Tag Archive | "brad"

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Bergesen goes distance, emerging as a true ‘Ace’ for Orioles

Posted on 15 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s still a bit too early to put Brad Bergesen on the Mike Mussina track as the franchise’s first potential “ace” in a decade but yesterday’s effort at Camden Yards has started some buzz about the lanky righthander’s recent work.

The complete game, five-hit, 11-2 victory over the Braves yesterday should come as no surprise. The word on Bergesen’s command began in Florida at spring training and has become evident with his work since his call-up from Norfolk. He pitches quickly. He throws strikes. He mixes speeds. And, with much more consistency than most young pitchers of this generation, he finishes games. He’s what the throwbacks would call a “bulldog” or a “gamer.”

In an era of starting pitchers who generally feel “victorious” about six decent innings of work and turning the keys over to the bullpen, Bergesen is indeed a Jim Palmer-esque throwback with his psyche and longevity. He won’t be throwing double-digit complete games every year in the bigs like ‘Cakes, but yesterday was an impressive afternoon of pitching.

Bergesen, who threw 112 pitches and appeared to be laboring a bit in the 9th inning, has taken a few of his own lumps during his first six weeks in The Show, but he is now 4-2 with a 3.79 ERA and emerging as the closest thing this franchise has to a “sure thing.”

After the years of empty promise of the likes of organizational minor-league rock stars like Rocky Coppinger and Adam Loewen and Matt Riley, along comes Bergesen who now looks like he belongs and is proving it every five days.

Bergesen feels more real than any of them for a reason: he throws strikes and he wants to go the distance.

For one day (or is it two now?) even the offense awakened from its slumber with the unlikely likes of Ty Wigginton (3-for-4, 2 HRs, 3RBIs) and Robert Andino (2-for-4, 3RBIs) bringing the lumber to Derek Lowe and the Braves. Lowe was chased earlier yesterday than in any of his 269 starts in the big leagues.

The Orioles ended yesterday’s game with 15 hits and managed 19 runs in the final pair against Atlanta, breaking out of a hideous offensive slump that begin on June 1.

The Birds have the day off and will begin a three-game set with the incoming New York Mets tomorrow night at Camden Yards.

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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).

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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.

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Yankee Stadium trip: I now know what a $9 beer tastes like

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Yankee Stadium trip: I now know what a $9 beer tastes like

Posted on 20 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Miller Lite was ice cold. Our Gunther charter got us to The Bronx plenty early yesterday. And the “new” Yankee Stadium was big, bold and pricey as promised. We were having a blast last night amidst a sea of pinstripers right up until the time Chris Ray came into the game.

And, of course, it’s hard to win when you only get three hits over nine innings.

Yankee Stadium trip

Orioles starting pitcher Brad Bergesen kept the Birds in the game for six innings, pitching some inspired baseball after allowing ARod a first-inning home run. But Ray’s seventh inning implosion and the dominance of C.C. Sabathia, who allowed just three hits in seven innings, led to a blowout 9-1 Yankees win in Gotham City.

The video from the trip is coming to wnsTV and the many observations about the stadium will be discussed on “Limited Access” at 2 p.m. today. All in all, a beautiful, antiseptic environment for baseball in New York is kinda weird but the fans there certainly seem galvanized to support the club and spend the money to come to the new palace.

Did I mention that a beer cost me $9?

There was palpable energy in the seats all evening and I saw more kids at the game than I remember seeing at the old Yankee Stadium. Their new crib reminds me more of the current Comiskey Park (U.S. Cellular Field, or whatever they’re calling it this year) in Chicago than any other park.

WNST will be doing another bus trip back to The Bronx on Wednesday, July 22 for an afternoon game between the Yankees and Orioles. We’ll put this trip on sale this weekend here on the site.

We’re also doing a combo baseball/football trip called “Fenway and Football” to Boston the weekend of Oct. 3-4. It will include Fenway Park on Saturday night (Red Sox-Indians) and the Ravens game in Foxboro with the New England Patriots on Sunday.

More details at 2 p.m. on my show.

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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).

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Orioles make it two in a row with mini-sweep of Twins

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It wasn’t a textbook victory last night for the Orioles (12-17) but they’ll take wins anywhere they can find them. After an evening of soggy weather and a six-inning win on Wednesday night, the Birds came back to Camden Yards and finished the mini-sweep with a 5-4 win over the Twins led by Melvin Mora and unlikely Lou Montanez.

Mora homered in the second and got on base in the eighth before Montanez singled to left to account for the game-winning RBI.

The usual speedy work of Brad Bergesen on the hill picked up the pace of the game, but he was in trouble most of the evening and worked some Houdini magic to avoid big innings. All told, the Twins managed 14 hits off of O’s pitching — including 11 off Bergesen in just six innings — but could never plate runs in bunches.

