Archive for July, 2006

Orioles Avoid Sweep In Walkoff Fashion, 8-7

July 31, 2006

Maybe third time is a charm as Eddy Rodriguez gets his first win on the season.

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Bruce Chen did ok for a spot start. He hasn’t really been extended this year so him going into the 6th inning was a plus. At least he ate up some innings. He gave up 4 runs on 7 hits. He only gave up one homerun and struck out 4 batters. Chris Britton came in and did his job through the 7th inning. Time Byrdak saw his first game action since April. He went 2/3rds and gave up a hit and a run, thanks to the next pitcher. And that would be Todd Williams. He finished off the inning, giving up a walk and 2 hits, including a go ahead 3 run homer that looked like was going to give the White Sox the sweep. Eddy Rodriguez breezed through the 9th inning to keep the game within one run.

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Another good game for the offense, who has done alot better since the all-star break. Brian Roberts had a couple walks. Brandon Fahey had a single and a RBI double. Miguel Tejada had a hit and 2 RBI. Jay Gibbons was the player of the game, going 4-4 with a homerun and a walk. Hes been a nice addition since his return. We really missed him while he was out. Could’ve made a difference with his bat and the improvement of Nick Markakis’ coming together at the same time. Speaking of Markakis, he had 2 hits and an RBI to continue his torrid hitting. The man who gave us the win in the 9th was Javy Lopez. Maybe it raised his trade value enough so that we can trade him now. He had 2 hits on the day, but his most important one came in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded. We had already tied the game, and his bouncer up the middle gave us the win.

Markakis watch: 2-4 (.293)

Tomorrow night is the start of a series against the Seattle Mariners. Hopefully we are a different team by the time the game starts. I’m starting to get nervous since the deadline is going to be over in 15 hours and we haven’t made any moves. Hopefully that flurry I was calling for comes to fruition. Anyway, tomorrows game includes Adam Loewen (1-2, 6.50) going up against Gil Meche (9-5, 4.19). Go O’s….players and front office.

Bullpen Shuffling

July 31, 2006

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The Orioles sent James Johnson back down to AA Bowie as expected after he got shelled saturday. In his place, they activated Tim Byrdak from the disabled list. They also placed LaTroy Hawkins on the bereavement list, his grandmother passed away, and recalled Eddy Rodriguez for the 3rd time this year.

Grade: C

Byrdak returns after pitching 6 and a third innings of rehab. Hes a fresh arm, so thats always good. Rodriguez is still trying to figure out how to stick in the majors. Third times a charm? Sorry to hear about Hawkins’ g-mom, maybe we can reward him with a trade to a contender. All minor moves that shouldn’t effect us too much in the short run.

Orioles Lose Another Slugfest, 13-11

July 30, 2006

James Johnson loses his Major League debut.

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So it turns out Johnson is not ready for the big leagues. He got hammered for 9 hits (1 homerun) and 8 runs with 3 walks and no strikeouts in 3 innings. He threw mostly fastballs in the 89-91 range and his curveball was ineffective. Didn’t see much of a changeup. This shouldn’t really hurt him in any way, I would think it could only help. He knows what he has to work on if he wants to stick in the Major Leagues. It was an emergency start and he can go back to AA Bowie and continue his development. Russ Ortiz, yes hes still on the team, pitched the next 4 and a third innings and of course he didn’t do well. He let up 5 hits (2 homeruns), 3 runs, and a walk. Kurt Birkins came in for an out, but also let up a run. LaTroy Hawkins pitched the rest of the game (last appearance?) and gave up a run. The pitching overall was just bad, or maybe the bats were just that good. And that goes for both teams.

