Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wieters Leads O's To Victory In Chicago

Matt Wieters is finally living up to all the hype that surrounded him when he first was called up to save the Orioles.

Wieters went 2-for-5 with four RBIs in a 10-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night. His two-run blast in the sixth gave the Orioles their first lead of the night, and his two-run double in the seventh helped the Birds roll over the home team in the opening game of the four-game series.

Jake Arrieta (3-1) took the win, though he wasn't at his best on a chilly night in Chicago. Arrieta lasted just five innings, giving up three runs off five hits and two walks while striking out two. Arrieta gave up all three runs in the second inning, which came to an end when Wieters threw out Juan Pierre trying to swipe second base after an RBI single (Wieters has now thrown out six of twelve baserunners this season).

Down 3-0, the Birds slowly chipped away, scoring twice in the third inning on two RBI singles and again in the fourth courtesy of Luke Scott's fourth homer of the season. The O's took the lead in the sixth and never looked back...

The O's sent eleven men to the plate in a bizarre seventh inning that saw five runs cross the plate off just two hits...the Sox bullpen allowed five walks in the inning, and all but one of the runs scored were unearned due to a fielding error that extended the inning for the Birds. Both Wieters and Brian Roberts notched two-run doubles in the inning...Roberts now leads the team with 19 RBIs this season.

The two teams go at it again on Saturday night...after eleven days of rest, Chris Tillman is slated to take the mound for the O's.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bullpen Blows It For Bergesen

Brad Bergesen turned in his most impressive start this season, but the bullpen faltered late and the O's missed a chance to sweep Boston and beat Jon Lester at the same time on Thursday night.

The final score shows the Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-2, but it was anyone's game through the first seven innings...

After the Sox took a 1-0 lead on two doubles in the top of the first, the O's answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom half...Brian Roberts walked, took second on Nick Markakis' single, stole third and came home on Derrek Lee's RBI single.

Bergesen allowed the Sox to take the lead again in the third, but finished with six solid innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and two walks while fanning five. Bergesen showed poise in the sixth inning: after allowing a lead-off single and a double to put runners at second and third with none out, Brad struck out the next two batters, and after an intentional walk to load the bases, induced a long fly ball to deep center to keep the Sox off the board.

Vladimir Guerrero rewarded Bergesen's effort in the bottom half of the inning, blasting a solo shot to left to tie the game at two. It would turn out to be the last run the O's would score...

Jim Johnson came on in relief and allowed a run in the seventh before the bullpen imploded in the eighth...Johnson walked the first batter he faced before the struggling Michael Gonzalez took the mound. Gonzalez sandwiched two singles between a walk and was charged with two runs in 1/3 of an inning, ballooning his ERA to 13.50. Jason Berken was summoned to stop the bleeding, but the damage had been done...

The O's still managed to take 2-of-3 from Boston and finished the nine-game home series with a 4-5 record. I was hoping for more...the Orioles (10-13) are now once again in dead last in the division.

The Birds now start a seven-game stretch on the road, starting in Chicago to take on the White Sox...Jake Arrieta looks to put the O's back in the win column!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

O's Squeak Past Boston

For seven innings, it looked like Jeremy Guthrie was finally going to add another "W" to his resume...within a span of four batters, Guthrie's decision was lost...but the Birds held on to beat Boston 5-4.

Guthrie (1-3) turned in yet another quality start, going six scoreless innings against the visiting Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, but had to settle for a no-decision after the bullpen allowed the Sox to tie the game in the eighth inning...Guthrie struck out six, walked one and allowed seven hits while lowering his ERA to a team-best 2.53.

For once, it looked like the bats would give Guthrie enough to work with...Luke Scott put the Birds on the board with a two-run bomb off Josh Beckett in the fourth inning. Adam Jones followed with a solo shot, marking the first time the O's have gone deep back-to-back this season. Brian Roberts snapped a 12-game hit streak but notched his team-leading 16th RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to put the O's up 4-0.

Jeremy Accardo took over for Guthrie (his pitch count was at 111) and worked a 1-2-3 seventh before allowing a single and a walk to lead off the eighth inning. Clay Rapada relieved Accardo and gave up an RBI single before being replaced with Koji Uehara, who immediately served-up a three-run jack to Kevin Youkilis to knot the game at four (Uehara settled down to get the next three outs and was credited with his first win of the season).

