Saturday, April 28, 2007

Soy un Perdador

The only thing worse than a 4 game losing streak is a five game losing streak. It began with the debacle that was the Oakland sub-series. the Orioles had no business losing those two games, they played horrible defense and gave away two easy wins against a quality team. Then came the two game set against the hated Red Sox where our normally solid bullpen was tagged for the first time this year in back-to-back games and crushing fashion.

Now Cleveland. Nursing a one run lead in the sixth Jeremy Guthrie surrenders 5 runs in the 6 and the Orioles were unable to complete the comeback losing 5-4.

Just like that the Orioles went from 11-7 to 12-11, yikes. I'm not prone to hyperbole this early in the season, but we need to win tonight AND tomorrow. We need to end this streak. 3-4 game losing streaks are going to happen. Every team gets swept once and awhile, and 4 gamers are common too. But once you start getting into 5, 6, 7 game losing streaks you begin digging your own grave. Yes its still early and it IS a marathon and not a sprint, yadda yadda yadda... but my own psyche needs a win tonight, and not just a win but a dominant performance from Bedard.

Tonight Bedard will go up against The Incredible Pronk and the rest of the Cleveland lineup a lineup that Trachsel pretty much dominated for 5.2 innings last night. He changed speeds effectively and had the Tribe off their game. He even K'd the always dangerous Hafner twice. But the Orioles offense was once again stymied. We need Bedard to go deep in this game and give the pen a rest, they have been over worked as the Orioles starters are only averaging a little more than 5 innings a start and as much as some people want to lambaste Perlozzo for his use of the pen, well hen your starters are only averaging 5 innings a start what else is he supposed to do? Send Bynum out to pitch?

In other news:
For some reason people think my opinion matters so today I will be taking part in a joint podcast between me, Mike (from Oriole Magic) and Anthony (The Oriole Post.) Both of those guys are class acts who do great things with their respective blogs and sites, I wish mine was half as productive as theirs are. I am very happy to do this and I will keep you all updated on that.

Ramon Hernandez and Jay Payton have returned to the Orioles lineup. Thank God. That is why I am not too worried about the Orioles offense. Now that we finally have our intended lineup back in Baltimore we can see how good this team really is, which I think is much better than they are currently playing. There is an old saying: You are never as good as you look when you are in a winning streak, and you are never as bad as you look in the middle of a losing streak. Hopefully that is the truth, in every life a little rain must fall and the Orioles have hit a pothole in the road of the season. At least that is what it will look like if we are 5-10 games over .500 and battling around the All-Star break, if not it could be looked at as the beginning of the end.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth

I was going to make a large eloquent post about how great this team is to watch right now. But Roch Kubatko said it so much better in his blog today.

I'm preparing to sleep on the sidewalk outside the ticket window tonight so I can be first in line for playoff tickets. Please don't trip over me.

Deep thoughts, by Chris Gomez:

"It's a lot more fun in here. You have fun, you go out and win and it carries over to how everyone feels about themselves. The better we play, the more we think that we have a chance. Not that we had bad guys last year, but it's a closer group. I've read in places where it says how much fun we're having in here, and I think that's really true. I think everyone looks forward to coming into the clubhouse and just hanging out with each other and having lunch on the road. I don't know if that translates into wins. I never used to think it did, but now I'm wondering if it might. It's a good atmosphere to be in right now."

I tested him with the chicken-and-egg theory, as it relates to baseball.

Does good clubhouse chemistry come from winning, or does it lead to winning?

"I always thought the winning would come first, and I think that's still the case," Gomez said. "If you're losing a bunch of games in a row, you're not going to have the music up. You want to tone it down a little bit, how much fun you're having. Who knows which one comes first? It's good to have them both."

Gomez does know that the looser you are, the better you play. Makes sense to me.

And believe me, this is a loose group of guys. The fun never stops in the clubhouse. Kevin Millar is a riot. Guys gather around to hear his stories, and I'm talking about everyone, not just a select group. Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora were just as amused today by one of his hilarious anecdotes as Jaret Wright and Jamie Walker. You look around the place, and there are smiles everywhere.

