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Orioles can make all Moms happy today with Yanks series win

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Orioles have the chance to make all orange Moms smile today with a potential series win over the Yankees at Camden Yards after an impressive 12-5 win last night.

Once again, the middle of the lineup is sizzling and even on nights when they give up a less-than modest five runs, they can beat around mediocre pitching with the likes of Phil Hughes, Edwar Ramirez, Jonathan Albaladejo and Brett Tomko. (Makes you ask, “Where have you gone Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton?”)

Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are both batting .353 now, and have been rock stars since Opening Day. They are both now making a strong bid to be in St. Louis for the All Star Game. Aubrey Huff hit a homer last night and I’m not convinced last year was an aberration. Go back and read my blogs. He was one of my favorite “non Orioles” to watch when he was in Tampa Bay. He always put up big numbers and I think with ducks on the pond so often this year, he’ll be productive. Even if he still thinks Baltimore sucks as a place to party after dark.

Hey, even my boy Gregg Zaun is batting .221 all of a sudden. Luke Scott is one hit away from .300. And at some point relatively soon, you’ll be getting the WNST Text on Matt Wieters getting promoted.

The pitching is still beyond shaky – especially when every first five innings is an adventure nearly every night and they won’t be having 8-run second innings like they did last night – but beating the Yankees is always a nice treat.

Even when the Yankees clearly aren’t “the Yankees” we used to know.

Koji Uehara takes the hill on what looks to be a glorious, stunningly beautiful day for baseball at Camden Yards. I’m just wondering how many Yankees fans will take over the place today?

P.S. Ray Bachman got thrown out of Orioles Park at Camden Yards last night. He has quite a tale to tell.

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

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gardenhire also told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

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

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

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

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

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

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Unleash the fury…Harry Kalas and other “non-radio” tidbits

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

First, I hope Ray Bachman has fun doing the show from 2 til 6 today. (He won’t admit it, but he really loves talking sports and doing the show. And he loves when I’m not there.)

I’m having a “business/strategy” day of respite and I’ve been catching up on sports since 11 p.m. last night when Bruce Springsteen walked off the stage at the Spectrum. (Set list here…)

I watched the Washington Caps win Game 7 on the DVR but only after someone in my life who will remain “unnamed” wrecked my evening by texting me the result while Springsteen was in the middle of singing “She’s The One.” (MAKE A NOTE OF THIS: DO NOT EVER TEXT YOUR FRIENDS A SCORE!!!! A simple, “Hey dude…do you want to know who’s winning?” would suffice. And, honestly, with the score of any game in the universe a click away on my phone why would I want you to wreck my midnight viewing by texting me the result. It’s just unacceptable!)

But, I digress…

Alas, I did watch the game in its entirety this morning (and it’s NOTHING like not knowing the result) and the Capitals are as lucky to be headed to the second round as the Ravens were to escape Nashville three months ago. That third period was amazing and the vibe at the phonebooth looked electric. I missed a pretty special evening, but these are the decisions and memories you create.

(Gotta admit, when Springsteen played “Fire” by request last night and was rocking “Land of Hope and Dreams” I wasn’t thinking about the Caps. And I had no idea someone would send me a random “Caps win” text.)

There’s nothing better in professional sports than Game 7 of a Stanley Cup series. Last night’s win was a memorable evening. These are the games the Caps have consistently lost for a whole generation.

As for the sport itself, I even got a few emails this morning from former “doubters” who watched last night’s game and are more “believers” than they were 24 hours ago. Hockey kinda does that to you.

I saw Brent Harris at Ravens Camp on Sunday. His beard is scraggly. The Comcast Sportsnet/Caps promotion for the beardathon is great. I wish I had participated in someway but I look beyond crappy with a beard. (Insert joke here…)

I’m monitoring the Orioles today as well. Mora comes back, gets three hits and Adam Eaton looked, well, like Adam Eaton and his 7.17 ERA. Let’s see how Koji Uehara does against the Halos.

****

One other note, my pal who is a Philadelphia sports fan dropped this one on me this morning:

Here’s his running commentary:

“The biggest mistake the Orioles ever made was getting rid of Jon Miller. What I’ve realized through this whole Harry Kalas thing is how badly they messed that up. Baltimore had its Harry Kalas and Angelos chased him off.

