Sunday, June 22, 2008

O's-Brewers, Double Plays Are Super Unclutch

The Orioles finish out their series with the Brew Crew.

Back-to-back doubles by Roberts and Markakis and an RBI groundout by Millar give the O's a 2-0 in the first. Garrett Olson takes the mound to try to make it hold up, and win this series.

Things start off well as the Brewers go down in order.

Alex Cintron getting the start against lefty Manny Parra. He's got good stuff, but also some control issues. True to form, he walks Cintron on five pitches. Ned Yost doesn't like the strike-zone Olson is getting at the plate and comes out to argue. I was expecting him to get tossed, but it didn't happen. With two strikes on him Garrett actually gets the bunt down fair, and Fielder bobbles it, allowing him to get to first. Ryan Braun robs Roberts of a hit with a nice sliding catch in left. [Correction: Cintron isn't playing because of the lefty; he's playing because Freddie Bynum was designated for assignment with current starter and former hard-throwing reliever Ryan Bukvich getting called up. Apparently, Oscar Salazar will be the back-up at short. Interesting; the team went from all "field" and not hit to all "hit" and no field.] Markakis draws a walk to load the bases. DiFelice - who looked good a couple days ago - is warming up for the Brewers. He won't be needed quite yet, as Mora grounds into a double play.

Fielder doubles just passed Adam Jones in center. The ball bounced around out there, but Prince just wasn't thinking "triple" coming out of the box. For the second time in as many days Corey Hart hit's a two-run homer. The game is now tied. Olson settles down after that, getting a couple of groundouts and a K.

Millar draws a lead-off walk in the third - that's the fifth free-pass by Parra. The left-field platoon continues with Payton in there for Scott. That's fine - it's working OK so far - but stop playing Jay against righties. Double play erases Millar. Rickie Weeks shows some range getting to Jones' grounder up the middle, but he couldn't make a throw on it. Quiroz grounds to short for the third out.

Another easy inning for Olson.

Cintron starts the fourth with a line-drive single to center. Unfortunately, Olson's bunt attempt results in another double play. Roberts bounces back to the mound. The O's have had their chances, but haven't come through very often.

Three flyball outs in the fourth.

Nick draws his second walk (Parra's sixth) to start the fifth. Mora flies out to the warning track in deep center. Millar reaches out and pulls a pitch into the left-center gap. Nick comes all the way around from first to score, and Kevin goes into second with a double. Payton grounds out on the first pitch, and then Jones strikes out.

And the game is tied again. Bill Hall sends one into the Brewers' bullpen for a homer. Gapler gets grazed by a pitch and sprints to first. Kendall bloops one into short right-center, but Jones charges in and makes the catch. He was almost able to double up Kapler at first, but his throw got away from Millar - good thing Q was backing up the play. Parra's night is over, as Joe Dillan pinch-hits for him. Dillan is retired, by Olson loses the zone against Weeks and walks him on four pitches. Hardy singles just passed a diving Cintron at short, but it gets through and Kapler comes in to score (Payton's throw was way off-line). The Brewers take a 4-3 lead. Olson gets the dangerous Braun to flyout to right, but he may be done with Bukvich warming in the pen.

The O's go donw in order versus DiFelice.

Bukvich is in there after Olson was pinch-hit for. A mammoth homer by Prince Fielder makes it 5-3. Bukvich loads the bases with a single and two walks before Lance Cormier comes in to retire Richie Weeks.

David Riske relieves DiFelice, and allows a lead-off single to Roberts. Brain steals second, while Markakis gets ahead 3-0. Is this an unintentional intentional walk situation with first-base open? A strike and then a ball high, and the O's have something going in the seventh. The way this game has been going, Mora will probably ground into a double play. Melvin goes around on an 0-2 pitch, but the first-base ump says he checked it in time. Fastball on the outside corner gets him looking though. The runners take off as Millar hits a bullet to short. Hardy throws him out at first, but they stay out of the double play. Jay "He Sucks" Payton is up. He works the count full and hits a hard grounder up the middle, but Weeks is able to get to it and throw Jay out at first. Two more runners left stranded.

Chad Bradford coming in. I had no idea he had a 2.16 ERA - that may fetch something nice at the trade deadline. Hardy falls behind 0-2 but inside-outs a fastball to right-center for a ground-rule double. Braun fails on a bunt attempt, and then hits a rocket right at Roberts at second. That's it for Bradford - with Fielder coming up we'll see Jamie Walker. Oh man; another big swing from Fielder and out it goes to right. Prince's second homer of the day makes it 7-3. At his current rate of getting murdered by lefties, Walker probably won't bring anything nice at the deadline. Jamie gives up a single to Hall, but picks him off to end the inning. It's big-inning time if the Birds want to get into this game.

Adam Jones singles to start the eighth, but is erased via a double play by Quiroz. Cintron grounds back to the mound for the third out.

New dad, Dennis Sarfate is in there. He sets Milwaukee down in order. It'll take at least four in the ninth.

Luke Scott bats for the pitcher and flies out. Roberts gets a generous strike-zone and works a walk - that's good, since they need baserunners. Markakis up. Nick has been on all four times today - three via the free-pass. Make that four, as Mota doesn't have his control today. Milwaukee's closer, Solamen Torres, will try to finish it. Mora grounds into another double play to end the game.

The O's waste a lot of opportunities (they walked 10 times in the game) and lose 7-3. I don't know what I was expecting, as it is Sunday. At least they're still over .500 at 38-36. [I mention .500 a lot because even though it isn't a goal that the team should be shooting for (that is, the shouldn't say "hey, lets make our decisions so that we can get to .500") it is still a level that the team will eventually need to pass if they want to contend. If they can do so - or get close - in what is supposed to be a rebuilding year, then that would be fantastic.]

No comments: