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Tides Double up Knights 4-2: Aubrey Strikes again as Patton Wins 8th

Troy Patton notched his 8th victory of the 2010 season on Friday night

The Norfolk Tides and Charlotte Knights played the last home game at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish of the 2010 season on Friday night. The Tides started Troy Patton against Charlotte’s Brandon Hynick with Patton looking for his 8th win of a frustrating season including two mid season call-ups to Baltimore without making an appearance.  Patton who had gotten off to a rough start at the beginning of the season continually improved and very easily could have had several more wins had there not been critical errors or leaving the game and having a reliever get roughed up to give him a no-decision. However Friday night was a different matter as Patton pitched a solid game and the defense overcame errors that might have cost the game. He was also backed up by solid relief pitching which secured the win.

Michael Aubrey hit his 22nd home run of the season in the 1st inning

The Tides offense provided the needed support once again led by Michael Aubrey who has been hitting home runs at a torrid pace with 16 dingers since the 2nd of July. The Tides opened up a quick lead when with 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st inning Jeff Salazar singled and Aubrey came to the plate and on a no ball and two strike count took Hynick’s pitch yard over the Straub Beer Party deck in right field. The Knights picked up a run in the top of the second when Patton walked Luis Rodriguez and then had Jeremy Reed double to put runners on second and third with one out. The Knights then scored when Blake Davis muffed a ground ball hit by Fernando Cortez to allow Rodriguez to score.  The Tides got that run back in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Blake Davis and Paco Figueroa had back to back singles. They attempted a double steal in which Figueroa was gunned down by catcher Adam Ricks and Davis went to third.  Jeff Salazar then singled to drive in Davis and the score was 3-1.

Alberto Castillo sent the Knights down in order in the 8th

The Knights drew within a run in the top of the 6th inning when Patton walked Luis Rodriguez and then got Jeremy Reed to fly out to right. With one out Fernando Cortez hit a ground ball to just reactivated from the DL Scott Moore who rushed his throw and tossed it past First Baseman Michael Aubrey allowing Rodriguez to reach third and Cortez to make second with just one out.  Robert Hudson hit into a fielder’s choice to score Rodriguez before Patton retired Adam Ricks on a ground ball to first. Patton put down the first two batters of the 7th inning Bobby Dickerson pulled Troy for Kam Mickolio who struck out Dayan Viciedo swinging on three pitches to end the inning.

Dennis Sarfate got his 20th save of the season

Charlotte sent Miguel Socolovich to relieve Hyndick in the 7th and the Tides scored again in that inning when with one out Paco Figueroa and Jeff Salazar singled to place runners at first and third. Socolovich then threw a wild pitch which scored Figueroa and sent Salazar to third giving the Tides a 4-2 lead. Socolovich wisely gave Michael Aubrey an intentional pass and then walked Rhyne Hughes to load the bases.  Scott Moore hit into a force in which Salazar was out at the plate. Buck Britton then flied out to end the inning.

Kam Mickolio came back out in the top of the 8th giving up a single to Stefan Gartrell and a walk to Luis Rodriguez before Bobby Dickerson sent in Alberto Castillo to relieve Mickolio.  Castillo was very effective getting Jeremy Reed to pop out to Scott Moore and then Fernando Cortez to fly out softly to left fielder Miguel Abreu.  Castillo then struck out Robert Hudson to end the inning.  Brandon Hynick (1-4 6.22 ERA) took the loss for the Knights.  T

The Tides went down in order in the top of the 9th facing Jhonny Nunez.  The Tides sent in Dennis Sarfate who got Adam Ricks to ground out for the first out and then surrendered a double to Buck Coats.  Jordan Danks walked and then with one out got Dayan Viciedo to ground out into a double play to end the inning and the game.  The Tides left the field to a standing ovation from the 8500 or so Church of Baseball Harbor Park Parish faithful who were treated to a fireworks display at the end of the game.

Troy Patton (8-11 4.43 ERA) got the win in his final start of the year for the Tides and Dennis Sarfate notched his 20th save lowering his ERA to 2.62.  Brandon Hynick (1-4 6.22 ERA) took the loss. The Knights had 2 runs on 7 hits with no errors leaving 10 men on base. The Tides had 4 runs on 11 hits but 3 errors leaving 9 base runners stranded.

The Tides travel to Durham to end their 2010 season against the Bulls. In late breaking news Chris Tillman was recalled to the Orioles where he will start Sunday’s game against the Tamp Bay Rays at Oriole Park.

With no more home games for the Tides and only three road games my attention will begin to focus to the Major League pennant races as well as some other ideas that I have percolating for some time.  I will write about the three final games in Durham as well as have a number of articles analyzing the Tides season, the roster and what I think the prospects are for each Tides player in 2011.  I will as I did last year post a photo essay or two about the season at Harbor Park.

Peace and blessings

Padre Steve+

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Bascom and Tides down Knights 5-1

Tim Bascom got in the groove Friday and got his 3rd win of the season

Tim Bascom has had a rough season since coming up from Double-A Bowie. The young right-hander has battled adversity but Friday Tim showed what kind of pitcher that I believe he really is by pitching 7 strong innings giving up just 1 run on 5 hits and walking only one Charlotte batter.  He was supported by a solid performance by the Tides offense that produced 5 runs on 8 hits.

Lou Montanez homered in the 4th to drive in 2 runs

After a scoreless first inning the Tides came to bat and Michael Aubrey drew a leadoff walk.  Lou Montanez struck out bringing Rhyne Hughes to the plate. Hughes doubled off of Charlotte starter Jeff Marquez to give the Tides runners on second and third with 1 out. Blake Davis then grounded out to score Aubrey for his 6th RBI in the last 3 games.  Catcher Michel Hernandez then singled to score Hughes before Marquez retired Paco Figueroa on a line drive to center field giving the Tides an early 2-0 lead over their Southern division rivals. The Knights took one of those runs back in the bottom frame when Stefan Gartrell homered to left center on a 2-2 count.  Tim gave up consecutive singles to Tyler Flowers and Luis Rodriquez but got Dayan Viciedo to ground into a double play and Jeremy Reed to ground out to third.

Pat Egan made another solid relief appearance for the Tides

The Tides tied on a pair of runs in the top of the 4th and once again Michael Aubrey figured in the equation. Aubrey singled to lead off the inning to bring Lou Montanez to the plate. Montanez took Marquez yard sending a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall to give the Tides a 4-1 lead.  In the 5th the Tides scored again. With one out Robert Andino laid down a bunt that was fielded by catcher Tyler Flowers. Flowers’ throw to first missed heading into right field and Andino went to third.  Jeff Salazar singled to drive in Andino for the Tides final run of the game.

Tim Bascom allowed only 2 more hits after the second inning walking only one Charlotte batter completing 7 solid innings. He was relieved in the 8th by Alberto Castillo who stuck out Jeremy Reed and Josh Kroeger on 8 pitches before surrendering a walk to Alejandro De Aza.  Bobby Dickerson brought in Pat Egan with two outs and Egan got Brent Morel to pop out to Blake Davis to end the inning.  Egan sent the Knights down in order in the 9th to secure the win for Bascom and the Tides.

The Tides had 5 runs on 8 hits with no errors and had the home run by Montanez and double by Hughes to help power them to the win. The Knights had 1 run on 5 hits committing two errors including the costly throw by Flowers in the 5th inning that allowed Andino to reach and advance to third.  Tim Bascom (3-7 7.31 ERA) got the win for the Tides while Jeff Marquez (8-8 4.58 ERA) took the loss.  The Tides go down to Georgia to begin a three game series against the Gwinnett Braves. Chris George (4-7 4.45 ERA) will take the hill for the Tides and face Todd Redmond (9-10 4.20 ERA).  Last night the Orioles defeated the Angels in Anaheim with Brad Bergeson making another strong start to get his 6th win of the season.