I've walked into that same clubhouse on many, many occasions in the past and felt like I was entering a library. Or a morgue. But it's so different this year.

I love this clubhouse. And I hope more fans embrace this team, no matter what happens this summer. The turnout was better today - more than 27,000 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon against a division rival - and the crowd was loud. I miss the good times, when it was a rush to sit in the press box and hang on every pitch. And when the only noise in the place didn't involve Peter Schmuck tearing into another bag of peanut M&Ms.

(Sorry, Pete, couldn't resist)

The Ravens can wait. They're not going anywhere. Come out and support this team. Ride the wave as long as you can. Who knows where it's going to take us? The wipeout could come later this week. Or next month. Or after the break. Or never.

In the meantime, at least appreciate what a good group of guys are representing this city.

OK, I'm done goosing you. I promise.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Musings on 8-7

-To the people that scoffed at the expensive bullpen, well, I have one thing to say to you: HA! You have to give the Orioles front office credit, in the short term anyway, for the immediate turn-around we have seen in the pen. With last year's pen there is no way we win at least 3 of the games we have won so far. The pen is among the tops in the AL right now and taking out the two late inning grand slams they ARE the tops with a sub 2 ERA.

John "THE TRUTH" Parrish has been simply amazing, striking out people at an alarming rate. In 7.2 IP Parrish has K'd 13 and only walked 2. His BAA is a minuscule 1.72 and his ERA is, of course, a perfect 0.00. Chris Ray shook off his early shakiness in New York and has since logged five saves not giving up a run since the A-Rod granny in New York.

-Teams are still backloading their lefties to throw at the Orioles trying to take advantage of the perception that the Orioles struggle against southpaws. Well they do. The Orioles are 2-4 against lefty starters this year. Toronto is no different pitching AJ Burnett on Friday.

The Orioles recalled Jon Knott minor league darling and lefty-masher and he broke through REAL quick, in 2 games he has hit 1 HR and 4RBIs and tearing the cover off the ball. Offseason acquisition Jay Payton will also return Friday from his stint on the DL. This of course is leading to speculation that Knott will be optioned back to AAA Norfolk rather than speedy defensive replacement and light hitting Freddie Bynum.

I would love to see Knott stay here, but I am not going to hold my breath. I want Knott to stay and you have to think his hot bat will help his case, but it seems that Manager Sam Perlozzo is resigned to having a speedster/ defensive guy on the bench for late inning replacements. And that is the big knock on Knott, his defense leaves a lot to be desired.

But man that kid can hit the ball a ton.

-From the American League desk: The Los Angeles Angels are STRUGGLING. They just lost hot second baseman Howie Kendrick for an indeterminate amount of time with a broken bone in his left hand. This coming after a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox which has helped the team limp to a 6-9 record.

- Mark Burhele pitched his first career no-hitter last night, and the first no-hitter of the season as his White Sox defeated the Rangers 6-0. This was the first no-hitter thrown by a White Sox pitcher since 1991.

As alluded to above the Orioles will open up a weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday. Tomorrow it will be Daniel "I should spell my last name with a K from now on" Cabrera taking on A.J. "Potential" Burnett. Friday night is of course student night AND, thank God for this, the temperature should be in the 60's for the game! Winter seems to finally be ending around here as warm weather will be creeping in. That can only mean good things for Cabrera who seemed bothered by the cold weather in his last start, in which there were periodic shifts between windy-cold and windy-cold-rain.

The Orioles finished the first 15 games of the season above .500 and playing pretty decent ball. Tejada's bat is starting to heat up as he was 3-4 yesterday afternoon with a single, a walk, a double and two runs scored. Nick Markakis hit his third dinger of the year yesterday as well. He muscled an opposite field shot into the first couple rows of the left field stands. All in all I think Rick Dempsey said it best on the post-game show:

"Good teams find a way to win even when they don't play their best."

And that is what the Orioles have been doing. They did not look sharp in Tampa Bay. The starters were shaky at best. Both Loewen and Trachsel got yanked early and had to rely on the bullpen to pick them up, or at least stop the bleeding. The defense was suspect and clutch hitting was sometimes a problem. But the Orioles stuck with it, got great contributions from guys like Bynum and Knott and were able to win the series as part of a larger 8-4 run since they were swept by Minnesota to open the season.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's ALWAYS Weird in the Trop

Tropicana Field. The ugliest field in the majors. And seemingly everytime the Orioles travel to that warehouse to play a game something weird happens. Last night was no exception.

