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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

O's Hang On To Take Down Yanks

In an intense game that came down to the wire, the O's prevailed, topping the Yankees 5-4 on Monday night in New York.

Miguel Gonzalez (3-2) continued to impress on the road, allowing four runs on six hits (three were solo homers) in 6 2/3 innings. Gonzalez set a new career-best with eight strikeouts, walking none in the 111-pitch effort. Gonzalez clearly ran out of gas in the sixth, and was pulled after allowing back-to-back solo homers after recording two outs.

Wilson Betemit put the Birds on the board with a solo homer in the third, and the O's added another two runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh...they would need all of them.

 Jim Johnson came on in the ninth to preserve the one-run lead, and promptly gave up a lead-off double...things looked bleak. But Johnson struck out Russell Martin for the final out, stranding runners on second and third and notching his AL-best 31st save in the process.

The O's (54-49) are now 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Yankees and are two games out in the Wild Card race. Chris Tillman looks to win his third straight game when he takes the mound Tuesday night.

Chen Twirls A Gem

Wei-Yin Chen struck out 12 batters and Matt Wieters homered to give the Birds a 6-1 victory over the A's on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Chen (9-6) lasted just 5 2/3 innings but set a career-high in K's and set a new record for most strikeouts in a single game by a Taiwanese-born player. Chen gave up just three hits and an unearned run while walking four.

The O's gave him more than enough support in a four-run third inning, capped-off with a three-run bomb from Matt Wieters. Omar Quintanilla slapped his first homer as an Oriole, a solo shot, in the sixth inning. 

The O's finished the homestand with a dismal 2-4 record, but now head to New York with some momentum. Miguel Gonzalez is slated to take the mound at Yankee stadium on Monday night. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hunter, O's Drop Second Straight To A's

Tommy Hunter gave up two more homers and the Birds were held scoreless until the ninth inning in a 6-1 loss to the Athletics on Saturday night.

Hunter (4-6) lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven. He surrendered two two-run homers and has now served-up 24 long-balls on the season, the second-most in the AL.

The O's bats fell quiet once again... Nick Markakis' solo homer in the ninth put the Birds on the board and kept the O's from being shut out. The Orioles actually had 10 hits compared to Oakland's 11, but they failed to get the timely hits, going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranding 11 men on base.

The Birds send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound on Sunday afternoon as they look to avoid the sweep. The O's (52-49) are now tied with Tampa for second in the East and are three games behind Oakland and Anaheim for the Wild Card spot.

Johnson Rocked As O's Fall To A's

It had to happen eventually...the Orioles hadn't lost a game this season when leading after eight innings. On Friday night, the A's scored six times in the ninth inning off Jim Johnson and won the game 14-9.

It was Johnson's first loss of the season, but it couldn't have come at a worse time. The Birds had battled back all game, coming back from an early 5-0 deficit to take a 6-5 lead in the fifth after Adam Jones blasted a three-run bomb. The A's came right back, but the O's scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to go ahead 9-8. Three outs to go...bring in the All-Star closer and take Game 1. That was the plan, at least.

Johnson struggled and was charged with six runs on five hits and a walk in just 1/3 of an inning, and that was it for the Birds. There was no comeback left after that shocker.

The O's needed this one, considering they are fighting Oakland for the second wild card spot. They'll send Tommy Hunter to the mound on Saturday night.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tillman, O's Avoid The Sweep

After dropping two straight to the visiting Rays, the Birds managed to salvage the series with a 6-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon. With the win, the O's reclaimed sole possession of second place in the East.

On Tuesday, the O's fell to the Rays 3-1. Wei-Yin Chen allowed all three runs on four hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five. But the bats were silent for a second straight game, with the O's only run coming in the fourth on Adam Jones' 23rd homer of the season.

Wednesday's game was just plain ugly. Miguel Gonzalez gave up five runs in the first inning and the O's went on to lose 10-1. The loss snapped six straight quality starts for the O's staff, and was the third straight game the offense managed just a single run. The O's and Rays fell into a tie for second in the division.

But on Thursday, Chris Tillman won consecutive starts for the first time in his Major League career as the O's bats came to life. Tillman (3-1) went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks while fanning five. Chris Davis misplayed a ball in left field that contributed to at least one of those runs, but he more than made up for it at the plate. Davis had a three-run double in a five-run fifth inning before launching a solo homer in the seventh to finish with four ribbies.

The O's host the red-hot Athletics for three games starting Friday night. Zach Britton takes the mound for the Birds.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No Offense As O's Win Streak Snapped

The Birds just missed out on a four-game sweep, falling to Cleveland 3-1 on Monday night.

