Tag Archive | "boston"

Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

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Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Chris Davis might be the best example of what the 2012 Orioles are all about.

Entering the season with untapped potential and more failure than success at the big-league level, both Davis and the Orioles have blossomed in the first 2 1/2 months of the season, surpising critics and even the most optimistic fans in what’s been Baltimore’s best start since 2005.

The 26-year-old Davis has morphed into a fan favorite in his first full season with the Orioles, not only becoming one of the team’s most productive hitters but providing one of the craziest memories in club history when he pitched two innings to earn the win in a 17-inning marathon at Fenway Park on May 6.

Add a broken-bat home run against Pittsburgh last week and his first games in right field at the big-league level this past weekend in Atlanta and you have all the makings of a folk hero in Baltimore.

Much like the 39-27 Orioles, at times, it’s difficult to believe what you’re seeing when watching the designated hitter/first baseman/right fielder/pitching extraordinaire.

But there’s no understating how important Davis’ emergence has been this season, especially with stints on the disabled list by Nolan Reimold, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Markakis. Center fielder Adam Jones has emerged as a superstar by leading the Orioles in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and runs scored, but Davis ranks second or third in all five of those categories in becoming a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat in the lineup.

His 12 home runs and 60 strikeouts in 211 at-bats entering Monday night aren’t overly surprising given Davis’ reputation when the Orioles acquired him in the Koji Uehara trade last July, but his .294 average defies what we saw over his last three years in Texas where Davis went from looking like a future star in 2008 to a player fitting the mold of a “Quad-A” hitter before being dealt.

The raw power has never come into question — evident by his broken-bat homer to right field off Pittsburgh reliever Tommy Watson last Wednesday — as Davis hit 17 home runs and batted .285 in 295 at-bats during his rookie season with the Rangers in 2008. However, the left-handed slugger quickly earned the reputation of a hitter who struck out too much, didn’t walk enough, and struggled to handle plus-fastballs in the major leagues. Those flaws led his batting average to plummet to .238 in 2009 and .192 in 2010, causing Davis to bounce back and forth between the Rangers and Triple A in his final three years in Texas.

It was difficult to project Davis as anything more than a less-patient, less-powerful version of Reynolds entering the season, which didn’t speak highly for his potential when considering how flawed Reynolds is as a player.

In 2012, Davis hasn’t made any dramatic changes to his overall approach — 60 strikeouts to just 13 walks — but his improvement against plus-fastballs has led to the substantial increase in average. A career .204 hitter in 255 career at-bats against power pitchers (those in the top third in the league in strikeouts plus walks) entering 2012, Davis has handled them at a .286 rate in 42 at-bats this season.

Davis has also handled left-handed pitching at a far more successful clip, batting .327 in 53 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012 after hitting only .236 against lefties in 275 career at-bats entering 2012.

While his high strikeout and low walk totals aren’t indicative of a hitter that will continue to hover around the .300 mark, Davis has been a model of consistency through his first 57 games this season. Aside from an abysmal seven-game stretch in May in which he went 3-for-28 and struck out 14 times, the left-hander has consistently sat somewhere between .290 and .310 as we reach the final two weeks of June. His .355 batting average for balls put in play indicates Davis has been fortunate, but it’s actually lower than the .366 combined clip he posted last year for the Rangers and Orioles.

When seeing the ball well, Davis shows exceptional power to straightaway center and the opposite field has eight of his 12 home runs have traveled in either of those directions.

After Markakis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken hamate bone, manager Buck Showalter turned to Davis to hold down the No. 3 spot in the order as the Orioles were depleted even further offensively. He’s hit only .206 in 34 at-bats batting third, but the lineup shift could present an interesting decision for Showalter when Markakis returns — projected to be some time during the next homestand, according to the right fielder.

Should Davis remain around the .300 mark, would you consider keeping him in the third spot and moving Markakis to the No. 2 slot? The move would allow Showalter to drop J.J. Hardy in the order, which would make sense with the shortstop hitting only .253 despite 11 home runs.

Whatever the Baltimore skipper decides, it’s a good problem to have.

For a team suffering its fair share of injuries and not receiving the same power numbers it enjoyed from Reynolds a season ago, Davis’ emergence has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.

His willingness to do whatever is asked of him reflects the spirit of the 2012 Orioles.

Need someone to pitch? Not a problem.

You want to put me in right field in a National League ballpark, even though I’ve never played there in the big leagues? Sure thing.

Whatever it takes to win.

