April 2010

Another One Bites the Dust…

Well, the final score was Mariners 3, Orioles 1.  That describes this game way too well.

Tonight’s game started out on a high offensive note.  Wigginton, the silver slugger for the team as of recent, walked in the 2 slot in the top of the 1st.  Then Reimold came up and hit a deep double to left center, scoring Wiggy all the way from 1st.

By the way, that paragraph is also the summary of the Orioles total offensive production all game.  6 of our 9 guys in the lineup went hitless.  Yea, Wieters had two hits.  Whoopee.  I would love to write a nice big entry about how good our hitting has been.  But that entry would only consist of Wieters, Wigginton, and Pie.

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Pie is on the DL, Wieters has been solid, and Wigginton is on a hot streak.  That’s all nice.  But until the team actually plays as a team, there’s no need to make those 3 sound all that great.  Nothing against them, but you’re only as good as you’re worst player.

I am not bring a number up here.  Just situational stuff.  This will show you, without any numbers, how we have been so practically useless in clutch hitting situations.  Of course, the two scenarios I want to bring up revolve around a hit by Wieters and then a hit by Wigginton.

Top 2nd (from Yahoo!):

- M. Wieters doubled to shallow left
– G. Atkins flied out to center
– J. Lugo grounded out to shortstop
– C. Izturis grounded out to third

Top 6th (also from Yahoo!):

- T. Wigginton doubled to left
– N. Markakis flied out to shallow center
– N. Reimold popped out to left center
– L. Scott struck out swinging

What the hell is wrong here?!  Leadoff doubles in both situations and we can’t score them, let alone advance them at least to 3rd!?  This is pathetic.  Worst part of it was that the batter in each instance after the hit popped out.  Is the hit-and-run no longer an available option in Trembley’s mind?  Maybe it was Samuel/Shelby who made the calls, or maybe the guys muffed their at bats.  It really doesn’t matter.  These things just need to happen.  This is fundamental baseball, nothing more than that.  If that is too much for these guys to process, then maybe the current Tides roster should just be brought up.  At least down there they learn how to play baseball, not crapball.

Baserunning is to Julio Lugo as:
a) Paying taxes is to all Americans
b) Retaining Cy Young pitchers is to the Indians
c) Keeping a fan base is to the Orioles
d) All of the above

The correct answer is D.  These are all things that the referred to population just does not want to do.  And running down to 1st on a ground ball hit was not something on Lugo’s agenda tonight.  We twice saw Lugo jogging down the base paths.    If Trembley wants to prove that he is for real here, this was his opportunity to step in and say “Hey, Julio, I got this young guy Turner here who would love to play, so if you aren’t going to put any effort in, then hit the showers.”  We can tell that the Orioles are not a contender at this point, so the least we can do is show discipline as a team in the overall want to move forward as an organization.

On a side note about baserunning, it is now 11 games in a row that the Orioles have not stolen a base.  There are 2 sides to that.  It could be that we just never have people on in order to steal.  It could also be that when guys get on, we want to keep them on and not risk them as baserunners.  Either way, we know we are capable of stealing bases as a team, so I just am not sure where the signals are being held back from sending some runners.

Now, I will totally flip my attitude around.  How that will happen?  Just gotta bring up the subject of pitching.

David Hernandez pitched what could be considered a gem.  Aside from his sub-par 1st inning (2 H 2 ER 2 BB), he was spectacular.  He showed poise throughout the 6.1 innings he pitched.  If it weren’t for his 100+ pitch count due to facing 7 batters in the 1st, he could have kept going.  He had control and zip on his fastball, and was putting the breaking balls in the mix where need be.  Ohman came in for 0.2 IP with 1 K 0 H.  Albers pitched the 8th and let up 1 H 0 ER.  The Orioles could not ask for anything better out of their pitching.  Hernandez let up the 2 runs in the 1st, then the 3rd run in the 7th.  He would not have come out most likely for the 7th inning if the team had the lead, but since Trembley made the call to see if he could do one more to give the lineup an extra chance to earn him the win, he allowed back-to-back doubles, then being replaced by Ohman.