“The players all come and go. Harry Kalas is something that can’t be replaced by Mike Schmidt or Steve Carlton. He’ll live longer than Dutch Daulton or Lenny Dykstra or Curt Schilling. They’re all gone. Harry was eternal. I’ve got Harry Kalas on my ipod, man!

“Jon Miller should have been the Orioles announcer until he chose to die in the broadcast booth. Those days are done. Miller is the last of those radio guys.

(My pal didn’t mention Chuck Thompson, but I will…and Eckman and Steadman and all of those guys who Baltimore loved with their Orioles and Colts and Bullets and Clippers and horse racing and crab cakes.)

“No one listens to baseball anymore on the radio anymore. Kalas was only doing one inning a night on radio. He’d do the first three innings of TV, only fourth inning on radio and then the 8th and 9th on TV. Kalas was bigger than the radio or the TV. He was eternal.

“That’s the biggest mistake. No matter what happens to Nick Markakis or what he ever does, Jon Miller would’ve been there before him and after him.

“When you’ve got him, you’re guaranteed to have an ambassador for your team.”

Amen, Philly friend. Amen.

Clearly, Peter Angelos didn’t see it that way. And his vote was the only one that counted.

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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…

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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…

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The Future is Coming!!!

Posted on 21 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

The Future is Coming!!!

 
This was a very tough weekend for all of us Orioles fans out there.  We started the year playing good ball, getting timely hitting, and enough pitching to break out of the gate to the tune of a 6 and 2 record.  You figured that they would lose game 3 in Texas because, well, that was the pattern.  Win the first two games of the series and then lose the finale as we went for the sweep.  Hey, I can handle that.  This O’s team was going to win 66% of the games and the Orioles were going to win 107 games when Gregg Zaun started and then they would lose 55 games when Chad Moeller was the starting catcher.   

We were heading into Boston and hoping that this pattern would continue.  It looked good as we saw Zaun in the line-up.  Everyone knew we were going to win.  Okay, that might be a stretch.  Zaun is not that good and I gain no confidence that our team will win just because he is lined up behind the plate.  In fact, I was quite concerned heading into Boston.  I was really hoping we could split. Boy, things started out great. 

In game one of the series the Orioles jumped all over Brad Penny as Nick Markakis and his GRAND start to the game gave the Orioles a seven to nothing lead after just 2 innings.  This was great.  We had Guthrie, our number one starter, on the mound and we gave him a 7 run lead in the second!!!  The Orioles got off to a great start in Boston and they were going to take game one.  Now I start to think about the possibility of maybe taking one of the remaining three and there you go.  We might sneak out of Boston splitting a four game series.  Well…… 

The second inning of Friday night was the only time I felt good about this team as they humiliated themselves in Boston.  What started out so promising ending with everyone looking around and asking the question, have the Orioles thrown in the towel already?

That maybe a bit of an overstatement but one thing is for sure, the Orioles did nothing right.  With the exception of Uehara, this trip to Boston was a complete embarrassment.  I honestly did not expect the Orioles to do well.  I surely am not excited about the team’s chances to succeed this year.  The future is what has me excited.  But with all that said this weekend really turned me off to the Orioles.  It was not the fact that they got swept by a much better team; it was the appearance that this team never got off the plane from Texas.  I do not know where their heads were for this series but they sure did not seem to be in Boston.   

The pitching was atrocious.  Take out Uehara’s good start in game three and the pitching line for the remaining three games looked like this: 

24 innings pitched

28 runs

39 hits

17 walks 

That is terrible and I did not even mention the 19 runs Orioles pitching gave up in the last game of the Texas series.  You can not expect to win with outings like those from your pitching staff.  The problems did not stop there.  Nobody on this team looked like they knew or understood the concept of defense.  We are talking about routine plays that the Orioles used to film an adult version of the Bad News Bears.  Where is Billy Bob Thornton when you need him?  The defense was horrid and it goes well beyond the numbers. 

