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Norfolk Tides 2010: The Season in Review

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” A. Bartlett Giamatti

Now that the World Series is over it is time for my annual Norfolk Tides photo essay.  This time of year is kind of sad for me because baseball is over until the Spring and one of my refuges from the storms of life goes away for a time. Baseball has its own liturgical cycle beginning with Spring Training moving to Opening Day, the All-Star Game, the Pennant Race, the Post Season and the World Series.

The season began at Harbor Park with the Home Opener in early April and closed on the Road.  From my vantage point in Section 102 I had the opportunity to watch some great baseball, get some great pictures and become friends with some great people.  These photos chronicle the 2010 season at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish and is dedicated to the players and management of the Norfolk Tides.

Opening Day

Left-hander Troy Patton had a rough start but finished strong and ended up in Baltimore

Adam Donachie with kids from a “Field of Dreams team”

Robert Andino hammers a double down the left field line

Twilight at Harbor Park

Jake Arrieta comes into field a bunt

Strike three! Alberto Castillo strikes out a member of the Toledo Mudhens

Close call…Steve Lerud gets a brush back against the Durham Bulls

Saluting the Negro Leagues

Muddy Warrior: Michel Hernandez during a rainy game. By the way the Tides had no home rain outs in 2010

The Mascot: Rip Tide

Adam Donachie tags a runner out at home

Chris Tillman had a great year with the Tides including a no-hitter against the Gwinnett Braves and a one-hitter

Andy Mitchell’s flowing submarine delivery continued in 2010 although he struggled at times. He was the go-to man in middle relief for much of the season and saved many bullpen arms.

Close play at 2nd

Adam Donachie guns down a runner at second

Jake Arrieta jams Gwinnett’s Joe Thurston

Call to the Bullpen: Chris George picks up the call

Blake Davis slides head first into home

Mike Gonzalez making a rehab appearance with the Tides before going back up to Baltimore

Robert Andino goes high to keep a throw from the plate from going into center field

Paco Figueroa slides into home

Michael Aubrey slams one of his 22 home runs

Blake Davis slides into home

Elliott the Usher give his opinion on a call

Alberto Castillo played the setup man for much of the season

Nolan Reimold hits a home-run during a season marked with by early struggles and steady recovery of his 2009 Rookie season in Baltimore

Joey Gathright dodges a pitch

Brandon Snyder played a solid first base and became a solid hitter as the season went on

Nolan Reimold and Rhyne Hughes wait for a pitching change

General Manager Dave Rosenfield

Steve Lerud makes the throw to first after making the force at at home

Matt Angle gets out of the way of Gwinnett catcher J. C. Boscan

Robert Andino and a member of a “Field of Dreams” team

Nolan Reimold tosses to Paco Figueroa for the out with pitcher Mike Hinckley looking on

Jim Miller was moved from being a 2009 AAA All-star closer to various places in the bullpen

Before the storm

Chris George moved from the bullpen to a starting slot

Rhyne Hughes looks on incredulously after a bad call

Celebrating a walk off win

Jeff Salazar drives a pitch into right field

Regina blows a kiss at the home plate umpire

Josh Bell worked his way up to Baltimore where he took the 3rd base job

Brandon Snyder makes the putout at first

Zach Britton moved up from Bowie mid-season did very well and may be a mid-season call up to Baltimore in 2011

Matt Angle makes the throw in from right field

Safe at home on throwback night

Josh Bell singles past a Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees pitcher

The bullpen waits for the call

Jim Hoey fires a strike

Bobby Dickerson has a few words with an umpire

Chris Chambliss and Gary Allenson meet with the umpiring crew before a game

Call third strike

Come backer a visiting pitcher dodges a line drive

Rhyne Hughes rounds third

And the rain comes down

After the rain: The grounds crew hustles to dry out the field

Jeff Salazar chase down a fly ball

The Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish at night

Brandon Erbe struggled much of the year until an injury put him on the DL for the rest of the season

Brandon Snyder takes a lead at first against Gwinnett

Art the Usher with Cow Ripken  in the background

Robert Andino tags out a member of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees

