Tag Archive | "Derrek Lee"

Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

Posted on 22 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (8-10) host the New York Yankees (10-6) this weekend for a 3-game set beginning Friday night.

Last week, these two ball clubs were disrupted due to rain and one of the games has been postponed to a later date. But the extra inning loss to the Yanks last Thursday night in New York was like a bad hangover the Birds could not shake until this past Tuesday against the Twins.

As the Bronx Bombers bats are heating up in mid-April, the O’s are just trying to find some offensive consistency game-in and game-out. With the young starting pitching beginning to show signs of stability, and life from the lineup, the bullpen has to hold up their end. Perfect example was Monday nights loss to the Minnesota Twins. SP Chris Tillman went 6.2 IP and gave up 3 runs, good enough to keep the Orioles in the ball game. After a solid relief appearance by RP Clay Rapada for the Birds,  RP Kevin Gregg came in and gave up 2 runs in the top of the 9th, and the Orioles lost by 1 run. This has to change, and fast.

The New York Yankees have a problem of their own, and it deals with one of the fan-favorites, OF Brett Gardner. He has been struggling since the start of the season (15 Games / 47 AB / 1 2B / 0 HR / .128 AVG / 2 RBI ), so manager Joe Girardi benched Gardner in the final game of the Toronto series this week in favor of OF Andrew Jones.

No Transactions for either team in the last three days.

Well, I was right! The Orioles accomplished all THREE of my “Keys to the Series” vs. the Twins:

1. The offense has to come alive vs. the struggling Twins pitching staff. - CHECK

2. Britton must shine on national television Wednesday night. - CHECK

3. Buck needs to get the Birds back on track and find a team leader for this ball club. - CHECK

Here are the Orioles “Keys to the Series” vs. the Yankees:

1. Take last Thursday night’s extra inning loss personally and play with vengeance.

2. Silent the Yankee fans at Camden Yards quickly.

3. The young pitching has to shut down the hot bats in the Bronx Bombers lineup.

The official ‘WNST Weather Predictor’ this weekend vs. the Yankees

Friday 7:05pm : PM Rain – High 51 / Low 44 – With the likely chance of Friday night’s game being a rain out and Yankee fans coming down, look out for them doing this!!!!

Saturday 7:05pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 72 / Low 61 – As the weekend night game comes around, look forward to seeing this particular Yankees fan at Camden Yards!!!

Sunday 1:35pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 74 / Low 59 – Supposedly the sun breaking out in the afternoon, I’m hoping for this O’s fan to be in attendance!!!!

Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees

( 8 – 10 )                                                                                     ( 10 – 6 )

Friday April 22nd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (0-1, 2.52 ERA)

Saturday April 23rd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Chris Tillman (0-2, 6.16 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

Sunday April 24th, 1:35pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-2, 7.63 ERA)

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 3 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 14 RBI

2. Nick Markakis- RF

18 Games / 69 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .203 AVG / 6 RBI

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

18 Games / 67 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .209 AVG / 6 RBI

4. Vladimir Guerrero

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 2 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 9 RBI

5. Luke Scott- LF

14 Games / 42 AB / 8 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .190 AVG / 4 RBI

6. Adam Jones- CF

17 Games / 63 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 3 HR / .222 AVG / 8 RBI

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

18 Games / 59 AB / 11 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .186 AVG / 10 RBI

8. Matt Wieters- C

16 Games / 52 AB / 14 Hits / 4 2B / 3 HR / .269 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Robert Andino- SS

9 Games / 25 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 0 HR / .308 AVG / 0 RBI

New York Yankees Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Derek Jeter- SS

16 Games / 64 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 0 HR / .219 AVG / 4 RBI

2. Nick Swisher- RF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 2 2B / 0 HR / .273 AVG / 8 RBI

3. Mark Teixeria- 1B

16 Games / 58 AB / 15 Hits / 4 2B / 6 HR / .259 AVG / 16 RBI

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

13 GAmes / 41 AB / 15 Hits / 5 2B / 4 HR / .366 AVG / 10 RBI

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

16 Games / 66 AB / 20 Hits / 6 2B / 4 HR / .303 AVG / 13 RBI

6. Andrew Jones- LF

6 Games / 16 AB / 4 Hits / 1 2B / 1 HR / .250 AVG / 2 RBI

7. Jorge Posada- DH

15 Games / 50 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 5 HR / .160 AVG / 9 RBI

8. Russell Martin- C

15 Games / 51 AB / 16 Hits / 3 2B / 4 HR / .314 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Curtis Granderson- CF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 3 2B / 6 HR / .273 AVG / 9 RBI

If you are home or out this weekend and want the latest information during the O’s game from the experts, then head online and enter the Orange Crush Live Chat with Luke Jones this entire weekend!!!!

