, and Joe Pa nearly killed a kid.

Thanks as always for listening. Like something? Hate something? Leave us a comment or tweet us at @PTYApparel, @S4LR1NAUD0 or @JoePappa.
Don’t forget to check out the PTY Apparel store!

The Time is Now

The time is now to win a championship in Baltimore. An organization that has been preparing for the future is now a stabilized foundation made of gold gloves, a high-powered offense, young phenoms mixed with veteran leadership, a strong bullpen, and a growing starting rotation. The pieces are falling in place for the Orioles to win their first division title since 1997, but there are still some missing links to complete the puzzle.

Last season, the Orioles looked to improve the problem that has plagued them for over a decade, starting pitching.  The additions of experienced veterans Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen were upgrades from the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Jakubauskas, and Brad Bergesen. The O’s weren’t done from there.  Their international scouting brought the O’s a gift-wrapped Miguel Gonzalez who was discovered in the Mexican League early last season. Let’s not forget the emergence of Chris Tillman who finally came into his own and produced a 9-3 record with a 2.93 ERA  in the 2nd half of 2012.

The O’s still needed that 5th starter. Joe Saunders fit the bill for a late playoff push. He ate innings and was serviceable enough to save the bullpen. With a plethora of starting pitching depth in the organization it looked liked the O’s had TOO much help. The rotation looked to be in great shape to have a solidified starting staff, using possibilities for the 5th spot with Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, Jair Jurrjens, or even Jake Arrieta.

Jake Arrieta making a start in 2011

Jake Arrieta making a start in 2011

Yes, 27-year-old Jake Arrieta, who “has the best stuff” in baseball, but could never seem to put it together. He has shown flashes of success going 6-6 his rookie season and 10-8 in his encore year.  Last season was rough, going 3-9 with a 6.20 ERA while getting sent back and forth from Norfolk. Fans seemed to have given up on the kid who looked to be the future ace of the rotation.  Getting chance after chance, start after start, Jake racked up the walks, got behind on hitters, and struggled to get through 6 innings without allowed 5 runs.

After getting the nod for the home opener this season, his 3rd consecutive home opener, Arrieta failed to put together even a quality start in his 5 outings of work this year. It just felt like maybe a change of scenery would give Jake the success he deserves. The hard work, and motivation that he was given from his not-so-friendly Twitter buddies was enough to root for Jake to push through his struggles and prove everyone wrong. But today was the end of the road on his path with the Baltimore Orioles.

Jake was the trade piece in a move that sent him and struggling reliever Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs for starting pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger.

Some people say the Orioles are giving up on Arrieta who still hasn’t shown his full potential, but the move made by Vice President of Baseball Operations, Dan Duquette, is one that is proactive. The time is now to win a championship.

The Orioles are getting a key veteran pitcher in Scott Feldman who already has playoff experience and has some major league success for a winning team in the Texas Rangers.  The Orioles cannot sit and wait around for one of their former draft picks to finally blossom in front of their eyes. It’s better to part ways now than down the line when it may be too late.

The move stabilizes the starting rotation, giving the Orioles a consistent 1 through 5 staff. For the first half of the year, even the last few years, the rotation has been a revolving door for spot starters and temporary replacements.  The Orioles have used 12 different starting pitchers this season, which have caused inconsistent outings, too many earned runs, and more work for the bullpen.

Scott Feldman on the mound in 2009, finishing 17-8 on the season.

Scott Feldman on the mound in 2009, finishing 17-8 on the season.

It’s a low risk-high reward trade for Baltimore. The Orioles squeezed out every ounce of patience and hope they had for Arrieta, but it just wasn’t getting the job done. Let’s face it, they weren’t going to get a Cliff Lee type ace. The O’s young prospects are too valuable to package in a trade for a number 1 guy in the rotation. It’s an overall upgrade to the staff.

