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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 bats fall silent in series loss to Rangers

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Orioles bats fall silent in series loss to Rangers

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles lineup started off with a bang against the Texas Rangers over the weekend, plating five runs in the first three innings of rookie Zach Britton’s masterful performance in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday, but quickly dissolved after that.

Adam Jones’ solo home run in the second inning of Saturday’s nightcap was the only run scored in the final 23 innings in the series loss to Texas as the Orioles fell 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

The Orioles entered Sunday afternoon’s game tied for 10th in the American League in batting average (.220), 11th in on-base percentage (.281), and 10th in extra-base hits.

“I can speak for myself and Brian [Roberts] at the top of the order, I think we need to do a little better job getting on base,” right fielder Nick Markakis said. “We’ve been facing some tough pitching. Other than that, I think we’re pretty pleased with our record right now considering the way we’ve been swinging the bats, which says a lot about our pitching. We’ll get the bats going.”

Considering the offense was considered the team’s strength entering the season, it makes the Orioles’ 6-3 start that much more remarkable. However, the Baltimore bats will need to heat up this week as the Orioles head to the Bronx to take on the powerful Yankees for a three-game set.

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Texas starters Matt Harrison and Derek Holland combined to hold the Orioles to one run over 13 innings of work in the final two games while the Rangers bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings over the three-game series.

“You face good pitching, that’s usually what tends to happen,” said left fielder Luke Scott, who flied out to center as a pinch-hitter representing the tying run in the eighth. “When that happens, you just tip your cap. You look at your at-bats as, ‘Did we give at-bats away against tough pitching?’ And no, we didn’t. We battled, and when guys needed to make a good pitch for the other team, they made good pitches.”

Gutsy Guthrie

It’s been an unbelievable nine-day stretch for Jeremy Guthrie. The veteran pitcher started with a masterful eight-inning performance on Opening Day, spent two nights in the hospital earlier in the week, and finally returned to the mound at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for his first home start of the year on Sunday.

Despite feeling deprived of his normal energy while still recovering from a bout of pneumonia, Guthrie gave the Orioles six innings against the Rangers, allowing one run on four hits. His fastball sat in the 91-92 mph range for most of the afternoon, but the 32-year-old was unable to reach back for something extra on several different occasions.

“It was a battle the entire time,” Guthrie said. “Was fighting, trying to make better pitches and didn’t always do that. I was fortunate a lot on some of the outs that they didn’t hit it a lot further than they did.”

Despite several screaming outs in his six innings of work, the lone scoring blemish came in the fourth inning when Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre homered into left-center to give Texas a 1-0 lead. Guthrie gave way after 84 pitches after feeling fatigued for much of the afternoon.

“I thought he gave us everything he had,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He was running out of gas there at the end. I was watching him when he backed up third on a fly ball for the last out. Gutty effort. [He] gave us a chance to win and you’ve got to have that with the pitching they run out there.”

The effort, however, was wasted as the Orioles couldn’t generate a single run of support as Guthrie fell to 1-1 on the season. He will next pitch on Saturday in Cleveland, with Monday’s off day providing an extra day of rest for the recovering pitcher.

“He threw great,” Markakis said. “You can’t ask for anything more from him. We couldn’t put up any runs for him, which as hitters is tough.”

Fox-hole at catcher

Spring training star Jake Fox made his second straight start on Sunday, but it came with the unconventional transition from catcher one night to left field the next. Showalter wants to get Fox’s bat in the lineup, but it poses a difficult problem when Matt Wieters is starting at catcher.

With no other backup catcher on the roster, the Orioles are left with a dangerous proposition when Fox is playing elsewhere in the field. In the unlikely scenario in which one of the two would be substituted and the other would have to leave the game, the Orioles would find themselves looking at another player on the roster as an emergency catcher.

Who it might be is anyone’s guess, including Showalter’s.

“[The emergency catcher] may not know it yet,” the manager quipped. “At one point, it was going to be [current Triple-A pitcher Rick] VandenHurk. That’d have been really tough. Take him out of the game pitching, put him behind the plate. Vandy was a catcher for three years, two years.”

