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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 Scrap Iron Pigs 8-3 Aubrey Hits 14th Home Run in Twice Rain Delayed Game

Michael Aubrey hit his 14th home run and 8th in the last 8 games on Friday night in Allentown

The Norfolk Tides rolled into Allentown where they once closed the factories down and defeated the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs by a score of 8-3 on hot and humid Friday night.  The game was delayed twice by rain for a total of delay of an hour and six minutes.  Troy Patton started for the Tides and pitched 4 innings allowing only 2 hits and no runs striking out 4 Iron Pigs.  He left following the first delay after having faced only 14 batters and throwing only 56 pitches.  Leaving in after 4 meant that though the Tides were ahead by a 3-0 score Patton did not figure in the decision.

Troy Patton started pitching 4 innings and allowing no runs on 2 hits

The Tides struck first scoring 3 runs in the top of the 2nd inning.  Josh Bell led off the inning by taking Brian Mazone’s 3 and 2 offering and putting it over the left field wall. Rhyne Hughes was then hit by a pitch and with Brandon Snyder at the plate stole 2nd base.  Snyder in the order for the first time since he went on the DL in June took a 2 and 1 offering from Mazone and planted it over the left center field wall.  The game would remain 3-0 until the 7th inning. Troy Patton was followed by relievers Pat Egan, Mike Hinckley and Jim Hoey who held the Iron Pigs scoreless allowing only 3 hits.

Brandon Snyder had a 2 run home run and a double in his return from the DL

In the top of the 7th the Tides struck for 3 more runs.  Michel Hernandez singled to lead off the inning and Robert Andino walked with 2 out. This brought Michael Aubrey to the plate and Aubrey hit a laser like blast over the right field wall on a 1 ball 1 strike count off Iron Pigs reliever Oscar Villareal over the right field wall.  The blast was his 8th home run in the last 8 games, his 14th of the season.  In the last 10 games Aubrey is hitting .353 with 8 homers and 21 RBIs and has a slugging percentage of 1.118 which is basically off the chart.

Josh Bell hit his 11th home run of the season

The Tides scored two more runs in the top of the 8th inning.  With one out Brandon Snyder doubled off of Mike Zagurski and Michel Hernandez drew a walk.  Paco Figueroa singled to right to score Snyder and send Hernandez to 3rd base.  This brought Matt “the Right” Angle to the plate and he singled to drive in Hernandez making the score 8-0.

In the bottom of the 8th the Tides brought in Frank Mata in relief. Mata struggled in his first appearance after being optioned back to the Tides from the Orioles and struggled again Friday night.  In the 8th he gave up back to back doubles to Domonic Brown and Andy Tracy then hit John Mayberry and walked Chris Aguila to load the bases before getting Neil Sellers and Paul Hoover both to pop and then strike out Brian Bocock to end the inning.  Mata returned in the 9th inning and gave up a leadoff double to Chris Duffy and then a one out home run to Domonic Brown.  Mata then struck out Andy Tracy and got John Mayberry to fly out to left fielder Nolan Reimold.

Pat Egan (1-0 7.30 ERA) got the win for the Tides and Brian Mazone (5-11 3.97 ERA) got the loss. The Tides scored 8 runs on 12 hits with one error and left 6 men on base.  The Iron Pigs had 3 runs on 9 hits with no errors and left 11 runners stranded.  The teams meet again tonight with Chris Tillman (8-4 2.72 ERA) on the hill for the Tides and Nate Bump (7-4 3.15 ERA) pitching for the Iron Pigs.

In Tides and Orioles personnel moves Brandon Snyder was activated from the DL and Jonathan Tucker sent to AA Bowie to make room for Snyder.  Brian Roberts was activated in Baltimore and made his first appearance since being injured in April with the Orioles designating Scott Moore for assignment. Moore was quoted that if he clears waivers he would likely sign to remain in the Orioles organization and come back to the Tides.

In an interesting statistical note the Tides now have 88 home runs compared to a season total of 78 in 2009 and 66 in 2008.

