Thursday, April 24, 2008

O's-M's, D-Cab In Control

The O's have lost two in a row, and the team would like Daniel Cabrera to keep progressing and be the stopper. He's facing a guy in Carlos Silva who has much worse stuff, but far better control.

Brian Roberts takes three pitches and is out on strikes - the third one was well outside though. Melvin Mora bloops one just over the second baseman for a hit. Markakis gets called out on strikes, an a pitch that starts inside and tails back to almost be a strike. Millar grounds to short to end the inning.

Ichiro starts things off for the M's with a line drive single to right. Ichiro then steals second, as the Pelican can't hold on to Ramon's throw (he might have been out otherwise). Jose Lopez grounds to Millar, and Daniel does a nice job covering first base (well, not a nice job, but he actually does his job, which is improvement). Raul Ibanez hits a long fly ball to center, to bring Ichiro in from third. 1-0 M's.

Silva is throwing strikes, so Luke comes out swinging. He ends up flying out to center. Aubrey Huff draws one of the few walks Silva will give up. A fly out and a ground out end the inning.

Daniel gets ahead of Vidro 1-2, and runs that "Maddux" fastball at 96 over the inside corner. Sexson grounds to the Pelican on the outfield grass, and Millar picks the throw out of the dirt to get the out. Johjima pops out the third pitch, and that's a very quick 1-2-3 inning.

[What player hit a HR in his first ML at bat in 1952, but never hit another one and went into the Hall of Fame in 1985? I knew it was a pitcher, but I'm not familiar enough with pitchers from back then to know the answer. The commentator gave the clue "think RA Dickey" (the M's knuckleballer) so I guessed Hoyt Wilhelm, which is the correct answer. Interesting question.]

The O's go down in order in the top of the third, as Carlos Silva is rolling along.

Another three-up three-down inning for Daniel. He's thrown just 26 pitches so far - 24 fastballs (93-97, but mostly 95-96) a slider and a change-up. Both non-fastballs came in the third, and were in the zone (though one is flied out and one is called a ball).

Nick Markakis takes a pitch outside, but is still called out on strikes (again). Kakes is upset and has a few words for the umpire. That's not something you often see, but Nick knows that those pitches are balls, even if the umpire doesn't. Millar grounds out, and Luke is called out on a pitch inside. Huge strike-zone tonight, but Daniel isn't really taking advantage of it - he's pounding the true strike-zone.

Daniel can't catch break - he throws a fastball right in the zone and it's called a ball, while Silva is getting pitches a foot outside. Jose Lopez battles for eight pitches (all fastballs) and singles to right. I would have called a slider or change at some point in the at bat (like one of the last couple pitches), because Lopez was timing the fastball at that point. Five more fastballs and Ibanez singles to center. A change-up in the 1-2 count might have been a good idea. Daniel starts the next hitter off with a couple sliders, one for a ball and the next for a strike. Why throw them at this point? He almost gets Beltre on strikes, but his fastball just off the outside corner (which Silva would get) is called a ball. Beltre then bloops a single to left that Luke just can't get to. Vidro grounds a slider sharply to first. Millar makes a sliding stop and throws the runner out at second - they can't get the double play and a run scores to make it 2-0. Sexson lines the first pitch at Mora - two down. Johjima falls behind 0-2 and grounds far to Brian's left. B-Rob ranges over and makes a good throws from the outfield grass to end the inning. Fantastic job by Daniel to get out of the jame with only one run scoring.

Aubrey Huff lines the first pitch up the middle for a single. Nice job by Adam Jones, falling behind 0-2 but taking an outside pitch and singling into right field. Ramon hits one to deep left, off of the wall. Huff didn't know if it would be caught and got a late break - he ran through the stop-sign and got thrown out at home. That's a 350 foot single for Ramon, and there are still 2 on but with 1 out now. The Pelican grounds into a double play to end the inning. The O's threaten, but can not score and it's still 2-0 M's.

Daniel finally gets the benefit of the wide zone as Beltre is called out on a fastball off the outside corner. He gets ahead of Betancourt 0-2, but a fastball up and over the plate and Yuniesky doubles down the line in right. Ichiro grounds out, advancing the runner to third. A ground out to Mora ends the inning.

Brian Roberts serves a single into left to get things started in the sixth. Melvin drives one deep to right, and nobody will get there. The triple scores Roberts and that makes it 2-1. Kakes grounds to second, but that scores Mora to tie the game. Millar flies out to left, and Luke grounds to first to end the inning.

Daniel gets ahead of Ibanez 1-2 and throws a 96 mph fastball by him. That's the first K of the game that wasn't looking. Beltre pops out on a 98 mph fastball, and Vidro bounces out on the first pitch (good play by Roberts to get him by a half-step). Another 1-2-3 inning for Cabrera.

Aubrey Huff draws his second walk of the day. Looks like Silva is hurt, as he's being removed from the game. Sean Green comes in and strikes out Adam Jones. Then Ramon Hernandez goes down on three pitches. The Pelican doesn't swing and draws a walk. Brian has a great at bat, but grounds the 12th pitch down the first base line, where Green picks it up and tags him.

Sexson falls behind 1-2 and can't hold his swing on a slider in the dirt. Now that's how you do it. Daniel gets ahead of Johjima and gets him to chase a slider in the dirt. I'm glad he (or Ramon) is finally listening to me. See how easy that was? Bloomquist flies the first pitch to right, and it's yet another easy inning for Daniel.

Mora grounds out to third, and gets thrown out by a step. The M's are bringing in the lefty to face Markakis. And that was a mistake. Nick Markakis turns on the first pitch, and lines it into the right field stands. That's his 4th of the year, and gives the O's a 3-2 lead. Nick's hitting 310 / 449 / 521 for the year, and he usually doesn't start hitting well until the second half. Is he going to hit 350 / 500 / 700 in August (career 1.027 OPS compared to .836 overall)? I'm excited - I predicted 25 HR, while most people saw a drop in power (which makes sense given his expected numbers from last year). Anyway, Millar grounds out and Luke strikes out to end the inning.

Daniel gets ahead of Betancourt 0-2 (I've been saying 0-2, 1-2 a lot) and he flies out softly to right. He's still throwing 96-96, which is very impressive. Ichiro gets ahead 3-1 but pops out to short. Jose Lopez flies out left and Daniel is mowing down the Mariners hitters.

Huff grounds out to short to start the ninth. Brandon Morrow comes in and just blows the fastball by Adam Jones. That's Jones' second K of the game. Ramon grounds to the left side, and Adrian Beltre makes a great play to get it and throw him out.

It's George Sherrill time in the bottom of the ninth. Ibanez singles past a diving Roberts into center field. Beltre hits it hard, but Jay Payton (in for Luke Scott) makes the catch in left. Vidro strikes out swinging at a good breaking-ball; two outs. And Richie Sexson pops the first pitch up - Millar is there and makes the catch. The O's win 3-2, and Sherrill picks up his 7th save.

The Player of the Game is definitely Daniel Cabrera. It took just 95 pitches (65 strikes) to go 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and no walks, and striking out 5. He has dropped his walk total in every game this year, and I think he really has a chance to have a solid year.

Adam Loewen will face Jarrod Washburn in the rubber-game of the three-game set tomorrow. The O's can guarantee a win in the season series versus the M's with a victory.

No comments: