Friday, September 30, 2011
It was simply amazing...I've honestly never seen a better ending to the regular season in my lifetime. You couldn't have scripted the fight for October any better.
Boston went up 1-0 in the top of the third, but J.J. Hardy gave the Birds a 2-1 lead with his 30th homer of the season in the bottom of the frame. The Sox tied it in the fourth, scoring on a balk called on Alfredo Simon, and went ahead in the fifth on a Dustin Pedroia solo shot.
Boston led 3-2 before the game was delayed for nearly an hour and a half due to thunderstorms. Both clubs were then able to watch as Tampa Bay clawed their way back from a 7-0 deficit, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. It was do-or-die for the Red Sox...
Play resumed, and the score stayed the same before the O's broke through against Jonathan Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth...after Papelbon struck out Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis doubled to give the Birds life. Nolan Reimold followed with a game-tying double, and Robert Andino won the game with an RBI single to left field. Orioles Magic.
The crowd in St. Petersburg went wild when they saw the news, and a minute later Evan Longoria's blast barely cleared the left-field wall to give the Rays an 8-7 walk-off win over the Yankees. The playoff scene was set...
The Orioles celebrated on the field like they were going to the playoffs...hopefully, after this amazing September, they will know that feeling soon.
It's been a blast covering my team all season, but it's all over now. I will return this weekend for a final post, the Orioles' Season-In-Review. Stay tuned. Go O's!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
With the tying run on second base and a run already in, Adam Jones worked a ten pitch at-bat against Jonathan Papelbon before grounding out to third to end the game and keep the Red Sox's playoff hopes alive.
Zach Britton took the loss and finished his rookie season with an 11-11 record...I was certainly hoping for better, but the young lefty still shows plenty of promise and hopefully will continue to grow and improve. Britton allowed five runs on seven hits (two homers) and two walks in just 4 1/3 innings, fanning two. Jason Berken and Zach Phillips both served up a long ball to the Sox as well...in fact, all eight of Boston's runs came via the home run.
The Birds knocked Erik Bedard out in the fourth inning and went deep twice in the game: Matt Wieters slapped his 22nd homer in the fourth and Adam Jones went yard in the sixth. Jones celebrated two personal milestones in the game, hitting the 100th double and 75th homer of his career. It just wasn't enough...
The Rays beat the Yankees, so Tampa Bay and Boston are still tied for the Wild Card with just one game left in the regular season. Alfredo Simon takes the mound for the Birds on Wednesday night, while Jon Lester will start for the Sox. Lester has never lost to Baltimore in his career...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Andino became the first Oriole to accomplish the feat at Camden Yards, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next season. The O's had just taken a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning before Andino stepped to the plate with two on and two outs and drilled a ball to deep center field...Jacoby Ellsbury caught the ball but it squirted loose as he slammed into the wall. The inning started with another milestone, as Vladimir Guerrero's single gave him 2,587 hits, the most ever for a Dominican-born player.
The loss was a devastating blow to the Red Sox (89-71) who now share an identical record with Tampa Bay. The two clubs are tied for the Wild Card with two games remaining. Zach Britton takes the mound on Tuesday night...
It seemed like the Birds were pretty much conceding this game, resting key players for the final series against Boston. Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds and Matt Wieters were all out of the lineup...
Brian Matusz looked better in his final start of 2011, but he still took the loss. Matusz (1-9) allowed six runs on seven hits (two homers) and three walks in five innings, fanning five. Brad Bergesen surrendered a three-run blast in the sixth, and the Tigers went deep once more in the eighth. Detroit launched four homers and scored nine of their ten runs via the long ball.
The Birds now head home to host the Red Sox for three games...the O's have no chance at the postseason, but will have a say in whether Boston goes or not.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Matt Angle led-off with his first Major League homer and the Birds scored five runs off Verlander in the first three innings. Mark Reynolds slapped his team-leading 37th home run in the third, as the O's denied Verlander of win number 25 this season.