Tommy Hunter turned in another quality start, allowing just three runs on eight hits over seven innings, walking none while striking out four. But Hunter (4-5) was tagged with the loss, as the O's offense struggled to get anything going offensively.

The Birds grounded into three double plays and twice made base-running blunders. The Birds had a real chance to tie the game or even take the lead in the eighth, but Nick Markakis missed the stop sign and was caught up between third and home. Instead of two in scoring position and one out, the O's had a man on third with two outs and failed to score. The Indians tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the frame...

The Orioles wrapped-up the eight-game road trip with a 5-3 record and are still in sole possession of second place in the east. The Birds are back in Baltimore for six games and kick it off with three against the third-place Rays tonight...Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound.

Monday, July 23, 2012

O's Hold On To Win Fifth Straight

Zach Britton pitched six shutout innings and the bullpen held off a late Cleveland rally in a 4-3 Orioles win on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.

J.J. Hardy homered in the first inning and singled in a run in the seventh to finish the day 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs. Wilson Betemit went deep in the eighth off former Oriole Jeremy Accardo to put the Birds up 4-0.

Britton (1-0) had much better command than he did in his debut last week, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out five, and ended his outing with a bases-loaded strikeout. Luis Ayala pitched two scoreless innings before serving up a two-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth. Jim Johnson allowed another run to cross before striking out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat and the game. Johnson leads the Majors with 30 saves, and the O's are a perfect 38-0 when leading after seven innings this season.

The Birds have now won five straight and are still in contention in the East, trailing the Yankees by six games.  Tommy Hunter takes the mound on Monday night as the O's go for the four-game sweep of the Tribe.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Late Homers Lift O's Over Tribe

It looked like it could be another long day for Chris Tillman after he served-up a homer to the first batter he faced on Saturday night, but it was the only run he allowed in a 3-1 victory over Cleveland.

Tillman (2-1) gave up just six hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one while fanning four in a 116-pitch outing.

Jim Thome put the Birds on the board with a two-run shot in the seventh, and Ryan Flaherty padded the lead with a solo blast in the eighth. Both Thome and Flaherty have now homered in back-to-back games.

The O's have won four straight and sit alone in second place in the East. Zach Britton looks to bounce back from a four-inning effort his last time out and give the O's a series win on Sunday afternoon. The two clubs wrap-up the four-game set on Monday night.

O's Rock Cleveland

The O's bats came to life in a 10-2 drubbing of Cleveland on Friday night.

The two clubs were tied at one after an inning before the Birds exploded with a six-run third and two more in the fourth to take a commanding lead. Jim Thome connected for his first homer as an Oriole in the fourth inning, the 610th of his career.

Miguel Gonzalez picked up his second win after holding the Tribe to two solo home runs in 6 2/3 innings. Gonzalez (2-1) gave up seven hits, walked two and fanned five in a 114-pitch performance.

The Birds have now won three straight on the road after dropping the first two to Minnesota. Chris Tillman takes the mound and looks to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Birds Exit Minnesota With A Series Split

The O's managed to escape Minnesota with a series split after a 4-3 victory on Thursday afternoon.

It was quite a turnaround considering how the first two games of the series played out...

On Monday, the Birds were absolutely humiliated in a 19-7 spanking to begin the four-game series. Chris Tillman allowed seven runs (just one earned thanks to yet another Mark Reynolds error) and lasted just 2/3 of an inning, throwing 49 pitches. Tillman (1-1) and six relievers combined to give up 20 hits and five walks while fanning just three.

Tuesday's game wasn't much better, as the O's let a 4-1 lead slip away moments after taking it. Zach Britton's season debut lasted just four innings, as he surrendered four runs on six hits and six walks and needed 100 pitches to get 12 outs. Adam Jones gave the Birds the lead with a three-run bomb in the fifth, but the Twins scored three times in the bottom of the frame and twice more in the seventh.

Tommy Hunter set things right on Wednesday with his longest outing of the season. Hunter went 7 1/3 innings and allowed just one run on six hits, fanning one. Adam Jones put the O's on the board with a two-run shot in the first, and that held up in a 2-1 victory.

Then on Thursday afternoon, it was Wei-Yin Chen's time to shine. Chen (8-5) lasted seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five. Chris Davis put the O's on the board with a mammoth solo shot in the second, and Mark Reynolds gave them the lead with a two-run bloop single in the eighth. Jim Johnson closed it out and picked up his 28th save of the season.

The Birds are now 48-44 and have reclaimed sole possession of 2nd place in the East, trailing the Yankees by nine games. The O's and Cleveland kick-off a four-game set later tonight, with Miguel Gonzalez taking the mound for the Birds.