The Birds came right back in the bottom of the inning...Nick Markakis and Derrek Lee both singled and advanced to second and third on a passed ball. Markakis was thrown out at home after yet another passed ball before Vladimir Guerrero singled to give the O's the 5-4 lead...

Kevin Gregg picked up his second save in as many nights after yet another 1-2-3 inning (it seems as if Gregg may be getting comfortable in the closing role) and the O's secured a winning series against Boston no matter what the outcome on Thursday night...

Brad Bergesen takes the mound for the Orioles, but has to face Jon Lester, the "Oriole-Killer." Lester is 13-0 against Baltimore in 16 career starts...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bats Back Britton Against BoSox

Zach Britton did it again.

Britton led the Birds to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Camden Yards, his fourth win in five attempts this season. Britton (4-1) no-hit the Sox through the first three innings before allowing a run in the fourth...he ran into a few jams after that but managed to keep Boston off the board through his final frames, pitching six solid innings and allowing just five hits and two walks while striking out two.

Britton became just the fifth AL rookie since 1980 to collect four wins in the month of April...

The Birds banged out 12 hits against Clay Buchholz, though it took some timely sac flies to give the O's some breathing room. Matt Wieters put the Orioles on the board with an RBI single in the second inning, but the last three runs all came via the sac fly (Adam Jones had two of them; Mark Reynolds had one). Vladimir Guerrero picked up his first three-hit game as an Oriole, going 3-for-4 (all singles) with a run scored...

The bullpen held up as well, with Jim Johnson looking like the old J.J. we know and love...Johnson went two frames of one-hit ball while fanning four. Kevin Gregg picked up his third save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out one.

This was the first time the O's have taken the opening game of a series since Britton blanked the Texas Rangers way back on April 9. Jeremy Guthrie (1-3) looks to make it two straight as he takes the mound opposite Josh Beckett (2-1) on Wednesday night...

Bird Bites...

  • The Orioles (9-12) stopped a three-game slide with the victory

  • Boston (10-12) had won five straight before losing to Baltimore

Monday, April 25, 2011

O's Drop Another To Yankees In Extras

Good teams find ways to win...and the Yankees did on Sunday.

The O's rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the ninth and send it into extras, but a few costly errors and a little bad luck gave the Yankees a 6-3 win after eleven innings.

After just four pitches, the Yankees took a 2-0 lead off O's starter Jake Arrieta. Things looked grim after Arrieta walked the next two batters, but he rebounded to strike out the next two and escaped the inning down by just two runs. Arrieta settled down and turned in one of his best performances this season, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks over six innings while striking out a career-best nine batters.

The Birds finally got on the board in the seventh inning when Mark Reynolds broke out of an 0-for-22 slump with a two-run blast to right center field. With two down and two on in the bottom of the ninth, Brian Roberts laced a double down the right field line...Adam Jones came around to score but Robert Andino was thrown out at the plate to spoil the walk-off win.

Things took a turn for the worst in the 11th inning...the Yankees used a lead-off double, a stolen base and three infield singles to take a commanding three-run lead. The O's committed two costly throwing errors in the inning to give the Yankees their fourth straight win over the Birds in four tries this season.

The last-place Orioles have Monday off to lick their wounds before hosting the surging Boston Red Sox for a three-game set starting Tuesday night...Zach Britton takes the mound for the Birds.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yanks Spank O's

The Birds were embarrassed in a 15-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday night at Camden Yards...and I was there to witness the slaughter (and this guy...I promised a shirtless Yankee fan that I'd post this picture since his team won).

The Yankees launched five home runs, including a grand slam, as they dropped the Orioles into the cellar in the AL East for the first time this season.

Brad Bergesen took the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning four. Bergesen (0-3) allowed three runs in the first inning but managed to keep the Yankees off the board before surrendering another three runs in the sixth.

The O's were held scoreless until Adam Jones slapped his team-leading fourth homer in the bottom of the sixth to put the game within least for a few minutes.

The O's bullpen gave up nine runs over the final two frames, as the Yankees connected for back-to-back home runs off Jason Berken to start off the eighth inning before A-Rod launched a grand slam off Josh Rupe. Four of the Yankees' five homers came in the final two innings...

The Birds have yet to beat New York this season, and send Jake Arrieta to the mound for the finale on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Birds' Bats Abandon Guthrie In Loss

Jeremy Guthrie actually lowered his ERA in Thursday night's 3-1 loss to the sad is that?