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Two straight games of 100% perfect outings by the O’s pen.  Never thought I would say that.  The scariest bullpen piece tonight was that Griffey Jr. stepped up to face Albers, and I see the stat that in his career, Griffey is 2/3 off Albers with 2 HRs.  Well, Griffey sure did rip a line drive deep, but it ricocheted off the wall in right and Markakis did a great job in getting the ball in to hold Griffey to a single.  That would end up being the only hit off of the bullpen for the night.

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Every single guy in the lineup tonight needs to stop by Hernandez’ locker over the next day or two and apologize to him.  He has every right to be upset and mad.  He may not show it, and if he truly isn’t then he is a saint, but his composure through tonight was incredible.  If I were him, I would be in that dugout getting on everybody’s nerves about their lack of ability out there.  Maybe that is why they are there and I am here…

My thought: Hit the damn ball.  There are so many different side notes and commentaries people could provide on the situation of the team, but it is becoming so invaluable to continue to discuss things like that when the fundamentals aren’t working out in the first place.  Once I see another game like Sunday’s, then maybe it will be a time to start noting things to do.  The only issues I am seeing right now are hitting overall and a few fielding issues with Jones and Izturis.  I will be writing about those in an article later today.

Hopefully Tejada comes back tomorrow and sparks the team enough to pull off a win and avoid another road series sweep.

Bergesen’s Worst Nightmare

After last night’s 3rd inning, it became obvious to me that Brad Bergesen is just a tad off.  Ever since he was hit by a line drive last season, then hurting his shoulder again in his commercial shoot for MASN this offseason, Bergy just doesn’t have the zip on the ball that he showed last year.  His mechanics look normal compared to his rookie campaign, but what’s not right is the control he is lacking and the overall stature he shows up on the mound.
 
The Orioles need here is to send him down for a few starts in AAA to see what he can produce at a less stressful level.  The move was announced this morning of his being optioned to Norfolk, so now the issue became what to do in his absence.  Here are the options that I had theoretically come up with last night before the Orioles made their official move:
 
-Bring up Jake Arrieta.  The thought would be to give the kid a few starts in the majors to test him out a little and get that first start out of the way during a time where we aren’t expecting a win streak constantly.  If he came up, it would mean he would first start at Fenway.  That would be an interesting debut for him, but then again, probably a little more stressful of a situation than what the Orioles want to put on his shoulders at this point.  He has been stellar in Norfolk so far this year, throwing with an ERA of 0.50 in 3 starts so far, 18 IP.  He would only stay up for a few weeks until Bergy was ready to come back or another guy like Tillman was ready to step in.  I have no doubt that Arrieta still needs a bit more time in AAA, but a start or two in the majors can never hurt, especially when the expectations are low right now in the organization just wanting to stop this losing streak but not expecting 10 wins in a row.
 
-Bring up Chris Tillman.  Now, he is 0-3 with an ERA of 8.38 and in his three starts only lasted a total of 9.2 innings.  This might not be the best option until he can have a good outing in the minors.
 
-Shift Berken or Hendrickson into the 5th spot.  The issue here is that neither are stellar in starting spots, but both have been fantastic in long relief roles this year, and I don’t think it would be in the best interest of the club to mess with what is working in the bullpen.  Hendrickson has racked up 7.0 IP in 5 appearances with only 3 H and 1 ER (1.29 ERA).  Berken, who saved Bergesen’s butt last night until later in the game when the bullpen usually steps in, has appeared in 4 games, throwing 12.0 IP and only allowing 2 runs total (1.50 ERA).
 
-An odd one:  Go out and make a trade.  Go see what low end starter you could get at this point for cheap, even a few lower level prospects.  If Bergesen continues like this in AAA, Tillman never gets his stuff together, and MacPhail believes Arrieta needs this whole season before the promotion, then this option seems totally viable.
 
