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The Norfolk Tides 2010 Season in Review: Part One – The Team

1st Baseman Brandon Snyder was one of the Tides Called up in September

The 2010 Norfolk Tides season was a mixed bag of sorts for the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A International League affiliate.  In 2009 the Tides had a “Jeckyl and Hyde” quality. After an incredible April and May where they were playing close to .700 ball maybe of their young guns were prematurely called to Baltimore due to injuries of key players on the Major League Squad.  The result was predictable those called up by the O’s were not fully ready and while some like outfielder Nolan Reimold did very well others did not fare so well, especially among the young pitchers. The young “baby O’s” did not have the benefit of good leadership in the dugout from Manager Dave Trembley and were exposed to a clubhouse that was used to losing, season after season.  Meanwhile the Tides without the players who had given the team its early success went into a tailspin, as was the case with Tides players being called to the big league club too early the Tides found themselves restocked with promising but not quite ready Single and Double-A players.  In addition to that injuries to other key players crippled the team. The Tides finished the season with a .500 record but just barely having to win their final game of the season the accomplish that.

The 2010 campaign began with a team that looked pretty good on paper; until very early in the season the O’s called up some of the Tides best players which was compounded by the usual spike of injuries as well as the unexpectedly poor performance of some players that had been stars on the 2009 team.  In May the Tides received a new Manager, Bobby Dickerson when Gary Allenson was called up to Baltimore as the Interim Third Base Coach when Dave Trembley was fired.  Under Dickerson the Tides played a more aggressive style of baseball but were not consistent.  They finished the season tied with the Charlotte Knights each with a record of 67 wins and 77 loses and a .465 winning percentage. Both teams ended the season 21.5 games behind the league leading Durham Bulls.

A lot of the problem this year was in the hitting department. The Tides hit for only a .251 team average and with the exception of the home run category were near the bottom of the IL in every major offensive category. Now the hitting did improve as the season went on, in May the Tides team average was in the low .230s, they finished at .251.  In one area they significantly improved from 2009 and that was in Home Runs.  In 2010 the Tides had 122 well above the 78 of 2009.

In the pitching department the Tides look solid until Jake Arietta and Alfredo Simon were called to Baltimore while other pitchers had rocky starts to the season or lost games because of either having no run support or being victimized by defensive letdowns in critical situations.  In defense of the pitchers it must be noted that 80 of the runs scored against the Tides were unearned runs coming off of errors by the defense. Only one other team in the league allowed more than the Tides, their IL South rivals the Charlotte Knights.  I saw many of these games where a pitcher would have the lead, have two outs in an inning and have a defensive error allow runs to score and get more batters to the plate. It happened time and time again. The team had 147 errors which averages more than one error per game with Shortstop Robert Andino having 31 of those errors leading the league in that category.

It is my view that lack of fundamentals on the defensive side of the house and lack of hitting were the cause of most of the Tides misfortunes this year.  While they may not have matched Durham they most certainly would have had a much better record, possibly one good enough to compete for the Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

With a significant amount of moves coming up in the Orioles organization in the off season it will be interesting to see the changes on the Tides roster and possibly coaching staff.

There were a lot of positives during the season among the individual players that cannot be overlooked.  I will cover the players in part two of this series over the coming days and weeks.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Drop Final Two Games in Durham Finish Season 67-77

Former Tides Outfielder Nolan Reimold now in Baltimore homered on Tuesday as the Orioles defeated the Yankees 6-2

The Norfolk Tides entered Sunday with a five game winning streak hoping to finish the season on a winning note by defeating their International League South nemesis the Durham Bull’s.  The Tides had taken the first game of the series 7-6 on Saturday behind the hitting of Third Baseman Scott Moore with Frank Mata getting the win in relief.