Paco Figueroa tagged out trying to crash through an opposing catcher

Marine Night

Jonathan Tucker takes a strike

Jonathan Tucker safe at home

Armando Gabino was a solid spot starter and reliever. He went 7-0 in games that he started

Another shot of Andy Mitchell the Tides winningest pitcher in franchise history. He declared free agency at the end of the season

Nolan Reimold beats out a ground ball at first base

Michael Aubrey and Paco Figueroa shift as an opposing hitter hits a ground ball

An opposing batter swings over a pitch

Dennis Sarfate led the Tides in saves and had an outstanding year, he is now a free agent

Kam Mickolio fires a strike

Harbor Park at dusk

A member of the Charlotte Knights looks on after a called strike

Jeff Salazar greets a runner at home

A season draws to an end

Rip Tide loses again in a race around the bases

Alfredo Simon warms up in the bullpen. Simon went from starter with the Tides to sometimes closer with the Orioles

The season at home comes to an end

Chris Tillman pitches a win against the Detroit Tigers on October 3rd at Camden Yards

And so the season ended and this team will go different ways, many players that I consider friends will move on and others up.  New prospects will come up and some of the team will be back. To my friends and all the 2010 Norfolk Tides have a great off season and my best to you and your families.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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“The only thing that matters is what happens on the little hump out in the middle of the field.” Tides Lose to Tribe 10-6 and 7-4; Orioles win 3-1

Nolan Reimold is hitting .383 and has 2 home runs and 9 RBIs in the last 10 games

The Norfolk Tides were downed by the Indianapolis Indians on Tuesday by a score of 10-6 and Wednesday afternoon 7-4.  As was the case in Louisville it was in large part due to pitching though unlike the Louisville series only one of the two games could be held against the starting pitcher. In an unfortunate turn of events for the Tides Chris George was forced from the game after retiring the first two batters in the first inning with an injured elbow. He has not yet been placed on the DL and there is nothing currently on the Tides or Orioles website as to his status and the severity of the injury. In most of his starts this year Chris has been solid and if he is injured it will place even more stress on a struggling Tides starting rotation which could affect the bullpen. The bullpen with the exception of Tuesday’s game against the Indians has been very effective allowing the Tides to stay in games that earlier in the year would have been blowouts.

Tim Bascom and other Starters have been hammered over the past few weeks

With Jake Arietta, Alfredo Simon and Armando Gabino now at Baltimore the Tides are without their three most effective starters.  Chris Tillman has been affected and he has not been as effective as he was earlier in the year I believe by the constant actions of Orioles management to keep sending Chris up and down between Baltimore and Norfolk.  He has had some outstanding games including a no-hitter against the Gwinnett Braves. Troy Patton has improved throughout the year and is now one of the Tides most dependable starters, unfortunately for the Tides he has missed several recent starts due to being called up to Baltimore where he saw no action.  Brandon Erbe had a number of rough outings and during his good starts did not have run support from the offense or saw the defense commit errors that resulted in runs.   Tim Bascom called up from Bowie in May has struggled his last win occurred on June 27th and was tagged for 7 earned runs in today’s game.  Zach Britton who was called up on July 1st has been effective despite a record of 1 win and 2 losses.  His worst outing occurred in Louisville where he gave up 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings. Chris George as I mentioned earlier has had a decent but not remarkable season but now the verdict is out concerning the severity of the injury to his elbow that he appeared to sustain Tuesday night.

The Tides and Orioles need to find a solution to the difficulty that the current starters are having in the early innings.  Again with few exceptions the bullpen has been solid since the All-Star break but the starting pitching needs to improve.  The Tides are now scoring enough runs on a regular basis that they should be winning more games than they are losing. They are losing in the early innings when starters have given up too many runs to opponents. Examples include July 16th when Bascom gave up 6 runs in 1.2 innings, July 24th when Tillman gave up 6 runs in 3.2 innings, the 29th when Tillman gave up 5 runs in 4.1 innings, August 5th when George gave up 6 runs in 3.2 innings, August 6th when Bascom gave up 7 runs in 3.2 innings, the 8th when Britton gave up 5 runs in 3.2 innings and today when Bascom gave up 7 runs in 6 innings.  All things considered getting down by that many runs that often makes it very difficult on the offense.  It is true that there have been many occasions when the offense failed to produce when starters pitched well but the trend lately is to get behind early and despite solid performances from the offense to score plenty of runs and get plenty of hits and nearly come back to win.

