Tag Archive | "huff"

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

Adam Eaton pitches a gem, Birds beat Pale Hose 6-0

Posted on 23 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, just when you think you’ve seen it all, right? Tonight Adam Eaton, the former O’s No. 5 starter, went 7 1/3 innings and held even his harshest skeptics spellbound with a dazzling 6-hit, 9-strikeout effort while surrendering just two runs upon his exit in the EIGHTH inning.

Lo and behold, the Orioles have won yet another series, beating the White Sox 6-2 tonight at Camden Yards. Everyone got into the act with some offense. Aubrey Huff, Ty Wigginton and even Felix Pie contributed two hits and Adam Jones, Nick Markakis Luke Scott and Cesar Izturis also got hits.

I think Buck Martinez did himself proud with this profound statement: “I like pitchers but I’m happy to have seen only three of them tonight!” Amen, Buck!

The game was a brisk 2:31 affair. Good pitching. Good hitting. Hasty baseball. There were only about 6,000 there but they were treated to an old-school Orioles effort tonight.

Adam Eaton showed some heart tonight. The offense battled early, stranding runners all over the place. But they proved tough. Next up: Koji Uehara and the Rangers and the Saturday “doubleheader” with purple caps.

Bring on the summer weather!

9:15 p.m. — Adam Eaton just walked off the hill to a standing ovation from about 6,000 faithful at Camden Yards tonight. I’ve been watching in amazement as he looks like Steve Stone in his prime to me. Maybe the Steve Stone appearance on WNST yesterday made me think about his greatness during the 1980 season.

His line against the Chicago White Sox is a gem by any standard: 7 1/3 IP, 6H, 0R, oW, 9 strikeouts.

WOW. I’ve been speechless most of the night. Who knew? Late maturity? A one-night wonder? The beginning of a trend?

Of course, at 102 pitches, Dave Trembley just came to get him and he’ll rest up to go again next week.

It’s 6-0 Birds up in the 8th. Jim Johnson is trying to get the White Sox back into the game with the bases loaded.

The crowd tonight looks so light on TV that they’re having trouble finding packs of people standing together to shoot. I’ve honestly never seen it more empty than the last two nights.

I hope the Ravens giving tickets away actually gets some people to walk in on Saturday night. And the weather is supposed to be crazy good!

Jim Thome has just knocked in two runs. So much for the shutout…

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Birds get complete effort, beat White Sox 10-3 to get Bergesen a debut win

Posted on 21 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Orioles looked like a different team tonight. A great start from a promising young draftee after five years of striving to get this opportunity. The meat of the lineup produced big-time, the bottom of the order chipped in and the bullpen was perfect. End result: Orioles 10, White Sox 3.

Brad Bergesen gets the win. Aubrey Huff hit two homers. Nick Markakis and Luke Scott were terrific. And despite the long-ish rain delay, it still was a memorable night.

Drew started blogging during the rain storm. I picked it up in the sixth. Hope you enjoy our coverage, especially if you missed the game.

11:17 p.m. — Huff continues to pile on. He’s hit two homers and driven in four and the rout is now three outs away from being over. It’s 10-3 and they’re icing down the champagne for Bergesen, who did a nice job.

11:03 p.m. –So just who is the star of this one? Bergesen who is going to win his ML debut? Or Markakis who is 4-for-4? Or Luke Scott who is 3-for-3? Or Aubrey Huff who hit a tape-measure dinger an hour ago? Lots of stars tonight. Heck, even Zaun and Izturis have contributed tonight and the bullpen has been spotless over almost three innings so far…

10:56 p.m. — Both Gregg Zaun and Cesar Izturis have chipped in here in the 7th, the latter with a two-RBI double down the RF line. Luke Scott is 3-for-3. The Orioles have played a great game tonight. Waking up the bats at the bottom of the lineup would surely pay some dividends on this home stand. And it looks like they’ve found a young pitcher who can take the ball every five days and keep them in games.

10:47 p.m. — Nick Markakis is now 4-for-4. He’s hitting .389 on the season. Pretty spectacular start for him after signing for the big bucks. Meantime, the bottom of the order continues to just drag:

Gregg Zaun is hitting .108. Felix Pie is hitting .139. Cesar Izturis is leading the group at .163.

It’s amazing they’ve en route to be a .500 team and 7-7 with this happening on a nightly basis.

10:39 p.m. — I’ve been watching all night but I’m now coming out of the bullpen for Drew, who has to wake up at 4:30 a.m. I have to hope there are more people who care than are at the ballpark tonight. It was a long rain delay and I’ve been watching the game in delay all night. Sad to Bergesen’s family at the ballpark watching their boy make his big-league debut in such a lonely environment.

Brad Bergesen was very composed, as predicted. Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis continue to rip the ball. This has been a nice night to be in line to break a five-game losing streak. And Bergesen’s line should bring about some hope until Sunday, when he should take the ball again vs. Texas.

Bergesen: 5 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, just 1 earned run, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. A helluva start. These are the kind of numbers that Mark Hendrickson and Adam Eaton won’t acheive on a nightly basis every fifth day.