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New Orioles coming up empty as losses continue to mount

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New Orioles coming up empty as losses continue to mount

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Over the current losing streak, which grew to eight games with a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday, the Orioles haven’t hit or pitched well. Whether talking about young players or veterans, mainstays or newcomers, the Orioles simply haven’t performed, transforming a harmonious 6-1 start into a 6-9 crisis in a matter of only nine days.

No one is absolved from the last eight games, but it’s hard to overlook the newest Orioles and their struggles to begin the season.

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President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail set out to improve a club that finished 34-23 under manager Buck Showalter by adding offensive pieces to provide protection for developing positional players and alleviate the pressure on a young starting rotation. He also looked to add a veteran to the back-end of the bullpen after the disastrous early-season results from Michael Gonzalez a season ago.

The architect was applauded for signing two former All-Stars, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, to fill the third and fourth spots in the lineup. MacPhail traded for third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop J.J. Hardy in separate deals to complete the infield transformation.

Kevin Gregg — along with his 37 saves — was lured to Baltimore with a two-year, $10 million contract and a not-so-secret agreement to be the closer despite Koji Uehara’s success in the role last season.

After 15 games — yes, only 15 games — it’s not looking too hot.

Lee and Guerrero have looked the part of two aging sluggers with their best years long behind them. Lee’s average dipped to .204 after an 0-for-2 night in which he drew two walks. The first baseman’s plate discipline and defense are as good as ever, but his bat has looked slow, with only two extra base hits and struggling to get around on good fastballs.

The free-swinging Guerrero’s average fell to .242 after going 0 for 4 against the Twins. The slugger has yet to draw a walk in 62 at-bats this season and is slugging an anemic .306 with only two hits going for extra bases. Entering the night, his 2.97 pitches seen per plate appearance was the lowest among American League hitters with 50 or more at-bats.

Meanwhile, Guerrero’s occupation of the designated hitter’s spot has pushed Luke Scott to left field on an everyday basis, weakening the defense and putting more pressure on the inexperienced pitching staff.

It’s not exactly the return the Orioles had in mind after spending $15.25 million for the third and fourth spots in the order.

Reynolds has fared better than the latter two with a .692 OPS, but his .224 average isn’t going to make anyone forget his struggles from a season ago in Arizona. His defense has also been erratic, looking like a Gold Glover on one play but then struggling to make the simple throw on the next.

Of course, Hardy is currently rehabbing a strained oblique in Sarasota, leaving the Orioles with a giant hole in the No. 9 spot in the order currently occupied by the combination of Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino.

With an offense sputtering near the bottom of the American League in numerous statistical categories, the offseason discussion of the Orioles having one of the best lineups in the league seem downright preposterous.

“I’m still excited about [the lineup],” said center fielder Adam Jones, who hit his third home run of the season in the seventh inning. “You’ve never heard about anybody going in a slump? It’s [15 games] into the season or however many games. Not everybody is going to rake the entire season, so it’s a spell. Let’s get it all out of the way now and come back tomorrow ready to swing the bats.”

The Orioles hope the struggles of Gregg are also just a spell as he melted down again in the ninth inning on Monday, allowing two runs — one coming on a wild pitch — and walking two batters to transform a narrow 3-2 deficit into an insurmountable three-run hole. The right-hander left to a showering of boos reminiscent of Gonzalez’s early-season struggles last season.

The Orioles paid handsomely for Gregg’s 37 saves a year ago, ignoring his career 4.02 earned run average and 1.33 WHIP that suggest he’s a solid enough reliever, but not the guy you’re going to feel comfortable with in the ninth inning, night in and night out.

While shopping for inexpensive, short-term solutions in the lineup, MacPhail has  invested $22 million over the last two offseasons on middle-of-the-road closers in Gonzalez and Gregg. Regardless of how the duo fares the rest of the season, giving multi-year contracts to pedestrian relief pitchers just doesn’t pay off.

Of course, I realize it’s still early. The Orioles weren’t as good as their 6-1 start and aren’t as bad as the current 0-8 spell sparking nightmares of last season among the frustrated fan base.

Lee and Guerrero deserve — and will undoubtedly get — plenty of time to snap out of their early-season slumps. Their track records speak for themselves.

Perhaps Gregg will figure out his issues and rebound to become the closer the Orioles envisioned in the offseason.

But these were the guys brought to Baltimore to prevent these types of losing streaks and late-inning meltdowns from taking place as they did a season ago.

And so far, none of it has worked.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Chris Tillman, and Adam Jones following the 5-3 loss to the Twins on Monday night.

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Twins April 18th- April 21st

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Twins April 18th- April 21st

Posted on 18 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-8) head home Monday for a 4-game set against the Minnesota Twins (5-10).

Both ball clubs are limping into this series as the Birds have dropped 7 straight and the Twins are 2-6 in their last 8 games.

The Orioles seemed to unwind in Cleveland as they were swept by the Tribe, possibly having a hang-over effect from last Thursday night’s heart breaker against the Yankees in extra innings. Being outscored 20-7 during the weekend versus the Indians, the O’s look to thump the Twins and get back on their winning ways.

Joe Mauer, Minnesota’s all-star catcher, went on the 15-day DL last Thursday with what is described as a  “bilateral leg weakness”. It is the same left leg in which he had arthroscopic surgery last season. Manager Ron Gardenhire had significantly reduced his playing time during spring training to avoid this very situation.

Justin Morneau is day-to-day with what the Twins are describing as flu-like symptoms.

The Orioles are also prone to make another roster move Monday as RHP Chris Jakubauskas will head to the DL and LHP Clay Rapada will be promoted from AAA-Norfolk to join Mike Gonzalez as the only two left handed pitchers in the bullpen.

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

Posted on 15 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-5) travel to the ‘The Forest City’ and face the Cleveland Indians (8-4) Friday for a 3-game weekend series.

After a disappointing loss to the Bronx Bombers in extra innings Thursday night, the Orioles have to re-group and focus on the next opponent. This should be a test for the Birds and Buck Showalter to see how they rebound from a crushing 2-game set in New York.  

Welcome to the AL East.

Now the Birds will be challenged day-in and day-out for the rest of April taking on the red-hot Cleveland team this weekend and up-coming series-sets at home against the Twins, Yankees, Red Sox and away versus the White Sox to round out the month.

On the other hand, Manny Acta’s ball club has shocked the league so far by jumping out to an early lead in the AL Central, already compiling a 7-game win streak. The Tribe are led by the arms of Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA), & Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA), all of whom are scheduled to start against the O’s this weekend.

Due to the unconvenient weather during the O’s and Yankee’s series, decisions have been made to include the first ‘WNST Weather Predictor’. This will give fans, who live in Cleveland or plan on traveling there to dress accordingly.

Friday: Partly Cloudy- High 59, Low 48 – Chance of Cesar Izturis hitting a HR 30%.

Saturday: Rain/Thunder/Wind- High 55, Low 41 – Moderately to heavy K’s for Jeremy Guthrie.

Sunday: Partly Cloudy- High 54, Low 45 – Sunshine breaking through in the afternoon cause Buck Showalter called for it.


(6 -5 )                                                                                  (8 – 4)

 

Friday, April 15th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Zach Britton (2-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 16th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Jeremy Guthrie (1-1, 0.64 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA)

 

Sunday, April 17th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Brad Bergesen (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA)

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.213 AVG / 1 2B / 3 HR / 10 RBIs

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.268 AVG / 2 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.195 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 2 RBIs

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.283 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

5. Luke Scott- LF

.211 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

6. Adam Jones- CF

.195 AVG / 0 2B / 2 HR / 5 RBIs

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.250 AVG / 5 2B / 1 HR / 9 RBIs

8. Matt Wieters- C

.212 AVG / 2 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.300 AVG / 0 2B / 0 HR / 1 RBIs
 

Cleveland Indians Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Michael Brantley- CF