Young gun Adam Loewen was all over the place. He only surrendered three hits, but 5 walks and 5 runs (4 earned) over 3.2 IP. The Orioles defense did not help him out. A routine ground ball became some kind of twisted Fellini-esque dystopic version of baseball on bizarro world where the idea is to NOT throw the ball to anyone. By the time the sixth inning rolled around the Orioles were on the wrong end of a 7-1 deficit.

Sloppy pitching, defense and untimely hitting had set the Orioles up for an embarrassing loss at the hands of a surprising Tampa bay team. And they are. Coming into last nights game the Rays led the league in homeruns. Every player in the starting line up has at least one home run and LEAD THE AMERICAN LEAGUE IN RUNS SCORED! People have been talking about the Rays for the last few years; about how they are overflowing with great young position talent just waiting to explode. Delmon Young is baseball's number one prospect and the Rays are hoping they found Ichiro-2 in Iwamura and that young team stuck it to the Orioles last night. Then came the sixth inning.

With a man on the berated and hitless Freddie Bynum came to the plate. A castoff of the Cubs last year the Orioles picked him up for his defensive flexibility, and to piss off stats-minded O's fans the world over. Well Bynum came through big with his first hit of the year, a two run jack that pulled the Orioles to within 4, 7-3.

Next inning Melvin Mora copied with his own 2 run tater, 7-5. His third homerun of the year pulled the Orioles to within 1. Miguel Tejada singled, Aubrey Huff doubled. With men on second and third Jay Gibbons came to the plate a roped a double to deep center field plating Tejada and Huff. Second time in three games that Jaybles has come through with a big hit, his bat is heating up and the Orioles had come all the way back to tie the game at 7. Millar would single and push Gibbons to third and up comes Freddie Bynum again. He would ground out, but in doing so Gibbons came around to score the go-ahead run. Started and finished by Freddie Bynum the orioles now lead 8-7.


Aubrey Huff, whilst being mercilessly heckled by the bitter Tampa Bay fans (all 13 of them, sorry that was cheap) added a solo insurance homer in the 9th. His first of the year and as an Oriole it was a no doubter into the right field seats. 9-7 Orioles. Chris Ray would come in and close out the game for his fourth save of the young season.

The game was really a story of two bullpens. The Orioles 42 meeeeeellion dollar pen was once again stellar. And once again John "THE TRUTH" Parrish continues his scoreless streak. in fact the Orioles bullpen has only allowed one run in 15.1 innings. The same can not be said for the abysmal Rays pen. in fact the entire staff outside of Kazmir is in trouble. You only need to know one thing. The Devil Rays have allowed 89 runs after last night. 89 runs. That is the worst mark in the majors, the next closest team is the Kansas City Royals who have given up a grand total of 69.

As soon as the Orioles took the lead I knew the game was won. The Rays team just looked demoralized in the last couple innings of the game. They had a look of "Here we go AGAIN," plastered on their collective faces. The sad thing about it is they have a GREAT young team. If they had anything resembling a pitching staff they could be a force to be reckoned with but until that point comes I do not see them lifting themselves up from the basement.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gibbons breaks through

Last night the Orioles decided to play another extra inning affair. This time it was against the Kansas City Royals and the match would languish on into the 11th inning. This time, however, the Orioles emerged victorious.

I did not make a post after the Detroit Tiger debacle for two reasons: 1) I was at the game and needed to get some sleep before trying to educate the youth of America the next day and, 2) I still can NOT F*****G BELIEVE that happened. To be skunked in the late innings by a walk-off grand slam is bad enough, but to have it happen twice within a seven day stretch, well that is just sick.

