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Tides nip Tribe 2-1 in 11th Inning on solid Pitching and Clutch Hitting

Rick Vanden Hurk pitched 8 innings of 3 hit ball

The Norfolk Tides concluded an otherwise dismal road trip with a 2-1 11 inning victory over the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday night.  The key to the Tides victory was pitching as Earl Weaver said “the only thing that matters is what happens on the little hump out in the middle of the field.”  Starter Rick Vanden Hurk pitched 8 outstanding innings allowing 1 ruin on 3 hits, the run coming on the only hits he allowed in the game, successive singles to Pedro Ciriaco, Brian Friday and Kevin Melillo.  With the exception of a walk to Brian Friday in the bottom of the 6th inning he allowed no other base runners.  He threw 103 pitches with 73 being strikes, an amazing strike to pitch ratio in anyone’s book.

Vanden Hurk came out of the game in the 9th and relievers Alberto Castillo, Frank Mata and Denis Sarfate all pitched an inning of scoreless relief allowing no hits with Castillo and Sarfate each walking a batter.  Mata (3-2 3.07 ERA) got the win and Sarfate (2-1 S15 3.07) got his 15th save of the year.

The Tides got 9 hits but manages just the two runs but that was all that they needed to secure the win.  In the top of the 6th inning Brandon Snyder doubled and moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Moore and scored on a Paco Figueroa single.

The score remained tied until the 11th inning with neither team able to connect the dots to score a run.  In the one out in the top of the 11th Paco Figueroa doubled on a pop up that was missed by Second Baseman Brian Friday.  He advanced to third base on a ground ball out to first base by Jeff Salazar and with Robert Andino at the plate scored on a wild pitch by Indians’ reliever Jean Machi.  The Indians were then sent down by Denis Sarfate to end the game.  The Tides had 2 runs on 9 hits with no errors, the Indians 1 run on 3 hits with 2 errors.  Machi (5-4 4.17 ERA) took the loss for the Tribe.

The Tides return home to Harbor Park tonight for Navy Night against the Charlotte Knights with Troy Patton back on the hill for the Tides facing Brandon Hynick (1-2 7.03 ERA).  On the roster the Chris George who injured his elbow against the Indians on Tuesday was placed on the 7 Day DL.

In other news the Tides and Orioles announced a four year extension of their Player Development Agreement/ Affiliation that will go through the 2014 season.  Double A Bowie and Advanced Single A Frederick announced similar deals.

See you at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.

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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Tillman Sharp as Tides end Skid Defeat Indians 9-1; Orioles take 3 of 4 from White Sox and crush Tribe Tuesday 14-8

Chris Tillman got his 9th Win on Monday

Chris Tillman pitched well on Monday night in Indianapolis to pick up his 9th win of the season and his first in four starts since returning from Baltimore. Tillman pitched 6.2 innings allowing 1 run on 8 hits, striking out 9 and walking only one in the outing.  The Tides hitters continued to hit well pounding out 9 runs on 15 hits tearing up the Indians pitching staff. Matt Angle went 4 for 5 with a double, triple and 2 RBIs, Robert Andino went 2 for 5 but had 2 triples and an RBI, Brandon Snyder went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs while Adam Donachie had an RBI double and Scott Moore a 2 run home run.

Brandon Snyder doubled twice with 2 RBIs Monday

The Tides took a 2-0 lead on Scott Moore’s 6th home run of the season in the second inning and never looked back. They added another in the 3rd when Robert Andino tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Salazar.  The 4th inning was a big inning for the Tides as they sent 8 batters to the plate and scored 4 runs.  Brandon Snyder led off the inning with a double and Scott Moore walked. Adam Donachie laid down a sacrifice bunt to send the runners to 2nd and 3rd base with 1 out. Paco Figueroa singled to score Snyder and send Moore to 3rd base.  Matt Angle tripled to score Moore and Figueroa.  Starter Jeremy Powell then hit Andino and was replaced by Dana Eveland. Jeff Salazar had a sacrifice fly to score Angle before Nolan Reimold grounded into a force out to end the inning. The Tides scored an insurance run in the 6th when Matt Angle singled and scored on Robert Andino’s second triple of the game and a final run in the top of the 9th when Brandon Snyder hit his 2nd double and was driven in by Adam Donachie who doubled.