.311 AVG / 4 2B / 0 HR / 6 RBIs

2. Asdrubal Cabrera- SS

.286 AVG / 2 2B / 4 HR / 10 RBIs

3. Shin-Soo Choo- RF

.200 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

4. Carlos Santana- C

.205 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 6 RBIs

5. Travis Hafner- DH

.282 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

6. Orlando Cabrera- 2B

.295 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 7 RBIs

7. Travis Buck- LF

.136 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

8. Matt LaPorta- 1B

.189 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

9. Jack Hannahan- 3B

.235 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

 

 

 

 

 



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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Yankees April 12th- April 14th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Yankees April 12th- April 14th

Posted on 11 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-3) battle against the New York Yankees (5-4) in a 3-games series beginning Tuesday.

These two teams have not a played a meaningful series in New York (in the Orioles eyes)… well… since This tragic moment in Baltimore history.

With the first full week of the MLB season in the books, it is still premature to make predictions, but the Orioles have impressed many around the league and may even break the 13-year consecutive losing seasons this year (who said it was too early to make predictions). Oh yeah, here is one more prediction… This ‘Already’ retired player will be the next to be linked to steroids… can’t you tell!!!

The Birds enter the mid-week series atop of the AL East, and the Pinstripes in second place. But with superb outings by their young starting pitching, timely hitting, and strong defense, it is no coincidence that the O’s have an early 1-game lead.

RHP Chris Jakubauskas joined the Orioles 25-man roster as the club sent RHP Brad Bergesen down to AAA-Norfolk Saturday. Jakubauskas is in the running to make his first 2011 start this Wednesday against the Bronx Bombers. He made only one start in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and went 6-7, with a 5.32 ERA in 35 games for the Seattle Mariners during the 2009 campaign.

SS J.J. Hardy is inevitably heading to the 15-day DL, mostly likely early Tuesday, with a strained left oblique, leaving INF Cesar Izturis and INF Robert Andino to hold down the position during his absence. Buck Showalter has said that the two will split time until Hardy returns. The club plans on bringing up another pitcher to fill the roster spot left by Hardy, many are speculating that RHP Brad Bergesen, who was just sent down to AAA-Norfolk, is the choice and the front-runner to start Wednesday’s contest.

(6-3)                                                                              (5-4)

 

 

Tuesday, April 12th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (2-0, 4.09 ERA)

 

 Wednesday, April 13th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 15.00 ERA) or Brad Bergesen (0-1, 4.91 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50 ERA)

 

 Thursday, April 14th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10 ERA)

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.189 AVG. / 1 2B / 2 HRS / 8 RBIS

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.250 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 3 RBIS

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.219 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 2 RBIS

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.270 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 3 RBIS

5. Luke Scott- LF

.167 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 0 RBIS

6. Adam Jones- CF

.212 AVG. / 0 2B / 2 HRS / 5 RBIS

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.241 AVG. / 3 2B / 1 HRS / 8 RBIS

8. Matt Wieters- C

.192 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.167 AVG. / 0 2B / 0 HRS / 1 RBIS

 

 

New York Yankees Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brett Gardner- LF

.167 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

2. Derek Jeter- SS

. 206 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

3. Mark Teixeira- 1B

. 182 AVG. / 0 2B / 4 HRS / 10 RBIS

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

.321 AVG. / 2 2B / 3 HRS / 5 RBIS

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

.324 AVG. / 4 2B / 2 HRS / 5 RBIS

6. Nick Swisher- RF

.219 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 6 RBIS

7. Curtis Granderson- CF

.172 AVG. / 1 2B / 2 HRS / 3 RBIS

8. Jorge Posada- DH

.138 AVG. / 0 2B / 3 HRS / 6 RBIS

9. Russell Martin- C

.300 AVG. / 1 2B / 3 HRS / 8 RBIS

 

 

 

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Texas Rangers April 8th- April 10th

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Texas Rangers April 8th- April 10th

Posted on 08 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (5-1) face off against the Texas Rangers (6-0) in a weekend match-up starting Friday night at Camden Yards.

Both teams are starting the season red hot, and the Rangers are being fueled by their high power offense led by Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler.

The Orioles are still riding the ‘Buck-mobile’ and the bats of key off-season acquisitions, Vladimir Guerrero & Derrek Lee, who both hit their first HRs for the Black and Orange in their series vs. the Tigers, are starting to come around.