Showalter pointed to the Detroit Tigers’ handling of Victor Martinez and Alex Avila as a similar situation. Ironically, the Orioles expressed interest in Martinez before the free-agent catcher signed with Detroit.

The Orioles found themselves without a backup to Wieters on Sunday when Scott hit for Fox in the bottom of the eighth when Texas closer Neftali Feliz entered the game with two men on base and a 3-0 lead.

“No, we’ve talked about that [emergency situation],” Showalter said. “It’s something we’ve got to be careful with.”

Fox’s struggles behind the plate continued Saturday night after allowing two stolen bases and catching a disastrous outing for Jake Arrieta, after which Showalter questioned the sequencing of pitches. Showalter made no secret this spring about Fox’s need to improve defensively if he is going to be a long-term solution as Wieters’ backup.

Last year’s backup Craig Tatum is currently catching at Triple-A Norfolk.

Short-stopped

With J.J. Hardy scheduled for an MRI and expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique injury on Monday, the Orioles will rely on the combination of Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino while Hardy rehabs the injury at extended spring training in Sarasota.

“Izzy and Robert, both, present us with a good option,” Showalter said prior to Sunday’s game.

Defensively, yes, but the offensive implications are exactly why president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail pried away Hardy from the Minnesota Twins in the offseason. Baltimore shortstops hit just .236 with a .549 OPS in 2010, with Izturis receiving 142 starts at the position.

With Andino or Izturis manning the ninth spot in the order, it will likely create fewer RBI opportunities for Roberts, who is currently tied with third baseman Mark Reynolds for the team lead in runs batted in (eight).

Good starts not so rare

The final two losses to drop the Texas series take some of the air out of the Orioles’ sail, but a 6-3 record has Baltimore talking baseball with much excitement. Hyperbole and overreaction are synonymous with the first week of the baseball season, but it’s hard to blame fans for feeling enthused about a club with a reasonable chance to end the current streak of 13 consecutive losing seasons.

“We come out prepared everyday, play the game smart, play the game hard,” Scott said. “We’ve had some success up and down the lineup, and our pitching staff has done a great job for us. I think that’s where everything started. We’ve been getting good outings from our starters. The bullpen’s been coming in and giving us quality innings. It’s a good formula for success and hopefully we can continue that.”

However, with the Orioles heading to Yankee Stadium and following that with a three-game series in Cleveland against the red-hot Indians, optimism could come back down to earth in a hurry.

And it wouldn’t be that terribly different than a number of occasions over the last 13 years. For all the talk of this year being different, the Orioles are no strangers to strong starts.

Strong starts since 1997
1998 – 10-2 (finished 79-83)
2000 – 15-10 (finished 74-88)
2003 – 15-12 (finished 71-91)
2004 – 20-16 (finished 78-84)
2005 – 42-28 (finished 74-88)
2006 – 11-7 (finished 70-92)
2007 – 11-7 (finished 69-93)
2008 – 6-1 (finished 68-93)
2009 – 6-2 (finished 64-98)

Of course, most would correctly argue this year’s team has far more talent than those clubs of the past, but things can fall apart very quickly. In reality, many of the superlatives tossed around over the last nine days aren’t that terribly different than ones uttered in past seasons after strong starts.

The true test for gauging how much progress the Orioles have made will be watching them succeed in the middle portion of the season and, most importantly, seeing them play well in August and September when pitchers — especially young ones — tend to wear down.

Last season’s 34-23 finish under Showalter bodes well for this team’s chances, but it’s important for fans to brace themselves for struggles, especially in the starting rotation while the Orioles await Brian Matusz’s return in a few weeks.

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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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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7 as Orioles go for series win over Detroit

Posted on 07 April 2011 by Luke Jones

***Join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00 as the Orioles host the Tigers in the finale of a three-game set at Camden Yards***

BALTIMORE — Coming off their first loss of the season in a 7-3 defeat at the hands of Detroit ace Justin Verlander, the 4-1 Orioles go for the series victory with Chris Tillman hoping to build upon his impressive debut in Tampa Bay last Saturday.