The Indians scored just 1 run in the bottom of the 4th inning on consecutive singles by Brandon Moss, John Bowker and Mitch Jones.

The Tides rolled to the win with Chris Tillman (9-7 3.45 ERA) notching the victory and Jeremy Powell (8-8 5.24 ERA) the loss.  The Tides had 9 runs on 15 hits and no errors leaving 11 men on base, the Indians 1 run on 8 hits with 8 runners left stranded.  The Tides sent 47 batters to the plate in the effort.

Jake Arietta got his 4th win as the O’s won their 7th win under Buck Showalter

In Baltimore the Orioles closed out their series with the White Sox winning on a walk off home run by Brian Roberts to give the O’s their 6th win in 7 games and a series win over the Sox following their sweep of the Angels. The Orioles played tonight in Cleveland winning 14-8 with Jake Arietta getting the win. The O’s had home runs from Felix Pie, Luke Scott, Matt Wieters and Corey Patterson. The O’s had 13 hits in the effort and improved their record to 39 and 74 and are not far from climbing out of the Marianas Trench of Major League Baseball.  It is amazing to see the turn around on the O’s since the hiring of Buck Showalter as manager making their record under him 7-1.  The Orioles hitting has come alive after a relatively dismal season and now their starting pitchers are getting good starts.

The Tides are losing 10-6 in Indianapolis as this is published.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win Monday 4-1 lose bid for Sweep of Indians 5-3 Tuesday Afternoon

Rick Vanden Hurk got the win Monday for the Tides

The Norfolk Tides had a chance to sweep a series but were unable to do so but took the series from the Indianapolis Indians by 3 games to one.  It was an interesting series the Tides took the first two games in comeback winds and on Monday never trailed. Tuesday was another matter as the Tides got behind early and could not come from behind as they had on Saturday and Sunday.

Brandon Snyder hits a 2 run home run in the 4th inning

On a beautiful Monday night newly acquired Rick Vanden Hurk taking the place of new promoted Troy Patton pitched 7 strong innings giving up just 1 run on 4 hits striking out four enroute to the victory. Hewould be backed up by strong relief performances by Frank Mata in the 8th inning and Denis Sarfate closing the game and getting the save by striking out the side in the 9th.

Denis Sarfate got his 14th save striking out Jim Negrych for the final out

The only run given up by Vanden Hurk came in the 3rd inning when Luke Carlin led off the inning with a double and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Friday, He scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Melillo before retiring the side.  The Tides took an early lead in the 2nd inning off of Indians starter Michael Crotta. Nolan Reimold walked and Scott Moore singled with one out.  After Brandon Snyder was retired on a fly ball to right catcher Craig Tatum tripled to score Reimold and Scott before Paco Figueroa struck out swinging to end the inning.  The Tides would pick up two more runs in the 4th inning. Nolan Reimold singled and stole 2nd base. He was followed by Brandon Snyder who crushed Crotta’s pitch over the left field wall into the Indian’s bullpen to give the Tides a 4-1 lead which they never relinquished.

Rick Vanden Hurk got the win (1-0 1.29 ERA) and Michael Crotta (5-6 4.90 ERA) the loss. Denis Sarfate got his 14th save and lowered his ERA to 3.29.  The Indians had 1 run on 5 hits with no errors leaving 5 men on base.  The Tides 4 runs on 5 hits with 1 error once again relying on the long ball for the win.

On Tuesday afternoon the Tides sent Chris Tillman to the hill. Chris was hit hard in the first inning giving up 4 runs on 6 hits also giving up a wild pitch and a costly throwing error.  He did recover and threw 4 more innings giving up 3 more hits and no runs before being pulled at the end of the inning having throw 81 pitches.  It is my opinion that mentally Chris has not recovered from the last “bungi-cord” trip to Baltimore when in two appearances he threw a magnificent game including 6 no-hit innings on the big hitting Texas Rangers before being hit hard by the Minnesota Twins.  I for the life of me I cannot understand why the Orioles have not been more patient at the major league level with Tillman who is still only 22 years old.  Hopefully he will get his chance under Buck Showalter a manager with much experience dealing with young pitchers.

