Friday, June 5, 2009

Free Kicks: Windsor Edition

Expatriate is a bit busy today, so I'll be filling in for him on the Free Kicks today. Just a quick aside first, as I give many thanks to Falco and Expatriate for filling in for me over this past week. But! Plenty enough about myself, and lets line up for the kick.

Jamie Walker Not Getting Another Chance
A day after speculation about left-hander Jamie Walker's future with the Orioles, it has been announced that he's expected to be released by the organization. Fellow blogger Falco offered up his evaluation of the situation yesterday insisting that Walker deserved more time before the Orioles will release him. In all honesty however, I have to say that I do agree with the club's decision to release the struggling reliever. Jamie Walker is a stand-up guy and is a fantastic teammate from all that I have heard, but at the end of the day he just was not getting any better. Walker's best days are behind him, and the Orioles could not afford to keep trotting him out there against left handers when they were mashing him at a .458 clip. I like the guy and I like all he does volunteering with members of the armed forces, but he just wasn't able to do his job at a major league level. In his stead, the Orioles are expected to bring up Alberto Castillo, who is a lefty sidearmer; left handers are batting .256 against him at Norfolk, which isn't great but the Orioles are hoping he provides a boost to that aspect of the bullpen.

Orlando Could Still Be Magical
It is very true that the Magic were thoroughly outplayed in last night's Game 1 defeat at the Staples Center, but don't let it fool you into thinking that this series is over. Far from it, in fact. The simple fact of the matter is that Kobe Bryant had a transcendent game and the Magic's three point shooters were off the mark on wide open looks. Quite frankly anyone who knows basketball could guess that there would be a game like that in this series, as Kobe Bryant is still the best player in basketball and perimeter shooting teams always have an off night or two in the series. Dwight Howard did not get into a rhythm early and played well under his capabilities, but he's bound to have a big game if the Lakers keep guarding him one-on-one. Meanwhile, Stan Van Gundy and his staff have now seen what Jameer Nelson can contribute on the big stage in his current condition, so his minutes should be managed in a better fashion in later games.

Just remember that if nothing else has been learned about the Orlando Magic this postseason, it's that they can take a punch in the mouth and come back stronger. Just look at the Cleveland series, in which they never blinked at massive early deficits and refused to let the momentum of the series slip away after LeBron James' heroics in Game 2. The Magic have built their postseason success on bouncing back, so let's see how they come out on Sunday before writing them off.

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