Archive for June, 2006

Vacation Time, Next Update – July 8th

June 29, 2006

Unfortunatly I will be going on vacation starting tomorrow and I won’t have access to my computer or the internet the whole time. I would love nothing more than to be able to keep up my daily (for the most part) posts. I promise to be back on the 8th with my take on the games, transactions, and any all-star game news.

Sorry for the delay already, it will most likely be the last one for at least the summer. Probably for a while. Hopefully the O’s can continue their recent play while I’mout of touch. The only thing I will have is phone updates for every Orioles HR and final score. I hope everyone enjoys what I have written so far, thanks for listening to what I have to say. I’ll be back, I promise.

Go O’s.

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O’s Sweep Phillies, 7-4 & 12-5 In Doubleheader

June 29, 2006

Erik Bedard gets the win in the first game. He now sits at 8-6 on the year. Chris Ray gets 20th save.
In the second game, Kris Benson (9-5) got the win.

Great day for Orioles baseball. Everything came together today to sweep the struggling Phillies. I’m gonna do a player by player report on their performance.

Brian Roberts: A – 4-9 with a double, a homerun, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, and a stolen base. Finally hit his first homerun of the year after hitting 18 out of the park last year. I figured it was only a matter of time. I expect him to finish with around 6 on the season. Roberts was great for us today. Got things going when he led off and brought people in when people were on the bases. Was nice to see some hits against the lefty.

Melvin Mora: B – 3-9 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a HBP. Had a better game in game 2, but who didn’t? Good effort today with the extra time off. Nice to see Melvin leg out a infield basehit on a ball hit to Jimmy Rollins.

Miguel Tejada: A – 6-10 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. After alot of rumors swirling around about Tejada being late everyday and not paying fines to go along with the trade rumors, Miggy had a great day at the plate. Did hit into another double play though…

Ramon Hernandez: A – 3-8 with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs. Ramon continues his hot hitting on the homestand. It seems like hes hit a homerun in every game hes played since the Nationals came in. Also was great behind the plate, calling two good games and catching all 18 innings. Would like to see him get an off day tomorrow, but Javy Lopez couldn’t catch the second game because his back was bothering him.

Javy Lopez: D minus – Speaking of Javy Lopez… he played in one game and went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts. Can most likely blame the back pains with his performance, but I would’ve liked to have seen him join in on the hit parade.

Jeff Conine: A – 5-8 with 2 doubles, a triple, and 2 walks. Conine has been hitting really good the last couple games. Would be nice if one of him and Millar could give us some production. Would help the team, and would also help give them some trade value.

Corey Patterson: D – 1-10 with an RBI. Come on Corey, on a day that seemed like everyone had at least 3 hits, you could only muster one? Did play solid in the field and played with a smile on his face. That has to count for something.

Kevin Millar: B – 2-3 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. Only played in game one, but did do some positive things with the bat. At least he continues to have patience at the plate. For a team that doesn’t have too much, thats a good thing.

Nick Markakis: A – 5-7 with a triple, a HBP, and 3 RBIs. Markakis broke out in game two for his first 4 hit game in the majors. Hes starting to look more comfortable at the plate. His triple was a shot that hit high off the wall in deep center field. At least two of his other hits were line drives. Looks like hes starting to turn on the fastball alot better than before. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Nick is my favorite player to root for and I’d love to see him turn his season around.

Brandon Fahey: C plus – 1-4 with a double, a walk, and 3 runs. I thought it was pretty good managing to get Fahey in at short for game two and putting Tejada at DH. Defense continues to be above average and hits continue to come in timely situations.

Luis Matos: D – 1-4 with a HBP. Not much to say about Luis. Trade him as soon as possible. I really would rather have Luis Terrero on the team than him. At least Terrero was once a top prospect and is actually hitting the ball in AAA.

Erik Bedard: A – Seven scoreless innings, 7 strikeouts. Not quite as good as his last 2 starts. He had 41 pitches through the first 2 innings and got out of some jams. But hard to argue with his line. Gets his ERA down to 4.72. If he can continue pitching like this, we have an ace on our hands. And the Phillies lineup is nothing to sneeze at. I hope for more of this kind of performance from Erik in the future.