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The offense surged to 11 runs on 19 hits, but somehow it was again not enough. We tried to make a comeback from a huge deficit, but came up just short. As you would expect, there were plenty of notable performances. Brian Roberts had a couple of hits including a double. Melvin Mora had 3 hits and a walk. Miguel Tejada, amidst trade rumors, had a 4 hit game including his 19th homerun of the year. Apparently there are 2 teams left in the trade talks for Tejada, the Rangers and the Astros. I would like to move Tejada, but only if the package is right. We can always trade him in the offseason if we can’t now. Jay Gibbons made his return with a double and 2 walks. Jeff Conine had a double and a walk. Corey Patterson had 3 hits, one was a double, and a stolen base. Ramon Hernandez had a single and a walk, but he hit a ball to the wall that would have been a go ahead grand slam in the 6th. Close but no cigar. Nick Markakis went 4-5 with 2 doubles. Kevin Millar was the only player without a hit. So it wasn’t the offenses fault this game. Maybe tomorrow…

Markakis watch: 4-5 (.290)

Tomorrow Bruce Chen (0-6, 7.09) makes his return to the rotation to face off against Javier Vazquez (9-6, 5.31) as the Orioles try to avoid the sweep. We’re getting closer and closer to the trade deadline and I love it. We still haven’t made any deals, so I’m looking for a flurry of them at the last minute. Go O’s…

Gibbons Returns

July 30, 2006

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Jay Gibbons was activated from the disabled list today. Luis Terrero was designated for assignment. That means we have 10 days to trade him, release him, or send him to the minors if he doesn’t get claimed.

Grade: D+

I would have DFA’d Fernando Tatis instead. Terrero has been good in his second term, and Tatis doesn’t really have a place to play. Terrero could have at least got some time in the outfield. Either way, its nice to have Gibbons back. Hopefully his return can spark the offense a bit.

James Johnson Called Up

July 29, 2006

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James Johnson was called up from AA Bowie to start tomorrow afternoon’s game. Eddy Rodriguez was sent down to AAA Ottawa to make room.

Grade: C

We needed someone to make a spot start for Kris Benson since hes getting his elbow worked on. Its only supposed to be a one start thing, so Johnson can get some experience and if he does good, he might stick. No lose situation if you ask me. He isn’t expected to do great so it shouldn’t be too much pressure, besides it being his MLB debut. Eddy Rodriguez is an alright selection, although I would’ve released Russ Ortiz instead. Good luck James.

Orioles Lose In Dramatic Fashion, 6-4

July 29, 2006

This is getting old… Chris Ray blows the save badly to lose his 3rd game of the season.

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Erik Bedard put us in a great position to win. Chris Britton kept our 2 run lead alive into the 9th inning for our flawless closer. And then Chris Ray gives up a grand slam in the 9th and we lose 6-4. I am just not in the mood to say too much after this one. Bedard went 7, gave up 2 runs and 2 walks, and struck out 7. Continued quality pitching from our ace. Britton continues to be good. He pitched the 8th inning without allowing a baserunner. And then, Ray came in. He gave up 3 hits, a walk, and that unfortunate grand slam. His ERA jumped up to 3.40… its just one game, but theres been alot of just one games with this team. I just hope this doesnt go to his head and ruin him like Brad Lidge.

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The offense was adequate and should have been good enough to win, but not tonight… again. Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millar each had doubles, and Brian Roberts hit his 2nd homerun of the season. Those 3 also had the only RBIs. Brandon Fahey, Corey Patterson, and Nick Markakis had the other hits, a single each. Patterson also stole his 33rd base. I’m going to stick with my team until the end, but this isn’t fun to watch right now. The only reason to watch now is to see the youngsters develop, bring them on by the way, and the continued success of our new ace.

Markakis watch: 1-3 (.281)

Tomorrow is the debut of one of those youngsters, James Johnson (0-0, 0.00), against Jon Garland (10-3, 4.78) of the White Sox. Gotta love the kid getting a chance. The trade rumors are flowing like a fine white wine, should be a fun flurry before the trade deadline. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we trade Rodrigo Lopez, LaTroy Hawkins, Jeff Conine, Miguel Tejada (yes, I said it), and Javy Lopez. Kevin Millar will pass through waivers and we’ll trade him next month. Go O’s.

Orioles Win Swing Game, 6-4

July 28, 2006

Rodrigo Lopez wins his last start as an Oriole to improve to 7-11. Chris Ray gets his 26th save for back to back games with saves.

