Tag Archive | "adam"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orioles: Shut out, swept & headed home on 5-game losing streak

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Bad pitching has become a hallmark of the 2009 Orioles but this weekend’s bizarre meltdown in Oakland has solidified the basement in the AL East for the Orioles who have a lot of problems coming back to face the Mariners here at Camden Yards on Tuesday.

Today, Rich Hill didn’t make it out of the first inning, walking four and hitting another Athletic en route to a three-run first inning that held up for the duration in a 3-0 loss to complete the sweep at the hands of the A’s.

Strangely enough, the A’s only had two hits yet still manhandled the Orioles despite amazing relief pitching from Brian Bass, Matt Albers and Jim Johnson who were nearly perfect.

The Orioles are now 24-33 and deeper in the basement than they’ve been in a while at 9.5 games back.

Some lowlights:

The Orioles offense managed just five hits off of Vin Mazzaro today. They scored just five runs in Oakland and surrendered 18 runs on the weekend.

Matt Wieters (0-for-4 today), who created mass hysteria and a one-weekend run on the orange box office last weekend, is now officially “slumping” in his big-league debut. He’s 4-for-28 and hitting .143.

Adam Jones was the leadoff hitter today as Brian Roberts got the day off and Jones got a pair of hits raising his average to .346. I’ve gotta say it was strange seeing Robert Andino and Ty Wigginton as the keystone today. And then there was Oscar Salazar at first base.

The Orioles have Monday off and return to Camden Yards on Tuesday with Brad Bergesen (2-2, 4.64) facing Jason Vargas(2-0, 1.93).

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rich Hill looked like McNally or McGregor; Birds win 1-0 in Seattle

Posted on 02 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

12:26 a.m. — George Sherrill threw three straight balls to start the ninth inning but did his best Don Stanhouse escape, ultimately shutting the door on the middle of the Seattle order as the Birds defeated the Mariners 1-0 in a hastily played, well-pitched “old time” ball game.

Rich Hill was extraordinary, going seven innings and allowing just two hits while retiring the final 14 Mariners in order before exiting to perfect relief from Jim Johnson and Sherrill.

It’s a good homecoming for Adam Jones, who scored the lone run of the game.

1-0 games don’t happen too often. Savor them! It was a great night to stay up late watching baseball.

12:18 a.m. — Rick Dempsey: “You never would’ve thought that the Orioles could get pitching this good!” An odd thing to say, but Dempsey is great for these one liners. And for the record, about two weeks ago I would’ve agreed with him. This team is finding energy from the young pitchers. That much is obvious!

12:14 a.m. –We’ve come a long way from the days of waiting for The Baltimore Sun and the little black boxes on the front page, haven’t we? Jim Johnson has pitched a stellar eighth inning and George Sherrill is about to come in and shut the door. The pitching tonight has been superb. Hasty baseball. Lots of strikes. Almost “National League-esque” in its efficiency and execution. One thing Orioles pitchers can do to win back the fans: work fast! The four-hour games over the past decade have been glacial, boring and LATE. The pace tonight has been a joy to watch even as the midnight hour approached. Matt Wieters just struck out looking to end the eighth. He’s 0-for-4 tonight if you’re wondering…that’s 2-for-15 on the weekend. That means Matt Messiah is batting .133. Hey, even Brooks Robinson struggled.

Be nice on the message boards and no calls tomorrow calling for Gregg Zaun!

12:03 a.m. — Not only was Rich Hill in command on the hill tonight at Safeco Field in Seattle, he is making it even harder for the Orioles to decide what to do once Koji Uehara comes back from the disabled list.

What a night for Hill! Seven innings, two hits, ZERO runs, 106 pitches. A helluva effort. Just fantastic by any measurement. Along with Adam Eaton’s gem six weeks ago, this was the best-pitched game of the season for the O’s.

Offense has not been at a premium tonight but the effort by the Birds three times zones away is there. They had their chances to get some insurance runs in the sixth inning, but came away empty when Melvin Mora and Luke Scott ended a little rally which netted the Birds only run on a Aubrey Huff sacrifice fly that scored Adam Jones.

No matter. The roadtrip is off to a nice start and Matt Wieters can join David Hernandez and Jason Berken, who are all “feeling their way” through the big leagues and their first big league hotels and per diems. They’re just rookies tonight in Seattle. No one in Safeco was there to see Matt Messiah. They just came for a ballgame.

And they got a pretty good one. How many games go to the ninth as a 1-0 game?