Jeremy Guthrie failed to pick up his tenth win of the season with a no-decision. Staked to an early 5-0 lead, Guthrie (9-17) allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings of work, striking out two in his final start of 2011. Kevin Gregg picked up his 22nd save and second straight...
With the score knotted at five and a man on third in the top of the ninth, Matt Angle executed a perfect bunt as the Birds pulled off a successful suicide squeeze to take the lead. The win guaranteed the O's will at least split this four-game series with the Tigers.
Brian Matusz takes the mound for the last time this season on Sunday afternoon...
Saturday, September 24, 2011
It was a great battle, one that could have gone either way before Victor Martinez's walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th sealed the win for the Tigers.
Alfredo Simon went eight strong innings (tying a career-best), allowing just three runs on six hits and a walk while fanning five. The 'pen went two scoreless but couldn't hold off Detroit's potent offense in the end...
Jeremy Guthrie (9-17) takes the mound on Saturday night in search of his tenth win of the season. He'll be opposed by Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander (24-5).
Friday, September 23, 2011
The O's gave Zach Britton an early 5-0 lead; J.J. Hardy slapped his 29th homer in the third and Adam Jones crushed a two-run bomb in the fourth. But in the end, the Birds won by playing "small ball."
Britton (11-10) became the first Orioles pitcher to reach 11 wins this season. Jeremy Guthrie (9-17) will have a shot at win number ten on Saturday night...
Britton didn't look particularly sharp, giving up five runs on six hits, four walks and two wild pitches in just five innings. But the bullpen was magnificent once again, allowing only two hits over the final four frames. Even Kevin Gregg joined in, retiring the side 1-2-3 in the ninth to record his 21st save.
With the score knotted at five in the sixth, Adam Jones led-off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a ground-out and scored on Nolan Reimold's infield single. After the Birds powered their way to five runs, it was a weak check-swing single that plated the winning run...
Alfredo Simon takes the mound Friday night for the O's.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
It sounds unbelievable, but it's true. The Orioles hadn't won a four-game series at Fenway since 2003.
The Birds have now won three straight series, something they hadn't accomplished since last season...all three series have been against contending teams.
I wish we could restart the season now...
Tommy Hunter went 6 2/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk, fanning four. Hunter left after straining his groin but hopes to make his final start of the season on Monday...
The bullpen was brilliant yet again, holding Boston hitless over the final 2 1/3 innings. Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save this season...the O's were going to stretch JJ out to be a starter but it looks like he will be the closer for the remainder of the season.
Mark Reynolds launched a solo homer over the Green Monster and into the parking lot to give the O's a 1-0 lead in the second inning. He went deep again in the seventh, slapping a two-run bomb just over the Monster to tie the game at four. Vladimir Guerrero's two-run single in the eighth gave the Birds a 6-4 lead they would never relinquish...
The Orioles now travel to Detroit to face the Tigers for a four-game series. Zach Britton looks to become the first (and probably only) 11-game winner for the Birds this season as he takes the mound Thursday night...
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
O's starter Rick VandenHurk wasn't particularly sharp, surrendering all five of Boston's runs on seven hits and three walks in just three innings of work. But the bullpen was fantastic, allowing just three hits over the final six frames. Jo-Jo Reyes actually allowed all three of those hits in three innings of relief, striking out five in the process. The Sox were no-hit over the final three innings, with Jim Johnson picking up his eigth save of the season.
The Birds knocked ex-Oriole Erik Bedard in the third inning, scoring four runs in the frame to take a 4-1 lead. But the lead was short-lived, as the Sox struck back and led 5-4 heading into the seventh inning...that's when Andino's two-out, full-count, bases-clearing double off Jonathan Papelbon lifted the O's to their second win in three games at Fenway.
Tommy Hunter takes the mound Wednesday night as the Birds look to take their third straight series.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Guthrie (9-17) has now won three straight starts and has a chance at becoming the third starter this season to hit the 10-win mark. Guthrie gave up four runs on ten hits and a walk over six innings, striking out three in his first-ever victory at Fenway Park. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save of the season...Kevin Gregg was nowhere in sight.
