Tag Archive | "twins"

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Bovada Sets Orioles Win Total At 69.5, Second Longest Odds to Win World Series

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Odds to win the 2012 World Series     

Philadelphia Phillies                   11/2

New York Yankees                    13/2

Los Angeles Angels                   7/1

Detroit Tigers                             8/1

Texas Rangers                          10/1

Boston Red Sox                        10/1

San Francisco Giants                 15/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       18/1

Miami Marlins                            20/1

Cincinnati Reds                         20/1

Atlanta Braves                           22/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     25/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               28/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    28/1

Washington Nationals                30/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 40/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      40/1

Chicago Cubs                            40/1

Colorado Rockies                       40/1

Cleveland Indians                       60/1

Chicago White Sox                    65/1

Minnesota Twins                        75/1

Kansas City Royals                   80/1

New York Mets                          80/1

Oakland Athletics                      80/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      100/1

San Diego Padres                      100/1

Seattle Mariners                        100/1

Baltimore Orioles                       150/1

Houston Astros                          200/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL Pennant       

New York Yankees                    13/4

Los Angeles Angels                   7/2

Detroit Tigers                             4/1

Boston Red Sox                        11/2

Texas Rangers                          11/2

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      22/1

Cleveland Indians                       28/1

Chicago White Sox                    35/1

Kansas City Royals                   40/1

Oakland Athletics                      40/1

Minnesota Twins                        40/1

Seattle Mariners                        60/1

Baltimore Orioles                       75/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL Pennant       

Philadelphia Phillies                   9/4

San Francisco Giants                 7/1

Atlanta Braves                           9/1

Cincinnati Reds                         9/1

Miami Marlins                            9/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     11/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    14/1

Washington Nationals                15/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               14/1

Colorado Rockies                       18/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 18/1

Chicago Cubs                            22/1

New York Mets                          40/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      40/1

San Diego Padres                      50/1

Houston Astros                          100/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL East

New York Yankees                    2/3

Boston Red Sox                        3/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/2

Toronto Blue Jays                      12/1

Baltimore Orioles                       100/1


Odds to win the 2012 AL Central         

Detroit Tigers                             1/4

Cleveland Indians                       10/1

Kansas City Royals                   12/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Minnesota Twins                        16/1


Odds to win the 2012 AL West

Los Angeles Angels                   4/5

Texas Rangers                          1/1

Oakland Athletics                      30/1

Seattle Mariners                        45/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL East

Philadelphia Phillies                   1/2

Miami Marlins                            11/2

Atlanta Braves                           6/1

Washington Nationals                8/1

New York Mets                          50/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL Central         

Cincinnati Reds                         7/5

St. Louis Cardinals                     2/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    11/4

Chicago Cubs                            18/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      30/1

Houston Astros                          100/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL West

San Francisco Giants                 5/4

Arizona Diamondbacks               2/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 11/2

Colorado Rockies                       7/1

San Diego Padres                      15/1

Over/Under Regular Season Win Totals

Arizona Diamondbacks               86½

Atlanta Braves                           86½

Baltimore Orioles                       69½

Boston Red Sox                        90½

Chicago Cubs                            73½

Chicago White Sox                    75½

Cincinnati Reds                         87½

Cleveland Indians                       78½

Colorado Rockies                       80½

Detroit Tigers                             91½

Miami Marlins                            85½

Houston Astros                          63½

Kansas City Royals                   78½

Los Angeles Angels                   91½

Los Angeles Dodgers                 80½

Milwaukee Brewers                    85½

Minnesota Twins                        72½

New York Mets                          73½

New York Yankees                    93½

Oakland Athletics                      72½

Philadelphia Phillies                   93½

Pittsburgh Pirates                      72½

San Diego Padres                      73½

San Francisco Giants                 87½

Seattle Mariners                        71½

St. Louis Cardinals                     85½

Tampa Bay Rays                       86½

Texas Rangers                          91½

Toronto Blue Jays                      81½

Washington Nationals                83½
courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).