 
What the Orioles did:  Bring up Alberto Castillo, and not make an announcement yet as to the rotation.  Castillo adds another arm to the bullpen (lefty specialist), which is needed right now since the bullpen has been burned out by Bergesen’s latest stints.  In terms of the rotation then, the Orioles schedule finally has an advantage to it.  Earlier in the year, it looked horrible that the O’s had to play 16 in a row with no off days.  Now, two off days are coming up (this Thursday and the following Monday).  This means that the rotation has time to reset on those days, giving the 4 guys time to rest, therefore relying on a solid 4 man rotation for a few weeks until we make a move.  Bergesen isn’t available to come up for at least 14 days now, and unless we make a trade, it seems like there are no other moves that will be made in the next few weeks for this ordeal.
 
Hopefully, Brad can find his stuff back in the more relaxed atmosphere of AAA and bring that back to Baltimore to have a good comeback year from injury.  All I can say is: Damn you Billy B!

O’s at Mariners Notes 4/19

The Orioles started off this game looking crappy at the plate as they have very often all season.  They actually were no-hit through 6 before Markakis got a single to center field.

I took notes on the game as usual, but after the 3rd, I just closed my laptop and stopped.

Here is the summary (from Yahoo!) of the Mariners 3rd inning up at bat:

Bot 3rd: Seattle
- F. Gutierrez singled to shallow left, J. Wilson scored, I. Suzuki to third, C. Figgins to second
- J. Lopez safe at first on third baseman T. Wigginton’s fielding error, I. Suzuki scored, C. Figgins to third, F. Gutierrez to second
- K. Griffey Jr. singled to shallow right, C. Figgins and F. Gutierrez scored, J. Lopez to second
- M. Bradley doubled to deep left, J. Lopez scored, K. Griffey Jr. to third, K. Griffey Jr. out at home

- C. Kotchman homered to deep right

 

 

So that all happened.  And DOUG FISTER no hit the O’s through 6.  I make that a key point because how do we expect to hit Lackey and C.C. if we can’t hit Doug Fister.  Who is he anyways?

Well Bergy has problems, that’s obvious.  More on that soon.

Wigginton had a homerun in the 9th, putting him at 5 HRs this season.  He is our offense basically.

It is pitiful to write about this 8-1 loss.  I have nothing much else to say.

 

Injuries: Expect Tejada back soon.  Could even pinch hit tonight.

Game ball to Jason Berken for coming in to close the 3rd with a K then going a total of 3.1 IP out of the ‘pen with 0 runs scored.

Before and After the Streak.

So I have been behind in this because of schoolwork, and it is getting close to graduation for me so I am buckling down with essays, papers, and studying, so this will not be great for right now.  Once Summer hits, expect multiple entries per day even, and more stories and commentary on things other than literally the games.

Saturday:  O’s blew it.  JJ blown save in the 9th with the lead going in.  Of course, it was a 3-2 lead.  This summary from Yahoo! Sports should give you the idea of it:

Scoring Summary
Bot 4th: Oakland
– A. Rosales doubled to center, G. Gross scored
Bot 5th: Oakland
– R. Sweeney hit sacrifice fly to deep center, R. Davis scored
Top 6th: Baltimore
– G. Atkins singled to left, C. Izturis and L. Scott scored, T. Wigginton to second
Top 8th: Baltimore
– T. Wigginton hit sacrifice fly to right, C. Izturis scored
Bot 9th: Oakland
– R. Sweeney singled to shallow right, E. Patterson and R. Davis scored, D. Barton to second

Yea.  It was pitiful.  Another one of those blown save things.  We are getting so used to those in Baltimore.  And it was another night with nothing going our way, along with Tejada getting injured.  More on that later though.