The 22-year-old held the punchless Rays without a hit for six innings before being lifted after throwing 101 pitches in the eventual 3-1 victory for the Orioles. Tillman will be opposed by veteran Brad Penny, who signed with the Tigers after an injury-shortened season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010.

Tillman still struggles with his command of the four-seam fastball, leaving it up in the strike zone far too often — including his start against the Rays, according to the pitcher — and has not shown the velocity scouts raved about during his climb up the farm system chain. He continues to work with a two-seamer to generate more movement, but did not throw it very much in his six-inning stint on Saturday.

As for Penny, he is beginning his second stint in the American League after spending a season with Boston in 2009 in which he went 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA. At 33 years old, Penny fits the description of a National League pitcher who could be overmatched against AL hitters. His first start of the season seemed to confirm that opinion as Penny surrendered eight runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Yankees in the Bronx on Saturday.

Despite the 4-1 start, the Baltimore lineup continues to struggle in the opening week of the season, entering the day 13th in the American League in on-base percentage (.253) and has just 11 extra-base hits in five games. With the powerful Texas Rangers and New York Yankees looming next on the schedule and the Orioles relying on an undermanned starting rotation, the bats need to heat up soon if the positive early-season vibes are to continue.

Tonight seems as good a night as any to break out with the veteran Penny on the mound for the Tigers.

In other news, Jeremy Guthrie is back at the ballpark and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow to determine whether he makes the start on Sunday against the Rangers. Guthrie was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this week.

Despite not being in the original lineup posted by Buck Showalter, left fielder Luke Scott returns to the lineup tonight after missing the last three games with a groin injury. He will hit fifth behind Vladimir Guerrero.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Detroit
CF Austin Jackson
2B Will Rhymes
RF Brennan Boesch
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
3B Don Kelly
LF Ryan Raburn
C Alex Avila
SS Ramon Santiago

SP Brad Penny (0-1, 16.62 ERA)

Baltimore
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy

SP Chris Tillman (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, the Orange Crush live chat will be open for business as the Orioles try to take their second straight series of the season. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the night! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Live from Camden Yards: Join our Orange Crush chat at 7 as Orioles go for best start since 1970

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Luke Jones

***Join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00 as the Orioles host the Tigers in the first home night game of the season***

BALTIMORE — With their sights set on their best start in 41 years, the Orioles (4-0) take on the Detroit Tigers in the second of a three-game set at Camden Yards.

It won’t be an easy task as Brad Bergesen — filling in for the ill Jeremy Guthrie — goes to the mound against one of the top pitchers in the American League in right-hander Justin Verlander (0-0, 4.50 ERA). Despite filling in for Guthrie, Bergesen ironically is the second-most experienced starting pitcher (47 career starts) in the Baltimore starting rotation.

Last season was one of peaks and valleys for Bergesen as the 25-year-old started slowly after injuring his shoulder while filming an offseason commercial and suffered through a demotion to Triple-A Norfolk due to ineffectiveness. Despite the uneven season, Bergesen finished strongly by going 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in his final 12 starts of 2010.

Verlander is coming off an 18-win season that included an impressive 219 strikeouts in 224 1/3 innings and a 3.37 ERA. With the Baltimore lineup not exactly tearing the cover off the ball in the first four games, Bergesen will need to continue the trend of excellent starting pitching to give the Orioles much of a chance in this one.

Luke Scott is again out of the lineup as he continues to recover from a groin injury suffered in Tampa Bay. Buck Showalter said in his pre-game comments to the media that Scott would be available to pinch-hit and continues to improve. The Orioles manager had previously targeted a Wednesday return for the starting left fielder. Scott said he is very close to returning before the game.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Detroit
CF Austin Jackson
2B Will Rhymes
RF Magglio Ordonez
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
LF Brennan Boesch
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
3B Brandon Inge

SP Justin Verlander (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

Baltimore
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
RF Vladimir Guerrero
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Felix Pie
SS J.J. Hardy

SP Brad Bergesen (2010: 8-12, 4.98 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, the Orange Crush live chat will be open for business as the Orioles try to make it five in a row to begin the season. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the night! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Several ‘O’-bservations from Monday’s 5-1 victory over Tigers

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Several ‘O’-bservations from Monday’s 5-1 victory over Tigers

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Ryan Chell

Well, the weather could have not nicer on an Opening Day in Baltimore. 80+ degrees and the Orioles fans were out in support of their first place team.

