Saturday, April 30, 2011

Orioles Start Series off in Chicago With a Dominating Win.

Last night in Chicago, the OriolesOrioles started off their seven-game road trip with a dominating win over the Chicago White SoxChicago White Sox, 10-4.

The offense busted outThe offense busted out against a seemingly hapless White Sox team as they used a crazy five-run seventh inning to put them away. Matt Wieters -- who I wrote about the other day -- may finally be starting to look like the player we saw out of the minors, as he went 2-for-5, drove in four and hit his fourth homer of the year.

Robert Andino, who has filled in admirably for the injured J.J. Hardy, had three hits on the night. Brian Roberts drove in three and had two hits. I was looking through the stats after the game and didn't know that Rpberts has driven in 19 RBI so far -- that's nice work from the leadoff spot for sure.

Luke Scott also homered in the 4th inning. That was his fourth of the year, a solo shot.

Jake Arrieta got the win with a so-so effort, going five innings and giving up three runs for his third win of the season. The bullpen -- Clay Rapada, Jim Johnson and Jeremy Accardo -- did a solid job overall, giving up a run in four innings of work. Meanwhile, a shaky John Danks took the loss.

The Orioles this season seem to have very little margin of error when it comes to them winning or losing; however, it was about time to see the offense finally getting things together and pounding a team they should beat.

>>> Read More

Friday, April 29, 2011

Salvaging April

The Orioles got off to a great start and then came crashing back down to Earth with a disgusting thud. Like a sack of wet laundry hitting the basement floor the Orioles are looking up at the rest of the division, once again, going into May.

Now, in all fairness, they are in last place largely by default (only one game separates them and third place and they are only two games out of second place). The team has shown some signs of life on the last homestand and even the offense had registered a thready pulse against the Red Sox before being shut down by Jon Lester yet again last night. But troubles still remain.

Vlad is starting to show a bit of his power in the last couple of weeks, batting .311 with a double; three homers and seven RBI. Luke Scott seems to be coming back from a slight groin strain with some amount of strength - at least you hope that is something that would be heralded by the monstrous homerun he hit of Josh Beckett Tuesday night. Derrek Lee's bat seems to be heating up a little bit as well. Over the last week Lee has hit well to the tune of a .364 average but with little to no real power. And, most importantly NO ONE IS WALKING!

The Orioles currently have the worst OBP in the AL sitting at an astounding .289! Why so low? Because the entire Oriole team has only walked 55 times so far this year. By comparison, the Boston Red Sox have almost twice as many walks as a team that the Orioles do. No one on the Orioles has more than nine walks so far this year. And that is simply mind-boggling. Its not as if the Orioles are striking out either, they have the fourth-fewest strike outs in the league right now, but they are hacking and don't have a lot to show for it.

The Orioles team BABIP is sitting at .261 almost 20 points below the league average so they have been hitting into some bad luck, they aren't finding grass. Combine this with the complete lack of walks it means that the Orioles are not getting hits with people on base as often as the rest of the league. Meaning fewer RBI and, ta da - fewer wins. When looking at their batting ratios as compared to the rest of the league the only things that strike any alarm are the BB%, XBH% and the AB/RBI. In all three of these categories the Orioles are well below the league average. And the low walk and XBH percentage is resulting in the Orioles getting an RBI every nine AB as opposed to the league average of eight AB per RBI. It may not sound like much at first blush but those missed opportunities add up over time and will definitely continue to cost the team wins if they do not improve.

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Leftovers from Yesterday; Photos: Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles; Baltimore Gets Its Heart Ripped Out..

Morning, folks.

I'll have more as the day goes along about the Red Sox series; however, last night's loss was painful.

Yes, the Baltimore OriolesYes, the Baltimore Orioles have little margin of error to begin with against the Boston Red SoxBoston Red Sox and that was proven correct yesterday as Jon Lester kept the Orioles at bay offensively.

With the game tied at 2, the Oriole bullpen could not hold off a charge by the Red Sox. Jim Johnson have up a run in the seventh inning off a Dustin Pedroia infield single, and then in the eighth inning reliever Mike Gonzalez came into the game and added more fuel the fire, unable to get anyone out and giving up an RBI-single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

After Gonzalez got the hook, Berken came in and gave up a two-run single to Jacoby Ellsbury. That would bury the Orioles for the night.

Brad Bergesen pitched well as he allowed two runs in six innings worh of work. He got off to yet another rough start as Boston's Adrian GonzalezAdrian Gonzalez plated in both runs -- one in the first with a double, and the other in third with a single.

Just a flat night for the Orioles. Jon Lester owned them again.

Derrek LeeDerrek Lee -- who is starting to heat up at the plate -- drove in Brian Roberts to the tie at one in the first inning.

Vladmir GuerreroVladmir Guerrero crushed a solo homer into left center field in the sixth inning to tie the game at two before things fell part.

The Baltimore Orioles are now 10-13 on the year; however, on the bright side, they took two out of three from the Red Sox.

Always a very good thing.

About Mike Gonzalez. He just looks all out of sorts and you have to wonder will he figure it out on the mound sooner rather than later.

>>> Read More

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Orioles Come Back to Defeat Red Sox; Zach Britton & Crowds

For the second straight night, the Orioles have beaten the Red Sox, this time by a score of 5-4.

Usually, if you looked up the MLB Odds on this type of game in the past or listened to the talking heads on MLB.com or ESPN.com, most fans would have picked the Red Sox to comeback and defeat the Orioles.

However, that was in the past.

