All was not completely lost. The Orioles managed some offense — too little, too late — in the 9th inning as they eliminated the doughnut from behind a bad effort today in an 11-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays to cap their opening homestand at 4-2.
Orioles pitching allowed a whopping 17 hits today and the Rays looked almost vengeful for the two beatings handed out by the Birds behind good pitching on Friday and Saturday. Keep in mind, the Rays beat the Orioles 15 of 18 times last year. A win today would’ve matched last year’s total.
I wrote a live blog as I’ve turned an eye toward The Masters this afternoon, the one day of the year that I attempt to appreciate golf and culture.
Below are my observations from a day of baseball with the O’s.
4:01 p.m. — I’ve been monitoring Phil Mickelson’s miraculous run this afternoon with one eye on the game. But I’ve now managed to switch over fast enough to see back-to-back homers by Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. Brian Bass is making Dave Trembley and Andy McPhail look bad for sending Matt Albers away last night. It’s 11-0. The O’s have managed just three hits on the day off of James Shields.
The good news: the “Baltimore” grey sweaters will be on the team’s crests tomorrow night in Dallas. We’ll be watching the game from Padonia Station as we talk football and draft with Eric DeCosta and Brian Billick.
3:09 — Well, I thought Adam Eaton stunk today but Brian Bass has been an arsonist of the highest order, allowing four MORE runs in one inning coming out of the bullpen and this one is becoming a snoozer. I’ll continue to monitor while I watch The Masters and follow Drew’s blog there. It’s 8-0 and “relief” is not what Bass has brought to the hill today.
3:04 p.m. — Jim Hunter just said that the Rays “have exploded.” Well, Ben Zobrist just made Brian Bass look like he’s next on the Norfolk Express, with a three-run homer after Bass allowed two of his first three hitters aboard. It’s now 7-0. The Masters is calling me…
2:59 — Mercifully, it’s over. Adam Eaton has left the game with a nauseating line and it was worse to actually witness:
100 pitches, 4 IP, 8H, 4ER, 2W, 6K
His ERA to start the season is 9.00.
2:56 p.m. — I like Adam Jones but I’ll call that what it was: stupid base running. If the flyball from Markakis gets down and goes to the wall, Jones could limp in from second base. And instead, CF Ben Zobrist ran it down and Jones got hung up at second instead of being at third with one out. With Huff coming up and a fly ball meaning a run, it wasn’t good baseball by Jones. The Orioles end the fourth quietly, still down 4-nil.
2:45p.m. — Alright, watching Adam Eaton stinks. Like watching most of the Orioles’ pitching over the last decade, today’s game has been long, frustrating and is making me consider the azaleas of The Masters here any second with Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry teeing off soon. Adam Eaton has thrown 94 pitches, allowed nine baserunners and isn’t even holding runners on base. Only a miracle “phantom” tag and tripping at the plate from Chad Moeller on Gabe Gross has saved the Orioles and now Moeller was shaken up but stayed in the game. Miraculously, it’s still 4-0. Eaton ends the fourth having thrown 100 pitches.
2:32 p.m. — Nice of the idiots at MASN to feed me a commerical pimping how great the game is in HD complete with Nick Markakis promos. Yeah, I know how great baseball in HD is. Wanna know HOW I know? Because I’m watching the game in this crappy “low def” presentation, morons, and it makes me long for ESPN and Sunday Night Baseball tonight! (It’s like comedy. You can’t make this stuff up…)
2:24 p.m. — It’s taken Adam Eaton almost 80 pitches to get nine outs in less than 51 minutes. At least there’s no mystery: the bullpen knows it’s going to be seeing plenty of action and quite early today. James Shields is perfect and here come Felix Pie, Chad Moeller and Robert Andino to start a rally in the 3rd. I’m not expecting any offensive production from the bottom of the order today.
2:06 — I’ve called him Adam “Eaton-up-innings” but it doesn’t appear to be the case so far given his propensity to throwing a ton of pitches. He’s gone deep into counts with virtually every batter the Rays have brought to the plate. It took him 49 pitches to get through the first nine batters and he had only secured four outs. He loaded the bases with a laborious pace and then allowed Carl Crawford to stroke a lazy three-run triple into the right field corner. Longoria then followed with a 370-foot double to right.
The Orioles are losing 4-0 and Eaton is on pace to get the bullpen moving by the fourth inning. He’s thrown 60 pitches and gotten six outs.
1:51 — The Adam Eaton era has begun in Baltimore. Looks like “lots of baserunners” will be a tag that follows him to his fourth big-league destination. Despite allowing two on with one out, he escaped like Houdini, even after it looked like he had struck out Pat Burrell to end the inning on a 1-2 inside pitch. Burrell eventually skied to Adam Jones and ended the threat. Evan Longoria now has a six-game hitting streak and the O’s will not begin this one in the hole.
With Felix Pie, Chad Moeller and Robert Andino at the bottom of the order, a good start will be necessary to take the sweep today against the Rays.
P.S. When I see No. 24 on an O’s pitcher from the centerfield camera, I think about Dave Schmidt. (Don’t ask me why?) There are many other 24’s — including Rick Dempsey — but Schmidt’s name was like “number association” for me.
1:35 p.m. — So much for HD promises of the Angelos family and MASN. For the third day in a row, I’m watching the Orioles on the “poor little cousin” of MASN HD, which is Channel 17 on my Comcast featuring the 1985-style production of Major League Baseball. The double whammy? We’ve also got the B-team of Jim Hunter and Buck Martinez snoozing us through the action. The good news? The freaking team is beating the best the AL East has to offer to start the season. Adam Eaton and James Shields. This one figures to run long…
Between this and the Masters, it’s gonna be a great afternoon on the couch. Especially, when it looks sorta chilly at the ballpark. Feel free to comment. I’ll post them all!
The brooms will be in tow at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this afternoon but will they be put to use? For the second time in as many series, the Birds have a chance to take three in a row from an AL East favorite to close the homestand before donning the “Baltimore” script for the first time in 37 years in Texas tomorrow night. I’ll be live blogging during the game today so join me for a chat if you’re watching the game with your laptop nearby on this chilly Easter Sunday.
Here are the lineups for today:
Akinori Iwamura 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Pat Burrell DH
Dioner Navarro C
Ben Zobrist CF
Gabe Gross RF
Jason Bartlett SS
James Shields RHP
Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Aubrey Huff 1B
Melvin Mora 3B
Luke Scott DH
Felix Pie LF
Chad Moeller C
Robert Andino SS
Adam Eaton RHP
Last night’s masterful effort by Jeremy Guthrie (6IP, 5H, 0 runs) has continued a “magical” run for the Orioles to beging the season. Melvin Mora’s grand slam in the first set the tone and the Tampa Rays went quickly and quietly on a Saturday night. Even Chris Ray, who struggled against the Yankees, got into the act with a trio of strikeouts in his one inning of work.
Today the Birds will send Adam Eaton to the hill against James Shields. Eaton, who was not on the active roster and will activated later today, will replace Matt Albers who got some work last night before his expected option to Norfolk after last night’s win. Brian Bass was an other candidate for the AAA demotion, but he’s out of options and will remain with the club.
I’ll be sharing thoughts — kind of like I do on live radio — in my live blog at 1:35 p.m. today. Drew will be watching the Masters all afternoon as well. It’s a great holiday, Sunday and weekend of sports as the Stanley Cup playoffs beckon. Some would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially with the better weather en route.