A day like Monday certainly proves that God is a baseball fan.

And the first-place Orioles did their part in their home-opener defeating the Tigers 5-1, as starter Jake Arrieta continued the trend of quality starts by Orioles pitchers, as the fourth-starter in the rotation scattered six hits in six innings of work while only allowing one run to pass home plate.

Jake Arrieta

He struck out three and only walked two Tigers.

The Orioles offense also did its part in the bottom of the fifth against Tigers starter Rick Porcello, whose only mistake was giving up a three-run bomb to Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts after shortstop JJ Hardy doubled and left fielder Felix Pie walked.

Roberts has both of Baltimore’s home runs this year.

Jason Berken came in to relieve  Arrieta, and continued his fantastic start to the season as he struck out another three batters in his two innings of work.

In his two games to start the season, Jason Berken has six strikeouts in three innings pitched.

The Orioles are now 4-0 and still sit atop first-place in the AL East.

The last time the Orioles finished with that unblemished record was 1997, when Davey Johnson’s team reached the ALCS to lose to the Cleveland Indians in six games.

If the Orioles were to take two of three from the Tigers on Wednesday with Brad Bergesen taking the hill for a sick Jeremy Guthrie, the Orioles’ 5-0 start would be the best since 1970, when the team won the World Series.

And like I’ve said, it may be early-especially with the defending AL Champs-the Texas Rangers-coming in over the weekend, but it’s better than being 0-4 that’s for sure.

Some ‘O’-bservations from the team so far four games into the season:

1. Starting Pitching

Jake Arrieta kept up with the pace that Jeremy Guthrie, and rookie pitchers Chris Tillman and Zach Britton set over the weekend in Tampa, as he earned yet another quality start for the Orioles starting rotation.

In 26 innings so far in this early season, the Orioles’ four starters have an ERA of 0.69.

As a whole, the pitching staff has an ERA of 1.00 allowing four runs in as many victories. They have struck out 30 opposing batters, which is tied for third in the majors.

We’ve seen before in recent years young pitching staffs who had to go through some growing pains before taking the next step, and the Orioles young staff ( Guthrie-31, Tillman-22, Britton-23, Arrieta-25, along with Matusz-24, Bergesen-25) could be in a position to take the next step.

And don’t forget. Both starters Justin Duchscherer (hip) and Brian Matusz (back) are on the DL and should pose intriguing questions to manager Buck Showalter when they return.

A problem I would like him to have by the way.

2. Bullpen

There could be concerns toward the back end of the bullpen after closer Kevin Gregg faced five hitters in the top of the ninth Saturday in the Orioles 3-1 victory.

In the same game, lefty Michael Gonzalez-who struggled last year as the Orioles closer-had similar issues with his control as he only lasted a third of an inning and walked two.

A big concern considering as of now “Gonzo” is the only lefty in the bullpen-one making 6 million dollars.

But, on the bright side, Jason Berken appears to have made the right decision to rehab his labrum injury in the off-season as opposed to have surgery.

He and late-inning specialist Koji Uehara-also re-signed in the off-season-have combined for 4 2/3 innings of work, seven strikeouts, while only allowing one hit.

Koji Uehara

If Gregg and Gonzalez continue to struggle, could these two be the guys to lock down the eighth and ninth innings? Uehara closed games for Showalter last year, and Berken has always thrived in his one-inning-of-work appearances.

3. The Outfield

I saw this “proposal” in the baseball preview of Sports Illustrated, and at first I disagreed with Ben Reiter, who wrote the AL East preview for SI.

