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.

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