May 23

Shorebirds’ Quiet Infielder Needs Offensive Spotlight – Jared Breen

Last July I bumped into Jared Breen, Anthony Vega (now with Long Island Ducks, unaffiliated) and Anthony Caronia (Norfolk, AAA) at the Salisbury Cookout after a game. Breen was the teapot of the trio but who cares about proportions? CC Sabathia, The Babe, David Ortiz, Renyel Pinto – they all get/got the job done. This kid (though he’s 360 days older than I am) is good.

Jared Breen 2015 MiLBBreen, 5’11” (I worked in men’s college basketball for four years; all players lie about height), stocky, 24 year old Belmont product does not get the recognition that he deserves. Last year he was competing against fellow field position players Caronia, Mike Yastrzemski (if you can’t tell who’s grandson he is by the last name, are you even a true fan of baseball?), Chance Sisco, Drew Dosch (went on to break coach Ryan Minor’s hit record as a Shorebird) and Trey Mancini for the spotlight. This year he is up against Alex Murphy (7 Day DL right now), Conor Bierfeldt, Jomar Reyes and fan favorite Jay Gonzalez.

I didn’t know that I was a Breen fan until May 12 2015, when Coach Minor had Jonah Heim as DH in a double-header versus Augusta GreenJackets … I tweeted “Sorry Ryan Minor, but I disagree. I’d have Breen as DH, not Heim.” Heim is not terrible (hiiii, he is playing professionally) but needs more professional ball discipline as he is only 19. Heim in Game Two was all zeros after a .667 avg in Game One.

Breen’s stance is a “normal”, beautiful set up with feet shoulder-width apart and a small yet high step forward when swinging. I typically do not see his shoulder drop in the swing like I do teammate Steve Wilkerson. He is cautious with the pitches. The last game I saw him in was May 19; Birds hosting Lakewood BlueClaws. Second inning he got the BB with a full count of a ball, foul, ball, strike looking, ball, foul, then first-base-bound ball. Fourth inning, he swung on the first pitch and I swear I felt the wind from the swing. The next pitch was a strike but he only looked at it. For the third pitch, he swung yet missed for Strike Three. In the seventh inning, he looked at the strike, swung & missed for Strike Two, then made contact on the third pitch which was a bounce grounder to Short, then thrown out at first. As a former athlete, I can honestly say “not a good night, but it happens”.

Before tonight’s game at West Virginia Power, Breen’s stats include 35 games, 114 AB, 32 hits, .281 avg, .376 OBP, .325 SLG, 13 RBI. He has 16 BB and 31 SO. Also, I have seen this Short Stop turn a lot of double-plays; my favorite.

I would love to see him move up if positions become available, but this may be his last season. He is 24 years old, stocky, more-or-less average numbers (it’s only May), with young foreign kids coming in. I’ve seen this happen with former White Sox MiLB player Zach Voight, versus still signed Cleuluis Rondon.

Jared Breen Official MiLB Stats

 

May 23

2015 Baltimore Ravens Regular Season Game-by-Game Predictions

 The 2014 season ended roughly for Baltimore once again amidst  a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round. Expectingly, many have deemed Baltimore as the most viable threat to unseat the Patriots in 2015. The Ravens have lost Haloti Ngata, the anchor of their defensive line. Torrey Smith has also departured to join former-teammate Anquan Boldin in San Francisco. That being said, the Ravens drafted very well and have brought in some good acquisitions, most notabley the recently added secondary help in Kyle Arrington from New England. Jimmy Smith has been re-signed and Dennis Pitta is primed to make a good return this season. The road ahead will be tough once again for the Ravens as they look to right the woes of this past postseason. 

Week 1:  at Denver

Not many other opponents could give the Ravens this big a test early on. The last time these teams met Peyton Manning carved the Batilmore defense gracefully enroute to a 49-27 thrashing opening night two seasons ago. Both teams are much different from two years ago. Joe Flacco should have a better outing and Justin Forsett was not present that nightmarish Thursday night. Playing in Denver once again to open the season presents no easy task, and while the Ravens should be able to make it a more tightly contested tilt this time, Denver will be having the last laugh. Broncos: 35-24

Week 2: at Oakland

A good early redemption game will propel the Ravens in the right direction. The Raiders are as all of us expected in the long-term rebuilding process still. Look for the Baltimore defense to dominate and force a good number of turnovers. Flacco and Company could also be in for a productive day too, as the Ravens historically make short work of subpar teams on the road. Ravens: 42-10

