Tag Archive | "Oscar Salazar"

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 18

Posted on 18 March 2011 by Luke Jones

Leading up to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Previous selections:
20. Matt Wieters’ debut
19. Hideo Nomo tosses the only no-hitter in Oriole Park history

18. Orioles stage greatest comeback in team history – June 30, 2009

Another merciless pounding at the hands of Boston, or so it seemed.

The Orioles had lost eight straight to the Red Sox, and their unruly traveling fans were basking in the glory of a 10-1 lead in the seventh inning. Most fans watching at home had given up on the massacre and flipped to reruns — hey, it’s hard to resist The Office — on a midsummer night of television. Nobody knew it, but the Orioles were about to thrill the few hometown fans remaining in the ballpark and stun the Sox supporters taunting those making their way to the exits.

By the time the Orioles went to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, starter Rich Hill was long gone after giving up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings and Boston veteran John Smoltz had missed his chance for a victory after a lengthy rain delay forced his exit in the fifth. As a result, a battle of the bullpens commenced, with the Orioles about to supplant a club-record eight-run comeback set in 1956 — against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

A five-run seventh made the deficit a reachable 10-6, with the key blow being a three-run homer from pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar. The home fans who stuck around for the early bludgeoning perked up, but realized a comeback remained very unlikely against the Red Sox bullpen.

However, Hideki Okajima had finished the seventh for Boston and remained on the mound for the eighth. Though one of the best lefty specialists in the American League, the hapless Orioles — of all teams — had owned the Japanese reliever for nearly two years.

It was about to continue.

Okajima would surrender four straight hits without getting an out, leaving the game with the bases loaded and Boston holding on dearly to its 10-7 lead. Two batters later, the score was 10-9 and Red Sox manager Terry Francona desperately turned to closer Jonathan Papelbon to prevent the record-setting Orioles comeback.

It was too late.

Nick Markakis’ two-run double to deep center plated pinch-runner Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Roberts with two outs in the bottom of the eighth as the Orioles had amazingly come all the way back to seize an 11-10 lead.

Roberts

Euphoric Orioles fans howled in laughter at obnoxious “Sahx” fans as George Sherrill recorded the save in the ninth, securing the greatest comeback victory in franchise history. An amazing 13 of Baltimore’s 16 hits that night came in the seventh and eighth innings.

“That was probably the best game I’ve been involved in, right there,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said after the game. “That was absolutely tremendous. When you talk about playing all 27 outs, that’s tonight.”

Ironically, the Orioles would be on the receiving end of that lesson the next afternoon, squandering a 5-1 lead in the ninth and falling 6-5 in 11 innings. Perhaps it was the baseball gods’ way of restoring order as the Orioles would lose 11 of the 12 remaining games with Boston that season.

But for one night, at least, the Orioles got the better of the hated Red Sox.

And, in case you were wondering, I flipped back to the game just in time to see the comeback.

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Who is this Oscar Salazar guy?

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Who is this Oscar Salazar guy?

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Marco Romanell

Orioles fans probably wouldn’t recognize Oscar Salazar if they saw him in public, but his play has them starting to take notice. Salazar led the Orioles to a rare Sunday victory by hitting his second homer of the season and left fans asking ” who is this Salazar guy? He is pretty good.”

After signing as an amateur free agent in 1994 with the Athletics, Salazar did not make his major league debut until eight years later with the Tigers. In 2002 he played three games and hit .190 with a homer and one RBI. After toiling around the farm systems of the Angels, Royals and Angels and making stops in Italy and Mexico, Salazar signed with the Orioles in 2007.

Salazar made his return to the majors on June 10th of last year but only played sparingly before being sent back to Bowie. At age 30, it looked like Salazar would be a life long major leaguer until being recalled this season.  With the way he is currently, it looks like he wants to stay.

With a .419 batting average, two home runs and six RBI’s, Salazar has been more then just a “fill in” player whose only contribution is to give a rest to the everyday players. Given his success thus far this season and his perseverance and personality Salazar has quickly become a fan favorite. He now has fans, including me, wanting to see more of him.

While his versatility and bat are intriguing, many people believe that his defense is suspect and that would hurt the Orioles if he played every day. There is no question that Melvin Mora is one of the best defensive 3rd baseman in baseball, but I think Salazar would be a serviceable defensive third baseman if he were to replace Mora. The ability to play every infield position is what makes Salazar a valuable commodity to the Orioles and is likely the reason he did not get sent down when Cesar Izturis came off the DL.