Guthrie looked almost as good as he did on Opening Day, giving up just two runs on seven hits over seven innings, walking none, fanning four and hitting two batters. Guthrie (1-3) gave up a solo home run to Jim Thome in the second inning but kept the Twins off the board until allowing another run in the sixth. Michael Gonzalez's struggles continued...he allowed two hits and a run (a solo homer) in just 2/3 of an inning in relief. Jeremy Accardo pitched the final frame(s) without allowing a hit.

Once again, it was the offense that betrayed Guthrie...the Birds managed just seven hits (three went for doubles) in the loss. Both clubs went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but it was the O's lack of timely hitting that ultimately did them in. Nick Markakis continued to struggle, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout and stranding five, lowering his average to .203 this season.

The O's still managed to split the four-game set against the Twins and now take on the Yankees and Red Sox for three-game series at Camden Yards. Brad Bergesen takes on C.C. Sabathia on Friday night...the Birds are 8-10 while the first-place Yankees boast a 10-6's hoping the standings look a bit different come Sunday...Let's Go O's!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Britton Starts Winning Streak

It's official. The O's losing streak has come to an end and a winning streak has begun...

The Orioles held on to defeat the visiting Minnesota Twins 5-4 on Wednesday night, winning their second straight game after an eight-game slide.

Zach Britton allowed the Twins to strike early, giving up a solo homer in the second inning before the Bird's bats backed him up with four runs in the bottom half of the frame. The O's tacked on another run in the third, and Britton settled down to keep the Twins off the board before surrendering two more runs in the sixth.

Britton (3-1) allowed three runs off five hits and three walks over six innings while striking out three, and now leads the club in wins, ERA (3.16) and strikeouts (17). It's still extremely early, but Britton looks like a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year after his first four starts...

It was nice to see the offense step up after Britton put the team in a small hole...Vladimir Guerrero and Luke Scott started the second inning with back-to-back singles before Adam Jones' double sent them both home. Matt Wieters followed with a two-run blast to give the Birds a 4-1 lead. Wieters has been unstoppable so far this year with runners in scoring position, going a perfect 6-for-6 with 10 RBIs. Guerrero homered in the third inning, his third long ball of the season and second in as many nights...

That was all the O's offense managed on Wednesday night, but it was all they would need after Jim Johnson pitched a perfect seventh inning in relief of Britton. Koji Uehara allowed a run in the eighth but Kevin Gregg worked a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the victory for the Orioles.

The Birds look to take the series against the Twins on Thursday night...Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound and needs to rebound after his worst performance so far this season...Let's Go O's!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

O's Snap Streak Behind Arrieta's always good to hear Joe Angel declare that the O's are back in the win column!

The Orioles set season highs in both hits and runs scored as they spanked the visiting Minnesota Twins 11-0 on Tuesday night, ending a horrific eight-game losing streak.

Buck had stated that it was just a matter of time before the bats came to life against some unlucky team; I guess he knew what he was talking about! Oh yes, I'm sipping on the Orange Kool-Aid once again...

Jake Arrieta was masterful, pitching six scoreless innings to get the win. Arrieta (2-1) scattered four hits and three walks while fanning four in his best outing so far this season. Jason Berken and Josh Rupe pitched the final three frames to preserve the Birds' second shutout of 2011 (strangely enough, their first shutout came against Texas...the last time the team had won a game).

The pitching was spectacular, and the bats finally came to life on Tuesday...the Birds banged out 11 runs on 13 hits (both season highs) and every run scored came with two doesn't get any more "timely" than that!

The entire team contributed in the rout, but there were a few players that had breakout performances...Brian Roberts continued his impressive start to the season, going 2-for-5 with a double and 3 RBIs. Matt Wieters led the club, going 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs and Vladimir Guerrero capped off the scoring with a three-run bomb in the eighth inning. Robert Andino filled in nicely for J.J. Hardy, making an impressive play on defense and going 3-for-3 with a walk at the plate.

Now that the losing streak has finally come to an end, hopefully the players can relax a bit and start to have some fun again...Zach Britton takes the mound on Wednesday's hoping the Birds can feed off the positive energy from Tuesday's game and start a winning streak! Go O's!

Tillman's Strong Start Spoiled

If you had asked me before the season began who the one player was that the Orioles could not win without, a slew of names would have come to mind.