The Orioles were tied at four after the Red Sox had a four-run eighth inning thanks to a RBI-single by Adrian Gonzalez followed by a three-run homer by Kevin Youkilis. The bullpen in the eighth inning – Jeremy Accardo, Clay Rapada and Koji Uehara – could not hold off the Red Sox.

I had an eerie feeling in the eighth inning that Boston was going to explode and become a factor in the Wednesday’s game. Their lineup is too strong and too good to be held back for two consecutive nights.

However, hope for Baltimore came in the eighth inning as Vladmir Guerrero plated in Derek Lee to break the tie.

Kevin Gregg – who has earned the ire of many fans over the past few weeks – earned his fourth save by pitching a perfect ninth inning for the second night in a row.

Uehara earned the win, his first of the year.

For the Orioles, Luke Scott provided some early offense with a two-run homer in the fourth inning and then Adam Jones followed up with a solo homer of his own. In the fifth inning, Brian Roberts plated in a run during the fifth inning to give Baltimore a 4-0 lead.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This is why its different.

I just walked in from the game tonight. I will have a more coherent post tomorrow, but this first.

This.

This is why 2011 is different than 2010. In 2010, the Orioles lose that game and we are talking about the big bad Red Sox once again. But the 2011 Orioles won this game.

After giving up a 4-0 lead in the ninth capped off by a three-run jack off of the bat of the hated Kevin Youkilis the Orioles came up to bat against flamethrower closer-in-waiting Daniel Bard and manufactured the winning run through great AB's and smart baserunning. Even a close call at the plate that went against the Orioles could not hold them back as Vladimir Guerrero knocked in the go-ahead run and Kevin Gregg closed the game out easily to earn the save as the Orioles win 5-4.

They win the series. They go for the sweep tomorrow.

Tonight you could feel fire fire returning. It is a great feeling.

>>> Read More Here...

Remembering What Made Me a Fan

Here's a litte of my latest piece for MASNSports.com

***

It's been a tough stretch for Baltimore OriolesBaltimore Orioles fans over the past decade.

No matter where you reside - whether it's in Maryland, Florida, California or any part of the world - it's been startling to see what has happened to the Orioles.

Sadly, they have not had a winning season since Bill Clinton was president of the United States of America.

Yet, despite it all, I and most of my friends who rooted for the Orioles growing up still do so today.

It's obvious that the Birds have lost more than they have won over the past decade and longer. There have been some crazy moments such as the 30-3 loss to Texas30-3 loss to Texas in 2007 (which I saw in person); however, there have been some bright ones as well, such as the nine-run comeback against the Red Soxnine-run comeback against the Red Sox in 2009.

More times than I'll admit, I've buried my head in my palms, muttered out a few curse words and shaken my head wondering what I have just saw after a painful Orioles loss. Then again, when something amazing has happened or when they've scored, I jump up, pump up my fists and shout like a kid to let out my enjoyment.

Through the good, bad and ugly, I've remained a follower of the black and orange.

So, why am I a fan?

I often wonder that when I'm by myself or with friends watching a ballgame. I ask myself, "Why I am I here? Isn't there anything better I should be doing with my time?"

Well, maybe I should be in the gym working out or doing some housework. Or better yet, I'd be well-served at times to save some extra money rather than buying a game ticket, paying for parking, drinks,and food - and having to endure traffic leaving a game.

Simply put, I love the game of baseball and appreciate the Orioles, whether they are winning or mired in a rough patch of losing. Being a baseball fan is a major part of my identity - as I am sure with most readers of this blog entry - and I don't ever want it to change.

>>> Read More at MASNSports.com>>> Read More at MASNSports.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Orioles and the Red Sox

The Orioles' annual April slog through the AL East continues with the suddenly resurgent Boston Red Sox coming into town. The Red Sox are surging, after getting off to their worst start in decades they have crawled out of the basement winning eight of their last ten buoyed by a four game wining streak.

The Orioles are, of course - once again, heading the opposite direction.

We can try and kid ourselves with the moral victory against the Yankees on Sunday, but moral victories don't end up in the win-column and the Orioles need to find a way to right the ship against a surging Sox club.

Tonight Clay Buchholz will take the mound for the Sox. Buchholz has gotten off to a rocky start in 2011; he's 1-2 with an ERA over 5. He is walking too many people, giving up almost 10 hits per nine innings and seems ripe for the picking. Now if the Orioles can just remember how to hit the ball. Seriously though, this is one of those situations where the Orioles need to pounce on a struggling pitcher that has historically had their number. The team simply can not allow themselves to be the healing salve, the phoenix down if you will, to resurrect Buchholz' April.

I will admit it. I danced a little jig everyday the Red Sox lost this April. Every loss they fell further into the hole made my heart swell with abject glee. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Orioles are desperate for a win or two to salvage an April and to stay competitive going into May.

Zach Britton throws tonight for the birds. Britton got singled to death for one inning in his last start against Minnesota but still picked up the quality start and the win despite having the flu. Hopefully Britton is 100% healthy tonight as he will be tested by the Sox bats, another AL East team that has simply owned the Orioles the last handful of years.

Speaking of the Sox offense, the bats have definitely come alive, but their pitching over the last ten games has been amazing. In their eight wins in this streak they have held opposing offenses to three runs or fewer including back-to-back shutouts against the Angels. After tonight the Birds will get Jenks tomorrow and the dred-oriole-killer Jon Lester to finish the series. If the Orioles are going to salvage anything resembling a respectable April they need to do it here in this three game series.

>>> Read More

Leftovers: Photos from Saturday's Game: Orioles vs. Yankees

The day before ... game was rained out, but Adam Jones was signing autographs for some fans.

