Sunday, June 1, 2008

O's-Red Sox, MannyBeingManny

Garrett Olson will try to bring the O's back after the tough loss against the major's most recent no-hit pitcher, Jon Lester. A couple of years ago, it was Olson as the lefty most likely to have success in the majors.

Olson doesn't get off to a good start, walking Ellsbury on four pitches. Once again, an O's pitcher makes an errant pick-off throw, allowing Jacoby to go to second. Millar is good at picking the ball at first, but he doesn't handle those throws over from the pitcher very well. Ellsbury then steals third, as Ortiz goes down looking for the second out. Manny hits one deep to left, but Payton is there short of the warning track and makes the catch. Despite Jacoby's antics on the base-paths, the Sox don't score.

Nick, batting second today, line a grounder up the middle, but Pedroia makes a sliding catch and throws him out. The O's go down in order in the first.

Olson strikes Youkilis out on three pitches, getting him swinging at a breaking-ball down and in. Varitek doubles past a diving Jones in center - Adam wasn't really close to it, but I like the effort. Olson gets Crisp swinging to end it though. I find it interesting that Garrett has been able to maintain the solid strike-out rate he had in the minors (well, it's down from 9.25 to 7.04 per nine, but that's still above average) considering his general lack of "stuff". If he can get his walks down a little than he can be a viable #4 starter.

Millar draws a lead-off walk, and advances to second on a passed ball. You know that means that the ball rolled pretty far away from the catcher. Huff strikes out swinging at a breaking-ball. Ramon hits one hard (again - 23.5 line-drive %) and it gets through to left for a single. Millar is held at third, but that's OK since Jay Payton beats out an infield single to bring him in. The O's take the early lead, 1-0. Adam Jones grounds one sharply up the middle to score Razor and make it 2-0.
Cintron also hits a grounder, but his goes to Lowell at third who starts the inning-ending double play.

Olson gets his fourth K, again using that down and in breaking-ball to strike Lugo out swinging. Ellsbury is victim number five, going down looking at a fastball just off the outside corner. Boy, does Pedroia swing hard for a little guy. He gets a change-up down in the zone and rockets it out to left. 2-1, Orioles now. Then Ortiz send one out to center. Jones made an attempt at it, but it went just past his glove. That quickly, the game is tied. Garrett gets Manny to ground out to third to end the inning.

Markakis gets a gift double, as Manny can't get to a pop-up down the left-field line.
He is left stranded however.

Payton robs Mike Lowell of extra bases with a sliding grab in left. Youk grounds to Cintron at short, who's throw pulls Millar off the bag at first. That's the second O's error today. Red Sox can't take advantage though. Nice job by Olson to pick up his defense, though usually it works the other way around.

Huff gets a gift double, as Manny can't get to a pop-up down the left-field line. Huh... that sounds familiar. He is left stranded however. I think I see a pattern here.

Melvin flashing some leather, robbing Lugo of a hit with a diving stop and throw to first. Jim Palmer has made some interesting notes about Mora's throwing; that when he has time he thinks about the runner too much and sometimes makes weak throws, but when he dives to get a ball, he doesn't think and makes a strong throw. I've never noticed if that's true, but I will keep an eye on it now. Ellsbury draws his second walk of the day. Then he steals second just ahead of Razor's throw. And then third. That's 26 on the year for Jacoby. Olson is able to get Ortiz to end the inning.

Brian Roberts hits one out to left field to give the O's the 3-2 lead. Nick follows that up with his second double of the day, but this one was no cheapie - he lines it to the left-center gap. Millar draws a four-pitch walk to put a couple on with two outs. Huff works the count full, and then he walks. The bases are loaded for Ramon. With the way he has been going with runners in scoring position, I'm going to assume that he doesn't come through. Yup, he sure doesn't. He strikes out on three pitches. Way to go there Razor.

Lance Cormier is in, so we can close the book on Olson. He had trouble with back-to-back hitters, but was very impressive otherwise - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Against a good Boston line-up, that should be a confidence booster. Olson only threw 89 pitches, but I don't think it's horrible call to take him out. Unless Cormier gets bombed - then it's a bad idea. (Actually, with the bullpen being spent yesterday, I would have stretched Olson for another inning - he didn't have a very tough fifth.) After getting Manny, Lance hits Lowell with a pitch. A balk moves him to second, and then a Youk single puts runners on the corners. Varitek singles in front of Payton to tie the score at 3-3. Lugo bloops one into short right-field, but Roberts makes a leaping catch to end the inning.

David Aardsma, the guy listed first alphabetically in baseball history, sets the O's down in order.

Ellsbury is so fast. Instead of just walking and stealing second and third, he just saves some time and hits a triple to right-center. With the infield in, Jacoby can't score on Pedroia's grounder - one out. Jamie Walker will come in to face David Ortiz. Walker is able to retire him on a flyball to left, to Ellsbury comes in to score to give Boston the 4-3 lead. That's it for Jamie, as Chad Bradford will come in to face Manny. First pitch - home run. Manny Ramirez hits his 500th career home run, taking a middle-of-the-plate fastball to deep right-center (and then admiring it for a minute). It's really clear how many Sox fans there are, as there Yard is jumping with excitement. Congratulations to one of the best pure hitters in baseball history, but couldn't he have waited a couple of days? Bradford gets Lowell for the third out, but it's now 5-3 Red Sox. Chad almost never gives up the long-ball, so it's unexpected that he would be the one to surrender the homer.

Youkilis robs Nick of a hit with a nice diving play. Aardsma has another 1-2-3 inning.

Dennis Sarfate relieves Bradford now. He hits Youkilis with a 3-2 pitch. That's what you get for taking a hit away from Markakis. Varitek follows that with a single, with Youk going to third. Sarfate gets Crisp to ground into a double play, but that allows the runner to score to make it 6-3. The control problems continue, as eh walks Lugo. He gets Ellsbury to expand the zone, swinging and missing at a fastball outside for the K. Big hole to come back from tonight guys (though, to tell you the truth, I'm not feeling it).

Now Ramon gets a hit, with none on and two outs. That's all Okajima gives up in the inning, and we head to the ninth.

Pedroia hits a lead-off single, but Sarfate retires the next three batter. In doing so, he may have injured David Ortiz, who had to leave the game in the middle of an at bat after fouling off a fastball. [Ortiz is day-to-day with a wrist sprain.]

Adam Jones strikes out swinging against Jon Papelbon to start the ninth. Luke Scott, hitting for Cintron, singles through an infield shift to give the O's some life. Roberts walks, and Nick Markakis is coming up as the potential tying run. Papelbon throws two pitches way out of the zone to Nick. 2-0 count... oh. Oh man. Nick hits one up the middle, but the shortstop is there to catch it and toss to second to double-up Scott. That's it, game over. A little anti-climactic, I would say.

The O's lose 6-3, and end the month of May with a 26-28 record. It's not bad (and better than could reasonably have been expected) but it's still enough to put them in the cellar of the AL East. Someone really needs to break up this division - it's not fair that 3-4 of the best teams in the league play in it and only one or two can make the playoffs. Trade the Blue Jays for Seattle. If the O's played the M's 19 times a year then that would go a long way to helping them contend. The East keeps the Boston - New York thing, as well as the excitement of the young Rays team. The Blue Jays are in Canada anyway, so who cares what division they play in? (That last part was a joke - I don't want any angry Canadians attacking me with their hockey sticks or lumberjack axes or whatnot.)

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