Verlander Shuts Down Birds

I was hoping the O's had turned a corner after their thrilling 13-inning victory on Saturday night, but the Birds looked flat in a 4-0 defeat to Justin Verlander's Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

The Birds managed just four hits in the game, three coming from DH Jim Thome. Miguel Gonzalez pitched an OK game but he was nowhere near the dominant force he was in his previous start in Anaheim. Gonzalez (1-1) allowed three runs on six hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three.

The Birds dropped the series to Detroit and now head to Minnesota to begin an eight-game road trip. Chris Tillman takes the mound on Monday night.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Teagarden Leads O's To Walk-Off Win In 13th

It could have gone either way...it would have been a devastating loss, possibly the worst of the season. Instead, the O's sent fans home happy with a dramatic 8-6 win in 13 innings on Saturday night at Camden Yards.

The Birds took a 4-1 lead into the ninth inning and closer Jim Johnson took the field, but things soon got ugly. An error by defensive replacement Ryan Flaherty led to two unearned runs and Johnson blew just his second save of the season after the Tigers tied it up.

Detroit took a one-run lead in the top of the 11th, but a two-out single from Adam Jones knotted the game at five. The Tigers scored again in the 13th, but once again, the Birds came through. J.J. Hardy broke an 0-for-28 slump with a solo shot to left before Taylor Teagarden stepped to the plate with one on and two outs. Teagarden, appearing in his first game of the season, launched a two-run bomb to right to give the O's a thrilling walk-off win. The Birds have now won 10 straight extra-inning contests after dropping the first two of the season to the Yankees.

The Birds turn to Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday afternoon; he'll go up against Tigers' ace Justin Verlander.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hammel Injured As O's Fall To Tigers

This is not the way I envisioned the O's opening the second half- Jason Hammel exited the game in the fourth inning after injuring his knee and the O's were held to just six hits in a 7-2 loss to Detroit on Friday night at Camden Yards.

It was actually really tough to watch this game...I was extremely excited to see how this club would kick-off the second half. Hammel was on the mound, Nick Markakis was back in the lineup, the O's had just signed their top draft pick Kevin Gausman and the team, although struggling as of late, was well-rested and in sole possession of second place in the East.

Hammel (8-6) allowed two early runs on four singles in the first inning before settling down. Typically, Hammel is lights-out in the first inning...a graphic on MASN showed that he had only allowed two first-inning earned runs in his first 17 starts. But he equaled that total on Friday night, and left in the fourth inning after injuring his knee. Hammel has an MRI scheduled for Saturday afternoon...

Markakis, batting leadoff for the first time in his career, drove in the first run of the game with a ground-rule double in the third inning, but that was all the O's managed until Matt Wieters drove home Adam Jones with a double in the ninth.

With the loss, the Birds (45-41) maintained their hold on second in the division but now trail New York by eight games and lead Tampa Bay by just 1/2 game. Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound Saturday afternoon and looks to lead the O's back to the win column. I'll be there to cheer on the home team and pick up my Jim Palmer commemorative statue.

O's Head Into Break In Second Place

OK, so this post is a little late...after losing power for four days and heading to Ocean City for a week of vacation, I neglected my Orioles blog. I apologize. I'm back for the rest of the season, I promise.

I'll make this post short and sweet...the O's virtually limped into the All-Star Break but managed to hold on to second place in the ultra-competitive AL East. Every team in the division was at .500 or better at the break, something I don't believe I've ever seen before.

The Birds sent three players to the All-Star Game in Kansas City: Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Jim Johnson. Jason Hammel fell just short of joining the team with the final fan vote.

It's the first time since 2005 that the O's (45-40) hit mid-season with a winning record. There is certainly a lot to like about this club, but they have struggled recently and there is a lot to work on if they want to remain in contention through the rest of the season.

Stay tuned and Let's Go O's!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tribe Spanks O's

The O's starting and relief pitching had no answers for the Indians offense, allowing 19 hits in a crushing 11-5 loss on Saturday afternoon.

Dana Eveland was roughed-up early, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks in just 3 2/3 innings. Tommy Hunter followed and was even worse, surrendering another five runs on eight hits and a walk in only 1 2/3 innings. The 'pen allowed just a run in the final frames but the damage had been done. The 19 hits allowed tied a season-worst for the staff...

The closest the Orioles ever came was in the fourth, when Chris Davis launched a three-run bomb to trim the Indians lead to 5-4.

The O's have struggled recently in every facet of the game; they committed another two errors defensively. The starting pitching has been atrocious and the offense has been non-existent up until the past two games. Still, the Birds can split the series with Cleveland with a win on Sunday afternoon. Brian Matusz takes the mound for the Birds.