>>> Read More

Amid struggles, O's still deserve fans' support

Good morning everyone, I'm Anthony and this is my first entry as a guest blogger for MASNsports.com.

First and foremost, I'm a hardcore Orioles fan and have been through thick and thin. It's a been rough time for us fans over the past 13 years; however, I'm an eternal optimist and believe better days are head for Orioles Orioles fans.

I'm a native of the Washington, D.C., area and currently reside in Maryland. Growing up, I was introduced the Orioles as a teen and I've been a fan ever since. I started Oriole Post as an extension of my fandom and it is essentially a hodgepodge of opinions, news and photos centering on the team we love, for better or worse. Along with fellow blogger and good friend James Baker, we're in the sixth season of covering the Orioles.

Now, the topic on everyone's mind is what happened with the Birds yesterday with the Evil Empire, also known as the New York Yankees. I was frustrated - as was pretty much everyone who wore black and orange - with the Orioles, who were defeated by the Yankees 6-3.

Once again, the Yankees had them against the ropes late in the game; however, the offense engineered an amazing comeback off closer Mariano Rivera and the bullpen didn't allow New York to do any more damage before the rain delay.

>>> Read More>>> Read More

Monday, April 25, 2011

Come Join Us on Facebook and Twitter...

We've now got a home on Facebook!on Facebook!

For now, it's a simple page, but we hope over the weeks and months, it will become something more.

Everyone seems to have one, so we've joined in on the fun.

It's just been up since Thursday afternoon, so take a minute, shoot us a like, leave a comment and take a look at some of the pretty pictures taken of the Orioles throughout the season.

A special thanks to James for getting our new Facebook page setup and we'll do out best to engage you all, plus make it interactive.

Click here to view/join our Facebook page.our Facebook page.

And yes, we're on Twitter too...

Our Twitter home: The Oriole Post (main) The Oriole Post (main) & James BakerJames Baker

The Curious Case of Oriole Reliever Mike Gonzalez

When reliever Mike Gonzalez signed with the Orioles before last season, I thought it was a decent signing at the time despite the money involved.

He had a solid track record in the National League with Pittsburgh and Atlanta, so one would think he certainly would be integral part of the Baltimore bullpen.

As we all know, from the start of Spring Training until 2/3 of the way into the 2010 season, Gonzalez was awful. He was signed by the Orioles as a closer, and sadly he didn't close much. I don't think he has even saved a game with the Orioles since he signed his John Hancock.

I was at Opening Day in 2010 where Gonzalez was literally booed off the mound and remarked to a fan next to me who was bashing him, "um, I think he's hurt".

I added (and paraphrasing), "I have watched too much baseball over the years and I have seen this guy on the mound. Something isn't right."

He was out of sorts in Spring Training and then was disastrous in the first week of the season. Of course, his had a small part that led to an infamous and horrendous stretch for the Orioles in 2010.

Gonzalez, in the end, was hurt. After working his way back in the minors, he came back towards the end of last season in a non-pressurized role in the bullpen and was decent.

Now that we are in 2011, Gonzalez looks awful as ever. He says he's healthy in a Baltimore Sun interviewHe says he's healthy in a Baltimore Sun interview and wants to pull his weight on the team.

>>> Read More

Yankees Sweep Orioles Over Easter Weekend; Sunday's Game a One of 'If's' (with photos)

Once again, the Yankees found a way to pull out another win as they defeated the Orioles, 6-3 on a, Easter Sunday that saw a lot of ups and downs at Camden Yards.

We know the Yankees are a tough team to face and when they see an opportunity to win, they do so.

Sunday's contest was in the end was a game of "if's"

We all know what took place. What happens of Robinson Cano -- in a 3-2 count -- strikes out against reliever Jason Berken in the 11th inning?

What happens if Robert Andino after making an incredible dive in the hole at shortstop, completes an amazing double play and it turns out to be a 'web gem'?

What happens if Mark Reynolds doesn't follow up Andino's misplay with one of his own on a dribbler down the third base line?

Also, what if Andino is called safe on his slide in the bottom of the 9th inning? Or if Matt Wieters doesn't block the plate against Jeter's slide in the 10th?

Plus, what happens if Luke Scott's opposite field drive in the 8th inning sails over the head of Yankee left fielder Brett Gardner?

It was a game of inches yesterday for the Orioles, but in the end, things didn't go their way.

Jason Berken - who has probably been one of the most solid relivers by far on the team -- took the loss. It was not his fault and things didn't go his way. The Yankees ripped the guts out of the Orioles and their fans yesterday in the 11th inning; therefore, we all saw why they have ended up in the playoffs 16 out of the last 17 seasons.

They hustled, played hard and believed that they would not lose.

The Orioles did the same in the bottom of the ninth to engineer one of the most amazing comebacks at Camden Yards this season. They tied the game at game at three off legendary closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth as Brian Roberts ripped an RBI-double down the line to plate Adam Jones.

Over the past several years, the Yankees have owned the Orioles; however, on Easter Sunday, Baltimore didn't fold to New York until the every end.

>>> Read More

Check Out MASNSports.com: Amid Struggles, O's Still Have Fans' Support

This week, I'm guest blogging at MASNSports.com as part of their Orioles Buzz section.

Follow bloggers from Camden Chat, Roar from 34 and Dempsey's Army have already had their turn in the rotation. Obviously, it's my turn now.

It's very cool that the local regional sports network has decided to reach out to us bloggers and showcase the work we do.

It's funny, I don't think I could have imagined doing something like this, 5 or 10 years ago.

Anyhow, I'll still blog daily here, but the posts there will be slightly different from what you see here.

My first post for MASNSports.com is titled "Amid Struggles, O's Still Deserve Fans' Support".

Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Same as It Ever Was...

The crunching sound you hear last night was the collective will and pride of Orioles fans being destroyed by the big-bad-impossible New York Yankees. How impossible?

The Yankees homer bats account for over 60% of their total runs scored. Russell Martin, a guy who hadn't cracked .700 OPS in the last two years and in his best year hit 14 homers, already has six. Jorge Posada has nine hits all year, six of them are homers and two came against the Orioles. Sure you can sit here and say their starting pitching is suspect and they are giving up almost five runs a game in the early going but so what, it doesn't matter when they are scoring almost six runs a game.

The Yankees are what they always have been and what they always will be. They don't age, they don't falter, they just keep going. Other teams have windows of competitive time and risks that need to be taken, not the Yankees they are simply one thing: impossible.

The way they run their team they will always be in the playoff hunt, they will always be near the top of the division they will always hit the ball.

>>> Read More

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yankees Defeat Orioles at Camden Yards, The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same...

I don’t know how quite to articulate what I saw in person attending the Orioles-Yankees game last night at Camden Yards.

I do know one thing. It seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It was painful to sit at your team’s home ballpark and see the guys you root for get beat down by a rival.

The Yankees are the big-bad, bullies in the sport who seem to get whatever they want; meanwhile, the Orioles are like the frumpy kid who is picked on constantly. They try to fight back and quickly find out they need a lot of help if they want to defeat their nemesis.

Well, it’s no mystery that the Yankees have pretty much owned the Orioles for the past several seasons.

Once again, they they just flat-out trashed the Orioles, 15-3.

You all pretty much know what happened.

C.C. Sabathia owned the Orioles – again; Brad Bergesen struggled again despite four of his six innings of work being very good; the Yankee lineup launched five homers, there were potential fireworks in the 9th inning and the home team wilted again.

>>> Read More

The Rainout and Saturday's Game Info...

As you all know, Friday night's Orioles vs. Yankees game at the Camden Yards was postponed due to the nasty, incelement weather outside. There's not been a makeup date announced as of yet, and fans are advised to hold onto their tickets.

I have not heard or read anything on exchanges or other arrangements to handle the ticketing for Friday's game. I found that quite unusual.

Also, fans who do not have tickets for Saturday and are looking purchase them from the box office may want to read this from the Communications Department of the Baltimore Orioles...

From Birdland Insider: Fans coming to Sat night's game are advised to purchase tix in advance or arrive early to avoid long wait times. Big walkup expected.

In other words, buy your tickets early -- either at the box office, online at orioles.com or places like Stubhub and Tickets Now. Avoid the lines. It's painful and I can speak from experience.

>>> Read More

Friday, April 22, 2011

About Last Night & Tough Week Ahead...

Last night, the Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins, 3-1, in the final contest of a four game series. They got a series split with the Twins and are 8-10 on the season.

After winning two straight with their black jerseys on, the Orioles decided to do the same for the third night in a row to continue the luck. That didn’t work.

Jeremy Guthrie – who started the game for Baltimore on the mound – was solid, but lost. He went seven innings and gave up two runs on seven hits.

As it seems for Guthrie whenever he pitches, the Orioles can never give him enough run support and didn’t get on the scoreboard until Vladmir Guerrero’s RBI infield single in the 8th inning.

Until then, the Orioles were shutout by Twins’ starting pitcher Scott Baker, who went seven shutout innings for the win. Closer Matt Capps got the save.

Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer each hit solo shots for the Twins, and the Orioles have only won twice in the past eleven games.

At this point, I am little concerned about Derrek Lee. He’s been a solid hitter throughout his career and a power threat; however, so far with the black and orange, he’s not done much.

We all know that Lee didn’t get much a Spring Training due to recovering from a wrist injury, but there’s not been a lot out of his bat as of yet. Let’s hope it improves.

He’s the man in third the spot of the lineup and his bat is needed – badly.

It’s not only Lee struggling at the plate, but Nick Markakis had some ugly swings last night, as did Luke Scott. Meanwhile, Mark Reynolds’ average is under .200.

>>> Read More

Luke Scott, His Comments, President Obma, Felix Pie and ESPN Profile

I really, really like Luke Scott - as an athlete. He hit homers for the Orioles, plays his heart out when he's on the field and seems like an all-around good guy, but a tad eccentric.

My critique is not of him as a player. He's got flaws, but is one of the better Orioles out there. Plain and simple.

As fans, we want to feel that we truly know our athletes who wear the name of our favorite team emblazoned on the front of their uniform. Of course, we don't.

Much like with what Adam Jones did right before the season, sometimes when athletes we root for open their mouth -- we may not like what they say. In fact, some might recoil.

Even moreso, when they start to peel away the layers of their public persona.

Well, Luke Scott -- in an article posted on ESPN.com this afternoon -- talks about various topics with reporter Amy K. Nelson.

Guns, President Obama, an amazing and harrowing account if his life so far, Latin culture, his teammate and friend Felix Pie, and what not.

Having talked to Luke Scott a handful of times as fan, and as a blogger, I can say the man isn't a racist. Then again, I don't know. Maybe he is truly eccentric, says what he feels without a filter or oblivious.

He cares deeply about his profession, the Lord, the fans and has a ton of pride.

>>> Read More

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Thoughts and Pictures from Last Night

As we all know, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Twins last night in a close contest, 5-4, and are now 8-9 on the season.

Zach Britton won his third game last night; however, from what I heard on the radio – on 105.7 FM – driving home was that he was under the weather. Assuming he was feeling a little ill, he put on quite a performance, giving up three runs in six innings of work.