Sunday was a different story.  In Game 4 of the series, trying to avoid the sweep, the O’s came in with offensive firepower, defensive game (except a Jones missed popfly due to losing it in the sun, semi-excusable), and many breaks going their way.

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Matusz pitched a gem.  He improved to 2-0, 4.34. He gave up three runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.  8 Ks.  One behind Lincecum, and overall 2nd in MLB.  He is becoming an ace.  The O’s pitching staff, surprisingly enough, is in 1st in MLB in Ks from starters.  Matusz is a big part of this.

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The 1-2-3 hitters were 6-15 (.400) which was key, each going 2-5.  Izturis too had 2 hits on the day.

The RBIs were dropping in, and the Os pulled out the 8-3 win.  The bullpen even went 2 2/3 IP with 0 ER.  It’s looking better.

Wigginton has been the hot hand, going 7-22 in his last 6 games with 4 HRs and 10 RBIs.

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Other than him, the key was this:
First 12 games: 11 for 87, .126 avg
Sunday at Oak: 5 for 11, .455 avg

We also did that all against Brett Anderson, the A’s young lefty.  We showed him who the true lefty of the future was.

Rosales and Davis were the keys to the O’s skid here, as I saw at least.  We will move on from them.

The O’s are in Seattle now for a 3 game series, all 10:05 P.M. ET.  Bergesen, with his 11.74 ERA, looks to put up his first good start of the season tonight.  The next two games will be Hernandez then Millwood.

 Monday, April 19 Tickets
Safeco Field |

10:10 PM ET

BAL Brad Bergesen, RHP
(0-1,
11.74)


Orioles
(2-11)
  @   SEA Doug Fister, RHP
(1-1,
1.50)


Mariners
(6-7)
Tuesday, April 20 Tickets
Safeco Field |

10:10 PM ET

BAL David Hernandez, RHP
(0-2,
4.91)


Orioles
(2-11)
  @   SEA Jason Vargas, LHP
(1-1,
5.56)


Mariners
(6-7)
Wednesday, April 21 Tickets
Safeco Field |

10:10 PM ET

BAL Kevin Millwood, RHP
(0-2,
2.89)


Orioles
(2-11)
  @   SEA Felix Hernandez, RHP
(1-0,
3.10)


Mariners
(6-7)

 

Injury Update:

Roberts going well.  Nothing new.  Same with Uehara, although he was supposed to pitch a bullpen session.  Not sure how that went.

Tejada should be back in a day or two, very excited for his return.

Gonzalez is still a few weeks away from wreaking havoc once again… I mean… closing.  Well, they will put him in some middle relief roles first to test him.

The big issue:  Pie out 3 months with a ruptured latissimus dorsai, the broadest muscle in the back.  He will spend that time in Sarasota going through rehab.  Looks like Montanez will get his time up here with the O’s after all.  I like the guy, and I hope he can prove to be a better fielder than Reimold and Scott, both who I dislike in the field.  But Pie was hitting .400 and really was a key factor in what the Orioles ever had on offense, along with a better defensive asset then Scott/Reimold again, so that will be very missed.

Will hopefully post tonight/tomorrow about the game, and maybe this week throw in a good post about an idea I have for the organization and its trade hopes in the future.

The Orioles Homestand and the Roadtrip Ahead!

Well, I decided that for these 6 past games, I would just write up a little summary of the 6 pitiful games at home this past weekend/week then look ahead to their trip to Oakland and beyond.

When a team starts 1-8, fans have plenty reason to be perturbed. 
Questions about Dave Trembley’s job security and Andy McPhail’s plan to
resurrect the Orioles abound.  I found it disappointing that so many
fans directed their ire at unseated and now injured closer Mike
Gonzalez.  That made no sense to me.  I was annoyed at his performance,
but give they guy a chance people.  I am proud to say that on a
previous post on the site, I did predict that he had nagging injuries
and I also said I thought his delivery was different.  Well, the
Orioles saw the mechanic failures to fix and then did something about
the injury.   Let’s hope he can recover and be effective in the ‘pen. 
It is sorely needed.