Drew’s running blog from the first six innings is here…

Comments Off

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

The Orioles try to avoid ‘the broom’ for breakfast

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

To say the weekend in Boston has been counterproductive would be an understatement. Yesterday at Fenway, Koji Uehara was very, very good, allowing just two runs in 7 innings in what was the best start of the year for any Orioles starter. But unfortunately, Jon Lester was even better, stifling the O’s bats and holding them to just four hits in seven innings while striking out nine Birds. Even Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff stuck out twice in trying to solve the young lefty.

Prior to yesterday’s quality start by Uehara, which also gave the bullpen a much-needed respite, the starting pitching has been dreadful of late but yesterday it was the bats that fell silent in taking the O’s down to defeat. The top of the order has been phenomenal but the bottom has been unacceptable, even on a bad NL team where the pitcher would be batting in the No. 9 hole.

Gregg Zaun is hitting .129.

Felix Pie is hitting .161.

Cesar Izturis is hitting .162.

And the one thing you never can count on but always looms large — good health — has become an issue with red-hot Adam Jones now out of the lineup with a tweaked hamstring joining Norfolk Tides catcher/superstar-in-waiting Matt Wieters on the shelf temporarily.

At some point, this can only get better, right?

Today at 11 a.m. the Orioles will try to avert a four-game sweep at the hands of the BoSox before coming back home tomorrow night to open a homestand against the Chicago White Sox. It’s always weird — baseball for brunch — but it’s Patriots Day in Boston and the runners will be tearing up the route of the Marathon all morning in Beantown.

Utility player Ryan Freel was angry regarding playing time last week and approached Dave Trembley and the organization about the issue. Maybe he should consider hitting more than .071 when he does get a rare start as he did against Lester yesterday.

The Orioles are now 6-6 and send Mark Hendrickson (1-1. 3.00) to the hill against Justin Masterson to avert not only a sweep but a sub-.500 return to Camden Yards.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , ,

Complete Implosion

Posted on 18 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

Paging Dave Trembley,  Paging Dave Trembley….  Dave please figure out how to use a bullpen effectively.  I know that you were given an inept pitching staff to work with, but as a major league manager you have to know that your starters are horrible and that you will have to protect the pen in order to prevent another inevitable second half swoon.  If our #1 starter is actually a #3 at best on most teams it is time for an infusion of young blood in the rotation.  Dave get over your infatuation for has been and never was veterans, please, and if you ever think of calling Baez out of the pen make sure we are already down by at least 5 runs. 

 

The loss last night was a tough one to take because we were up 7-0 and we let the Red Sox back into the game.  The last thing I want to do is hurt the Orioles’ feelings, as we all know by now how sensitive they are, but this kind of play will not cut it.  While watching the implosion last night I couldn’t help but feel I had been mystically transported to September, judging by the malaise written all over their faces we could be in for a long season and we are only ten games in.  The Red Sox’s bats were cold coming into the series but nothing cures what ails a team quite like seeing the O’s pitching staff for a four game set.

 

The bats won’t be able to disguise the worst pitching staff in the league for much longer and the mental errors in the field are inexcusable.  A simple basket catch, come on Jones.  Huff why would you go down to one knee to field a ball at first base, were you even paying attention to the game, or did that one catch you by surprise while you were thinking about the Boston night life?  I suppose that is what I get for praising you in a previous blog, please step it up.  Too many more games like this and I think my orange Kool-Aid will run out.

 

Baltimore Orioles baseball means the world to me and all that I ask is that the team plays hard and smart every night.  Control the things that they can control like mental mistakes, managing game situations properly, and hustling on every play.  The wnst text service also informed us of more potentially bad news last night with the report that Matt Wieters was forced to leave a game early yesterday.  Matt, get well soon the O’s will need your help this year, and for the love of Pete please call up Brad Bergesen before this thing gets too far out of hand.  I can’t bear to see what the Red Sox will do to Adam Eaton tonight.

 

P.S.  Maybe they should think about throwing the Baltimore roadies back on because the baseball gods are obviously displeased about the alternate uniforms.  Posted below is the new theme song regarding my blogs about the O’s.

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

 

Warning this song has not been edited 18 and over only.

Comments Off

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

O’s blow early 7-0 lead, lose 10-8 to Red Sox in Boston

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

These are the losses that bust you up, the ones you never understand. Except that over the years, evenings like tonight have become so commonplace that they’re shrugged off en route to 90 losses. The Orioles blew a 7-0 lead tonight, allowing the Red Sox 10 runs on 12 hits and even sprinkling in a devastating error by Aubrey Huff to lose 10-8 at Fenway Park tonight.

The “BALTIMORE” jerseys were somehow absent tonight (good luck on the explanation for that one). The Red Sox were wearing bright red “warm up”jerseys and blue caps with the cartoon pair of Red Sox with white trim. They were sharp, but looked like a world championship softball team. But I’m sure they’ll sell some hats.