Tides hitters are showing signs of life, in the past 10 days Nolan Reimold has hit .389 with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs, Robert Andino .350 with 5 RBIs, Scott Moore .324 with 2 homers and 6 RBIs, Matt Angle .385 and 5 RBIs.  A couple of players hot earlier have cooled down or are slumping but even so in the past two weeks the Tides team batting average has gone up from .248 to .252 with corresponding increases in other offensive categories, a sign that overall the hitting is getting better.

On Tuesday night the Tides lost 10-6 and following the injury to Chris George saw the bullpen not be able to get the job done giving up 10 runs (7 earned) on 12 hits with 2 errors and walking 5 in 7.1 innings, a game ERA of 8.87.  Tides hitters had a good night of their own pounding our 6 runs on 12 hits including a home run by Scott Moore, an inside the park home run by catcher Adam Donachie and doubles by Michael Aubrey, Rhyne Hughes and Donachie who had 4 RBIs.  Cla Meredith (1-2 7.65 ERA) got the loss for the Tides and Joe Martinez (1-0 4.00 ERA) the win for the Tribe.

Today it was Tom Bascom who was stung giving up 7 runs, )4 in the 4th inning) in 6 innings work relievers Kam Mickolio, making his first appearance since coming off the DL and Denis Sarfate each pitched well, Mickolio allowing a hit but no runs and Sarfate putting the Tribe down in order with 2 strikeouts.  Nolan Reimold had two hits one a double with 2 RBIs, Robert Andino had a RBI producing sacrifice fly, Michael Aubrey had a RBI double and Brandon Snyder a double.

The Tides and Indians finish the series Friday night with Rick Vanden Hurk (1-1 2.84 ERA) on the hill for the Tides and Brad Lincoln (6-3 4.17 ERA) up for the Indians.

The Orioles played their second game of a 3 game series against Cleveland and defeated the Indians 3-1 on the strength of a 2 hit complete game shutout by Brad Bergeson.  The Orioles are now 8-1 under Buck Showalter and are now 40-74 for the first time during the season not having the worst record in the majors, which is now held by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  They are close to overtaking the Mariners and within striking distance of the Indians, Royals, Cubs, Diamondbacks and Nationals.  Showalter is a leader a precise man that uses statistics, views of others in the organization and his own observations to evaluate players including their competitive spirit.

Anyway, it is late; I am tired and have an early morning.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Swept by Bats, Orioles continue to win

Michale Aubrey (above) and Brandon Snyder (below) continue to have clutch hits


The Norfolk Tides ebbed out of Louisville Monday morning after having been swept by the red hot Louisville Bats.  They had lost game one on Thursday as they opened the road trip and would drop the final three, all be close margins despite the fact that in each game the Tides starter got knocked around in the early innings bad enough that despite two tremendous comebacks the Tides failed to put anything in the win column.  On Thursday they were shut out by the Bats by a score of 6-0 with Chris George getting the loss.

The next three games were close but the Tides fell short in comeback attempts. On Friday starter Tim Bascom (2-6 7.28 ERA) got the loss and gave up 7 runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings work and the Tides lost 8-7.  The Tides made it interesting picking up a run in the 5th inning and 6 runs in the 6th but were unable to overtake the Bats.  On Saturday the Tides lost 5-2 with Rick Vanden Hurk giving up 5 runs on 8 hits with the Tides scoring 2 runs in the 7th inning. Vanden Hurk (1-1 2.84 ERA) took the loss.  On Sunday it was another slugfest in which the Tides got out to an early 2-0 lead but saw it melt in a 5 run 5th inning for the Bats against starter Zach Britton.  The Tides would lose by a score of 8-7 when a 9th inning rally fell just short.  Michael Aubrey and Nolan Reimold each had a home run and a double.

The problem for this series was the starting pitching. The four Tides starters gave up 27 (25 earned) runs on 27 hits in a combined 16.2 innings for a 13.88 ERA. Tides relievers on the other hands were very good pitching 15.1 innings allowing 5 runs on 14 hits a 2.98 ERA.  The only reliever that had a bad appearance was Pat Egan who gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 0.2 innings work in the final game of the series. After Thursday’s shutout the Tides scored 16 runs in the next three games collecting 34 hits.