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Chen Sharp In Debut, Orioles WIn

Posted on 07 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Alfredo Simon

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Your Monday Reality Check-If Pitchers And Catchers Report And No One Cares…

Posted on 20 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Stop me if you heard this one before.

If Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training but no one has ever heard of them before, did it actually happen?

To at least some extent, that was the case in Sarasota this weekend. Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Ed Smith Stadium for an opportunity to prepare for a run towards the AL East crown introduce themselves to the men they now call teammates.

A year ago, there was a level of false hope about what a full season under manager Buck Showalter and the arrivals of veteran MLB players like Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds could do for baseball in Charm City. There is of course none of that in 2012, but you already knew that.

To be fair, I’m as surprised as you that Endy Chavez fever simply hasn’t spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

The start of Spring Training (most O’s pitchers had actually arrived in Sarasota in advance of this weekend’s report date) produced neither excitement nor as much as a batted eye to baseball fans in Baltimore this year. I will admit that I did not miss the insufferable “Happy New Year” updates on Facebook and Twitter from snobby baseball fans who are unaware their favorite sport is no longer our national pastime, but that’s the only good thing to be said.

It strikes me on this Monday that I honestly find myself pining for a year in which expectations (or at least hopes) for mediocrity fizzled into just another miserable summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m not pining over memories of a World Series run or even a relevant game on Labor Day. I’m pining for a team that mattered…at least a little bit…on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s that bad.

Some of you will likely use the comments section here to accuse me of wasting hundreds of words on taking a shot at the Orioles. I don’t know that I’ll really bother to argue much with you.

There will be plenty of storylines between now and Opening Day, it’s just that none of them will be interesting.

Someone will have to start against the Minnesota Twins on April 6. Zach Britton is the easy fan favorite, but will have to show his shoulder is 100 percent to even get into the competition. The team will reportedly have to line up four more starters behind whoever goes out for Game 1, despite the fact that you’d be hard pressed to name three quality pitchers in the group of 30 that showed up this weekend.

They also need one of those pitchers to finish games. Jim Johnson is the guy fans most want to see get the role. Fans’ second choice? Anyone not named Kevin Gregg.

Brian Roberts’ health will be the closest we come to seeing something compelling in March. A healthy Roberts would by no means guide the team towards contention, but it would be nice to see the veteran second baseman return to the field instead of being ushered into retirement. Barring injury all other starting positions on the field are set. That’s of course part of the problem, as even with talented players like JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones suiting up there’s little hope of producing enough against the staffs in Boston, New York and Tampa Bay.

There will be some competition for bench jobs, but that excitement will wear off before I can finish typing the names Matt Antonelli and Jai Miller. But hey! Look over there! It’s Nick Johnson! I’ve heard of him!

We’re going to attempt to have some relevant baseball conversation over the course of the next few weeks. All of it will involve the phrase “not like it really matters, but…” at some point. If it doesn’t, the conversation will probably be started by someone asking “have you heard anything more about those rumors that Peter Angelos is thinking about selling the team?”.

We can only pray that at some point Dan Duquette makes an off-color comment about Brian Cashman’s off-field exploits to momentarily make the Birds interesting. If you’re not, rest easy knowing I certainly am. I’d settle for a rumor that Oil Can Boyd was going to get coked up and make a start at OPACY to promote his new book.

(Now that I’ve typed those words, I actually think it’s a hell of an idea. Please pass it along to someone.)

Yes, it’s baseball season again in Baltimore. Anyone wanna talk about Justin Boren’s future in purple?


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Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

Posted on 22 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (8-10) host the New York Yankees (10-6) this weekend for a 3-game set beginning Friday night.

Last week, these two ball clubs were disrupted due to rain and one of the games has been postponed to a later date. But the extra inning loss to the Yanks last Thursday night in New York was like a bad hangover the Birds could not shake until this past Tuesday against the Twins.