The Red Sox have suffered the first two weeks with an anemic offensive attack and yet while David Ortiz continues to struggle — he struck out three times tonight — Jason Bay and Dustin Pedroia led the way for the Sox tonight battering Jeremy Guthrie out of the game in the 5th inning and hammering the bullpen led by Danys Baez. Matt Albers got into hot water in the 8th but escaped like Houdini.

The Orioles are now 6-4 — not too shabby, all things considered but they are taking on all of the characteristics of a bad team. Orioles pitching has allowed 29 runs in the last 16 innings of baseball.

Not good!

My running blog below…

10:26 p.m. — Markakis flies out. Huff strikes out. Threat ends ugly and empty. Did I mention that they blew a 7-0 lead tonight with their ace on the hill?

10:19 p.m. –The Orioles are threatening in the eighth. Two on, Markakis up. It’s a “defining” moment. Iwajima is in the game. Lefty on lefty…

10:07 p.m. — They’re booing Big Papi…LOUDLY! Fenway Park sounds like a festival of the “Boo-g Powells.” Big Papi has now fanned three times. He looks like Little Papi in 2009 thus far. Alberts got Youkilis to ground into a double play. There’s still hope! They survived a bases-loaded, no out jam! This could be a “defining” moment, a turning point in the season. Or, maybe not…

10:05 p.m. — Matt Albers is in the game. The bases are loaded. Nobody out. And Big Papi is coming to the dish. Trouble?

9:58 p.m. — Someone just left me a comment about how Gawd-awful MASN’s in-house commercials are and how often we are subjected to them. Agreed. Just painful, and we’re only two weeks into the season! And now, after blowing a 7-0 lead, I’m subjected to Amber Theoharis smiling and giving us “minor league” pitching updates from Bowie, which will be a “good news” staple all season.

The biggest story in the Orioles’ universe tonight is their catcher of the future who should already be here tweaking a hammy in suburban Atlanta. I suppose it’s great that so many folks are interested in their farm system and they’re actually “marketing” these kids. I just hope to God a few of them can actually play come 2011. This is the biggest “sell job” the franchise has ever put on us while we watch pitching that has allowed 29 runs in the last 15 innings.

9:48 p.m. –I hear Danys Baez is a great guy. (I’ve never met him.) But he sucks as a pitcher. The Orioles have now officially blown a 7-0 lead with their ace on the hill against a division opponent that was reeling offensively before tonight.

9:35 p.m. — That Kevin Youkilis header was quite scary. Baez looked a little unglued. He clearly felt horrible about it. Always the scariest thing in baseball, next to the pitcher comebackers.

9:14 p.m. — The game is tied after Nick Green launched one over Adam Jones’ head. Guthrie is headed the shower. Even after being staked to eight runs of offensive support, he can only be the loser. He leaves the game with eight runs scored — no thanks to the Huff botching of a Bill Buckner-esque grounder — and two aboard. Enter Danys Baez. They call this “relief” pitching?

9:12 p.m. — Jeremy Guthrie was sailing through the fifth but all hell has broken loose with two outs. A triple, a couple of walks and then the Aubrey Huff snafu has staked the Red Sox to the brink of getting into the Orioles line of arsonists waiting out in the bullpen.

9:02 p.m. — The Matt Wieters “situation” is apparently nothing too serious, but the Orioles have been known to “fib” with their media relations. So, who knows? We’ll know more tomorrow.

8:48 p.m. — Lots of offense. Lots of bad pitching. Looks like another fun evening at Fenway Park is shaping up. At least Guthrie has survived the initial storm. More than we can say for Josh Beckett. Nick Markakis hits a salami. And Brian Roberts and Adam Jones continue to be the best 1-2 punch in MLB over the first two weeks.

Oh…and Big Papi looks sick. They’re on the way to a series lead. But then again, the bullpen will be called upon at some point.

7:12 p.m. — What the heck happened to “BALTIMORE” on the black road jerseys? Explanation anyone?

7:11 p.m. — Wow, those Red jerseys pop off the screen in HD. Just seeing Brian Roberts stroll up to the plate hitting .444 is pretty cool, especially when you consider how many times this organization dangled him out on the trade market. He’s rich. He’s cool. He’s community-oriented and an all-around good guy. And, he’s hitting .444. What’s not to like about BRob? One of the real reasons to go the ballpark if you do go…

I’m not going to blog inning by inning, but if you want to comment on the game at any point, feel free. I’ll approve them over the next hour during dinner. Looks like a beautiful night to be at Fenway for a game.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , ,

When Second is the Best

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

When Second is the Best 

Most of the time in sports teams, players, fans, and everyone else that is connected with an organization wants nothing more than to be first.  Second is never the best.  After all second is really nothing more than the first loser, right? 

Well that is true most of the time but not when it comes to the Orioles line-up and when we are talking about where to put Adam Jones  At the beginning of spring training this season Adam Jones walked up to his manager and asked that he be allowed to bat second.  Trembley responded by giving his budding star centerfielder a list of challenges that he must first overcome.  Then, if that was accomplished, he would supplant Markakis as the number two-hitter and move Markakis to the number three slot. 

