Tag Archive | "Orioles"

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Orioles recall McFarland, designate Pearce for assignment

Posted on 22 April 2014 by Luke Jones

Needing an extra arm in the bullpen after a taxing four-game series at Fenway Park, the Orioles recalled left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland prior to the start of a series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

To make room for McFarland on the 25-man roster, outfielder Steve Pearce was designated for assignment.

A former Rule 5 selection who spent the entire 2013 season on the Orioles’ active roster, McFarland was scratched from his scheduled start with Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday and traveled to Toronto to give manager Buck Showalter more length in the bullpen after lefties Zach Britton and Brian Matusz both pitched on Sunday and Monday. The move temporarily gives the Orioles a 13-man pitching staff and a short bench with shortstop J.J. Hardy still sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Even if Hardy continues to avoid the 15-day disabled list, the Orioles could elect to replace McFarland in the next day or two with an extra infielder such as Jemile Weeks to improve their bench depth.

McFarland has a 1.84 earned run average in three starts covering 14 2/3 innings for the Tides this season. He was 4-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 38 appearances spanning 74 2/3 innings last season.

The 31-year-old Pearce was out of options and had been used sparingly this season, appearing in only three games and going 1-for-7.

 

 

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The tale of a pseudo superstar

Posted on 22 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

I used to be the next great Baltimore media superstar.

It was the mid-2000s, I was working in the sports department at The Baltimore Sun.  I was young, handsome, brilliant, and knowledgeable.  I was the type of sport-laden “mind that would come along once, maybe twice in a generation”—a self-describing line from The Big Bang Theory’s Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Alas, Sheldon Cooper and I have a lot in common—as our stories are mere fiction, derived from the type of creative make-believe that convinced someone like Anita Marks into promoting herself as a former “professional quarterback.”

I was never the next superstar at The Baltimore Sun, or anywhere else in Baltimore.  In fact, I’m fortunate to even be able to call myself a former media member—it’s an accomplishment that many yearn for, but rarely obtain.

Nearly a decade after I sat in The Sun’s news room answering the rapid-fire high school sports score-reporting line , I finally have come to terms with the fact that I have nothing to show for my efforts other than a shared byline on a small story about Baltimore’s Jessica Long.

Now, at 30, I’m no longer young.  Married, with budding specks of gray invading my mop, and more than several extra pounds protruding over my belt, it’s up for debate whether I’m still handsome.  And years removed from any sort of blog writing or sports reporting for websites like Examiner, Bugs and Cranks, and a dozen or so self-created failures, I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone—other than close friends and family—who believe I know jack about Baltimore sports.

But here I am, back at it, thanks to the kick-in-the-pants from my buddy, Will, a fella has forgotten more about local sports than I could ever hope to know.

Will and I remember a time when Baltimore media boasted legendary media members like John Steadman, John Eisenberg, Ken Rosenthal, Vince Bagli, and Chuck Thompson.  These days, most Baltimore media outlets—with the exception of a few (WNST being the frontrunner) have forgotten the idea of what “local” means—lack the local passion and historical firepower to opine about anything other than less-than-stellar and dimwitted attempts to discern the “here and now,” with little recollection of what it was like “then and when.”

Don’t get me wrong, here and now is king when it comes to media—but there’s a thing called context, and it means a heck of a lot when generating conversation with a fan-base as knowledgeable, excitable, and pleasantly irrational as the one here Charm City.

A guy like me remembers the “when,” and lives the “now.”  And it’s this, and this alone, that has thrust me into coming back and being a member of local sports media.

If I have to do it on my own, so be it—which is why I’ll be writing at BaltimoreSportsWiz.com.  But, truth be told, left up to me, I’ll choose to bring whatever  talent I have left from my days a delusional up-and-comer in the Baltimore sports world to WNST.net and WNST 1570AM, where I’m a member of the “Baltimore Sports Media Superstar” competition.

I’ve heard some of the other contestants who are up for the gig on the WNST Audio Vault.  Some are really good, others are really passionate, and I have no idea if I’ll be lucky enough to even be in contention.  And that’s OK because I’ve come to realize that I’ve missed being immersed in the local sports conversation, and it’s time to jump back in.

With an opportunity like WNST’s contest, and a little bit of remaining God-given ability, there’s no reason I can’t fulfill what I once thought I was—a Baltimore sports media superstar.

But for real this time, not just make-believe.

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Orioles 9-Game Scorecard (Games 10-18)

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Orioles 9-Game Scorecard (Games 10-18)

Posted on 22 April 2014 by Luke Jones

During the 2014 season, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones of The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will provide the “9-Game Scorecard” for the Orioles, evaluating the club in nine-game increments in a number of categories and looking ahead to how Baltimore will fare over the next nine games on the schedule.

To hear the full explanation of the most recent “Orioles 9-Game Scorecard” during Tuesday’s show, click HERE.

