Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Training Comes To An End

Finally...Spring Training 2011 is over with and we're just a few days away from meaningful baseball. The Orioles finished the pre-season with a .500 record, going 15-15-2 under Buck Showalter's watch.

The Birds' 25-man roster is set, though the starting rotation could of now, it looks as if the team will go with four starters until mid-April.

The buzz around Baltimore for the Orioles extended south, where the club set a franchise record for Spring Training attendance. Ten of the Birds' 16 games at Ed Smith Stadium were sold out...

Here's a quick recap of the final five contests of Spring Training 2011...

Game Twenty-Eight (Saturday 3/26/11):

  • The Birds used a five-run eighth to topple the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2...Ryan Drese served up two runs through three innings, but Jason Berken and the bullpen held the Rays scoreless through the final six frames
  • Brian Roberts put the O's on the board with his first homer, a solo shot in the third inning...Roberts finished 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs
  • Vladimir Guerrero started the eighth inning scoring with a two-run blast, his fifth of the spring
Game Twenty-Nine (Sunday 3/27/11):
  • The Birds dropped a split-squad game to the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5...Jeremy Guthrie turned in one of his poorest performances of the spring, allowing four runs on 12 hits in five innings, walking one and fanning three
  • The Birds managed five runs on just eight hits, while the Jays banged out 20 hits
  • Nick Green homered; Felix Pie doubled
Game Thirty (Sunday 3/27/11):
  • The O's came from behind, scoring three runs in the eighth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3...Chris Tillman allowed all three runs on six hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three
  • Koji Uehara, Kevin Gregg and Michael Gonzalez combined to allow just one hit over the final three frames
  • Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters all went 2-for-4; Wieters knocked in two runs
Game Thirty-One (Monday 3/28/11):
  • The O's scored 13 runs in the first three innings, cruising to a 14-9 victory over the Detroit Tigers
  • Luke Scott smashed a grand slam in the first inning, followed by a three-run blast in the second...Scott's seven RBIs were one more than he had in his previous 16 games
  • Jake Fox slapped his league-leading tenth homer in the second inning
  • The Birds finished with 18 hits, nine went for extra-bases
  • Brian Roberts went 3-for-4, scoring three runs and stealing his first base of the spring
  • Zach Britton started for the O's and finished the spring with the best ERA (1.35) on the starting staff...Britton (3-0) went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk while fanning four
Game Thirty-Two (Tuesday 3/29/11):
  • The Birds dropped the final game of Spring Training, falling 7-4 to the Toronto Blue Jays
  • Chris George started for the O's and allowed three runs on five hits in just two innings
  • Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez, Kevin Gregg and Jason Berken all pitched scoreless, hitless innings of relief
  • Derrek Lee had his best game of the spring, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and his first RBI as an Oriole
  • Brian Roberts doubled and stole his second base in as many days
Bird Bites...
On Deck...

Opening Day! The O's take on the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg on Friday night. Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled to take the we go...Let's Go O's!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Five Games And Six Days Away

With just five games left to play before the regular season starts, the Orioles are 12-13-2 and near the middle of the pack in the Grapefruit League standings. Here's a quick summary of the past few contests:

Game Twenty-Five (Wednesday, 3/23/11):
  • Brian Matusz struggled in a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins...Matusz (0-2) was charged with four runs off five hits and three walks in just 1 1/3 innings.
  • The 'pen looked good, but the offense stalled...the O's managed just six hits all game
  • Adam Jones and Vladimir Guerrero both went 2-for-4 and accounted for both runs; Jones slapped his fourth homer in the third inning and Vlad followed with his fourth long-ball in the fifth

Game Twenty-Six (Thursday, 3/24/11):

  • Jake Arrieta impressed as the Birds teed-off on the Pittsburgh Pirates in an 11-7 victory...Arrieta (3-0) gave up three runs in the first inning but settled down and lasted 5 1/3 frames, giving up four runs on five hits (three homers) and three walks while fanning four
  • Every O's starter notched at least one hit, as the Birds scored 11 times on 15 hits
  • Mark Reynolds finally slapped his first homer as an Oriole, a mammoth blast in the second inning...he later doubled and went 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout
  • Luke Scott went deep for just the second time this season, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts
  • Felix Pie had a monster day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season and four runs batted in