Matt Angle went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI on Tuesday

The Tides bullpen had another strong night with Armando Gabino going 2 scoreless innings, Alberto Castillo gave up a run in the 8th facing 3 batters giving up a walk and hit before being relieved by Pat Egan who gave up a double to send one of Castillo’s runners to score with Castillo being chaged with the run.  In the 9th inning Jim Hoey entered the game getting the final two outs allowing no runs and no hits.

The Tides scored their 3 runs in the 6th inning.  Brandon Snyder walked and Michel Hernandez singled. Paco Figueroa laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.  Matt Angle singled to score Snyder and Jeff Salazar hit a sacrifice fly to score Hernandez. Matt Angle stole second and scored on Robert Andino’s single.  They would not score again and the game and the Tides three game winning streak were over, the Tides going down to the Indians by a score of 5-3.  The Indians had 5 runs on 11 hits with no errors and the Tides 3 runs on 6 hits with 1 error.  Chris Tillman (8-7 3.61 ERA)  got the loss, his third since coming back from Baltimore and Jeremy Powell (8-7 4.79 ERA) the win.  The Tides have Wednesday off and begin a four game series against the Louisville Bats on Thursday.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Go Paco Go! Tides Win on Figueroa’s Walk-off Double with 2 out in Bottom of 11th

Paco Figueroa hits his game winning double

On a beautiful night the fans at Church of Baseball Harbor Park Parish were treated to an outstanding pitcher’s duel and probably the most exciting finish to a game at Harbor Park.  In front of a crowd of 8247 excited fans the Norfolk Tides and the Indianapolis Indians played an outstanding ball game that was full of suspense and excitement.

Tides starter Tim Bascom got off to a rough start walking Kevin Melillo to lead off the inning and with 2 outs give up a home run that banged off of the right field scoreboard to Brandon Moss to give the I-Tribe a 2-0 lead.  After that Bascom settled down giving up only 2 more hits and 2 walks in 6.2 innings work.

Craig Tatum cross home with the winning run

The Indians starter Brian Burres gave up just 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings work. The Tides got their first run in the 7th inning off of Burres when Nolan Reimold walked and stole second base and with two outs catcher Craig Tatum got his first hit in a Tides uniform a single that scored Reimold.

Tim Bascom pitched 6.2 innings allowing just 3 hits

Alberto Castillo came on with 2 outs in the top of the 7th and retired the side and sent the Indians down in order in the 8th with 2 strikeouts.  Indians reliever Corey Hamman gave up a single to Robert Andino with one out but got out of the inning when Jeff Salazar hit into a double play.  Frank Mata came in at the top of the 9th for the Tides and gave up a walk but allowed no runs or hits.  In the bottom frame the Indians send up Jean Machi to attempt to save the game and secure the win and it looked like he would do it with ease.  Machi retired both Scott Moore and Nolan Reimold but then gave up a single to Rhyne Hughes who stole 2nd base.  Machi then struck out Brandon Snyder on a wild pitch which went to the backstop and Snyder hustled down the line to first base and Hughes alertly took third base.  Craig Tatum then hit a soft grounder to the right side of the infield that Indians First Baseman Jonathan Van Every bobbled for an error allowing Hughes to score and Tatum to take first base.  Still with two outs the Tides sent Paco Figueroa to the plate as the crowd chanted “Go Paco Go!” and on the first pitch Paco hit a sinking line drive that looked as if it would fall for a hit that would score Snyder. Instead Tides fans hopes were dashed for the inning when Right Fielder Mitch Jones made a sliding catch to end the inning.

Armando Gabino notched his 7th win of the season against no losses

The game entered extra innings and the Tides brought in Armando Gabino to pitch in the 10th inning.  Gabino who has been rock solid and the undiscovered gem of the Tides bullpen blew the Indians down in order in the top of the 10th inning.  In the bottom half of the inning the Tides threatened with Robert Andino and Scott Moore on 2nd and third with 2 outs Nolan Reimold plastered a deep fly ball to left which was caught near the warning track by outfielder Kevin Melillo for the 3rd out.