So far, he’s been by far the best pitcher on the squad. Although he was off last night, he was able to get out trouble when needed. That’s a good sign.

He gave up an early solo homer to Michael Cuddyer in the second inning, and a run single to Danny Valencia in the 6th. Other than that, he was solid as can be, especially for a young pitcher facing a pesky team such as the Twins.

He said this (via the Associated Press) after the game:

"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. I wasn't happy with the way I necessarily performed, but we scored a lot of runs which kept us in the game which was good," said Britton.

The bullpen made things interesting as Koji Uehara gave up a run in the eighth inning. Kevin Gregg earned his second save of the season, despite nearly giving up a long drive by Denard Span – which would have gone for extra bases – if Adam Jones didn’t hustle to catch the ball in center field.

It was great to see the offense break out again for the second night in a row. The Orioles plated four runs in the second inning of Nick Blackburn – who started for the Twins on the mound and took the loss – as Adam Jones hit a two-run double and Wieters followed up moments later with a two-run homer.

The Orioles added a huge insurance run in the third inning as Vladmir Guerrero hit his third homer of the season – an absolute bomb – to left field.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photos: Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles - April 20th

I'll have more in the morning; however, here are photos from tonight's Orioles win over the Minnesota Twins. It was a great night out with a little more than 13,000 fans in the park and it was nice to see the Birds pull it out after their struggles the past two weeks.


Baltimore starting pitcher Zach Britton was solid, but got over some early hurdles on Wednesday and is 3-1 on the year.


The Orioles got some offense -- especially with homers from Vladmir Guerrero and Matt Wieters -- plus, the bullpen closed out the contest after the Twins chipped away at their early lead.












2011-04-20 - Photos: Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles>/center>

Orioles win! Thoughts and observations

The Orioles win! Streak over! CELEBRATION!

Now that is done check out Anthony's recap from last night. Nothing more that really needs to be said about the game itself, so let me talk about what exactly this means. This win, yes this one win, means that the Orioles are a good team again. 7-9 sounds a lot better than 6-9 and in one game we were reminded of what this team is capable of. And they did it against Carl Pavano, a pitcher that has been fairly strong against the Birds in the past. Pavano came into the game last night with a 5-3 record against Baltimore pitching to an ERA in the low 3's. Pavano had an inflated ERA coming into last night's affair after being spanked by the Blue Jays in the opener but he turned in two solid starts afterward reminding Twins fans why they re-signed him this offseason.

The Orioles simply dismantled Pavano last night and it must be noted that it all started with Adam Jones. Jones hit a grounder to the hole at short and he hustled down the line to beat out the strong throw from shortstop Alexi Casilla. That one play was the spark to a two-out rally scoring the first three runs of the game.

In fact two-out rallies were on the menu last night and the Orioles definitely indulged. 10 of the Orioles' 11 runs came with two out. They were 6-for-11 with RISP. They were patient, they were selfless and they got the job done.

The crowd was still small last night, and I don't blame them for not coming out while the team is facing a possible nine-game losing streak, but it was crowd in full throat. As the runs began to pile up you could feel the weight being lifted off the crowd as if everyone was reminded, "oh yeah - this IS a good team."

Other observations:

Matt Wieters is heating up. All of his hits were hit very very hard and more importantly he is pulling the ball. Monday's beastly homer over the left-center wall, last night's double off the out-of-town scoreboard, these are all very very encouraging signs from the young catcher. Wieters has gone on tears before but never sustained them past a week or two, outside of the last months of his rookie campaign. If Wieters can sustain this level of play for an extended period of time than the Orioles will start winning a lot more games.

>>> Read More

Orioles End Painful Eight Game Losing Skid

The Orioles pounded out an 11-0 win over the Minnesota Twins last night as the offense finally woke up and took their frustrations out of pitcher Carl Pavano and his bullpen. They scored early and often, so for one night at least the boo-birds got to rest and Camden Yards – with a little more than 12,000 in attendance – got to cheer over something.

It’s been a painful time after the amazing game by Zach Britton against the Rangers, but a win is win and we fans should be happy. Hopefully, the output from the Orioles will continue into the rest of the Twins series and this weekend against the Evil Empire (Yankees), plus next week with the Evil Empire 1A (the Red Sox).

With definitely their best performance at the plate so far this season, the Orioles got four RBI’s from catcher Matt Wieters, and three each from Brian Roberts and Vladmir Guerrero.

Guerrero added his second homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth inning with an impressive opposite field shot off Minnesota's reliever Joe Nathan.

Young Jake Arrieta, who started the game on the mound for Baltimore, went six shutout innings and earned the win. I would have thought Arrieta had the ability go longer; however, Buck Showalter pulled him due to his pitch count. The bullpen – Jason Berken (who is off to a real nice start) and Josh Rupe – kept the Twins off the scoreboard to finish out the contest.

I posed a question on Twitter asking if the Orioles hit a rough patch or we’re seeing the same song and dance we’ve been accustomed to the last 13 years. The good news is that – maybe just the hardcore loyal fans answered – is that most believe that the team ran into a rough patch.

People were very frustrated with the team as of late; however, but a 7-9 start is a lot better than um, 2-16. I’m going to still look on the bright side of things.
>>> Read More

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Orioles Losing Skid Reaches Eight

It was not a good night for the Orioles as they lost again, for the eighth consecutive time.

They opened up their ten-game home stand this week and lost to the Minnesota Twins, 3-0.

It’s been bad for the past week-and-a-half. They are now 6-9 on the season.

The starting pitching was decent; however, reliever Kevin Gregg was terrible and the Baltimore offense didn’t get going until the seventh inning.