Reliever Chris Ray struggled in the 7th inning, allowing the Twins to tie the game after inheriting a one-run lead, but Jim Johnson was stellar in the 8th inning to vulture a victory and George Sherrill managed to finish a sweaty 9th to earn fifth save of the year.

Afterward, manager Dave Trembley gave praise liberally, especially to Mora whom he discussed in his pre-game speech.

Prepare the pinstripes: the Yankees (13-15) come to town mired in an early-season funk for three games at Camden Yards this weekend.

Tonight it’s a rematch of the Opening Day starters: C.C. Sabathia (1-3. 4.85) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (2-2, 5.05).

On Saturday, it’ll be Phil Hughes (1-1, 2.70) and Adam Eaton (1-3, 7.18) and Sunday afternoon Joba Chamberlain (1-1, 3.77) will face Koji Uehara (2-3, 4.42).

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Orioles and MLB continue to insult fans with “rainball” at Camden Yards

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

While you and most everyone you know was asleep last night, the Orioles, MLB and umpire Randy Marsh were seeing to it that a regulation major league game was played last night at Camden Yards.

In an embarrassing display of disregard for the fans and the players in a game that “officially” went until 12:19 a.m. this morning, Marsh spent six hours of the evening through four rain delays to get the Twins and Orioles onto the field for six innings of water-logged baseball and the Orioles stole a 4-1 win.

Today, on “Limited Access” at 2 p.m., we’ll be discussing how it’s evenings like Wednesday night and the utter disregard for the paying customers and their own athletes that continue to find Oriole Park empty most nights.  Can you imagine having a full-priced ticket for last night’s game and having to endure an evening at the ballpark where it rains all night and they insist on playing the game against any common sense?

As expected, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was red-faced with anger and livid that the game ever began — and anyone who looked at the forecast and/or the radar could’ve seen that the chances of playing a legitimate MLB game last night were slim.

Gardenhire said in his postgame press conference: “”The game should have never started in the first place. We never had a window all night long. All you have to do is look at the radar, and you see it’s supposed to rain all night long. Once we stopped the first time, we should never have gone right back out there. There was never more than a 15-minute window to do anything. It stopped raining, starting raining hard again.”

“It’s a joke,” he said, finishing with an obvious statement that I’m sure Bud Selig will fine him for at some point later in the day.

Gardenhire also told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

“Once we got going, we tried to play five innings. And Major League Baseball is nine innings. And we didn’t get a chance to do that because the weather, from the get-go, showed that we shouldn’t be doing this. From the get go!

“Somebody made a mistake here and screwed up. I don’t know who is supposed to be accountable for this mess, but my team ends up paying the final price.”

The Orioles will take any charity at this point, earning their 11th win of the year against 17 losses. As usual, it was Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Luke Scott leading the attack, each with a pair of hits. Markakis and Scott both hit homers.

As for the pitching, getting guys loose in the bullpen during these “on-off” rainy nights is a nightmare on the staff. The Orioles used up both Mark Hendrickson and Brian Bass over the six innings of the game.

Tonight, it’ll be Brad Bergesen (1-0, 5.17) vs. Glen Perkins (1-2, 3.34) in the cap of another two-game series at Camden Yards.

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O’s are slip, sliding away…

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It seems that no one noticed over the weekend while the NFL Draft was going on, but the Orioles are still playing baseball. And they’re actually fun to watch most nights. It’s been a strange start to the season in a lot of ways.

Just the crowds — one night there’s a “friends and family” gathering of 5,000 or so like last night, and then on Friday and Saturday night the place was almost full — are kinda strange. But so is the weather these last few days. Global warming at work, no doubt.

It’s 2:52 a.m. and I’m watching the end of the replay of the Orioles game in HD. I fell asleep on the game at 8:35 and again at 9:10 earlier this evening in low definition. I woke up, and it was the 3rd inning all over again, this time in HD.

They lost again. They blew a 4-0 lead again. With the “Number 1″ starter on the hill in Jeremy Guthrie an early four-run lead wasn’t nearly enough. This time it was Matt Albers’ turn to take a spanking, getting shelled for 3 earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning.

Tonight the Angels come to town for two quick games. The Orioles have lost three of four and are now 9-11.

Matt Albers stood at his locker and took the heat. He seems like a stand-up kid (and I remember many nights in that locker room where “run and hide” guys were more the norm).

Guthrie’s pitch count — he was nearing 90 pitches in the fourth inning — did him in and he walked off the hill after the fifth with a slim 4-3 lead. Albers’ blow-up was only answered in the 9th inning when the Orioles threatened with two on and two out before Robert Andino struck out swinging. (He, too, answered questions after the game, which I respect.)

So it’s another night when they’ve blown a huge lead, which is becoming a trend en route to a habit. Look, no one expects them to go to the World Series, but at least play capably and keep it interesting for us in 2009!

But it’s so frustrating and bad, it’s almost comical. It’s like a Greek tragedy. You just wait on bad things to happen it seems after 12 years. And then — voila — once a week Adam Eaton will throw a gem or they’ll score 12 runs and hit four homers, and you’ll be shocked that they can win.

Every night you can count on the top of the lineup to hit the ball. Every night the pitching is an adventure. And even when they get behind, they have shown an ability to score runs 4 or 5 at a time. Even tonight, they were two runs down and Andino represented an opportunity to win the game.

But that’s part of the problem. This team has no “bench” to speak of, which is embarrassing. Opposing bullpens and managers never have to worry about any late-game adjustments. What decisions does Dave Trembley even have to make? Insert Felix Pie to pinch hit? Or Andino? Or Chad Moeller?

If the team were serious about winning this year they’d have Matt Wieters up here just to get his stick in the lineup so they could score more and so the fans will have a reason to go to the ballpark.

Brad Bergesen looked pretty ordinary on Sunday. Gregg Zaun is hitting .120. Pie, who they’re married to for a while it seems, is hitting .167. And virtually every pitcher on the staff has had issues along with the marvels of the rare gem, like Adam Eaton’s effort last Thursday.

I still think Koji Uehara is going to be pretty decent, which is saying something for any “outsider” who has ever come to the franchise. Most of the imports have just stunk. I think Koji will keep them in most games and won’t be taking third-inning exits as frequently as some of his co-workers.

But I’ve been watching and watching a lot. No one has been calling my show to even discuss the team, which makes me wonder if anyone is actually watching the games or just reading the boxscores. Or maybe not even noticing when they play or how they’re doing in the standings.

Tonight’s crowd was a disgrace by any measure, especially on a 80-degree “Short sleeves” kinda night.

It’s been a bit of a lost weekend for the O’s, even when the Ravens pimped them and spent a ton of cash buying more than 14,000 tickets for Saturday night’s game and providing only 10,000 of those fabulous purple hats. (Why they didn’t give away 45,000 of them, I have no idea…??)

Everyone in town was watching the draft and dissecting the selections on Saturday and Sunday.

But I’m still watching baseball and the Orioles. Sometimes, it’s on “DVR-delay,” like when I watched Bergesen pitch “Sunday Night” baseball after I caught up on the Caps and the NFL Draft, which have become a priority for me as a sports fan this week.

But I’m watching the Orioles. I care. Do you?

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A Great Sunday sports day on tap

Posted on 26 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

What a great day to be alive! The NFL draft is starting at 10 a.m. The Orioles will send young Brad Bergesen back to the hill at 1:35 to try to actually win a game this weekend. The last two days have been putrid. And, of course, I’ll be pimping the puck and “Rocking my Red” at 2 p.m. when the Caps go back to Madison Square Garden for Game 6 with Rangers coach John Tortorella. The Ravens will introduce new tackle Michael Ohen at 2 p.m. as well.

Gonna be a fun day of sports and blogging…

Keep it here at WNST.net…

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Bottom half is bottoming out for O’s

Posted on 26 April 2009 by Keith Melchior

Not that anyone noticed last night, but the Orioles dropped a 6-5 heartbreaker to the Rangers falling short of tying the game with 3 in the bottom of the 9th. Mark Hendrickson couldn’t get out of the 5th inning, but hey look on the bright side, Brian Bass lowered his ERA to a respectable 7.20.

The O’s are now 8-10 after starting out at 6-2. The bottom half of the lineup STINKS. It’s time to make some changes.

Gregg Zaun is close to falling below .100. Something is wrong with this guy and either he’s not saying what it is or the Orioles aren’t telling. He’s definitely sitting out today as Dave Trembley will use his “final game or Sunday” lineup. Last time I looked, the Orioles are 0-2 on Sundays.  Here we go again!!!

If Moeller goes 2-4 with an RBI, I’d have to keep him in there.  Felix Pie is batting .156 and is more like Felix PU. Andy McPhail really sold us a bill of goods on this guy, didn’t he?

Cesar Izturis was touted as a slick fielding SS.  Well, he has made 2 errors and is barely hitting .215 . I’ll take the 2 errors over 18 games but the average needs to come up.

The top 5 hitters are holding their own and with Ty Wigginton producing, Trembley cannot afford to have 3 slugs at the bottom of the lineup. They have no bench strength at all.

So this afternoon if it comes down to needing a pinch hitter, who does he have to choose from? Try these, .109, .156, .215..

If I am the opposing pitchers facing the 4,5,6 batters, I intentionally walk the bases loaded to get to the 7,8,9 hitters and take my chances, at least until these raggamuffins show up and prove  they can get the job done.

Speaking of showing up, were there really 41,160 there last night or do they now start to count the empty seats? At least today the home fans get another chance to see Brad Bergeson and a chance to actually win a game on Sunday.

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