His “proposal” was along the lines of leaving the outfield of Pie in left, Jones in center, and Markakis in right the way it is to make sure the defensive range in the outfield remains at a peak variable.

Felix Pie

Clearly, Felix Pie doesn’t offer the pop at the plate Luke Scott or Vladimir Guerrero would should they be in the lineup, but his range so far has been an asset to this Oriole pitching staff. Reiter’s proposal dealt with leaving Pie out in left on a regular basis and having a “streaky” Luke Scott-who clearly doesn’t have the speed and range Pie possesses-and an aging Vladimir Guerrero split time at DH.

Pie had a huge outfield assist in Saturday’s game pitched by Tillman, gunning down B.J. Upton at the plate to keep the game tied at 0-0.

And Markakis saved the game later with his up-against-the wall catch to end the game.

At short glance, the defensive outfield could be an asset to this team and young pitchers. It could be in their best interest to take a hit at the plate (pun intended) while making sure opposing hits don’t drop in front of Luke Scott.

4. Home-grown hitters on fire

The Orioles three first-round picks in their lineup (2B Brian Roberts, RF Nick Markakis, and C Matt Wieters) right now are hitting .294, .429, and .385 respectively.

Roberts has both of the team’s home runs, and Markakis appears to be very comfortable in the two-hole in front of Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, where all he needs to worry about is getting on base.

Both he and Wieters recorded their first doubles Monday against the Tigers, and if you’ll notice with Wieters, there is a small change in his batting stance from a year ago.

Last year, Wieters stood straight up the batters box, and now it appears as if he has a small bend in his knees, which not only will help a tall 6’5” catcher shrink the strike zone, but hopefully will get his lower legs more involved in his swing-hopefully bringing that power Baltimore fans have waited for.

5. Free-agent thumpers-are not

Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee meanwhile have not been able to provide that huge spark in the three-hole and cleanup spots in the lineup. Neither of them have an extra base hit, an RBI to their credit, and the two’s batting average is .214 for Lee and .125 for Guerrero.

But, I wouldn’t expect their hitting struggles to continue though. It may only take a week for them to return to their true form.There are still 158 games to play gentleman.

Lee even got a stole base Monday. At least that’s something.

-Chell

ryan@wnst.net

(photos courtesy Rob Carr-Getty Images)

WNST-We Never Stop Talking!

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Live from Camden Yards: An Opening Day edition of the Orange Crush at 3!

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Live from Camden Yards: An Opening Day edition of the Orange Crush at 3!

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Luke Jones

***Join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 3:00 as the Orioles take on the Detroit Tigers in the home opener!***

BALTIMORE – Fresh off a sweep to begin the season in Tampa Bay, the 3-0 Orioles return home for Opening Day to take on the Detroit Tigers (1-2) and to begin the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Jake Arrieta takes the hill hoping to continue the pitching success from the weekend — specifically with the starters — after allowing only three runs in three games. Manager Buck Showalter downplayed the overall significance of the hot start but acknowledged the benefit of a good start for a young team short on winning experience.

“It’s certainly not a bad thing,” Showalter said. “I don’t think anybody will have higher expectations than, hopefully, our players have of themselves and them as a group.”

However, all is not rosy on Opening Day as Jeremy Guthrie has been hospitalized with the flu. His fever spiked overnight and underwent tests on Monday morning to determine the nature of the illness, according to Showalter. Brad Bergesen would start in his place on Wednesday should Guthrie be unable to go.

“We’ll see what the next couple days bring,” Showalter said. “We’ll probably make a decision on that [Tuesday].”

It’s not exactly the news Orioles fans wanted to hear after Brian Matusz was placed on the disabled list over the weekend and veteran Justin Duchscherer continues to work his way back from back and hip issues on the 15-day DL.

In other injury news, Showalter said Luke Scott (groin) would be available this afternoon, but the manager’s preference is to rest his regular left fielder until Wednesday in “a perfect world” scenario. Felie Pie will start in Scott’s place.