As the Bronx Bombers bats are heating up in mid-April, the O’s are just trying to find some offensive consistency game-in and game-out. With the young starting pitching beginning to show signs of stability, and life from the lineup, the bullpen has to hold up their end. Perfect example was Monday nights loss to the Minnesota Twins. SP Chris Tillman went 6.2 IP and gave up 3 runs, good enough to keep the Orioles in the ball game. After a solid relief appearance by RP Clay Rapada for the Birds,  RP Kevin Gregg came in and gave up 2 runs in the top of the 9th, and the Orioles lost by 1 run. This has to change, and fast.

The New York Yankees have a problem of their own, and it deals with one of the fan-favorites, OF Brett Gardner. He has been struggling since the start of the season (15 Games / 47 AB / 1 2B / 0 HR / .128 AVG / 2 RBI ), so manager Joe Girardi benched Gardner in the final game of the Toronto series this week in favor of OF Andrew Jones.

No Transactions for either team in the last three days.

Well, I was right! The Orioles accomplished all THREE of my “Keys to the Series” vs. the Twins:

1. The offense has to come alive vs. the struggling Twins pitching staff. – CHECK

2. Britton must shine on national television Wednesday night. – CHECK

3. Buck needs to get the Birds back on track and find a team leader for this ball club. – CHECK

Here are the Orioles “Keys to the Series” vs. the Yankees:

1. Take last Thursday night’s extra inning loss personally and play with vengeance.

2. Silent the Yankee fans at Camden Yards quickly.

3. The young pitching has to shut down the hot bats in the Bronx Bombers lineup.

The official ‘WNST Weather Predictor’ this weekend vs. the Yankees

Friday 7:05pm : PM Rain – High 51 / Low 44 – With the likely chance of Friday night’s game being a rain out and Yankee fans coming down, look out for them doing this!!!!

Saturday 7:05pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 72 / Low 61 – As the weekend night game comes around, look forward to seeing this particular Yankees fan at Camden Yards!!!

Sunday 1:35pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 74 / Low 59 – Supposedly the sun breaking out in the afternoon, I’m hoping for this O’s fan to be in attendance!!!!

Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees

( 8 – 10 )                                                                                     ( 10 – 6 )

Friday April 22nd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (0-1, 2.52 ERA)

Saturday April 23rd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Chris Tillman (0-2, 6.16 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

Sunday April 24th, 1:35pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-2, 7.63 ERA)

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 3 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 14 RBI

2. Nick Markakis- RF

18 Games / 69 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .203 AVG / 6 RBI

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

18 Games / 67 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .209 AVG / 6 RBI

4. Vladimir Guerrero

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 2 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 9 RBI

5. Luke Scott- LF

14 Games / 42 AB / 8 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .190 AVG / 4 RBI

6. Adam Jones- CF

17 Games / 63 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 3 HR / .222 AVG / 8 RBI

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

18 Games / 59 AB / 11 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .186 AVG / 10 RBI

8. Matt Wieters- C

16 Games / 52 AB / 14 Hits / 4 2B / 3 HR / .269 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Robert Andino- SS

9 Games / 25 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 0 HR / .308 AVG / 0 RBI

New York Yankees Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Derek Jeter- SS

16 Games / 64 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 0 HR / .219 AVG / 4 RBI

2. Nick Swisher- RF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 2 2B / 0 HR / .273 AVG / 8 RBI

3. Mark Teixeria- 1B

16 Games / 58 AB / 15 Hits / 4 2B / 6 HR / .259 AVG / 16 RBI

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

13 GAmes / 41 AB / 15 Hits / 5 2B / 4 HR / .366 AVG / 10 RBI

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

16 Games / 66 AB / 20 Hits / 6 2B / 4 HR / .303 AVG / 13 RBI

6. Andrew Jones- LF

6 Games / 16 AB / 4 Hits / 1 2B / 1 HR / .250 AVG / 2 RBI

7. Jorge Posada- DH

15 Games / 50 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 5 HR / .160 AVG / 9 RBI

8. Russell Martin- C

15 Games / 51 AB / 16 Hits / 3 2B / 4 HR / .314 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Curtis Granderson- CF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 3 2B / 6 HR / .273 AVG / 9 RBI

If you are home or out this weekend 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 entire weekend!!!!