Chris Tillman – who took the loss – pitched all right, going 6 2/3 innings, striking out five, giving up six hits and walking none. He got into some trouble in the second inning where he gave up two runs, but settled down.

Good to have seen him bounce back after his horrific outing in the Bronx last week.

I caught the first six innings in person at Camden Yards since I was in town for work, but left during the seventh to head back south home.

The Orioles finally got on the board in the seventh thanks to back-to-back homers by Adam Jones and Matt Wieters.

With the Twins leading 3-2, team closer Kevin Gregg came into the game and it was not pretty. What was a close game became a seemingly insurmountable lead (by the way the Oriole offense is going) as Gregg simply was not effective. In his one inning of work in the ninth, he gave up two runs and walked two.

It was ugly.

I saw the final few frames on MASN and the reception that Gregg got after he got off the mound was one I heard way too many times at Camden Yards.

>>> Read More

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Losing Streak Reaches Seven for the Orioles

When it rains, it pours.

For the Baltimore Orioles, it’s been a pitiful week and an awful road trip. They dropped their seventh game in a row as they lost to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon, 4-2.

They were not shelled as badly as they were in the past two games; however, the end result was the same – a loss.

The offense is still sputtering and with the Twins, Yankees and Red Sox – all of who were contenders last season – at Camden Yards for the team’s next homestand, it may get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

The Twins and Red Sox are hungry and are looking to rebound from poor starts; meanwhile, we know what the Yankees did last week and can do overall.

It’s not looking good.

The good news on Sunday is that Brad Bergesen went five innings and gave up two runs in his outing. He gave up homers to Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore – in his first game of 2011 – but overall, Brad was decent.

Of course, the offense could only muster six hits against Fausto Carmona – who started for the Indians on the mound. The Orioles had problems driving in runners on base and could not execute when needed. They are not working the count and having good at bats.

They are making the job easy for opposing pitchers.

Brian Roberts got three hits on the afternoon and Luke Scott drove in a run; however, not much else happened for Baltimore.

The Indians are looking like a serious contender despite their young roster and recent history; meanwhile, the 5-1 start that the Orioles got off to is a distant memory and we’re watching some bad baseball with Buck Showalter.

>>> Read More

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Orioles lose again, streak hits seven

It just makes you sick. Its like this team doesn't want any fans. For the second year in a row the Orioles start a season with a lot of optimism and buzz. But at least last year the Orioles had the courtesy to not get our hopes up even further with a 6-1 start. A seven game losing streak, I just can't believe it happened. Or happening rather. If you had come to me in March and said that the Orioles would be 6-8 after their first 14 games i would have taken it - but crap this is just a punch to the gut.

As I sit here and type this manager Buck Showalter is trying to explain today's latest debacle. "We need to trust our people," They are very frustrated; they know they are better than [that]" Showalter is right, they ARE better than this we know that they are. But when are we going to start seeing it?

Showalter did mention that the Orioles have been slightly unlucky - and he is right about that to a point. The Orioles offensive BABIP numbers are well below league average right now. BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) measures exactly that. Very basically, how many outs are the Orioles making after contact? The AL average right now is .280 - if a team is above that average it means they are getting a little lucky, the Orioles team BABIP is .255, so yes the Orioles have been a little unlucky.(creidt to BaltimoreTerp over at the Orioles Hangout forums compiling these numbers)

>>> Read More

Orioles Losing Streak Now At Six: Thoughts

It’s not been a very good week for the Baltimore Orioles.

On Saturday, they lost their sixth straight game as the Cleveland Indians won 8-3. Well, right now, the Orioles are in an ugly losing stretch and in all seriousness – are we seeing the real team, or just one in a skid?

Whatever is going on, the elements that helped the Orioles get off to a wonderful 6-1 start have gone away, and we are left watching a reminder of what last decade brought us.

Jeremy Guthrie took the loss as he gave up six earned runs in five innings. The pitching was ugly, the defense as well, and the team can’t get the offense going. When the Orioles got runners on base, they could not score. So far, the new offensive acquisitions have not done much. Yes, it is early; however, each one -- Derrek Lee, Vladmir Guerrero and Mark Reynolds -- have issues. Right now, I am not seeing much out of them.

They have to improve.

The Baltimore offense got ten hits on the day, but left nine men on base. Not good.

The Indians scored two runs in the second and four in the fourth inning. That was enough to put away the game.

Jake Fox homered, as did Luke Scott, but their efforts could not help the team.

>>> Read More

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Losses in a Row...

What was a promising 6-1 start last week has now turned into a five game skid.

Zach Britton could not save the Orioles and got hit hard by a surging Indians team. It was a bit much to expect him to act as a savior as well as a stopper after what we have seen.

In his third major league start, Britton ran into a tough Indians team and didn't seem to have the same magic he has last week against the Texas Rangers. He had only given up one run in his two starts -- a 15 2/3 innings combined -- but a pesky Cleveland lineup amazingly got hit after hit, and tested the Baltimore defense.

Britton went six innings and gave up runs -- all earned.

I'll have more later on tonight, but all things considered, the recent five game skid has been tough to stomach.

However, we all should not jump off the ship yet and assume that the Orioles have reverted back to what we have seen in the last decade.

The offense is scuffling, and while they were held in check by Justin Masterson -- who started the game on the mound for the Indians and got the win -- not much has happened offensively in the past week. They did get a good effort yesterday, but overall, they have not gotten the hits they needed and somehow can't get anyone across the plate.

>>> Read More

A Bronx Beatdown in More Ways Than One...

It was a mix of some good and a whole lot of bad in the Bronx over the past two days. As we all know, the Orioles lost both their games to the Yankees during their series this week.