Have a great weekend,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Andino’s Errors Costly as Tides Lose to Bulls 9-8

Frank Mata strikes out Desmond Jennings on Sunday night

It was a warm and uncomfortably humid night at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.  It was so humid that it seemed that the very air was trying to mug the 5000 of so fans that braved to weather to come to the game.  After a 28 minute delay the game got underway with Tim Bascom facing former Tide Bobby Livingston.

Michael Aubrey doubles

Both Bascom and Livingston held the opposing team scoreless for the first three innings but that did not last as they entered the 4th inning when the game became a see-saw match as each team kept pace with the other.  In that inning Bascom gave up a single to Leslie Anderson which was followed by Angels Chavez’s 9th home run of the year to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead. The Tides got 2 in the bottom of the 4th when Nolan Reimold singled and scored on Lou Montanez’s triple. Montanez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Aubrey.  In the 5th inning Bascom walked J. J. Furmaniak and with two outs gave up a home run to Rocco Baldelli.  The Tides then scored 4 in the 5th inning as with 1 out Scott Moore and Robert Andino singled to put runners on first and second.  Nolan Reimold flied out for the second out but was followed by Montanez who doubled to bring Moore home.  With Michael Aubrey at the plate Livingston threw a wild pitch allowing Andino to score once again tying the game.  Aubrey doubled his 25th of the year to score Montanez and would score himself when Bull’s right fielder made a play right out of Bull Durham and simply missed an easy routine fly ball off the bat of Brandon Snyder for the 4th run of the inning.

Rocco Baldelli doubles off of Alberto Castillo

In the 6th inning the game went glunk for the Tides.  Pat Egan relieved Tim Bascom and gave up a single to the persnickety Angel Chavez who has been a pain to Tides pitchers this series.  However Egan got Omar Luna to ground into a double play and it looked like the Tides would get out of the inning with no damage and the lead.  That did not happen, the next batter Fernando Perez hit a sharp ground ball which was deflected off the glove of Paco Figueroa for an infield hit. Desmond Jennings then hit a routine chopper to Robert Andino who bobbled the ball to put runners on first and second. The very next batter, J.J. Furmaniak hit a similar ball to Andino who this time missed the ball completely appearing not even have his mind in the game took his time to track it down behind 2nd base to allow Perez to score.  This opened the door for the Bulls whose next batter Dioner Navarro singled to left to score Jennings and was followed by Chris Richard who doubled to score Furmaniak and Navarro to give the Bulls an 8-6 lead.

The Tides came back in the bottom of the 6th inning against Bulls reliever Brian Shouse. Jeff Salazar doubled to lead off the inning and was followed by Paco Figueroa who walked. Scott Moore stuck out swinging and was followed by Robert Andino who singled to load the bases.  Shouse then walked Nolan Reimold to score Salazar and narrow the Bulls lead to one run.  Lou Montanez drove in Figueroa on a force out. Shouse walked Michael Aubrey to load the bases. Then controversy happened. Brandon Snyder appeared to draw a walk on a checked swing on a 3-2 count but Bulls catcher Dioner Navarro appealed the call to the 1st Base umpire Stephen Barga who called Snyder out. Snyder ran down to argue the call and was tossed from the game and Bobby Dickerson continued the discussion for several minutes before giving up. Thus at the end of the 6th the score was tied 8-8.

There were no runs scored in the 7th or 8th innings, Frank Mata set the Bulls down in order in the top of the 7th while Shouse retired the Tides giving up a walk to Paco Figueroa.  Mata had trouble in the 8th after getting two outs on a double play loading the bases to bring in Alberto Castillo who struck out Chris Richard swinging.  Joe Bateman replaced Shouse in the 8th allowing a leadoff walk to Andino but retiring Reimold, Montanez and Aubrey in order. Castillo came back out in the 9th to face Rocco Baldelli who doubled and advanced to second on a ground out by Leslie Anderson. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Angel Chavez before Castillo stuck Omar Luna out swinging to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order facing Jake McGee in the bottom of the 9th and the delayed and slow moving game came to an end with the Tides losing 9-8.

