O’s Notes 4/8/10 at Rays

Well, we finally got the W and are on our way!  The team is supposed to
get home from St. Pete around 3 a.m., figure bed by 4:30, then at OPACY
by 9ish. Oy!

Hitting:

Orioles

Baltimore Orioles
Hitters AB R H RBI BB SO #P AVG OBP
B Roberts 2B 4 0 2 0 1 0 26 .143 .200
A Jones CF 5 0 0 0 0 1 13 .286 .286
N Markakis RF 4 1 1 0 1 0 23 .200 .429
M Tejada 3B 4 1 0 0 0 0 11 .083 .214
L Scott LF 3 1 1 0 1 1 16 .200 .333
M Wieters C 4 1 2 1 0 1 12 .500 .500
N Reimold DH 4 1 1 1 0 1 12 .250 .250
G Atkins 1B 4 0 2 2 0 1 17 .333 .333
J Lugo SS 4 0 0 0 0 1 13 .000 .000
Totals 36 5 9 4 3 6 143  

 Rays

Tampa Bay Rays
Hitters AB R H RBI BB SO #P AVG OBP
J Bartlett SS 5 0 2 1 0 1 13 .385 .429
C Crawford LF 2 0 0 1 2 1 21 .200 .357
B Zobrist 2B-RF 5 1 1 0 0 1 22 .308 .308
E Longoria 3B 4 0 2 1 0 1 16 .417 .417
C Pena 1B 4 0 0 0 0 1 17 .250 .250
B Upton CF 3 0 0 0 1 1 19 .200 .333
P Burrell DH 2 2 0 0 2 2 23 .111 .333
G Kapler RF 1 1 0 0 1 0 13 .000 .500
a-R Brignac PH-2B
1 0 1 0 0 0 4 .750 .750
1 0 0 0 0 1 5 .200 .200
K Shoppach C 1 0 0 0 1 1 11 .200 .333
b-D Navarro PH-C
1 0 0 1 1 0 8 .500 .600
Totals 30 4 6 4 8 10 172

Okay, I like those box scores a lot better.

So finally, Roberts hit safely.  He actually reached base 3 times.  He
walked in the 3rd, then got his first hit on a blooper single to
Bartlett that was bobbled and was counted as a base hit.  Later, he got
his first legit hit in my book with a nice smack down the 1st base line
that turned into a stand up double.

Otherwise, I guess hitting was better.  Wieters had his third multi-hit
game in a row, the first Oriole ever to do that to open a season.  The
crucial at bat for him was when he got up with the bases loaded and no
outs and took a way high pitch to shallow center for a single. 

What I was disappointed with was so many first pitch swings.  Roberts
lead off the game, swinging at the first 3 pitches thrown to him, 2 for
foul balls.  Jones came up then and, on the first pitch, popped out to
center.  Markakis then got up, and even though he took his first pitch,
swung a few later and grounded out.

Atkins came to hit again going 2-4 with 2 RBIs.  His crucial hit was
after Wieters’ single with the bases loaded and, after fighting off
some nice pitches from Sonnanstine, ripped a double in the left center
gap that scored 2 runs.

There is still a lack of production coming from Miguel Tejada.  Luke
Scott had an alright night.  Nolan Reimold led off the third with a
solo blast to deep left field.

Once again, Longoria had a strong night for the Rays.  We just don’t have an answer for him.  Not that many teams really do…

Now the interesting part of the night. The pitching:

It won’t let me copy the pitching lines for now for some reason.  I am switching over to MLBlogs soon.

Brian Matusz had a strong effort against an experienced, speedy, and
clutch Rays lineup.  His line was 5 IP 2 H 2 ER 7:5 K:BB.  He showed
some good stuff in the first few innings, but really hurt in the 3rd. 
He walked the first three batters he faced, and then gave up a single
and sacrifice fly to the heart of the Rays lineup, but luckily got out
of the bases loaded no out jam with only 2 runs thanks to a wicked
breaking ball that Longoria swung on to strike out and end the inning. 
Solid again in the 4th, and then, even though the team had Berken
warming up in the 3rd, Matusz stayed through 5.  The 5th inning was his
best.  3 straight K’s.  His pitch count had broken 100 by that time.

Albers came on to throw 2 average innings, allowing a few hits and a
run, while striking out 1 and retiring the first 4 batters he faced. 
Will Ohman was brought on in the 8th to deal with Crawford, who he got
to pop out.

