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Giants Down Tigers: Take 3-0 Lead in Series

Hunter Pence Scores in Game 3 (SF Chronicle- Lance Iverson)

This was not the way anyone thought that this series would go. Detroit’s hitters would feast on Giants pitching that had not been as dominant as it has in years past and the weak hitting Giants would knuckled under beneath the Tigers’ starting pitching.

Barry Zito (AP Photo: David J Phillip) 

The Freak in Relief: Tim Lincecum (Getty Images: Doug Pensinger)

Sergio Romo (USA Today Photo: Kelley L Cox)

Madison Bumgarner (Sacramento Bee Photo)

The Journeyman: Ryan Vogelsong 15 Teams in 14 Years (SF Chronicle- Lance Iverson)

No one expected that the Giants would score 8 runs in game, plastering Justin Verlander or that Barry Zito would dominate. Nor did anyone think that Madison Bumgarner who had struggled in the playoffs would do the same. Then there was Tim Lincecum coming out of the bullpen to dominate the mid to late innings when needed, finally Ryan Vogelsong pitched his way out of trouble on a number of occasions to get the win in Game 3. No one expected that the Tigers could not beat a Giants team that only scored 2 runs each in Game 2 and Game 3, but they were shut out in those games. The Giants have held the Tigers to just 7 hits in the last 18 innings and just one extra base hit, that in the first inning of Game 2. Sergio Romo has come into his own in the closer role getting saves in each of the last two games.

The Panda, Pablo Sandoval Goes Deep in Game One (AP Photo: David J Phillip)

The Giants pitching has been superb but then there is the Panda. Pablo Sandoval who is hitting .636 with three home runs in the World Series and has 23 hits in the post season including 6 home runs and 5 doubles and 13 RBI. Other Giants have come up when they needed to in clutch situations but the Panda has been outstanding at the plate and at 3rd base.

Gregor Blanco (AP Photo)

Buster Posey Tags out Prince Fielder on a key play in the 2nd inning of Game 2 (AP Photo David J Phillip)

Then there are the fundamentals. Defense, small ball and base running. The Giants have done both well, only one error in the first three games that almost was an out. Gregor Blanco in Left Field has had an amazing defensive series robbing Detroit hitters of what looked to be sure hits at key junctures.

So the Giants now stand one victory away from their second World Series title since 2010.  No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the World Series. Yes anything can happen in baseball and the Tigers are an excellent team, but right now they seem totally out of sync at the plate and could not support excellent outings by Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez.

Sunday Matt Cain will face Max Scherzer in Game 4. Cain won Game 5 in the NLDS against the Reds and Game 7 against the Cardinals in the NLCS. The possibility of a sweep looms large, something that if it does happen that no one saw coming.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose Opener in Georgia 7-2 Leave 9 Runners in Scoring Position; Orioles defeat Yankees 5-4 at Camden Yards

Brandon Hicks went 1 for 3 on Tuesday Night

The Norfolk Tides went down to Georgia to open their series against the Gwinnett Braves in cool and windy weather under a cloudy night sky more reminiscent of Norfolk than suburban Atlanta in front of 2547 fans at Gwinnett County Coolray Field.  The Tides hoped to come off of a loss in the final game of their series against Charlotte on Monday to restart their recent winning streak against the Braves but that did not happen as the Braves defeated the Tides 7-2 behind the solid pitching of four Braves pitchers who allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits despite walking 7 Tides batters.

Brandon Erbe fell to 0-4 continuing to struggle at AAA

Tides starter Brandon Erbe went down to Georgia seeking his first win of the season but got in trouble early walking Matt Young to lead off the inning followed by a single to Gregor Blanco, another walk this time to Freddie Freeman and a bases loaded single to Brent Clevlen which drove in Young and Blanco.  He gave up a third run in the 2nd inning when Wes Timmons and J C Boscan both singled and Timmons was driven home by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Matt Young.