Week 3: V.S. Cincinnati

It’s been a rough going lately against the Bengals. Cincy swept Baltimore last season, both wins being clinched in the final minutes. It’s no secret the Ravens have been able to hold their own against this vastly improved division rival, yet crunch time has for the most part favored the Bengals. Flacco could either play very well or very poor. That will be the difference in the end, considering the defense usaully plays Dalton well. Marvin Lewis knows this team better than any other enemy coach, that too will go a long way in determining who emerges victorious in the first meeting. Ravens: 17-14

Week 4: at Pittsburgh

Mark your calenders. We had the privilege of watching these two go toe-to-toe three times last year. In that regard Baltimore secured bragging rights by taking out Pittsburgh on their home field in the Wild Card round. Things like that aren’t forgotten. What’s all the more interesting is the fact that recently these matchups have been a bit more highscoring than in years past. Though the final score may not indicate it, defense will be the difference as it usaully is. The absence of the big names that have made this rivalry great over the years are gone, but those new to it showed last season that the animosity is still omnipresent. Look for another close bout with Pitt taking it at home. Steelers: 24-17

Week 5: V.S. Cleveland 

The Ravens’ AFC North tour comes to a momentary stop at the conclusion of this game against the improved Browns squad. We all saw how unbelievably competitive this division was last season, so much so that the Ravens had to rely on a Week 17 win at home against the Browns and a loss from the Chargers to secure the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. The Browns could very well make this a war with their defense, so as expected it will be the Browns offense in the end that will ultimately decide the outcome. It’s usually a bad outing for a Browns quarterback when they take the filed against Baltimore’s defense. Ravens: 20-7

Week 6: at San Francisco

A little grudge match is always great, too bad Jim Harbaugh won’t be the coach across the sideline from brother John this time. Regardless, two former Ravens receivers will be taking the field against a familiar set of defenders. Those who played in the Super Bowl two years ago certainly have not forgotten the outcome. Colin Keapernick should have a heavy task ahead of him and the 49ers’ defensive depth has been trimmed since the departure of Chris Boreland, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith. The crowd will nonetheless be active and San Francisco will be treating this as more than just a regular season game. The Ravens are better on paper but a hard surge from the 49ers will make this a tightly contested tilt that should feature just as much physicality as a typical game against an AFC North rival. Flacco and Company have to focus on maintaining consistent, long drives. If they do that, the defense will take care of the rest. Ravens: 20-13

Week 7: at Arizona

Arizona and head coach Bruce Arians took the NFL by storm last season, and credit was given where credit was due. The only factor that hindered their seemingly unstoppable prowess was a fairly weak schedule that would end up costing them in the postseason. That being said, they improved vastly in all phases of the game, and we should expect to see another good Cardinals team this season. Both defenses feature premiere players, so the offenses will determine who wins. Flacco will edge the opposing quarterback in experience and that veterancy should be enough to win on the road. Ravens: 23-16

Week 8: V.S. San Diego

After much speculation about Philip Rivers’ situation, it looks like he will be receiving an extension of some kind. It is becoming a yearly matchup that has turned extremely competitive. The Chargers have a knack for giving Baltimore’s defense fits, so expect to see one of the more high scoring affairs of the season. The all-time series is deadlocked at 5-5, we’ll see who wants the edge in the series more. Defense normally dictates Baltimore’s success, but this time Flacco and Company will have to answer the bell. Ravens: 38-35

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: V.S. Jacksonville

Misfortune never fails to befall the Jags. Dante Fowler is lost for the season, and the team will more than likely be in shambles once again. These are the types of games where the Ravens’ worst is better than their opponents’ best. The Ravens must take care of this team in convincing fashion to keep momentum going down the stretch, a bad turnout could spell trouble near the end of the season. Ravens: 35-7

Week 11: V.S. Rams

With the recent acquisition of Nick Foles from Philly, the Rams may have just found an answer at the quarterback position. And that’s scary. This defense is vastly improved, a defense that pitched two consecutive shutouts last season and punished Denver’s offense. Offensive  miskeys is what kept the Rams out of the playoffs, but now is the time they can begin to make a convincing run to the postseason. If you love defense, this is a must-watch matchup. It could turn out to be an ugly day for the offenses. In a rare moment where the Ravens play the Rams, hold your breathe. Ravens: 14-10

Week 12: at Cleveland

The Browns will prove a much tougher opponent at home. It cannot be forgotten that they shocked the Ravens here two seasons ago. Joe Hayden and the Browns back end play the press as well as anyone. Steve Smith’s physical presence will be much needed if the Ravens want to have a substantial chance of success offensivley.  Depending on who the starting quarterback is, if he has been the starter since day one of the regular season, he’ll be more acclimated to the Baltimore defense, but still not to the point that he could be a difference maker later on. Ravens: 17-13