Kris Benson: C – Not exactly the greatest performance of the year for Benson, but he got through 5 innings with the lead, so he gets the win. 5 innings, 4 ER, 2 Ks. Did give up 3 homeruns, luckily they were all solo shots. ERA stands at 4.21.

Kurt Birkins: F – Terrible day for Birkins. Got 2 outs compared to giving up 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 HRs. Did have 2 strikeouts though.

LaTroy Hawkins: C – Got the one out he needed to retire the side in the 8th inning of game one.

Chris Ray: B plus – Perfect inning in the 9th inning of game one. 2 strikeouts to record his 20th save.

Todd Williams: B plus – 2 shutout innings. Only gave up one hit. Especially clutch when he came into the game… came in with the bases loaded, nobody out and got out of the inning without giving up a run.

Sendy Rleal: D – One inning, one run, one homerun. Didn’t really matter since were already up by 8.

Chris Britton: B – Good job in garbage time. Gave up a hit and struck out one in his only inning.

So a great day overall with the hitting and pitching getting the job done in both games. Go for the series sweep (again) tomorrow night. Rodrigo Lopez vs. Ryan Madson. Go O’s.

Orioles Rained Out Monday, Play Two On Tuesday

June 28, 2006

Erik Bedard vs. Cole Hamels in the first game.

Kris Benson vs. Scott Mathieson in the second game.

I would like to see a sweep of the double header, but a split is most likely. 2 games in one day is always a treat. Great way to spend my last day before I go on vacation for 10 days.

Loewen To Minors

June 26, 2006

Transaction: Adam Loewen optioned to AAA Ottawa to make room for Russ Ortiz.

Grade: B – This has nothing to do with the Russ Ortiz signing, I’ve stated that I didn’t like that. But since they did sign Ortiz, I think this is the best corresponding move. Have Loewen work on his command in AAA, and when Ortiz gets released after 5 terrible starts (give or take), we can bring him back up. Or we can leave him down and put Hayden Penn in his place if hes ready.

The O’s have off today. They come back tomorrow night to face the Phillies. Erik Bedard faces off against rookie Cole Hamels. Go O’s.

O’s Can’t Sweep Nats, Lose 9-5

June 26, 2006

Daniel Cabrera loses to fall to 4-5 on the season.

Daniel Cabrera can be so frustrating sometimes. Its like you know hes going to break out one day and become this awesome pitcher, but at the same time its hard to watch because it seems like he does so little with so much talent. At times he will be dominant and just blow through a lineup, no problem, striking out 10 in the process. But sometimes, like yesterday, he can be so wild that it makes your head spin. He pitched 4 and 2/3rds innings yesterday, giving up 5 hits, 6 runs, 5 walks, 4 wild pitches, and a hit batter. He struck out 3 batters. And he threw 106 pitches without getting out of the 5th inning. I guess you just gotta keep sending him out there, hoping that he can put it all together sometime. I feel a little better knowing that Leo Mazzone is working with him and that hes working on his changeup. We’ll see how the rest of his season plays out…

The hitting today was mediocre. Sure we put 5 runs on the board, but only after we were losing 9-1 and the rest of the 4 runs all came after the 6th inning. I know thats not a bad thing and I’m glad that we didn’t just give up, but I would have liked to have seen some early runs to take some pressure off. Probably nitpicking, but hey, we lost, I’m not happy about it. The standout performances were Brandon Fahey (1-2 with 2 walks), Javy Lopez (1-4 with a double and an RBI), Corey Patterson (2-4 with an RBI), and Jeff Conine (2-4 with his 6th homerun and 2 RBIs. I hope the day off monday can rejuvenate the offense.

Orioles Win A Rain Soaked Game, 3-2

June 25, 2006

Todd Williams gets the win to go to 2-3 on the season.