Until the next time,

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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Tides Lose Heartbreaker: Drop 5th Straight

Errors and unearned runs have been the bane of the Norfolk Tides this year. On a beautiful night in from of 3292 fans the Tides lost a game despite excellent pitching for their starting pitcher on an unearned run. Last night the Tides lost 4-3 to the Braves but gave up three unearned runs and tonight the Braves scored the deciding run on a throwing error by Tides Second Baseman Scott Moore to first.  Tides starter Alfredo Simon pitched a solid game surrendering just one earned run in the first inning on a little twisting fly ball that was knocked down by the wind and fell in front of Jonathan Tucker by Brent Clevlen which scored Matt Young.  Simon would give up just that one earned run on 7 hits with 5 strike outs in the loss. Simon had an excellent night continues his solid performance for the Tides and might wind up with a mid or late season call up.

For the second night in a row the Tides gave up three errors.  Some of this is due to players like Moore playing out of position. Moore had not played the middle infield before this season and obviously has not adjusted to it.  Of course he is there because Justin Turner was called up to Baltimore when Brian Roberts was injured.

Gwinnett was the beneficiary of an outstanding start by Todd Redmond who pitched 7.1 innings giving up one earned run on 6 hits with 4 strike outs.  Scott Proctor got the two outs in the 8th and Craig Kimbrel got his third save of the year taking the Tides down in order in the ninth.

Joey Gathright grounding out to third. Gathright went 0-4 in Tuesday’s game

The Tides woes at the plate continued Joey Gathright, Scott Moore and Brandon Snyder all were hitless in 4 trips to the plate each.  Robert Andino doubled deep to left center with 2 outs in the bottom of the eighth to drive in Adam Donachie.

Robert Andino getting one of his two hits, a single

The loss drops the Tides to 4 and 9.  The anemic Tides hitting has driven the team batting average to .230 which is third from the bottom in the International League and their team on base percentage is a miserable .304.  In 13 games the Tides have given up 68 runs on 131 hits while scoring 55 runs on 99 hits.

Jeff Salazar doubled in the bottom of the 8th to drive in the only Tides run

Now the Tides have already felt the ripple effect of the glut of injuries at Baltimore.  Lou Montanez, Justin Turner and Kam Mickolio have all replaced injured O’s and Tides Alberto Castillo was brought up when Brad Bergeson was optioned to Norfolk.   The talk is that if Bergeson can get his sinker and confidence back that he may go back up to Baltimore on May 1st to face the Red Sox.  If he is not ready the belief is that Tides starter Jake Arrieta who is not on the 40 man roster could make his major league debut on that day.  In one other personnel move Blake Davis was promoted to the Tides from AA Bowie.

Although the season is very early it appears that the depth, talent and youth of the Tampa Bay Rays organization is paying off big for their International League affiliate the Durham Bulls.  The bulls lead the league in almost every offensive category.  Durham’s pitching is solid giving up only 4 earned runs on 95 hits.  In the past four games the Bulls have produced 39 runs compared with 5 by their opponents. When one looks at the Rays and the Bulls it is clear that unless both are hit with a ton of injuries that the Rays could challenge the Yankees in the AL East and the Bulls could well repeat as the Governor’s Cup Champion.

On Wednesday the Tides will send Troy Patton (0-2  11.12 ERA)  against the Braves’ Ryne Reynoso (0-2  6.30) The weather might be on the soupy side with temperatures in the 60s and 50s and a 50% chance of rain showers.  I’ll be there and hope that you are too!

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose in Durham 10-1 return Home and Killed by Errors Lose to Braves 4-2 and Orioles Report

Jake Arrieta pitched 6 strong innings for the Tides

Well sports fans I didn’t get the post off in time the other night so both Sunday and Monday’s games are covered in this post.