On Sunday the Tides sent Armando Gabino to the and the right hander making a spot start had a 5-3 lead when he came out of the game at the end of the 5th inning. Kam Mickolio pitched two innings. In the 7th Kam sent the Bulls down in order but in the 8th game up a walk and a single and was replaced on the hill by closer Dennis Sarfate who has set down the opposition like clockwork with 20 saves this season.  However Sunday the usually reliable Sarfate, who has pitched the Tides out of numerous jams in the late innings did not have a good day. After striking out Kyle Holloway, Sarfate gave up a triple to Tide Killer Elliott Johnson to score both runs which were charged to Mickolio.  With the score tied and Johnson on third base intentionally walked the hot hitting Chris Richard to get to Joe Dillon. Dillon hit a sacrifice fly ball to center which scored Johnson to give the Bulls a 6-5 lead before Leslie Anderson grounding into a force out to end the inning. In the top of the 9th innings the Tides got Jeff Salazar aboard on a two out single but Michael Aubrey struck out on a long at bat against Joe Bateman to end the game. Sarfate (2-2, 20S 2.73 ERA) got the loss and Bateman (7-0 1.66 ERA) got the win for the Bulls.  The Tides outhit the Bulls but came up short having 5 runs on 10 hits with 1 error leaving 8 men on base. The Bulls 6 runs on 6 hits with no errors leaving 3 aboard.

On Sunday the Tides suffered another disappointing 12 inning loss to the Bulls. The Tides sent Tim Bascom who of late had pitched very well against the Bulls but the young right-hander was roughed up giving up 5 runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings work. Tides relievers Pat Egan and Jim Hoey held the Bulls as did Mike Hinckley who pitched three innings but gave up a leadoff double to Justin Ruggiano in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ruggiano advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Nevin Ashley. Hinckley then intentionally walked Joe Dillon before giving up the game winning single to Leslie Anderson.  Hinckley (1-4 4.19 ERA) who pitched well got the loss for the Tides in his first appearance after coming off of the DL while Paul Phillips (1-0 1.69 ERA) picked up the win for the Bulls. The Tides had 5 runs on 12 hits with 2 errors leaving 8 runners stranded.  The Bulls had 6 runs on 17 hits with 1 error leaving 12 men on base.

Former Tide Jake Arrieta got the Win in Yankee Stadium Tuesday

The Tides finished the year tied with Charlotte for 3rd in the IL South with 67-77 records.  The day following the game the Orioles called up Troy Patton.  On Monday and Tuesday the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees in New York with former Tides figuring in the wins especially on Tuesday as Jake Arrieta got the win aided by a home run by Nolan Reimold and some outstanding defense including that of Robert Andino at shortstop.

In the coming days and weeks I will do some analysis of the Tides 2010 season.   I will miss this year’s Tides players many of whom that I gave come to know over the past two years. The Orioles have stated that the off season will be very active and that will certainly affect the careers of some of these young men that I count as friends.  It is my hope and prayer that they will all continue in baseball and make the Majors at some point be it with the Orioles or another organization. Some of those that are getting older may not continue but I hope that they too will be able to remain in baseball in the professional or collegiate ranks managing, coaching or scouting as so many others have done.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win in 10: Defeat Bulls 7-6

Scott Moore went 3 for 5 with a grand slam home run and 5 RBIs

The Durham Bulls have been the nemesis of the International League for the last 3 years. The reigning IL Champions and AAA World’s Series winner from 2009 are poised to repeat again as they head into the post season as IL South Champions, a crown that they have worn since 2006.  This year the Bulls have pretty much owned the Tides going 14 and 5 against Norfolk going into today although 7 of those losses were by two runs or less.

Zach Britton struck out 9 Bulls but had a no decision

The Tides started Zach Britton against Durham starter Ramon Ortiz.  The Tides offense jumped Ortiz in the 1st inning. Ortiz walked Paco Figueroa with one out and then gave up a single to Jeff Salazar.  He then committed an error missing a catch at first to allow Michael Aubrey aboard and load the bases.  Scott Moore then took a 2 and 0 pitch over the over the right field wall for a grand-slam home run to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.  Rhyne Hughes came to the plate and singled before Ortiz was pulled in favor of Dale Thayer having given up 4 runs on 3 hits registering only 1 out. Thayer got Buck Britton to ground into a double play to end the inning.  The Bulls took two of those runs back in the bottom of the 1st inning when J.J. Furmaniak singled to lead off the inning.  Britton struck out Omar Luna before giving up a single to Elliott Johnson to put runners at first and second with 1 out. Britton then tossed a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. Chris Richard singled to drive in both runners before Britton retired Joe Dillon and Leslie Anderson on strikes.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning Britton hurt himself in allowing a third run. He gave up a leadoff single to Nevin Ashley and stuck out Bobby Livingston. He then got Fernando Perez to ground out sending Ashley to 2nd.  With Omar Luna batting catcher Adam Donachie then allowed a passed ball to get Ashley to third before making a wild pitch to score Ashley. He then stuck out Luna to retire the side with the score 4-3. The Tides scored a run in the top of the 3rd inning as with 1 out Jeff Salazar walked and stole second. Michael Aubrey flied out bringing up Scott Moore who doubled to drive in Salazar to make the score 5-3 but Moore was thrown out going for third to end the inning.