1. Should the Orioles have been better or worse than their 5-4 mark?
Drew: Worse
Luke: Better

2. Most Valuable Player/Least Valuable Player
Drew: MVP – Chris Tillman; LVP – David Lough
Luke: MVP – Adam Jones; LVP – David Lough

3. Biggest surprise
Drew: Chris Davis having one home run as we approach late April
Luke: Chris Davis and Adam Jones having a combined two homers after hitting 86 last season

4. Best thing about the nine-game stretch
Drew: Zach Britton has settled into a meaningful and effective relief role
Luke: The Orioles are sitting with a .500 record despite ranking 29th in the majors in home runs

5. Nine games from now…
Drew: Chris Davis’ troubling start turns around with four home runs over the stretch
Luke: The left field and second base positions will remain unresolved

6. Record in the next nine games
(three at Toronto, three with Kansas City, two with Pittsburgh, one at Minnesota)
Drew: 5-4
Luke: 6-3

7. Stock rising/falling over the next nine games
Drew: Rising – Adam Jones; Falling – Ubaldo Jimenez
Luke: Rising – Nick Markakis; Falling – Steve Lombardozzi

8. Grading Buck Showalter in games 10-18
Drew: B-
Luke: B

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/21

Posted on 22 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Monday…

* Julio Borbon homered, but it wasn’t enough as Triple-A Norfolk fell 6-5 to Durham

* Tyler Wilson improved to 3-0 after six strong innings as Double-A Bowie prevailed in a 9-4 final over Erie

* Single-A Frederick split a doubleheader with Carolina as Matt Taylor earned a win in Game 1

* Hector Veloz drove in two runs despite Single-A Delmarva dropping a 10-5 final to Savannah

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/17

Posted on 18 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Thursday…

* Alexi Casilla drove in two runs, but Triple-A Norfolk fell 3-2 to Durham

* Tim Berry pitched six strong innings despite Double-A Bowie losing a 3-2 final to Akron

* Michael Burgess homered and Adrian Marin drove in two to lead Single-A Frederick to a 7-3 win over Winston-Salem

* Steve Brault threw seven shutout innings as Single-A Delmarva won 3-1 over Greensboro

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Britton continues coming up huge for Orioles bullpen

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Britton continues coming up huge for Orioles bullpen

Posted on 16 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Miguel Gonzalez earned the win and Tommy Hunter secured his fourth save, but it was Zach Britton who deserved a gold star for his work in the Orioles’ 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

The left-handed pitcher moved his streak of scoreless innings to 11 1/3 to begin the season after blanking the Rays over three frames to bridge the gap from Gonzalez’s five-inning start to Hunter in the ninth inning as Baltimore swept an abbreviated two-game set in unseasonably cold conditions on Wednesday afternoon. Britton wasn’t perfect in his longest appearance of the season, but his strikeout of Wil Myers on a low-and-away sinking fastball in the seventh not only thwarted a bases-loaded scoring chance but provided the latest example of just how dependable the 26-year-old has been.

Entering spring training without any minor-league options remaining and coming off two straight disappointing seasons in which he battled a tender shoulder and inconsistency, Britton has embraced his middle-relief role while being one of the Orioles’ most valuable players thus far. He’s allowed just four hits and has struck out seven while walking four in his 11 1/3 innings this season.

“The first weapon is that he can get left- and right-handed hitters out,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s huge for a relief pitcher. He’s in a good place right now. You can see it presentation-wise as much as physically. We had other people who could pitch, but the situation puts you in a nice little rocking chair sometimes when you have a left-handed pitcher who can defend himself against right-handers. And that comes from his starting background and also comes from a pretty good sinker.”

Britton’s effectiveness with a sinker consistently in the low to mid-90s has led some to question whether the southpaw is worthy of another chance in the starting rotation. Showalter was comfortable in allowing Britton to throw 42 pitches since he hadn’t pitched since a 30-pitch outing on Saturday, but this development was particularly interesting given that the Orioles used only two relievers on Monday, were rained out Tuesday, and will enjoy another off-day Thursday before beginning a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

Beyond right-hander Evan Meek, who pitched 1 2/3 innings Monday and was dealing with flu-like symptoms over the last two days, the rest of the bullpen was fresh even though Showalter alluded to other relievers potentially feeling the effects of the bug that’s been going through the Baltimore clubhouse over the last week.

Of course, Showalter isn’t going to broadcast any potential desire to stretch out Britton to the point that he would once again become a starting option and the latest turn through the rotation — sans Ubaldo Jimenez — provided improved results, but there’s no harm in having a relief option that can bring both length and results in close games like Britton has done. It’s the same way the Orioles used Arthur Rhodes — another former left-handed starting prospect — with great results in their 1996 and 1997 playoff seasons.

Before arguing that Britton should move into the rotation, it’s important to acknowledge that what he’s done while facing hitters one time through the order is a different story from being entrusted to retire batters three or four different times as a starter. Assuming success in relief translates into being an effective starting pitcher is often fool’s gold, and Britton has found a niche working out of the bullpen.

The temptation is certainly there to envision him as a starter again, even if the memory of his 4.95 earned run average, 1.725 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), and meager 4.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in eight appearances (seven of them starts) last season make it unsettling to try to mess with something that isn’t broken. But Britton hasn’t looked this good since his rookie season in 2011 when he was 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his first 10 starts and appeared on his way to becoming a mainstay in the Baltimore rotation.

No changes in the starting rotation are imminent — nor should be at this early stage of the season — but Britton has provided Showalter with a major bullet out of the bullpen who could become an intriguing alternative if the likes of Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, or Bud Norris slip in the coming weeks. The return of Troy Patton from suspension in the near future will also add another left-handed arm to the bullpen.

Regardless of what happens, the Orioles are pleased to simply see Britton back on track.

“He’s throwing the ball with a lot of confidence,” Hunter said. “He’s got a game plan, and he’s sticking to it. Him and [catcher Matt Wieters] are on a good page right now. I’ll pat him on the butt and hope he keeps it up.”

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/15

Posted on 16 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Tuesday…

* Kevin Gausman allowed four earned runs, seven hits, and three walks as Triple-A Norfolk fell 15-0 to Gwinnett

* Double-A Bowie’s game at Erie was postponed

* Single-A Frederick’s game at Winston-Salem was postponed

* Single-A Delmarva’s game against Hagerstown was postponed

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Tuesday night’s Orioles-Rays game postponed due to rain

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Tuesday night’s Orioles-Rays game postponed due to rain

Posted on 15 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Dealing with significant rain and falling temperatures throughout the day, the second game of a three-game set between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays was postponed on Tuesday night.

No makeup date was immediately announced by the Orioles, but fans were encouraged to keep tickets and parking passes until more information was made available at a later time. Prior to the postponement, manager Buck Showalter suggested in his pre-game press conference that the possibility existed of playing a straight doubleheader on Wednesday, but the decision was made not to play a twin bill.

The Orioles and Rays will meet for a 12:35 p.m. game on Wednesday to conclude their series. Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Miguel Gonzalez, will start on Wednesday while Chris Tillman will be pushed back to Friday when the Orioles begin a four-game set in Boston. Gonzalez will be opposed by Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

The club also announced that the commemorative Jackie Robinson No. 42 jerseys players were scheduled to wear during Tuesday’s game would be used on a later date.

Jones, Meek sent home with illness

Before Tuesday’s game was postponed, the Orioles were preparing to play the Rays without the services of center fielder Adam Jones, who was sent home earlier in the day with an illness.

A nasty bug has made its way through the Baltimore clubhouse and has stricken others such as pitcher Brian Matusz and hitting coach Jim Presley. Relief pitcher Evan Meek was also sent home on Tuesday even though he wasn’t available to pitch anyway after he threw 1 2/3 innings in Monday night’s win.

The Rays had also changed their starting pitcher Tuesday afternoon as reliever Brandon Gomes would have filled in for Odorizzi, who was also dealing with an illness.

Machado update

Third baseman Manny Machado sprinted three times from 90 feet and three times from 180 feet and also took five at-bats in a simulated game played at the Orioles’ spring training complex in Sarasota on Tuesday.

According to Showalter, the 21-year-old was scheduled to run the bases on Wednesday in what represents the last major test before he prepares to start a minor league rehab assignment.

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/14

Posted on 15 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Monday…

* David Adams drove in two runs despite Triple-A Norfolk falling 5-4 to Gwinnett

* Eduardo Rodriguez allowed four earned runs in six inning as Double-A Bowie dropped a 4-3 rain-shortened game to Erie

* Brenden Webb and Wynston Sawyer each homered in a losing effort for Single-A Frederick in a 5-4 final in 12 against Lynchburg

* Mike Yastrzemski drove in three runs as Single-A Delmarva won 9-2 over Hagerstown

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An Easter Sweet 16 of treats that were better than candy in the basket

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An Easter Sweet 16 of treats that were better than candy in the basket

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

This one will be worthy of some bar room arguments this week but I was entrusted with identifying the 16 greatest games in Baltimore sports history. Passion. Drama. Great finishes. Memorable action on the field of play.

I wrote down a list of 30 great games and seeded them based on the significance of the outcome and the level of activity in the games and came up with a WNST.net Sweet 16 lost full of memories but not all them had happy endings.

Hey, a great game is a great game. All of these left me feeling like I got my monies worth.

Feel free to feedback below or via Twitter, Facebook or email (nasty@wnst.net).

 

16. Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (Dec. 8, 2013)

It will take some more time to know how distance treats this recent classic, but it’s hard to top the only snow game in the franchise’s history going back and forth with five touchdowns in the final 2:05 of a 29-26 win for the Ravens over the Vikings. “Will we ever see another game like that again?” head coach John Harbaugh said. The answer to that is probably “no.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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