When I first heard that the Orioles had called him up from Norfolk I questioned why they decided to bring up a 30 year old journeyman. However, I am now on the Oscar Salazar bandwagon. I now get excited every time he is in the game and I expect him to produce more often then not despite the situation. What a difference a few weeks make.

Salazar’s play has made fans go from saying ” who is this guy? to ” man, this Salazar guy is pretty good”.

So who is Oscar Salazar? He may just be the Orioles future 3rd baseman.  And I am perfectly fine with that.

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Red Sox-Orioles Facebook News Feed

Posted on 01 July 2009 by Luke Jones

If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon that is Facebook, this won’t be the blog for you.

Anyone keeping an eye on the popular social networking site while watching the Orioles’ miraculous comeback victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night inevitably saw a variety of angry wall messages and statuses (10-1) that gradually transformed into reserved hope (10-6) and, finally, jubilation (Orioles win, 11-10!).

While viewing all of these messages, I imagined what the Facebook news feed would look like describing this wild game and the various people involved.  It might go a little something like this:

* 24,000 Boston fans are attending the event “Red Sox vs. Orioles at Fenway Park South.”

* 7,969 Baltimore fans are attending the event “Getting Drowned Out by Obnoxious ‘Sahx’ Fans in My Home Ballpark.”

* Adam Jones created the group “Outfield Walls Hurt.”

* Orioles fans ended their relationship with Rich Hill.

* Dave Trembley left the group “Give Your Pitcher the Quick Hook.”

* Luke Jones says it’s time to watch old episodes of The Office while keeping an eye on the game.

* John Smoltz’s status:  “I really hate rain delays.”

* Rich Hill’s status:  “I’m doing a rain dance and hoping the game and my stats are washed away!”

* Orioles fans and Felix Pie are now friends.

* Rich Hill updated his status:  “Well, so much for that.  I’m screwed.”

* Tony Randazzo’s status:  “I just don’t feel like calling a good game behind the plate tonight.”
– Jim Palmer: “Well, you better start. Richie Garcia is watching.”

* Orioles fans wrote on Oscar Salazar’s wall:  “Way to go…umm…what’s your name again?”

* Luke Jones is now giving his undivided attention to the Orioles game. 10-6.

* Terry Francona wrote on the Red Sox Bullpen’s Wall:  “Guys, anytime you feel like showing up would be great.”

* Hideki Okajima started the group “Why do the Orioles—that’s right, the ORIOLES!—absolutely own me?”
– Jon Lester: “I’ll give you some pointers.”

* Jim Palmer and 10 other pitchers joined the group “I’m against consistently inconsistent umpiring.”

* Jonathan Papelbon wrote on Nick Markakis’ wall:  “Dude, that’s not how the script is supposed to go!”

* Jonathan Papelbon and Nick Markakis are no longer friends.

* Jonathan Papelbon removed “chest thumping” from his favorite activities.

* Jim Hunter’s status:  “I think I just wet myself!”

* George Sherrill’s status:  “It’s Flat Breezy time.”

* Orioles fans created the group “There’s the Nick Markakis We Know and Love!”

* Terry Francona added “throwing things in my office” to his favorite activities.

* Rich Hill updated his status:  “I wonder if people will have a short memory…”

* 937 Orioles fans attended the event “Greatest Comeback in Orioles History!”

* 11,437 Boston fans attended the event “What the H*ll Just Happened??!!!”

* Dave Trembley posted the note:  “My players just saved my behind again!”

* It’s “complicated” between Orioles fans and the Baltimore Orioles.

* Luke Jones posted the video Orioles Magic.

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Is the writing on the wall for a trade of Aubrey Huff?

Posted on 25 June 2009 by Jason Jubb

Everyone knows that Aubrey Huff is a free agent at the end of the season, so the rebuilding Orioles have a choice to make.

 

Either deal him for prospects or offer him arbitration with the thought that he will sign elsewhere at which point we would receive draft picks as compensation. Most likely Huff would be a Type A free agent which would mean we would get two picks before the second round.

 

The decision may not be that easy. Over the past couple years, teams have been reluctant to sign some lesser valued Type-A free agents, because of losing their 1st round pick (see Juan Cruz) in the following Amateur Draft. This fear of being in “no man’s land” could lead to Huff accepting arbitration at which point we could have him back at one year for $10 million +.

 

In years past, no player would ever think of taking this type of arbitration, but with the economic downturn in baseball it may prove to be a viable option in the winter of 2009. Therefore, it may be in the Orioles’ best interest to take what they can get for Huff at this point.