The Birds slapped three homers in the contest...Robert Andino and Nolan Reimold went deep, and J.J. Hardy set a new career high with his 28th homer of the season.
The offense stayed hot in Game 2...the O's scored three runs in the first inning but it wasn't nearly enough for a struggling Brian Matusz. Matusz allowed four runs in the bottom of the frame and was charged with six runs on six hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings of work. Matusz (1-8) has now lost eight straight...
Chris Jakubauskas was just as bad in relief, surrendering five runs on five hits and a walk in just one inning...the O's had cut Boston's lead to two runs before the bullpen imploded yet again, allowing seven runs to cross the plate in the seventh inning.
Still, a split with Boston is hard to complain about, especially when you consider it was the first time all season the Birds won a game at Fenway. The win also guaranteed the O's (63-90) will not lose 100 games this season. Ahhh, the little things in life.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Alfredo Simon looked awful, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk in just five innings. Simon (4-5) struck out five but allowed three homers, including two two-run shots in the fourth inning. Brad Bergesen struggled in relief, allowing another two runs in just 2/3 of an inning. Bergesen also beaned catcher Jeff Mathis in the helmet with a fastball...replays looked eerily similar to Mark Reynolds' HBP the night before. Jo-Jo Reyes allowed another three runs in the eighth.
Vladimir Guerrero accounted for all of the O's offense, slapping an RBI triple in the first before launching a solo shot in the sixth.
The Birds now travel to Boston to face the suddenly-reeling Red Sox for a four-game set. The two clubs play a day-night doubleheader on Monday...Jeremy Guthrie is slated to start Game 1 and Brian Matusz will take the mound in Game 2.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Tommy Hunter went seven scoreless innings, and the Birds blanked the Halos before Kevin Gregg allowed three runs in the ninth. But a win is a win, so let's not focus on Gregg's dismal performance...
Hunter (4-4) allowed seven hits (six singles) and two walks (both in the seventh inning) while fanning five in his most impressive outing in an Orioles' uniform. Willie Eyre pitched a perfect eighth before Gregg ran into trouble in the ninth.
Meanwhile, the O's bats were on fire against Angels' starter Dan Haren. The Birds scored twice in the third before erupting for three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. J.J. Hardy went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and both Nolan Reimold (11) and Mark Reynolds (33) went yard against Haren (15-9).
The O's are relishing in the role of spoiler, taking two from Tampa Bay before Friday night's convincing victory over the Angels. The Birds look to win consecutive series as they send Zach Britton to the mound on Saturday night.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Jeremy Guthrie won two straight starts for the first time this season, holding the Rays to just two runs over seven strong innings. Guthrie (8-17) allowed just three hits and three walks while tying a career-best with ten strikeouts. Jim Johnson picked up his sixth save of the season with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one walk.
The O's smacked three homers...Nolan Reimold put the Birds on the board with a solo shot in the third, Chris Davis connected for a three-run bomb in the fourth, and Matt Wieters went deep with a man on in the eighth. Wieters has now homered in three straight games and has 20 long balls this season...
The Birds have Thursday off before hosting the Angels for a three-game set starting Friday night.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Matt Wieters broke open a tie ballgame with a towering blast to left field, a two-run bomb that gave the Birds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. It was Wieters' 19th homer of the season and second in as many games.
Alfredo Simon was nearly perfect, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out a career-high nine batters. Simon's lone mistake was a slider that Evan Longoria deposited over the right field wall, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning.
Jake Fox tied the game with a pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh before Wieters' big blast in the eighth...
Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound on Wednesday night...
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Britton (9-10) lasted just five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and four walks while striking out two.
Robert Andino's RBI double in the fifth put the Birds on the board, and Matt Wieters slapped a solo homer (his 18th) in the sixth. The O's managed just six hits through nine innings.
The two clubs battle again on Tuesday night...the Orioles are once again 30 games under .500 while the Rays are just three games behind Boston in the race for the Wild Card.