Thankfully last night was much better. Brian Roberts began the 11th with a ground rule double into the left field corner. Brian's bat seems to be coming around, finally, over the last couple games he seems to be finding the ball a little better. Melvin Mora laid down the sacrifice bunt to move Roberts over to third base. With one out and Nick Markakis coming up, Royals Manager, Buddy Bell employed an interesting strategy. He intentionally walked Markakis then immediately loaded the bases by intentionally walking Miguel Tejada. With an out at every base Aubrey Huff came to bat. Huff ad a rough night, going 0'fer up until that at bat - and it would continue. Huff hit a chopper right to the first baseman playing in to cut off the game-winning run at the plate. Roberts was the second out of the inning, the bases remained loaded but the crowd could almost feel it coming. ANOTHER missed opportunity. Before Paul Bako's RBI double in the 7th the Orioles had only scored one run in the previous 17 innings.

Jay Gibbons came to the plate to face the right handed KC hurler. Gibbons has never been known as a "clutch" type guy, but he came through tonight. He flared a 2-1 fastball into left field and Nick Markakis trotted home to score the winning run. Game, birds. 2-1.

Lost in all the hype about the lack of offense recently has been the outright stellar performance of the pitching staff as a whole the last 5 games. The starters averaged just over 6 IP a game and pitched to a 2.02 ERA. Trax even took a no-hitter into the 5th inning last night.

Trax has been a pleasant surprise so far this year. So far he has put up a 2.63 ERA through 13.2 innings of work. His sinker has sunk and he has kept the ball in the ballpark, surrendering only the two run shot from the super-nova hot Alex Rodriguez. Will Trax keep that up all year, most likely not. He is still giving up too many fly balls and not striking enough people out. That can mean bad things in Camden Yards once the weather heats up. And it needs to. It has been C O L D at the yard so far this year folks. I still think I am fighting a cold I picked up at the extra-inning Tigers affair.

Or that could just be the sick feeling I got from watching the ending.

Tongiht the Orioles turn the rotation over again with Erik (I don't really have a nickname) Bedard (1-1) going up against Brandon (Uncle Scrooge Mc) Duckworth (0-0.) The Orioles get Kansas City for the next 3 days then it is off to Tampa Bay. With Bedard and Cabrera going the next couple nights you have to like our chances for our first three-game winning streak of the year.

Sunday's starter is still a bit of a question mark. As reported here yesterday, Jaret Wright was placed on the DL with shoulder stiffness. The Orioles are saying that it is more of a precautionary thing than anything else. Wright even said that his shoulder felt "a lot better" yesterday, but the team isn't taking any chances. The tentative starter is Jeremy Guthrie according to Manager Sam Perlozzo, "Unless he is needed beforehand."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

!!!!!!!!! BREAKING NEWS !!!!!!!!!!





Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Opening Day Impressions

Just impressions of the Opening Day festivities around the park yesterday.

- The Abbott & Costello impersonators were back, those guys are always great.

- F. Robby's 20 was gone, at the fan fest I noticed it was dented rather badly by something, it is being repaired.

- Big scoreboard says ORIOLES v TIGERS, mini-scoreboards said DET v BAL.

- A-10 Bombers flying overhead was a real treat, totally unexpected.

- Each member of the team ran out on the carpet with a little leaguer in full uniform, I thought that was real nice.

- Still need a new TV screen, the Sun article over the weekend said that it should happen during the year this year sometime. O's want a bigger HD screen, MSA wanted to put a sharper screen of the same size in the existing hole.

- Ushers were very friendly, all wearing buttons "how can I help you?" I had heard through the grapevine over the fall that the ushers had heard loud and clear the criticisms of their corps. During the orientation they spent the first half of it going over the various customer complaints.

- Sliders and Pickles need to do a better job of crowd control, just a wall of people by 1PM, made moving nearly impossible. Ideally Russel street should be closed down for those two blocks, but that would be logistically hard to do.

- Light Rail is definitely the way to go to the game if you can.

I wanted to write a game recap, but I am still worn out after a day of work today, and a day of cheering yesterday so I will give you the best of the blogosphere, Paul over at Orioles Hangout. He does the best recaps.

Wright goes tonight, as I write this they are through one inning and Wright looks better, his velocity is up in the 90's and his pitches have a lot more zip.