This weekend will be a test for the young Orioles pitching staff who boasts the top ERA in the Majors (2.33 ERA) against one of the top offenses in the league in the Rangers (42 runs scored, 4th in the Majors)

(5-1)                                                                                (6-0)

Friday, April 8th 7:05 EST

Orioles vs. Rangers

Zach Britton (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Colby Lewis (1-0, 4.50 ERA)

Saturday, April 9th 7:05 EST

Orioles vs. Rangers

Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Matt Harrison (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

Sunday, April 10th 1:35 EST

Orioles vs. Rangers

Jeremy Guthrie (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (1-0, 4.50 ERA)

Projected Lineup: Baltimore Orioles and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

(.280 AVG, 1 2B, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs)

2. Nick Markakis- RF

(.300 AVG, 1 2B, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs)

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

(.182 AVG, 0 2B, 1 HRs, 2 RBIs)

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

(.240 AVG, 0 2B, 1 HRs, 3 RBIs)

5. Luke Scott- LF

(.100 AVG, 1 2B, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs)

6. Adam Jones- CF

(.182 AVG, 0 2B, 1 HRs, 3 RBIs)

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

(.238 AVG, 3 2B, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs)

8. Matt Wieters- C

(.250 AVG, 1 2B, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs)

9. JJ Hardy- SS

(.214 AVG, 3 2B, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs)

Project Lineup: Texas Rangers and 2011 STATS

1. Ian Kinsler- 2B

(.250 AVG, 1 2B, 3 HRs, 4 RBIs)

2. Elvis Andrus- SS

(.250 AVG, 2 2B, 1 HRs, 5 RBIs)

3. Josh Hamilton- CF

(.273 AVG, 3 2B, 0 HRs, 4 RBIs)

4. Adrian Beltre- 3B

(.125 AVG, 0 2B, 1 HRS, 4 RBIs)

5. Michael Young- DH

(.280 AVG, 3 2B, 0 HRS, 2 RBIs)

6. Nelson Cruz- RF

(.350 AVG, 1 2B, 4 HRs, 6 RBIs)

7. David Murphy- LF

(.556 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HRs, 3 RBIs)

8. Yorvit Torrealba- C

(.263 AVG, 1 2B, 1HRs, 2 RBIs)

9. Mitch Moreland- 1B

(.308 AVG, 2 2B, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs)

 

 

If you are stuck at work, and want the latest information during the O’s game from the experts, then head online and enter the Orange Crush Live Chat with Luke Jones this Friday at 7PM!!!!!!

 

 

 

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Orioles brought back to reality in 7-3 loss to Verlander, Tigers

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Orioles brought back to reality in 7-3 loss to Verlander, Tigers

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After starting the season 4-0, even the most pessimistic of fans had to be feeling good and rightfully so.

Detroit ace Justin Verlander, however, provided a strong dose of reality in a stellar eight-inning, nine-strikeout performance to lead the Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Orioles, sending Baltimore (4-1) to its first loss of the season.

Of course, a little perspective is in order. The Orioles weren’t going undefeated this season, just like there’s no reason to harp on the first defeat of 2011. These nights will happen with any team in any season, especially when you’re facing one of the few bona fide aces in the American League.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You know, four-pitch mix and not a whole lot of tendencies in the sequencing [of pitches] and understands what he’s doing out there. Very athletic.”

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Orioles starter Brad Bergesen, on the other hand, was ineffective in his first work since a spring training outing on March 25 when he was hit in the arm with a line drive. The right-hander went 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) and five hits before being lifted in the fourth inning after throwing 89 pitches.

The second inning was especially costly for Bergesen and the Orioles when two errors — one made by the pitcher on a pick-off attempt at second that came after a Brian Roberts error on a pop-up to shallow right — contributed to two unearned runs after Bergesen had recorded the first two outs of the inning.

Six of the Tigers’ first seven runs came across the plate with two outs in the inning. Detroit catcher Alex Avila drove in five runs, including a two-run homer in the fourth inning that contributed to Bergesen’s early exit.

The Orioles starter was up in the strike zone and was unable to put hitters away without using too many pitches. His two earned runs allowed matched the two runs allowed by Baltimore starters in the first four games (26 total innings) of the season.