The Orioles had a chance to win a series at Rogers Centre for the first time since 2008, but a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-5 lead and eventually the series victory.
The O's struck first, scoring in the first inning on Vladimir Guerrero's sacrifice fly. Toronto scored twice in the bottom of the frame to take an early 2-1 lead. The game see-sawed, with the Birds and Jays swapping the lead until the O's went ahead 5-3 in the top of the sixth.
Tommy Hunter was unable to hold onto the 5-3 advantage, allowing three runs in the fateful seventh inning. Hunter (3-4) allowed two solo homers in the bottom of the frame, including one to former Oriole Adam Loewen. It was Loewen's first long ball of his career.
The Birds now head home for six games; they face the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Birds were up 4-3 in the ninth and turned to Kevin Gregg, nicknamed Captain Chaos for good reason...
Gregg came into the game needing just two outs for a save, but loaded the bases with a walk, a single and a hit batter before allowing the tying run to cross the plate with a wild pitch. Two pitches later and the Blue Jays were celebrating their walk-off win, and more than likely laughing at the O's brass for picking up their "lights-out" closer last off-season.
Gregg is not the answer, especially in this division. I get nervous every time the man takes the mound. I guess I'm just not used to his "style of pitching," as he stated. Not so, Kevin...I'm used to the Orioles losing at this point.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Guthrie (7-17) allowed just three hits and three walks while fanning five in an impressive 104-pitch outing. With three possible starts remaining, Guthrie could finish the season with 10 wins, but the possibility of a 20-loss season still remains...
The O's managed just seven hits but were able to plate two runs for Guthrie. The Birds took advantage of a throwing error to score an unearned run in the sixth, and Nick Markakis' hustle to first in the eighth broke-up what could have been an inning-ending double play, allowing Ryan Adams to score from third.
The O's have now won three straight over divisional foes, and send Rick VandenHurk to the mound to make his first start of the season on Saturday afternoon.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Robert Andino was the unlikely hero, tying the game with an RBI single in the eighth before delivering the game-winning single in the tenth.
Alfredo Simon allowed four runs on six hits and six walks in just four innings, but the O's bullpen no-hit the Yankees over the final six frames, allowing just one walk while fanning eight. Pretty impressive...
Vladimir Guerrero went 3-for-5 with a double and a solo home run, but it was Andino's two late RBIs that were the difference for the Orioles.
The Birds now head north to battle Toronto for three games; Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for the O's.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
After Zach Britton allowed four runs in five innings, the O's bullpen held New York scoreless through the final six frames. Seven relievers combined to allow just four hits and two walks while striking out six. Pedro Strop picked up his first win as an Oriole, and Jim Johnson survived a scary 11th for his third save of the season.
Nolan Riemold slapped a two run homer in the third inning, but Mark Reynolds was the hero of the game. Reynolds had already struck out four times before connecting for an RBI single in the 11th that put the Birds on top to stay. Nick Markakis was intentionally walked with one on and one out, and Reynolds took the gesture personally, delivering the game-winning single.
The Yankees and Orioles meet again in Baltimore on Thursday; Alfredo Simon looks to make it two straight.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tommy Hunter turned in a solid performance, allowing just a solo homer and an unearned run before back-to-back solo jacks ended his night in the deciding seventh inning. Hunter (3-3) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out six.
Jorge Posada broke open a scoreless game in the third with a solo homer, and the Yankees scored an unearned run in the fifth after the Birds committed two errors in the inning.
Matt Wieters tied the game with a two-run blast (his 17th of the season) in the sixth, and after the Yankees took the lead again in the bottom of the frame, Nick Markakis' RBI double in the top of the seventh knotted the game once again.
But Hunter ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh, allowing two solo homers after recording two outs to give New York a two-run lead they would not relinquish.
The Orioles (55-85) are now 30 games under .500 and square-off against the Yankees again on Wednesday afternoon. Zach Britton takes the mound for the Birds.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The two clubs combined for 21 runs off 29 hits, with the Orioles out-hitting New York 17-12. The Birds slapped three home-runs while the Yankees connected four times, once with the bases loaded.