J.J. Hardy was not one of them...

But after the Birds dropped their eighth straight game on Monday night, I can't help to wonder if the absence of Hardy has hurt this team in more ways than I thought possible. The O's have not won a single game since Hardy's injury...

The Birds started off the 10-game homestand with a promising start from Chris Tillman and a trio of home runs from the offense. It was all wasted in a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins...

Tillman (0-2) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits while walking none and fanning five. He left with the O's trailing 3-0, yielding to Clay Rapada, who kept the Twins off the board, striking out three of the four batters he faced, while the Birds tried to mount a comeback...

Adam Jones and Matt Wieters both went yard in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the deficit to one run. The score remained 3-2 in favor of the Twins until Kevin Gregg took the mound in the ninth...Gregg walked two batters, allowed two hits and threw a wild pitch to give the Twins two insurance runs and ultimately the victory.

Luke Scott smashed a solo shot in the bottom of the inning, but it wasn't enough as the Birds dropped further in the standings with yet another loss.

It seems hard to believe that just last week, the Orioles were fighting for first place in the division. With a 6-9 record, the O's are now in fourth place, just a game out of the cellar in the AL East...

Jake Arrieta takes the mound Tuesday night...he'll have to step it up, but it's up to the offense to come out of this slump and support him with a few early runs. And they'll have to do it without J.J. Hardy in the lineup...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bergesen Can't Stop The Bleeding

I tried...

On my first day back behind the board at WBAL, I willed Brad Bergesen and the Orioles to avoid a sweep in Cleveland and come home with a .500 record and some momentum heading into a grueling ten-game homestand.

I failed.

The Orioles lost their seventh straight game on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Indians 4-2.

I'm sorry.

Brad Bergesen was brilliant when he was commanding his signature sinker, but it seemed like every ball hit into the air sailed over the fence. Bergesen went five innings, surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits (two sailed over the fence) while walking none and fanning three. Bergy (0-2) pitched well enough to win...the offense sabotaged yet another starter.

I wanted to do this yesterday, but it seemed like a 14-game stretch would be better to comment on, especially since the O's went 6-1 though seven games before dropping the next seven...

Baseball is a game of numbers...and momentum. There's really no way to calculate what a a team is feeling when riding a high or a low. But when you hit that low, you feel it...and so do the fans.

Through the first seven games, the O's scored 37 runs and allowed just 16 to cross the plate...over the past seven contests, the Birds have scored just 17 times while giving up 49 runs. Any questions?

The Birds are 6-8. That's a fact. They were swept in Cleveland and New York. There's no denying that the Orioles have hit a new low, at least for this season under Buck Showalter.

There is still hope...the season is young, and the O's open up a 10-game homestand on Monday night.

My prediction? The Birds fly out of Baltimore after going 7-3 against the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox...

I'm taking bets...any takers? Let's Go O's!

Guthrie Tagged With O's Latest Loss

The losing streak reached six straight after the Birds fell to the Cleveland Indians 8-3 on Saturday afternoon.

Jeremy Guthrie became the latest starter to falter this week, giving up six runs on ten hits and a walk through five innings while striking out two. Guthrie (1-2) lost his second straight contest since returning to the team after coming down with pneumonia... Down 2-1 in the third, Guthrie allowed four runs to cross the plate before escaping the inning. He settled down and lasted two more innings, but the damage had been done, especially considering the offensive funk the O's are in right now...

The Birds got on the board in the third inning when Jake Fox slapped his first home run of the season. Fox tripled and scored again in the seventh, finishing 2-for-4 in relief of Matt Wieters. Luke Scott also went deep for the first time in 2011 in the fifth inning...

Michael Gonzalez continued to struggle, giving up a two-run bomb in the seventh inning to give the Indians a five-run lead that would hold up for the final.

The Orioles send Brad Bergesen to the mound on Sunday afternoon in hopes of avoiding the three-game sweep...Bergesen will be making just his second start this season, but looked very strong in a two-inning relief appearance against the Yankees. I'll actually be producing the game in the WBAL studio, so expect the Birds to get back in the win column before heading home to Baltimore!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

O's Drop Fifth Straight

Is it time to start worrying?

The Birds fell to the Cleveland Indians 8-2 on Friday night, dropping their fifth straight game and falling to 6-6 on the season...after starting the year 6-1, the O's haven't won a game in nearly a week and have dropped into third place in the AL East.

