Results tagged ‘ Chris Tillman ’

Orioles vs. Rangers 4/8/11 (Rainout) & 4/9/11 (Doubleheader)

If you’re here to read about the whole Jose Valverde
spitting incident, check out that post
here
.

 

 

So I showed up to the park on Friday not expecting anything
exciting.  It had been pouring all day
and I already had word from a friend at the stadium that BP would for sure not
happen.  Either way, I headed down around
4:15 and stood in line.  Eventually, Tim,
Ben, Brittany, and some others showed up. 
Zack Hample left town, and he
made a good choice doing so.

 

When we got in, there were some Rangers throwing:

 

Texas Rangers Pitchers 48.jpg

 

I got a ball from some athletic trainer with them, then
handed it to a little Rangers fan standing by us (it was wet and dirty and
meant a LOT more to her).  Tim, Ben, and
Matt each got one (I think Matt actually got 2) as well.

 

The Orioles came out to throw

 

Baltimore Orioles Pitchers 4811

 

But I didn’t really bother asking for things.  What was cool was that Ronnie [Deck] finished
throwing with Arrieta, and when all the pitcher went in, he came over to talk
with me for a good ten minutes, saying he was waiting for Tillman.  We talked about everything from his uniform
to Spring Training to everything else random you can imagine. That was pretty
cool.

 

I then spent time with some people in Café 54, by the
bullpen, and on club level (including putting high socks on, my original pair
were *soaked*).

 

Oriole Park Tarp 4811

 

We heard at one
point that there were some Rangers sliding on the tarp, including Josh
Hamilton.  From club level, we ran out to
see it, but missed them.  You can see
videos of it here (this one is taken by the Rangers bullpen catcher in the dugout), here,
and here.

 

Oriole Park Tarp 2 4811

 

The game was postponed, it was announced that there would be
a straight doubleheader the next day, so I called up Todd Cook who would be
coming to town, and headed back to my place.

 

Oh, and I got Darren Oliver’s autograph:

 

Darren Oliver Autograph

 

Season stats:

 

Baseballs: 10 (6 hit, 2 on fly, 2
toss up, 2 found)

Autographs: 3 (Scherzer, Guerrero,
Oliver)

Orioles home games attended: 3

Orioles total games attended: 3

Total MLB games attended: 3

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 3

Rainouts: 1

 

 

So I got down to the Orioles doubleheader on Saturday around
2.  The gate times were confusing, Zevi
and I ended up having to run around the stadium when nobody else did… it was
just bad.

 

There were a ton of balls in the stands, and Matt found like
5.  I found one.  Then caught a Mike Napoli HR during BP on the
fly.  But that was it for me.  And I must have given both away, because I
have no idea where they are at this point. 
Sometimes I just hand them off when I get them if they are too dirty to
get signed and have nothing interesting that I would want to keep them for, so
I assume that is the case.

 

Here’s a shot I took during BP:

 

Oriole Park Batting Practice 4911

 

In this one, we have:

 

1. Todd and Tim Cook (Check out Todd’s game entry here and follow Todd’s Twitter)

2. Dave Stevenson

 

For sure click on the Cooks name there to check out their
blog.  I met Todd and Tim last season,
and have stayed in touch with Todd ever since for baseball stuff, and I
currently serve as his Oriole Park ticket broker.  More on those two later.

 

Here is a panorama he took after BP but before the first game.  I’m in it there tossing my glove.  I was trying to toss it into his picture, but you can’t tell that here since I had no idea he was doing a wide lens panorama.  Either way, pretty cool. (click to enlarge as usual)

Panorama Oriole Park 4911.jpeg

So Zach Britton was starting for the Orioles:

 

Zach Britton 4911

 

And he put on a show. 
Pitched 7.2 shutout innings as the O’s beat the Rangers in game one,
5-0.

 

Nick Markakis Adam Jones Luke Scott Celebrate Jump 4911

 

During the game, I hung out with Kris, Zevi (I’m not linking him every time I mention his name,
sorry), Andrew, and some others I’m
sure (I just am forgetful).  It was fun.