Well luckily for the Orioles, Jones has responded to Trembley’s challenges with flying colors.  He has become a much more patient and disciplined hitter.  Not only is he taking pitches giving Roberts time to steal but he also is taking pitcher’s pitches: pitches that even if he made contact would result in outs more often then not.  His eye for the strike zone has really developed and matured since last season.  He also seems much more confident hitting with two strikes. 

Not only has Jones become more patient he has also been using the whole field.  He is waiting back on the ball and is driving it to right center and right field.  This is important for a number two hitter because it allows your lead off man to move from first to third.  Jones has the power to drive the ball out of the ball park to any field and the fact that he is willing to wait for his pitch and stay behind it and drive to all fields increases his plate coverage as well as prevents him from getting fooled by the breaking pitch.  The key in baseball is to be comfortable enough that you are able to give yourself as much time as possible to figure out what type of pitch is being thrown and what location it is heading. 

Clearly we have established that Jones has responded to Trembley’s challenges early in the season.  But there were some skeptical folks out there that felt that Markakis belonged in the second spot in the order.  After all, he hit great there last year.   I personally like Markakis better as the number three hitter and I think the benefits he gets from the number two spot will be his in the number three slot as well, as long as Jones continues to play well.  The reason is simple.  Whenever you have a Roberts on base in front of you, you will get more fastballs to hit because of the fear that he may steal.  That played a role in why Markakis hit better in the second spot last year.  But by putting Jones in front of Markakis you will make life better for all. 

Roberts will see more pitches to hit because pitchers will not want to walk him to get to Jones, as long as he keeps driving the ball and remaining patient at the plate.  As Roberts gets more fastballs he will get more hits.  Consequently it will bring Jones to the plate with Roberts on base, a threat to steal.  So Jones will see more fastballs, especially with Markakis behind him because people will not want to face Markakis with two on base.  He is too good of a hitter.  The wild card this season is Jones’s speed.  Because he is just as fast as Roberts, he too is a threat to steal.  So now if he gets on base you are in the same position with Markakis in the three-hole as you were with him in the two last year.  He is a patient and disciplined hitter and will wait for his pitch to drive.  This will give Jones time to steal and the threat of the steal will force pitchers to continue to pitch fastballs to Markakis. 

The top of the Orioles line-up sets up really well.  If Huff can hit like he did last year the top four spots for the Orioles will be as good as any in the league.  And remember help is on the way as Matt Weiters is preparing to begin his big league career some time in mid to late May or early June.  Just image what this line-up could be if he can step in to the five-hole and deliver as he is expected to do.   

 Clearly second can be the best!!!

Comments Off

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

How ’bout dem O’s!

Posted on 16 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

The Orioles are continuing their modus operandi from the past few years and are teasing us with winning baseball at the beginning of the season.  If you are a true orange and black fan it is hard not to get excited at the start of a new season, especially when they have started off so well winning each of their first three series.  Opening Day was an incredible experience this year and it surpassed past years due to the uncertainty of the weather and the eventual payoff at the end of the game.  The clouds threatened to rain on our parade and one of the best parties of the year in Baltimore.  The sun peeked out for a while in mid-afternoon but the rains came again right before game time which seemed like an omen representing the big bad Yankees hanging over our heads.

 

As you know by now the game was not rained out after all and the Orioles were like a bright ray of sunshine cutting through the clouds.  The bats came alive for 10 runs that day and chased Cy Young award winner and 161 million dollar mercenary CC Sabathia in the 4th inning.  It was an absolutely fantastic day for baseball and it was made even better by the fact that loyal Orioles fans did not let the Yankee supporters in attendance drown out their cheers.  The infamous lets go Yankees chant that can be clearly heard at Camden Yards in the later months of the season as the seats turn from orange to green was overpowered by boos for Tex-liar.  For the first time in over a decade I could feel the camaraderie of O’s fans permeate the stadium.  The way the O’s dominated the majority of that game made the Boog’s BBQ and the ample amount of brew taste that much sweeter.

 

I have been impressed with the way the Orioles are swinging the bats this season.  Izturis capped off the great Opening Day win with his first and probably only homerun this season, but aside from that he is the only player who needs to significantly increase his offensive production.  He was signed to upgrade a poor up the middle defense and has been a drastic improvement over 2008’s garbage group barring last evening’s boot in the third inning against the Rangers.  Zaun has not dominated with the bat so far but as all O’s fans know he was signed to mentor Matt Weiters once he is called up, and Zaun has done an adequate job in his stead.  We are however waiting with bated breath for Weiters’ arrival.

 

Aubrey Huff has impressed me with his transition to full-time first baseman.  Like I said he will never be mistaken for JT Snow over there but he is serviceable, and a significant upgrade over Kevin “Red Sox” Millar.  Huff won a Silver Slugger at first base last year which is a significant accomplishment considering first base is typically an offense first position.  The way he has been swinging the bat lately I really think the O’s should try to sign him to an extension.  Three or four years might get it done and they don’t have anyone in the minors even close to ready to supplant him in the near future.  Gone are the days of guys like Calvin Pickering and Ryan Minor toiling in the minors waiting to get a shot.  Lets get over our huff about what Aubrey said (it really wasn’t all that bad to start with) and embrace what he has been doing for the ball club.

