Wednesday, June 4, 2008

O's-Twins, Four Innings Of O's Hitting

If Radhames Liz can shut this Twins team down, I don't see why Daniel Cabrera can't do the same. I feel good about the way the team is playing the last couple games.

Nick Markakis gets another opposite field hit batting from the two-hole. It seems that he can be a high-average hitter taking pitches the other way, or a high-slugging / high-strike-out player trying to drive the ball (though often also the other way). I'll take the latter if I had to choose, but I expect him to eventually be able to do both consistently. What the hell... another guy is picked off for the O's. Nick gets into a long run-down, but that rarely works out well for the runner. Now it looks especially bad, as Melvin Mora takes one out to left-field. 1-0 O's, but it should have been 2-0. Kevin Millar. What is this, yesterday? It landed in pretty much the same spot as Mora's, and that makes it 2-0. It should be 3-0 though. Aubrey Huff only gets a single to center. Glen Perkins isn't fooling anyone so far. Ramon lines a single up the middle. That's five hits for the O's in the inning, and Daniel may have quite a cushion to work with. Adam Jones flies out to right to end what could have been a much bigger inning.

Carlos Gomez tries to bunt his way on, but Mora makes a nice play to throw him out. Casilla flies out to Jay Payton in left, who continues to start against lefties. That would be fine, if he didn't play against righties too (he actually has more at bats against RHPs despite a .557 OPS, versus a .805 OPS against LHPs). Mauer grounds out to Cintron at short, and Cabrera has a very easy first inning.

Payton, true to form, hits one hard against the lefty. It goes off the wall in left, and Jay goes into second with a stand-up double. Cintron puts down a sac bunt. It's the second inning against a guy they are knocking around - why the frak are the giving away outs? Roberts singles up the middle to score Payton. 3-0, Birds. Markakis draws a walk, and the Twins bullpen is getting warm. The runners take off, and both are safe on the double steal. That is something we saw a lot last year - I believe 6 of Nick's 18 stolen bases last year were on the back leg of double steals with Brian Roberts. Mora gets jammed, and lines the pitch softly to Morneau at first. Millar grounds back to the mound, and the O's have scored just 1 run despite getting 6 men on base (discounting the two homers).

Morneau starts the Twins second with a "turf" single, grounding a ball up the middle that Brian Roberts probably would have gotten to on grass. Cuddyer takes a pitch off the left arm, and will walk to first with a grimace. Jason Kubel grounds a single up the middle, and then poor defense ensues. Cabrera couldn't get the ball (that was admittedly hit hard); Jones overthrows the cut-off man and has his throw to third pull Mora well off the bag; Mora's throw to second isn't in time to get Kubel; and the Twins have a rally going. Delmon Young lines one, but it's right to Brian Roberts, who tosses to Cintron at second to double off Kubel. With a runner on third and two down, Daniel bounces a pitch away from Ramon allowing Cuddyer to score. That makes it 3-2. Cabrera gets Lamb swinging to end the ugly inning.

Perkins sets the O's down in order in the third.

Cabrera starts the bottom of the inning with a three-pitch strike-out of Nick Punto. Cintron then makes a nice play on a Gomez grounder. Casilla singles. Mauer singles. Morneau gets hit in the leg. The bases are loaded for Cuddyer. Not a good position to be in. Daniel better give Melvin Mora a high five, because he just saved at least two runs. Cuddyer lined the ball to Mora's right, and Melvin dove and caught it for the third out. Great play.

Payton takes a close 3-2 pitch for ball four to start the fourth. Cintron pops out on the first pitch. Roberts hits one to center that Gomez dives for and misses. Young, backing the play up, can't get a handle on the ball, and Brian goes in to third standing up. Payton scores to make it 4-2, and Nick follows that up with a line-drive to center of his own. Gomez gets this one cleanly, but the RBI single give the O's a 5-3 lead. Perkins gets Mora and Millar to end the inning, but his day might be over.

Three groundballs, three outs.

At this point, I'm going to go lie down and fall asleep as I watch the O's beat the Twins. In yesterday's game, I doubted the outcome for about three seconds. After this inning, I'm pretty confident in another Orioles victory.

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