On Sunday evening in Durham the Tides bats went silent and Durham’s bats caught fire again. Tides starter Chris Tillman was stung for 4 runs in the top of the fourth and suffered from control issues giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, hit Ryan Shealy with a pitch and tossed 2 wild pitches and was not helped by a passed by catcher Adam Donachie.  Tillman threw 43 pitches and was removed at the end of the first being replaced by reliever Jeff George. George threw 4 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits, the run coming in the bottom of the 5th when Justin Ruggiano doubled to right to drive in Desmond Jennings. Andy Mitchell came into the game and was hit hard by the Bulls giving up 3 runs in the sixth inning and 2 more in the 7th. The damage in the sixth came as the Bulls got 4 hits, drew a walk and were aided by 2 stolen bases. In the seventh Mitchell could not stop the bleeding and gave up 2 runs on three hits including a double by Alvin Colina.  Frank Mata came into the game in the 8th and retired the side in order. The Tides bats were silent. The only Tides run came from a Rhyne Hughes homer in the top of the first.  Bulls starter Jeremy Hellickson (3-0 1.42) who has dominated both Gwinnett and the Tides gave up just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 8 and walking just 1 in 7.2 innings. Brian Baker closed out the game allowing no runs on no hits.  For the Tides Chris Tillman (0-3 8.38) got the loss giving up 4 runs on 3 hits. Chris George gave up 1 run on two hits and Andy Mitchell was rung up for 5 runs on 6 hits.

Tides Manager Gary Allenson was tossed just prior to the start of the bottom of the Third

On Monday the Tides came home to face their old rival the Gwinnett Braves, a rivalry that has cooled since the Braves left Richmond two years ago.  The Tides started Jake Arrieta (1-0 0.50) who is rapidly becoming the ace of this staff. Jake got his second no-decision of the season pitching 6 innings giving up 2 runs, only one of which was earned on 5 hits striking out 5.  I would not be surprised if Jake continues to mature as fast as he has if he ends up on the Orioles 40 man roster soon.  Ross Wolf (0-1 2.61) got the loss for the Tides giving up 2 runs neither of which was earned on 3 hits in 2 inning s work.  Wolf too has also come a long way since last year and is becoming a reliable middle reliever for the Tides.  Alberto Castillo came in to finish the game for the Tides giving up nothing to the Braves.

Rhyne Hughes singled to up his hitting streak to 11 games

The Tides lost a chance in the third inning when following the ejection of Tides Manager Gary Allenson before the first pitch of the inning arguing a call from the top half of the inning.  Allenson must have questioned third base umpire Lance Barrett’s parentage as well as his eyesight and well after the toss was chewing on Barrett’s ear and if he had been any closer he would have “Van Gough’d” Barrett.  Allenson was relieved as third base coach by Hitting Coach Richie Hebner. With Joey Gathright on first Robert Andino doubled to deep right center. Hebner held Gathright at third even though it was obvious that Joey with his great speed would have been safe and up at the concourse hot dog stand before the throw came in.  Instead both Gathright and Andino were left on base on second and third with no outs when the middle of the order could muster nothing to drive them in.

Joey Gathright singles in the bottom of the 6th. Joey went 2-3 with 2 walks and the RBI

The Tides runs came in the bottom of the sixth when Jonathan Tucker doubled to score Josh Bell and Joey Gathright drove in Tucker. Gathright then stole second and third but was left at third when Robert Andino struck out swinging.

Jake Arrieta rushes to field a bunt

The Tides Roster has seen some changes in the past several days. Lou Montanez was called up to Baltimore to replace Felix Pie in the outfield with Pie on the DL.  Kam Mickolio went up to replace injured Mike Gonzales, Justin Turner to replace injured Brian Roberts and Orioles starting pitcher Brad Bergeson was optioned to Norfolk after a series of poor outing the last against the Mariners where he gave up 7 runs in the 3rd inning.

Braves catcher Gregor Blanco goes down avoiding a high and tight pitch from Arrieta

The Orioles broke their 10 game losing streak in Oakland on Sunday defeating the A’s 8-3 behind the pitching of rookie Brian Matusz who got his second and the Orioles second win of the season. Ty Wiggington provided much of the offensive punch driving in 4 runs and hitting his fourth home run of the season.  On Monday night in Seattle starter Brad Bergeson gave up 7 runs in the bottom of the fourth and the O’s went on to lose to the Mariners 8-2.  The O’s offense once again was provided by Ty Wiggington who hit his 5th home run of the year a solo shot in the top of the 9th against Mariner’s reliever Shawn Kelly.