Tuesday's game was rained out.

Starting pitcher Chris Tillman was just plain bad on Wednesday giving up six runs – all earned – in 1 2/3 innings of work and the offense was just dead. That’s all we can say. It was just not a good effort by Tillman.

He looked like he was just going through the motions on the mound, kept his pitches in the zone and against a strong New York lineup, that’s not going to get the job done. On the other hand, Brad Bergssen pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two in a relief role. I believe he will be starting on Sunday.

However, on Thursday Jake Arrieta was much, much better and so was the Oriole offense.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Orioles Head to the Big Apple & Face the Evil Empire

This evening, the Orioles open up a three-game set with the New York Yankees in the Big Apple.

I think over the next three days, we will see what the Birds are made of.

Despite the Rangers taking two out of three from the Orioles (aside from the second game on Saturday), the starting pitching has been fairly good and has done its job.

They held their own – for the most part – against the Rangers, so now they have do it against the Evil Empire.

The Bronx – a tough and gritty place by nature, despite the new glitzy Yankee Stadium – has always given the Orioles problems.

I will contend the Yankees are surely not as a good or fearsome as they used to be; however, they still have Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano in their lineup.

There’s also Derek Jeter – who might be aging rapidly in front of our eyes – but seeing him in person over the years, I will never count him out.

Over the next three games, Chris Tillman, a struggling Brad Bergesen, and Jake Arrieta – who got lit up in his last start – get thrown into the lion’s den in the Bronx.

I don’t think the Orioles will sweep the series, but stranger things have happened. If the young pitching can perform well and neutralize a tough Yankee lineup, perhaps the Orioles are far better than anyone thought they were.

Right now, the young pitchers can’t go out there intimidated; however, I do think that Buck Showalter has everyone prepared.

Speaking of Showalter, I can imagine he’ll get a Bronx cheer. Ok, a lot of boos.

>>> Read More

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Rangers Take Two out of Three From the Orioles...

The Orioles lost their first series of the young season as the Texas Rangers defeated them on Sunday, 3-0.

I’m sure most fans were hoping that Baltimore would take two-out-of-three from the AL Champions heading into Yankee Stadium, but that would not be.

With the Yankees next on the docket for the Orioles on the road, it would have been nice to have won the series against the Rangers and have carried that momentum into the Big Apple.

After Zach Britton’s amazing game on Saturday, the Orioles have only scored one run in the past 18 innings.

Not good.

Jeremy “Guts” Guthrie put on a gutsy performance after being in hospital for pneumonia as he went six innings, but gave up a run courtesy of an Adrian Beltre Homer in the fourth. Overall, he was great and only if the Orioles could have generated some offense…

Baltimore did muster six hits and got four walks; however, it seemed that they could not make the most of their opportunities on the base paths.

Considering how well the Texas pitching was throwing on the day, they should have done a lot more with the chances they had.

The Orioles blew a big chance to score in the fifth inning. Nick Markakis reached base with a single and then advanced to third off a Derrek Lee single; however, he should have scored. As the Rangers were attempting to throw home, Markakis got crossed up between third base and home plate – all due to him stopping about 1/3 of the way through.

>>> Read More

What a Start!

I still can't really believe what a nice start the Orioles are having. We knew this team was improved, we knew they were better, but this better? Despite being destroyed in the nightcap last night the Orioles are off to one of their best starts in a decade. But what is really impressive is how they are doing it: They are just playing solid baseball.

They are out-slugging anyone, they are winning games in fluky late-inning fashion they are just playing very solid fundamental baseball. The pitching, outside of the two losses has been phenomenal, the defense has been more than solid and the offense has been timely if not exactly over powering yet. Jones and Scott finally seem to be warming up as does Reynolds but no one on the team is hitting with an OPS over .800 right now.

Wieters continues to show very little power, and that is a concern. He is SLG at a .216 rate and that simply won't do. Matt showed little real power in spring training and the longer this drought goes on the more of a concern it will be. At the same time the young catcher has been masterful behind the plate calling great games and playing great defense.

Zach Britton has been ridiculously good. There is no other way to say it. You worry about what he will look like as the league starts to adjust to him but for right now Britton simply tore through the Rays and Rangers' lineups, he certainly is making the most of his early call-up though no one is denying that he deserved to be here. Britton wasn't held down due to his talent, effort or production; he was held down due to contract and free agency planning nothing more, nothing less.

>>> Read More

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Orioles Will Play Two Today & Manny Ramirez

Due to the rainout yesterday, the Orioles will play in a doubleheader today against the Texas Rangers.

The Orioles are 5-1 right now, flying high in the American League East and with their confidence high; however, the team is dealing with injuries heading into the weekend.

Aside from the pitching, the biggest issue that with the Orioles would have to deal with during the season is the health of their players.

Now that issue is sort of rearing its ugly head.

We know that Justin Duchscherer – will he ever pitch? – is hurt, so is Brian Matusz; however, J.J. Hardy was pulled out Thursday’s game and Brian Roberts didn’t suit up Friday because of a stomach issue.

Plus, Guthrie was in the hospital and is trying to recover from pneumonia. He looks to be fine now, but may not pitch this weekend as he is still on the mend.

Obviously, players get hurt every year and we as fans have seen what it can do to a team. Look at how the Orioles started last year.

Now, it looks as if Roberts will be fine and may play this weekend. Let’s hope nothing much else happens.

This weekend will be a challenge for the two young arms in the rotation – Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta – as they face the league champions. Hopefully they won’t get frazzled and show the same mettle that they had in their first two starts.