The following was the best part of the opening day ceremonies

Millar doing the Ray Lewis shuffle, the crowd went nuts when that happened. The homerun he hit in his first at bat helped out his cost too.

I wanna chime in on the WNST debacle and the amount of mis-information that has been pumped out there from NST. But I may save that for this week's podcast, I am wiped after a long day, plus a faculty meeting. I'll check back in after the game.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Birds Take the Series in New York

Chris Ray got another shot at a save in New York today. We all held our breath. But this time the outcome was much better as Ray dusted himself off and picked up his second save of the short year. That is right Bird fans the Orioles took 2 of 3 from the Yankees in New York today with a 6-4 victory.

Erik Bedard got the start today, and started a bit rough. He surrendered a 3-run homer to Alex Rodriguez who picked a great time to go on an absolute tear. But for the next six innings he would be untouchable giving up no runs and only 2 hits over that time. Bedard mixed his pitches and seemed to be bothered by the cold a bit, snow did periodically start and stop over the course of the game, but he pitched like an ace today regardless.

The bullpen needed to rebound and the Yankee lineup did not make it any easier. The Orioles went through Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker, John Parrish and Chris Ray to get through the last three innings. It is ALWAYS tough in New York.

Offensively the Orioles got their five of their six runs from unlikely places. Kevin Millar came through with a huge 2-run jack into monument park in the second. Millar had a good day going 2 -3 with the homer and a double, looks like he is finally putting things together. But the real kudos goes to backup catcher Paul Bako who launched a critical 3-run homer into the short porch in right field. I think even Bako was shocked it went out, his fist homerun since the 2004 season! And it could not have come at a better time. It gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead at the time. Millar would strike again in the 7th with a sacrifice fly that plated Miguel Tejada. The Yankees would score a run in the 8th. Jonny Damon scorched a triple past a chugging Jay Gibbons and he would score on a ground out later that inning.

Seeing Jaybles (Yeah, Jaybles) out there in left field makes me long for Jay Payton to get back healthy and fast. I like Jay, but left field does not suit him. Thankfully there hasn't been too many costly mistakes and he has looked passable out there, but I would rather not tempt fate anymore than we already have.

Opening day is Monday and I can not wait. I will be there camera in hand to give you a full report.

Great game today O's fans. I'm sure it put us all in a better mood for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Ray Vs. A-Rod

Last year, Chris Ray came into New York last year and stole one on a questionable call. One out away from their second win, bases loaded, against Alex Rodriguez. Last year Ray made A-Rod look silly.

Today, not so much.

A-Rod came up with a huge grand slam to power the Yankees to a 10-7 soul-crushing win.

The 8th and 9th innings undid the Orioles today. Baez came in the 8th and got one quick out, then back-to-back walks set up Jason Giambi for a monster 3-run blast into the right field seats. That inning was maddening for many reasons, highest on the list was Baez wasn't missing by much, but he wasn't getting the calls on the two walks - the one to Abreu especially.

That set up the 9th. Ray comes in and got two quick outs. Then a single to Robinson Cano, up comes Derek Jeter. Jeter worked a 1-1 count. Then a pitch came inside and he offered and the pitch clipped his finger. He started to trot off to first, BUT the first base ump said, "Not so fast. You swung. Strike two." The Orioles got a break. Jeter works the count 3-2 count. The pitch comes in, letter high. Ball four.

Personally I lost it, my hat flew across the room and the birds outside my window scattered with the string of obscenities that flowed from my mouth.

Bobby Abreu up, second pitch, hits him. Crap.

And then A-Rod.

Ray takes his first loss and blown save of the year, The Orioles fall to 1-4 on the season. The Orioles were up 7-3 going into the 8th inning. Steve Trachsel started today and looked great. He only had one bad inning, the fourth. At one point he retired 6 Yankees in a row and only allowed 4 hits, 2 of them to A-Rod.

A-Rod. That clutch hit he hit today, be prepared to see it everywhere. It will be on Sportscenter, it will be on PTI, it will be on Around The Horn, it will be dissected by Baseball Tonight. It will be EVERYWHERE for the next week. Unless of course he goes 0'fer tomorrow and leaves 8 men in scoring position.