Joe Bateman (6-0 1.81 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Jake McGee the save, his first and Alberto Castillo got the loss (1-1 4.33 ERA) got the loss. In the end the game came down to Robert Andino’s costly errors which helped the Bulls to 4 unearned runs in the 6th inning.  Andino now has a league leading 28 errors many of which have cost the Tides pitchers runs and the team games. Egan should have left with the lead and Castillo should have been pitching for a save with a decent lead.  Despite his clutch hitting Andino will need to get his head in the defensive game if he hopes to play shortstop in the Major Leagues.  When he is locked on defensively he is excellent but as of now his poor defense is a liability that sometimes cancels out all his excellent work at the plate.  When I first entered the Army a Special Forces Sergeant told me and those with me that there were two things in the Army, “attaboys” and “aw shits” and that it took 2000 attaboys to make up for one aw shit.  Andino now has 28 aw shits this year in the field. I wish him well but his defense needs to improve dramatically to be the kind of asset to a Major League franchise that his obvious talent at the plate would make him.

The teams played today with the Bulls winning again. The article on that game will be separate from this and will likely appear tomorrow.  The Tides travel to Durham for the first two games of a road trip that will take them to Charlotte and Gwinnett before returning home on the 31st for their final home stand of 2010 against the Braves. Troy Patton (7-10, 4.85ERA) will take the hill for Norfolk against Durham right-hander Richard de los Santos (13-5, 3.59 ERA).

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides let Victory “Walk Away” from them, Lose 11-9 to Braves

Scott Moore hit his 10th home run his 3rd in 2 days

The Norfolk Tides went down to George to do battle with their long time International League South rival the Gwinnett Braves.  In a game that looked like it would be another of their more recent comeback wins after getting behind early in the game.  After the Tides took an 8-7 lead the relief staff quite literally let victory “walk away” from them in a 7th inning meltdown where the relievers were strike-zone challenged.

Tim Bascom started for the Tides and Tim got roughed up early and often.  In the first inning he gave up a walk and a single which the Braves used to manufacture a run when Freddie Freeman sacrificed Matt Young across the plate.  He gave up two more runs in the 2nd inning when on a series of alternating walks and singles Nate McLouth singled to score Joe Thurston and Wilkin Ramirez.  In the 3rd inning Barbaro Canizares homered off of Bascom to put the Braves up by a 4-0 count.

Michael Aubrey hit his 18th homer of the year

The Tides offense manufactured 2 runs in the top of the 4th inning when. Nolan Reimold walked and Scott Moore reached on a force attempt where Braves starter Todd Redmond committed a throwing error attempting to force Reimold out at second. Lou Montanez singled to bring Reimold across the plate and Moore to second.  Rhyne Hughes hit into a double play and Moore went to 3rd base. Michel Hernandez singled to bring Moore across to close the gap to 4-2.

However the Braves opened up an even larger lead scoring 3 more runs off of Bascom who allowed consecutive singles to Wilkin Ramirez and Clint Sammons to set the stage for Nate McLouth who homered to make the score 7-2. However the Tides rectified that situation in the top of the 5th scoring 4 runs and in the top of the 6th adding two more. Robert Andino doubled, Michael Aubrey walked and Nolan Reimold singled to load the bases with no outs.  After Scott Moore flied out to short center Lou Montanez doubled to score Andino and Aubrey.  Michel Hernandez popped up for the second out but Paco Figueroa singled to score Reimold and Montanez to close the gap to 7-6.  In the top of the 6th with two outs Nolan Reimold walked and Scott Moore hit his 10th home run of the season to give the Tides their lead of the game.