Jim Miller came back off the Inactive List to provide solid relief work, it’s Miller Time again

This series showed the importance of starting pitching to the Tides. Early in the year Tides starters led by Jake Arietta, Chris Tillman and Alfredo Simon were better than the bullpen much of the time and other starters including Troy Patton and Brandon Erbe often lost games pitching well but getting little in the way of run support.

In Baltimore over the weekend the O’s took 2 of 3 from the White Sox and are playing a close game tied 2-2 in the 9th tonight.  Starting pitching and solid hitting have been the difference since Buck Showalter took over. At the same time Showalter’s arrival coincides with the first time in the season that the Orioles are playing healthy with several positions players including Brian Roberts, Luke Scott and Felix Pie back off of the DL and relievers Mike Gonzalez and Koji Uehara back in the lineup after being on the DL extended lengths of time. .

In personnel matters Troy Patton was sent back down today to make room for Craig Tatum, a move designed to bolster the O’s bench and Adam Donachie was brought back up from double A Bowie to the Tides.

Both the Tides and Orioles continue to play tonight and I will write about those games tomorrow.

Blessings,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Drop Pair over Weekend to Iron Pigs

Chris George struck out 11 but left with no decision on Sunday

The Norfolk Tides win streak and hitting barrage stopped on Saturday as the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs defeated the Tides 6-4 on Saturday and 3-2 on Sunday.  On Saturday Chris Tillman made his first start since returning from Baltimore and was hit hard giving up 6 run on 8 hits.  Chris was stung by the long ball giving up a solo shot to John Mayberry in the 2nd inning and a two run homer to Ozzie Smith Chavez in the 3rd inning.  In the 4th inning Tillman gave up a double and three singles before being pulled in favor of Mike Hinckley.  Tillman left the game and relievers Mike Hinckley and Cla Meredith held the Iron Pigs scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Matt Angle has made a lot of money for the Tides as the lead off hitter and leading base stealer

The Tides scored four runs the first coming in the 1st inning when Matt Angle helped manufacture a run by walking, stealing second base and eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly by Michael Aubrey. The Tides came up with nothing more until the 6th inning when Robert Andino singled and stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Lehigh Valley starter Nate Bump.  He scored on a single by Josh Bell.  Nolan Reimold singled and Michael Schwimer replaced Nate Bump. Schwimer threw a wild pitch and which allowed Bell and Reimold to advance.  Brandon Snyder singled to score both men before Schwimer struck out Adam Donachie swinging to end the inning.  The Tides went quietly in the last three innings and the Tides went down to a 6-4 defeat. Chris Tillman (8-5 3.14 ERA) got the loss and Nate Bump (8-4 3.33 ERA) the win.  The Tides had 4 runs on 9 hits with 1 error leaving 4 men on base. The Iron Pigs 6 runs on 11 hits and no errors leaving 6 runners stranded.

Sunday evenings game Chris George faced off against Drew Carpenter. The Tides struck first with 2 runs in the top of the 2nd inning when Michel Hernandez singled and stole second base and came home on a Matt Angle single with Angle advancing to second on the throw.  Robert Andino singled to drive in Angle and the Tides had a 2-0 lead.

Chris George pitched five scoreless innings before giving up 2 runs in the 6th inning.  He allowed 9 hits but struck out 11 Iron Pigs and walked none.  Chris gave up the runs on a single by John Mayberry a double by Chris Aguila which scored Mayberry and an RBI single to Neil Sellers.  Chris would yield in the 7th to Alberto Castillo who put the Iron Pigs down in order striking out 2 batters.

The game would remain tied until the bottom of the 8th inning. Frank Mata who has not been effective since his return from Baltimore walked Mayberry who stole second base and took third on a wild pitch by Mata. Neil Sellers singled to bring Mayberry home before Mata retired the side on a double play. The Tides went down in order in the 9th and to their second defeat in as many days.  Mata (2-2 3.52 ERA) took the loss while reliever Michael Stutes (2-0 3.63 ERA) got the win for the Chiefs with Antonio Bastardo got his 3rd save.  The Tides had 2 runs on 9 hits with 1 error and left 10 men on base.  The Iron Pigs 3 runs on 10 hits and 1 error with 8 men left on base.

These losses have hurt as the Iron Pigs are one of the weaker teams in the league and the Tides had a chance to gain ground or keep even with their Southern Division rivals.  They lead Gwinnett by 1.5 games and trail 2nd place Charlotte by 4.  The formidable and seemingly unstoppable Durham Bulls are up by 10 over the Knights and 14 over the Tides.  The teams will meet Monday with Tim Bascom (2-5 7.39 ERA) on the hill for the Tides while Joe Savery (1-8 5.01 ERA) starts for Lehigh Valley.

In Baltimore Matt Wieters returned to the lineup from the DL and the Orioles optioned catcher Craig Tatum to the Tides. The move is unpopular with many Orioles fans as Tatum is hitting .271 and has played well behind the plate. Kam Mickolio, Brandon Erbe and Jeff Salazar remain on the Tides Disabled List.

Until tomorrow my friends, 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 Lose 9-4 on Tuesday but Romp Wednesday in 10-2 Win over Braves Patton Gets 6th Win

Troy Patton notched his 6th win against the Gwinnett Braves

The Norfolk Tides suffered a bit of a letdown after taking the last three games of their seven game set against Charlotte on Tuesday night losing to the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 9-4.  Tides starter Zach Britton (0-1 2.53 ERA) gave up 4 runs, 3 of which were earned on 7 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. The Tides had 9 hits in the game and collected 5 walks from Braves pitchers but left 9 men on base including 6 left in scoring position the bulk of their runs coming in a 3 run 8th inning but it was not enough as Charlotte hitters dominated Tides pitchers in the first game of their four game series at Cool Ray Field.  The Braves were doing the tomahawk chop on Tuesday on the Tides collecting a total of 14 hits while capitalizing on 2 Tides errors and 6 walks.   Mike Minor (2-0 1.42 ERA) got the win for the Braves.

Robert Andino went 2 for 4 but had 4 RBIs

On Tuesday night the Tides struck back and struck back hard. Behind excellent pitching of Troy Patton (6-8 4.67 ERA) who has continued to get better as the season has worn one and finally is getting run support from the offense.  Patton pitched 7 strong innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits. Walking just 1 and striking out 3. He yielded to Pat Egan who allowed no runs and a hit in the 8th and Denis Sarfate who allowed no hits to close the game in the 9th.  The Braves pitching staff on the other hand was smacked down hard by the Tides hitters. Starter Jo Jo Reyes did a good job lasting 6 innings and giving up just 2 runs on 9 hits striking out 8 Tides batters getting out of a number of jams. However the Braves could not spell “relief” and in the 7th inning Cory Gearrin (0-4 4.80) was blasted for 6 runs on 4 hits including a two run home run by Nolan Reimold and a double by Rhyne Hughes as well as 2 walks. Gearrin lasted but two-thirds of an inning and was relieved by Scott Proctor. Proctor got the 3rd out but gave up a run on 2 hits in the 8th.  Vladimir Nunez came on in the 9th and surrendered another run before getting out of the inning.

Nolan Reimold got his 5th Home run

Besides the Tides pitching the story was the hitting of the Tides. The Tides relentlessly pounded out 17 hits in the game in scoring the 10 runs.  For the first time that I can remember every Tides batter had a hit and a good number multiple hits.  Matt Angle went 3 for 4, Robert Andino 2-4 with 4 RBIs, Rhyne Hughes 2-5 with an RBI, Adam Donachie 3-3 with an RBI and Jonny Tucker 3-4 with 3 RBIs.  Nolan Reimold had a single hit the home run while Paco Figueroa and Blake Davis each picked up hits.

The Tides scored twice in the 3rd inning on a series of singles, but the big damage came in the 7th inning against Cory Gearrin.  Jonny Tucker walked and went to third on a wild pitch. Matt Angle walked and was followed by Robert Andino who singled to score Tucker.  Michael Aubrey came to the plate and singled to score both Angle and Andino taking 2nd on an error by Center Fielder Jordan Schafer.   This brought up Nolan Reimold who belted a home run to left field scoring him and Aubrey.  Rhyne Hughes then doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Donachie.  Tucker doubled to lead off the 8th inning advanced to 3rd on a Matt Angle single and score on a sacrifice fly by Robert Andino. In the 9th inning Adam Donachie doubled and scored on a single by Blake Davis.