Much like watching the Orioles, you keep waiting and wondering if it’s going to last, but Davis has given no indication of slowing down any time soon.

And he just might be realizing the potential so many saw in him when he first arrived in the big leagues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Capitals announce preseason schedule

Posted on 12 June 2012 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have released their 2012 preseason schedule, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. The schedule features seven games against four opponents and includes three games at Verizon Center. The Capitals will face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second-annual Baltimore Hockey Classic at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore on September 26.

Washington will open the preseason on Tuesday, Sept. 25 (7 p.m.), at Verizon Center in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Boston Bruins. The Capitals will begin their preseason road schedule on Sunday, Sept. 30 (5 p.m.), at Detroit versus the Red Wings.

The team’s preseason home schedule includes the Nashville Predators on Friday, Oct. 5 (7 p.m.), and Detroit on Sunday, Oct. 7 (5 p.m.). In addition, Washington will play exhibition games on the road against Columbus on Monday, Oct. 1 (7 p.m.), and at Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 3 (7 p.m.).

The Capitals were 3-3-1 in the preseason last year, and their all-time preseason record is 143-115-29-10.

Each preseason game will be broadcast live on WashingtonCaps.com. The complete 2012-13 NHL regular season schedule will be released at a later date.

2012 WASHINGTON CAPITALS PRESEASON SCHEDULE
DATE VISITOR HOME TIME (ET)
TUES., SEPT. 25 BRUINS CAPITALS 7 PM
WED., SEPT. 26** BLUE JACKETS** CAPITALS** 7 PM**
SUN., SEPT. 30 CAPITALS RED WINGS 5 PM
MON., OCT. 1 CAPITALS BLUE JACKETS 7 PM
WED., OCT. 3 CAPITALS BRUINS 7 PM
FRI., OCT. 5 PREDATORS CAPITALS 7 PM
SUN., OCT. 7 RED WINGS CAPITALS 5 PM

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Buchholz, Red Sox dominate Orioles in 7-0 rout as Matusz struggles

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Buchholz, Red Sox dominate Orioles in 7-0 rout as Matusz struggles

Posted on 07 June 2012 by WNST Staff

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Red Sox 7, Orioles 0 (final boxscore)

Posted on 07 June 2012 by WNST Staff

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Loyola hero Lusby headed to MLL

Posted on 06 June 2012 by WNST Staff

CHARLOTTE – Less than 10 days after leading the Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team to its first-ever national title, NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player Eric Lusby has been claimed by Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds and will make his professional debut later this month.

Lusby set the NCAA Championships scoring record with 17 goals in four games, tallying at least three in each as Loyola defeated Canisius, Denver, Notre Dame and Maryland to claim the school’s first NCAA Division I title. He tallied five against both the Pioneers and Fighting Irish and then had four in the title game against the Terrapins on May 28.

He will remain a Hound at the professional level after Charlotte, which is in its first year as an expansion franchise, claimed him on the waiver wire.

“It has always been something I have wanted to do, play professional lacrosse and with the best players everywhere,” Lusby said. “This has probably been the best six months of my entire life, the success we’ve had, the time with the coaches and then winning a national championship.

“I want to thank all of the coaches at Loyola. Coach (Dan) Chemotti changed the offense a little bit this year, and it was such a fun year to be able to play in that. This was the best five years of my life, and I have my coaches and teammates to thank for that.”

Lusby’s run in the NCAA Championships capped a stellar season put together after recovering from an ACL injury to his right knee that held him out of all but two games in 2011. As a junior, Lusby injured his knee in the NCAA First Round at Cornell in May 2010, and an attempt to return togame action last season came to a close after just two games.

The Severna Park, Md., native received a medical redshirt from the NCAA and after graduating from Loyola in May 2011 with his degree in finance, he returned to action as a graduate student this season.

At his natural position of attack, Lusby became one of the top snipers in the college game, finishing sixth in Division I in goals pergame (2.84). He finished the year with 54 goals scored, a single-season record at Loyola that eclipsed the 50 scored by MLL all-time goal scored leader Tim Goettelmann in 2000 and the 52 by his teammate Mike Sawyer this year.

Lusby and Sawyer became the first pair of Loyola teammates to score 50 or more goals in a season and the first at the NCAA level since Duke’s Max Quinzani and Zach Howell in 2010, a pair of teammates who also won an NCAA title.