Tides Left Fielder Jeff Salazar races to make a catch on Monday at Harbor Park

The other run came in the top of the 7th when Luke Scott doubled to break up Seattle starter Doug Fiester’s (2-0 1.42) no hitter and was driven in by catcher Matt Wieter’s. After the game Bergeson (0-2 12.19) was sent down to AAA Norfolk for a tune up.  No related call up from the Tides has been announced.  Tonight Tides starting pitcher Alfredo Simon (1-0 2.00) will go against Gwinnett’s Todd Redmond (1-1 1.93).  I’ll see you there from my pew in Section 102, Row B seat 1. Later in the evening the O’s will send up David Hernandez (0-2 4.91) will face Jason Vargas (1-1 5.56) at Safeco field.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Woe Woe Woe the O’s Woes Continue to Grow

Earl Weaver like him or not knew how to manage and motivate

“The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.” Earl Weaver

Well if you are an Orioles fan like me you have got to be wondering what is going on in Birdland.  The Orioles sports fans are losing and are patently not following the advice of their legendary Orioles skipper Earl Weaver. After a perfectly miserable 2009 season the Orioles looked like they had righted the ship and were ready if not to be competing for the AL East title at least to be competitive and playing .500 ball.  Veteran hitters like Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins were added to the line-up and last year’s crop of rookies including Catcher Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold were expected to start shining.  Additionally with Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis  and Felix Pie in the lineup the hitting drought of last year was expected to end.  In the pitching department great things were expected as the young arms of the O’s supplemented by veteran Kevin Millwood acquired from the Rangers over the winter were also expected to perform at a higher level than last year.

Matt Wieters is developing well for the O’s

Unfortunately no plan survives first contact with the enemy and it looks like the Orioles who definitely have the talent and potential to be competitive need to find a way to win.  After losing their opener in Tampa they won the second game in that series but haven’t seen a win since. They lost the third game in Tampa and returned home to be swept by both the Blue Jays and the Rays before losing last night in Oakland to the surging Athletics.  With a 1 win and 9 losses the O’s are tied with the Houston Astros for the Marianas Trench of Major League Baseball and as of the moment show no sign of coming out of this crash.

Miguel Tejada brought back for his bat leads the O’s in RBIs but is not hitting well for average…yet

The team batting average is only .232 and the have scored a total of 29 runs in their first ten games and their on base percentage is a mere .309.  Neither are they stealing bases with only 3 stolen so far this year. Felix Pie is leading the team in hitting at .400 with a on base percentage of .455 and slugging percentage of .650.  Miguel Tejada leads the team in RBIs with 7 nearly a quarter of the Orioles total run output.  Matt Wieters is showing signs of maturity at the plate hitting .313 and an OBP of .405.  However some of the bats which are expected to deliver have not woken up yet and maybe it is time to invoke prayers to Jobu to wake them up.  Brian Roberts is now on the 15 day Disabled List and has been replaced at second by Justin Turner called up from the O’s AAA affiliate the Norfolk Tides.

Big Righthander Kam Mickolio was Brought up for injured Mike Gonzales

The pitching staff widely regarded as having some of the best arms and potential in the majors has fared no better with a 4.89 ERA giving up the most hits with 97 hits to their opponents in these ten games and they have allowed 32 walks. In one area the pitching staff is doing well, the can strike out opponents ranking third in the majors with 80.  Kevin Millwood leads the staff with a 2.13 ERA while rookie Brian Matusz has the team’s only win and leads the team with 15 strike outs.  The biggest disappointment has been newly acquired closer Mike Gonzalez.  Gonzales has blown two saves and lost both games and has an 18.0 ERA.  He is on the 15 day DL and the O’s have called up Kam Mickolio from Norfolk as a middle relief man while moving Jim Johnson to the closer role.

