Wednesday, May 27, 2009

O's Bring Out Brooms In Exciting Fashion Against Jays

Earlier this year the O's went up to Toronto and got swept. This week they returned the favor.

Game one was all about Jeremy Guthrie (hopefully) getting back on track with his 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K performance. Brian Roberts double and tripled - and scored twice - as the O's went on to win 4-1.

Game two was the major league debut of 25 year-old right-hander Jason Berken, who picked up the win in pitching 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K. His Pitch/FX from FanGraphs:

He threw harder than I would have expected with an average fastball velocity of 92.2 mph. It was about average movement wise, though had a little extra sink. Those blue dots (FT) are pitches classified as two-seamers, though they appear to mostly be slightly slower fastballs (90.8 mph). Berken threw a good number of change-ups, and they had slightly above average movement as well (running in on right-handed batters). It looks like he has two breaking-balls; a slightly harder slider that moves more side-to-side and a slightly slower curveball with below average movement. He seemed to mix his pitches pretty well (threw at least 7 of each) and pounded the zone (60% of his pitches, and 66.7% of first pitches were strikes).

Berken was never a big strike-out guy, but he showed good control in the minors (2.1 BB/9 this year in Triple-A, 2.35 BB/9 last year in Double-A) and avoided the home run ball (0.35 HR/9 and 0.56 HR/9), which lead to good FIP numbers (3.16 and 3.23). Looks like a potentially decent #5 starter to me.

The O's offense backed Berken up with Huff, Jones, and Reimold all going yard, leading to a 7-2 victory.

Game three was an exciting one, and I was there to see it. It didn't look good with Roy Halladay on the hill for the Jays, but the O's didn't give up.

Rich Hill was the Baltimore starter, and he just didn't have his command at all today. The six-run fourth really did him in, as he was only able to go 3.1 IP with 6 H, 7 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 3 K. Things looked pretty bleak as Doc Halladay was solid after giving up a two-run homer to Luke Scott in the second (welcome back off the DL, Luke), and the Jays lead 8-3 going into the eighth.

With 102 pitches thrown in the game, Toronto went to Jesse Carlson from their pretty good pen. Single-single-walk loaded the bases for Felix Pie (who already had a hit on the day and threw a runner out at the plate in the first). Since Carlson is a lefty, Dave Trembley went to his bench for pinch-hitter Nolan Reimold, who promptly struck out on three pitches. Chad Moeller - possibly making his last start for the O's with the Friday arrival of Matt Wieters - was plunked to force in a run. Robert Andino picked up his fourth hit of the day (!) with an RBI single. (That ended Carlson's lousy day.) Closer Scott Downs came in and gave up a sac fly to Brian Roberts. And then an RBI single to Adam Jones (which was his third hit of the day, though the first two may have been due to a freindly scorer). 8-7 now, with a struggling Nick Markakis coming to the plate. And in the clutch situation, Nick came through with a double to right to tie the game. Unfortuantely Jones was easily thrown out at home on the play (Alex Rios has quite an arm). Halladay leaves, and the O's put up 5 to tie things up. Bet someone's going to be questioning that decision.

The O's threatened in the ninth, but Reimold and pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun both struck out with two on and one out. To extra innings!

Danys Baez came out for his third inning in the 11th after a pair fo quick three-up three-down frames, and was tagged by a two-run homer by Aaron Hill. O's down 10-8, and former Bird BJ Ryan coming out for the save opportunity.

Markakis greeted him with a single, and after a Huff pop-out Ryan (who was only throwing 84-86) was removed from the game. Melvin Mora singled off of new pitcher Brian Wolfe, and then Luke Scott did the same to drive in a run. With runners on the corners and one out, Nolan Reimold came up after having already K'ed twice to leave 5 men on base. 1-1 count... line-drive to deep left, and it's into the first row of seats. Three-run homer, and the O's win 12-10! You know what that means...

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