After determining that this team could not pitch or field in Boston, it was clear that the offense would have to carry them yet again.  The only problem is the offense showed up for only 2 innings in a four game series.  The Orioles scored 7 runs in the second inning of game one and then 4 in the fifth inning of game 2.  In the remaining 34 innings of the series the Orioles managed a whopping 3 runs.  You are not going to win any games when your pitchers don’t pitch, your fielders don’t field, and you hitters don’t hit.  That is a fact.

 
But as I mentioned early I knew this team would be bad.  There was no way this team with this pitching staff was going to compete.  What does bother me is that so far the fundamentals are missing.  They were supposed to be a team based around a solid defense and good fundamentals.  Where has that gone?  Well that is a topic for another day.

 
As I was saying, I knew this team was going to lose but yet I was still excited about Orioles baseball.  And the reason I was, was the future this club might have if the young guns can develop and play well.  I will watch tonight with lots of excitement and anticipation as one of the first pieces to the future that I incidentally still see as a bright one, makes his debut.  That’s right, Brad Bergesen will begin the new phase of the Orioles tonight as he is the first, of what I hope to be many, young Orioles to debut for the big league club.  He had a great spring and looked good down in the minors and I can’t wait to see how he does tonight.  I am not trying to put too much pressure on Bergesen but please, please give me something to hang my hope on.  We will all be watching tonight’s game and Bergesen. And with a good start to his big league career he could really put this season into perspective for us.  He can remind us that it will be ugly at times, hopefully not worse than the last 5 games, but help is coming and the future will be bright. 

So Brad Bergesen I leave you with this:  We are counting on you to not only win tonight but to renew our hope that the future for this once great organization will be bright again.    

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Red Sox complete 4-game sweep, batter Orioles 12-1

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

1:50 p.m. — The Red Sox are getting well this inning off of the O’s bullpen. Mike Lowell just added another single. Update on Radhames Liz: 1/3 IP, 3H, 6ER, 1BB, 2HBP. His ERA is now: 67.50.

1:45 p.m. — The Bad News Bears weren’t this bad. Youkilis just sent a “seeing eye” pop that bounced an inch from the RF line to score another run. This one looked like it had a message of some kind. Just a crazy swing of the bat. Add another ER to Liz’s line…

1:39 p.m. — Liz just bounced one in front of David Ortiz that hit his leg. Here comes Matt Albers. He inherits the bases loaded and one out in the 7th inning.

Liz: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 W, 2HBP … His ERA is now 47.25.

Oh, and there’s three more ducks on the pond and Kevin Youkilis is awaiting like Alberts is raw meat. Jim Hunter just said: “Not a good outing for Radhames Liz.”

Yeah, ya think? That’s a helluva observation, Jimmy!

1:36 p.m. — Another single, 9-1. Radhames Liz is NOT a Major League pitcher. Now Matt Albers is warming in the bullpen. At this point, I have no idea why they’re not just saving the bullpen for tomorrow. Brad Bergesen is making his major-league debut. It would be a good idea to save the bullpen.

1:34 p.m. — It hasn’t taken long for Radhames Liz to go into “arsonist” mode. He’s given up a double, he’s hit one batter and walked one. Oh, and he did get one out. It’s 7-1. UPDATE: Another single, 8-1.

1:10 p.m. — This just in: Felix Pie SUCKS! He can’t hit. He can’t run the bases. And he certainly looks lost in the outfield shagging flyballs. The defense has been “spotty” at best over the first two weeks of the season. But, Pie just played a relatively easy play for a major league centerfielder into a two-run triple for David Ortiz. YES…a TRIPLE by Ortiz at Fenway Park! They’re down 6-1. Sarfate’s ERA is going to suffer, but that was just brutal defense. Embarrassing…they’re nine outs away from being swept by the Red Sox in Boston.

I have great admiration for Jim Palmer for not simply jumping out of his seat and saying: “I wouldn’t have pitched for a franchise this bad!”

12:58 p.m. — Looks like five innings is the max, except for Koji Uehara these days. Hendrickson is out. Dennis Sarfate is next. The Birds are still down 3-1.