One can hope. Who needs a drink?

A golden oldie from last year. Sums up all our feelings.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Big Loe in the Boogiedown

The Birds take their uninspired, to put it nicely, 0-3 record into the Bronx tonight to open up a series against the hated, despised, loathed and poo-pooed New York Yankees. The Orioles may have some problems, but the Yanks are not beyond their own troubles.

1) The constant A-Rod, Jeter drama. Two of the best players in baseball playing on a legendary team in the most
recognizable city in the WORLD and they can't find a way to co-exist. Frankly that is just pathetic.

2) The Orioles rotation looks shaky but the Yankees make-shift rotation leaves a lot to be desired. Due to the Bronx rain-out earlier this week the O's miss the return of Andy Pettite (noted Oriole killer) and draw Mike Mussina tonight. Up next for the Yankees...umm...errr...Kei Igawa (AKA The Dice-K consolation prize) and Darrel Rasner, yeah I hadn't heard of him either.

3) Injuries, injuries, injuries. Most importantly Jonny Damon "Will test his calf" before tonight's game, per ESPN, and he will be a game-time decision.

Sets up good for the O's right? Well, I have doubts. The
Orioles just seem to have a habit of making no-name pitchers look like Cy Young. Boof Bonser skunked us last year in his second or third start in Baltimore (I was there, ugh) And seeing no-names in the Bronx makes that little voice in the back of my head chime in with said doubts. The Orioles' offense was fairly dreadful over the first series, scoring only 8 runs in 3 games. Is there any hope?

Cue: Adam Loewen.

Loewen in his games against the Yankees:
2-1, 2.63 ERA, 23K and holding the bombers to a .205 AVG. One word comes to mind - NICE.

Loewen is our best hope to get off the schnide in a hurry, and no better place to do it than in the Boogiedown. There is nothing better than the sound of 50 thousand Yankee fans shutting the hell up.

On a final note, ESPN's first round of power rankings came out, The birds? 27. "Will the Orioles sell out their home opener on Monday? We will be watching..." Only one way to stop the shots guys and that is win. Go get 'em Birds!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Birds Start the Year 0-2

Last night Daniel Cabrera was pretty dominant. Striking out 9, walking 4 but only one was a "bad walk." He surrendered 6 hits, only one that was hit with any power, a liner single up the middle. And he held the Twins lineup to only 3 runs.

Yet, the Orioles only got 2. The Birds dropped to 0-2 on the young season, the first time they have started 0-2 since 1995. Not the way one wanted to start the season, but there have been things to be happy about these first two games.

Game One:
"The Orioles can't hit lefties"

Got 4 runs and 7 hits off the best pitcher, not just LH pitcher, in baseball.

Game Two:
Daniel Needs to take the next step."

7IP 9K 4BB, 6H but NONE were hit hard and a sawed off broken flaire is what did him in.

The bullpen has been as good as advertised over the last two games pitching 5.1 innings of 1 run ball. All of them, especially Parrish, have looked strong. The
defense has been stellar so far as well. Tejada has already pulled off some damn good DPs. Markakis has been flashing the glove and the arm in RF and Huff has been more than solid at first.

Gibbons and Patterson hitting the ball well. Their outs have been pretty loud. Gibbons' two doubles in game one were very encouraging.

Things to be concerned about:

Roberts and Mora have 2 hits between them to start the season (2-17.) Last night they left 3 men on base. Millar is still struggling with his current 0'fer. He also left 3 men on base himself last night.

The bottom half of the lineup will be a lot better once Hernandez and Payton return. And I will give Roberts and Mora the rest of the week before I start getting real nervous.
So even with two losses, I'm still encouraged. Hernandez' bat is a huge hole right now, but that will take care of itself.

There has been a lot to be happy about in the past two games, now if we could just get the desired outcome.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

This Just In

As reported here first....

Paul Bako is out of the lineup tonight. No official word why, but you know he is still seeing stars from the shot he took last night. At least ROCH seems to think so. Alberto Castillo, Boston trade fodder, gets the start tonight.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Baltimore Falls to Minnesota 7-4

Tonight was a game of streaks.