Week 13: at Miami

Ryan Tannehill will be pressured heavily this season amidst earning a six-year, nintey-eight million dollar extension. Last season the Ravens handled this Dolphins team with relative ease on the road. If they take Tannehill out of his comfort zone as they did last season by applying consistent pressure, the result will be the same. That being said, Justin Forsett’s ability to compliment good blocking up front in order to engineer controlled drives will give Tannehill less opportunities to make plays. Ravens: 28-14

Week 14: V.S. Seattle

No better way to set an example of just how well Baltimore can contend with an interconference team than this. Seattle without question has been the best team in the NFC the past two seasons. They feature the best secondary in the league and Russell Wilson has been turning heads since he entered the league in 2012. Containing Wilson will be the focus, but Flacco and the receivers must find way to exploit an agressive secondary that loves to be physical at the line of scrimmage. Seattle is a less formidable force on the road when the 12th  man is absent. The Ravens, however, have started a bad habit of having a few off days towards the end of the season. Seahawks: 28-17

Week 15: V.S. Kansas City

The Chiefs are at a crossroads offensively. The Ravens can play average pass coverage as long as their front can stop the run. Alex Smith had his hands full the last time playing this Baltimore defense, if the offensive performance of this team last year is an indication of anything, the Ravens sack masters can lick their chops and let their back end man up. Ravens: 27-14

Week 16: V.S. Pittsburgh

An early playoff preview could potentially be in the works should the Steelers have a successful season. It’s the ultimate form of hostile territory when the Steelers enter M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens will be all the more inspired in front of the home crowd when they take the field against their most hated rival. A bloodbath will once again be in the making. Game 2 to the Ravens in a gritty battle to the end. Once more, can you say defense? Ravens: 20-17

Week 17: at Cincinnati

The Bengals have proven to be the best division rival to the Steelers. Baltimore can be shaky on the road at Paul Brown Stadium. Marvin Lewis knows the ins and outs of Flacco’s game, and that be will used to throw the offense off it’s balance and force the Raves to become one-dimensial to make it easier for Geno Atkins and the elite front of Cincinnati to shut down the running game. It may be a rough day for the offense. Bengals: 24-10

May 22

Orioles lineup: 5/22/2015

The Baltimore Orioles play the Miami Marlins in the first game of a three-game series.  The Orioles won yesterday five to four in a game that had a long rain delay. 

Here is the lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

May 22

Jimmy Paredes – “Who IS This Guy?”

Jimmy Paredes -- Impact Player

Jimmy Paredes — Impact Player


GLEN SAINT MARY, FL – That’s the question an executive at my office (also an avid Orioles fan) asked me the other day.  I explained to him that he was a rising star in the O’s organization who had come to Baltimore and quickly proved himself as an everyday player.  Paredes spent time with Houston and Kansas City before his contract was purchased in the middle of last season by Baltimore to fill in for Manny Machado when he required season-ending surgery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Video

Watch: Pearce’s first career grand slam

May 21

Orioles lineup: 5/21/2015

The Baltimore Orioles play the Seattle Mariners in the final game of a three-game series.  The series is tied at one game a piece.  

Here is the lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

May 20

Orioles lineup: 5/20/2015

The Baltimore Orioles play the Seattle Mariners in the second game of a three-game series.  The Orioles won last night nine to four.  The Orioles will have Wei-Yin Chem pitching today. 

Here is the lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

May 20

Paredes continues to impress

The Baltimore Orioles have to be pleased thus far by Jimmy Paredes.  Paredes is this seasons breakout Orioles and he continues to hit for average and power.

Paredes already has six home runs in just over 100 at bats and is hitting for a scorching average at .346.  Paredes leads the Orioles in batting average and is second on the team with 22 RBI’s.  Adam Jones is the only Oriole with more RBI’s and he has over 30 more at bats than Paredes.   Read the rest of this entry »

May 20

Brady, Legacy Tarnished Regardless of Outcome of Appeal

Tom Brady should not be in trouble. Brady should not be facing a four game suspension. But he is and he has only his own arrogance to blame. It may be that his arrogance pays off and his high priced team of lawyers win the appeal of his suspension but ultimately Brady has revealed his true colors and sadly, they are nothing to look up to. Read the rest of this entry »

May 19

Orioles lineup: 5/19/2015

The Baltimore Orioles play the Seattle Mariners in the first game of a three-game series.  Nelson Cruz will be returning to Baltimore for the first time since last season. 

The Orioles placed Bud Norris on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Tyler Wilson yesterday. 

Here is the lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

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