O’s lose again…MacPhail’s garden not doing so well

April 24, 2010 | Drew Forrester

One of the interns at The Warehouse better scoot over to Home Depot today and get Andy a better brand of fertilizer.

These arms he’s growing aren’t looking so hot.

In fairness, the main culprits of last night’s giveaway in Boston weren’t necessarily from MacPhail’s garden, but Andy’s famous line of “We’re going to grow the arms and buy the bats” looked pretty silly on a Friday night in April when no one on the team could throw a strike in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Losing in Seattle when you give up 7 runs in one inning and then play on cruise-control for the final 90 minutes is one thing.  Plenty of teams fall behind by 7-runs and pack it in for the rest of the game in a 162-game campaign.

Losing in Boston when you trailed 3-0 and scratched back to tie it at 3-3, only to walk in the eventual winning run?  Well — this is Birdland, as the saying goes.

And to make matters worse, one of those bats MacPhail DIDN’T buy last winter squandered two bases-loaded situations on Friday night (Garrett Atkins) and another bat Andy figured he couldn’t use struck out to end the game with the tying run at 2nd base.  This time, it was Julio Lugo who whiffed with the game on the line.

I won’t even mention that shortstop-turned-3rd-baseman Miguel Tejada made two errors on Friday.

Let’s leave it like this:  “The plan” didn’t have a good night on Friday.

The 8th inning was quite a spectacle.  Matt Albers started the 8th for the O’s and promptly gave up a single to J.D. Drew, who, at .158, had to actually be reminded to run down to first when the ball got through the infield.  Dustin Pedroia then advanced him to 2nd base — and when Kevin Youkilis grounded out to short (with Drew going to third), it looked like Albers was going to wiggle out of a jam.

Enter Will Ohman.  After falling behind 2-0 to Victor Martinez, Trembley called for the intentional walk, bringing David Ortiz to the plate.  Ortiz had connected on his first home run earlier in the game off of Jeremy Guthrie, but make no mistake about it…Ortiz is a shadow of the man who used to be one of the most feared hitters in the game.  In fact, there’s an argument his shadow is probably more capable of making contact these days than the big fella himself.

When you have a guy hitting .159 — and .111 against left handers — you probably don’t have much reason to fear him.  Someone should have told that Ohman, who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – throw him a strike and Ortiz walked on four pitches.  With the bases loaded and Adrian Beltre due up, Trembley went to one of the bullpen arms the O’s HAVE grown, 2001 draft pick Jim Johnson.  And Johnson walked him on 5 pitches, sending in J.D. Drew with what turned out to be the winning run.

Say it ain’t so.

But just to add a little more fuel to the fire, the O’s had to make it interesting in the 9th inning.  In fact, it got very interesting.  Adam Jones – who had a home run earlier in the game – grounded out to start the inning.  Nick Markakis then dumped one off the green monster and was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double by the great Bill Hall.  Hey, at least Markakis didn’t get picked off of first like Cesar Izturis did in the 5th inning.  After Tejada walked and pinch runner Justin Turner advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, the Sox intentionally walked Ty Wigginton to get to former Boston madman Julio Lugo.

Cue the music:  “Something magic happens, every time you go…”

Lugo struck out to end the game.

Some would say, flatly, this is what MacPhail gets for not REALLY buying any bats in the off-season.

Hard to argue with that point.

Atkins could have produced a half dozen runs all by his lonesome last night with a couple of timely hits.  His .224 batting average and .250 on-base-percentage wouldn’t cut it in Colorado (which is why they got rid of him in the first place) and it’s certainly not going to work in the American League East.

When Andy said he was going to buy the bats, I assumed he meant productive ones.

The other “bat” from his off-season spending spree, Miguel Tejada, went 2-for-4 on Friday to raise his average to .260, but his 5th inning error contributed to a Boston run.

Maybe Andy should have bought a 3rd baseman over the winter.

So this is now a 2-15 baseball team that once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Friday night.  And the loss quietly spoiled another decent outing from Jeremy Guthrie, He could only last 6 innings after throwing 104 pitches — and he had two walks and no strike outs — but he kept the O’s in the game throughout the night.

Those bats, though, just couldn’t get going until it was too late.

And with three different pitchers not able to get three outs in the bottom of the 8th inning, it all led to yet another “can you believe it?” defeat for the Birds.

There were lots of goats again on Friday night.  And honestly, none of them were the manager.

This one was on the players.

Someone should get Andy some new gardening gloves and a big bag of fertilizer.

This growing-the-arms thing he’s trying isn’t working out too well.

Unless he’s trying to grow losing.

If he is, well…it’s working out just fine.