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Not a terrible start for Rodrigo before he gets shipped off. Somehow he managed to only give up 2 runs, even though he gave up 11 hits and a walk. It seems like every team and their mother is interested in Rodrigo, which is funny because if no teams had interest in him I would consider outright releasing the guy. I have no clue what these teams think they’re getting. Maybe they think he will transform into a different pitcher all of a sudden, I don’t know. Bruce Chen, Todd Williams, LaTroy Hawkins, Kurt Birkins, and Chris Britton each pitched fragments to get through the middle innings. They gave up 2 runs collectively. Then Chris Ray came in for the 9th and shut the Royals down to get another save. He gets the job done. I was wrong about Hawkins pitching his last game as an Oriole last night. Maybe this was instead. The pitching did enough to win, which is all we can hope for these days when it isn’t Bedard on the mound.

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The offense didn’t go crazy, but they did come through when it was needed. 6 runs on 9 hits is effecient. The offense was spread around, only one player had more than one hit, but every starter had a hit except for Melvin Mora – who had 3 walks. Brian Roberts has been a doubles machine lately, he had another tonight. Kevin Millar hit his 8th homerun of the season. Hopefully upping his value enough to move him. Javy Lopez hit a double. See Millar comment. Fernando Tatis was the player of the game, going 2-4 with a double and an RBI.

Markakis watch: 0-1 (.280)

The O’s come home tomorrow night to face off against the struggling White Sox. We should feel pretty comfortable, at least for tomorrow night, as Erik Bedard (12-6, 3.94) barring another food poisoning, will be starting. He’ll go up against Freddy Garcia (10-8, 4.86). Go O’s… make some deals.

Orioles Win A Game, 4-3

July 27, 2006

Adam Loewen gets his first Major League win of his career. Hes now 1-2. Chris Ray got the save, his 25th.

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We improved to 2-3 now on the easiest road trip of the year. Loewen pitched 5 innings and only gave up 1 run. He gave up 7 hits, walked 3, and struck out 5. He got into trouble a few times, but was able to get out of it. Todd Williams helped him out in the 6th, after Loewen let up a lead off double, followed by a walk. Williams came in and got a double play, but also gave up a 2 out hit to let in Loewen’s only charged run. LaTroy Hawkins came in and made it a close one, giving up 2 runs over 1 and a third innings. This could have been Hawkins last appearance as an O, you never know. So it was 4-3 when Ray came in. And thats where it would stay. For his second appearance in a row hes gone over an inning to get a save. He has to with the way our bullpen has been pitching.

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The hitting consisted of 4 hitters mostly. Besides a Brandon Fahey double and Corey Patterson bunt single, 11 of the 13 hits came from Jeff Conine, Melvin Mora, Nick Markakis, and Chris Gomez. Conine went 4-4 with a homerun (yay for trade value), Mora had 3 hits in 4 at bats, Gomez went 2-4 with 2 RBIs, and Markakis had 2 hits including a double, and an RBI. So a good game despite some of our best hitters taking o’fers.

Markakis watch: 2-4 (.281) !

Bruce Chen is scheduled to make his comeback to the rotation saturday (yawn). He has looked better recently coming out of the pen, but I would keep him in the long relief role. But thats not until saturday, tonight its Rodrigo Lopez (6-11, 6.74) making his last start as an Oriole. He’ll be going against the man that was supposed to pitch last night, Jimmy Gobble (3-3, 4.88). Go O’s.

Orioles Can’t Even Beat Royals, Lose 7-5

July 26, 2006

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Todd Williams falls to 2-4 with the loss.

This is just getting really ugly. As we get closer to the trade deadline, we get worse and worse. After losing a series to the only team under us in the standings, we head to the worst team in baseball and lose the opener. How many times can somebody say it can’t get any worse? We blew 2 seperate leads. At one point we were winning 4-0, and at another 5-4, but still managed to lose.

