Buck Showalter Looks To Lead The Baltimore Orioles To A Winning Season in 2012...Let's Go O's!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

O's Outlast Indians

It wasn't pretty, but the O's snapped their three-game slide with a 9-8 win over the Indians on Friday night at Camden Yards.

The Birds hadn't scored more than three runs in a game in two weeks...they scored three times in the first inning. But it wasn't nearly enough, as Cleveland just refused to lay down. Every time the O's took a lead the Indians would come charging back.

Matt Wieters gave the O's a 7-5 lead with a three-run blast onto Eutaw Street in the sixth inning, but the Indians tied it up in the seventh. Ryan Flaherty's RBI single gave the Birds the lead in the bottom of the frame, and Xavier Avery launched his first big-league blast, a solo homer, in the eighth (he got the shaving cream pie in the face post-game).

Jake Arrieta lasted just 3 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs on eight hits and two walks. The 'pen allowed another eight hits and three runs but the offense stepped-up and didn't let this one slip away...Matt Lindstrom picked up his first win of the season and Jim Johnson closed the door for his 23rd save.

Dana Eveland takes the mound for the Birds Saturday afternoon. I'll be there for my Earl Weaver statue...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chen, O's Fall To Tribe

It's getting pretty ugly. The O's dropped their third straight game, falling to the visiting Cleveland Indians 7-2 on Thursday.

And it's not like these games were close. The Birds have been outscored 27-6 over these past three losses. The pitching is now starting to go downhill, after about two weeks of no offense. It's like the starters know they have to hold the other team to all zeroes, and they are trying to be too fine...it isn't working. The offense has completely vanished, and the Birds are in the middle of a 3-for-52 slump with runners in scoring position...

Wei-Yin Chen was the latest starter to falter, surrendering six runs on six hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out three and serving up two long balls.

J.J. Hardy was the offensive star of the game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer, his 12th of the season. But that was all the O's could manage, going 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranding six runners on base.

Jake Arrieta takes the mound on Friday night...here's hoping the Birds find their bats.

A Series To Forget

The last two games were so rough I had to combine them into one story...and I honestly don't even want to do that. But I've put it off long enough...

The Birds were absolutely annihilated in a two-game series against the Angels, allowing 33 hits and 20 runs while scoring just four of their own. On Tuesday, Brian Matusz and the O's lost 7-3, and the Angels racked-up 17 hits. I didn't think it could get any worse. I was wrong. On Wednesday night, Jason Hammel got rocked, and the Birds fell to the visiting club 13-1.

I honestly don't have much else to say...let's just forget this series and move on.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wieters Lifts O's Over Nats

For seven innings, it looked as if the O's offense was going to let Jake Arrieta and the bullpen down. But Matt Wieters' two-run bomb in the eighth lifted the Birds to a 2-1, series-clinching win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

The O's had managed just six hits, all singles, before Wieters' blast. The Birds have been in a major funk offensively, and finished Sunday's game 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. In fact, the Birds have gone just 1-for-33 with runners in scoring position during the drought...

Jake Arrieta struggled early but settled down and allowed just a run on five hits and a walk over six innings, fanning five. The bullpen continued its stellar run, with three relievers holding the Nats to just one hit over the final three frames. Pedro Strop picked up the win and Jim Johnson recorded his 22nd save after a strike-em' out, throw-em' out play ended the game.

The O's have Monday off before hosting the Angels for two games...Brian Matusz takes the mound on Tuesday night.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chen Falls To Nats As Offense Struggles

The O's offense failed to show up again in a 3-1 loss to the visiting Nationals in front of a sold-out crowd on Saturday night.

Wei-Yin Chen surrendered all three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks in five innings, fanning four. Chen (7-3) has faced the Nats twice this season and has lost both contests. The defense didn't help him out...Wilson Betemit's throwing error with two outs and two on in the 2nd led to two runs. The Birds' defense continues to betray them, and they lead the Majors with 63 errors this season.

The O's managed just five hits and were no-hit through the first four frames. Adam Jones launched his team-leading 19th homer in the seventh, but that was all the offense could manage. The entire team is slumping at the same time, which is never good. The Orioles have scored just 16 runs over the last eight games...