Well, the O’s have lost 6 in a row, now 0-6 at home, and are off for
a 3 series road-trip, including 7 games out on the west coast.  The
first four of which are in Oakland.

Aside from Brad Bergesen, Orioles starters have thrown the ball
well.  Brian Matusz and Kevin Millwood have looked very sharp at times,
and Jeremy Guthrie seems close to regaining his 2007 and 2008 form.  
The bullpen looked strong in Tampa last week except for Gonzo, but they
are just breaking down as of late.

The Orioles offense, however, has been putrid, hitting only .237 as
a team, with the outliers of Felix Pie (.438) and Matt Wieters (.345). 
After being 2nd in the AL in average with RISP, the O’s are a
woeful 10-63 with RISP position.  Even worse, with RISP and 2 outs,
they are 1-29 (.034!!!).  This is just unacceptable for an offense that
was expected to be the strength of the team.

Looking at those 4 match-ups in Oakland, there are some key things
the Orioles need to focus on now that they have already lost their
support when at home.  The way that they play determines how much
support will show up at OPACY when they come back at the end of the
month for the Yankees and Red Sox.

This series is important for so many reasons.  The A’s have come out
of the gate on fire, with their starting pitching being quite forceful
an pulling off a 6-3 record despite some bullpen faults.  That is all
more the reason that the Orioles need to get their bats ready and be
ready to score late in games, hopefully racking up some late heroics
and come from behind wins.  With only 4 teams that have less runs
scored on the year than us, the Orioles could really use not only some
wins, but some lopsided ones at that.

The key to hitting is the heart of the team.  Markakis, Jones, and
Tejada all need to step up and hit .300 like we know they can.  Jones
is a slugger supposedly, and other than the first game of the season
and then last weekend with a triple, hasn’t shown much of it. 
Wigginton has stepped up big time in the utility role, and Pie and
Wieters seem to be the Orioles only hopes at this point in terms of
every day guys at bat.

Trembley needs to restore some sort of order to a bullpen in
disarray.  Now that Gonzalez is gone, Trembley needs to quickly find
roles guys can succeed in. Does he have enough faith in a guy like Kam
Mickolio to run him out in save situations, or is Jim Johnson the guy
for the job.   Our guys need to get back to the fundamentals.  Go out
there, field well (been doing a sincerely great job before today’s
Izturis/Tejada error), make smooth baserunning moves (which has been a
problem twice now this season, once with Wiggy/Scott, then just last
night with Pie), and rack up base hits.  Each guy needs to just worry
about doing his job, not about trying to get the Orioles back in the
game with one swing, or by being  foolishly aggressive on the bases.

Well, thanks for reading, and I hope everyone can stay up late over
the next few days and cheer on the O’s!  Bring home some wins!!!  Here
are the pitching match-ups:

David Hernandez (0-1, 3.00) vs. Ben Sheets (0-0, 4.09), 10:05pm MASNHD
Kevin Millwood (0-1, 2.13) vs. Dallas Braden (1-0, 2.77), 10:05pm MASN2HD
Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 4.05) vs. Justin Duchscherer (1-0, 3.46), 4:05 no tv
Brian Matusz (1-0, 4.38) vs. Brett Anderson (1-0, 0.00), 4:05pm MASN2HD

Home Opener 4/9/10

Well today was fun.  Went down way early to be first in line.  Saw all
of both BP’s.  Talked to Ronnie for a while, and he introduced me to
Kranny and Trembley.  Got 2 baseballs but both now are with kids.  Had
a fun time with John, Seg, and Poverty.  Sat 336 Row 2 best view in
ballpark.

Notes:

-Proud of Bergesen for picking up
his game.  After a very unsteady first inning, the O’s came back with
some runs, and Brad was able to keep with it at an alright level for
the rest of his 4.2 IP

-Atkins keeps showing us he can hit. 
Very happy.  Lugo showing us he can’t.  Cesar came thorough with the
tying single in the clutch, which, although very surprised, was very
proud of.  Wieters couldn’t keep up his 2 hits per game streak.