 

Yes, I did facepalm during this game.  Here’s
the video
if you must.  There’s a bit
of a background story to my frustrations behind it, but I’m not going to openly
start attacking people on here.  But
yeah.  I shredded both of my knees, my
right one the most, and was bleeding all over my legs.  It wasn’t pretty.  But we fight on.  And it was weird because the pitch before the
home run, I said to somebody “let’s see if Reynolds can make Earl Weaver happy
with a 3 run home run” and BAM.

 

So then there was a short break between games, but we
settled back into section 86 for the second game.  This time, Todd and Tim Cook, who had been
busy and exploring during game one, spent most of game two with us.  Tim, I must say, is a very energetic a funny
little guy.  Tells some great jokes.  And Todd talked with me/us for most of the 2nd
game, about all things baseball really. 
There were multiple innings where I don’t remember what really happened
since we were having some fun talks. 
Baseball is finally back.

 

The Orioles got crushed in this game by the score of
1-13.  Yeah, the Rangers flat out mashed
(including another Nelson Cruz home run). 
Arrieta was off his game, but it could have been because of Jake Fox
catching.  Who knows.  Though Fox looked awesome with his retro bird
helmet plus the black uni:

 

Jake Fox Retro Oriole Bird Helmet

 

 

So yeah.  Was an
interesting day, spent a ton of it just relaxing around talking to people
watching a game, and didn’t go too crazy with things.  Then I went on Sunday (post coming soon), and
that’s that.

 

Season stats:

 

Baseballs: 12 (7 hit, 3 on fly, 1
toss up, 3 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero,
Oliver)

Orioles home games attended: 5

Orioles total games attended: 5

Total MLB games attended: 5

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 5

Rainouts: 1

 

 

Oh, and I’m still holding Adam Jones to this.  But it was cool just
yesterday when I told him he should
visit the MLB Fan Cave, and he replied that
he already was going.  Then MLB put up
this video of it.  Ryan Wagner, one of
the cave dwellers, is an O’s fan.  He’s
pretty darn cool.  I enjoy following the shenanigans
of the MLB Dream Job here, and you should, too.

 

Oh yeah, and be sure to check out the flyer and info for the May 8th Orioles game fundraiser!

 

And in case you don’t know, both Nolan Reimold and Manny Machado are owning their respective minor league leagues (that sounds funny).

 

Follow me on Twitter:
@2131andBeyond

Orioles vs. Tigers 4/6/11 and 4/7/11

So I usually do single game by game entries, but between
midterms this week and long days at the park (get there around 3:30, leave at
11:30), I have been squeezed for time. 
So, I did the Opening Day entry
earlier in the week, followed by last night the quick post on the Jose Valverde spitting incident.  Here are my game entries for the 2nd
and 3rd home games of the season to finish up the Tigers series.

 

 

So Wednesday was a relaxed night at the ballpark.  Attendance went from sold out on Monday to
12,451 that night, so after BP, we just chilled in the outfield seats.

 

I got there around 3:30, still don’t know why.

 

DSCF1442.JPG

 

Adam Jones tweeted at
me
offering to come in early, but he never got back at me, so that didn’t
happen.  Ballhawks and fans gathered with
me at the gate, and the day had begun. 
For a pic of the group, check out Zack Hample’s blog entry of the game (and the 2nd game) here.

 

So running around to BP, the first ball I snagged on the day
was a Mark Reynolds shot.  He hit it to a
section to the right of where I was standing, and Tim and I both ran towards it
as it hit the seats and rolled awkwardly through a row.  He was 2 rows down, I was right above it, so
I was able to reach over and grab it.  On
the board.  My goal on the day was 4 (to
even out with the 2 from the opener, since I want to average 3 this year), so
this was a quick start.

 

After that, I made two of my best snags ever.  The first was a Casper Wells home run that I
got only about 15 feet to my left, and with no fans fighting for it.  The reason it was special was because I
spaced it horribly, and had to leap and throw my arm back just to barely grab
it on the tip of my glove.  Got high
fives for that one.