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Kris Benson started the game and was ok. He went 6 innings and gave up 4 runs (3 earned). He gave up 2 homeruns (both by Mark Teahen) out of the 8 hits he gave up. He also walked 3 and struck out 2. He was in line to get the win when he left. Then Kurt Birkins came in and pitched terribly again. He has been awful ever since coming in for Erik Bedard during the Philles double header game. We can either hope for a little rebound (his strikeout rate is still good) or possibly try to include him in a deal, if we make any, before the deadline. Birkins deserved the loss. He went 2/3rds of an inning, giving up 3 runs. His only defense is that Todd Williams came in ad let the runners score that he put on. Williams finished the inning Birkins started, not officially giving up any runs. He let up 2 hits though. Chris Britton was again the only bright spot of the bullpen performance. He went an inning, striking out one.

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The offense pounded out 13 hits, but it wasn’t enough. It seems like no atter how many runs they score, its never enough to win. Every starter had a hit except for Jeff Conine and Javy Lopez (2 players we’re trying to move). Luis Terrero is coming out of his shell, he had a double and a homerun. Nick Markakis and Melvin Mora both went 2-5. Brian Roberts had a double and 2 walks, hes been playing good lately. Miguel Tejada has been on fire in the second half so far, he went 4-4 with a double.

Markakis watch: 2-5 (.278)

Tomorrow night i Adam Loewen’s (0-2, 7.09) turn to take on the team with the worst record in baseball (can’t say worst team…). He’ll be facing another lefty (you what that means) in Jimmy Gobble (3-3, 4.88). Go O’s…

In an orioles related note, Washington Post Orioles beat writer Jorge Arrangure Jr. did a chat online today and was asked a question pertaining a rumor that might have started on the Orioles Hagout message boards about a coaching change. Instead of just dismissing the rumor, Jorge decided to take this time to blast the Hangout’s Tony Pente about his inside information that he discussed on WNST a few days ago. He went on and on, attacking the Hangout and Tony Pente himself and for this I will now forever hold a grudge against mister Arrangure. The punk can go write about the Nats for that paper, I don’t want someone like him covering our Orioles. Go to www.orioleshangout.com and check out Tony’s response to these comments.

Bedard Pitches, Orioles Win, 4-2

July 23, 2006

Erik Bedard wins his 7th game in a row. He is now tied for the league lead in wins with a 12-6 record. Chris Ray pitched a 2 inning save, his 24th.

The ace of the staff continues his dominance, going 7 innings and giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. He had 9 strikeouts and carried a no hitter into the 4th inning. Bedard’s ERA is now under 4 (3.94). I predict that he will finish with 18 wins and and a mid 3’s ERA. I think he will assert himself as one of the best pitchers in the American League and anchor our pitching staff for years to come. Chris Ray 2 perfect innings to collect his 24th save in 25 chances. He had one strikeout.

The offense did just enough to win todays game, but they continue to play stupid baseball on the basepaths. Luis Terrero got caught stealing 2nd, Ramon Hernandez got thrown out at third base after hitting an RBI double, and Jeff Conine got picked off of second base. I don’t know whats going on. I don’t know if its a lack of focus, bad luck, or a curse of some sort, but it needs to stop if we want to ever be consistent competitors. On the good side, every starter had at least one hit except for Corey Patterson and Kevin Millar. But Millar had a walk and Patterson went 5-5 yesterday, so they’re excused. Millar also made an excellent diving catch to get Bedard out of one inning. Javy Lopez hit his 8th homerun of the season to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. Jeff Conine and Miguel Tejada both went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Ramon Hernandez went 3-4 with that double and RBI. Brian Roberts hit a double and Melvin Mora had a stolen base and an RBI. It was a really good game besides those mental errors that we continue to make.

Markakis watch: 0-0 (.276)

Tomorrow is a day off to refocus and get ready to sweep the Kansas City Royals. Jay Gibbons is expected to come back on friday, so he’ll miss the feast of Royals pitching that everyone else will benefit from. Tuesday its, as far as I know, Adam Loewen (0-2, 7.09) against “all-star” Mark Redman (6-5, 5.02). Only problem is that hes a lefty… Go O’s.