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

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles go for the series win in the finale of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***

BALTIMORE — Needing a victory to secure their third series win of the season, the third-place Orioles (8-9) will send Jeremy Guthrie to the hill in the finale of a four-game set against the Minnesota Twins (6-12).

The Orioles didn’t win their third series last year until June 25-27 when they swept a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.

Right-handed pitcher Scott Baker will try to continue his overwhelming success against the Orioles as he tries to lead the Twins to a series split. Baker is 5-0 with a 2.53 earned run average in seven career starts against Baltimore. Orioles hitters hold a .214 lifetime average off Baker, who continues to give them fits at the plate. The Minnesota lineup will need a big start to as Twins hitters continue their season-long struggle and have yet to score more than five runs in any game this season.

Not to be outdone, Guthrie has enjoyed his own success against the opposition with a 3-0 record and a 2.96 earned run average in four career starts against the Twins. The 32-year-old hopes to rebound from last Saturday’s start in which he surrendered six earned runs in a loss to the Indians.

Injured pitcher Brian Matusz (intercostal strain) returned to Baltimore today and will remain with the Orioles through the duration of the homestand. The lefty is scheduled to throw 120-foot flat-ground sessions on Friday and Sunday as manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor evaluate his progress. It has not yet been determined when Matusz will start a minor league rehab assignment.

He can go on assignment for up to 30 days and will need significant work to build arm strength and innings before returning to the Orioles rotation. Matusz only pitched 13 2/3 innings in the spring as he dealt with a wart on his finger and was struck by a line drive toward the end of Grapefruit League play.

In other words, his return to the 25-man roster is far from imminent.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

CF Denard Span
SS Alexi Casilla
RF Jason Kubel
1B Michael Cuddyer
DH Jim Thome
3B Danny Valencia
2B Luke Hughes
C Drew Butera
LF Jason Repko

SP Scott Baker (0-2, 4.50 ERA)

2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino

SP Jeremy Guthrie (1-2, 3.32 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Resilient Britton overcomes bug to beat Twins

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Luke Jones

The final stat line tells you how Zach Britton pitched in a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

Good enough to win, but not overly impressive.

Britton earned his third win in four starts but struggled with his command at several points, including two walks in the sixth inning that led to two runs and turned a comfortable 5-1 lead into a two-run nail-biter that was handed over to the bullpen. He departed after six innings and 88 pitches, giving up three earned runs, five hits, and issuing three free passes while striking out three.

However, listening to his post-game comments provided a new appreciation for the outing after learning he was under the weather and even wheezing on the mound at several points, according to manager Buck Showalter. And it reaffirmed what many have suspected despite the 3-1 start to the 23-year-old’s infant career.

His best work is still on the way.

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With a scratchy, hoarse voice, Britton expressed disappointment in his control issues and credited five early runs — thanks to home runs from Matt Wieters and Vladimir Guerrero and a two-run double by Adam Jones — for putting him in position to pick up the victory. It certainly helped that he faced a hapless Twins lineup that hasn’t scored more than five runs in a game all season, but Britton made key pitches when it mattered most, pitching out of jams in the second and third innings and minimizing the damage in his final inning of work.

Instead of patting himself on the back after his third quality start of the season, Britton viewed the outing as a learning experience for pitching with a sizable lead — and what you can’t afford to do with one.

“It could have been better,” he said. “I wasn’t happy with the walks, especially with the 5-1 lead, and you put guys on base and it ends up being a close game like that. So I wasn’t happy with the wildness, but we scored a lot of runs and kept us in the game.”

Of course, as Showalter pointed out after the game, players compete at less than 100 percent all the time, and the opposition doesn’t care if you’re not at the top of your game. Competing against a lineup without Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and allowing three runs in six innings, Britton may have been more fortunate than anything else, but it’s hard not to like his makeup, both physically and mentally.

In 25 2/3 innings, Britton has allowed only nine earned runs (3.16 ERA) with four of those coming in one disastrous inning in Cleveland last Friday. He’s pitched at least six innings in all four of his starts.