Gabino gave up a hit in the top of the 11th but pitched out of the inning to keep the score tied at two.  In the bottom half of the 11th and reliever Brian Bass came was sent to the hill by the Indians.  He retired Reimold and Snyder before giving up a walk to Craig Tatum.  With each inning the cheering of the crowd had been getting louder and Paco Figueroa came to the plate with fans chanting “Go Paco Go!”  Figueroa worked the count full Figueroa hit a deep drive to the warning track that went for a double, scored Tatum and ended the game.  The atmosphere in the park was electric as the Tides ran onto the field to congratulate Figueroa and fans standing and cheering.

Armando Gabino (7-0, S2 2.18 ERA) got the win and Bass (2-3 4.11 ERA) the loss. The Indians had 2 runs on 5 hits with 1 error leaving 6 men stranded. The Tides 3 runs on 6 hits with no errors stranding 10.  The teams meet tonight with Zach Britton (1-1 2.28 ERA) pitching for the Tides and Charlie Morton (3-4 4.82ERA) on the hill for the Indians.

In personnel moves the Orioles called up Josh Bell to replace Miguell Tejada who was traded to the Padres. Troy Patton was called up to replace Will Ohman who was traded to Florida for minor league reliever Rick Vanden Hurk with Vanden Hurk being assigned to the Tides.

I’m on the way to the ballpark on a soggy Sunday.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Blowouts…The Days (or years) you want to forget…But Need to Learn From

not a happy camperHow I feel after a blowout

It’s no fun to get blown out in any game or life.  Losing sucks no matter how you try to cushion it by saying, “well we almost won” or “gee if only we had…” or “they got lucky, we should have won.” Blowouts on the other hand leave you little to console yourself with.  You lose and you lose badly.  In baseball this usually means that the other team has shredded your pitching staff and that your defense stinks as fielders make fielding and throwing errors, your pitcher throws wild pitches with men on 3rd and your offense dries up like a West Texas lawn in July.   This happened to the Tides Thursday afternoon as they were ripped by Indianapolis 11-3 and it wasn’t that close.  Starter Andy Mitchell who entered the game at 9-2 gave up 8 runs in 4 innings work.  The Tides hitters didn’t come through after a series of comebacks the previous three games.  This happens in the Major Leagues as well. Back on July 22nd the Athletics beat the Twins 16-1; the 18th the Braves beat the Mets 11-0 and back on the 6th the Phillies beat the Reds 22-1.  Being on the receiving end of such a whacking is painful.  The key is what you do with it.  As teams, organizations and individuals everyone will get beaten up once in a while and it takes character and strength to get back out the next day and give it your best when the temptation is to give in to go through the motions and just hope to make it through.

Blowouts in life can come in many ways, health, finances, work situations and relationships.  Sometimes they are our own doing and the results of our choices.  The times I have had the most problems have often been self inflicted because I couldn’t keep my trap shut when I should have either shut up or found a safe place to vent.  In my years in the military and watching baseball I have seen a lot of this.  Likewise there are people who live on the edge and consistently do things that are known to be illegal or unethical within their organization or sport and eventually get caught.  Unfortunately these are not usually the untalented and unmotivated people whose contribution to their team or work environment is to suck up band width and perfectly good oxygen that others could be using to better effect.  The sad thing is that those who push the envelope are often the most talented who have natural ability as well as well as an almost pathological need to be the best.  One only has to take a look at Pete Rose who though his “sins” were not on the playing field, was things that no Manager should ever do.  His attitude about getting caught was an arrogant display of idiocy which disrespected the game that he contributed so much to and soiled his name and reputation.  I hope that he will find redemption in baseball, but the onus is on him to make things right.   Likewise with the myriad of players from the steroid era whose names and reputations are ruined by playing this kind of game.  I am fortunate in that my outbursts did not cost me my career.  There are some I am sure that think little of me because of some of the things I have blown up about over the years and if I could do them over I would do them differently.  But I can’t go back and change them now; they are a part of the tangled tapestry of my life just above the Mendoza Line.