The Tides would get a run back in the top of the 4th inning when Josh Bell doubled on a sharp line drive to center and was advanced to third on a single by Scott Moore.  Braves catcher J C Boscan allowed a pitch by Braves starter Tim Gustafson to get by him giving Moore the chance to take second base. With two on and no outs Brandon Snyder grounded out to short scoring Bell.  The Tides mustered nothing else in the fourth as Corey Patterson flied to left and Justin Turner grounded into a Fielder’s Choice in which Moore was out at third.

Joey Gathright went 2 for 4 with a double

The Braves took that run back in the bottom of the fourth as Brandon Erbe’s woes continued.  Erbe walked Brandon Hicks and Wes Timmons. J C Boscan dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt that Tides Catcher Adam Donachie fielded but who only had a play at first.  This advanced Hicks and Timmons and brought Matt Young to the plate.  Young hit a sacrifice fly to Left Fielder Joey Gathright scoring Hicks.  Erbe want to the showers when he gave up a walk to Gregor Blanco.  Chris George entered the game to get the final out.

In the top of the 5th the Tides got another run when Adam Donachie singled, Joey Gathright doubled and Robert Andino hit a sacrifice fly to right which scored Donachie.

With the score 4-2 and the Tides looking to get back into the game the Braves literally “stole” the game and put a stake in the heart of the Tides hopes for the night. Chris George who has been a solid middle reliever this year walked the first batter Brent Clevlen and then got Mitchell Jones looking.  George then walked Joe Thurston.  The Braves then pulled off a double steal which advanced Clevlen to third and Thurston to second.  George then got Brandon Hicks to strike out and intentionally walked Wes Timmons.  With the bases loaded J C Boscan hit a soft fly to right which fell for a hit and scored Clevlen and Thurston and advanced Timmons to third.  With Matt Young batting Wes Timmons did what is seldom done and on a double steal attempt stole home for the third run of the inning.

The game would finish with the Braves using three relievers beginning in the top of the 6th inning to shut down the Tides.  The Tides would make an 8th inning rally attempt which fell short with the bases loaded.  Ross Wolf came on for the Tides to pitch the 6th and 7th innings and Frank Mata closed out the game with neither pitcher allowing any Braves runs.  Braves pitching was adequate Tim Gustafson (1-1 6.75) got the win giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and two walks. Both teams committed an error.

For the Tides Joey Gathright went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Brandon Snyder and Jeff Salazar each had an RBI.  Brandon Erbe got the loss dropping to 0-4 on the season with an 8.35 ERA.  Brandon gave up 4 runs on 6 hits walking 5 in 3.2 innings work. Chris George (1-0 4.50) had his first bad outing of the year going only one and a third innings giving up 3 runs on 1 hit with two walks.  The story for the Tides was the inability to score runs. They left eleven men on base and had eleven in scoring position of which only one the Tides brought home.

The Tides and Brave meet tonight at 7:05 PM with Chris Tillman (1-3 6.11) taking the Hill for the Tides and James Parr (1-1 3.48) on the hill for the Braves.

Alberto Castillo got his first win of the year in Baltimore against the Yankees

Meanwhile at Camden Yards the Orioles got their first home win of the season as well as their first winning streak by defeating the Champion New York Yankees and their wrecking crew holding on to win 5-4.  It was a night where former Norfolk Tides shined to secure the win.   In the 6th inning Rhyne Hughes continued to shine beginning an Orioles rally with a RBI single, this was followed by one by Nolan Reimold and Cesar Izturis.  Recent Tides Alberto Castillo got the win and Alfredo Simon in his appearance as an Oriole got the save.  Tonight the Yankees send C C Sabathia against the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie.