Rookie Adam Loewen went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs. It could’ve been worse, as he gave up 4 hits and walked 6. His control continues to be all over the place. He did have 5 strikeouts and looked dominant for small stretches. More on Loewen later… The bullpen did a great job pitching 4 scoreless innings. Todd Williams was able to bounce back after being embarrassed against the Marlins. I think you all know what I’m talking about. Chris Britton and Kurt Birkins continue to impress, proving that you can find solid relief pitching easily. I was always against signing middle relief to multi-million dollar contracts. Every year there are pitchers available for scraps or pitchers in the minor leagues that can come in and do the job just as good.

The offense again was not able to score as many runs as opportunities presented themselves. I guess its good that we’re going through a rough hitting spell the same time we’re having a good pitching stretch. Miguel Tejada went 0-5 and left 7 runners on base. He’s been having a great season, but lately seems to be struggling. There were some bright spots though. Ramon Hernandez again was the main force. He hit his 13th homerun and also singled in the game winning run in the bottom of the 9th. Javy Lopez went 3-4, Jeff Conine 2-3, and Brian Roberts 1-3 with a walk and a stolen base.

Tomorrow afternoon we go for the sweep against the Nats. Its Livan Hernandez against Daniel Cabrera. I think Cabrera will go out and dominate the weak hittings gNats and we’ll have our first sweep since Kansas City.

Transaction: Reportedly, Orioles sign RHP Russ Ortiz to the league minimum. Promised to start in the rotation right away.

Grade: D minus – I do not like this move at all. The only way I can understand it is if they felt they wanted to get Adam Loewen ready for next year by working on his control in the minors, and they felt there was nobody else ready to step in the rotation. I have a feeling though, that they did just because he had some good years in Atlanta under Mazzone. I think thats a terrible reason to sign him, he’s been one of the worst pitchers in the Major Leagues for a year and a half. I’m hoping for the best, but I don’t see him doing well here.

O’s Win A Close One, 2-1

June 24, 2006

Rodrigo Lopez tosses 7 innings giving up one run to improve his record to 5-8. Chris Ray rebounds from last nights disaster to record his 19th save.

The starting pitching has been pitching outstanding lately. I’m not sure if thats because of the competition we’re facing, the Mazzone effect starting to show, pure luck, or what. Its probably a combination of many things… Whatever it is, I’m liking it. If Rodrigo can keep pitching well, we may be able to get something for him before the trade deadline. And I would try to move him along with Javy Lopez, Luis Matos, Bruce Chen, Kevin Millar, Jeff Conine, LaTroy Hawkins, and Todd Williams (if we don’t just get rid of him).

There wasn’t anything too special to report about from the hitting. Tejada continues to ground into double plays at an astounding pace. His OPS has now slid to under .900. Corey Patterson had a big RBI single, Melvin Mora a single and a sacrifice fly, and Nick Markakis had the only multi-hit game going 2-3.

This was a nice win and a good rebound from the night before. Tonight we go into game 2 looking to win the series. With Adam Loewen facing off against Ramon Ortiz, look for more runs to cross the board than the first game of the series. I think we should put up some numbers against Ortiz, just hope Loewen can last longer than his previous efforts. The kid is gonna be good, hes just gotta get adjusted to the Major League level hitters. If he can improve his control, he could be a stud.

There are rumors flying around that the Orioles are the front-runners (only-runners?) in the Russ Ortiz sweepstakes. I don’t think this would be a good move to sign him, even if it was for the league-minimum. I say just keep Loewen in the rotation and let him get some experience for next year. And when we trade Rodrigo (keeping fingers crossed) we should put Hayden Penn in his rotation spot. So say no to Russ Ortiz Orioles, and good luck in today’s ballgame.

Orioles Humiliated, Lose 8-5

June 23, 2006

Todd Williams got the loss in this one, hes now at 1-3.

I don’t know where to begin on this travesty. The Orioles threw away a game that was played greatly until the 9th inning. Wasted a great start by Kris Benson, who threw 8 innings and only gave up one run to bring his ERA down to 4.06. Wasted a great game by Ramon Hernandez, who busted out of his 0-23 slump with 2 HRs and a walk in the game. Wasted a 5-1 lead going into the 9th inning.

