Friday, June 13, 2008

O's Lose to Sox, 9-2; The Bucs Come To Town...

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles got shelled by the Boston Red Sox, 9-2. The game was pretty much decided in the fifth inning as the Orioles played the percentages to walk the bases loaded for Mike Lowell.

Lowell took advantage and hit the ball over the Green Monster for a grand slam. By then it was game, set, match.

Not much else happened for Baltimore; however, they are now a game under .500, and finished 5-4 on their current road trip -- a nice little feat considering they had the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox in succession.

Now, interleague baseball (for better or worse) starts up again as the Orioles take on the NL Central. They'll take on the Pirates, Astros, Brewers and the Cubs all in a span of two week, and thus will not see any AL action until the end of the month.

I don't know how the Orioles will fare against these teams, but both the Pirates and Astros are hovering around .500, and the Brewers are above it, and the Cubs have the best record in baseball. This could be a very interesting stretch to say in the least.

But first come the Pittsburgh Pirates, whom the Orioles matchup with this week since the 1979 World Series. For me, it doesn't mean much as I was born in 1978; however, for a segment of older fans, it brings forth a warm nostalgia and reminds fans of cheaper ticket prices, winning baseball, and stars of lore.

At the Yard tonight, Earl Weaver and Doug DeCinces will be in attendance, plus, it will be throwback jersey night -- so, all in all, it should be a memorable night for fans of all ages.


Friday: Phil Dumatrait (3-3, 3.44) vs. Brian Burres (4-5, 4.96)
Saturday: Zach Duke (4-4, 4.10) vs. Radhames Liz (1.0, 3.48)
Sunday: Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.55) vs. Daniel Cabrera (5-2, 4.35)

I'm almost tempted to call the Pittsburgh Pirates the bizzaro Baltimore Orioles, as their records and the state of the their franchises, city, fanbases, and rebuilding stage are virtually identical; however, the Pirates may be slightly ahead.

I've already seen them twice in Washington, and they are perhaps a couple of pieces away from becoming a contender, but they have a lot of young talent. Some of it is waiting to break through, some have hit their peak, and there are quite a few guys (Burnett, Gorzellany, Bullington) who have not lived up to their potential.

The lineup has some pop, and Jason Bay has returned to All-Star form; meanwhile, they are getting amazing production from Ryan Doumit, and Nate McLouth is perhaps the next big thing in waiting.

Well, I think both these teams are evenly matched, although Pittsburgh is 6-4 in their last ten, and took a series from the Washington Nationals yesterday.

The Orioles need to step and take advantage of the Pirates' pitching -- which is really not all that great, but Dumatrait has had a solid season so far, and Duke can be either mediocre or very good depending on how he starts off a game. Malholm, at this point, is just another run of the mill starter; thus, the Orioles match-up against them very well.

I see the Orioles easily taking two out of three depending if the offense can take advantage of the Pittsburgh youngsters on the mound.

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