Zach Britton, untouchable coming into the game, was tagged with his first loss after allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk through six innings, striking out six. Britton (2-1) retired the first six batters he faced before a disastrous four-run fourth inning all but sealed the O's fate. Josh Rupe came on in relief and allowed another three runs on four hits and a walk in just a third of an inning...

It seems to be the norm lately, but once again the Birds couldn't get anything going offensively. The O's managed just five hits over the first eight innings, scoring once. They fared a bit better in the ninth, but Cesar Izturis struck out swinging to end the game and any faint hope of a comeback. While the Indians as a club managed to hit for the cycle, all eight of the O's hits went for singles...

The Orioles turn to Jeremy Guthrie on Saturday afternoon to reverse their fortune as of's hoping...Let's Go O's!

Friday, April 15, 2011

O's Fall In Extra Innings To Yankees

The Birds fell out of first place for the first time this season, trading places with the Yankees after a 6-5 loss in ten innings in New York on Thursday night.

The winner of the game took sole possession of first in the A.L. East, and the O's were three outs away from leaving Yankee Stadium with the win and a split of the two-game series...

Jake Arrieta was masterful, taking a no-hitter through the first four innings. Arrieta left after six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk while fanning two.

The offense sprung to life early, with Nick Markakis stealing the show...Markakis slapped a two-run homer in the second inning to put the Birds on the board, and followed with an RBI double in the fifth to give the O's a four-run lead. The Orioles actually led 5-0 before Arrieta allowed a hit...

But the Yankees slowly crept back...Jason Berken allowed a run in the seventh before Jim Johnson pitched out of a jam in the eighth to secure the one-run lead. Kevin Gregg came on in the ninth and after just one pitch the game was tied...Gregg served up a solo shot to Jorge Posada and gave up a double to the very next batter to put the winning run in scoring position with no outs. Gregg struck out the next two batters before retiring Derek Jeter on a ground ball to send the game into extra innings, but the damage had already been done...

After the Birds failed to get anything done against Mariano Rivera, Michael Gonzalez took the mound and things immediately took a turn for the worse...Gonzo walked the first batter he faced before giving up a double. With runners on second and third and none out, he coaxed a grounder before giving up a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees the walk-off victory and their first taste of first place in 2011.

I'm always looking for insurance runs against any team, but against the Yankees, they are crucial...Felix Pie (running for Luke Scott) was thrown out at home in the eighth after a wild pitch...replays showed it was a close call, but that run could have saved the game for the O's...

The Birds have now dropped four straight for the first time under Buck Showalter's command and head to Cleveland to take on the Indians for a three-game set. Zach Britton gets the nod on Friday night...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tillman Trounced As O's Drop Third Straight

After two days without Orioles' baseball, I was hoping that the weather would hold and the Birds would get a game in on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

After two innings, I was seriously hoping the game would be called due to rain...

Chris Tillman turned in his worst performance this season, lasting just 1 2/3 innings and exiting with his team trailing 6-0. The Yankees eventually won the game 7-4.

Tillman (0-1) looked lost on the mound, surrendering six runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out two. He threw 57 pitches and was pulled with two on and two out in the second inning in favor of Chris Jakubauskas, who retired the final batter of the inning...had he allowed a hit, Tillman likely would have been charged with eight runs in his brief outing.

Jakubauskas held the Yankees in check, allowing just a solo homer in his 3 1/3 innings of relief. Brad Bergesen, officially recalled earlier after the O's placed J.J Hardy on the DL, went two strong innings, striking out two while not giving up a hit...Bergesen was slated to start on Sunday, but after Tillman's shortened start that may not happen...

Although the starting pitching left much to be desired, it was again the offense that pulled a no-show for most of the night. The O's had been held without a run since Adam Jones connected for a solo homer against Texas in the second inning on Saturday evening, a span of 22 scoreless innings. That's simply unacceptable, especially given the fact that the bulk of the O's starting staff is young and lacks experience.

The Birds finally got on the board in the seventh inning of Wednesday's contest: after Mark Reynolds doubled (his second of the game), Matt Wieters launched his first long-ball of the season to snap the scoreless streak. Brian Roberts followed later in the inning with another two-run blast, his team-leading third dinger of the season. It was too little, too late; the O's would never overcome Tillman's six-run outing...