 

Recent developments also suggest the Orioles are ready to jettison Huff. Last week, the O’s promoted top hitting prospect Brandon Snyder after only 201 AB’s at the AA level. At first glance, it seemed a little out of character with the current front office; bumping a hitter up so fast, but it makes sense if Huff is on the move. Plain and simple, they probably want to see if Snyder could be an option at 1st next year.  So, they need to get him 250 AAA AB’s to gauge his overall development.

 

Then you have yesterday’s acquisition of Michael Aubrey. Aubrey is a left handed hitting 1st baseman who came out of the same draft as Nick Markakis, and many felt that he was a better pure hitter after batting .420 his senior year in college. As a pro, Aubrey has been dogged by injuries but has still managed to hit .295 over his minor league career while showing below average power for a 1st baseman.

 

Is Michael Aubrey the future? No, but he could be part of an adequate platoon with Ty Wigginton or Oscar Salazar for the remainder of the season.

 

There are 5 weeks until the July 31st deadline and from the look of things Aubrey Huff may be in the playoff hunt, but with a different team.

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5 W’s and 1 H

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Luke Jones

The Orioles certainly didn’t show the Phillies any “Brotherly Love” by completing a three-game sweep this weekend.

I attended the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday night and had a great time.  Citizens Bank Park may lack the charm of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but the wide-open concourse is an excellent feature for those wanting to grab a snack or cold beverage without missing a pitch.

It was a pleasure meeting many of the rabid Orioles fans on the WNST/Miller Lite Bus Trip, and it was even better high-fiving and celebrating the closing moments of Saturday night’s comeback win with them!

Here are the 5 W’s and 1 H for the week:

1.  Who will be the best player not named Blake Griffin to come out of this year’s NBA Draft?

The 2009 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday night, and the Los Angeles Clippers have already committed to taking power forward Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), the surest thing in this year’s draft class, with the No. 1 pick.

After Griffin, there is plenty of talent but many question marks.  From Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet to international point guard Ricky Rubio to Davidson’s Stephen Curry, there is potential, but none are regarded as a sure thing.  Some NBA executives are calling this one of the worst drafts in recent memory.

If I had to choose a rookie from this class other than Griffin, I’d take a chance on Curry.  His heroic run in the 2008 NCAA tournament put him on the map, and he followed it up by leading the nation in scoring last season (28.6 points per game).

Though Curry lacks the ideal size (6-3) and athleticism for the NBA, his strong pedigree—he’s the son of former NBA player Dell Curry—and fundamentals will allow him to become a successful pro.  He won’t become an All-Star, but Curry will be a solid addition to an NBA team.

2.  What was the best Orioles game you ever attended?

Saturday night’s win has to be one of the top five or six Orioles games I’ve ever attended.  Yes, that’s pretty sad, but when you consider I was two weeks old when the Orioles last won the World Series, you can probably begin to understand.

My choice for the best game I’ve attended was a 7-5, 10-inning victory over the New York Yankees on June 3, 1997.  The Orioles were in the midst of their wire-to-wire run for the American League East title, and Rafael Palmeiro hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to put the Orioles ahead by 8.5 games in the division.

Walking out of the ballpark while gloating among the Yankees fans was a great feeling—and is nearly a forgotten one 12 years later.

3.  Where is the best starting rotation in the Orioles’ organization?

Though the starting pitching in Baltimore has improved, I am still eagerly looking at the rotation in Triple-A Norfolk.  The Tides currently have four of the top pitching prospects in the organization with Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, David Hernandez, and Troy Patton.

While it’s doubtful that all four will crack the starting rotation by season’s end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these four, along with Brad Bergesen, making up the starting rotation by this time next season.  Obviously, there’s no guarantee—and it’s quite unlikely—they’ll all become successful big league starters, but it’s clear the Orioles have come a long way from the days of counting on one prospect like Rocky Coppinger or Matt Riley to save the rotation.

We’ve heard quite a bit about these names over the last two years, so it’s exciting to see them at the Triple-A level and on the verge of making the jump to the big leagues.

4.  When was the last time the Orioles earned an interleague sweep on the road?

Before this weekend’s sweep of the Phillies, the Orioles last completed an interleague road sweep against the Atlanta Braves in June 1999.

The Orioles completed the three-game set by beating the Braves, 22-1, on a nationally televised Sunday night game.  This was Cal Ripken’s famous six-hit game that earned several standing ovations from the Turner Field crowd over the course of the night.

Mike Mussina earned the win over Atlanta’s John Smoltz, capping off one of the few highlights of the 1999 season.