 

The 3rd ball of the day was a Brandon Inge home
run that was a section over to my right. 
I ran a bit over, but saw it was landing in a group of people about 6
rows down, so I didn’t really make a move. 
The ball ended up missing everybody and hitting off a chair, flying high
in the air into another group of people to the right and a row in front of me.  I reached above them with my bare right hand,
tipped it up into the air above them all, and then jumped and grabbed it.  This one got me the most congratulatory
remarks I’ve ever gotten, and trust me, I don’t make that many nice catches, so
I was proud of this one.

 

That was it on the day for baseballs.  But 3 is good for me.  I honestly feel good as long as I don’t get
shut out, which hasn’t happened since the 2009 season.

 

And I like this one shot I took of Tillman, Matusz, and
Britton during BP:

 

DSCF1443.JPG

 

After BP, I ran over to where Max Scherzer was signing by
the dugout, and after he ignored me multiple times for wearing an O’s shirt, I
made a “we both hate the Yankees” comment, he smiled, and signed my ticket.

 

I ran over to the Orioles dugout hoping for a warm up
ball.  First, I stopped by where Vlad was
signing for a minute:

 

DSCF1449.JPG

 

And got him to sign an extra ball I had brought with me (I
usually bring a clean ball or two for this kind of situation):

 

DSCF1498.JPG

 

I didn’t get a 4th ball, but whatever.  I’m satisfied with 3 still.

 

Tim and Ben and I stayed out in left field for the entire
game.  Low attendance and lineups full of
right handed power (besides the O’s with Reynolds and Vlad, the Tigers have
Miguel Cabrera), we will be out there all season.  It was a chill night sitting out in the
middle of the LF seats.  Felt like
baseball season again.

 

Anyways, 4 HRs were hit to right or center field.  Awesome. 
Whatever.  And Zack Hample snagged
Alex Avila’s shot, so check out info on that on his blog post (linked at the
top).

 

I left in the 8th to go sit with Brittany and
Donna at Donna’s seats (Brittany has season tix next to the bullpen) that were…
well… beautiful.  To show, here are a few
pics from that view:

 

DSCF1454.JPG

DSCF1455.JPG

DSCF1456.JPGDSCF1458.JPG

        

 

So that was cool.

 

Though the Orioles lost their first
game of the season that night, it was still very relaxing to attend the
game.  Afterward, I went with Donna and
Britney out to the players’ lot.  I had
never gone there after games (mainly because I live in the city now, so I don’t
have to worry about rides or missing the subway or anything), but they
introduced me to it.  We waved to
players, talked, and got yelled at.  And
Jake Fox stopped his giant SUV to sign for everybody, though I didn’t get
that.  I got 2 pictures of him signing
from his car, but both are dark and blurry.

 

I then left, went home, and
crashed.  Class in the AM.

 

Stuffs:

 

DSCF1462.JPG

 

Season stats (after this game):

 

Baseballs: 5 (4 hit, 1 on fly, 1
toss up, 0 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero)

Orioles home games attended: 2

Orioles total games attended: 2

Total MLB games attended: 2

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 2

 

 

Then Thursday hit.  I left class at 2, went back to my place to
do some things, and left around 3:15 for the game.  Got there by 3:45, and chilled outside the
gates again.  Zack Hample never showed
up, but that was because he was at the other gates (Ha!).  Ben and Tim came around 4.  Matt never showed up (turned out he was sick).

 

I said ha before because Zack went
to the other side since the run in is slightly shorter, but his gate opened a
full 30 seconds or so after ours, so we ran past him before he could even come
in.  It was funny.

 

Running in, I got one ball in foul
territory down the 1B line, and then Tom (security guard) pointed out another
in the seats down the 3B line, so I had 2 already before even reaching the LF
seats.