Ok...enough bashing...the Orioles are tied with the Yankees for first place in the A.L. East, with both teams sporting 6-4 records through their first ten games. Who would have thought that the winner of this series would hold sole possession of first in the division? I'm usually optimistic but I'm going to have to say, "not me."

The hitting will come around, and I'll choose to believe that the young staff can only improve over the season, especially after Brian Matusz rejoins the rotation...

Jake Arrieta is charged with the task of keeping the O's on top on Thursday night...Let's Go O's!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Texas Takes Two Of Three

Zach Britton and company combined to shut down the hottest team in baseball on Saturday afternoon, as the Birds handed the visiting Texas Rangers their first loss of 2011.

The O's won 5-0, shutting out a team that was averaging seven runs a game over the first six contests this season (42 runs scored). Britton (2-0) went 7 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits while walking three and fanning two. Jason Berken pitched the final inning and a third, allowing just one hit while striking out one.

Nick Markakis put the Orioles on the board early, slapping a solo homer, his first of the season, in the first inning. Mark Reynolds followed with a three-run blast in the second inning, his first homer as an Oriole...that was all the offense necessary with Britton on the mound.

Game Two of the twin-bill didn't go quite as well...Jake Arrieta turned in one of his worst performances of his young career in a 13-1 loss Saturday night. Arrieta was tagged for eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work, allowing six hits and two walks while fanning five. The bullpen didn't fare much better, as Chris Jakubauskas (called up earlier that day) allowed five runs on six hits over the final three frames...

Adam Jones put the Birds up 1-0 with a solo homer in the second inning before the O's bats fell silent and the Rangers' came to life...The Orioles were held to just four hits and went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the loss.

On Sunday afternoon the Birds had a chance to win their third straight series to open up the season but fell to Texas 3-0. Jeremy Guthrie, making his first start since being hospitalized with pneumonia, was impressive but took the loss. Guthrie (1-1) went six solid innings, allowing just one run (a solo homer) on four hits and a walk while striking out one. Jim Johnson served up a two-run tater in the seventh to pad Texas' lead... The offense was non-existent in the defeat...the O's managed just six hits and have now been held scoreless over the last 16 innings!

The big blow to the club over the weekend was the loss of shortstop J.J. Hardy. An MRI on Monday revealed a strained left oblique...Hardy will be placed on the 15-day DL and is out for at least two weeks, but probably will miss even more time than that.

Hardy provided some power in the No. 9 slot for the O's...he hit three doubles in six games this season. Buck Showalter will alternate between Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino at short while Hardy rehabs...

The Orioles, with a 6-3 record, are still in first place and send Chris Tillman to the mound tonight in New York to face the second-place Yankees...Let's Go O's!

Friday, April 8, 2011

April Showers...

The Texas Rangers remain the only undefeated team in baseball, at least until tomorrow...the O's game was postponed due to rain on Friday night, forcing a doubleheader on Saturday.

My wife and I were there to celebrate the start of our anniversary weekend, and I was pumped to see Zach Britton's home debut, but the rain just wouldn't let up. The game was called an hour after the first pitch was scheduled...when I went to 'Fan Assistance' to inquire about the 'Scoreboard Surprise' I had planned, I wasn't given many answers, but I did receive a Matt Wieters bobblehead and an Orioles tote bag, so it wasn't a complete waste of time!

Had the game gone on as scheduled, Brian Roberts would have been a late scratch...Roberts was taken to the hospital with stomach pains; hopefully he'll be good to go on Saturday...

J.J. Hardy was on the bench as well, with Cesar Izturis penciled in at shortstop and in the No. 9 slot...

Saturday features Britton taking the mound at 4:35, with Jake Arrieta getting the nod for game two. The last time the Birds and Rangers faced each other in a twin-billing was in 2007...Texas took both games, and beat the O's 30-3 in the first contest (remember the embarrassment?!?). That won't happen this time...I'll place bets if anyone is interested.

This will be my last post until Monday, as the wife and I are taking a little vacation...I'll post a weekend wrap-up before the Birds battle the Yankees in New York on Tuesday night...Go O's!!!

Birds Battle Back To Take Series

The O's overcame a shaky start from Chris Tillman, scoring five times in the seventh inning to trounce the visiting Detroit Tigers 9-5 on Thursday night.