Jake Arrieta takes the mound in the rubber-match on Sunday afternoon. The O's have Monday off before hosting the Angels for a two-game series starting on Tuesday night.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hammel Brilliant Once Again

Fresh off a complete-game, one-hit shutout, Jason Hammel held the Nationals to just an unearned run as the O's topped the Nationals 2-1 on Friday night in front of a full house at Camden Yards.

Hammel (8-2) went eight innings, tying a career-best set earlier this season with 10 strikeouts while walking none. He gave up just one unearned run on five hits, lowering his ERA to 2.61 in the process. Hammel hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 19 innings,,,

Mark Reynolds put the Birds on the board in the second with his sixth homer of the season, a solo shot to left. Reynolds also committed two errors, one leading to the Nats only run, and now has nine this year in 49 games. I'm hoping Reynolds' bat is finally heating up...we need more homers than errors from this guy.

Buck Showalter pulled Hammel after 96 pitches, electing to go with closer Jim Johnson in the ninth. The skipper said after the game that he was trying to keep Hammel under 100 pitches so he could make his next scheduled start on normal rest. Johnson allowed a walk but picked up his 21st save of the year.

With the Yankees falling to the Mets, the O's (40-30) are again just a game and a half out of first in the East, and send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound on Saturday night for a nationally televised game on FOX.

O's Avoid The Shutout But Not The Sweep

The O's were swept out of New York after falling to the Mets 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Wilson Betemit finally put the O's on the board after a stretch of 28 scoreless innings dating back to the series in Atlanta. Betemit launched a two-run bomb in the eighth inning, and the O's scored once more in the ninth, but Brian Roberts grounded out with the bases loaded to end the threat, and the game.

Brian Matusz was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings. Matusz (5-8) didn't pitch poorly but tossed 93 pitches before yielding to the 'pen.

The O's are off Thursday before hosting the Nationals over the weekend. I can only hope that the late-inning offense is a sign of offensive life after the O's managed just 12 runs during the six-game road trip (with five coming in one game). Jason Hammel takes the mound on Friday night at Camden Yards.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

For O's, It's Deja Vu All Over Again

A different day, but the same result. The Birds were blanked for the second straight game, falling 5-0 again to the New York Mets on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

This time, the O's managed more than one hit...they got five. But none came with runners in scoring position, as the Birds went 0-for-9 in that all-important category. Matt Wieters was the only O' with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.

Tommy Hunter looked good early but faltered in the later innings, allowing four of his five charged runs in the  sixth and seventh frames. Hunter lasted 6 1/3 innings, giving up those five runs on seven hits and one walk, fanning three. It was the first walk Hunter allowed in his last three starts, but he again allowed the long ball to beat him. The Birds were down just 1-0 when Hunter served-up a game-changing two-run shot in the sixth inning.

This marked the first time since April 2005 that the O's were blanked in back-to-back games. This club reminds me a lot of that 05' club, mainly because it was the last time the Birds were in contention this late in a season. We just have to hope that these O's don't collapse like that team did...

The good news? The Yankees 10-game win streak was snapped, so the Birds didn't lose any ground to the Bombers. Brian Matusz looks to salvage the final game against the Mets later tonight; a win would give the O's a respectable 3-3 Interleague road trip. The Orioles are off Thursday before hosting the Nationals for a three-game set starting Friday night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

O's Blanked At Citi Field

The Birds were one-hit by the New York Mets, falling 5-0 at Citi Field on Monday night.

Jake Arrieta took a shutout into the sixth inning but was nowhere near as impressive as the Mets' R.A. Dickey. Arrieta (3-9) made one bad pitch: a grand slam that all but assured the Mets a victory. Dickey (11-1) walked two and fanned 13 in his second consecutive one-hitter (he blanked the Rays last week).

With the loss and a Yankees win, the Birds dropped a season-worst 2 1/2 games out of first in the East and now turn to Tommy Hunter to right the ship on Tuesday night. Johan Santana is slated to take the hill for the Mets, but as long as Dickey isn't on the mound, I like the O's chances!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chen Sparkles As O's Take Series In Atlanta

Again, my apologies. My post is a day late and probably a Buck short...but here goes nothing.