The score would remain 5-3 until the top of the 8th inning.  Britton left the game after 6 innings having given up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned on 4 hits striking out 9 bulls while walking two. Pat Egan relieved Britton in the 7th sending the Bulls down in order. In the top of the 8th the Tides scored again when with one out Paco Figueroa singled and advanced to second on a passed ball.  Jeff Salazar singled to send Figueroa to 3rd and with runners on first and third Michael Aubrey hit a sacrifice fly to score Figueroa and the lead was 6-3.

At this point the Tides bullpen got into trouble.  J.J. Furmaniak singled to lead off the inning and Egan then retired Oamr Luna on a fly ball to right and Elliott Johnson on a ground ball which advanced Furmaniak to second.  Alberto Castillo relieved Egan and unlike his appearance against Charlotte on Friday night was beaten about by the Bulls. Chris Richard took Castillo’s first pitch over the right field wall to make the score 6-5.  Castillo then gave up consecutive singles to Joe Dillon and Leslie Anderson before he was pulled for Frank Mata. Mata got Ashby to ground into a force at second to end the inning.

Frank Mata got the win in relief for the Tides

Winston Abreu came into the game in the 9th giving up a 1 out walk to Adam Donachie before getting Miguel Abreu to ground into a double play to end the inning. Mata came back out in the bottom of the 9th to attempt the save. Kyle Holloway came into the game as a pinch hitter for Bobby Livingston who hammered Mata’s first pitch into left for a leadoff double. Fernando Perez bunted to sacrifice Holloway to third for the first out.  J.J. Furmaniak singled to score Holloway before Mata retired the side sending the game into extra innings knotted at six.

Abreu remained in the game for the Bulls and issued a leadoff walk to Blake Davis. Davis advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Paco Figueroa and to third on a ground out by Jeff Salazar. Now with two outs and Davis on third Michael Aubrey came to the plate. Abreu tossed a wild pitch to score Davis before giving up a single to Aubrey before retiring Scott Moore on a comebacker. The Bulls came to bat in the bottom of the 10th against Mata who walked Chris Richard but then sent down Joe Dillon, Leslie Anderson and Nevin Ashley in order to end the game with the Tides winning 7-6.

Frank Mata (5-3 3.16 ERA) got the win in relief for the Tides while Winston Abreu (0-4 2.28 ERA) got the loss for the Bulls. The Tides had 7 runs on 10 hits with no errors leaving just 4 runners on base. The Bulls had 6 runs on 10 hits with an error leaving 7 runners stranded.  The teams will play this evening with the Tides starting Armando Gabino (7-0 2.29 ERA) on the hill against Brian Baker (9-5 3.56 ERA). Chris Tillman was called up by the Orioles to start against the Rays where he left the game with 5.2 innings pitched giving up 3 runs and ending up with a no decision in his first appearance in front of Buck Showalter in a game that is still underway as this post is published.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dennis Sarfate got his 20th save of the season

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and blessings

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win 4-1 in 13: Aubrey’s Home Runs topple Knights as Chris George Shines

Chris George pitched a great game against the Knights

The Norfolk Tides continued their home winning streak on Thursday night at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish with Hurricane Earl lurking over the horizon.  The National Weather Service had assured the Tides and Minor League Baseball that the rains and winds from Earl would not arrive until after 11 PM and their forecast was on the money.  With just over 6000 fans in attendance and in beautiful weather conditions the Tides settled in to take on their International League Southern Division rivals, the Charlotte Knights in the first of a two game series to wrap up the Tides final home stand of 2010.