“I just never seemed to get in any type of groove tonight,” Bergesen said. “There was only a couple under four-pitch outs I had. It seemed like I went full count on almost everyone or deep counts today.”

In contrast, Verlander had a six-pitching inning in the second, a nine-pitch fifth, an 11-pitch seventh, and a nine-pitch eighth on the way to his first win of the season. The 28-year-old is 6-0 in eight career starts against the Orioles.

The Orioles got on the board via a two-run homer by first baseman Derrek Lee, his first with the club, and Vladimir Guerrero plated the Orioles’ third run of the night with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. That would be all the lineup could muster against Verlander, who gave way to Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning.

“[Verlander's] one of the best pitchers in the league, and we ran into him tonight,” third baseman Mark Reynolds said. “He pitched well, threw all his pitches for strikes. You’re just going to have those nights. I don’t think there’s been any team that’s gone 162-0. We’ll just come back tomorrow and get ready to go and hopefully get out of here with a series win.”

You can look back at any win or loss and wonder what could have been, but Wednesday night’s outcome was pretty simple.

Verlander and the Tigers were far better than Bergesen and the Orioles. Detroit’s ace was going up against Baltimore’s fifth starter, who only learned he was starting in place of the ill Jeremy Guthrie two days ago.

Not an excuse, but a fact.

The incredible run of starting pitching wasn’t going to last forever. It’s one loss that doesn’t mean any more or any less than the first four wins to begin the season.

The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

And the Orioles hit their first bump in the road against one of the best pitchers in the American League.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Brad Bergesen, and Mark Reynolds following the 7-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

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Orioles brought back to reality in 7-3 loss to Verlander, Tigers

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After starting the season 4-0, even the most pessimistic of fans had to be feeling good and rightfully so.

But Detroit ace Justin Verlander provided a strong dose of reality in a stellar eight-inning, nine-strikeout performance to lead the Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Orioles, sending Baltimore (4-1) to its first loss of the season.

Of course, a little perspective is in order. The Orioles weren’t going undefeated this season, just like there’s no reason to harp on the first defeat of 2011. These nights will happen with any team in any season, especially when you’re facing one of the few bona fide aces in the American League.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You know, four-pitch mix and not a whole lot of tendencies in the sequencing [of pitches] and understands what he’s doing out there. Very athletic.”

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen, on the other hand, was ineffective in his first work since a spring training outing on March 25 when he was hit in the arm with a line drive. The right-hander went 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) and five hits before being lifted in the fourth inning after throwing 89 pitches.

The second inning was especially costly for Bergesen and the Orioles when two errors — one made by the pitcher on a pick-off attempt at second that came after a Brian Roberts error on a pop-up to shallow right — contributed to two unearned runs after Bergesen had recorded the first two outs of the inning.

Six of the Tigers’ first seven runs came across the plate with two outs in the inning. Detroit catcher Alex Avila drove in five runs, including a two-run homer in the fourth inning that contributed to Bergesen’s early exit.

The Orioles starter was up in the strike zone and was unable to put hitters away without using too many pitches. His two earned runs allowed matched the two runs allowed by Baltimore starters in the first four games (26 total innings) of the season.

“I just never seemed to get in any type of groove tonight,” Bergesen said. “There was only a couple under four-pitch outs I had. It seemed like I went full count on almost everyone or deep counts today.”

In contrast, Verlander had a six-pitching inning in the second, a nine-pitch fifth, an 11-pitch seventh, and a nine-pitch eighth on the way to his first win of the season. The 28-year-old is 6-0 in eight career starts against the Orioles.

The Orioles got on the board via a two-run homer by first baseman Derrek Lee, his first with the club, and Vladimir Guerrero plated the Orioles’ third run of the night with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. That would be all the lineup could muster against Verlander, who gave way to Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning.

“[Verlander's] one of the best pitchers in the league, and we ran into him tonight,” third baseman Mark Reynolds said. “He pitched well, threw all his pitches for strikes. You’re just going to have those nights. I don’t think there’s been any team that’s gone 162-0. We’ll just come back tomorrow and get ready to go and hopefully get out of here with a series win.”

You can look back at any win or loss and wonder what could have been, but Wednesday night’s outcome was pretty simple.

Verlander and the Tigers were far better than Bergesen and the Orioles. Detroit’s ace was going up against Baltimore’s fifth starter, who only learned he was starting in place of the ill Jeremy Guthrie two days ago.