The main issues came when the set up and closing guys took charge.  JJ
came in in the 8th after Ohman pitched his one man, and supposedly
healthy, let up 2 hits and a run before closing out the 8th.  The score
at that point was 5-4.

Gonzalez, with the horrible first impression in his debut with the
blown save and loss, was given the call in the 9th.  Although he walked
2 and let up a hit, and at one point had the bases loaded, he also
struck out 2 and finished it off in stressful fashion for the Orioles
victory.

The Rays had an interesting night in terms of pitching.  Their starter,
Jeff Niemann, was hit in the left shoulder (he is a lefty, too) by a
line drive off of the bat of Miguel Tejada in the start of the 2nd
inning.  Niemann tested it, but Maddon decided to play it safe and take
him out.  In came Andy Sonnanstine, who was a starter in the Rays
rotation at the beginning of last season, so it was a sign for the Rays
that a bullpen guy could eat away at the innings.  His final numbers
were 3.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 1:1 K:BB, also giving up that Reimold homerun. 
Other than Reimold, no Orioles seemed to be able to produce against
him.  No film had been studied for the guy, so it was a surprise when
the O’s found out that the starter they had studied would only be in
for 1.1.

Otherwise, the Rays bullpen was off mostly, with Ekstrom earning the
loss since he was the man in charge of the inning with Wieters and the
bases loaded.

Fielding:

Luke Scott started in left field, and Lugo started at SS.  Scott looked
fine, although he had no balls to run down like Reimold did so not much
to criticize, but he made the catches.  He did have a lousy throw home
at one point on the sac fly that the Rays scored on.

Matusz was brilliant in the beginning because of his pickoffs.  In the
first 1st then 2nd innings, he got the only man on base each inning out
through a pickoff move.  In each of the two cases, Matusz moved which
signaled the runner to go in their mind, but since he is a left he
could make the turn back to first.  With both Crawford and Longoria
(not shabby guys to pick off) off to the races on his movement, Matusz
threw to first and then Atkins proceeded each time to throw to Lugo who
tagged for the out at 2nd.

The Orioles scored one of their runs somewhat courtesy of the home
plate umpire.  On a pitch that the Shoppach didn’t hold onto low in the
dirt, the ball hit the ump’s knee and bounced off to the side.  This
allowed the 3 men on base to advance, including Miggi home to score.

Speaking of Miggi, he showed a sign of great leadership tonight.  When
Matusz got in his jam in the 3rd, Miggi called for time and ran in to
help Matusz calm down.  The rest of the infield soon joined in, but
Tejada stepped up to make sure the young lefty was cool and collected
and to let him know it was all going to work itself out.

Notes for this weekend in Baltimore:

I am going to give notes for the series, because I will be in
attendance at all three games and not sure if I will have time to write
an extended post each night.

-The Orioles committed 0 errors in the 3 game series.  Keep it up. 
With Tejada and Atkins both playing new positions, Roberts and Reimold
aggravated by injuries, and even the last minute write-in of Reimold
for yesterday’s game, its good to see that although things like
Reimold’s catch on the run ability might not be up to par, the team is
not making any true mistakes in the field.

-Baserunning has been brilliant.  Keep it up.  That’s about it for it,
I just know on the wild pitch, and then last night with the error at
first, the guys knew to go home.  Heads up baserunning will always help
in the long run.

-Do not rely on the umps.  It seems like this whole series, especially
tonight, the entire ump staff was giving calls in our favor.  Things
like called strikes, check swings, close baserunning calls, and then
the call Demuth made about Crawford’s diving grab in left tonight are
all things we cannot afford to assume will be there day in and day out.

-Bring the offense early still.  It works. It helps the pitchers.  With
Bergesen coming back after a bad ending to his ’09 campaign, help him
tomorrow by putting some runs up so he knows there is a team backing
him up early.  On Sunday, come out and show Millwood you want him to
get the W in his stat chart.  Help Hernandez in the field by letting
him have the confidence to keep up the Spring stat of 20:3 K:BB

-We can get the starters out if each guy takes another pitch or two.  I
know they are anxious to get on board, but chill out.  The hits will
come, but only if you let them and not force them into place.

That’s it for tonight.  I will be at OPACY by 10 a.m. tomorrow, and I hope to see everyone out there!

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