5.  Why did Dave Trembley allow Danys Baez to pitch to Ryan Howard in the seventh inning on Saturday night?

I certainly was celebrating the exciting comeback win on Saturday night, but it didn’t excuse Trembley’s terrible decision to pitch to Howard with a base open and two outs in the seventh inning.  Yes, walking Howard would have put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but the pitcher’s spot was on deck, and the Phillies sent Carlos Ruiz to the plate after Howard’s three-run shot.  Howard is hitting .299 against right-handed pitching, so the matchup against Baez wasn’t favorable in that regard either.

Just a hunch, but I’d take my chances facing Ruiz with the bases loaded instead of Howard.

I was sitting with Nestor Aparicio and my friend Mike—two of the most knowledgeable baseball fans I know—and all three of us immediately said it was the wrong move.  A few moments later, Howard confirmed our fears.

Saturday’s win was a great example of a team bailing out its manager.  The decisions to allow Gregg Zaun and Oscar Salazar to hit in the ninth inning worked out, but they did not cancel out the decision to pitch to one of the best power hitters in the game—whether he had the flu or not.

I hope Trembley personally thanked Brian Roberts for saving his bacon.  Regardless of the big win, it was the wrong decision.

6.  How likely are the Ravens to make a serious play for Brandon Marshall?

Not very.

John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome, and the Ravens are very serious about avoiding players with questionable character, and Marshall—regardless of his immense talent—fits that description.  When you also consider the team would have to surrender high draft picks and doesn’t have the salary cap room to afford the $7-9 million per year Marshall is seeking, it really becomes an easy decision.

Marshall’s dispute with the Denver Broncos is different from quarterback Jay Cutler’s, because it is not based on a conflict with new head coach Josh McDaniels; it simply comes down to wanting more money.

The Pro Bowl receiver is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, but an uncapped year in 2010 would change his status dramatically.  Since an uncapped system would change the number of years before free agency from four to six, Marshall would remain under the Broncos’ control for two more years—as a restricted free agent—and would not become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2011 season.  The Broncos hold all of the leverage in this situation, so Marshall desperately wants a new deal before that happens.

When you consider all of these factors, I would be surprised to see Marshall in Baltimore—or anywhere else other than Denver—this September.

*****

I hope all of the fathers out there had a great Father’s Day.  This is a tough day for me after losing my dad in 2004, but I have numerous great memories—many centering around the Ravens, Orioles, and Terps—to cherish.

He deserves more credit than anyone for cultivating my passion for Baltimore sports.  I’m sure he would have loved this weekend in Philadelphia.

Have a great Monday.

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O’s Offense, Hill take the usual Sunday beating

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Luke Jones

The Orioles completed a 1-5 road trip with a 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

Oakland rookie Vin Mazzaro was outstanding, stifling Orioles hitters for 7 1/3 innings and scattering five hits.  He is now 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in 13 2/3 innings of major league work.

Here are a few thoughts, as the Orioles will make their way home to start a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday:

– The good vibes of Matt Wieters’ major league debut last Friday have quickly faded away.  The rookie catcher is hitting .143 (4-for-28) and has yet to drive in a run.  The Orioles are 2-7 since Wieters was promoted.

– To say the Orioles are slumping offensively would be an understatement.  The offense has managed just 13 runs in their last eight games.  I don’t care if you have the 1971 starting rotation; you’re not going to win many ballgames with that output.

The hitters’ approach at the plate varies from listless to trying to hit a five-run homer with the bases empty.  It’s painful to watch, quite frankly.

– Who would have thought Brad Bergesen would be the team’s most reliable starting pitcher at the beginning of June?  With Koji Uehara on the disabled list, Bergesen hasn’t been great (2-2, 4.64 ERA), but he’s been a steady contributor to the rotation—something that’s been sorely lacking.

– Six Sunday losses in a row.  I suppose the Orioles are the anti-Tiger Woods; Woods always shows up on Sunday (as he did at the Memorial today) while the Orioles…well, at least nobody got hurt today.

*****

Update (4:35):  If you just turned on MASN and wondered what happened to Rich Hill, no, he wasn’t a late scratch or injured in the first inning.

Hill lasted just 2/3 of an inning, surrendering three runs, walking four batters, and throwing 39 pitches (15 of them for strikes).

This was the type of start that infuriated Cubs manager Lou Piniella last season and landed Hill in Triple-A Iowa.

The Orioles have now had two starters—Jeremy Guthrie on Friday and Hill today—fail to make it out of the first inning this weekend in Oakland—not exactly the way to keep fans interested for late West Coast games.

Thankfully, Brian Bass came on and stranded the bases load, keeping the early deficit at three runs.