Now it is certainly very early in the season but losses in April count just the same as losses in September and losing nine of your first ten games puts you in a very deep hole to start the season.  However at this point one has to start asking what is going on. The O’s are a very talented team and by all rights should be doing much better than their record and statistics suggest.

Orioles Manager Dave Trembley….”Nice guys…finish last?”

At the end of last year I laid the blame on Orioles Manager Dave Trembley.  As I said then:

“The one spot that I think that the team needs a change is the Field Manager Dave Trembley.  Trembley seems to be a good teacher but is not terribly inspirational.  Admittedly he began the year with a weak squad but something is not working and I do like his calm, but I wonder if the teams needs fire rather than calm right now.  My choice would be for the O’s to make a serious offer for Bobby Valentine now that he has returned from Japan.”

From “Oh, Oh, Oh O’s….The Orioles Skid Continues….” September 29th 2009 at  https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/oh-oh-oh-o%e2%80%99s%e2%80%a6-the-orioles-skid-continues-but-there-are-some-bright-spots/

Please do not get me wrong. I think a lot of Dave Trembley, however the team seems to have little life and it is my opinion that a very motivational manager with proven success at all levels of baseball like Bobby Valentine would be an ideal choice to manage the Orioles.  With so much of the season left I do not think anything is gained by keeping Trembley at the helm.  Now is it possible that Tremblay and his managerial style could turn the team around….certainly.  He is popular with the players a gentleman and a very nice person but I’m not so sure that he is the man to make this happen.  In addition to Valentine Clint Hurdle who has managed at Norfolk and led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007 is coaching at Texas and if one wanted a Baltimore connection there is Don Baylor who is currently the hitting coach for the Rockies.  If an interim manager is needed the Orioles could reach down to AAA Norfolk for Tides manager Gary Allenson who has the advantage of having worked with many of the younger O’s for the last four years and managed the Bluefield Orioles of the Appalachian League as well as the Ottawa Lynx before they moved to Norfolk and became the Tides.  He has a long history of managing in the minors and it may be his time to hit the bigs.

Norfolk Tides Manager Gary Allenson might be a good interim manager should the Orioles fire Trembley

Regardless of what course the Orioles take it is imperative that they start winning. Success breads success and as Chuck Tanner said: “I don’t think a manager should be judged by whether he wins the pennant, but by whether he gets the most out of the twenty-five men he’s been given.” Unfortunately I don’t think that Dave Tremblay is getting the most of this very talented young team and even though it is very early in the season it is not too soon to make the change at the top.  As Leo Durocher said “What are we out at the park for, except to win?”

I’m hoping that the Birds will turn it around soon.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Bats Come Back to Life: Tides Crush Knights 9-0

Jake Arrieta Got his First Win of 2010

Well sports fans I was not able to make the afternoon game at Harbor Park this afternoon a little thing called work got in the way, however between counseling young sailors I was able to listen to the game in the internet and thus still kept my finger to the pulse of the Tides.  Speaking of the “pulse” the Tides bats which were dead on arrival last night came back to life as if resurrected by the Lord himself.  Part of this may have been due to the weather which was a bit more temperate and a whole lot less wet than last night proving once again if you don’t like the weather in Hampton Roads wait five minutes.

Tides starter and Orioles hot prospect Jake Arrieta pitched seven innings shutting down the Knights allowing only 3 hits while striking out five.  Knight’s starter, International League MVP and White Sox prospect Carlos Torres who had shut down the Gwinnett Braves last week in his first start of 2010 allowed 4 runs on 6 hits giving up 3 walks taking the loss in front of 3002 fans and one that was not in the ball park.  Guess who?

The game was a study in contrast compared with the last two games against the Knights.  Today the Tides could do nothing wrong and the Knights; well their day was very dark, much like the Tides outing last night only this happened in broad daylight.  The Knights only got 4 hits and were held to no runs by Arrieta and Ross Wolf and had their usually solid Shortstop Brent Lillibridge make two errors on the way to the loss and the Knights left 6 runners on base.  I guess that their prayers to Jobu didn’t get answered.