12:22 p.m. — Well, hopes are that Mark Hendrickson is settling down. He just struck out the bottom of the Red Sox order in 4th inning. He might even make it to the 6th or 7th inning if he keeps throwing at this pace. Jim Palmer is talking incessantly about his 1970 appearance on Patriots Day in Boston. (I love old ‘Cakes’ stories…)

12:06: Finally, we get our first real “call up” treat here in 2009. Brad Bergesen (1-1, 2.45 ERA at Norfolk) will take the ball tomorrow night at Camden Yards vs. the White Sox. Not sure if that sells them any more tickets (some will be going for the free Koji T-shirt) but I’m excited to watch this kid pitch.

12:04 p.m. — The Orioles are on the board, getting a rare RBI single from Cesar Izturis in the 3rd inning. Nick Markakis just played a flyball out into a triple. Jim Palmer: “That should be an error but that’s not the way they do things anymore.”

‘Cakes’ cracks me up!

11:49 p.m. — Mark Hendrickson has been lucky to escape the first two innings with only three runs allowed, as he loaded the bases in the first with no outs and escaped with only two runs plated. In the second, he gave up a monumental home run to Jason Varitek in the 2nd inning.

Now, Ryan Freel made it to first on an infield single and was hit in the head with a throw trying to steal second base and left the game groggy with Robert Andino taking his spot at third base.

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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.

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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.

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Orioles are 6-2: Jones 2-run blast, big 10th inning lifts Birds to 7-5 win over Texas

Posted on 14 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Another exciting game. Another tight win. Another night where the bullpen was used and abused but this time — other than George Sherrill — the entire unit delivered in a 7-5 win in 10 innings in Arlington to push their record to 6-2. Alfredo Simon got hurt early. Homers were flying early. And the Orioles hung on.

Blow by blow below…

11:29 p.m. — Dennis Sarfate admitted to having an inner-ear infection and basically said he was “really relaxed” during his effort and was “on cloud nine” after he got medicated from the staff during the game. Sarfate said he told Aubrey Huff, “Is that all you’ve got?” after Huff freight-trained him on a foul ball. Palmer said, “Whatever he’s on I want to be on!”

It’s amazing they let Palmer keep his job. It really is. He’s priceless. I love it!

11:24 p.m. — Jim Palmer says it all. Don Stanhouse. Whole pack. “Mr Excitement”? Whatever you want to call him, fine. Let’s just give him the save and make the team 6-2 in the standings with their third series victory to start the season. Now Rick Dempsey is talking about Stanhouse. I have no idea how many listeners/readers know about Stanhouse but I do. And it’s dead on.

11:20 p.m. — Hank Blalock just sent a rocket to the wall and another five feet and this would’ve been an Orioles “tragic” loss. A true heartbreaker. Instead, George Sherrill still needs to get one more out. And you know what Yogi Berra said?

11:15 p.m. — George Sherrill has certainly made this interesting. Four batters, four baserunners, one run scored and Ian Kinsler continues to be such an impressive player. The Rangers’ formidable top of the order is going to have a chance to extend this game. The bases are loaded and no one is out. T-R-O-U-B-L-E…

11:01 p.m. — It’s almost like Ron Washington has conceded. Guardado keeps digging deeper with each pitch, walking Ty Wigginton after allowing Nick Markakis aboard. The Rangers’ bullpen issues mirrors the Orioles’ overused group. Luke Scott just drove one into the left centerfield gap, scoring them both. It’s now a 7-3 game. Geez, they’re gonna be 6-2 in about 10 minutes with any luck. Bye, bye Eddie…

10:56 p.m. — Eddie Guardado just gave up a mammoth two-run homer to Adam Jones who crushed it after Brian Roberts got on. Again, the top of the order have been hellions for the first week of the season.

P.S. Mike Maddux has the best pornstache I’ve ever seen on a former big leaguer with a brother who was one of the greatest ever.

10:47 p.m. — Seeing Nolan Ryan being omnipresent with the Rangers just reminds me that Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken are NOT involved here in Baltimore. A shame…

And I say it all the time: that’s all you need to know…

10:40 p.m. –This one has been pretty good. Good defense. Some big home runs early, some great pitching late. And someone is going to be a hero. Frank Francisco was dealing again tonight. Gonna be interesting to see how Dave Trembley uses the bullpen in this situation as the game potentially goes into extra innings. We’re already seven innings and four pitchers into the bullpen. And the bullpen has been the story of the evening with Jim Johnson still on the hill in the 9th. But how many innings do they have and who winds up in the game if it goes 11 or 12 innings?