-Robets
hurt.  I know it’s not his back, but still.  C’mon man!  That’s aimed
at Trembley.  I know he could have done this anyway, but with a short
spring and all, he should have sat out last night to be completely
ready for today.  He is day-to-day.

-Jones had an offday, which is acceptable from all players that do great like him to begin with.

-Gonzalez: 
Ok, here’s my thing with it.  I think he still has lingering injury
plus some stress issues probably.  People booed him entering, which I
felt to be pitiful.  He, before the booing, had only lost one.  *******
thinks that got to him in his team’s home opener debut.

We need
to either keep trust in him to improve, trade, or send to the minors
for a month to get up to par.  I disagree with closer by committee
because it confuses the order of things.

-O’s fans got upset
over a few calls.  The ones people booed that were correct completely
just goes to show that the umps in Tampa got peoples hopes up.

-Aaron
Hill was out again, helped a lot because more sluggers against Bergy in
his premier game would not have helped that first ERA.

-To close the top of the 9th, Cla came in to throw a series of 4 nice pitches to strike out Alex Gonzalez on a 1-2 swinging.

-Scott
solid again in right, yet no plays yet to prove who is better between
him and Reimold, since I don’t feel anymore since Tuesday that I can
believe in Reimold to be great.  Pie looked fine, and hopefully will
get the start tomorrow.  If not, definitely Sunday.  Trembley said he
would get in one game this weekend.

Very proud of Pie’s
baserunning.  With Izturis’ single, Pie knew it was important to score
to get the go-ahead run.  He went from 1st to home on a nice, but not
that nice, sinlge.  Rounding 3rd, he looked like a monster in action
with rocket legs.

-Impressed with Hendrickson.  3.1 IP of no hit ball with 3 K 1 BB.  Nice! (more…)

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!

Tonight’s game

Notes I know so far:

-Two guys seen on Oriole Park field today, I can only assume it’s
Bergesen and Hernandez.  I guess they’re staying at team hotel so this
is their place to throw around?  Who knows.  Pic of guys

-Roch Kubato is taking over for Jim Palmer in terms of commentary
during the game.  Palmer, if people heard last night, has almost no
voice and a sore throat.  Post-game he could barely speak

-Julio Lugo is starting for Izturis at SS tonight

-Luke Scott is being given the chance to start in left field tonight
and Reimold will DH.  Pie will be available to do off the bench stuff
like he did last night.  Like the decision to sit Reimold from the
field after a more than dissappointing performance out there last night.

-Jim Johnson stretched and threw and is ready to go tonight.

Will post anymore pre-game notes here.

Update on Bullpen

Thank you to Brittany Ghiroli for this bit of news.

If anybody thought of this, Jim Johnson did not pitch in the 8th today, but Cla Meredith did.

Trembley told the press that he had arm tightness.  He sat tonight but
will hopefully be good to go tomorrow.  Could’ve really used him after
seeing the outcome of Meredith’s time out there.
(more…)

O’s Notes 4/7/10 at Rays

Well, I had some hope there when Atkins got that double that scored Wieters.  Just couldn’t finish that comeback.

Hitting:

Baltimore

AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg 
B. Roberts 2b 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000
A. Jones cf 4 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 .444
N. Markakis rf 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .167
M. Tejada 3b 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .125
L. Scott dh 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 .143
M. Wieters c 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500
N. Reimold lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .250
G. Atkins 1b 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 .250
    F. Pie pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
C. Izturis ss 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .333
    T. Wigginton ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
 Totals 34 3 6 2 0 2 9 0 10
 Tampa Bay
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg 
J. Bartlett ss 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .375
C. Crawford lf 4 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 .250
B. Zobrist rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .375
E. Longoria 3b 4 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 1 .375
C. Pena 1b 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .375
B.J. Upton cf 3 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 .286
P. Burrell dh 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 .143
K. Shoppach c 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 .250
R. Brignac 2b 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667
 Totals 32 4 10 4 1 2 8 0 15