Not an excuse, but a fact.

The incredible run of starting pitching wasn’t going to last forever. It’s one loss that doesn’t mean any more or any less than the first four wins to begin the season.

The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

And the Orioles hit their first bump in the road against one of the best pitchers in the American League.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Brad Bergesen, and Derrek Lee following the 7-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

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What a difference a year makes for Roberts, Orioles

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What a difference a year makes for Roberts, Orioles

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Brian Roberts doesn’t like to think about last year’s home opener.

After leaving the game in the top of the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays (a 7-6 loss thanks to a Mike Gonzalez meltdown of epic proportions) with the same back injury that had hindered him the entire spring, Roberts wouldn’t return to the Orioles lineup for over three months.

While rehabbing the herniated disc in Sarasota last spring as the Orioles got off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, Roberts occasionally pondered whether his health would ever allow him to regain his status as one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball.

"Not ability wise. There were times where certainly I got frustrated with my body, but ability wise, I knew if I was healthy I could still play. I’m not 80 (laughing)."

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The Orioles missed the 33-year-old’s bat as they stumbled to a 30-65 record last season before the veteran second baseman returned to the lineup on July 23. Manager Buck Showalter has been credited with the club’s remarkable 34-23 finish in the final two months, but the corresponding return of Roberts played a big part in making Showalter look even smarter in his new role.

That’s why panic sirens sounded again this spring when neck pain and back spasms limited Roberts for two and a half weeks in spring training. His presence in the lineup over the last decade has done so much for an Orioles team lacking the punch to score runs consistently.

If the first four games of the season are any indication, Roberts is making a strong claim to put a difficult season behind him. The second baseman’s three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth was the difference in the Orioles’ 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers, giving the club its first 4-0 start since 1997. Roberts’ eight runs batted in leads the major leagues and puts the 5-foot-9 infielder on pace for 324 RBI this season.

Despite early stats that resemble something seen in a video game, Roberts is far more excited about the club’s red-hot start in the win column after being a member of 10 straight losing teams as the longest-tenured player on the Orioles.

"It’s been awesome," he said. "Certainly, I’ve been through a lot. We all know that, and I think with [the team's] expectations coming into this year, to still go out there and do that — it’s been great for us."

Despite the offseason acquisitions of Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero to add beef to the heart of the order, Roberts has been the one to pace the offense, providing game-changing hits on Friday and Saturday in Tampa and breaking the 1-1 tie on Monday afternoon. His three-run drive over the right-center fence in front of a sold-out crowd of 46,593 at Camden Yards came on a 1-2 pitch from Detroit starter Rick Porcello.

"For a long time in the Baltimore Orioles organization, he seems to be able, on the field, to dial up what was needed, whether it was a stolen base, a walk," Showalter said. "He’s got just a feel for being able to challenge the moment. He’s already had some big hits for us early in the year."

He’s a major reason why the Orioles are off to their best start in 14 years. Respected by his teammates as a disciplined player willing to set the table for the heart of the order, his absence at the top of the lineup last year led to a trickle-down effect in which the Orioles were 11th in on-base percentage and 13th in runs scored in the American League.

With the likes of low on-base percentage hitters such as Adam Jones, Corey Patterson, and Cesar Izturis hitting at the top of the order, the Orioles never recovered in the 103 games Roberts was out of the lineup.

"When he’s healthy, he’s what gets the offense started," said starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, who pitched six innings and gave up one earned run to earn the victory. "As we’ve all seen in these first four games, when he gets on base, that allows Nick [Markakis] to do what he does. He’s just a hitting machine. He’s come up huge for us."

The other aspect of the game coming up big for the Orioles has been the starting pitching, which was dealt another blow Monday when it was announced Jeremy Guthrie had been hospitalized with a case of pneumonia and will miss Wednesday’s start against the Tigers. Brad Bergesen will start in his place. Despite the absence of Brian Matusz and Justin Duchscherer — both on the 15-day disabled list — Baltimore’s starting pitching has combined to give up only two earned runs in 26 innings this season.

Arrieta was just the latest young starter to provide a quality start, allowing six hits, striking out three, and walking two despite struggling with his command at several points. The 25-year-old took notice of the work of Chris Tillman and Zach Britton over the weekend as he prepared to make the start in the home opener.