 

Speaking of toiling in the minors, the trade for Felix Pie, who has been yanked up and down by the Cubs over the last few years, was a low risk/high reward deal.  Pie represents a potential impact player on defense, and a capable offensive player with speed.  The only thing the O’s gave up was Garrett Olsen a below average lefty who had virtually no upside, and unless he pulls a John Maine and comes out of nowhere to be a decent end of the rotation guy this is a can’t lose scenario.  The mastermind of the Orioles recent terrific player personnel decisions Andy MacPhail has really outdone himself on his two biggest trades.  Trading a steroid using, older than he claimed to be, unhappy player with declining power and range for 5 players including Houston’s best pitching prospect in Troy Patton, Luke Scott our starting DH, as well as Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate who are strong bullpen contributors has to be one of the biggest hoodwinks of all time.  It is only outdone by MacPhail’s other conquest over former Seattle Mariner’s GM Bill Bavasi.  A trade in which he dealt a disgruntled, no heart, only wants to pitch six innings crybaby who never lived up to the potential of his great stuff in Erik Bedard for 5 players including future face of the franchise centerfielder Adam Jones, as well as stud pitching prospect Chris Tillman and All-Star closer George Sherrill. 

 

O’s fans may not agree with everything MacPhail has done but no one can argue that this team has not improved significantly over past couple years, especially with building depth in the minor leagues.  The one complaint that I would raise is to question why they are starting guys like Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson who are guaranteed to have an ERA over 6.00 in place of young players like Brad Bergesen.  Bergesen could give up a ton of runs and be chased in the early innings just as easily, however Bergeson is in his early 20’s and actually has some upside.  With a little bit of experience he is almost destined to be better than those two stiffs.   Hendrickson was drafted by the 76’ers, 31st overall in the 1996 NBA draft, to quote EJ Pipkin’s 2004 campaign catchphrase “Who Knew?”  Maybe he should think about a return engagement with the NBA and put us out of our misery.  Prospect Radhames Liz is thought to be a starter and has recently been recalled; however he is a bullpen guy, period.  Liz has no upside as a starter but as a reliever he may find some late inning success.

 

The off-season signings of Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts seem like a harbinger of good things to come.  As the team continues to develop I hope that MacPhail will be able to sign our young players to long-term deals and keep the core guys together throughout their careers from the minors to major league success.  Let’s hope the O’s can continue to remain competitive for the remainder of the season, I want to see a game that matters in September for a change.

Comments Off

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

Feel the Magic: The O’s are beating the AL East’s best

Posted on 11 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

So far, there’s not much to complain about. If the Orioles can just get a dozen more starts like Mark Hendrickson’s gem last night, this might turn into an interesting spring. There once was a time when beating Tampa Bay in April was meaningless. No mas…

As I watch the rain fall today — and I can’t believe that they’ll actually play this evening but the forecast is for a late afternoon clearing and an “ontime” start –  the pitching advantage certainly benefits the Birds tonight with Jeremy Guthrie taking the ball against Jeff Niemann. The Orioles are now 3-1 and have managed to hold on late in all three games, contests that in previous years might’ve gone the wrong way. And the bullpen has really kinda stunk all week, which usually means “death knell.”

Here’s all you need to know about the offense: Brian Roberts is hitting .438 and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are stroking it at a .429 clip. The table is being set. I don’t love Jones in the No. 2 hole — he strikes out too much — but if he can continue to make contact and maybe even use his speed to bunt and hit behind runners (and Roberts will be on base plenty) there will be RBI opportunities for Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora or whomever is in the middle of the order. And, of course, there’s always the mystery of where Matt Wieters will bat once he’s summoned from the Tidewater Basin.

The difference between the Orioles winning 65 or 75 games this year will depend on the pitching. Heck, Hendrickson just MAKING it into the sixth inning is a victory if he can do that every five days. Resting the bullpen, which no doubt will be taxed, is essential. Especially with Adam Eaton-up-innings looming on Easter Sunday.

They’re 3-1. It’s raining. Guthrie wants the ball. They’ll be wearing BALTIMORE grey sweaters on Monday night (please join us at Padonia Station for a combo “Billick-DeCosta” draft show and BALTIMORE viewing party at 7 p.m. as the Birds travel to Arlington to take on the Rangers). A split over the next 48 hours and they will have taken two series against  “elite” teams in the AL East to start the season. And the reasoning goes: if they can beat these teams, they can beat anyone.

One more thought for the weekend: WOW, Evan Longoria is solid. If Wieters is HALF this good it’ll be fun watching when he gets called up, no matter their record.

Rain, rain…go away! We gotta play the Rays today…

Hope to see you at the Blast game tonight! (I’m DVRing the Birds in “low def” on MASN).