Nothing impressive there.  The O’s got their 2 runs in the 1st (the 3rd
in the 9th).  One run was because Zobrist didn’t throw home when he
could have gotten Jones out, and the other was because of the error
when the throw was low to 1st on Wieter’s ground ball to Rodriguez at
2nd.  The positive on that error besides that we got the run was how we
got it.  Markakis was on 2nd at the beginning of the at bat, and when
the ball was hit, he ran to 3rd.  They showed a replay of just him.  He
got to 3rd and looked over, saw the error, and made the sprint home. 
Brilliant baserunning.

The top 5, who should be leading this team with consistently racking up
hits, got only 2 between them tonight, both in the 1st inning.  Looking
at the Rays, their top 5 hit safely 7 times, so it shows that we just
couldn’t keep up.  The rest of the game, the only hitting that was
positive was Wieters going 2-4, and then seeing Atkins bring his
slugging side on with his ground rule double in the 9th.  Izturis 0-2
as expected.  Reimold got a hit which is good since he is back, but
much negativity on him later.

Pitching:

 Baltimore
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
J. Guthrie 6.1 8 3 3 2 6 0 1.58 4.26
W. Ohman 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
C. Meredith 0.2 2 1 1 0 1 1 3.00 13.50
 Tampa Bay
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
M. Garza 8.0 4 2 1 2 9 0 0.75 1.12
R. Soriano 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 2.50 4.50

 Baltimore
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
J. Guthrie 6.1 8 3 3 2 6 0 1.58 4.26
W. Ohman 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
C. Meredith 0.2 2 1 1 0 1 1 3.00 13.50
 Tampa Bay
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
M. Garza 8.0 4 2 1 2 9 0 0.75 1.12
R. Soriano 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 2.50 4.50
Looking at this, it shows no flukes in
our staff.  Guthrie was solid; his stat line is not horrible.  The
issue with him was not the number of hits he let (which of course would
be nice if it went down a little) but more of the situational hitting
he let up.  He was in 3 major jams in the game, 1 of which he truly got
out of.  His two jams were 1) when he had men on 1 and 2 and he gave up
a single to Upton which got Crawford to score and 2) when, in the same
situation, he gave up a double to Longoria which scored both Brignac
and Bartlett.  Otherwise, he got a nice chunk of K’s, was still able to
keep the walks down even in stressful times, and didn’t look too off
until the last inning he pitched where he was throwing too many
hitter’s pitches.

Ohman came in solid again with a scoreless inning, so until he messes
up I don’t have much to say.  He doesn’t have incredible stuff that I
need to tout, but hey, it’s enough to get the job done I guess.

Meredith looked okay for the most part, except for the Longoria homerun
he let up in the 8th.  Meredith has never been a high speed fastball
pitcher, so the fastball Longoria hit was an easy one because it was
located in the middle and not too fast.  I think along with his mixup
of pitches and how he throws side-arm, he needs to work on velocity,
otherwise it will hurt him in the long run.

Rays pitching was Matt Garza mostly.  8 IP.  At one point, Randy Choate
(Rays lefty specialist) was warming up, but they sat him down most
likely because they saw that Garza was still striking guys out and
throwing in the mid-90s.  No reason to sit a guy who keeps up the stuff
he was throwing in the first innings.  Soriano came in and, although
let the one run go, held on in the clutch to get Wigginton and Roberts
out.

Fielding:

Decided to add this section for any fielding notes I have.  No stat box to throw in though.