Tillman pitched a no-hitter his last time out, but gave up a single to the first batter he faced and lasted just 4 2/3 innings on Thursday night. Tillman allowed four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four... two runs crossed the plate in the first and fifth innings before Buck went to the bullpen.

The offense finally showed its' teeth, scoring nine runs on ten hits, both season-highs for the Birds. Even better, the O's battled back to tie the game twice before finally putting the game away in the later innings.

Vladimir Guerrero belted his first homer as an Oriole in the second inning to put the O's on the board, and Adam Jones played small-ball, bunting for a single and stealing second base before coming home on Mark Reynolds' single to tie the game. Jones played a little long-ball in the sixth, slapping a two-run homer to left, and finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Guerrero started the scoring again in the seventh with an RBI single, and Mark Reynolds delivered the crushing blow with a two-run double down the left-field line. Cesar Izturis, playing for J.J. Hardy (tightness in his left side), capped the inning off with an RBI single, giving the O's a lead they would never relinquish.

Jim Johnson pitched two scoreless innings before Koji Uehara pitched the final frame, sealing the victory with a swinging strikeout to end the game.

On a personal note, I'm pretty excited for Friday's game...the 5-1 O's host the undefeated (6-0) Texas Rangers for a three-game series. Rookie Zach Britton takes the mound, and I'll be there in person to watch Zach's Baltimore debut. My very first game at WBAL was last Sunday...Zach's MLB debut...I almost feel linked to the man at this point! Let's hope it goes just as well this time around...Go O's!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Win Streak Snapped As O's Fall To Tigers

The O's won't go 162-0 this year.

Eventually, every team must face defeat, and the Birds did for the first time this season after a deflating 7-3 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday night.

Brad Bergesen was the first O's starter to give up more than a run in 2011, and took the loss. Bergesen pitched just 3 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

It was a complete disaster for Bergesen in my opinion...pulled from the 'pen to spot-start for Jeremy Guthrie, Bergesen commited the first error by an O's pitcher with a pick-off throw that sailed into center field, as well as serving up the first home run allowed by a starting pitcher this year. This was his time to shine...and he failed miserabally. Bergy was pulled after 89 pitches with his team trailing 4-0 in the fourth inning....

Nick Markakis broke up a perfect game by Tigers' ace Justin Verlander with a walk in the bottom of the fourth, and Derrek Lee followed with a two-run blast to cut Detroit's lead in half. Vladimir Guerrero knocked in his first run as an Oriole just two innings later, so there were a few milestones to take out of this loss...

The Orioles still are on top in the East, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays with near-perfect 4-1 records. The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are both in the basement with 0-5 records...

Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Birds on Thursday night...let's go O's!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

O's Tame Tigers In Home Opener Win

Jake Arrieta became the latest starter to notch a "W" as the O's rolled over the Detroit Tigers in a 5-1 victory Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Arrieta went six strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits while walking two and striking out four. Jason Berken came on in relief and allowed just one hit in two innings while fanning three...Berken now has struck out six of the ten batters he has faced this season. Koji Uehara closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Birds got on the board in the second inning when Matt Wieters crossed home plate on a wild pitch...Wieters had doubled to start the inning and finished 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Brian Roberts provided the bulk of the offense with another three-run blast in the fifth inning...Roberts now owns both of the O's long balls this year and leads the team with eight RBIs (second in the Majors behind Mark Teixeira's 10).

With a perfect 4-0 record, the Orioles are on top in the A.L. East and are one of three remaining unbeaten teams in baseball (the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds are the other two). The Birds have equalled the start of the 1997 season and are one win away from duplicating the start of the 1970 World Championship club...

It seems like with every win, the O's have to deal with another loss...hours before Monday's game, Jeremy Guthrie was hospitalized with pneumonia and will miss at least his next scheduled start on Wednesday. Brad Bergesen will take the mound in his place, opposing Detroit's ace Justin Verlander. Here's hoping Guthrie gets well soon...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Britton Victorious As O's Sweep Rays

The Orioles are 3-0 and in first place in the A.L. East after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg over the weekend.

It was the first time the Birds had won three straight to start a season since 1997. Remember 1997? The O's were wire-to-wire divisional champs. It was also the last year the Birds had a winning record...

On Sunday, Zach Britton started, and won, his first Major League game. Britton allowed just one run on three hits and three walks over six innings while striking out six. The one run allowed was the first by an O's starter in 20 innings this season...