 

BP brought more photos of our young
pitchers.  This one of Matusz and Britton
talking with new pitching coach Mark Connor (I think that’s him):

 

DSCF1465.JPG

 

BP was empty for the first 25
minutes or so for us, which was nice:

 

Zack Hample and Tim Oriole Park 4711

 

In that picture, the people are:

 

1. Tim (going up the stairs to look
for easter eggs

2. Zack (recording notes and such
after Orioles BP ended)

 

I got some pictures of Justin
Verlander throwing some:

 

DSCF1468.JPG

DSCF1469.JPG

 

Jeremy Guthrie was back from the
hospital (he had pneumonia), pictured here talking with Verlander:

 

DSCF1472.JPG

 

I scooped up an Adam Jones home run
hit into an empty section, then caught a Brandon Inge home run on the fly in an
empty row later in BP.  Though it was
busier, nobody else made a play on that one.

 

And that was that.  I didn’t go for any autographs or extra
balls.  Just the 4 on the day.  Talked with my favorite ushers a bit and
wandered the concourse.  Oh, and got some
of the old Orioles to sign cards.  They
do that every Monday and Thursday home game. 
Got Tippy Martinez, Fred Valentine, and Bill Swaggerty.  Woot.

 

The game was cold.  Tim, Ben, and I again sat out in left field,
but this time next to the bullpen.  Ben
hit 12 balls on the day, including multiple at the pen, so we just chilled
there.  Though on most righty batters, we
got up and moved to ends of rows to prepare for HR balls.  Was quite funny actually how much we never
settled into actual spots, though we got no balls, the seats were so empty that
moving around was easy.  Finally, though,
a HR was hit to LF (Adam Jones’ shot), but it was a line drive smash down the
line, and way out of reach for where we were.

 

Tim and Ben danced like white kids,
Ronnie said hey, and we just had another chill night at the game.

 

Brad Penny pitched for the Tigers:

 

DSCF1477.JPG

 

And Chris Tillman for the Orioles:

 

DSCF1480.JPG

 

The end of the game brought an
Orioles come from behind W, but it also brought us Jose Valverde spitting on a fan in the 8th inning.  Click on that for more info.

 

Here’s my loot (space in the
baseballs is the Jones home run that I tossed to a kid after BP ended):

 

DSCF1497.JPG

 

Season stats:

 

Baseballs: 9 (6 hit, 2 on fly, 1
toss up, 2 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero)

Orioles home games attended: 3

Orioles total games attended: 3

Total MLB games attended: 3

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 3

 

And I am leaving in just a couple
of minutes for the park.  The O’s take on
the undefeated Rangers this weekend, and I plan to be at all 3 games, win or
lose.  The weather is crummy out, so
probably no BP, but these games can bring some good fortune and fun at times,
so I’m there.

Bullpen: What’s your deal?

Hey everybody!

So as I said a few entries ago, I am busy in my finals weeks in school and have been loaded with papers to get in and tests to take, so haven’t had much time for extra O’s writing.  But don’t worry, I have still been keeping up with it all and will be posting a big entry on the Yankees and Red Sox series overall, and including Minnesota in that too probably since I will write it Sunday night.  Will be in Cleveland this weekend, and going to the Indians vs. Tigers game, so will put up a picture or two from that.

 

I currently do some writing for Baltimore Sports Report and this week I was asked to do a piece on the bullpen situation, specifically Arrieta vs. Jim Johnson.  I was actually surprised by this request.  I do not think the organization is debating in the bullpen specifically between these two.  Instead, I will talk about the bullpen options and what I think should be done.

So here is the bullpen overall as of last night (Wednesday night):

Matt Albers, Cla Meredith, Jason Berken, Mark Hendrickson, Will Ohman, and Alfredo Simon.  You can count Koji Uehara in too, though as of me writing this he isnt officially on the roster until gametime tonight in Minnesota.

Well, let’s look now at the options in the minors (that I consider to be MLB bullpen ready):

Alberto Castillo, Jim Johnson, Jake Arrieta, Kam Mickolio, and Pedro Viola.