It was at this point that things walked away from the Tides. Pat Egan had relieved Bascom in the 5th inning and was still pitching in the bottom of the 7th.  Egan got Martin Prado to ground out and then gave up singles to Freddie Freeman and Barbaro Canizares. This brought in Jim Hoey who has pitched very well since coming up from double-A Bowie having allowed just three runs in 10.1 innings pitched during 9 appearances.  In that time walks have been the bane of him as he has only allowed 3 hits but counting last night 11 walks.  Hoey gave up a single to Joe Thurston to load the bases and struck out Luis Bolivar.  He then issued a walk to Wilkin Ramirez to score Freeman and a wild pitch which scored Canizares.  He then walked Clint Sammons to reload the bases and followed that with a walk to Nate McLouth which scored Thurston.  The brought out Bobby Dickerson and Alberto Castillo came in.  Castillo walked Matt Young to score Ramirez before he struck out Willie Cabrera to end the inning with the Tides having lost their lead training by a score of 11-8.

In the 8th Michael Aubrey hit a solo home run, his 18th of the year with two outs to make the score 11-9. In the 9th Scott Moore had a 2 out double but pinch hitter Jeff Salazar struck out to end the inning and the game with the score Gwinnett 11 and Norfolk 9. Pat Egan (1-1 6.23 ERA) took the loss in relief and Scott Proctor (4-3 7.98 ERA) the win.  The Tides had 9 runs on 12 hits with 1 error stranding 8 runners and the Braves 11 runs on 13 hits and an error with 8 left on base.  The teams square off tonight with Mike Hinckley (1-3 4.78 ERA) making his first start for the Tides going up against Kenshin Kawakami (0-1, 3.18 ERA) for the G-Braves.

Up in Baltimore a rejuvenated and confident Orioles squad defeated the Seattle Mariners in 11 innings 5-4.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win 7-6 take series from Syracuse

Michael Aubrey had an RBI single as well as a double and a walk in Thursday’s win over Syracuse

On a brutally hot and humid day at Harbor Park the Norfolk Tides defeated the Syracuse Chiefs in what cannot be described as either a pitcher’s duel or defensive gem.  The Tides started Zack Britton who had his worst outing of the year giving up 2 earned runs on 6 hits with 3 walks in 4 innings of work.  Of course in Britton’s favor was the fact that the Tides made two critical first inning errors that led to Chiefs runs  Britton allowed 3 runs in the inning only one of which was earned and he faced the entire Chiefs batting order before retiring the side.

The Tides got 2 runs back in the bottom of the 1st when Matt Angle singled, and advanced to second on a throwing error by Justin Maxwell.  He took third on an errant pickoff attempt and scored on a sacrifice fly by Robert Andino.  Chiefs’ starter Shairon Martis then walked Michael Aubrey and gave up consecutive singles to Josh Bell and Nolan Reimold to load the bases. Aubrey then scored on a Rhyne Hughes sacrifice fly before Martis retired the side.  The Tides scored 2 more runs in the 4th inning.  Jonathan Tucker doubled and scored on a 1 out double by Robert Andino and Michael Aubrey batted in Andino with a single off of Martis to give the Tides the lead.

Rhyne Hughes had a single and RBI sacrifice fly

The Chiefs struck back in the top of the 5th inning when Britton gave up a leadoff double to Justin Maxwell doubled to lead of the inning. Bobby Dickerson brought in reliever Cla Meredith and Meredith promptly gave up a single to Kevin Mench and a triple to Luis Ordaz to score 2 runs and then a sacrifice fly to score Ordaz giving the Chiefs a 6-4 lead.  Meredith retired the side and the Tides got nothing in the bottom frame.  In the 6th inning Meredith gave up a leadoff double to former Tide Chase Lambin but pitched his way out of the jam retiring Jason Botts, Pete Orr and Kevin Mench.

The Tides came back in the bottom half of the 6th scoring 2 runs to tie the game.  Robert Andino got aboard on an error by third baseman Seth Bynum and moved to third on a Michael Aubrey double. Reliever Collin Ballester gave an intentional pass to Josh Bell to load the bases for Nolan Reimold. Reimold took Ballester to a 3-2 count before walking to score Andino.  The Chiefs then brought in Atahaulpa Severino to face Rhyne Hughes who he walked.  The Chiefs were spared further damage when he got Paco Figueroa and Adam Donachie to both hit into force plays to end the inning.