Jason Berken came on in relief and struck out the side, and the 'pen combined to allow just one hit over the final three frames...

Offensively, the Orioles banged out 11 hits, with J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds leading the pack...both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs each (their first as Orioles).

Jake Arrieta has the honor of starting the Home Opener against the Detroit Tigers on's hoping he can keep this impressive starting streak going and get the Birds to 4-0. Let's Go O's!

Roberts Strikes Again

Just two games into the season, and the O's already have me on the edge of my seat...

The Birds prevailed on Saturday night, thanks to another monster game from Brian Roberts, a scoreless performance by starter Chris Tillman and a highlight-reel catch by Nick Markakis to seal the victory.

Tillman went six no-hit innings, walking three and fanning five in his season debut. Buck Showalter pulled Tillman after 101 pitches in favor of Jeremy Accardo, who took the win despite giving up two hits and a walk in an inning. Felix Pie nailed B.J. Upton at home to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

Brian Roberts broke it open in the eighth inning, blasting a three-run shot to left off Jake McGee right after Rays' starter James Shields was pulled. Roberts went 2-for-4 and now leads the club with a .375 average and five RBIs in two games...for the moment, it looks like his back and neck are just fine.

Things got dicey in the eighth when Michael Gonzalez took the mound for the Birds...Gonzalez walked the first two batters he faced, and I couldn't help but flashback to last season (Gonzalez blew a few saves against Tampa to start the 2010 season before going on the DL). Gonzo coaxed an out before being pulled for Koji Uehara, who allowed an inherited runner to score to put the Rays on the board.

Closer Kevin Gregg made things interesting in the ninth when he allowed a hit and a walk to put the winning run at the plate (overall, the O's staff allowed seven walks and were fortunate to give up just one run). My heart sunk when it looked like Gregg served up a walk-off homer to Ben Zobrist, but Nick Markakis made a spectacular jumping grab at the wall and came up with the ball to give Gregg his first save and the O's the win.

Zach Britton makes his MLB debut later today...the O's starters have a combined 0.00 ERA through two games and 14 innings so far this's hoping he can keep the streak going!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Guthrie Spectacular As O's Topple Tampa Bay you want the good news or the bad news first?

Let's start with the good news: the Orioles took down the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 on Friday night. Jeremy Guthrie was magnificent, pitching eight solid shut-out innings and allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out six. Guthrie (1-0) retired 14 straight Rays at one point and really looked impressive after a mediocre spring.

Guthrie was pulled after 94 pitches, and Jim Johnson came on to start the ninth...Johnson's first pitch sailed over the right field fence, and you could sense the crowd getting back into it (remember last season the 'pen imploded in the ninth in this very same stadium on Opening Night). Johnson settled down and got three quick outs (two on strikeouts) to preserve the "W" for Guthrie.

Offensively, the Birds were held to just five hits and a walk but managed to plate four runs. J.J. Hardy got things going when he doubled in the third inning, took third base on a throwing error and came home on a Nick Markakis' single. The big blow came in the fifth, when Brian Roberts slapped a two-run triple. Markakis followed with a sacrifice fly, giving Guthrie more than enough breathing room.

There was certainly a lot to celebrate after the game...but, the season changed drastically a few hours before the first pitch. Are you ready for the bad news?

Brian Matusz, the young lefty that was penciled in as the O's No. 2 pitcher this season, was placed on the 15-day DL. Matusz underwent an MRI before the game, which showed a, "strained intercostal muscle." Best-case scenario: he's out three weeks...but it could be as many as six weeks or more before Matusz takes the mound in an O's uniform.

This was a pretty big blow for the Orioles, considering that Justin Duchscherer is already on the DL and Brad Bergesen has been moved to the bullpen. As the saying goes though, when one door closes another one opens. Top pitching prospect Zach Britton will walk through that door when he arrives in Florida on Saturday. The Birds were planning on keeping Britton in Triple-A Norfolk until late April, securing another year of his service by waiting three weeks before calling him up to join the big boys. But with Matusz out, the team really had no choice but to bring Britton up early...

It was obvious to everyone that Britton was ready for the bigs. He was by far the most impressive pitcher during Spring Training, leading the team in wins and ERA. It was just a matter of business to hold him back, but he'll take the mound on Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg for his MLB-debut.

Chris Tillman is now slated to start on Saturday night...let's make it two straight! Go O's!