Here are this afternoon’s starting lineups:

Detroit
CF Austin Jackson
2B Will Rhymes
RF Magglio Ordonez
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
LF Brennan Boesch
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
3B Brandon Inge

SP Rick Porcello

Orioles
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Felix Pie
SS J.J. Hardy

SP Jake Arrieta

As we do for each weekday home game, please join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 3:00 as the Orioles look for their first 4-0 start since 1997. Drew Forrester and an array of WNST.net personalities will be chatting and offering their thoughts on the red-hot Orioles. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest news and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Showalter, Jake Fox, J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, and Chris Tillman as we welcome the Orioles back to Baltimore on a beautiful April afternoon!

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Detroit Tigers  April 4th- April 7th

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Detroit Tigers April 4th- April 7th

Posted on 04 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles just made the 2011 Opening Day at Camden Yards one of the most anticipated games since… well… the Ravens moved in next door.

This is the first time since 1997 that the O’s have started the season 3-0. The ’97 season was when the team went Wire-to-Wire, the last ball club to do so.

Out of the 30 teams in the MLB, only four currently have an undefeated record (Rangers, Phillies, Reds & Orioles).

Since 2002, the Orioles have won but only two games in the their season openers at the Yard (L – 2008 & 2010).

As the Tigers come to town, the Black and Orange will fill the stands to watch the great Earl Weaver (Invented the art of being ejected!!!!) throw out the first pitch and more importantly, sing “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”, with an ice cold Natty Boh in hand during the 7th inning stretch.

 

 Baltimore Orioles vs Detroit Tigers

                (4-0)                                                                           (1-3)

 

Monday, April 4th 3:05pm EST

W 5-1  Orioles vs. Tigers

Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

Wednesday, April 6th 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Tigers

Brad Bergesen (0-0) vs. Justin Verlander (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

Thursday, April 7th 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Tigers

Chris Tillman (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Brad Penny (0-1, 16.62 ERA)

 

Projected Lineup: Baltimore Orioles

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

2. Nick Markakis- RF

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

5. Matt Wieters- C

6. Adam Jones- CF

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

8. Felix Pie- LF

9. JJ Hardy- SS

 

Projected  Lineup: Detroit Tigers

1. Austin Jackson- CF

2. Will Rymes- 2B

3. Magglio Ordonez- RF

4. Miguel Cabrera- 1B

5. Victor Martinez- DH

6. Ryan Raburn- LF

7. Jhonny Peralta- SS

8. Brandon Inge- 3B

9. Alex Avila- C

 

 

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 Wednesday at 7PM!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orioles 2011 Season… in Review… a Preview

Posted on 31 March 2011 by solidgoldmonkey

It’s that time of year again; it’s time to review the 2011 season. It felt like just yesterday I was threatening my neighbor with my lawn-mower because he said Cesar Izturis would hit 15 home runs while I said he would hit over 30. Oh, how wrong we were.

But two years of probation aside, it’s time for me to review the crazy 2011 Orioles season. Whew, where to begin, I know! I’ll begin in

April:

Opening day for the Orioles was one to remember, with a stunning 13-0 decimation of the Rays the Orioles prove that the years of sad-sack esque failure are over… April Fools! Haha, oh what fun. No, of course that’s not what happened. The opener was like every other opening day, extremely forgettable, I think the Orioles won, but don’t hold me to it.

The Oriole’s home opener begins with a bang! Well, to be more realistic it was more of a pop. At least that’s how the fans in the 1st base field boxes described what they heard when Vladimir Guerrero blew out both his knees jogging to 1st base after being walked in the second inning. Many fans were left in total shock as the unimaginable happened; Vladimir Guerrero actually got a walk.

April, which Orioles fans have lovingly nicknamed “ContinuousDissapointment-ril” comes to a peculiar end. Down by 3, with the bases full, Red Sox slugging catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia faces Kevin Gregg. After half heartedly chipping a 0-2 changeup right to Cesar Izturis, a series of strange events involving a squirrel, a Richard Simmons imposter, and the spontaneous combustion of Luke Scott’s glove, allows for an amazing inside the park grand slam, proving once and for all that God does not, in fact, bleed orange.