The Orioles' streak was 6 straight opening day wins, the longest active run. The Twins' had a much more impressive one. They had not lost a game that Johan Santana started at home since 2005!

As the teams got ready to take the field, a late scratch for the O's was Ramon Hernandez. He missed this evening and likely the
entire Twins series with an oblique strain so much maligned back-up Paul Bako got the start. Giving the Orioles FOUR left handers against the best left handed pitcher in baseball.


The game started off well enough, but Bedard and the O's quickly fell behind in the second when Bedard gave up back-to-back homers to Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter. The O's would come back though tying and taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth
off of Santana.

In the bottom the Twins got one, and it could have been more if it weren't for a STELLAR play by Bako with an assist by Markakis. Markakis gunned in a single towards the plate, after one run scored Justin Mornaeu tried to score, Bako received the throw and was promptly DECKED by the former hockey player. Bako held on to the ball for the out. His chin was bleeding but he didn't care, he wanted to play. After he got bandaged up he was right back in there, but you are not going to convince me that his head wasn't still ringing after the hit he took.

The fifth inning was not kind to Bedard as the Twins would tack on 2 more runs and finally chase him. The bullpen was very good tonight. Giving up one run over 4.2 innings. John Parrish, playing in his first ML game in over a year, looked especially good going 2 scoreless innings.

There were offensive highlights as Miguel Tejada absolutely CRANKED a solo shot into the left-center field seats. Gibbons had a good night as well. In fact the middle of the order tonight was a combined 6-12 with a HR , 3 doubles and 3 RBIs. If the heart of the Birds order can put up production like that more times than not the Orioles will win some games this year.

The real story though was Bedard getting hit hard. Bedard had some bright spots but he remains winless against the Twins, now 0-4 in his career. His final line looks pretty bad; 4.2IP 10H 6ER and 2HR. he would walk 2 and strike out 3. Bedard did not have his best stuff tonight but he was not helped out by home plate umpire Jerry "The Hutt" West. Now I know it is uncouth to go after the ump on the first night, but this guy's zone was floating everywhere, for both teams. Santana was glaring in at him, as was the Twins' bullpen. The normally calm Melvin Mora got in his face after a questionable call.

It's not that West was squeezing anyone, he was just all over the place leaving many hitters, again for both teams, swinging wildly because they were never really sure what was a strike or a ball.

Umpiring not withstanding, Bedard needs to pitch better. And he will.

We lost this one guys, but we will lose at least 60 more. So break it down:

THE GOOD: After early inning hacking the Orioles hitters settled down and started working their counts nicely. Tejada's dinger off Santana came on pitch 4 after he worked him to a 2-1 count. Bako even worked the count well today drawing the first walk of the evening off of Santana. While I am on Paul Bako, he was good today. He looked good behind the plate save for one errant ball that popped out of his glove he played a good catcher and saved at least one run by taking that shot. Seriously, if you didn't see it - find it. Bako got decked, I bet we hear tomorrow he has a mild concussion.

Also, the bullpen. The 42 Million dollar pen did its job tonight by cooling down the hot bats of the Twins. Some will probably say they should've gotten to them sooner, but you have to give Erik a chance to work through it. Its opening day and you don't want burn out your pen too soon in what sets up to be a tough series.

THE BAD: Bedard, plain and simple he got hit. He left too many balls out over the middle and the Twins hitters made him pay. He needs to be better, if he is we win that game.

THE UGLY: Jerry "Ham Sandwich" West. His zone was floating and pissing off both teams. Even Sutcliff on the ESPN feed was making comments on his inconsistency, especially in the later innings. Jay Gibbons' 7th inning AB was high comedy.

Tough loss today guy, but its only one. Tomorrow Daniel "I can't believe Melky is more famous than me" Cabrera goes up against Boof "Not John Wilkes" Bonser in the metrodome.

In the division: Jays and Yankees win, Sox and Rays lose.

Happy Opening Day!

Though its not REALLY opening day until the gates of Camden Yard open up, we do have baseball today. right now the Yankees are beating the Devil Rays 2-0. A-Rod already has one error and a K, nice.

More on the Orioles later tonight as the game approaches, for now - the first Flockcast of the season.