Thursday, April 9, 2009

O's-Yankees, Put The Broom Back In The Closet

I was very careful not to find out the score of the game before getting to see the replay. I have my broom ready, so hopefully Alfredo Simon was able to continue the solid starting performances put in by Guthrie and Uehara. The Yank's third big free agent pick-up - AJ Burnett - started for the Evil Empire. I remember him shutting down the O's pretty well as a Blue Jay, but this Orioles offense is playing really well.

Melvin Mora has a minor leg injury, so Ty Wigginton saw his first start at third-base. Since it was a day game after a night game, Gregg Zaun got some rest with Chad Moeller filling in behind the plate.

On an unrelated note, this is the 500th post on this blog. I honestly didn't think I'd stick it out this long, but I'm happy I've done so. Hopefully the O's helped me celebrate by winning the game.

Top 1:
  • Simon gets Derek Jeter swinging to start things off. It seemed to be a high change-up that the Cap'n swung through.
  • Alfredo falls behind Damon 3-1, but gets him to flyout to right.
  • Teixeira wasn't boo'ed too badly as he came to the plate. The relative calm didn't help, as he flew out to center. Easy inning for Simon, and he didn't look as bad as I was expecting.
Bottom 1:
  • Brian Roberts works the count full, but flies out to left, with Johnny Damon going into the stands to get it. I guess O's fans only interfere on home runs now.
  • Adam Jones fouls off a few pitches, but can't get to a good down-and-in curveball and heads back to the dugout.
  • Then Burnett uses that hook to get Nick Markakis looking.
Top 2:
  • Simon doesn't look as impressive as Burnett in doing it, but he retires the Yank's in order just the same.
Bottom 2:
  • If Burnett can keep throwing that breaking-ball over for strikes, this may be a long day for the Birds.
  • Aubrey Huff grounds out to second.
  • Ty Wigginton chases a fastball up around his shoulders for strike three.
  • Luke Scott flies out to left.
Top 3:
  • Cody Ransom flies out to left.
  • Brett Gardner becomes the first baserunner of the game with a soft single to right.
  • Gardner steals second as Moeller's throw was high. Doesn't much matter, as Jose Molina draws a walk.
  • Simon throws Jeter three straight breaking-balls, with the last one being tribled out in front of the plate. Alfredo has only one play, and throws Jeter out by a step.
  • Damon grounds to first, with Huff tossing to Simon covering for the out. The Yank's threaten, but Alfredo is able to get out of it.
Bottom 3:
  • Felix Pie takes an outside fastball into left-field for the first O's hit of his career. Pie then steals second, with Molina having a little trouble getting the ball out of his glove. Felix went in standing, and almost over-ran the base.
  • Chad Moeller lines the ball off of Cano's glove at second. It looked like Robby was going to make the lunging catch, so Pie had to wait and was held at third.
  • Cesar Izturis strikes out looking at three pitches. Runners still on the corners for the top of the line-up.
  • Roberts with a line-drive to center gives the O's a 1-0 lead.
  • Adam Jones flies out to deep right, with Moeller tagging up and moving over to third.
  • Roberts takes off, and there's no throw as Molina can't quite handle a curveball in the dirt. Two in scoring position for Markakis.
  • Maybe not. Burnett doesn't really want any part of Nick and walks him on five pitches (how's that for respect, coming from a guy with a 96 mph fastball and an excellent curveball? The one called strike was on a pitch well outside).
  • Huff swings at a 3-1 fastball inside and fouls it off. That would have been ball four, and walked in a run. Then he chases a curveball down and in to leave the bases loaded.
Top 4:
  • The lead lasts not at all, as Mark Teixeira takes the first pitch of the fourth out to dead center.
  • Xavier Nady - batting clean-up for the New York Yankees - flies out to right.
  • Cano walks on five pitches.
  • Nick Swisher with a drive to deep right... Markakis makes the leap but a Yankees fan makes the catch right above Nick's glove. 3-1 Yankees, and Simon's not looking good in this inning.
  • Alfredo strikes Ransom out with an 89 mph fastball on the outside corner.
  • Gardner flies out to center, but New York has their first lead of the series.
Bottom 4:
  • Wigginton flies out to center.
  • Luke Scott one-ups Tex, hitting his own home run into the O's bullpen but a few feet farther.
  • Pie picks up his second hit of the day with a single to left-center. Normally - given how Burnett looked early in the game - I would have written this game off. The way the Birds are swinging the bats though, I still think they end up pulling it out.
  • Pie tries for second and is thrown out fairly easily despite AJ throwing a curve. Felix can run, but he's not a great base-stealer.
  • That looms large, as Moeller drives the next pitch off the wall in right-center for a double. The caught stealing likely cost the O's a run.
  • Izturis grounds out to short to end the inning.
Top 5:
  • Simon gets Molina swinging at a high change-up. Second time he's gotten a K with that pitch, though I don't recommend him continuing to throw it that often.
  • Jeter with a flyball to deep center, but Jones is able to track it down.
  • Damon flies out to Pie in short left-field.
Bottom 5:
  • Roberts flies out to left.
  • Jones works the count to 2-2 after falling behind 0-2, but ends up grounding to third.
  • Markakis strikes out swinging at a curveball in the dirt, though he thought he had fouled it off.
Top 6:
  • Simon still out there to start the sixth.
  • Teixeira works a full count and pulls a single into right-field.
  • Now Alfredo gets taken out, with Brian Bass coming in. He finishes with a line of 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, and 3 runs on two home runs, with the runner on first still being his responsibility. I was expecting worse but hoping for better, though I think the O's will gladly take this kind of game from him against a team like the Yankees.
  • Bass strikes Nady out with a high fastball at 93 mph.
  • Cano singles passed a diving Wigginton at third-base.
  • Swisher singles passed a diving Wigginton at third-base. The guy just doesn't have much range over there. Teixeira comes in to score to make it 4-2, with that fourth run being charges to Simon.
  • Ransom walks to load the bases. This game is coming perilously close to getting away from the O's.
  • Gardner grounds right back to Bass at the mound, but his throw home is off the line. Two runs score to make it 6-2, and everybody's safe. That was a huge mistake - the kind this team can't afford to make if they want to be at all competitive this year.
  • Molina bloops one just over Roberts' head to bring in another run.
  • Bass gets Jeter to ground into a double play. Crooked number there in the sixth.
Bottom 6:
  • Huff flies out to left.
  • Wigginton lines a single to center. The O's need base-runners. And that'll end the day for AJ - he pitched pretty well, considering the way the Birds are hitting.
  • Lefty Phil Coke in to face Scott. First pitch - line-drive ripped foul down the right-field line. Nice slider at the knees gets Luke looking.
  • Down by five they're letting Pie hit against the lefty. Given the remote chance of a come-back, I agree with the decision - have to find out how he handles them sometime. Slider gets him looking to end the inning.
Top 7:
  • Two-out double by Nady and a bomb by Cano to left-center makes it 9-2. I think I'm done with this game.
  • Swisher grounds out to end the inning. Skipping to looking at the boxscore... O's lose, 11-2. Damn. That was a huge let-down.
Simon looked OK enough to be a #3 starter on this team for now. The team's plate discipline went out the window a little bit (1 BB to 12 K), but you can't expect them to walk more than they strike out all season long and Burnett was on his game today. Bass didn't pitch well out of the pen, but a lot of that had to do with poor defense (his own included). Chris Ray gave up a couple more runs in the ninth - good thing they didn't anoint him as the closer right away.

I would have preferred to cover a win in my 500th post, but this is more realistic. May #1,000 come with the O's in first-place.

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