Sunday, April 27, 2008

O's-White Sox, Konerko:2, Orioles:1

Jeremy Guthrie had given up 5 home runs on the year. Make it 6, as Paul Konerko takes a middle-of-the-plate fastball deep to left. 1-0 White Sox in the bottom of the second. It looks like Kevin Millar is getting the day off. That's good, since he has really been struggling lately - it seems that he has failed to come through in many RBI opportunities in the last few days. He is walking less than he had been, and has been hitting the ball on the ground much more than he used to.

[In response to an Amber Theoharris segment:
Sac bunting isn't "team baseball" as it usually hurts the "team" while actually helping the player since he is seen as "selfless" and having "done his job". Mora is good at bunting for hits, so I'm OK with him trying to drop one down every once in a while, but he really shouldn't sacrifice as often as he did last year (and appears to be doing it less this year).]

Fahey hits the ball hard but it goes right into Jose Contreras' glove for an out. Jim Palmer takes the opportunity to make fun of Daniel Cabrera's defense (he would be diving out of the way). Way to build up the guy's confidence there Jim. Brian Roberts ties the game with his third home run of the year, and it was a no-doubt-about-it shot. Got a fastball that tailed right over the middle of the plate. Mora tries to bunt again, and fouls it off. And again, but takes a ball. The guy just gave up a homer - swing (or take) away, Melvin. Nick rips a single through the right side, and Huff follows it up with one of his own, but foul.

Apparently, Nick says he wants to steal at least 20 bases this year. That's all well and good, as long as he isn't getting thrown out 10-15 times. And there he goes, taking second without a throw. That's six on the year, and I'm thankful for it from a fantasy baseball perspective - an outfielder that can put up .300, 100, 25, 100, 20 numbers is second round material. Huff walks, but Payton is first-pitch swinging and flies out to right to end the inning.

Nick Swisher doubles and steals third, but Guthrie strikes out Thome to end a scoreless bottom of the third.

Adam Jones hits a rocket to center, but Anderson is there and makes the catch. The O's go down 1-2-3.

With runners on first and second and one out, Alexie Ramirez grounds back to Guthrie. Jeremy turns and makes a high throw to Fahey at second. It sure looked like Fahey stayed on the bag while making the catch, but the ump rules that he wasn't. The throw to first doesn't get Ramirez, and instead of an inning ending double play, the bases are loaded with no outs being recorded there. I've almost never seen an umpire not give that call to the fielder, even in situations where it was pretty clear that he wasn't on the bag when he caught the ball. Guthrie gets out of the jam though, so no real damage was done.

Mora gets an infield single, but the O's fail to score. Still 1-1 going into the bottom of the fourth. Guthrie is pitching pretty well, but unless they score some runs he will again fail to get his first win of the year.

The Sox go down 1-2-3, with Guthrie picking up his fourth and fifth K's of the game.

Aubrey singles up the middle to start the fifth, but Payton grounds into the force at second. One out with a runner still on first for Luuuuke. Scott grounds out, and Jones goes down swinging to end the inning.

Paul Konerko tags another one. That makes it 2-1, as Konerko gets another fastball in the middle and of the plate and send it out to left. Guthrie is again troubled by the long-ball, as he's given up 7 on the year. If he can't get that rate down, it'll be a long year for him. A soft single to center will end Guthrie's day. Matt Albers is coming in to keep the score where it is. Carlos Quentin singles to center, and the Sox have something going in the sixth. Ramirez puts down a sac bunt to move the runners along, and the O's bring the infield in. Brian Anderson grounds to short, but Brandon Fahey's throw home hits the runner. The run scores, and as the ball gets away Quentin comes all the way around from second to make it 4-1. Still only one out and a runner on second. Albers gets out of it, but the O's are gonna need some runs now.

Brian Roberts gets a two out single against Contreras, and Ozzie Guillen is calling in side-arming righty Ehren Wasserman to pitch to Melvin Mora. Roberts steals second and Mora walks, and that's it for Wasserman as Matt Thorton will be coming in to match up with Markakis. Now would be a good time for his fifth home run of the year. Nope. Markakis strikes out swinging, and the O's fail to score.

Greg Aquino is brought in to soak up a couple innings and save the rest of the pen. Aquino shows his usual lack of command and walks the first two hitters. Greg forgets to check on Orlando Cabrera at second and so he takes third. Now a double play will still score a run. 3-0 count to Konerko, who's already homered twice. A third straight walk loads the bases, and Aquino has a chance to pull a Houdini. AJ Peirzynski strikes out swinging at a slider, and a ground ball could get him out of the inning. Carlos Quentin gets hit in the back to force in Chicago's fifth run. Bases still loaded and Dennis Sarfate is coming in to try to minimize the damage. This may be Aquino's last appearance with the Birds, as the team is likely to bring up a pitcher from AAA (Garrett Olson probably) to make the start on Tuesday (the double header messed up the rotation), and Greg is clearly the last pitcher on the roster.

Sarfate gets the ground ball, but it's hit too slowly to turn two. A run scores to make it 6-1, White Sox. Brian Anderson pops out to end the threat. Good job by Dennis to throw two pitches and get two outs. A five run lead is a bit much to overcome at this point, even for this year's version of the Orioles.

Matt Thorton set the O's down in order, including K's of Huff and Scott. If Daniel Cabrera is on his game then a series split is OK by me. Winning 7-8 of the 17 games on the road during this long stretch would be a victory for the team, I think. It would leave them right around .500 (above or below depends on how they do against the Rays on the quick three game home stand) which is better than a lot of people thought they would be in the middle of May.

Sarfate needs to tense up that glove on his follow-through - it would help with his control. A Dennis Sarfate that has command of his fastball is a very good reliever. He pitches a perfect eighth, and the O's will need at least five off of Octavio Dotel.

They need baserunners, so of course Adam Jones is swinging at the first pitch - he flies out to right. Ramon Hernandez's poor season continues as he waives at a high fastball. Two down for Brandon Fahey. He grounds into the hole at short, but Orlando Cabrera makes a great play to throw Fahey out to end the game. Guthrie pitches pretty well, but the O's can't do much against Contreras once again and lose 6-1.

There is now a three-way tie for first in the East with the O's and the Rays at 14-11 and Boston at 15-12. New York is 1.5 back at 13-13, and Toronto is in the cellar at 11-15.

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