LaTroy Hawkins was brought in to start the 9th. He was very unproductive and could only get 1 batter out, giving up a run (another was given to him after the next part). He left with a runner on first and Chris Ray was brought in to close the door. Only that didn’t happen. Ray gave up a pinch hit homerun to bring the game to 5-4. Thats ok right? I mean, we still have our closer in the game who is… er, was 18 for 18 in save opportunities. The next batter was another pinch hitter and he hit a homerun to tie the game at 5. Yep, back to back pinch hit homeruns. Somehow we managed to get out of the inning still tied.

In the bottom of the 9th we had a runner on second with 2 outs and Brian Roberts up. He hit a hard line drive towards the middle that looked like we would escape from the disastrous top half of the inning. But no, this is the Orioles, and the Florida second baseman made an amazing diving catch to save the game for them.

In the top of the 10th it just got comical. With Todd Williams pitching, the Marlins had a runner on second with 1 out. Perlozzo decided to walk Miguel Cabrera intentionally to set up the double play. Well Todd Williams couldn’t even get that done. He lobbed the ball a little too close to the plate and Cabrera smacked the ball up the middle to give his team the 6-5 lead. They eventually got the bases loaded and hit a routine ball to Miguel Tejada, who of course threw the ball wildly to first, causing 2 more runs to score. and that was the final score. 8-5.

This was a game that we had in our back pockets, but we had a hole in that pocket or something. Just an undefensible loss that would make even the most level-headed optimistic Orioles fan in the world upset. I give props to Kris Benson and Ramon Hernandez. It was hard to watch and I can only hope that it doesn’t destroy the team.

We face the Washington Nationals this weekend in the “battle of the beltway” or whatever they’re calling it. I wouldn’t even notice they’re was a second baseball team this close to where I live if it wasn’t for the media. I would like to say we should win this series, but after last night…I’m not so sure. Rodrigo Lopez vs. John Patterson. Go O’s…

Orioles Shut Out Marlins, 4-0

June 22, 2006

Erik Bedard with a masterful performance to advance his record to 7-6.

Bedard pretty much stole the show tonight, going 8 innings and recording 12 strikeouts while only giving up 2 hits and a HBP. Most impressive was in the 8th inning, when he gave up an infield hit and then hit the next batter on a 3-0 count. Then he proceeded to strike out the next 3 batters. I read in the Baltimore Sun that hes starting to develop his changeup more. It’s obviously helped him in his last 2 starts. If this is the Erik Bedard we can expect to see from now on, I would be a very happy person. But we’ll have to see if he can be more consistent.

Not much of note on the offensive side of the game besides the performances of 3 players. Brian Roberts had 3 hits and an RBI. He hit the ball on a line in every at bat. Javy Lopez went 2-4 with a double and a homerun. Corey Patterson went 3-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. Melvin Mora added a double to account for most of the hitting.

Brandon Fahey batted second tonight and went 0-4. With a lefty going tomorrow night, my guess is Perlozzo will go with Conine in the 2nd spot again. I still say we should move Mora back to that spot or go with Ramon Hernandez.

Tomorrow’s match up is Kris Benson against Florida’s Scott Olson. I’d like to think we can win this game and win the series. Go O’s.

O’s lose again, 6-2

June 21, 2006

Daniel Cabrera loses his second in a row to drop to 4-4 on the season.

I didn’t get a chance to see any of the game, but by looking at the boxscore I can see a few things. Cabrera pitched into the 6th inning and had 9 strikeouts and only walked 2, but he gave up 3 homeruns. That more than doubled his HR allowed total for the season. I don’t know what was different today than every other day so far this season, but it looked like he pitched pretty decent. If anyone wants to clue me in on what was wrong with Cabrera tonight, please do.

I noticed that Conine batted second in the lineup again tonight. I really think its just a bad idea to continue doing this. I can possibly see having him in the lineup against lefties, but he does not belong in the 2 hole. If they really wanna bat Mora 3rd and Tejada 4th, put Ramon Hernandez in the 2 spot. I think that would be more productive than Fahey and especially Conine.

I don’t have much today since I really didn’t see any of the game, but I still think we should win this series. I think we match up well the next 2 games with the tougher of the two being thursday against another lefty.