Tuesday night I had the overnight duty and because we were short staffed due to injuries and people being out the duty pager went off incessantly throughout the day.  It was like a day at Parkland without every call being a code, death or trauma.  By noon I felt like a pitcher who was having every batter get a hit, every time I turned around I was rushing off somewhere else.  It is funny when you have a feeling about how a day is going to go.  By noon I knew that this day would be long and painful, just like a game where the opposition scores early and often.  By early evening I was tired, but the hits kept coming and by now almost all were cases out of my comfort zone.

I am by nature a Critical Care, Trauma and Emergency Medicine type of Chaplain.  I am just wired that way.  I will never be a shrink.  I have people all the time ask me or even suggest to me that I get a degree in Counseling or even a Doctorate in Psychology.  Now I do think that I would be a good diagnostician, but I couldn’t handle what my friends who are shrinks have to deal with on a daily basis, give me carnage and traumatic tragedy any day of the week, but not persistent pitter-patter of psychological problems.

Now by shrinks I mean Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists, Clinical Social Workers and Psychiatric Nurses.  I use the term “Shrink” loosely but with great respect and I do not hesitate to consult with them or refer people to them.  I don’t know how they live in that world.  The maelstrom of mentally mangled humanity that my friends deal with on a daily basis would have me in a rubber room.  Thus when I see patients on medical floors I always read their chart and history because if I am going to go in and visit a patient I prefer to know that they are Borderline, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenic, Paranoid, Clinically Depressed, delusional, suicidal or spermicidal before they suck me into their hellish helix of hopelessness.   Knowing these things allows me to stay in my lane, offer appropriate support and actually care for them within my limitations because I do actually have a lot of compassion for the mentally ill or those suffering from even temporary emotional problems.  Heck I have PTSD and some amount of anxiety so Elmer the shrink has his work cut out.  How can I not feel some amount of compassion for those who have even worse situations?  Now there are those who may have some of these conditions who are also maniacally manipulative or pathologically putrid who are not only mentally ill but somewhat or even majorly malevolent.  These folks get to me, I have little compassion for people who even if they have issues are simply rotten people who get off on inflicting pain, emotional, spiritual or physical on those around them, to include their shrinks.

Tuesday night my blowout continued as person after person presented not only needing to see a shrink but wanting to deal with God and all they got was me.  I was beginning to have some words with the Deity Herself about this but was quickly reminded that she loved them too.  Thus my approach was pastoral, supportive and compassionate working within my limitations to ensure that they got the care that they needed without mucking it up for the ER staff or the shrinks.  So of course I was dealing with delusional Paranoid Schizophrenics and Borderline cases all night long.  By the time I trudged up to the on call room a little after 0400 I was exhausted.  My ICU pals were getting a good laugh at my expense and at least I could see the humor in it all.  The alarm rang far too early and when I made my duty turnover I felt like a starting pitcher who had been run over inning after inning for the entire start.  I hadn’t had a night quite like that since my residency at Parkland.  After the turnover I met with my Department Head for a few minutes and he simply said “Steven, go home.”  Even my normal “I can’t leave I have work to do” way of doing life had to agree.  I knew that I was a spent round.

Coming back after getting run over can be difficult and my next day at work I was rested and had a busy but not terribly stressful day and I was back in my element.  No runs, no hits and no errors and no Paranoid Schizophrenics left on base.

How teams come back is interesting. After the drubbing that the Tides took on Thursday they jumped out to an early 4-0 lead against Indianapolis.  Starter Troy Patton gave up two runs and in the 6th Dennis Safrate came on in relief. Sarfate is down on a rehab assignment for the Orioles and got hit hard by the Indians.  The Indians sent 12 men to the plate and scored 9 runs in the 6th off of Sarfate and Russ Wolfe.   Down 5 runs and looking at another beating the Tides found it within themselves to score 5 runs to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th.  Robby Hammock led off the bottom of the 8th with a double, moved to third on a Carlos Rojas sacrifice bunt and was driven in by a Joey Gathright single for the go ahead and ultimately the winning run.  Josh Perrualt got the win pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief retiring 7 of the 8 batters that he faced. Jeff Fiorentino had 2 hits an RBI and score 2 runs, Joey Gathright had three hits and the game winning RBI and Victor Diz had 2 doubles and 3 RBIs to help the Tides to victory.