Game Twenty-Seven (Friday, 3/25/11):

  • Brad Bergesen was pulled after just four pitches and the Birds fell to the Minnesota Twins 6-5
  • Bergesen was hit by a line drive in the right forearm...X-rays came back negative but Bergy is bruised and sore...we'll see how this affects the look of the starting rotation
  • Mike Ballard came on in relief and gave up all six of the Twins' runs on six hits and two walks in just one inning
  • The Birds battled back but were unable to overcome the early six-run deficit...Adam Jones (5), Nolan Reimold (3) and Jake Fox (9) all went deep for the O's in the loss

Bird Bites...

On Deck...

The Birds send Ryan Drese to the mound this afternoon as the O's take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05...listen to the game on WBAL AM 1090

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Countdown Continues...

It's only been a few days since my last post, but the Birds have won the last two of three and are now back to .500 with an 11-11-2 record this spring. With just one week of Spring Training games left on the schedule, the countdown to Opening Day continues. Here's a brief recap of the past three games...

Game Twenty-Two (Saturday 3/19/11):

  • The O's led early but fell late, losing 7-5 to the Philadelphia Phillies... Jake Arrieta turned in one of his poorest outings, giving up four runs on four hits and two walks through 4 1/3 innings, striking out two

  • Vladimir Guerrero went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs

  • Michael Gonzalez was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in just an inning of work...Gonzalez's three outs all came via the strikeout

Game Twenty-Three (Sunday 3/20/11):

  • The Birds out-slugged the Rays in a 9-8 victory...Brad Bergesen turned in one of his better performances this spring, allowing two runs on eight hits over five innings while walking one and striking out one

  • The O's used three-run outbursts in both the sixth and seventh innings to take a commanding 7-2 lead before reliever Ryan Drese allowed six runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Drese allowed six runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batter in just 1 2/3 innings and hurt his already slim chance of making the Opening Day roster

  • Brian Roberts went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout in his first game back since March 7th

  • Nick Markakis went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs

  • The Birds went ahead for good in the ninth when Nick Green laced a bases-loaded, two out two-run single...before his game-winning hit, Green had gone 3-for-27 with 13 strikeouts this season

Game Twenty-Four (Tuesday 3/22/11):

  • Just call Zach Britton the "Yankee Killer." Britton (2-0) gave up his first run of the spring but held New York to just one run on six hits and a walk over five innings while fanning five. Britton has now pitched eight innings against the Yankees, allowing just one run on eight hits
  • The O's backed Britton up with three homers...Jake Fox launched his league-leading eighth home run in the third inning, Luke Scott followed with his first long ball of the season, a mammoth two-run blast, and J.J. Hardy connected for a solo shot in the fourth
  • Brian Roberts went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in his second game back
  • Jason Berken impressed with two hitless innings of relief, walking one and striking out one

Bird Bites...

On Deck...

The Birds battle the Minnesota Twins at 7:05 pm. Brian Matusz is scheduled to start for the O's.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two Weeks To Go...

We're just two weeks away (ok, 13 days, 14 hours and 43 minutes according to the countdown clock on from Opening Day. With only 11 games left of Spring Training, the O's are pretty close to being the team you'll see take the field in Tampa Bay on April 1st. There are still a few questions concerning the 2011 Orioles' squad, mainly about the starting rotation and the health of a few key players, as well as who will win the final spots on the 25-man roster...more on that later. At this point, the Birds have pretty much lived up to expectations, sporting a 9-10-2 record through the first 21 contests. Here's a quick recap of their last four games:

Game Eighteen (Tuesday 3/15/11):

  • The Birds were blown out 14-8 by the Houston Astros...Brad Bergesen (1-1) took the loss after giving up three runs on four hits and two walks over four innings

  • Kevin Gregg was roughed up in a brief relief appearance...Gregg managed just one out and was charged with five runs (four earned) on three hits (one a grand slam) and a walk

  • Bullpen hopeful Ryan Drese didn't fare much better, giving up five runs on seven hits through three innings

  • Offensively, the O's scored four times in the ninth, but it wasn't quite enough...

