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.

Yikes.

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.

1 comment:

Petra said...

Thanks for writing this.