As entertaining as a slugfest can be, I'd much rather see a well-pitched game, or at least have my team come out on top. Obviously, neither of those things occurred on Monday afternoon.
Brian Matusz continued to struggle, recording just four outs while surrendering five runs on five hits and two walks. Matusz still has just one win this season, and there's a strong possibility he just made his final start of 2011.
The rest of the staff didn't fare much better, surrendering six runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter.
The offense was amazing, but in the end it all boiled down to this...the Birds scored a run in the ninth, stole four bases in the inning and had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with J.J. Hardy at the plate. Hardy struck out swinging.
The Birds send Tommy Hunter to the mound on Tuesday...
Jeremy Guthrie lost his 17th game of the season, giving up seven runs on seven hits and four walks in just five innings. Only three of the runs were earned, thanks to a fielding error by Mark Reynolds in the third inning.
Reynolds, playing third base, committed two errors in the game and continues to lead the league with 26 errors this season. It may be time to put Reynolds at first base permanently...
The O's managed just four hits; Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run.
Brian Matusz faces New York on Monday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
The O's could win all 25 games left on the schedule and still finish 80-82, which would be a vast improvement. But the reality is that the Birds will more than likely lose half of those games, but at least a 100-loss season seems unlikely at this point.
Nick Markakis put the O's on top early on Saturday, slapping a two-run homer in the first inning. But Alfredo Simon struggled from the start, allowing two runs in the bottom of the frame and six runs on seven hits and four walks in only five innings of work. Simon (4-8) struck out two in the loss and never looked comfortable on the mound.
The O's have had some success against the Rays this season, going 7-7 against Tampa Bay with four games left to play. The Birds have gone just 11-29 against New York, Boston and Toronto...which is so bad I could barely believe it until I checked the stats. Sad but true...
Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound Sunday afternoon before the Birds head to New York to battle the Yankees.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Britton (9-9) gave up two runs in the first but settled down to pitch six strong innings, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out six. It was Britton's third straight win; he's pitched to a 1.50 ERA over his past three starts.
J.J. Hardy's clutch two out, two-run single in the seventh inning gave the Birds their first lead of the game, and the O's survived another scary outing by Kevin Gregg in the ninth to seal the win.
Gregg allowed a lead-off single and walked the bases loaded before inducing a game-ending ground ball to escape with his 20th save of the season. Hardy made a strong throw and Mark Reynolds made an amazing scoop at first on a bang-bang play...Reynolds looks like a Gold Glover at first base since taking over the position.
Alfredo Simon takes the mound for the O's on Saturday night.
Tommy Hunter surrendered six runs in six innings and was taken to the hospital after he started vomiting after leaving the game. Hunter began feeling ill in the third inning, and gave up five earned runs on nine hits and a walk while fanning three.
Vladimir Guerrero had a big day at the plate, driving in a season-best four runs. Guerrero went 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a solo homer. But it just wasn't enough...
Willie Eyre pitched a 1-2-3 seventh before running into trouble in the eighth. Eyre (1-1) walked the first batter he faced before serving-up a two-run bomb to Brett Lawrie, snapping a tie ballgame and giving Toronto an 8-6 lead they would not relinquish.
The Orioles (54-81) now travel to Florida to take on the Rays. Zach Britton takes the mound for the Birds on Friday night.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Ouch. What more can you say?
Jo-Jo Reyes was pumped to face the team that designated him for assignment...maybe too pumped. Who knows what was going on in Reyes' mind, all I know is he gave the Blue Jays an early cushion that they continued to build on.
Reyes (7-11) gave up seven runs on eight hits in just 2 2/3 innings, and the bullpen was no help at all, allowing another six runs on 12 hits over the final frames.
The Blue Jays finished the game with 20 hits. The Orioles had four, with three coming in the final two innings.
The Birds still have a chance to win the series Thursday afternoon. It looked like the momentum was on their side after the extra-innings win on Tuesday, but after this game the Jays certainly have the edge. Tommy Hunter takes the mound for the O's...