Sunday, April 12, 2009

O's-Rays, Eaton's K's Provide Only Surprise

Adam Eaton makes his Orioles debut as the Birds go for the sweep of the Rays, with Matt Albers being sent down to Triple-A to make room on the roster for him. Hopefully this game will turn out better than the last time they had such an opportunity, when they lost 11-2 to the Yankees. And their success on Sundays was limited last year as well (.153 winning %, compared to .420 overall and .474 (77 wins in 162 games) for the other days of the week).

Robert Andino gets his first start of the year at short, and Chad Moeller is filling in for ZAUN! in the day game after a night game. They'll be facing off against right-hander James Shields, who brings good control and one of the best change-ups in baseball to the mound for Tampa Bay.

The O's are coming into the game 4-1, in large part because of the great plate discipline shown by the offense. They easily lead the AL in BB% at 12.9 (the Indians are second at 11.4%) and are second in K% at 16.0 (with the Mariners in first at 13.4%). That means that despite only having hit 4 home runs, the team has a .379 wOBA on the strength of a league-leading .397 OBP. The pitching staff has been successful by not walking hitters (3.2 BB/9 - good for fourth) and using their defense (5.0 K/9 is last).

Top 1:
  • Akinori Iwamura starts the Rays attack with a single through the right side of the infield.
  • Eaton strikes Carl Crawford out on three pitches, getting him to chase a breaking-ball in the dirt. The bounce got away from Moeller though, allowing Iwamura to get to second.
  • Single to center by Evan Longoria, but the runner is held at third with Adam Jones getting to the ball quickly and unloading a strong (if slightly off-line) throw.
  • Longoria runs as Carlos Pena swings through a high 3-1 fastball, and makes it to second without a throw. That take away the traditional double play, but it doesn't matter as Eaton is able to get Pena to chase another heater up in the zone for the K.
  • After getting ahead with some good breaking-balls, Eaton gets Pat Burrell to line out to Markakis in right on a fastball. Prett good first inning for the O's right-hander
Bottom 1:
  • Brian Roberts pops out on a 2-0 fastball.
  • Adam Jones grounds out on a 2-0 fastball.
  • I guess Nick decided to switch things up, because he grounds out on a 0-2 change-up.
Top 2:
  • Nice curveball gets Dioner Navarro swinging. Eaton has solid breaking-stuff, but his fastball is lacking as a complementary pitch.
  • Blooper into left-field falls infront of Pie for a single by Ben Zobrist.
  • Eaton battles back from a 3-0 count to Gabe Gross, but eventually losses him on a walk.
  • Soft liner over the shortstop loads the bases with one out.
  • Eaton muscles up and gets Iwamura looking on a 91 mph fastball.
  • Flyball by Crawford falls fair down the right-field line. That clears the bases, and Crawford goes into third with a triple.
  • Longoria hits a long flyball to right that goes over Nick's glove (he probably should have had it) - the double makes it 4-0.
  • Pena pops out to finally end the inning. Eaton didn't pitch that badly, but that doesn't make his ERA feel any better.
Bottom 2:
  • O's go down in order again.
Top 3:
  • Pat the Bat misses a slider for strike-out number five.
  • Navarro grounds out to second.
  • Zobrist swings and misses at a fastball to end the inning. Six K's for Eaton through three.
Bottom 3:
  • Felix Pie drops a bunt down towards second, with Iwamura charging in and making the play.
  • Moeller pops out.
  • Andino pulls a groundball through the left side for the O's first hit of the day.
  • Roberts pops out to short center-field.
Top 4:
  • Gross walks for the second time.
  • Aubrey Huff makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to retire Bartlett.
  • Iwamura singles through the right side to put runners on the corners. That's the seventh Rays' hit.
  • Another steal of second once again eliminates teh double play chance (not that they were likely to double up Crawford anyway). Single to center, but Jones fakes out the runner and Gross is late in leaving third. Moeller blocks the plate well and trips Gross, who never actually touches home. Moeller is able to chase Gabe down as he tries to get back to the plate. Huge out there, and they keep the score at 4-0.
  • Crawford steals second without a throw, but Eaton is able to get Longoria on a groundout to third.
Bottom 4:
  • Adam Jones leads off with a double to deap left-center.
  • Markakis flies out to deep center, and Jones doesn't react quickly enough to tag up.
  • Huff grounds back to the mound.
  • Mora grounds out to short. Come on guys, at least get on the board.
Top 5:
  • Brian Bass in for Eaton, who K'ed six in his four innings, but also gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. Most days eight hits won't fall in when you pitch that well.
  • Bass keeps it going, getting Pena swinging to start the fifth.
  • Burrell draws a walk.
  • Double into right-field by Navarro. With Shields and the Rays bullpen, I'm thinking that anymore runs will likely put the game out of reach.
  • Especailly if the batter comes in to score too. Ben Zobrist with a line-drive home run over the scoreboard in right. 7-0 Tampa Bay.
  • Gross strikes out looking and a fastball running back over the inside corner.
  • Bartlett hits a groundball that Andino fields deep in the hole at short, and beats the throw to first.
  • Double into left-center by Iwamura maes it 8-0.
I watched the rest of the game, but it wasn't really worth commenting on . The O's finally put some runs on the board in the ninth on two singles and three walks, but lost 11-3. Just another Sunday in Birdland.

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