*****

Adam Jones – CF
Nolan Reimold – LF
Nick Markakis – RF
Luke Scott – DH
Melvin Mora – 3B
Oscar Salazar – 1B
Matt Wieters – C
Ty Wigginton – 2B
Robert Andino – SS

No, there are no typos, glitches, or errors in today’s lineup.  Maybe Dave Trembley is taking a page from Billy Martin and drew the names out of a hat.

Brian Roberts and Aubrey Huff get the day off, and we get our first look at Oscar Salazar in 2009.  Let’s hope the new lineup can generate some much-needed offense.  Of course, it’s Sunday, so I wouldn’t expect too much, especially with the “B” squad lineup.  The Orioles have scored just 13 runs in the last seven games.

Rich Hill (2-0, 4.15 ERA) goes to the hill against Vin Mazzaro (1-0, 0.00 ERA) who pitched brilliantly against the White Sox in his first major league start on Tuesday (6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER).  On a positive note, at least he isn’t left-handed.

The Orioles will try to snap a four-game losing streak while Oakland hopes to continue its trend of five-straight victories.

In case you were keeping track, the Orioles have lost five Sunday games in a row with their last victory coming on April 26 against the Texas Rangers.

Suddenly, I’m having visions of Bill Murray and Punxsutawney Phil.

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Tuesday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 24 February 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

The O’s vs. the Italians?  That’s right… first game of Spring Training… against the WBC Italian team… with the O’s starting Justin Christian, Donnie Murphy, Scott Moore, Oscar Salazar, Craig Brazell, Lou Montanez, Nolan Reimold, and Justin Turner… yeeeeah.  If Wieters and Brian Matusz weren’t going to be the battery, this could be the least anticipated 9 innings of baseball in the history of the world.

The A.L. East best division ever?  Sports Illustrated and Inside Baseball’s Ted Keith offers his five bold predictions for the ’09 season.  The last of his calls is that “The A.L. East will have the best division race ever.”  It’s a great piece, in total – 495 thrilling words about how teams will be playing big-series after big-series, jockeying for position all summer long before an exciting September race.  Unfortunately for O’s fans, the home-team is not even mentioned one time throughout the entire entry!  But hey, don’t worry Baltimore fans… Toronto didn’t get a line either.

Ex-O Benson signs with Texas.  Kris Benson has inked a minor league contract with the Rangers.  Quick bio here, the right-hander is now 34 and is coming off a minor league year in the Phillies organization.  The last full season he played was here in Baltimore in ’06 when he went 11-12 with a 4.82 ERA.  Back in 1996 Benson was made the #1 overall selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the MLB First Year Player Draft.  He is also married, to wife Anna, shown below… she craves attention… clearly:

Scanning the Blogosphere

Ravens Insider offers a “Cautionary tale on Ravens’ Ray Lewis.”

SI’s Truth and Rumors says both the New York Giants and Jets will both be chasing Ravens FA LB Bart Scott once the free agent signing period begins.

The Schmuck Stops Here has the latest from O’s Spring Training on LF Felix Pie, pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

Fanhouse has some quotes from Cal on the Steroid Era in baseball.

Bugs and Cranks says if everyone played an even schedule in MLB, the O’s would have the 15th best record.

Connolly’s Corner Sports Bar asks, “Are the next few weeks make or break for Gary Williams?” And also, “Who will surprise in Orioles’ camp?”

Terrapins Insider: “Vasquez Named ACC Player of the Week.”

Tracking the Terps has “Notes leading up to Duke,” more on the Carolina game, and how letting Greivis be Greivis has worked out pretty well for Maryland.

ESPN’s Bracketology has Maryland as the last team making the tournament giving them a #12 seed and taking on Washington.

The Big Lead says Darrius Heyward-Bey was the most impressive prospect at the NFL Combine.

D.C. Sports Blog has comments from NBC’s Mike Mulberry about how much he loves the Great 8.

Fanhouse’s Kevin Blackistone says, “No Star Shines like Alexander the Great.”

Face Off tells us after registering 4 goals and an assists in each of Loyola first two games, Greyhounds attackman Collin Finnerty has been honored.

Rumors and Rants has something Hoya hating Terps fans might like to see, “Georgetown Can Pack its Bags for the NIT.”

CMS Video of the Day

Here’s a video from three dudes from Baltimore performing their ballad, “Boo Teixeira (We’re gonna boo Teixeira) song.”

Learn it.  Love it.  Sing it.  March 6.  Opening Day.

Also, if you haven’t seen Nets G Devin Harris’ game winning acrobatic half court prayer to beat Philly from last night, you definitely have to check it out.

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