Saturday, May 23, 2009

O's-Nationals, Koji & The Pen Do It Again

Both pitching staffs did a good job yesterday, though the Orioles were able to pull a win out in extra innings. Today might be similar, as Baltimore has their best starter thus far on the hill in Koji Uehara (4.34 ERA, 3.38 tRA) while the Nationals counter with another young pitching prospect in 23 year-old left-hander Ross Detwiler (making his second career start).

Top 1:
  • Brian Roberts flies out to center.
  • Adam Jones hits a long drive to center-field. It clears the fence by about two feet, but unfortunately Justin Maxwell has long arms and some leaping ability. The fantastic catch robs Jones of his tenth home run of the year, and keeps the O's off the board for the time being.
  • Nick Markakis grounds out to first.
Bottom 1:
  • Christian Guzman lines a splitter to the left side, but Cesar Izturis makes a great diving catch to retire him.
  • Koji mixes his pitches well and gets Nick Johnson swinging at a fastball. He set it up by throwing a splitter low the previous pitch, before elevating the heater.
  • Ryan Zimmerman pulls a single through the left side.
  • Adam Dunn hits a hard grounder to first, but Ty Wigginton makes a diving stop and tags the bad with his hand to end the inning.
Top 2:
  • O's go down in order. Detwiler reminds me a little of Adam Loewen - just with the way he throws. Lets hope he's able to stay healthier.
Bottom 2:
  • Koji gives up a lead-off single, but leaves him stranded.
Top 3:
  • Gregg Zaun gives the O's their first base-runner with a walk.
  • Cesar Izturis grounds out to first.
  • Koji draws a walk.
  • Roberts walks. The bases are now loaded, and Detwiler looks even more like Loewen.
  • Jones swings through a 93 mph fastball for strike three.
  • Markakis hits a slow roller off the end of the bat, but by the time Zimmerman gets to it he has no play. Zaun scores to give the O's a 1-0 lead.
  • Mora flies out to right to leave the bases loaded.
Bottom 3:
  • Detwiler strikes out swinging at a splitter.
  • Guzman flies out to left.
  • Johnson draws a walk.
  • Koji thought he had a K of Zimmerman with a fastball on the outside corner, but it was called a ball and Uehara subsequently walked him.
  • Dunn with a long at bat, fouling off several pitches and running the count full before hitting a hard groundball that bounces off of the first-base bag. Wigginton is able to get to it in time to keep any runners from scoring, but the bases are loaded.
  • Austin Kearns grounds out to third. Koji gets into trouble, but is able to keep the Nationals off the board.
Top 4:
  • Aflac trivia question: who is the only Oriole to lead the league in HR outright? I'm going to go with Frank Robinson.
  • Wigginton waves at a pitch (change-up, maybe) about a foot outside.
  • Reimold pops out.
  • Zaun pops out.
Bottom 4:
  • I wonder if Koji is OK, because Brian Bass is out for the fourth.
  • Willie Harris grounds out to first.
  • Bard grounds out to first, with Wigginton ranging to his left to snag it before tossing to Bass covering.
  • Maxwell grounds out to short. Bass (4.61 ERA but only 2 ER allowed in his last 20 IP) has done a good job for the team eating these middle innings recently.
Top 5:
  • Izturis lines out to center.
  • Bass strikes out looking.
  • Roberts flies out to center.
Bottom 5:
  • Detwiler grounds back to the mound.
  • Guzman ties the game with a line-drive home run to right.
  • Johnson hits a pop-up into short center-field. Izturis goes out while Jones comes in, and the ball drops between them. Looks like a little miscommunication.
  • Zimmerman strikes out swinging.
  • Dunn strikes out swinging.
Top 6:
  • Aflac trivia answer: Frank Robinson. Yahtzee.
  • Jones can't catch up to a 94 mph fastball upstairs.
  • Markakis grounds out to second.
  • Mora walks.
  • Wigginton pops out.
Bottom 6:
  • Kearns grounds out to third.
  • Harris singles to right-field.
  • Bard hits a slow grounder, but - being a catcher - the O's have plenty of time to turn the double play.
Top 7:
  • Detwiler looked pretty good in his six innings, but won't be getting a decision. Julian Tavarez in from the Washington pen.
  • Reimold grounds out to third.
  • Zaun drops a double down the right-field line.
  • Izturis grounds to short, with Guzman throwing to third to get a sliding Zaun. Base-running mistake there.
  • That's it for Tavarez. With Aubrey Huff announced as the pinch-hitter, lefty Ron Villone will take the mound.
  • Huff with a flyball to deep left-center field. The ball hits the top of the wall and bounces back onto the field, and Huff is in safely with an RBI triple.
  • Roberts grounds out to third, but the O's have retaken the lead 2-1.
Bottom 7:
  • Matt Albers making his second appearance in as many days.
  • Maxwell strikes out looking.
  • Josh Willingham, pinch-hitting, grounds out to third.
  • Guzman flies out to center.
Top 8:
  • Jones lines out to right against new pitcher Jason Bergmann.
  • Markakis grounds out to second. Nick hasn't looked particularly good at the plate the last couple of days.
  • Mora lines out to left.
Bottom 8:
  • Jim Johnson taking his usual eighth inning spot, even with a couple of left-handed batters due up.
  • The first one - Nick Johnson - draws a walk.
  • Zimmerman lines out to Izturis.
  • Dunn rips a single into right-field. Jamie Walker was ready at the start of the inning, and is still standing out in the pen. Just saying.
  • Kearns hits a ball maybe a half-inch foul down the third-base line; then JJ gets him to ground into the inning-ending double play.
Top 9:
  • Joel Hanrahan making his first appearance of the series.
  • Wigginton swings at the first pitch and grounds out to short.
  • Reimold hits a groundball to third that just eats up Zimmerman. Tough bounce, and Nolan is safe at first.
  • Zaun pops out, with Reimold being doubled off of first.
Bottom 9:
  • George Sherrill in for the save.
  • Harris gets caught looking with a fastball.
  • Bard can't check his swing on a slider in the dirt.
  • Maxwell can't check his on a fastball at the knees. Ol' Flat Breezey strikes out the side
Who would have expected another pitching duel with these two teams? Detwiler was good, and so was Koji (more or less) before he left the game with a hamstring strain (no word yet on how serious it is). The bullpens mostly did their jobs, with the O's again being the team that was able to scratch a run across when they needed it. The Orioles only pick up 3 hits, but they take the game 2-1 and have guaranteed a win in the series.

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