Denis Sarfate got his second win in relief

Alberto Castillo came on in the 7th and pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief before yielding to closer Denis Sarfate with 2 outs in the 8th inning.  With two men on base Sarfate struck out Kevin Mench to end the inning.  The Tides got the go ahead and what turned out to be the winning run. Rhyne Hughes singled and stole second. Paco Figueroa walked and Adam Donachie singled to load the bases. Jonathan Tucker grounded in to a force out to third baseman Seth Bynum who threw to home to cut down Hughes but catcher Jamie Burke attempted to double up the speedy Tucker at first but the ball struck Tucker and went into the outfield allowing Figueroa to score.  Sarfate set the Chiefs down in order in the top of the 9th striking out Luis Ordaz and Jamie Burke in the process.

Sarfate got the win his second of the season while Jason Bergmann took the loss.  The Chiefs had 6 runs on 11 hits but made 4 errors and their pitchers allowed 10 walks. They left 12 men on base.  The Tides had 7 runs on 13 hits with 2 errors and left 16 men aboard.  The Tides go to Allentown Pennsylvania to face the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs at Coca Cola Field for a 4 game set tonight.  The Iron Pigs have a 4 game win streak going into the series and the Tides have won 5 of their last 8. Troy Patton (6-9 4.91 ERA) who had the bungee jump trip to the majors this week will start for the Tides and face Brian Mazone (5-10 3.90 ERA).

In Orioles news which will likely affect the Tides roster, 2nd Baseman Brian Roberts on the DL since April was activated and will start against the Twins in Baltimore tonight.  It is also expected that Catcher Matt Wieters will come of the DL soon.  The Orioles designated infielder Scott Moore for assignment and if Moore clears waivers he may be resigned by the Orioles to a minor league contract.  Brandon Snyder was activated from the DL and will start for the Tides tonight.

Until the next time, peace

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Tides and Orioles Report: A Look at Where we Stand

As the Tides get ready for game three of their four-game set with the Syracuse Chiefs there have been some significant personnel moves which involve both the Tides and their parent organization the Baltimore Orioles.  These moves are probably just the start of moves that might take place prior to the trading deadline at the end of the month.  This is the report that I promised back at the All-Star break

To begin in Baltimore the O’s reinstated closer Mike Gonzalez after the completion of his minor league rehab for a strained left shoulder.  They made room on the 40 man roster by moving relief pitcher Jim Johnson from the 15 day disabled list to the 60 day disabled list effectively ending his season.  Johnson has been on the DL since May 28th with right elbow inflammation.  Third Baseman Josh Bell was optioned back to the Tides after going 6 for 19 (.263) in six games for the O’s.  Bell’s return to the Tides will add another strong bat to the order as well as a switch hitter.  On Tuesday the Orioles had optioned Chris Tillman back to the Tides as was reliever Frank Mata on the 19th. While disappointing for these pitchers they are both still on the 40 man roster and their return to the Tides solidifies both the starting rotation as well as the bullpen.

Some Tides are making a difference at Baltimore, especially outfielder Corey Patterson and relief pitcher Alfredo Simon.

In the moves Tides left handed pitcher Troy Patton was recalled to Baltimore after going 6 and 9 with a 4.91 ERA which was 3.44 in the last 18 games. A lot of Troy’s losses came on games where he got no run support or the opposing team was given extra chances through the errors of Tides players.  It the first time that Troy has been at the Major League level since 2007 with Houston.  The move of Patton to Baltimore means that Armando Gabino will be called upon again to make a spot start.

