Wednesday, April 15, 2009

O's-Rangers, Why Even Bother Having A Broom?

The O's seem to have a pattern down, where they win the first two games of a series based on solid offensive production before getting blown out in the third game. I'd be perfectly happy if that held all year, as the O's would win over 100 games despite being outscored on the season.

In the first game in Texas the line-up showed its depth once again, with every starter except Cesar Izturis getting on base. Aubrey Huff had a four-hit, three-RBI day, and Felix Pie picked up three hits including his first home run in and Orioles' uniform. Koji Uehara didn't show his patented control though, walking four and giving up 7 runs in five innings pitched. Danys Baez gave up a couple of runs, but the rest of the pen held strong and the O's won 10-9.

Game two was a homer-a-thon, with Michael Young giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first. Aubrey Huff tied it up in the second with his first home run of the year, but Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis went deep in the bottom of the frame to make it 3-1 Texas. An RBI single by Adam Jones in the third and Luke Scott's second bomb of the year tied the game at 3-3, which is where it stayed until the tenth inning. Jones hit a two-run homer and Scott brought in a pair with a double, and George Sherrill closed it out despite making things interesting and giving up a couple of runs. Every O's starter except Izturis got on base again, and the bullpen provided 7.2 scoreless innings between Alfredo Simon leaving in the second and Sherrill entering in the tenth (with Dennis Sarfate doing the big job and pitching 3.1 innings after Simon left). O's win 7-5.

Another chance to sweep a series, and the O's send Mark Hendrickson out to the mound against former Oriole Kris Benson. Chad Moeller fills in for ZAUN! behind the plate. An 11-4 loss would keep their "streak" going, but maybe they'll surprise and take over the best record in the AL for themselves (they're currently tied with Seattle - my what a difference a year and a smart front office make).

Top 1:
  • Brian Roberts works a walk to start the game.
  • Adam Jones, sporting the high socks today, hits a hard line-drive to deep right-field. Nelson Cruz can't come up with the catch, and Jones cruises into second with a double off the outfield wall. That kind of power - to the opposite field no less - is what I expected from Jones last year. Anyone want to swap back for Bedard now?
  • Nick Markakis grounds out on a 3-2, with Roberts coming in to score. 1-0 lead for the Birds, with Jones at third with only one out.
  • Aubrey Huff grounds to second as well. Jones scores to make it 2-0.
  • Ty Wigginton - in there for the still injured (and now DL'ed) Mora- flies out to end the inning.
Bottom 1:
  • Ian Kinsler with a lead-off double to left-field.
  • Kinsler runs, as Michael Young grounds out to short.
  • Josh Hamilton singles to center to cut the O's lead in half.
  • Andruw Jones grounds to third. Wigginton bobbles it and barely gets the out at second, with Roberts' relay to first being off-line.
  • Hank Blalock hits a flyball into short left-center, with Adam Jones charging in to make the catch.
Top 2:
  • 0-2 curveball to Luke Scott gets lined into the right-field corner for a lead-off double.
  • Felix Pie fouls off a bunt attempt - he can't bunt, and apparently he missed the last couple of games which made it clear that 3 or 4 runs probably won't hold up. Pie strikes out swinging on a curveball down under his hands.
  • Chad Moeller flies out to center.
  • Cesar Izturis gets on for the first time in the series, drawing a walk to turn the line-up over.
  • Roberts singles into left-field to load the bases. Jim Palmer - "That's why Brian Roberts will hit .300 just about every year." He's hit .300 once in his career (.314 in 2005). Maybe Palmer should spend a little less time memorizing his own stats.
  • Adam Jones checks his swing on a 3-2, down and away slider to walk in a run.
  • The O's are really making Benson work, and Texas already has teh bullpen warming.
  • Markakis flies out to left on a 3-2 pitch to leave the bases loaded.
Bottom 2:
  • Marlon Byrd with a sharp grounder to third - Wigginton makes a nice back-hand stop and throws to first for the out.
  • Cruz grounds out to third on the first pitch he sees.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia lines one up the middle, but it goes right to Hendrickson's glove for the third out.
Top 3:
  • Huff flies out to short center-field.
  • Wigginton grounds back to the mound.
  • Scott hits a hard grounder up the middle. Elvis Andrus gets a glove on it but the ball bounces away and Luke is safe at first with a single.
  • Pie pops out to end the inning.
Bottom 3:
  • After an Andrus K, Kinsler hits a flyball deep and gone to left-field. It's now 3-2, O's.
  • Izturis muffs a grounder to short for his first error of the year.
  • Hamilton grounds to Huff, who throws to second to get the force but the relay back to first is not in-time.
  • Hamilton steals second, and then Hendrickson walks Andruw Jones.
  • Blalock hits a groundball that goes under Roberts' glove, and the game is tied at 3-3.
  • Byrd doubles down to left-field line to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
  • Cruz walks to load the bases.
  • Salty grounds out to second. The Orioles at Texas seems like a bad situation for all pitchers involved.
Top 4:
  • O's go down in order in the fourth.
Bottom 4:
  • Andrus walks on a 3-2 pitch. Hendrickson looks much worse than he did against the Rays.
  • Kinsler singles to left.
  • Throwing error by Roberts lets the fifth Texas' run come in. 11-4, eh?
  • Hendrickson is able to get Hamilton swinging. The O's could really use some innings from their starter in this game.
  • Andruw Jones gets the intentional walk with first-base open to load them up for Blalock.
  • Hank flies out to medium depth center, with Jones' arm holding the runner at third.
  • Byrd singles to left to make it 6-3. Pie might not have gotten a good read on it, since he waited a while a played the ball on a bounce.
  • Radhames Liz - called up to take the place of the injured Simon - will come in from the pen.
  • First-pitch slider stays in the middle of the plate and Cruz launches it to deep center-field for a grand slam. 10-3, Texas. 11-4, eh?
  • Well, now it's 12-3. I didn't think I'd be done with the game in the bottom of the fourth, but there you go. Assuming the O's lose by the current score, they'd be 6-3 despite being outscored 62 to 53 on the season (they came in at an even 50-50).
O's end up losing 19-6 (yikes!), with Ian Kinsler going 6-6 and hitting for the cycle for Texas. That attempted sac bunt by Pie looks even sillier in retrospect. I guess even 18 wouldn't have been enough in this game, not just 3-4. Brian Bass giving up 2 runs in 2 IP probably had the best night out of the O's pitchers. Hey, at least Adam Jones hit another home run. And it wasn't 30-3. Off-day tomorrow, and then a trip up to Fenway for four games with Boston. Do they win the first two or three? I'm not sure how it works with that kind of series.

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