All eyes continue to focus on the minors, as call ups can begin on Friday without activating service time clauses. The O’s dipped into the Norfolk Tides roster on Wednesday, bringing Radhames Liz and Matt Albers back to the big club and placing Melvin Mora and Alfredo Simon on the DL. Liz and Albers were both welcomed back to the bigs in unceremonious fashion by the Rangers on Wednesday, to the tune of 4 runs each. The pitching staff continues to be a work in progress, and there’ll be lots more changes to come soon, I’d bet. As for Simon, we’ll wait to see what the final diagnosis is, but once the word degenerative starts getting thrown around, it can’t be good.
AAA – Norfolk Tides 3 Charlotte Knights 2
Lots of Orioles fans looked to Brad Bergeson as the likely fill in for Simon’s turn in the rotation, and that still may be the case, as it now appears that Hendrickson will get the nod on regular rest on Monday, and the 5th spot won’t be necessary until the following day, at home against the White Sox. Bergeson did his best to make a case for the job today, throwing 92 pitches (55 for strikes) in a 6 inning, 2 hit effort, to pick up his first win of the season, and just the second win for Norfolk this year. Bergeson, allowed 2 runs, both earned, and walked 2 and hit 2 more batters, while striking out 3 en route to the win. Andy Mitchell earned a hold with 2 innings of scoreless, 1-hit relief, before giving way to Bob McCrory who picked up the save, striking out 1 in a perfect 9th inning.
Scott Moore broke out of his early season slump and carried the day on offense, scoring the Tides’ first run in the 1st inning on a single by 1B Oscar Salazar. Moore added a 2-run homer in the 7th to put the Tides up for good, and finished 3-for-5 on the day. 2B Justin Turner (2-for-4) and CF Justin Christian (2-for-5, 2B) each chipped in with multi-hit efforts, and Lou Montanez (.462) and Nolan Reimold (.400) each went 1-for-4 on the day. Matt Wieters took his first off day of the season and Steve Torrealba picked up a 1-for-4 in his stead.
Norfolk will finish their series against Charlotte today at 7:15, when LHP Chris Waters (0-1, 10.80) goes up against RHP Lance Broadway (0-1, 5.40). After that they’ll conclude their marathon road trip to begin this season, with a 3-game weekend stop against the Gwinnett Braves.
AA – Bowie Baysox 9 Erie Sea Wolves 3
The Baysox completed a 3-game sweep of Erie on Wednesday behind another offensive explosion. One day after breaking out to the tune of 7 runs against Erie on Tuesday, the Baysox came back on Wednesday and piled on 9 more runs en route to a series sweeping win. Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.00) picked up the win, going 5 innings and giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks. Arrieta struck out 4 in the appearance. Jim Hoey and Ryan Rodriguez added 2 innings each in relief, Hoey going perfect while striking out 3, and Rodriguez allowing 1 run on 4 hits and striking out 1.
2B Paco Figeroa was 2-for-5 with a double a run and an RBI, raising his average to .333, while CF Dave Krynzel posted a 3-for-4, 2R, 2RBI, BB, bringing his average up to a respectable .292. C Adam Donachie (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, 3RBI, BB) and SS Robert Valido (2-for-5, 3B, R, RBI) both added multi-hit games as well, and 1B Brandon Snyder picked up 1 hit, keeping his average up to .419. Offensively only Jeff Fiorentino (0-for-1 after being inserted as a pinch runner) and DH Melvin Dorta (0-for-3) were hitless for Bowie in the game.
Today Bowie will play their home opener, in the opening game of a 4-game set against the Akron Aeros. The Aeros took 3 of 4 from Bowie in a weekend series at Akron to begin the season. LHP Troy Patton (1-0, 0.00) will take the mound for the second time this season. He’ll face off against RHP Frank Hermann (1-0, 1.50) for Akron.
High A – Frederick Keys 3 Myrtle Beach Pelicans 2
Four Keys’ pitchers combined for a gem on Wednesday night, propelling Frederick to a 3-2 win, a 2-1 series lead, and pushing their record to 4-3 on the young season. Starter Pedro Beato worked 4 innings in the no decision, giving up 5 hits, and 2 runs, both on solo homers. Jacob Renshaw spelled Beato and got the win, throwing 2 innings of hitless relief, walking 1 and striking out 2. John Mariotti got the hold, throwing a 1-hit 7th inning and striking out 1, and Luis LeBron picked up the save, his 1st, with 2 innings of perfect relief to close it out, striking out 2. LeBron ran his hitless innings total to 5 to begin the season, with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Offensively, SS Pedro Florimon was the catalyst, scoring 2 runs, including the game winner in the 5th inning. For the day Florimon finished 1-for-4, 2B, 2R, BB, and his average now stands at .348. 3B Tyler Henson drove in the game winner, going 1-for-3 with a double on the day, and Billy Rowell rounded out the scoring with a solo HR, his first of the season, in the 4th inning. 1B Brandon Waring saw his season long, 6-game hitting streak come to an end, but still stands at .308 on the season, and Jason White was the only other Keys player to pick up a hit, going 1-for-4, in place of Ryan Adams again.
The Keys will look to close out Myrtle Beach and their road trip by taking 3-of-4 on Thursday at 7:05, behind LHP Zach Britton (0-0, 0.00 in 5 innings). Britton will be opposed by Pelicans’ LHP Carlos Rivas, making his season debut. On Friday the Keys will play their home opener against the Salem Red Sox. The Keys and Red Sox split a 4 game series in Salem last weekend.
Low A – Delmarva Rained Out at Hagerstown
The Shorebirds were cancelled on Wednesday at Hagerstown, concluding their season opening road trip. They’ll return home on Thursday to begin a 4-game series against the Lake County Captains. The scheduled starters are listed as RHP Ryan O’Shea (0-0, 1.80) for Delmarva and RHP Alexander Perez (0-0, 1.50) for Lake County. There’s a good chance, I’d suppose that LHP Cole McCurry would have gotten the start on Wednesday, and therefore could get the nod for Delmarva on Thursday instead, pushing O’Shea back a day. We’ll see.