The Tides have 29 players on the roster 3 of which are on the DL so a player will have to be moved to keep the active roster at the 25 man limit.  My recommendation would be Tim Bascom for the time being in order to let his injury heal and to get his confidence back after several outings where he was shelled by the opposition. Pat Egan is another possibility for movement and even potentially Brandon Erbe however I would not want to see that move just yet.  There is the case of Cla Meredith who was sent to Norfolk from the Orioles and cut from the O’s 40 man roster and he has not been effective at all since coming down to Norfolk and my sources tell me that he is extremely frustrated with his situation vice the Orioles.  He could be used to sweeten any deals that the O’s make approaching the trading deadline as I believe that he can be effective at the Major League level despite his struggles here and that a fresh start may be what he needs.  Alberto Castillo has performed adequately with the exception of a couple of bad outings but it is obvious that the 35 year old lefty’s better days are behind him.  Chris George has been solid for the Tides and is good to have in the organization as a left hander and Armando Gabino is the undiscovered gem of the Tides. Gabino has pitched well in starting situations where he is 5-0 and has helped hold the bullpen together in middle to late relief.  Two men that have been up and down between the Tides and Aberdeen which is for all purposes functioning as a taxi squad are relievers Jim Miller and Andy Mitchell.  Both had rough starts to their seasons but have been solid “go to” guys when a starter gets in trouble early in the game and Miller has served well in his natural position of being a closer.  Brandon Erbe has been on the DL and while struggling early has been bereft of run support and as is the case with most of the Tides pitchers victimized by poor defense at critical junctures.  Mike Hinckley appears to have major league stuff but still needs some work as he is inconsistent.  Zack Clark also seems to be solid and except for one bad outing has done well but had almost no run support.  Zack Britton seems to be on the fast track for the majors and I am really impressed by his speed, ball movement and control as well his sense for where he needs to be on the diamond when the ball is in play.  Kam Mickolio has been on the DL much of the year and when he was healthy seemed to struggle. He has major league stuff but something needs to be fine tuned. He has been on the 7 day DL for some time now and since he is on the 40 man roster I wonder if it would not be wise at this point to move him to the 60 day DL if he is not ready in order to free up some room and give him time to heal and get his mechanics right.  He has too much potential just to let go but I wonder about leaving him in the 7 day DL limbo.  Denis Sarfate is another that is overlooked. He has been functioning for the most part as the closer and done well with the exception of one appearance.  He has great stuff with speed, control and good movement throwing in the mid to high 90s with the ability to throw hitters off with an occasional off speed pitch.  Jim Hoey looks to have promise but has not been up long enough to see how he will do in the long run.

Of position players there are a number that have been struggling or injured that might be moved to Aberdeen as a holding measure including Joey Gathright who has not been the same as he was last year when he hit .325 for the Tides.  Joey still hustles and plays hard but there is something in his mechanics that is limiting his effectiveness at the plate.  Nolan Reimold who the Orioles have invested a great deal of hope in is still only hitting .210 after leading the American League rookies in 2009 in home runs. He too had an injury that he does not seem to have bounced back from and suffered from some personal issues that have taken his focus off the game.  He does not seem to have the winning look in his eyes right now and seems to have his head down a lot.  Orioles and Tides fans really want him to succeed so I don’t know what will be the case.  Michael Aubrey has come on strong hitting 5 home runs in the last 6 games while Jeff Salazar, Matt Angle and Rhyne Hughes stay very productive.  Paco Figueroa  and Blake Davis are coming along and Jonathan Tucker shows promise.  Robert Andino has to improve defensively but he has been a clutch hitter with men in scoring position leading the Tides in RBI production.

I think that there are a good number of Tides with major league potential. Of course their disposition depends on what the Orioles do in Baltimore. The trade deadline is approaching and there are a number of players that could be moved whose moves could affect players in Norfolk and Bowie.  In the system the O’s have players that could be used to sweeten deals and would not have to be their big time prospects. We saw this in the move of Ross Wolf to get Jake Fox from Oakland.