Comments Off

So just who the heck is Jason Berken?

Tags: , , , ,

So just who the heck is Jason Berken?

Posted on 26 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

With Memorial Day in the rear view mirror and the squad on a mini-streak of daylight (they’ve won 3 of 4), the Orioles will welcome young RHP Jason Berken to the hill tonight to take on the fading Toronto Blue Jays.

Starting in Aberdeen during the summer of 2006, Berken’s trip becomes complete tonight as a big leaguer. How long will he stay? How will he pitch? Who the heck is Jason Berken?

All fair questions for the novice Orioles fan who doesn’t spend late nights up studying the team’s minor-league depth chart.

Berken is a former 6th-round Draft pick out of Clemson who spent most of the spring at the team’s slummy complex in Sarasota, Fla. He went 12-4 for Bowie last season and started there again this year, but he moved up to Triple-A Norfolk when Bergesen joined the big league rotation.

And once he arrived in Norfolk, Berken went 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA putting himself in position to be promoted tonight. It’s also his turn in the rotation and his night to pitch. So, we’ll have to wait on Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz not to mention David Hernandez, who could be taking Koji Uehara’s spot in the rotation later in the week.

In the era of the internet, it’s easy to do the research and “catch up” a bit.

Here’s a video of what he looks like:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFw_dNZ9e8A[/youtube]

And his stats are a click away as well…

Jason Berken

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A weekend of MASN and Baltimore and Washington and “Battle of Basement”

Posted on 24 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, if they weren’t going to get the sweep at least they lost in dramatic fashion. Jamie Walker gave up a prodigious grand slam to Adam Dunn in the 7th inning and the Nats beat the O’s 8-5 to avert a sweep in D.C.

Brad Bergesen pitched well enough. The Orioles battled and the game was pretty nip and tuck through the middle innings with lead changes, big hits and competitiveness. But it all unraveled in the 7th for the O’s bullpen after Bergesen hit the shower.

I’ve spent all three days pretty much glued to the TV watching this series. I was just as amazed by all of the empty seats as I was the full ones. It looks like they sold a lot of tickets and many didn’t come. It was just weird looking at it for 30 innings over the last 45 hours.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog all weekend but I thought I’d just do a “summary” here today about what I’m thinking as I watch all of this pretty-much lousy baseball.

I’m also a little overwhelmed with MASN’s hodgepodge display of Nats and O’s as “friendly rivals” and how chummy the “Battle of the Beltway” feels as they both meet again and are both again headed for the basement of their respective East divisions. I call it the “Battle of the Basement” and it feels like it’ll probably be that way again next year.

With Jim Palmer back in the booth today, it was a refreshing change from the Nats-dominated coverage from Friday and Saturday. And when Cakes talks, I listen. He’s one of the few (Dave Johnson would be another) who actually teaches me stuff as I watch the game. I like that.

So, before I criticize MASN, let me say that Palmer eradicates many of their deficiencies with his brilliance, information, stories and general arrogance and candor. At this point, he’s Howard Cosell compared to what I hear anywhere else on MASN, CBS Radio, 105.7, Pressbox or anyone else who is “on the payroll” with the Orioles, Angelos or the axis of the “powers that be.”

But I’m just overwhelmed with how “templated” the Orioles and Nationals “fan experience” is when they tune their favorite club in on television. Both of their TV ratings are in the dumper and heading south with my last place summer nights. So, I suppose, other than telling us when Matt Wieters comes and pitching more events and MASN house ads and promotions, what else can they do with these teams that will be well into September before they win a combined 100 games?

But I love baseball. And I’m watching. And I’ve been taking some notes this weekend on Baltimore vs. Washington and how “flat” this thing feels.

Some random observations:

* A lot of orange in the seats all weekend in D.C. The O’s fans represented in almost Boston-like color in the seats. I’m not sure if that’s the D.C. side of the fanbase that thought that having a team they knew would suck as opposed to Montreal’s problems and MLB’s ownership would be a better play five years ago?

I’m not really sure how I would feel if I lived in Rockville and loved baseball. Why would I become a Nats fans? (Granted, it’s pretty easy to jump off the orange ship with the way Angelos has behaved with D.C. in general over the past 15 years. He’s more disliked in D.C. than he is here for trying to block the team’s entrance and now summarily screwing up the TV rights and presentation of the games.)