If the Orioles can somehow, take two out of three – or better yet, sweep the Rangers – they’ll have a lot of momentum heading into Yankee Stadium next week to face the Bronx Bombers.

>>> Read More

Friday, April 8, 2011

Photos: Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles, Apr. 7th

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The Buck Effect











Thanks to the hot start by the Baltimore Orioles, they have received a considerable amount of attention on the national stage. Of course, they will keep continuing to get it -- if they win.

However, if they start losing or begin to resemble a squad that is reminsicent of the past 13 years, then obviously one outside the Mid-Atlantic region will care.

That being said, most of the pundits out there are not only noticing the the Orioles' improved pitching, defense and clutch hitting, but they are giving much of the credit to one man.Buck Showalter.

It’s safe to say right now that Buck Showalter is the public and yes, marketing face for the Orioles. He been seen in commericals for MASN, his mug is all over Baltimore, whether it's outside the warehouse or on a billboard; moreover, he probably got the loudest cheers of anyone during Opening Day.

He calls out his rivals in the media and the Oriole fans love it.

We all know his track record with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers. He made them into winners, although he never managed in a World Series with any of them. However, both New York and Arizona won a championship not too long after he left them.

Now, he's trying to do the same thing for the Orioles.

>>> Read More

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Impressive Night by Adam Jones Helps Orioles Take Series from Tigers...

Last night had to be one of the more impressive games I’ve seen from the Orioles in quite a while.

They defeated the Detroit Tigers last night to take two out of three contests during the game series, 9-5.

I went to the game last night in person and it was cold, chilly and there didn’t seem to be much of a crowd out there; however, it was a fun time by all and saw a great win by Baltimore.

The Orioles had to come back from three deficits in order to up their record to 5-1 and take sole possession of first place in the AL East.

The Orioles used a five-run seventh inning in which they batted around the lineup to come back and down the Tigers. They would jump all over the Tigers bullpen and decide the game from there.

Vladmir Guerrero – who had a homer in the second inning – drove the tying run in the seventh inning with a single (after Roberts and Markakis reached base). Moments later, Mark Reynolds had a two-run double that helped put away the game for good.

I just find Vladmir Guerrero amazing, but it irks me that he swings on the first pitch … so often. I know his ability to hit pitches that he has no business swinging at made him a legend, but still…

Cesar Izturis – who was in the game due to J.J. Hardy being scratched out of the lineup – drove in a run during the 5-run seventh.

Adam Jones finally got out of his slow start as he hit a monstrous two-run homer to left in the sixth, drove in three runs and had a critical bunt in the game.

Good thing he was in the lineup. Considering he was not going to play until Buck Showalter penciled him in, the Orioles should be happy with the decision.

The offense bailed out starting pitcher Chris Tillman, who only lasted 4 2/3 innings after his impressive showing in Tampa. He looked good at times during the game – especially in the second and third innings – however, he was not efficient at all with his pitches.

It was painful to watch him in the first inning, and I think he needed some thirty-or so pitches to get out of the frame. Tillman gave up two runs in the first inning and in the fifth.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Four Game Win Streak to Start Season Comes to an End; Meanwhile, Red Sox Nation is

All good things sometimes must come to an end.

The Orioles, who started off the season 4-0 heading into tonight, lost to the Detroit Tigers, 7-3.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards was not packed to the gills – in comparison to Monday – based on what I saw on MASN. It was a nice night out and kind of surprising not to see a larger crowd, especially after all the positivity of this week.

The crisp play that was part of the recipe for the Orioles in their first four games was not there on Wednesday.

Baltimore had to contend with Justin Verlander, who is one of the best in the business on the mound. They were able to score three times off of him, thanks to a 2-run homer by Derrek Lee in the fourth inning and an RBI single by Vladmir Guerrero in the sixth.

However, the Orioles were hoping for a decent start by Brad Bergesen.

According to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, he’s not thrown in a game since March 25th.

It showed.

Really, he’s only starting because Jeremy Guthrie amazingly fell ill and was hospitalized.

This was Bergy’s chance to take the ball and deliver. The results didn’t go too well.

Bergesen went 3 2/3 innings and threw over 80 pitches in that time frame. He was charged four runs – two earned – on four hits; however, he was not helped by his defense. The bullpen was not much better either, honestly as they gave up three runs after Bergesen left the game.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thoughts on the Home Opener...

If the baseball gods want to bless the city of Baltimore and their fans, they sure did.

Over the years, I’ve been going to Opening Day for years at Camden Yards and could never remember one in recent memory as nice as this.

It was summer in April.

As James noted yesterday – and you all know – the Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-1.

Getting in and especially out of Downtown Baltimore, plus finding traffic was a pain yesterday; however, all things considered with the weather, plus a overwhelming crowd in orange and black – and not in Red Sox and Yankee gear – was a great thing to see.

The fact the Orioles also swept the Rays this weekend and the vibe of good feelings in the air brought a sold-out crowd en masse to Camden Yards.

Listening to the radio while drive into Baltimore from I-95, I heard a ton of clich├ęs, hyperbole, metaphors and other stuff about the Orioles, plus Buck Showalter – especially after a three-game win streak with only 159 games to go, but I too was a happy man. I was honestly just glad to see baseball again live in and person.

For many of us, Opening Day is like a holiday or an important annual celebration, similar to an anniversary. Opening Day doesn’t quite have the same feel as the Super Bowl, or the NBA Finals, but it’s not an ordinary game in a long season.

It’s a day where hope is renewed and fans wish that their team starts off the season on a winning note.

That happened for the Orioles.

>>> Read More

Photos: Opening Day - Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles, Apr. 4th

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