That pretty much sums up Atlanta's offense for the second straight game...NOTHING. Wei-Yin Chen pitched seven scoreless innings and the Birds blanked the Braves for the second straight game, winning 2-0.

Chen (7-2) wasn't quite as dominant as Hammel was on Saturday, but the two hurlers now lead the O's with identical records. Chen allowed just six hits and a walk while striking out two on Sunday afternoon, and Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save of the season.

The Birds mustered just four hits but managed to score on a sac fly and a balk.Nothing like playing small-ball in a National League park...

The Birds have now won four straight series but still trail New York by a game and a half in the standings. The Yankees, winners of nine straight, now take on Atlanta and the O's travel to New York to face the Mets. Jake Arrieta takes the mound on Monday night...

Hammel Falls One Shy Of No-Hitter

First things first. I'd like to apologize for my late posts...these new hours are killing me!

I actually slept through this entire game...I may have to do that more often, as Jason Hammel pitched a one-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the Braves on Saturday night.

Hammel (7-2) took a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a two-out single. He finished with two walks and eight strikeouts, needing just 103 pitches in his best start of his carer.

Mark Reynolds' two-run single in the fourth put the Birds on top to stay. Brian Roberts went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Wei-Yin Chen took the mound on Sunday afternoon...that post is coming now : )

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Offense Stalls in Atlanta

The O's winning streak was snapped at five games after a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Just a day after setting season-highs in runs, hits and doubles, the Birds were held to just six hits and two unearned runs. The club went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and simply couldn't take advantage of scoring opportunities...the Birds drew seven walks but not a single one of them turned into a run. The O's grounded into four double plays, the last of which ended the game...

Brian Matusz allowed a solo homer in the first before settling down. He tossed a season-high 116 pitches, baffling when you consider he was batting ninth in the lineup. He almost made it out of the sixth inning unscathed but gave up three runs before being lifted.

Overall, it was a game the O's could have won but let slip away. The Yankees won again, so the Birds are now a game and a half out of first, tying the farthest they've been out this entire season. Hopefully they come out swinging Saturday night behind starter Jason Hammel...Let's Go O's!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pearce, Wieters Lead Assault As O's Sweep Bucs

The O's are rolling now. The club has won five straight and finished a sweep of the Pirates with a 12-6 win on Thursday night at Camden Yards, capping off a 5-1 homestand.

The Birds set season highs in runs, hits (16) and doubles (8), and took an early lead against former Oriole Erik Bedard, scoring four runs in the first inning for the first time this year. They scored five runs in the fourth to take a commanding 10-0 lead.

Three players combined to knock in all 12 runs: Steve Pearce doubled, homered and drove in five, Matt Wieters slapped two doubles and had five RBIs and Mark Reynolds went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and two driven in.

That was more than enough offense for Tommy Hunter, who allowed five runs through six innings, striking out five and not surrendering a free pass for the second straight start. Hunter (3-3) allowed seven hits, one of them a three-run bomb, but got the win thanks to the O's offensive explosion.

The Birds (37-26) are a half-game behind the Yankees in the standings and now head out on a six-game Interleague road trip starting in Atlanta Friday night. Brian Matusz is slated to take the mound.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Arrieta Dazzles Against Pirates

Is it too soon to say Jake Arrieta is back? Probably. But it's safe to say he looked like the O's Opening Day pitcher again on Wednesday night in a 7-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Camden yards.

Arrieta allowed just a run on seven hits and one walk over seven innings, tying a career-high with nine strikeouts. It was his first win since early May, when he struck out nine Yankees in New York.

After dropping six straight decisions, Jake was banished to the bullpen last weekend...but after a freak accident to scheduled starer Brian Matusz, Buck turned to Arrieta, and Jake made the most of the opportunity. After that start, I'd say it's a safe bet that Arrieta has reclaimed his spot in the starting rotation...

The O's made sure he was pitching with a lead, scoring seven runs in the first seven innings. Wilson Betemit went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, and Chris Davis went 2-for-4 with a broken-bat home-run (never seen that before) and three driven in. Brian Roberts went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his second game back with the club.