We’ll see how the night goes.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides fall to Braves 8-3 Erbe gets Third Loss

Jeff Salazar seen on Tuesday hit his second home run in as many days

After winning convincingly on Wednesday night the Norfolk Tides could not repeat and fell to the Gwinnett Braves 8-3 on a sunny spring afternoon at Harbor Park in front of 4375 fans.  While fog enshrouded the home of the Tides in the morning it had dissipated by game time to reveal a beautiful day for a baseball game. I personally don’t give a kilo of Limburger cheese if the rest of the country is focused on the NFL Draft tonight as I prefer Gordon Biersch draft beer, preferably Czech Pilsner and the Church of Baseball to football in general.  However I also enjoy the seasonal so long as it is not a Weizen and my mind and heart still believe the baseball is the true love of the Deity Herself and that she finds football in all forms only a mildly interesting metaphor for the Valley of Megiddo, but I digress.

After a convincing win on Wednesday night Tides starter Brandon Erbe (0-3 7.98) gave three runs in the top of the first inning on three hits and two more in the fourth on three hits.  All told Erbe gave up 5 runs on 7 hits however he gave up two home runs to Tides killer Freddie Freeman who hit his third home run of this series and doubles to Gregor Blanco, Mitch Jones and Jean Boscan.  The Braves would score 3 runs off of reliever Andy Mitchell before Jim Miller stood into his closer role in the bottom of the eighth giving up one hit and no runs.

Brandon Erbe continues to struggle

The Tides did have some hitting; Jeff Salazar hit a two run shot in the bottom of the third driving in Joey Gathright.  Rhyne Hughes hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fourth.  The Tides would muster no more runs although Joey Gathright would double in the fifth.  The Braves had 8 runs on 13 hits with no errors and the Tides 3 runs on 8 hits with two errors one of which a throwing error by Second Baseman Blake Davis resulted in a Braves run.

Brandon Erbe took the loss, his third of the young season and one has to wonder if it is a matter of confidence or mechanics that is the root cause of his lack of success. I would lean toward being uncomfortable in his first start and then lost his confidence and has not regained it. Andy Mitchell gave up one earned run on 3 hits in two innings of relief work and Jim Miller reprising his closer role from the first half of 2009 where he made the International League All-Star team allowed no runs on one hit.

With the loss the Tides fall to 5 wins and 10 losses falling 7 games behind the Durham Bulls who appear to a be the league Leviathan who are 12-3 and have scored 98 runs on 155 hits devastating many of their opponents with lopsided double digit wins.  Their pitching has been equally dominating allowing the fewest hits and the second best ERA in the League.  With the Tampa Bay Rays looking good and appearing deep the Bulls could well be on their way to repeating their 2009 AAA Championship and lead their nearest division competitor the Charlotte Knights by five games.

International League Southern Division April 22nd 2010

TEAM         W      L      PCT       GB

Durham     12      3     .800         –

Charlotte    7       8     .467     5.0

Gwinnett    6       9    .400      6.0

Norfolk       5     10   .333       7.0

Unfortunately I had to work and had to catch snippets of the game between meetings and patient visits on MiLB Game Day.  The Tides will travel to Charlotte for a four game set against the Knights beginning Friday night which kicks off an eight game road trip which will also take them to Gwinnett. Chris Tillman (0-3 8.38) will try for his first win of the year going up against Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell (1-1 5.82) who defeated the Tides on the 13th allowing no runs and five hits in six innings work.

The Tides have added Left Handed Pitcher Pedro Viola who the Orioles picked up off waivers from Cincinnati.  Viola provides a badly needed left handed arm for the Tides bullpen and will be on the Orioles 40 man roster.  With Alberto Castillo and Kam Mickolio called to Baltimore and Dennis Sarfate on the DL the Tides bullpen has lost some of its power pitchers and the Tides have but two left handed pitchers on their roster.

The Tides for better or worse are inexorably bound to the fortunes of their parent club the Baltimore Orioles who have taken some major losses to injuries and are struggling.  While I believe that they will recover for the time being they have been forced to call upon the Tides incredibly early in the season for position players as well as pitchers, something that was not expected.  will return to Harbor Park on May 1st to face the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

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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