I suppose it’s the same situation for someone in Baltimore who truly fell in love with the Redskins in 1984 and just became a fan of the “nearest” team. I’ve rooted for the Capitals most of my life and considered the Bullets my “home” team until they moved into D.C. and changed their name to the Wizards.

It sucks bad enough being an Orioles fan. Imagine adopting the Nationals and watching them BOTH and trying to hang in there watching two doses of MASN every night to get your baseball fix…

* Debbi Taylor, former NESN girl who got her start as Peter Gammons’ girl wonder about 15 years ago at ESPN, makes Amber Theoharis look like Bonnie Bernstein or Suzy Kolber. The Nats broadcast team in general sounds like vanilla, blah, so what, etc. But again, they do have a 13-30 team that they have to make sense of every day. It ain’t easy talking day after day about losing. Trust me, we at WNST.net feel the same way. How many ways can you “sell” something that’s lousy?

* Palmer is hysterically funny. I’m not sure the guys at Famous Dave’s are happy with his assessment of their food, but it is funny.

* Hall of Famer Bob Feller stopped by in the middle of the game today and was just fabulous with one liners and old stories. Jim Palmer and Bob Feller talking old-school baseball might bore the hell out of some of the 21-year olds in the audience, but I love that stuff. I wish Feller, who is now 90 years young, would’ve stayed for two more innings. My Pop told me all about Bob Feller and the old stories are what sustain my interest in baseball these days.

•    I really wish this rivalry were good. The Redskins-Ravens thing is hot. Even when both teams suck, the game will always be a four-year war and the fans draw up the battle lines. I’m good with that. I hate the Redskins. I want to hate the Nationals. But neither one of these teams gives me any reason to feel any emotion. We had a bus trip planned for today and couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go. That’s pretty sad, I think. The Nationals are – alas — just “another team.” I wonder if sometime in the next 10 years whether it will ever develop into a “Hatfield-McCoy” thing. Right now, that feels a long, long way away…

* The one thing that I have found thoroughly offensive since Friday night has been MASN’s “mixed marriage” coverage. Look, I CLEARLY KNOW AND APPRECIATE that they’re “saving a buck” by combining the coverage. But if I hear Dibble call the Nationals “us” or “we” again or watch one more dorky Nats fan talk about “defining moments” in the same exact canned ads as they play on the Orioles broadcasts as they start the day 12-30, I’m gonna puke.

Angelos really HAS screwed up both cities for baseball. At least it’s comforting to know MASN’s just as lousy as a “templated” D.C. product.

And while I’m on it, the marketing phrase “Birdland” sucks. It’s just awful.

In D.C., they’re clearly “cultivating” Natstown”

As my wife pointed out, what would be wrong with “O-Town”?

Or “O’s Town”?

Anything but “Birdland,” which sounds like a place a last-place team would play to me.

•    I’ve gotta go now. Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday are on talking about the Nats in HD. I have to tune into MASN2 now to see Rick Dempsey and Tom Davis try to make sense of a loss to the Nats.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Adam Jones wins one: Orioles outlast Nats 4-2 in 12 innings

Posted on 23 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Somewhere, there’s a Bob Hope like joke here somewhere. Ya know, “What the only thing worse than watching two last place teams play for nine innings?”

Of course, deadpanned: “Watching them play for 12 innings.”

But that’s what I did tonight as the Orioles and Nationals pitching staffs combined to duel well into the night in a 2-2 deadlock until Adam Jones hit a two-run double, improbably scoring pitcher Danys Baez who also vultured the victory in Washington D.C.

Nolan Reimold got the “Battle of The Beltway” started with a homer in the first inning off of rookie starter Jordan Zimmerman but that was all of the offense the O’s could manage before the 12th inning.

O’s starter Rich Hill was decent, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing just three hits although he walked four Nats as well. Manager Dave Trembley used four members of the bullpen — Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, Baez and George Sherrill — so there will be an extra tax for the extra baseball tonight.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , ,

Orioles finally give the call to Nolan Reimold

Posted on 14 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Outfield prospect Nolan Reimold will finally be joining the Orioles in Kansas City today as the team will recall him and send pitcher Bob McCrory back to Norfolk after a rough outing last night against the Rays in a 8-6 loss.

Reimold’s numbers at AAA have been staggering. He’s hitting .394 with 9 home runs, 11 doubles and 27 RBI in just 109 at bats and 31 games.

The Orioles brass has been adament that Reimold would only be recalled when he could play every day in the big leagues. With the injuries and various ailments to Luke Scott, Felix Fie and now Adam Jones this week, this call-up isn’t as much a “reward” as it is a necessity for the organization who have played the last two games short on the bench.

Here is Reimold’s year in stats…

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Triple losses: First the Caps, then the Orioles, then Danny Gokey

Posted on 14 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Despite the fun we had in Dundalk last night with an evening of 12 semifinal auditions at Donna’s Tavern, it was an ugly night for local sports. The Capitals fell behind early and had one of the most disappointing Game 7 efforts in recent memory. The Orioles got clubbed by the Rays while Adam Jones left the game early with a hamstring pull.

And, adding insult to the injury that effectively ended my hockey season, my favorite American Idol contestant Danny Gokey got bounced by the American public in a shocking turn of events. (Somehow, I think Kris Allen got through just because he looks like Brian Roberts!)

The Capitals played the entire postseason from behind and last night it finally caught up with them. Simeon Varlamov’s magic ended quite early last night and Bruce Boudreau and the troops must be devastated – if not embarrassed – by that performance in a Game 7 last night. It’s always hard getting eliminated, but not showing up prepared to compete in a game like last night is unacceptable.

The home-ice advantage was nullified pretty early last night in D.C. and it will be a tough offseason after losing a game in that fashion.

The Orioles and Rays combined for 30 hits last night and the teams scored eight runs in the 9th inning, taking turns using each other’s bullpens as piñatas. Bob McCrory got a rough big-league initiation last night, giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings and Troy Percival entered the game with an 8-2 lead and came close to allowing the Orioles to force extra innings.

Obviously, with Adam Jones leaving the game with a hamstring tweak after losing Luke Scott and Felix Pie to various ailments earlier in the week, it was an ueasy night at The Yard. The Orioles (14-20) will take to the road now for 10 games in 11 days in Kansas City, New York and Washington, D.C.

Nolan Reimold is the “next man up” and McCrory is headed back to Norfolk.

More roster decisions are coming for Rich Hill at some point this weekend and the inevitable Matt Wieters call-up and the need for better starting pitching continue to loom for the franchise.

And, last but not least, the loss of Danny Gokey was probably the biggest shocker of the night. Given that the American Idol competition is a pure “viewer vote” it’s almost impossible to handicap who will actually like these singers and then go through the rigors of voting for them.

So, while Adam Lambert and Kris Allen are clearly talented guys, it’s almost like having a phone vote for U2, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Who knows which one would get the most votes? It’s a big crapshoot.

Either way, I hope Gokey does well in the “real” world because he seemed like an affable, talented guy with a great story to tell. I’d buy an album by Danny Gokey. I can’t say the same for Lambert or Allen.

Meantime, we had our own “American Idol” competition in Dundalk at Donna’s last night. I’ll blog a little later with those results and we’ll get the videos into wnsTV soon.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hendrickson stinks but bullpen holds up, Birds beat Rays 7-5

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Betting the “over” in last night’s game certainly looked like a sure thing over the first three innings but once starters Andy Sonnanstine and Mark Hendrickson left the game the real pitching took over and the Orioles held on to beat Tampa Bay 7-5 last night at Camden Yards.

All of the scoring took place before the 4th inning and both bullpens were taxed in the interim, with Brian Bass emerging as the biggest star on the hill, working four scoreless innings after Adam Jones hit homers in the first and second innings of the game.

So much for starting pitching: Sonnanstine gave up nine hits and seven earned runs in two innings and Hendrickson’s evening was just as ugly as he allowed six hits and five earned runs in two innings.

Felix Pie left the game with an undisclosed stomach ailment and was actually transported to the hospital. Without Luke Scott tonight, they O’s may play with just two bench players. Could a call-up be looming?

The Orioles go for yet another “mini” sweep tonight as they send Brad Bergesen (1-0, 4.98) to the hill against Tampa’s Jeff Niemann (2-3, 5.65).

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bullpen melts down to Yanks after strong outing from Koji, Orioles lose 5-3

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

4:43 p.m. — Well, I was feeling good when Felix Pie got on base for the third time today but it wasn’t meant to be. The Orioles got a nice effort from Koji Uehara today but the Jamie Walker-Jim Johnson combo couldn’t hold the lead after the 7th and a pair of homers from Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon beat the Orioles 5-3 at Camden Yards. The Orioles are now 13-19 and are 7-17 since beginning the season 6-2.

They get a rare off day tomorrow and will resume action Tuesday night at Camden Yards with Andy Sonnenstine (1-3, 5.79) and Mark Hendrickson (1-4, 5.13) going to the hill.