All told Troy Patton (6-8 4.67 ERA) got the win, Cory Gearrin (0-4 4.80 ERA) got the loss. The Tides had 10 runs on 17 hits and committed 2 errors leaving 8 men stranded.  The Braves had just 2 runs on 5 hits and an error leaving 5 men on base. The Tides travelled to Durham where tonight they face the division leading Bulls with Zach Clark (0-3 3.06 ERA) on the hill for the Tides and Richard D. De Los Santos (6-4 4.20 ERA) pitching for the Braves.

Chris George was reassigned to AA Bowie and former Tides reliever Ross Wolf who had been traded last month to the A’s AAA farm team the Sacramento River Cats had his contract purchased by the A’s and is now on that major league club. All the best to Ross in Oakland.  Brandon Erbe, Kam Mickolio and Brandon Snyder all remain on the disabled list.

Until the next time,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tillman Throws 1 Hit Shutout Tides Win 2-0

Chris Tillman chalked up another win this time a 1 hit shutout against the Charlotte Knights

Chris Tillman continued his dominance of the International League pitching a one hit shutout against the Charlotte Knights on Monday afternoon.  Tillman (8-4 2.72 ERA) gave up one hit a single to Jordan Danks in the 3rd inning in which Danks was erased in a double play and a 6th inning walk to Danks.  In doing so Tillman faced only 28 hitters throwing 99 pitches of which 64 were strikes.

The Tides offense was minimal but a two run home run by Rhyne Hughes off of Charlotte ace Dan Hudson (11-4 3.47 ERA) in the 4th inning provided the Tides all the offense that they needed due to Tillman’s masterful pitching.  The Tides mustered only 5 hits but they were enough for the win.

Tillman has not lost since returning from his stint in Baltimore where for whatever reason he struggled. I do not think that this was in any means due to his pitching ability but rather self confidence that comes from winning and being on a winning team. In a number of his outings in Baltimore Tillman pitched reasonably well but had no run support from the Orioles offense, something that has plagued every member of the Orioles pitching staff to one degree or another this season even when they pitch well.  Tillman has shown maturity in pitching so well since returning to the Tides, others have not fared so well and not just on the Tides, the minors are littered with pitchers who after being sent back got worse and ended up disappearing from baseball. The psychological blow of being a top prospect, getting to the Majors and then returning to the minors can be devastating, but Tillman has handled this well and I expect that he will return to the Orioles and do quite well once he and the other Orioles pitchers get the badly needed hitting support required if they are to post wins.

As for how the Tides are doing it is a case of making improvements but not yet being consistent in their performance. Their team batting average is .244 still last in the league but only a few points from respectability.  Likewise the team pitching ERA is improving but marginally as with few exceptions the pitching staff has not been consistent case in point being the blown save and win by Tides pitchers on last Thursday where relievers gave up 7 runs in the last three innings after a great start by Troy Patton.  Good performances are subverted by less than stellar performances by others.  There are some pitchers that will need to go unless a marked improvement is shown, particularly Alberto Castillo and Cla Meredith.  I do think that with a little more seasoning that Troy Patton and Brandon Erbe will do fine, Chris George is a keeper and Andy Mitchell while having seen better days is mature and probably a good person to have in the clubhouse and is great in situational relief where his submarine style crosses up batters that have been used to hard throwing overhand pitchers like Tillman.  Jim Miller after a rough start is turning into a winner on a consistent basis and has been solid in middle relief as well as in the closer role, he actually should be more closely looked at by both the Orioles and scouts from other teams.   Armando Gabino has had many good outings and pitched well as a starter and reliever.  Denis Sarfate has been spot on most of the season but something has gotten to him in his last couple of outings so one hopes that he will regain whatever he has lost in the past few games.

Tonight the Tides go down to Georgia with the Tides’ Zach Britton facing Mike Minor of the Braves.

Later,

Peace, Padre Steve

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