Comments Off

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

Orioles hold on again, beat Yankees 7-5 to start season with pair of wins

Posted on 08 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It shouldn’t have been so close in the end, but tonight was another “Oriole Magic” kinda night as the Birds jumped out to a big lead over the Yankees behind a nice starting effort from Koji Uehara and eventually held on to win 7-5 before a split crowd of orange and pinstripes.

Nick Markakis got three hits and the bullpen got sloppy at the end, but the Birds are 2-0 and coming back to Camden Yards at 1:35 tomorrow with a chance to sweep the Yankees to start the season.

Here’s my running blog from the game. As always, feel free to comment!

9:59 p.m. — Geez, not much has changed with Dennis Sarfate. Brought on to basically do a ninth-inning mop up, he’s now pushed my American Idol starting time back another 10 minutes and has forced George Sherrill into a game they’d probably rather have not used him. As my Pop would say, “the walks will kill ya!”

The Yankees lineup is dangerous — as Derek Jeter just showed. Jim Palmer is railing about the 27th out. The crowd gave Teixeira the rasberries and he just poked an RBI double into the gap and this has gotten frightening. Johnny Damon scored and here comes Hideki Matsui with the potential game-tying run at the plate. It’s a ballgame.

9:41 p.m. — The Orioles continue to just mow down the Yankees. They can’t hit the ball out of the infield. Danys Baez has retired six straight. Brian Roberts is flashing leather. Jim Palmer is talking ply-o-metrics. I might be catching up on American Idol by 10 p.m at this rate. Great game. Great start to the season. The Orioles are three outs away from bringing brooms back to the ballpark in the morning for a potential sweep by 4:30 tomorrow.

9:30 p.m. — Danys Baez just dropped Mark Teixeira to 0-for-8 on the season and 8-for-8 in post at-bat jeers, curses and boos. The crowd is relentless. It’s really kinda fun to boo him, I think. I’m squarely behind the effort but it’s kinda mindless when you really think about it. It’s NOT Teixeira’s fault the organization has become a national disgrace and no player of his caliber would want to play here. It’s Peter Angelos’ and the ownership group’s fault for seeing him in pinstripes. To even imply it’s anything less than that is just foolish. In 1996 and 1997, I have a feeling Teixeira dreamed of being an Oriole and being Cal Ripken. The reality of 2009 is that “deal” and “dream” isn’t remotely available for him. He made the right call for him. Maybe the fans get it? Maybe they don’t? Either way, it’s kinda fun and it’s what he gets for being a Yankee. Even if he wasn’t willing to take $50 million less to play here and lose for the forseeable future.

9:26 p.m. — Instead of an extra base hit, Adam Jones literally Paul Blair’d a ball into the left center field gap while blowing a bubble with his gum and, like Sheriff Buford T. Justice, “In HIGH SPEED PURSUIT.” Nice play. Two outs instead of a double and a guy standing on second. Defense. Nice!

9:20 p.m. — Gotta love the early-season boxscores with averages and ERAs. First, we had the Chris Ray 52.00 ERA yesterday. And now, after going 3-for-3 so far tonight, Nick Markakis is hitting .714. Of course, Chian-Ming Wang isn’t going to like his 17.18 ERA for the next four days either.

9:12 p.m. — Koji Uehara’s final line is more than acceptable: 5 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run and 1.80 ERA to start the season. Gimme 31 more of those.

With a six-run lead, for now I’ll forgive Matt Albers his sins.

8:55 p.m. — I’m sure someone will tell Gary Thorne it’s BUILD me up buttercup, not FILL me up buttercup. So I won’t bother him with it. He should be doing hockey games anyway! The Birds are rolling. My boy Don has been sending me texts about how much fun he’s having…

Oriole Magic, feel it happen!

8:40 p.m. — Damn…3 2/3 innings, 9 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks…a bed-wetting of biblical proportions for Wang. The New York tabloid headline writers are hard at work right now…

8:38 p.m. — Call me old school, but I like the sacrifice fly and the bunt and the “hitting the cutoff man.” After Melvin Mora kicked a grounder and a base-running gaffe earlier by Aubrey Huff, this inning has been contained some Orioles Magic. Doubles, sacrifice flies and a giant tater from Nick Markakis and the Yankees are staring up at 0-2 and the Orioles are flying high. It’s 7-1 and the pinstripers have gone to the pen in the 4th inning. The Yankees’ No. 1 and No. 2 starters have been drilled. The “shaky” Orioles rotation has delivered two big mid-game leads. Baseball can be crazy at times.

8:29 p.m. — I’m unabashed in my affection for Gregg Zaun, whose presence on the team alone makes me a much bigger fan of the 2009 Orioles. I’ve known Zaun since the beginning. He’s a great dude. I think he’ll be a manager one day. He’s an asset to the franchise and he just doubled in a run off the wall.

8:20 p.m. — Cody Ransom just came two feet away from tagging Koji Uehara for his first big-league dinger. Just when he was on the verge of getting into “quality start” area, it’s now a mini-threat. Young Brett Gardner gets his chance to be a hero and tie the game. He gets jammed and Uehara only gives up one run. Not bad. Let’s assess:

4 innings pitched, 1 run allowed. I’ll take this every night, especially against the Yankees. Let’s see how far he can go. My gut says, he’ll get to the 7th inning. My gut says a kid who leaves Japan to come here has guts and some fight in him, especially at 34 years of age. His stuff doesn’t look dominating, but if the Orioles had five of this guy we’ve seen over four innings, they might be the 80-win team some of the Kool Aid drinkers think they can be.