The Birds (36-26) have now won three straight series and are in sole possession of second place in the East, one game behind the surging Yankees. Tommy Hunter takes the mound on Thursday night as the O's look for the sweep.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

O's Victorious in Roberts' Return

Welcome home, Brian Roberts! Roberts went 3-for-4 in his return to the club, the O's mashed three homers and the Birds bested the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

I can't even begin to describe how good it feels to see Roberts batting lead-off again for the first time in over a year. I'm a big Robert Andino fan, but nobody can replace a healthy Brian Roberts at second base.

The Birds trailed just once on Tuesday after the Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first. Mark Reynolds launched a two-run bomb in the second to give the O's a lead they would never relinquish. Adam Jones went yard in the fifth for the 18th time this season, and Chris Davis smacked a two-run shot in a four-run sixth inning.

Wei-Yin Chen allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings, fanning four. Chen (6-2) is now tied with Jason Hammel for the team lead in victories.

Kevin Gregg surrendered a two-run homer in the ninth, but it took Jim Johnson just six pitches to record the final two outs and pick up his 19th save of the season.

The Birds (35-26) are now tied with Tampa Bay for second in the division, trailing the Yankees by a full game. Brian Matusz was slated to start on Wednesday night but injured his nose on a bunt attempt on Tuesday...he's a game-time decision. Jake Arrieta is a possible candidate to start, though the club could also recall someone from Triple-A...we'll find out soon enough.

Monday, June 11, 2012

O's Do It Again In Extras

It only took 10 innings on Sunday for the O's to topple the Phillies 5-4. Once again, Adam Jones was mobbed at the plate, but this time it was Matt Wieters with the clutch hit that drove him home.

The Birds won their second straight series and are now 4-2 in Interleague play this season. They have now won nine straight extra-inning games, a franchise record. After starting the season 0-2 in extras, the O's took seven straight on the road and ave now won back-to-back contests at Camden Yards.

Jason Hammel struggled with his command early, walking five batters in the first three innings. Hammel settled down and was able to last six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and those five walks, fanning four in a 115-pitch outing. The 'pen shut down Philadelphia over the final four frames.

Down 4-1 in the fourth, Steve Tolleson tied it all up with a massive three-run bomb off Cliff Lee. It was Tolleson's second homer of the season and third of his career. Tolleson has certainly made an impression while he was up with the club but is expected to be sent down to Norfolk to make room for B-Rob...

The O's are off today before hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates for a three-game set starting Tuesday night. Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound, and yes, Brian Roberts is expected to be in the lineup.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jones' Jack Lifts O's In 12th

It took 12 innings, but the Birds took down the Phillies 6-4 in front of a sell-out crowd at Camden Yards on Saturday evening.

Adam Jones broke out of an 0-for-18 slump with a single in the ninth before launching a walk-off two run bomb in the bottom of the 12th. It was Jones' team-leading 17th long ball of the season; 11 of his homers have either tied a game or given the Birds a lead.

Tommy Hunter's return from Triple-A was a success...Hunter went seven innings, walked none and allowed just three runs (all solo homers). The 'pen allowed just a run on five hits over the final five frames.

The Birds have now split the series with Philadelphia and look to take the rubber-game this afternoon behind Jason Hammel.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Arrieta Stumbles Yet Again

What is wrong with Jake Arrieta?

The Birds fell to the visiting Phillies 9-6 on Friday night. Arrieta lasted just four innings, surrendering nine runs on 11 hits before being yanked. He walked none and fanned five in the 83-pitch outing.

Arrieta (2-8) now leads the Majors in losses and he's dropped six straight. It's frustrating. He shows flashes of brilliance (he struck out the side in the third after the Phillies hit for the cycle in a six-run second) but can't seem to put everything together consistently this season. A trip to Norfolk looks likely...

The Birds were down 7-0 in the second inning but rallied back to make a game of it. Chris Davis slapped a solo shot in the fourth and J.J. Hardy launched a two-run bomb in the seventh, but the deficit was just too great to overcome.

With the loss, the O's (32-26) dropped into third place in the division, trailing Tampa Bay by a game and the Yankees by a half game. Tommy Hunter has been called up from Norfolk and will get the start on Saturday afternoon.