The time has come for Andy McPhail and the Orioles to get a new manager, hopefully Buck Showalter and start shedding unproductive or underperforming players at Baltimore and in their minor league system. The teaching of fundamentals at all levels must be reemphasized especially fielding and various reaction drills.  Bobby Dickerson has really done well in changing how the Tides play, there is a lot more heads up play and players that are not on the field seem now to be in the game.  The team is responding to his leadership where maybe they had gotten used to Gary Allenson and did not respond to him as they should have done.

There is work to be done in the Orioles organization and it has to start from the top, a new manager and possibly new hitting and pitching coaches at the major league level. I think that Showalter need to be hired now and not later and that Bobby Dickerson be announced as the manager and not the interim manager of the Tides.

My prediction is that I think that the Tides will finish the season above .500 and I do not see the meltdown of last year happening with this year’s team. I think that they will finish in either second or third place in the division while Durham wins it.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Shut Down by Carrasco and Clippers 6-1

Carlos Carrasco held the Tides to just 2 hits

There was a pitcher’s duel on Thursday night at Harbor Park but it occurred in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings between Columbus Clipper’s starter Carlos Carrasco and Norfolk Tides reliever Jim Miller.  Apart from Miller the Tides pitchers did not show up and without Matt Angle’s lead off single and a throwing error by Clipper’s catcher Lou Marson in the 1st inning the Clippers would have had a shutout.

Jim Miller pitched 3 innings of 1 hit scoreless relief

The game featured Carrasco going up against Tim Bascom and in their previous starts against the opposing team neither had done well leading me to believe that the game had potential to be a high scoring game.  The game started favorably for the Tides as Bascom set the Clippers down in order in the top of the 1st and the Tides scored an unearned run when Angle singled, stole second and advanced to third on Marson’s throwing error. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Aubrey.  The Tides would then go 19 outs without a hit when Rhyne Hughes singled with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th.  A further hit was added by Angle in the bottom of the 9th.

Matt Angle slides into 3rd in the 1st inning

The Clippers did not have a problem with Bascom scoring 3 runs in the top of the 2nd and forcing the Tides to get relievers up in the bullpen.  Bascom threw 40 pitches in that frame giving up the 3 runs on 3 hits which included a ground rule double and a 2 run home run.   Bascom was able to get through the top of the 3rd inning but he struggled giving up another double and throwing 20 pitches driving his pitch count to 75 pitches in just three innings work.  Bascom left the game and Jim Miller entered to pitch three scoreless innings giving up just 1 hit and striking out 3 Clippers.

Columbus 1st Baseman Wes Hodges comes down with a high throw to put out Nolan Reimold

Miller was followed by Mike Hinckley who also struggled.  Hinckley gave up 2 runs on 3 hits walking 2 and striking out 1 in 2 innings of work.  This made the score 5-1 and the Clippers added an insurance run in the 9th against equally ineffective Cla Meredith and save for a double play to end the inning the damage could have been worse.

Interim Manager Bobby Dickerson was on leave and the team seemed to be flat and have little energy.  The Clippers had 6 runs on 11 hits with 1 error and left 7 men on base. The Tides 1 run on 3 hits with no errors leaving 3 runners stranded.  The game was winnable for the Tides until the 7th as Miller held the Clippers and had the Tides offense been able to get in gear likely would have provided the edge in a possible win.  The winning pitcher was Carrasco (8-4 4.10 ERA) while Bascom (2-4 6.15 ERA) took the loss.

In personnel matters Andy Mitchell was reassigned to Aberdeen to make room for Jim Hoey up from Bowie and Josh Bell was recalled to Baltimore as Matt Wieters is now on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring injury.

The teams meet again at Harbor Park tonight with Dan Huff (3-0 4.15 ERA) pitching for the Clippers against lefty Troy Patton (6-9 4.67 ERA) on the hill for the Tides.  As of late Patton has been pitching well winning three of his last 5 decisions with an ERA of 3.68. Huff is back down at AAA after going 2-9 with a 6.04 ERA in 13 appearances for the Indians.

I’ll be there to watch.

Blessings

Padre Steve+

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