The Tides barrage began in the bottom of the second inning when Rhyne Hughes singled to right and Michael Aubrey doubled to right.  If this had happened last night they would have died on the bases but not today.  Robert Andino singled to break his hitless streak and drove in Hughes to give the Tides their first lead in three games.  Adam Donachie hit a sacrifice fly to right which scored Michael Aubrey and the Tides were up 2-0.  Joey Gathright walked and then Jonathan Tucker flied to center advancing Andino to third.  Jeff Salazar singled to center scoring Andino and advancing Gathright to second.  Scott Moore kept up his solid hitting singling on a soft line drive to left scoring Gathright.  Salazar was out at home trying to score to end the inning.

The third through the bottom of the 7th inning were uneventful for both teams with Arrieta continuing to take down Knights batters although the Tides left 2 runners on base in the bottom of the sixth. Wes Whisler replaced Torres for the Knights in the top of the sixth.  In the bottom of the 7th the Tides started took advantage of Whisler surrendering two walks to Jonathan Tucker and Brandon Snyder bringing Rhyne Hughes.  Hughes has hit well for the Tides and today crushed a drive over the right field fence for a three run home run making the Tides lead 7-0.

In the 8th the Tides brought in Dennis Sarfate to relieve Arrieta and following his last warm up pitch he came out of the game with an apparent injury to his side. No details have been released on the Tides website or Facebook page so we will have to wait and see what the injury is and hope that it does not stop him as he has pitched magnificently in his first two relief appearances.  Ross Wolf then came in to relieve Sarfate. Wolf gave up a single but no runs and the Tides returned in the bottom of the 8th to continue their drubbing of the Knights.  Charlotte closer Ryan Braun came in to relieve Whisler and found no success. Robert Andino reached on Lillibridge’s second error of the game going to second on an errant throw to first.  Adam Donachie was out on a fly ball to Jordan Danks in center and both Joey Gathright and Jonathan Tucker walked to load the bases.  Jeff Salazar then walked to bring Andino across the plate and Scott Moore hit a sacrifice fly to center which scored Gathright.  The inning ended when Brandon Snyder flied out to Knights Right Fielder Josh Kroeger.

Wolf came out to finish the game in a non-save situation in the top of the 9th inning striking out Stefan Gartrell and Josh Kroeger to start the inning. Dayan Viciedo singled to right to prolong the inning before Brent Lillibridge grounded to Third Baseman Scott Moore who threw to Jonathan Tucker at second to force out Viciedo to end the game.

Arrieta and Wolf pitched one of the best games for the Tides in recent memory combining for the shutout striking out 8 Knights and walking only 2 while scattering 5 hits. Scott Moore, Michael Aubrey and Rhyne Hughes continue to lead the Tides offense with big hits in key situations.

With the victory the Tides put an end to a three game losing streak and brought their record back to 3 wins and 4 losses.  The Tides travel to Durham where tomorrow for a four game series where they will face the Bulls with Alfredo Simon on the hill for the Tides and Jeff Bennett who the Tides kicked around last week on the hill for the Bulls.

On the personnel side of the house Kam Mickolio was promoted to the Orioles to replace closer Mike Gonzales who was placed on the 15 day disabled list by the O’s joining Justin Christian who was promoted when Brian Roberts went on the DL.  The Tides return to Norfolk on Monday for a four game home stand against the Gwinnett Braves.  In Baltimore the Orioles lost their sixth straight game losing to the Rays 9-1 prior to traveling west for a series with the hot Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners.  The O’s are struggling early to find their center.  They have a tremendous amount of talent and one wonders what is going on in the minds of the Orioles coaching staff and management.  My guess is that if Manager Dave Trembley does not right the ship soon that he may be out sooner rather than later because frankly the Orioles are not this bad of a team.

See you at Harbor Park on Monday where the Weather Channel is predicting a high of 66 with clear skies and evening low of 52.  Of course this is Hampton Roads so keep your weather guessing skills sharp as we might have a blizzard or hurricane instead. If you are around section 102 at Harbor Park come up and say “hello” to me.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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