Gotta go listen to Ty Wigginton. He’s in line to be my “favorite Oriole of 2009.”

8:13 p.m. — OK, So Gary Thorne says there will be 20 million watching the game in Japan. I hope whoever is counting them isn’t the one who announces the Orioles home attendance. But it’s pretty hardcore in Japan for sure. I wish every American baseball fan could go to Japan and see the deal there. It’s a like a whole country of Red Sox fans. They’re into Bobby Valentine and that crazy Hello Kitty thing. Did anyone see the ESPN Valentine special last fall? Pretty spectacular show, really. It was a well done and “reality” in the truest sense of the word.

8:11 p.m. — MASN is going “behind the scenes” with the Japanese broadcast after this commercial. Funny I just wrote about it. But this oughta be pretty good…

DAMN…these MASN commercials almost make me want to DVR the game and skip them…they’re just dreadful, phony…eeeeeeeewwww!!!!

8:09 p.m. — I want Aubrey Huff to whack it!

7:59 p.m. — Political correctness is out the window. How about “O’s wing Wang’s number”?

It’s the third inning. The game has been interesting. A sea of empty seats. Lots of Yankees fans. Not too many O’s fans but the ones there are crushing Teixeira, which is officially a “tradition” now after 48 hours. And while all of the passion in the stadium is for Tex, the real story tonight is how many Japanese folks (literally MILLIONS) are watching tonight’s game with a nationalistic pride that we give to things like the 1980 Olympic hockey team. When Uehara and Hideki Matsui face off, the Japanese media are at a fever pitch. Tokyo is at a fever pitch. I had Jim Traber on tonight to talk about baseball and Japan. The videos I shot at Dodger Stadium two weeks ago are pretty cool. Thousands of hardcore Japanese baseball fans who care more about their national players than they do whether the Yankees or the Orioles win. It’s kinda cool.

Brian Roberts just drew a leadoff walk in the 3rd. Nice start. A little rally would be nice…

7:40 p.m. — I was one of the many screaming for MASN to finally get into the 21st century and deliver these games in HD. Especially given how the public was completely hoodwinked into having to pay the Mister Angelos and Sons Network a cool $2.60 per month for Hawaiian League Baseball and reruns of the 1970 World Series that I already own on pirated DVDs. (Thanks to the person who provided these…)

Melvin Mora just botched a pretty routine grounder with a bad grip. Jim Palmer is telling old Brooks Robinson fielding stories. I like Jim Palmer’s old stories. I like when Gary Thorne is calling the games, even though he should be doing hockey games next week, which God created him to do. But, I’m happy to have him.

Koji Uehara has made it through a leadoff walk to Jeter and a second-inning jam unscathed. All is well.

The one thing I didn’t consider with MASN HD was seeing so many freaking Yankees fans in HD behind home plate. Bring back Home Team Sports! Or Super TV!

7:27 p.m. — What the hell was Aubrey Huff doing? Trying to steal third? Yikes! Finally the Yankees fans manage a cheer. A substantial cheer, unfortunately, tonight. Mora’s single would’ve scored Huff. They gave a run away. With their pitching issues, giving runs away against the Yankees is not advised…

7:23 p.m. — Nick Markakis just one-hopped one off the wall after Adam Jones roped one off of Chian-Ming Wang, and the O’s are up 1-0. There is nothing more dramatic than seeing how empty the stadium is after so many people were there 48 hours ago. Kinda sad, especially when I remember the nights when the ballpark would be crazy full tonight and the city would be rocking. I drove through downtown an hour ago and it was barely like there was a game. This crowd is tiny and Aubrey Huff just added to the pop with a double to right field. It’s now 2-0.

7:20 p.m. — Damn, they’re booing Teixeira every time he TOUCHES THE BALL! He IS Larry Murphy! It might be worth going to a game when the Yankees come to town JUST TO DO IT! It’s like a new dance, or something!

7:14 p.m. — Koji walked his first major league hitter, Derek Jeter. Now Mark Teixeira is getting HAMMERED by the handful of Orioles fans in what appears to be a sea of Yankees fans. Prediction: this will be ugly forever. This is the beginning of what I’ll call the “Larry Murphy” rule. Once Murphy left the Caps and went to the Red Wings he got “whooooped” until the end of time. Teixeira will come to Baltimore roughly 60 times over the next six years (Yankee-Orioles playoff games not included…but then again, I’m not exactly holding my breath on that!). He will be roundly, doggedly booed for “sport” until his dying day as a Yankee. It’s kinda “caught on.”

Koji Uehara had a solid first inning after the walk and his ERA is markedly better than Chris Ray’s first inning of the season.