Miguel Tejada made some nice catches and rocket throws tonight.  Still
hasn’t had to make a huge extension or jump for one, but I’m impressed
with his performance so far.  The most impressive one was when the Rays
had men on 1st and 2nd in the 2nd with 1 out and Pat Burrell grounded
to a deep Tejada; Tejada got it, charged to third to tag then threw an
absolute beam to Atkins at first to end the inning.  This was one of
the jams Guthrie got out of that I was talking about earlier.

Both Adam Jones and Carl Crawford made nice rundowns on fly balls that
they were able to barely catch.  Twice, though, Reimold missed catches
on the run that I believe Pie would easily get.  Both times he was
close enough to get it.  The first he just missed with his glove and
the second he just wasn’t ready for it seemed.  Very dissappointed.  I
have always said since last season that he isn’t fit for left field.  I
think soon enough he will move to 1st.  Especially when Atkins is gone,
I think that spot should become Reimold’s.

2 interesting plays in the field today.  In one of Guthrie’s upcoming
jams, the ball was a chopper up the 1st base line and when Guthrie got
it, he ran at Crawford (I do believe it was him) with it.  Crawford
jumped out of the line to avoid the tag and then when he ran past the
bag, Roberts (who had run over) called for the ball and tagged first
for the out since the runner never touched.

Thank you to my friend Andrew, who reminded me of the second one.  In
the bottom of the 7th, with Brignac on 1st, Ohman (who had just entered
the game, this was his first batter) had 2 strikes on Carl Crawford. 
Crawford decided to check swing on the pitch (it ends up, after
watching replays, that he did not go), and as Crawford, thinking he had
drawn the walk on the 3-2 pitch, jogged to 1st, Wieters checked with
3rd base umpire Dana Demuth, who called Crawford out on swinging. 
Crawford didn’t realize until he got to 1st what had happened since he
assumed he didn’t go, and even the home plate umpire didn’t think to
check with Demuth since the swing truly was not enough to call it. 
Either way, Brignac starting jogging to 2nd without thinking to check
the call to make sure it was a walk and he saw Crawford go so he
assumed to go to, and once Wieters got the strike 3 call, he gunned the
ball to Izturis at 2nd who then tagged Brignac for the out!

Overall, the hitting was really the problem tonight.  Clutch hitting
with RISP wasn’t a problem, mainly since there were none of those RISP
situations.  Noone really was able to hit much off of Garza to begin
with.

For tomorrow:

-Matusz on the mound.  I like that we have taken the lead first in both
games, but then again, that led to the depressing stat that we are 0-2
when scoring first.  I still say it’s good to continue that trend, but
keep it up.  Bring the later inning hits.

-Also with hitting; be more patient!  To Roberts mainly; he swung on
the first pitch of his first at bat and his clutch at bat in the 9th
when the O’s needed a hit with Pie on 3rd to tie it, and both times he
flew out.  Be more patiend.  If Roberts and others would take some more
pitches instead of being anxious to swing, not only would more solid
at-bats happen, but then we could have gotten Garza’s pitch count up to
bring on the bullpen.  Now, for tomorrow, their bullpen is completely
ready since they didn’t need to even touch it tonight.

-Matusz needs to continue the pitching trend with keeping the runs low,
but I think he needs to find a way even moreso to keep the hits down. 
Millwood and Guthrie are veterans and handle the pressure of
baserunners well usually, but we don’t want Matusz in situations where
he feels nervous about the men on the bags; he needs to have a 1st
start where he can focus on his pitching and nothing else.

-I think Lugo should start at 2nd.  Really, he should be our every day
guy at SS I believe, but at least tomorrow at 2nd.  The O’s need a win
for now, and with the leadoff guy going 0-9 so far, we just need a
temporary change tomorrow.

-I also hope Pie will be ready tomorrow.  If not, then okay, but I have
a feeling that if it is Reimold again, we will let up some runs that
wouldn’t be let up if it weren’t Reimold in charge of fielding some
balls.

Overall, the O’s need to come out and get the closing win so they can come home on a good note for the Oriole Park opener.

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