Matusz Rocked As O's Blanked In Fenway

Brian Matusz turned in his shortest outing of the season and the O's were blanked on four hits in a 7-0 drubbing by the Red Sox on Thursday night.

Matusz lasted just two innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits and FIVE walks...he needed 67 pitches to record six outs. Devastating.

Of course, the offense was nowhere to be found, and the defense was lacking as the Birds committed another two errors.

The O's still managed to take the series and head home after going 3-6 on this divisional road trip in a tie for first with Tampa Bay.

Jake Arrieta takes the mound Friday night as the Birds kick-off another round of Interleague play starting with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chen Gives O's Series Over Sox

The Orioles are once again in sole possession of first in the East after a 2-1 win over Boston on Wednesday night.

I could get used to this.

Wei-Yin Chen was magnificent, pitching seven innings of one-run ball. Pedro Strop took on his usual eight- inning duties, and Jim Johnson came on in the ninth to start another streak of saves.

The Birds have snapped a season-worst string of four straight series losses and have a chance to sweep Boston at Fenway for the second time this season Thursday night.

Brian Matusz takes the mound...Let's Go O's!!!

O's Topple Sox In 10 Innings

It was bound to happen...Jim Johnson blew a save for the first time this season. When it was all said and done, JJ picked up his first W in 2012 after the Birds bested the Sox 8-6 in 10 innings on Tuesday night.

You gotta love baseball.

The O's and Sox battled back and forth all evening, but the Birds took a commanding 6-4 lead into the ninth and Buck Showalter handed the ball to the best closer in the majors. Johnson needed one more strike to pick up his 18th straight save before serving up a two-run dinger in the bottom of the ninth.

Nevermind all the stats...I'm WAY late on this post. The O's would not let Johnson down, scoring twice in the top of the tenth, letting the closer try one more time. JJ got em' 1-2-3 and the Birds won again at Fenway.

Wei-Yin Chen looks to make it two straight on Wednesday night.

Monday, June 4, 2012

O's Fall Out Of First

Jake Arrieta was masterful for three innings but unraveled in the fourth and the O's fell to the Rays 8-4 on Sunday afternoon.

It was the fourth straight series the Birds have dropped, and the loss gave Tampa Bay sole possession of first in the East.

Arrieta (2-7) continues to be a mystery this season, showing flashes of brilliance before falling apart. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs on just two hits but four walks, striking out three. The 'pen, overworked lately, gave up another four runs (only three earned...the O's committed three errors and lead the league with 51).

The Birds thankfully have Monday off before starting a three-game set with the Red Sox. Jason Hammel takes the mound at Fenway on Tuesday night.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Matusz Lifts O's Over Rays

Somebody needed to step up. Brian Matusz turned in his best start of the season on Saturday afternoon and the O's snapped a six-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay. The two clubs are now tied for first with one game left in the series.

Matusz (5-5) took a no-hitter into the fifth and allowed just a run on two hits and three walks over 7 1/3 innings, fanning seven. Pedro Strop came on in relief in the eighth and walked a batter to load the bases before inducing an inning-ending double play. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his 17th save in as many tries this season.

Endy Chavez put the Birds on the board with a solo homer, his first of the season, in the third inning. The O's took advantage of a throwing error to score what would be the winning run in the seventh.

Jake Arrieta takes the mound on Sunday afternoon...let's see if he can follow Matusz's lead. Go O's!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Birds Blanked, Drop Out Of First

For the first time this season, I turned off an O's game early. To be fair, I had worked all day and needed to get a two hour nap before heading back in. But after Tampa Bay took a 5-0 lead in the first inning, I had no trouble turning off the TV and catching a few z's.

I woke up to find the final score was the same as it was in that fateful first frame...the Rays blanked the O's and took over sole possession of first place on Friday night. It was the sixth straight loss for the Birds...

Wei-Yin Chen was the latest starter to falter, though he bounced back and lasted 5 2/3 innings. The bullpen followed with an impressive performance, but the early damage was too much to overcome.

It's tough to win when you don't score any runs, and the Birds were held scoreless on seven singles. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters both went 2-for-4. The O's haven't had an extra-base hit in the past two games...

Brian Matusz takes the mound Saturday afternoon as the O's try to snap the losing streak...here's hoping.