"It’s just one of those things where you want to kind of follow their lead," Arrieta said. "They set the tone the first three games, obviously started by Guthrie with his quality start. We just want to take the ball and run with it."

As concern mounts over the state of the starting rotation with three projected starters currently dealing with ailments, that pace will become more difficult to maintain, but it’s made for the most enjoyable start in Baltimore in quite some time.

And for a player like Roberts who’s been around to endure the losing nearly as long as Orioles fans, it’s a welcome change from the status quote, even if it’s short-lived.

"Coming off those two months last year, I felt like this city was excited, our team was excited, and it was an incredible atmosphere out there today," Roberts said.

To simply be able to finish the game was quite a contrast to the disappointment-filled home opener for Roberts last April and the disastrous first four months that followed for the Orioles.

What a difference a year makes.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Brian Roberts, Buck Showalter, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, and Derrek Lee talk about the Orioles’ 5-1 victory over Detroit in the 20th home opener at Camden Yards.

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Regardless of anything else, hold your chin high today

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Rex Snider

If your workplace is populated by a fairly representative group of baseball fans, there is a good chance supporters of the Yankees and Red Sox exist within it, right?

In fact, some local businesses are dominated by fans of the AL East’s most popular and successful franchises.

While some such souls are imports and understandably loyal to their HOMETOWN team, a substantial number of local Yankees and Red Sox “so called” faithful are natives of Baltimore, who committed to selling their souls and allegiance, years ago.

Some people can’t handle losing, so they start backing winning organizations, until …. those teams start losing. While the Yankees and Red Sox are both riding a wave of success in this latest era, nothing lasts forever – NOTHING.

For the Baltimoreans who traded in their orange – or for those who’ve never really worn it with pride and unconditional loyalty, God bless ‘em …. they have just as much right walking into Camden Yards as anyone else …..

But, today, is NOT their day.

This is your day, BALTIMORE ORIOLES FAN.

If you’re fortunate in having an Opening Day experience at the ballpark awaiting your arrival, have a great time and enjoy the renewal of the greatest sport returning for another season. It’s going to be a warm and dry day for ushering in the home schedule.

However, if you’re among the greater contingent who must work today, seize this opportunity to hold your chin even higher as you walk past both the authentic and fabricated fans of the OTHER teams. Your co-workers who root for the Yankees and Red Sox will be waiting for you – but, don’t crumble !!!!

You’ll likely hear some negatively-spirited banter aimed at breaking the will of the weak-hearted. No problem …. you’ve made it through 13 years; there is nothing weak about you or your devotions. Just know you’re going to hear something like this:

“Yo, it’s just 3 games …. don’t print playoff tickets.”

To a point, they’re right. But, don’t allow yourself to cave. Take the high road and resolve yourself to knowing the Baltimore Orioles are a better, stronger organization than the product of just a mere six months ago.

Be optimistic.

While only 3 of 162 games have evaporated from the Orioles schedule, the team has displayed the very strengths of organizations that win with consistency; solid starting pitching and great defense.

Indeed, if the birds would’ve taken 2 of 3 against Tampa, with scores of 11-7 and 9-8, I would be a little less buoyed, this morning. But, they’re continuing a trend that arrived with 57 games remaining in last year’s schedule – they’re throwing strikes and converting fielding opportunities.

Are the Yankees and Red Sox still better, as we sit here on Opening Day, in Baltimore? Yes …. and throughout 162 games, the more talented teams emerge atop the division. But, this past weekend has delivered proof of some daunting realities:

Zach Britton and Chris Tillman possess big league potential.

Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are different hitters with Derrek Lee and Vlad Guerrero behind them.

Matt Wieters is still maturing.

Can the wheels fall off this machine and a return to failure realized? Yes, because anything can happen. However, this Orioles team is now 60 games into a new era and some true consistencies are evidenced. They’re playing good, fundamental, disciplined baseball, and it’s refreshing to witness.

They’ve only played one series, but this Orioles team has that different, better swagger about it. No doubt, the Yankees and Red Sox will offer a more challenging and potentially punishing offensive perspective against this young pitching staff.

But, don’t allow their fans to squash your hopes and desires.

It’s Opening Day, in Baltimore. This is YOUR day …..

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