  • The Birds managed 8 runs on eight hits; six went for extra bases

  • Jake Fox put the O's on the board in the second inning with his team-best fifth home run; Robert Andino blasted his second homer this year, a two-run blast in the ninth

Game Nineteen (Wednesday 3/16/11):

  • The Orioles were absolutely embarrassed by the New York Yankees in a 10-0 defeat...the Birds were no-hit through the first six frames and managed just one hit through nine

  • To put things in perspective, Baltimore sent all relief pitchers to the mound, and the final score wouldn't look nearly as bad without Rick VandenHurk's line: 0.0 innings pitched, three hits, three walks and five runs scored

  • Vladimir Guerrero's double off Mariano Rivera was the lone hit for the O's

Game Twenty (Thursday 3/17/11):

  • A day after being shut-out by New York, the O's offense exploded for 20 hits in a 13-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Chris Tillman (2-0) took the win after allowing just an unearned run in four innings of work

  • Matt Wieters went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs

  • Jake Fox mashed his team-leading and MLB-best 6th and 7th home runs and finished with 4 RBIs

Game Twenty-One (Friday 3/18/11):

  • The Birds dropped a close one to the Minnesota Twins 3-2
  • Brian Matusz looked sharp in his fourth spring start, striking out eight and allowing just one run (a solo homer) on six hits in 4 2/3 innings
  • Jason Berken (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in three innings
  • The offense managed just four hits...Vladimir Guerrero had two of them and knocked in the Birds' lone run

Bird Bites...

  • The MRA on Justin Duchscherer's hip revealed no new injuries, and "The Duke" still hopes to be ready for Opening Day. Given that he's pitched just two innings thus far, the likelihood of him cracking the starting rotation is doubtful
  • Brian Roberts has taken live batting practice and there's a slim chance he could see some playing time later today...
  • Barring an unfortunate setback, Derrek Lee will take the field for the first time this spring later this afternoon

On Deck...

Jake Arrieta (2-0) gets the starting nod as the Birds take on the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 Saturday afternoon. Listen to the game live on AM 1090 WBAL...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Halfway Home

It's still dim, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Spring training is halfway over, and games that really matter are just weeks away...

Since my last post, the O's have gone 4-3 and have a winning record at 8-7-2 in the Grapefruit League. Here's a quick recap of the last six games, as well as some thoughts and concerns on the state of the Birds and the health of a few key starters:

Game Eleven (Wednesday 3/9/11):

  • The Minnesota Twins had owned the O's up until this game, blanking the Birds twice. Not today. The Orioles spanked Minnesota 11-2; Jake Arrieta (1-0) picked up the win, allowing just one run (a solo shot) on three hits over three innings while striking out two
  • The Birds collected 13 hits, seven for extra bases
  • Vlad Guerrero, Adam Jones and Ryan Adams all went deep for the O's
  • Luke Scott slapped a single to end his hitless spring, and also knocked a man in for the first time this season
  • Kevin Gregg solidified his grasp on the closing role with yet another scoreless inning of relief

Game Twelve (Wednesday 3/9/11):

  • In a televised split squad contest, the O's fell to the Boston Red Sox 2-1
  • Ryan Drese made a strong case toward making the team with three innings of work, allowing just a run (a solo homer) on three hits and a walk while striking out one
  • The Orioles managed just five hits; Josh Bell and Jake Fox both slapped doubles, and Joseph Mahoney picked up a triple
Game Thirteen (Thursday 3/10/11):

