Friday, May 9, 2008

O's-Royals, Maybe They'll Respect Huff Now

Steve Trachsel is pitching for the O's tonight. If he gets shelled by the Royals, then I have to think that it will be his last appearance - for the Orioles certainly and in baseball probably.

Both Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora work the count against Gil Meche - Roberts grounds out but Melvin draws the walk. After that Markakis swings at the first pitch and fouls out to third. Huff grounds to second to end the inning.

Cut him. Right now, in the middle of the game. I don't know if Andy MacPhail is in KC, but if not let Dave Trembley do it. Just walk right out to the mound a discreetly hand Trachsel a pink-slip. Mark Teahen singles over a jumping B-Rob, and Alex Gordon takes him deep to right. Just like that it's already 2-0 Royals. If Trachsel gives up less than 5 runs in this game I'll be surprised. (And if he shuts them down for the next 8.2 innings then he should still be cut - he's taking up a spot that would be better used for someone else.) He gets out of the inning, but the damage was done.
[I think I may be overreacting just a tad. I guess Steve deserves some respect, and so shouldn't be cut until after the game.]

Ramon put a charge into one, but it has caught at the wall to end the 1-2-3 inning. Meche is looking very good so far.

Trachsel gives up two more hits, but gets out of the inning unscathed.

Freddie Bynum starts where he left off yesterday, pulling a one out double down the right field line. And the game is tied, as Melvin Mora hits his fifth home run of the year. Nick Markakis misses the first pitch, but then lines the next one to center. He's swung at all three pitches he's seen today - not his usual patient self. The announcers are making a huge deal of Mora hitting .545 with two outs and runners in scoring position. That's in 11 at bats. 11. That's not a small sample size, that's a tiny sample size. Whatever; at least he's upped his HR rate from the last couple years. Huff flies out to end the inning.

The problem with Trachsel isn't that his stuff is that bad (it's bad, but not really worse than Jamie Moyer's, for example) but that his control is poor. He knows how to pitch pretty well, but walking 19 guys in 26 innings isn't going to get it done for a good pitcher... and it'll destroy a bad one. Anyway, the Royals go down in order in the third.

This time when Ramon hits it hard, the ball goes to left-center for a single. Adam Jones flies out to end the inning though.

Mark Grudz...lets just say Grudzy, gets on to start the inning as the ball hops right over Melvin's glove at third. That's it for KC - man, I thought the O's offense was bad. [Poor Joe Posnanski. Now that Brian Bannister is starting to get shelled, the Banny Log has taken on a more depressing tone. I was really hoping he could keep up his early season success.]

Freddie Bynum is on fire. He singles to start the inning, and then advances to second on an errant pick-off throw after Roberts strikes out (boy is he ever slumping). Mora grounds out to short, and the Royals want no part of Nick Markakis. They are intentionally walking him to get to Huff. It's really cool to have a hitter that's so good that he gets the free pass to bring up the clean-up hitter. Let's see if Aubrey can make him pay. And he does! After fouling off a couple pitches Huff gets a hanging curveball and ropes it into the right field seats. 5-2 Orioles. I'm actually kind of sorry that that happened, as I expect to hear how the IBB to Kakes is what got Huff to hit the homer. You know, because he felt disrespected or something. Millar flies out to end the inning.

Another easy inning for Trax. If he keeps it up I wonder how many bad games he has to have after this one to lose his job. Two... five? His skill level hasn't changes from last week, even if the results are looking better.

Luke's slump continues as he gets caught looking by the lefty Ron Mahey. Ramon hits another line-drive; this one to right-center for a single. They're starting to drop in for him. Good job by Jones to not swing at balls and draw a walk. Neither Bynum nor Roberts can come through though. Still 5-2.

Trachsel walks Gordon to start the inning. Exactly what you want to do with a three run lead. After a groundout, Trembley makes his way to the mound. He gave up just 2 runs, but he still couldn't be the "innings eater" that he was signed to be. Matt Albers is coming in to face Grudzy with one out in the sixth. Albers doesn't have his control today - he walks the first two he faces, and Jim Johnson is getting warmed up in the pen. They won't need him in this inning, as Albers gets the double play ball. Bynum did a nice job with it at second (the ball was hit to Roberts).

Nick doesn't have any trouble with the lefty, lining an outside pitch to left for a single. Huff sends one to left-center, and DeJesus can't make the diving catch. It'll be a double, with Markakis heading to third. The O's can really put this game out of reach here. Ramon Ramirez comes in to face Millar. Buck lets a ball get away from him allowing Kakes to score and Huff to go to third. And now Huff scores as Millar singles to left. 7-2 O's. Let's put up a ten-spot tonight guys. Luke Scott strikes out again - he doesn't look good at all up there. Ramon goes down swinging himself, to end the inning. [Hernandez; Ramirez did not set himself down swinging. That raises an interesting question... what would happen if Micah Owings faced Micah Owings?]

Despite the shaky control, Albers is coming back out there. After getting a groundout, he walks a batter and gives up a single. That'll be all for him, as Jamie Waker is coming in to face lefties Teahen and Gordon. Teahen goes down swinging, but Gordon battles and singles to center to bring in the third KC run. So Jamie goes 1-2, and Johnson is coming in to face the righty batters. Johnson continues his success from the pen by getting Olivo to fly out.

Roberts finally gets a hit, lining a pitch to center for a one-out single. Brain gets a huge jump and steals second easily. Taking the pitch puts Melvin in a 1-2 hole however, and he takes the next pitch for a called third. The steal might have actually hurt the team's chances there.

Grudzy singles against Johnson to start the inning. After a groundout and a strike-out, Buck singles off of Roberts' glove (he dove for it) to make it 7-4. If the O's don't score it'll be George Sherrill time in the ninth. Yaye, saves for my fantasy teams!

Why is Nick swinging so early in the count today? He grounds out on the first pitch. After a two-out single by Millar, Jay Payton pinch hits for Luke Scott despite there being a righty on the mound. How can he break out of his slump if you won't let him play everyday, Dave? Payton strikes out looking. Pff... Luke could have done that with his eyes closed and one arm tied behind his back. Time to flatten the brims of your hats everybody.

DeJesus singles to start the KC ninth, and big Billy Butler will be the hitter. Butler draws a walk, and the tying run is coming to the plate in the person of Alex Gordon (who homered way back in the first inning). At least he's left-handed, right? Right. Gordon swings and misses three straight pitches for the K. Olivo grounds one to short; Bynum to Roberts to Millar for the game-ending double play. It wasn't easy, but Sherrill picks up his 12th save of the year.

7-4 Orioles win, and it's two-down, two-to-go for the series sweep. KC is sending Brett Tomko against Garrett Olson tomorrow. Olson looked great against the A's - hopefully he can keep it going.

Freddie Bynum had two more hits and two more runs while playing some pretty solid shortstop. The O's are back to .500 at 18-18, and they are looking pretty good (even if it is against the 15-20 Royals).

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