Below is my running live blog.

4:32 p.m. — I agree with most of the comparisons of George Sherrill to Don Stanhouse, who gave us thrills in the summer of 1979. The only difference? This 2009 team stinks some 30 years later. Either way, he put a couple on and managed to silence Johnny Damon with the game in the balance. They’re already down two with Rivera en route.

They need a happy ending. But they have the dreaded 7-8-9 hitters coming to the plate. Not a good scenario. I need a “defining moment” right about now.

4:20 p.m. — Well, Phil Coke looked like Jeff Nelson or Mike Stanton there for two innings. Melvin Mora managed a single but Ty Wigginon’s double play ended things in the eighth. Now they’re going to need to go through Mariano Rivera. Not good. Snatching defeate out of the jaws of victory. They’ve been losing a lot of these lately. Not a good sign.

4:02 p.m. — Twenty minutes ago, I was thinking “nice series win in progress.” Now I’m thinking this is just a jinxed franchise. Koji’s pitch count was nearing 100. Dave Trembley went to the bullpen to start the 7th inning. Jamie Walker put the lighter fluid on the coals with a solo homer to Robinson Cano, and Jim Johnson lit the match with two-out rally and a three-run homer to Johnny Damon.

They’re losing now. Chamberlain is out. Phil Coke is in.

3:41 p.m. — ORIOLES 3, YANKEES 1 in the 7th…A beautiful afternoon at the Yard. And Koji has silenced the greatest bats in all the land, the Yankees here in Baltimore. Beamed back to a no-doubt enraptured audience in Japan with ARod and Koji, the Birds are threatening to take this series.

Where are all of the Felix Pie “bakers” now? Hey, we’ve been waiting for the “breakout” game. Maybe this is it?

And, Adam Jones is really, really impressive, isn’t he?

He’s no fluke and he’ll be on the mantle of Andy McPhail’s greatest coups if he keeps this up. And Erik Bedard was such a complete jerk. It’s nice to know the Orioles actually “won” a trade. (Been a long time, right? And, factor in the Tejada trade, and McPhail looks like Minnesota Fats!)

Ya gotta admit, when Mark Teixeira hit the homer in the first oh Uehara, you had to have one of those “ugh, oh” moments. But Aubrey Huff answered and has been on a tear lately, another three-run tater again today in the 1st to nullify the Yanks advantage.

But the Orioles have had runners aboard in every inning without getting though to Joba Chamberlain, who’s been crafty since the meltdown in the first inning. Chamberlain is now at 104 pitches, the O’s are about to get into the Yankees bullpen with a lead.

It’s a good sign.

Here comes Jamie Walker in the 7th. A nice outing from Koji. This is what they’re paying him to do.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orioles can make all Moms happy today with Yanks series win

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Orioles have the chance to make all orange Moms smile today with a potential series win over the Yankees at Camden Yards after an impressive 12-5 win last night.

Once again, the middle of the lineup is sizzling and even on nights when they give up a less-than modest five runs, they can beat around mediocre pitching with the likes of Phil Hughes, Edwar Ramirez, Jonathan Albaladejo and Brett Tomko. (Makes you ask, “Where have you gone Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton?”)

Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are both batting .353 now, and have been rock stars since Opening Day. They are both now making a strong bid to be in St. Louis for the All Star Game. Aubrey Huff hit a homer last night and I’m not convinced last year was an aberration. Go back and read my blogs. He was one of my favorite “non Orioles” to watch when he was in Tampa Bay. He always put up big numbers and I think with ducks on the pond so often this year, he’ll be productive. Even if he still thinks Baltimore sucks as a place to party after dark.

Hey, even my boy Gregg Zaun is batting .221 all of a sudden. Luke Scott is one hit away from .300. And at some point relatively soon, you’ll be getting the WNST Text on Matt Wieters getting promoted.

The pitching is still beyond shaky – especially when every first five innings is an adventure nearly every night and they won’t be having 8-run second innings like they did last night – but beating the Yankees is always a nice treat.

Even when the Yankees clearly aren’t “the Yankees” we used to know.

Koji Uehara takes the hill on what looks to be a glorious, stunningly beautiful day for baseball at Camden Yards. I’m just wondering how many Yankees fans will take over the place today?

P.S. Ray Bachman got thrown out of Orioles Park at Camden Yards last night. He has quite a tale to tell.

Comments Off