Hearing his thoughts after each start, you get the sense that he’s far from satisfied. The road to success will unquestionably get tougher as scouts and opposing teams view more game tape and gain a better look at his repertoire of pitches and his tendencies.

Yes, it’s only April and only four starts, but the early return on Britton is impressive, even when he hasn’t been at his best.

“That’s what he’s going to have to do,” Wieters said. “He’s a sinkerball guy, and he’s not going to throw a sinker at the knees every time, so he’s going to give up some ground-ball hits and some broken-bat hits. That’s the life of a sinkerball pitcher. He’s going to have to get through that.

“When your bad nights are six innings and three runs, that’s not too bad.”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Britton, Showalter, Wieters, and Kevin Gregg following the Orioles’ 5-4 win and remember to join us in the Orange Crush live chat for every weeknight home game at WNST.net.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7 as Britton takes the ball

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles go for two straight in the third of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***

BALTIMORE — It’s amazing what an 11-run outburst and a shutout can do for your confidence when you’ve been struggling to do just about anything right.

Fresh off their first victory in nine games on Tuesday night, the Orioles (7-9) will send rookie Zach Britton to the hill for his second start at Camden Yards. The left-hander struggled in Cleveland last Friday, picking up his first career loss in an 8-2 beating at the hands of the Indians, but the Orioles hope for a similar result to what Britton did against Texas two starts ago when he pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in a dominating performance. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Nick Blackburn.

Even with an eight-game losing streak thrown into the mix in the season’s first three weeks, the Orioles will look for their eighth win of 2011 tonight after failing to reach the eight-win mark in 2010 until May 6, which came in the form of a 2-0 victory over the Twins at Target Field. The Orioles’ next home win will be their fifth and did not pick up their fifth game at Camden Yards until May 12 last season.

Let’s hope I didn’t apply the jinx by passing along those notes.

Brian Matusz is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Thursday as he continues to recover from an intercostal strain that placed him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. The club plans to have the left-hander throw over the weekend — hopefully on a mound. Matusz has built up to throwing from 120 feet on flat ground.

The optimistic outlook is for Matusz to begin a minor league rehab assignment next weekend. However, he will likely require a longer-than-normal stint considering he will need to build arm strength and stretch himself out before returning to the Baltimore rotation. A return to the 25-man roster in mid-May seems to be the most realistic prediction at this point. Of course, that’s assuming he experiences no setbacks in the meantime.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

CF Denard Span
LF Jason Repko
RF Jason Kubel
1B Michael Cuddyer
DH Jim Thome
3B Danny Valencia
2B Luke Hughes
C Steve Holm
SS Matt Tolbert

SP Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06 ERA)

2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino

SP Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Orioles make it look easy in snapping 8-game slide

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Luke Jones

Following a 10-day stretch in which they couldn’t do anything right, the Orioles made it look simple in an 11-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.

Scoring just 20 runs over the eight-game losing streak, Baltimore plated 11 runs in two-out situations, thanks in large part to four runs batted in from catcher Matt Wieters and three from leadoff hitter Brian Roberts. The pair drove in three in the bottom of the second to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead, their first advantage at any point since the end of the eighth inning in New York last Thursday.

Cleanup hitter Vladimir Guerrero put a cherry on top of the offensive explosion with a three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Orioles a season-high 11 runs and their third extra-base hit with two outs and runners in scoring position for the game. They had only one total in the first 15 games of the season.

Jake Arrieta mowed down the feeble Twins lineup in six shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. As he often has in his brief big league career, the 25-year-old struggled with his command, pitching into deep counts and walking three, but made quality pitches in thanks to Wieters’ calls behind the plate. Arrieta allowed the leadoff man to reach only once, providing some cushion when pitching into trouble in the fourth and fifth innings.

It was quite the contrast to the 7.71 earned run average posted by Orioles starters and the 53 earned runs allowed by the entire staff over the last eight games.

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For a group shell-shocked by the violent U-turn following its hot start, the effort couldn’t have come at a better time.