This season Scott Feldman is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 15 starts. While the record seems mediocre, he did play for one of the worst offenses in baseball.  Feldman spent 8 seasons with the Texas Rangers, playing under Buck Showalter for his first 2 major league seasons, and he has ties with current pitching coach Rick Adair from his days in the minors.  He also has experience pitching out of both the pen and starting rotation, which he’s done his whole career. That gives the Orioles an added option if Feldman is ever needed for long relief, then he is capable of adjusting and helping out the team.  Although I doubt that will happen because this trade now allows Kevin Gausman to work in the bullpen the rest of the season and improve for a starting job next year.

While this trade has plenty of positives and is an upgrade from what the O’s gave up,  Feldman’s quality starts this season have come against weak offenses (MIA, NYM, SDP, WSH, CHW, LAA, MIL) with the exception of Texas, his former team. His career strikeout rate is fairly low at only 5.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.  I’m surprised the Orioles would go for a low end of the rotation starter considering the upside of Zach Britton. I consider Zach Britton to be the next Chris Tillman, and I thought this would be the beginning for Britton to finally come into his own and make a name for himself just as Tillman did last season. This leaves Britton to be the odd man out as of right now.

As for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop…a change of scenery will do them well. Jake has a lot of talent and Pedro has a lot of heart. The Cubs are getting two great teammates that still haven’t reached their full potential. I wish them well in Chicago and hope they have success.

No matter which way you look at it though, the Orioles want to win now, and the only way they can is with a consistent rotation that will stabilize the staff, eat innings, and take pressure off the pen, which is the backbone of this team. That’s what Scott Feldman brings to the table. The offense will take care of the rest as they already average 5 runs per game. The pieces are nearly almost there, and the O’s could very well be on their way to winning a championship in the near future.

-Joe Papparotto

@joepappa

PTY Podcast 6/23/13 (Wire Watch/Salvatore Strikes Back)

The boys are back together for this edition of the PTY Podcast. Sal talks Tim Tebow, JoePa reports “live” from the Grand Canyon giving updates on the man in blue jeans trying to cross on a two inch wire. The guys talk the O’s disappointing  week, Joey Bats vs. O’Day, the All-Star voting system and wrap it all up with their latest “Confessions”

Courtesy Discovery Channel

Courtesy Discovery Channel

6.23.13 (The Salvatore Strikes Back)

0:00-12:00 The Rundown: Sal explains how his absence from last week’s Podcast actually had to do with the guys from the BSR Podcast then Cal & Sal talk about Tim Tebow’s place on the Patriots while JoePa is enraptured by “Wire Watch”

12:00-13:00 JoePa “Live” From The Grand Canyon I: JoePa gives his breakdown of the Man on a Wire high above The Grand Canyon

13:00-15:00 Sal’s NBA Shootaround:  Sal talks the Heat’s Championship and the potential for Alex Len to be picked #1 in the NBA Draft

15:00-17:00 JoePa “Live” From The Grand Canyon II: A second update from JoePa on “Wire Watch” interrupts the NBA Shootaround and Sal loses it

17:00-25:00: The guys talk about the disappointing play from the O’s against the Blue Jays and remind the listeners, now is not the time to panic

25:00-28:00: What do we do with Freddy Garcia? Is Zach Britton the new Chris Tillman?

28:00-36:00: Jose Bautista vs. Darren O’Day. Sal says Cal and JoePa are guilty of homerism, JoePa and Cal say Sal’s twitter handle is dumb

36:00-45:00: The update on the AL ASG voting and the guys discuss if the voting system is broken

45:00-46:00 JoePa’s Stat of The Day: JoePa drops some knowledge on you, reminding you again to NOT PANIC

46:00-57:08 Confessions and Signoff: JoePa hates your favorite Mexican restaurant, Cal admits to not seeing a classic baseball movie and Sal just wants to have fun

Thanks as always for listening. Like something? Hate something? Leave us a comment or tweet us at @PTYApparel, @S4LR1NAUD0 or @JoePappa.
Don’t forget to check out the PTY Apparel store for Baltimore’s Best Sports Gear!