Lusby posted hat tricks in 11 games this season after entering the year with just two in his first three season at Loyola. He scored two or more goals in 14 of the Greyhounds’ 19 contests in 2012, helping the team tie an NCAA Division I record with 18 victories. Lusby also posted two or more assists five times this year and finished with a team-leading 71 points as his 17 assists were second-most on the team.

His 71 points are the most by a Loyola player since the Greyhounds joined Division I for the 1982 season, and they are the fourth-most all-time in school history.

Lusby was undrafted in the 2012 MLL entry draft following his injury, but he was the top pick on the waiver wire this year by the Hounds. He will join an offense that features the likes of Stephen Berger, Matt Danowski, Jeremy Boltus and Billy Bitter.

Charlotte’s roster also includes former Loyola standout Andrew Spack, a midfielder who graduated in 2007.

Lusby will most likely begin his time with the Hounds when Charlotte hosts the MLL Champion Boston Cannons on Saturday, May 16. The Cannons feature one of Lusby’s former Loyola teammates, All-Star defender P.T. Ricci.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 05 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour FedEx St. Jude Classic (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Memphis), Champions Tour Regions Tradition (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from Shoal Creek, AL on Golf Channel), Wegmans LPGA Championship (Thursday & Friday 12pm Saturday & Sunday 2pm from Pittsford, NY live on Golf Channel); WNBA: New York Liberty @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC on FX 3-Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall (Friday 9pm from Sunrise, FL live on FX); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Charlotte Hounds @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet/ESPN3.com)

10. Gavin DeGraw & Colbie Caillat (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Foster The People (Sunday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Carbon Leaf/Civil Twilight (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Hawthorne Heights (Sunday 5pm Recher Theatre); Victor Wooten (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Edwin McCain (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Little River Band (Sunday 1pm Rams Head on Stage), Marshall Tucker Band (Sunday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Bootsy Collins (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Jimmy Cliff (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Wailers (Tuesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Beach Boys “That’s Why God Made The Radio” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

There was a time in my life when I genuinely enjoyed the tunes of Gavin DeGraw. Maybe that’s not something I should be broadcasting…

Since Foster The People are coming to town and the Beach Boys are putting out a new record, here’s FTP’s EXCELLENT take on the greatest Beach Boys tune of all time…

Any excuse to share a Carbon Leaf tune is a good one…

I wish I could go to RHL Saturday night. Civil Twilight is excellent too…

9. “Prometheus” opens in theaters (Friday); Safe House“, “John Carter” and “Act of Valor” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Greg Proops (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Doug Benson (Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Honfest (Saturday & Sunday Hampden); Maryland Wine Week begins (Friday)

You know Prometheus as THAT MOVIE EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WANTS TO SEE. Well, at least until “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” comes out, at which point they might as well just stop making movies.

Honestly, there is no single greater gift you could ever purchase me than this movie poster…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Antonio Tarver vs. Lateef Kayode (Saturday 9pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Gabriel Rosado vs. Joel Julio (Friday 9pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network); WNBA: Minnesota Lynx @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Denver Outlaws (Saturday 9pm from Denver live on ESPN3.com)

10. Zac Brown Band (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Capital Jazz Fest feat. Indie.Arie, Bill Cosby (Friday-Sunday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Radiohead (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Miranda Lambert/Jerrod Niemann (Sunday 4pm Jiffy Lube Live);  City and Colour (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Smile Empty Soul (Saturday 5pm Recher Theatre); Crossfade (Monday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dandy Warhols (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Used (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Victor Wooten (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Dr. John (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rhett Miller (Monday 8pm Jammin Java)

I’d watch ZBB do just about anything, but this was as good as anything I’ve seen them do…

My favorite tune from Thom Yorke and the boys?

For more traditional country folk, I sorta dig this Jerrod Niemann tune…

I wish I didn’t have to admit to digging this tune…

9. Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival (Saturday & Sunday 12pm Oregon Ridge); Guy Torry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Corey Holcomb (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Man on a Ledge” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s first ever “Hogfest” (Saturday)

That’s right. For the first time in my (still?) young life, I will be roasting a pig Saturday. It’s all thanks in part to ABC Rental Store in Rosedale. A talented young man I listen to on the radio is always talking to me about them. I think his show is called “The Reality Check.” I PRAY my results make me as happy as George W. Bush…

Also, I will be hosting a qualifier for the Olympic KanJam team Saturday (more on Twitter @OlympicKanJam). I expect the day to look much like this…

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Red Sox 6, Orioles 5 final box score

Posted on 23 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Arrieta to hill for Birds in matinee rubber match Wednesday

Posted on 23 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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