“You go through things like this with real good clubs and with bad clubs,” said manager Buck Showalter after the Orioles snapped the longest losing streak of his brief 73-game tenure in Baltimore. “This one had a different feel to it for me, and I still feel that way. Who knows what tomorrow brings? It doesn’t mean anything. We all want to know about something before it happens. We don’t know what tomorrow brings.”

His words couldn’t ring any truer about a team that started the season 6-1 and followed with an eight-game losing streak before disposing of the Twins in easy fashion in the second of a four-game set. How the Orioles will respond Wednesday night with Zach Britton taking the bump after his first career loss last Friday in Cleveland is anyone’s guess.

Showalter has always voiced his pride in focusing on the little things, the intricacies that can make the difference between winning and losing on any given night of a 162-game season. Tuesday was no exception early in the game despite the lopsided final score.

With two outs and no one on in the second, Adam Jones beat out an infield single to keep the inning alive and set the table for what turned into three runs before the final out was recorded.

In the fourth, Wieters was hit by a pitch after Carl Pavano retired the first two hitters of the inning. Then, Robert Andino — who has seven hits and two walks in his last 10 at-bats in place of the injured J.J. Hardy at shortstop — singled up the middle to enable Roberts to come to the plate to double in another run.

Two innings where the starting pitcher was on the verge of getting to the dugout unscathed suddenly yielded four runs for the opposition. Things spiraled out of control from there for Minnesota.

A common theme over the previous eight games, only with the Orioles on the wrong end every night.

“There is a lot more talent in the clubhouse than we’ve had in the past,” said Wieters, who scored a career-high three runs and posted his second career four-RBI game. “And with the track records all these guys have, you know they are going to do some damage at some point.”

It’s amazing how easy it looks when you’re getting productive at-bats throughout the lineup and making quality pitches on the hill.

Whether it was the law of averages simply swinging in the opposite direction for one night or the start of another hot spell — would you be surprised with either at this point? — the Orioles needed this one, regardless of how different this year might feel in their minds.

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Live from Camden Yards: Eight not so great as Orioles try to break streak

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles try to break their eight-game losing streak in Game 2 of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***

BALTIMORE — Lauded as one of the greatest numbers in franchise history, eight now stands for the current losing streak that’s flipped an improbable start into a hellacious stretch of baseball in which the Orioles (6-9) haven’t even led in a game since the end of the eighth inning last Thursday against the Yankees in the Bronx.

After winning the opener of their first three series of the season, Baltimore has now dropped each of the last three series opening games. The Orioles had started 17-4 in openers since Buck Showalter took over as manager on Aug. 3, 2010.

While the losing streak weighs on everyone’s mind with Jake Arrieta heading to the hill to face veteran Carl Pavano, many are consumed with thoughts of the late William Donald Schaefer, who passed away at age 89 on Monday. The Maryland state flag and Baltimore City flag are flying at half-mast this evening at Camden Yards as the Orioles have planned a moment of silence as well as a video package to remember the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor.

Without his efforts, I wouldn’t be typing this entry from one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball right here in downtown Baltimore.

Getting back to baseball-related news, manager Buck Showalter passed along a positive report on lefty Brian Matusz, who was pain-free today after throwing a flat-ground session on Monday. His return is far from imminent, but the Orioles would certainly like to add some stability to a shaky starting rotation with his return.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

CF Denard Span
2B Matt Tolbert
LF Jason Kubel
DH Jim Thome
RF Michael Cuddyer
3B Danny Valencia
1B Luke Hughes
C Drew Butera
SS Alexi Casilla

SP Carl Pavano (1-1, 3.60)

2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino

SP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 7.04 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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New Orioles coming up empty as losses continue to mount

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Over the current losing streak, which grew to eight games with a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday, the Orioles haven’t hit or pitched well. Whether talking about young players or veterans, mainstays or newcomers, the Orioles simply haven’t performed, transforming a harmonious 6-1 start into a 6-9 crisis in a matter of only nine days.

No one is absolved from the last eight games, but it’s hard to overlook the newest Orioles and their struggles to begin the season.