RIP Shooting Guards

Growing up, I wanted to be Michael Jordan. He was the greatest basketball player for the greatest team in the league, and his intensity was unrivaled. Ray Allen was “Jesus Shuttlesworth”. Now, fans see Allen as a deadeye shooter for various title teams, but back then, his explosiveness allowed him to get to the rim in a hurry. Reggie Miller was the reason I practiced my foul shots for hours. Kobe Bryant came into the league with his afro, and it wasn’t long before he was one of the most cut-throat scorers in the league. I remember watching all of those guys, along with Dumars, Drexler and Richmond. The shooting guard position was the sexiest in the game. I knew I would never be tall enough to be a dominant post player, so I was always drawn to the sharp shooters and off guards.

In Game 6, last Tuesday, the ageless Ray Allen swished a corner three-pointer to tie the game late in regulation. Moments later, it was Allen who contested Manu Ginobili’s buzzer-beating layup attempt. The Heat went on to win the game. In Game 7, Miami got a boost from Dwyane Wade’s double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds), and the team was able to outlast the Spurs in the decisive match. The win meant a second ring for Allen and a third for Wade.

Those two have managed to contribute to winning teams, but gone are the days when organizations build around shooting guards. In the ‘90s and early 2000s, you could not win a title without a bona fide two guard. The league has changed. In today’s NBA, point guards and swingmen are phasing out the shooting guards. Take the OKC Thunder, for example. Russell Westbrook brings the ball up, in addition to running the offense. Unlike typical point guards, Westbrook is not afraid to create his own shot, or drive to the rim. Westbrook’s uber-athleticism creates a mismatch. He’s too strong to be covered by a typical point guard, but he’s too quick for shooting guards to cover. Alongside him, is Kevin Durant, a 6’10” small forward. Durant has won two of the last three NBA scoring titles, and he is known as one of the premiere shooters in the world. Durant plays like a shooting guard, but his height creates a mismatch for defenders. The pair combined for close to 55 points per game. Because both players can assume the scoring role when needed, the Thunder are able to use Thabo Sefolosha as their starting two guard. Sefolosha is a lanky, 6’7” guard that is very effective on the defensive end of the court. His offensive duties are limited, and he is able to utilize his energy playing excellent defense. Basically, he’s a shooting guard that doesn’t need to shoot.

This past season, only one shooting guard (James Harden) was among the top 15 in points per game. The only other SG in the top 30, was Andre Iguodala. In today’s game, it’s all about length, speed and athleticism. Guards like Allen are no match defensively for swingmen like Paul George, Paul Pierce, Chandler Parsons and Harrison Barnes because of the size differential. Also, they don’t have the speed to contain Westbrook, Steph Curry, Tony Parker or Ty Lawson. Sure, the Heat won with two prominent shooting guards, but the team relied heavily on the performance of LeBron James. LBJ’s production allows for Wade and Allen to pick their moments – or Erik Spoelstra to pick their moments for them.  

Age and injuries are stamping out what is left of the “textbook” shooting guards. Allen will be 38 next season. Wade’s knees have forced him to sit out more than ever. Kobe Bryant has played seventeen seasons, and he suffered a torn Achilles this past season. The Hornets/Pelicans have Eric Gordon, but he has missed the majority of the past two seasons with injuries. That leaves OJ Mayo (DAL), JR Smith (NYK), Monta Ellis (MIL), Klay Thompson (GS), Bradley Beal (WAS) and James Harden (HOU) as the upper echelon of shooting guards in today’s NBA. Brandon Knight is a point guard that doesn’t have the ball handling skills required to play the position. Tony Allen can’t score. DeMar DeRozan has yet to master the mid-long range shooting, and he plays more like a small forward.