  • The O's took down the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-8; starter Brad Bergesen wasn't particularly sharp, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks in just 2 2/3 innings
  • The Birds banged out 15 hits, five for extra bases
  • Vladimir Guerrero went 1-for-3, slapping his third homer of Spring Training
  • Jeremy Accardo continued to impress, pitching a scoreless inning and striking out two

Game Fourteen (Friday 3/11/11):

  • The Philadelphia Phillies spanked the Birds 13-6
  • Jeremy Guthrie (1-2) gave up four runs on six hits over four innings and picked up his second straight loss
  • Kevin Gregg got roughed up for the first time this spring...Gregg gave up four runs off five hits (two homers) in just an inning of work
  • Adam Jones slapped his third dinger of the spring; Robert Andino went deep for the first time

Game Fifteen (Saturday 3/12/11):

  • Zach Britton (1-0) led the Birds to a 6-4 win over the Houston Astros; Britton pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while fanning two
  • Brandon Snyder went 3-for-5 with a double and hit his first homer this season
  • Chris Tillman came on in relief and allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in 3 2/3 innings

Game Sixteen (Sunday 3/13/11):

  • The Birds were absolutely embarrassed in a 9-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers
  • Brian Matusz set the tone early, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits in 3 1/3 innings
  • Matusz (0-1) and the rest of the O's pitchers allowed 17 hits including seven doubles and a home run
  • J.J. Hardy scored the O's lone run when he slapped his first round-tripper of the season in the fourth inning

Game Seventeen (Monday 3/14/11):

  • Jake Arrieta led the Birds to an 8-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates; Arrieta (2-0) has now won consecutive decisions after allowing two runs off eight hits in four innings, walking none and striking out six
  • The bullpen (including Jason Berken and Jeremy Accardo) held the Pirates to just six hits over the final five frames
  • Jake Fox belted his team-leading fourth home run in the seventh inning

Bird Bites...

On Deck...

The O's send Brad Bergesen to the mound Tuesday afternoon as the Birds do battle with the Houston Astros.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Birds Searching For A Win

Since my last post on Saturday morning, the Birds have been held without a win through their last five games (three losses and two ties), after posting a stunning 4-1 record through their first five contests. Here's a quick recap (just to remind you all, once the regular season starts I'll be posting after every game)...

Game Six (Saturday 3/5/11):
  • The Birds tied the Boston Red Sox 4-4 in ten innings. Brad Bergesen allowed three runs off six hits and a walk through three innings, striking out one
  • Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs
  • Jake Fox slapped a solo homer in the ninth inning, tying the game and sending it into extras. Fox now leads the club with three round-trippers
  • Mark Reynolds struggles continued, as he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while grounding into a double-play
  • Luke Scott went 0-for-4 and has yet to collect a hit this year

Game Seven (Sunday 3/6/11):

  • The O's suffered their second loss of the season, falling 3-0 to the Minnesota Twins. Both the Bird's losses thus far have come against the Twins, and both have been shutouts
  • Jeremy Guthrie (1-1) took the loss; Guthrie allowed two runs on four hits in three innings, striking out two
  • The Birds managed just four hits, and all were singles

Game Eight (Monday 3/7/11):

  • The O's fell behind early and gave the game away late in a 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox
  • Chris Tillman, trying to earn a starting spot in the rotation, gave up three runs on four hits over three innings of work, while fanning three and walking none
  • The Birds banged out 11 hits in the loss; Jake Fox and Nolan Reimold both doubled, and Josh Bell tripled

Game Nine (Monday 3/7/11):

  • In their first televised game of the pre-season, the Orioles played the New York Yankees to a scoreless tie over nine innings
  • O's prospect Zach Britton made his first start, and held the Yankees to two hits over three innings, walking one and striking out one
  • Kevin Gregg continued to impress, firing another shutout inning in relief while whiffing one
  • Jeremy Accardo went two innings, walking one, fanning one and allowing just one hit (a double)
  • Overall, the O's pitchers allowed just four hits, but the offense managed just six (one for extra bases)
  • Adam Jones was the only starter with a multi-hit game; Jones went 2-for-3

Game Ten (Tuesday 3/8/11):

  • The O's led until the ninth inning but fell 4-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Justin Duchscherer made his long-awaited debut as an Oriole and was impressive on the mound. "The Duke" allowed just one hit and a walk in two innings of work
  • Brian Matusz came on in relief of Duchscherer and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings
  • The Birds managed three runs off just three hits; Jake Fox went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Josh Bell continued his hot streak with a double and 2 RBIs

Bird Bites...