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President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail set out to improve a club that finished 34-23 under manager Buck Showalter by adding offensive pieces to provide protection for developing positional players and alleviate the pressure on a young starting rotation. He also looked to add a veteran to the back-end of the bullpen after the disastrous early-season results from Michael Gonzalez a season ago.

The architect was applauded for signing two former All-Stars, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, to fill the third and fourth spots in the lineup. MacPhail traded for third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop J.J. Hardy in separate deals to complete the infield transformation.

Kevin Gregg — along with his 37 saves — was lured to Baltimore with a two-year, $10 million contract and a not-so-secret agreement to be the closer despite Koji Uehara’s success in the role last season.

After 15 games — yes, only 15 games — it’s not looking too hot.

Lee and Guerrero have looked the part of two aging sluggers with their best years long behind them. Lee’s average dipped to .204 after an 0-for-2 night in which he drew two walks. The first baseman’s plate discipline and defense are as good as ever, but his bat has looked slow, with only two extra base hits and struggling to get around on good fastballs.

The free-swinging Guerrero’s average fell to .242 after going 0 for 4 against the Twins. The slugger has yet to draw a walk in 62 at-bats this season and is slugging an anemic .306 with only two hits going for extra bases. Entering the night, his 2.97 pitches seen per plate appearance was the lowest among American League hitters with 50 or more at-bats.

Meanwhile, Guerrero’s occupation of the designated hitter’s spot has pushed Luke Scott to left field on an everyday basis, weakening the defense and putting more pressure on the inexperienced pitching staff.

It’s not exactly the return the Orioles had in mind after spending $15.25 million for the third and fourth spots in the order.

Reynolds has fared better than the latter two with a .692 OPS, but his .224 average isn’t going to make anyone forget his struggles from a season ago in Arizona. His defense has also been erratic, looking like a Gold Glover on one play but then struggling to make the simple throw on the next.

Of course, Hardy is currently rehabbing a strained oblique in Sarasota, leaving the Orioles with a giant hole in the No. 9 spot in the order currently occupied by the combination of Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino.

With an offense sputtering near the bottom of the American League in numerous statistical categories, the offseason discussion of the Orioles having one of the best lineups in the league seem downright preposterous.

“I’m still excited about [the lineup],” said center fielder Adam Jones, who hit his third home run of the season in the seventh inning. “You’ve never heard about anybody going in a slump? It’s [15 games] into the season or however many games. Not everybody is going to rake the entire season, so it’s a spell. Let’s get it all out of the way now and come back tomorrow ready to swing the bats.”

The Orioles hope the struggles of Gregg are also just a spell as he melted down again in the ninth inning on Monday, allowing two runs — one coming on a wild pitch — and walking two batters to transform a narrow 3-2 deficit into an insurmountable three-run hole. The right-hander left to a showering of boos reminiscent of Gonzalez’s early-season struggles last season.

The Orioles paid handsomely for Gregg’s 37 saves a year ago, ignoring his career 4.02 earned run average and 1.33 WHIP that suggest he’s a solid enough reliever, but not the guy you’re going to feel comfortable with in the ninth inning, night in and night out.

While shopping for inexpensive, short-term solutions in the lineup, MacPhail has  invested $22 million over the last two offseasons on middle-of-the-road closers in Gonzalez and Gregg. Regardless of how the duo fares the rest of the season, giving multi-year contracts to pedestrian relief pitchers just doesn’t pay off.

Of course, I realize it’s still early. The Orioles weren’t as good as their 6-1 start and aren’t as bad as the current 0-8 spell sparking nightmares of last season among the frustrated fan base.

Lee and Guerrero deserve — and will undoubtedly get — plenty of time to snap out of their early-season slumps. Their track records speak for themselves.

Perhaps Gregg will figure out his issues and rebound to become the closer the Orioles envisioned in the offseason.

But these were the guys brought to Baltimore to prevent these types of losing streaks and late-inning meltdowns from taking place as they did a season ago.

And so far, none of it has worked.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Chris Tillman, and Adam Jones following the 5-3 loss to the Twins on Monday night.

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