The once premiere position, is now the weak-link of a starting five man rotation. What happened to the great shooters? Well, they grew taller. Big men in the league have more range than ever, especially as they age. A nice 15 to 18- foot jump shot will prolong the careers of NBA bigs. The game is evolving, and teams are using less traditional shooting guards to keep up with teams like Oklahoma City. Honestly, it’s hard to argue with successful results. I just hope that one day when I have children, they won’t be looking up to JR Smith and Monta Ellis.

PTY Podcast 6/16/13 (The Cal & JoePa ShowPa)

Sal is “on assignment” this week so it’s the inaugural edition of the “Cal & JoePa ShowPa”…Cal and Joe talk Ravens without Leach, attempt to talk NBA, give updates on the MLB All-Star Voting, drop an amazing stat about Manny Machado, and have a guest that predicts the future.

https://protectthisyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/showpa1.mp3

0:00-14:00 The Rundown: Cal & JoePa talk about living in a post-Vonta’ Leach world and the Ravens chances at repeating

14:00-15:00 Sal’s NBA Shootaround: Cal & JoePa do their best to talk a little hoops in Sal’s absence

15:00-29:00:  The guys breakdown the O’s latest homestand, talk about the surprising Boston Red Sox, the disappointing Angels and the always resilient Orioles.

29:00-42:00:The guys discuss Jake Arrieta’s latest chance at starting a game and what should happen to Nolan Reimold when his time on the DL ends.

41:00-47:00: Cal gives an update on the AL All-Star voting and JoePa speculates how many O’s could really make it to New York

47:00-50:00 JoePa’s Stat of The Day: The long awaited rematch between Sal & Joe features questions for O’s MVP besides Davis, The team that will finish worst in the majors, and what song would be your walk-up song?

50:00-56:29 NostraJoePa and Signoff: The guys have soothsayer/gambler’s anonymous nemesis NostraJoePa on to predict whether Manny will break an 80-year-old record and who will be the starting pitcher for the AL All-Stars

Thanks as always for listening. Like something? Hate something? Leave us a comment or tweet us at @PTYApparel, @S4LR1NAUD0 or @JoePappa.
Don’t forget to check out the PTY Apparel store and use the code TDAY2013 Friday 6/21/13 for FREE SHIPPING on your entire order!

PTY Podcast 6/3/13

The guys get their Google Hangout on once again for this week’s PTY Podcast! Along the way, they discuss the Orioles’ impressive homestand, tip their caps to Towson University Baseball, and talk about the death of the “big contract” era in baseball. Sal attempts to take down King JoePa in 30 Seconds or Less, Cal misses a historic moment in baseball history and Joepa thinks one of the greatest broadcasters in history should have turned off his microphone ages ago. Plus the debut of Sal’s NBA Shootaround!

0:00-16:00 The Rundown: The guys talk about the O’s success against the Nats and Tigers, Towson Baseball’s surprising success, and whether or not we’re past the “big contract” era in baseball.

16:00-17:00 Sal’s NBA Shootaround: Sal breaks breaks down the latest happenings in the NBA Playoffs and tells you who he thinks can beat the Heat

17:00-21:00:  The guys drool all over Chris Davis, his dongs and his hot hot start to 2013

21:00-23:00: Sal reveals the latest standings for the PTY Fantasy Baseball Challenge (Poor JoePa)

23:00-29:00: More Crush Davis Talk and Cal gives an update on the AL All-Star voting thus far

29:00-39:30 30 Seconds or Less: The long awaited rematch between Sal & Joe features questions for O’s MVP besides Davis, The team that will finish worst in the majors, and what song would be your walk-up song?

39:30-50:08 Confessions and Signoff: Cal stuffed his face and missed history, Sal drives in his birthday suit, and Joe doesn’t like Vin Scully

Thanks as always for listening. Like something? Hate something? Leave us a comment or tweet us at @PTYApparel, @S4LR1NAUD0 or @JoePappa.
Don’t forget to check out the PTY Apparel store and use the code MYSHIRT2013 thru Friday for 15% OFF your entire order!