7:05 p.m. — Ok, this’ll be my first crack at a live blog during an O’s game. Since most of us tend to watch the game on TV and the game of baseball lends itself to “instant” observations, this will be a lot of fun. I’m not sure how much to write, or how much you’ll participate, but at least I get to speak my mind and have some fun.

And, it’ll beat watching the game “alone.”

So far, I’ve been watching MASN HD for the last 20 minutes and I’ve been subjected to a pimp-a-thon by Greg Bader about every upcoming promotion and Rick Dempsey talking about his nephew Gregg Zaun, which is just a little weird, even though I like them both very much.

Koji Uehara has taken the hill and his first pitch is a strike. Nice start…

Comments Off

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

Boos for Teixeira and the ghost of Jeffrey Maier spark O’s to 10-5 win over Yankees

Posted on 06 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, whatever they did to keep away the New York fans and somehow get orange-colored sweaters into the seats worked. It was a major victory for the Orioles front office, keeping Opening Day from being ruined by a sea of pinstripers.

Then, of course, the outcome, a 10-5 win over the Yankees, didn’t suck either. And the WAY they won, right? A stolen home run with all of the imagery of Jeffrey Maier. They chased the Yankees big-money starter C.C. Sabathia in the fifth inning. The bullpen folded just to the brink of collapse but the offense led the way late in the game. It was a blueprint for how they’re going to win this year (if they’re going to win). Get a solid start. Give way to the bullpen. Hit the ball. Don’t kick the ball around. And take their chances.

No reason to do play-by-play here – I’m assuming you watched the game. Doesn’t everyone watch Opening Day? But the most compelling part of today’s game was the ability to stay into the game and it was a good dramatic start to the season and it gave Orioles fans everywhere some pride, a nice beatdown of the Yankees and Mark Teixeira on Opening Day.

My favorite memory will undoubtedly be the Teixeira boo birds. It was a classic “Welcome Home” for Tex, who said he didn’t expect anything like what he saw from his “neighbors” today.

Every time Mark Teixeira came to the plate, the crowd killed him. It was perhaps the most brutal “welcome” for a player in Oriole Park history. I don’t ever remember a specific player getting hammered quite so lustily by the crowd.

Here’s a couple of close ones, this side of John Elway, Denver, circa 1983: the night Pedro Martinez got the “whose your daddy” chant for the Opener in 2004, the night in 2004 when we brought 2,000 fans into the right field bleachers to razz Vladimir Guerrero (I think he had three hits and 6 RBIs that night) after he signed with the Angels, maybe Bill Hasselback after the fight, certainly Cito Gaston anytime after the 1993 All-Star Game. Sammy Sosa certainly got the great signs and scorn as a Cubbie when he came in town after getting popped with the “Scarlet S.”

But the Teixeira raspberries were right up there on Opening Day. It was well done by the disgruntled Orioles fans, even if you and I probably would’ve done the same thing and signed with the Yankees given the circumstances and the money involved and the notion of being an Oriole and working here with a perennial doormat team. But the Mt. St. Joe star got the ultimate “Baltimore cheer” at the ballpark today. Good for the fans!

Today’s win was a recipe for 2009 success. Get a decent starting effort – let’s say six innings or more. Be opportunistic on offense, even when you aren’t hitting home runs. Today, the Orioles strung together hits and walks and aggressive baserunning (did you see that Ty Wigginton tag on a fly ball to Johnny Damon in left field?) to beat the highest-priced team money can buy. Oh, and a few big late hits from Cesar Izturis and Aubrey Huff sealed the fate of the 0-1 Yankees.

They’ll need more efforts like today’s over the course of a long 162-game season. They outplayed the Yankees today, even without the help from that kid in left field who will be 2009’s Jeffrey Maier.

My favorite gaffes, events or notable random notes:

Jim Hunter, direct quote: “We’ve already experienced a lifetime of great memories here in this grand ballpark at Camden Yards.”

We have?

Speaking of Hunter, his predecessor was twice caught on camera by MASN, which must’ve flipped out the upper management.

First, Jon Miller was caught in the shot with Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, canoodling with his old chums before taking the ESPN assignment. Then, Miller was with Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer the instant the camera was on them like 60 seconds later. It was crazy and Miller twice went scrambling out of the shot so he didn’t piss anyone off. We all know he should’ve never left to begin with…

Early in the game, when Teixeira was getting mercilessly booed, the MASN HD cameras panned to a women who was nursing a Bud Light and clearly mouthing the words: “a—–hole”…kinda funny!

The “Yankees Suck” cheers early in the game were a nice sound to hear emanating from Camden Yards…

Is it just me or does Dave Trembley look like William Shatner in those goofy MASN commercials where he’s scolding “the media” with his wife as the audience in his living room?

So much to talk about. And it’s just the beginning. A great start to what we all hope is an interesting season for the Orioles.

And the best part? The return of “Oriole Pride” at least for a day. The crowd was eaily 80 percent orange, a major upset.

At least tonight Orioles fans go to bed in sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Let’s see what Koji Uehara can bring on Wednesday.

You really couldn’t ask for much more on Opening Day.

Comments Off