  • The O's (4-4-2) are now at .500 and have dropped to 11th place in the Grapefruit League standings
  • Through 10 games, Jake Fox leads the O's in at-bats (23), hits (9), homers (3) and RBIs (6) and is stating his case to make the team as the backup catcher
  • Luke Scott has had just 12 at-bats but is still hitless, and has struck out five times
  • I've already posted on the importance of a healthy Brian Roberts...Roberts was held out of Tuesday's game due to back spasms
  • Derrek Lee has yet to start due to wrist soreness and is scheduled for a, "precautionary MRI" on Wednesday

On Deck...

The O's play two split-squad contests on Wednesday...Jake Arrieta starts at home against the Minnesota Twins at 1:05. Ryan Drese, fighting for a bullpen spot, will start the away game against the Boston Red Sox at 7:05.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

O's Week In Review...

With five Spring Training games in the books, the Birds are a respectable 4-1 and in second place in the Grapefruit League.

Here's a quick recap...

Game One (Monday 2/28/11):

  • The Birds took down the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4. Brad Bergesen pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while fanning two
  • Vladimir Guerrero slapped an RBI single in his first at-bat, giving the O's a 1-0 lead
  • Nolan Reimold went deep in his first at-bat of Spring Training, a solo shot that put the Birds up 2-0
  • Mark Reynolds went 0-for-3 with one strikeout in his Orioles' debut
  • In the closer's duel, Koji Uehara allowed one run off two hits over one inning; Kevin Gregg walked one and struck out one over an inning of work

Game Two (Tuesday 3/1/11):

  • The O's opened up their new stadium with some offensive fireworks...the Birds went yard five times in the first two innings and defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 12-6
  • Nick Markakis started things off with a 2-run blast in his first at-bat of the season. One batter later, Vladimir Guerrero connected for a solo shot; Adam Jones went deep for his first homer of the spring one out later. Markakis went on to connect yet again in the second inning, and Jake Fox cleared the fences to complete the onslaught.
  • Jeremy Guthrie pitched a perfect two frames, fanning one in his spring debut
  • Mark Reynolds is still hitless as an Oriole after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts

Game Three (Wednesday 3/2/11):

  • The Birds hung on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5
  • Chris Tillman became the third straight starter to earn a win, allowing one run off three hits and a walk over two innings while picking up a strikeout
  • Zach Britton was impressive, allowing just two hits over two frames while fanning one
  • Matt Wieters went 3-for-4 with three singles and 2 RBI

Game Four (Thursday 3/3/11):

  • The Orioles and Minnesota Twins were locked in a scoreless duel until the eighth inning, when the Twins finally broke through to hand the Birds their first loss of Spring Training, 2-0
  • Brian Matusz looked impressive in his debut, allowing just a walk over two innings while fanning two
  • Kevin Gregg worked another scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one
  • The O's were held to just five hits in the loss
  • Mark Reynolds picked up his first hit as an Oriole; Reynolds went 2-for-3 with two singles

Game Five (Friday 3/4/11):

  • The O's are back in the win column after beating the Detroit Tigers 6-2
  • Jake Arrieta looked solid in his debut, allowing one run on two hits and two walks over two innings
  • Nolan Reimold put the Birds on the board with his second homer this week, a 3-run bomb in the sixth inning
  • Jake Fox went long for the second time this season with a two-run blast in the eighth

Bird Bites...

On Deck...

The O's head home to take on the Boston Red Sox on Saturday afternoon...Brad Bergesen (1-0) is slated to take the mound...