May:

While reading the Sunday paper in his favorite lazy-boy, coach Buck Showalter receives a call from his daughter announcing she was getting married, Buck celebrates the long awaited occasion by showing no cheerful facial expression whatsoever.

The Orioles finally make headlines! Unfortunately it’s not for reasons you would want. In a startling revelation it is discovered that owner Peter Angelos had been lying for years. Investigation reveals that Angelos was not in fact a billionaire lawyer/part time seal clubber like he claimed. It turns out Angleos was actually three bitter dwarves in a rubbery old man costume. Fans are alarmingly un-alarmed by the revelation.

June:

The Orioles, now with a win-loss record that would make the Washington Generals blush, try to draw in more fans with a special promotion “Ravens Cheerleaders Mopless” where several Raven’s cheerleaders would shave their heads for cancer awareness. An unfortunate misspelling on the many of the billboards that were posted over the city led to the first ever all-male sellout crowd in Orioles history. Upon learning the truth many fans begin to riot, leading Baltimore police to casually blame the drastic increase in violence on “the weather.”

After yet another mispronunciation of his last name by a stadium announcer, Felix Pie finally snaps. As a way of proving to everyone how fed up he is, he decides to exhibit great potential in every way possible, and then play like a AAA journeyman.

July:

July came and went, as many great Orioles fan celebrated the traditional Baltimore heat wave by over-heating and dying as they waited in line at Boog’s BBQ. On a completely unrelated note, since then many surviving fans have found themselves shaking with anticipation to have more of Boog’s newest dish; “Mystery Ribs.”

Angelos-Gate continues as a trial is scheduled for the three dwarfs found to be controlling the former Yellow Pages lawyer as a “Weekend at Bernie’s” style puppet. The defense is severely weakened when police find a notebook labeled “Plans to Destroy the Integrity of Every Major-Metropolitan City on the East Coast” in Angelos’s desk.

Brad Bergesen is chosen as the Orioles lone all-star despite being traded a month earlier. When asked why they made the controversial choice Major League Baseball was quoted as saying; “By being traded, Brad allowed the Orioles the opportunity to call Zach Britton up from the minors. This selfless act was by far the greatest contribution any player on the 25 man roster has made to the Orioles all season.”

August:

On a rare beautiful and sunny Friday afternoon that Buck Showalter had off, Buck was drinking his favorite brand of beer, eating a delicious hot-dog, and playing with an adorable puppy when Buck suddenly realized he had achieved everything he wanted in life and had never been happier. Buck showed his joy by sneering and sighing.

The Orioles kept the courts busy during the 2011 season. A season that already couldn’t have been going worse somehow found a way to do just that; get worse. News broke that General Mills had taken the Oriole’s straight to Baltimore City Circuit Court for defamation over the use of the nickname O’s. Claiming that they “didn’t want their flagship product (Cheerio’s) associated in any way with the depressing sports organization the Baltimore Orioles.”

September:

Nick Markakis wakes up one morning and realizes that no one makes a big deal about him anymore. Emotionally hurt; Markakis holds a press conference outside of the stadium. Unfortunately only an exasperated businessman waiting for the Light Rail attended the press conference where a tear-full Markakis first demanded a trade, after which he then quickly changed his mind and begged for forgiveness instead simply asking for a Markakis bobble-head night instead.

Angelos-Gate draws to a close as the Hon. Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill dismisses the case against the three bitter dwarfs in the Peter Angelos costume, not for a lack of evidence, but for “a serious phobia of banging gavels to signify the end of a trial.” And so ends one of the sorest blights in Orioles history, but hey, look on the bright side, at least we’re not the Pirates. **Shudder**

October:

HAHAHAHAHAHA? Really?

Note:
The author of the above essay is not in any way clairvoyant and was able to achieve this knowledge through the use of a broken 8-ball and some darts. Any angry letters or e-mails regarding your opposition to witchcraft should be sent to WNST 1550 Hart Road, Towson, MD 21286-1635. Or Glenn@WNST.net. Thank you.

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