Coming back takes work, no matter what you do. My life, especially the time in seminary until the time I entered the Navy was like a player or team who had a decade of tough seasons.  When I came in the Navy I was able to turn things around.  For the most part I avoid the things that got me in trouble in those years and I have become a lot more skilled at getting through the bumps that I still face.  Fighting back after my post Iraq PTSD collapse has been difficult but things are getting better and my life is coming back into balance.  Things that were impossible for me to deal with even a few months ago are starting to become manageable.  I am coming back and I think that is the key.  Blowouts are no fun and personally I don’t like them, but I am starting to find the takeaways that I need in order to come back.  Isn’t that the point?

Anyway, tonight the Tides start a 4 game series against the Syracuse Sky Chiefs the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals who have a 55-49 record and are in 2nd place in the International League North. The Tides are now 3 and ½ games out of 1st in the South Division and a game behind Gwinnett for the Wild Card.

Peace, Steve+

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Breaking Slumps and Losing Streaks

Fiorentino HR against ColonJeff Fiorentino, seen here Hitting a Home Run off Bartolo Colon has Come up Big for the Norfolk Tides in 2009

The Norfolk Tides came home Tuesday after their worst road trip of the season in which they fell behind both the Durham Bulls and Gwinett Braves.  When things are not going well for a team, organization or individual it seems that events almost conspire against them.  It was that way for the Tides, errors and bad decisions at the plate, on the base paths and the field plagued them over the road trip.  The problems continued on Tuesday where the Tides lost their 9th of the last 10 games.  Now it was not that the team was bad, they made some great comebacks but fell short each time sometimes in heartbreaking ways.

Tonight after getting out to an early lead the Tides were behind 5-2 in the bottom of the 7th.  Elliott the Usher and I as well as Barry the Scorekeeper wondered what was happening.  It seemed that there was no energy on the team.  Unfortunately when a team, organization, military unit or individual gets on a losing streak it is hard to get motivated, especially when you come close but come up short. I remember being told in my Pastoral Care Residency that I had to stop believing that things were going to be difficult or that I would always come up short.  My supervisor told me that I had the power to actually envision a positive future and make things happen to see it come into being.  Now I have always been a fighter and even a survivor, but being a survivor doesn’t necessarily make you a winner.

The Tides picked up 2 in the 7th as Robby Hammock led off with a hit and Tides hitters Blake Davis, Joey Gathright and Jeff Fiorentino brought the runs across with key hits.  Brandon Snyder singled to drive in Victor Diaz and tie the game the game in the 8th.  Tides reliever Alberto Castillo came in at the top of the 9th and shut down the Indians after getting into a jam after giving up a hit and an error by 3rd Baseman Brandon Snyder.

Sometimes the key to breaking a losing streak is in how one player can raise help lift the team.  Following the promotion of Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold and Oscar Salazar to the Orioles and the loss of Scott Moore, Jolbert Cabrerra to season ending injuries and temporary absences to injury of Justin Turner and Joey Gathright, it was Jeff Fiorentino that stepped up.  He now stands near the top of the International League in hitting with a .315 batting average and has been a clutch player offensively and defensively.  Tonight Jeff went four for four with a walk, drove in a run in the 7th.  Hecame to bat with one out in the 9th to single to drive Justin Turner in for the winning run.   It broke the losing streak and hopefully will begin a rebound for the Tides.  Since the Tides have played well the bulk of the season even allowing for significant numbers of call ups and injuries it is well possible that they will turn things around.  It was significant that other Tides were involved in the comeback and that instead of giving in to going through the motions they came together to win.  The team still has a lot of heart and character and still can only continue to get better.

May we all do the same, with a little help from the Deity Herself.

On a side note, Tides pitcher Chris Tillman had his first Major League start in Baltimore against Kansas City.  He had a no decision but the Orioles won the game 7-3.  Former Tides relievers Matt Albers came in in the 5th to hold the Royals and Jim Johnson got the save.  Baltimore continues to get great performance out of the pitchers called up from Norfolk this year.

Peace, Steve+

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