9:59 p.m. –The bullpens are dealing all of a sudden. It’s games like these when having Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer help glue you to the action. It’s a very high-level broadcast when these guys are doing it. AND THE GAME IS IN HD…and it’s INTERESTING…and they’re 5-2. A few big hits here and they could be on their way to 6-2. On a night when their starter didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning.

9:34 p.m. — Nick Markakis stole one last night. Tonight, he was robbed by David Murphy on a very similar play. We’re in the sixth but I still feel like some major offense is going to break out at any point. Just not when the bottom of these lineups roll around. I don’t think this one will end 4-3.

9:25 p.m. — We were talking about “long last names” on the backs of baseball jerseys the other day and Arnie Portocarrero was deemed the longest Oriole. We were actually talking about Mark Hendrickson. Now, here comes Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Makes me want to get him on the O’s so I can get a shirt with that many letters.

9:17 p.m. — Felix Pie might be the new Jeff Stone. (For you youngsters, there’s no way his baseballreference.com stats will convey his baserunning prowess.) That was an inexcusable pick-off. And not great situational hitting by Cesar Izturis, who might be the new Mario Mendoza. It’s amazing how hot the top of the order is and how horribly cold the bottom of the order looks right now.

9:13 p.m. — Luke Scott has continued the comeback with a homer. And there might be good news on Rich Hill. More pitching never hurts.

8:56 p.m. — What a weird inning? After the Adam Jones-to-Brian Roberts-to-Gregg Zaun bang-bang play at the plate was made possible by Michael Young’s aversion to contact at the dish, Aubrey Huff threw a forearm shiver into Dennis Sarfate, who had no business being anywhere near where he was. Sarfate is now shaken up and has no one to blame but himself. Geez, sometimes they even play like the cats from “Major League.” That was brutal communication. They’re laughing about it now, but it was touch-and-go there for a few minutes.

8:45 p.m. — Gotta love a two-out run. This top of the lineup comtinues to mash the ball and nullify inefficient starting pitching. I have a feeling we’re in a for a long night. The beginning of a LOT of long nights with this pitching.

8:34 p.m. — On cometh Dennis Sarfate…I hope he’s got three or four innings in him. The O’s are already losing 3-1. Matt Albers is already coming up tomorrow. Can David Pauley or Brad Bergeson be on the way?

8:30 p.m. — Alfredo Simon just gave up yet another homer to Chris Davis. After a visit from Brian Ebel, he’s coming off the hill. As Hockey Meg just said: “That’s NOT going to help our crappy bullpen!” (Although, she really said S***ty!)

Looks like seven plus of relief will be necessary tonight unless it rains. And it doesn’t look like rain in Arlington…

8:27 p.m. — Can’t say I know a lot about Nelson Cruz. But I know Alfredo Simon should never throw that pitch to him again. So far: four outs, two gopher balls. Not a good ratio…

8:19 p.m. — High breaking ball to Aubrey Huff and he belted it. Everyone I talk to about Huff says “he’ll regress this year” and I don’t feel that way. He was always a masher and I think last year helped his game. Hell, at one point, he even SAID the “Bubba The Love Sponge” stupidity actually helped him come to his senses and changed his game for 2008. I think he’s good for 30 bombs this year.

But, the comment about Baltimore was below-the-belt. And stupid. And I know he meant it and it’s how he really feels. The ownership and management obviously didn’t care and put him back on the field. But they’ve been proven to be shameless for over a decade.

I don’t have to deal with these guys anymore so what do I care? If Aubrey Huff hits 35 homers, so be it. He just hit one. He tied the game. That’s what he’s paid to do.

8:16 p.m. — Michael Young’s homer came and went quickly. I’m reserving all judgment on Alfredo Simon until the 6th inning. The bullpen needs all the help it can get. Six innings out of a starter isn’t too much to ask…

8:09 p.m. — Been an interesting evening. Honestly, I feel like working while I watch the game and it’s a LOT more fun just writing this stuff while I surf, watch the O’s and think about the Ravens schedule.

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