 

Now how are those guys doing?  Castillo was on and off, having solid outings, but then having no so great ones, like facing Robbie Cano in Baltimore last week (I don’t like thinking about that).  He is also a lefty with Hendrickson and Ohman, so the O’s don’t feel the need for another lefty in the ‘pen, especially with his inconsistent pitching types (throws overhand, side-arm, and every so often a 3/4 pitch).  He can be kept in AAA for now and will be used when needed. Good to have a veteran guy there though if need be for one.

Kam Mickolio won’t have a chance at anything until he gets his command issues under control, and until that happens, there’s no reason to even discuss him as an option.  Pedro Viola is a high ERA pitcher with some experience in AAA, but he is also a lefty and won’t be used this year unless injuries really start coming.  My consistent on Jake Arrieta is that he has a great arm and needs to keep with his development work in Norfolk, and I see no reason to mess with it.  Especially with the record we have now, we are not in contention, so there is no reason to mess up a guy’s track in the organization when he could turn out to be a great starter of the future for the O’s.

Now to Jim Johnson.  The guy is given no breaks on a club that gives too many breaks to almost every player.  Trembley did finally work with MacPhail and punished some guys like Mickolio and Atkins for their horrendous stats, but then there are guys like Jones, Reimold, and Scott who are still consistently playing despite their terrible hitting numbers on the year.  Johnson is a veteran of the team, despite being only 26, and he should be given breaks as much if not more than a guy like Jones who hasn’t even played a full season with the team yet.  Also, people do not realize this, Jim Johnson is not doing horribly in his set-up role.  His overall ERA may be 6.52 overall, but in the 8th innings, he has a 4.05 ERA.  While that might not be incredible, it is still early in the season to be judged on ERA completely and he was pushed past his limit by pitching 2 or so innings in some games.  That is not what he has been good at, and it is not something he is used to.  Side note: He has better command during day games.  7:1 K:BB on day games and 2:3 on night games.  Allowed his only homerun on the year during a night game as well.

Hm.  Well, Albers definitely has proven himself lately after blowing 2 straight games against the Red Sox a week and a half ago and being on the chopping block for a bit until he caught fire and has been great as of late, finding his control once again.  Cla Meredith, Mark Hendrickson, Jason Berken, and Will Ohman are basically locks for the season as long as none of them making any negative transitions.  There are basically 3 spots or so that are up in the air and most likely will change at least a few more times throughout the season.

Arrieta needs to stay and develop.  Don’t push him.  Viola is worse than Castillo, so if any lefty would be used it would be Senor Alberto.  Gonzo is still hurt.  Mickolio does not have his command down yet.

The best bullpen would be Meredith, Hendrickson, Berken, Ohman, Johnson, Albers, and Simon.  I love Alfredo, and he is on the top of my list to be the closer until we figure out the Gonzo situation.  If we let him close, JJ can go back to set-up, and I think we are set with that.  That is the order that has obviously worked best, so I do not know why we have strayed away from it.  I know I have left Uehara out so far.  That is because I have no opinion on him.  He hasn’t really shown much for the team.  Ever.  Except that he can get injured.  So this bullpen isn’t the one as of now since Koji is taking JJ’s spot (for now), but I expect him to get injured or for JJ to come up somehow.  By the end of this month, the bullpen should be what I said or switch maybe Simon out for Uehara (I hate that idea but the O’s will do it because they don’t like winning it seems).

 

Now, the other issue is what to do when Arrieta and Tillman are ready for the bigs.  Both will get rotation spots soon enough, and whoever is kicked out is either off the team or in the bullpen, depending on who.  For instance, Hernandez could be converted to a bullpen guy.  Guthrie, though, is a starter and we would not try him in the ‘pen.  We will just have to wait and see how that works out along with the constand and nagging injuries that come about.  The issue they will have to deal with is that the starting pitching has been very good quality so far, and the bullpen is the main issue (in terms of pitching, the hitting is what overall drags us down the most), so it will be a tough decision to demote a guy like Hernandez or Guthrie if they keep up with solid starts (both of them have had bad starts their last times out, but we will see if that trend continues, although both were against the Yankees).

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