Monday, June 16, 2008

A Little Pay-Back For '79

I only caught one full inning of baseball this weekend - the bottom of the ninth and top of the tenth of Sunday's game. The two-out game-tying two-run homer by Brian Roberts was very exciting, but George Sherrill (who apparently had a tired arm) didn't look good in extra innings and took the loss.

June 13th: O's - 9, Pirates - 6

The Good: 10 hits and 9 walks (to 4 K's - every starter except Bynum had at least one of the two) leading to the 9 runs (six different players had an RBI); Luke Scott making that Tejada deal look good with another home run; Jim Johnson and George Sherrill pitching three perfect innings to close it out; after trailing 6-1, the team pulling out another come-from-behind victory. Also, a special mention of Jeremy Guthrie pinch-running for Kevin Millar in the eighth - he didn't do much after that, but it was pretty awesome that volunteered to help the team that way.

The Bad: Brian Burres getting rocked again (6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 4 K). That's pretty much it - the Orioles where great otherwise.

June 14th: O's - 8, Pirates - 7

The Good: The offense, with Brian Roberts (3-5, 2 RBI, 1 run, SB) and Adam Jones (3-4 with a double and two runs scored) leading the way; more home run power, with Nick Markakis hitting a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh and Oscar Salazar tying the game at 7-7 leading off the bottom of the ninth; Liz pitching OK, giving up 4 runs but striking out 5 while only walking 1 in 6.1 IP (if had left the game after 6, his line would have been 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K); yet another come-from-behind victory.

The Bad: Melvin Mora left the game after fouling a ball off his knee in the first; Matt Albers hanging a curveball to Jose Bautista; George Sherrill blowing the save, giving up a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche before his teammates got him off the hook (and got him the win).

June 15th: O's - 4, Pirates - 5

The Good: The home runs keep coming, with Quiroz, Huff, and Roberts all going yard; Jim Johnson continued dominating in the pen (2 IP, no walks or hits, 1 K), lowering his ERA to 1.17; clawing back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in exciting fashion in the bottom of the ninth.

The Bad: Daniel Cabrera's wildness continued (6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 hit batters) - that he kept the damage to 4 and got through 6 innings was somewhat impressive; Adam Jones (0-4, 3 K); George Sherrill being ineffective for the second day in a row; it was Sunday - the team has lost 10 straight Sunday games, which is about as amazing as Atlanta's 0-14 record in one-run games on the road.

When Radhames Liz is the control specialist of a series, you know things aren't that good on the starting pitching front. The team is back to .500 again at 34-34. It's pretty much where they have been hanging around all year. I don't know if this is correct, but off the top of my head I'd say that they've been within 3 games of .500 for almost the entire season. If they keep this type of consistency, then maybe there won't be a late-summer swoon this year. Whether or not that's a good thing is another question. (If the team wins, say, 78 games, then that is a plus from the common fan's perspective. On the other hand, losing a few more games will net the O's better draft picks and may encourage Andy MacPhail to trade off veterans sooner (and thus for greater return). Some people really are of the mind that if your team can't contend, it's best that they lose a ton of games. I personally would be happy to see the team finish at .500, if only because it would be good from a credibility stand-point. That's contingent on MacPhail not holding on to trade-able pieces to make it happen, though.)

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