The Tides started left hander Chris George against Knights right hander Carlos Torres and the two starters both pitched gems.  Each would only make one mistake both involving home runs.  In the bottom of the 2nd inning Tides home run leader Michael Aubrey led off the inning and crushed Torres’ pitch over the right field wall bouncing it off the roof of the Straub Beer Party deck.  This gave the Tides a 1-0 lead that would hold up until 2 outs in the top of the 8th when Knight’s center fielder Buck Coats returned the favor against George sending a solo home run into the Straub party deck to tie the game at one.  George finished the 8th inning leaving the game giving up 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 7 and walking none.  It was his best performance of the year and showed that if anyone is interested that the 31 year old veteran is still worth looking at if a team needs a left-handed pitcher for spot starts or long relief.  His opponent on Thursday Carlos Torres left the game after 7 inning surrendering the just the 1 run on three hits while walking 2 and striking out 2 Tides batters.

It then became a battle of relievers and with each passing inning the tension built.  Jonathan Adkins shut down the Tides in the 8th inning and in the 9th the Tides sent in Frank Mata who was sharp, pitching the 9th and the 10th allowing no runs hits or walks.  The Knights countered with Randy Williams who pitched the 9th and 10th allowing just a walk.  Tides closer Dennis Sarfate entered the game in the 11th and pitched it and the 12th allowing no runs but a hit and a walk and striking out 3 Knights. The Knights sent left hander Garrett Johnson into the game in the 11th and Johnson held the Tides in the 11th and 12th innings.  In the 13th the Tides sent Jim Hoey into the game and Hoey sent the Knights down in order as a few scatted rain drops started falling and the winds began to pick up as Earl neared Hampton Roads.

Michael Aubrey hits his first home run of the game in the 2nd inning

The Knights sent Johnson back out in the 13th to face Miguel Abreu, Blake Davis and Paco Figueroa.  Abreu led off the inning with a base hit and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Davis. Johnson then intentionally walked right hander batter Paco Figueroa to get to left hand batter Jeff Salazar.  Salazar then flied out on a short fly ball to center fielder Buck Coats for the second out.  The tension now was high as the remaining fans cheered when Michael Aubrey came to the plate. I was standing next to Elliott the Usher and said to him “Aubrey wins it for us now, three run home run.”  As Aubrey settled in the crowd quieted as Johnson pitched to Aubrey.  Johnson got the first strike and delivered the second pitch which Aubrey crushed going over the right field wall, over the bullpen and probably into the Elizabeth River.  The crowd which had been hushed erupted as Aubrey made contact and as the ball sailed deep into the night went wild as Abreu and Figueroa crossed the plate and the Tides mobbed Aubrey as he jumped onto the plate a celebration that lasted until the Tides walked off the field.  The home run was Aubrey’s 21st of the campaign.

Jim Hoey (4-0 3.54 ERA) got the win in relief for the Tides and Garrett Johnson (0-1 6.35 ERA) took the loss for the Knights.  The Knights had 1 run on 6 hits with 1 error leaving 6 runners on base.  The Tides 4 runs, all driven in by Michael Aubrey on 8 hits with 1 error leaving 7 runners stranded.  The win tied the Tides with the Knights for 3rd place in the division both well behind the Durham Bulls.  While Chris George did not get a decision his performance against the Knights was superior and he and Michael Aubrey were the stars of this game.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Bascom and Tides down Knights 5-1

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

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

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

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

Pat Egan made another solid relief appearance for the Tides

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

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

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

Have a great weekend,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Swept: Tides Lose Finale to Bulls 8-4 and Tides Notes

Jeff Salazar homers for the Tides

The Monday afternoon businessman’s special “getaway” game between the Durham Bulls and the Norfolk Tides was anything but special as the Tides went down to their 5th consecutive loss falling the Durham Bulls by a score of 8-4.  In the previous 4 games at Harbor Park the Tides were competitive and though they did not win were in each game until the end.  On Monday the wear of the long season, the disappointment in not coming away with wins that very easily could have been theirs and the ambiguity that most of the team faces in regards to their future with the organization showed as the Tides seemed flat and lifeless despite scoring 4 runs on 12 hits.

Chris George struggled in his first start since coming off the DL

Tides starter Chris George coming back from an elbow injury incurred when a line drive struck him against Indianapolis was not effective throwing 66 pitches in just 2.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 6 hits striking out 4 and walking 2.  With the exception of Dennis Sarfate all of the Tides relievers struggled as the Tides gave up 8 runs on 14 hits and walking 4 while the defense committed two errors.   The 5 pitchers threw a total of 176 pitches an average of almost 20 pitches an inning.  The bullpen will need a strong start by Troy Patton tonight in Durham, or for someone like Andy Mitchell, Mike Hinckley or Jim Miller to provide some effective long relief in order to rest these arms as the rest of the bullpen has thrown a lot of pitches over the past few games.

Leslie Anderson goes low and rips a single to drive in 2 runs

Tides hitters did lay down the hits and Jeff Salazar had a home run and a double, while Robert Andino had a double that drove in his 74th RBI of the year.  However the Tides never score more than one run in any given inning as Durham pitching and defense was solid cutting up rallies before they could mature and score more runs.  Of note were two plays at first base where Bulls First Baseman Leslie Anderson made spectacular stops of sharply hit balls down the line to prevent Michael Aubrey and Scott more from both having extra base hits that would have drove in runs very possibly altering the tempo, character and outcome of the game.

Matt Angle hustles to get Anderson’s hit back into the infield

The Bulls were opportunistic as is their nature. This is a much disciplined team the best in Triple-A baseball and their hitters seem always to do an excellent job of hitting the ball where the opposition is not. Their “small ball” feeds their power. They get men aboard with bloop hits, Seeing Eye grounders, well placed bunts and balls hit behind runners.  As they chip away at the opposition with this kind of game the Bulls power hitters take advantage of nearly every mistake made by an opposing pitcher and even well pitched balls to drive in runs.  They are seldom out of a game.  It is no wonder that they lead their nearest division rival the Gwinnett Braves by 19 games with a 82 win and 47 loss record.

Jose Lobaton singles

Anuery Rodriguez (6-5 3.72 ERA) got the win and Chris George (5-7 4.45 ERA) took the loss. I do think that from watching Chris that he was still sore from his injury and not comfortable on the mound. The Bulls had 8 runs on 14 hits with no errors stranding 11 runners and the Tides 4 runs on 12 hits with 2 errors leaving 12 men aboard. Tonight Troy Patton (7-10 4.85 ERA) will take the hill in Durham for the Tides facing Richard De Los Santos (13-5 3.59 ERA) will start for the Bulls. De Los Santos is tied for the league lead in wins.

Nolan Reimold has come back strong and seems to be back to who he was in 2009

A few Tides notes, Robert Andino leaders the league in hits (137) as well as errors (28) and 4th in RBIs with 74.  Michael Aubrey leads the time with 18 home runs in only 91 games and his slugging percentage is now .489 the 11th in the league.  Nolan Reimold who after being injured last year in Baltimore, being sent down to the Tides and having fought through the physical aspects of his injury as well and the mental side of the game has come in strong since the All-Star break and now has a .366 on base percentage and in his last 10 games is hitting .344 with a .548 on base percentage and .406 slugging percentage. He has also become an effective base stealer with 9 steals to his credit only being caught twice in 11 attempts, not bad for a big man who has overcome a serious and nagging injury to his Achilles tendon.

Robert Andino currently leads the IL in hits with 137

An interesting note on the team average, in 2009 the Tides were hit .272 as a team, second best in the league with several players above .300 or in the .280 and above bracket. They only hit 78 home runs during 2009 but had 259 doubles and 30 triples with 603 runs scored.  In 2010 they are hitting as of today .253 (-.19) but have hit 110 home runs (+32).  However they have just 218 doubles (-41) and 23 triples (-7) scoring 566 runs. In 2009 the Tides had 1283 hits as opposed to 1114 (-169) this year and both the slugging and on base percentages are slightly down this year.  Another key statistic is strike outs, last year the Tides had just 814 in the season and 888 already in 2010. They had 132 stolen bases in 176 attempts as opposed to 115 steals in 160 attempts this year. Now this seasons statistics are not final, there is a chance that the Tides will surpass the number of runs scored in 2009 but will fall short in other areas.

I will be talking more about trends in statistics and players comparing this year with 2009 and making my “if I were Andy McPhail” recommendations for the September call up and Tides to hold onto for 2011 over the next couple of weeks.  I will also provide my analysis of how the team did include reason that I think the team did not do as well as I thought that they would this year. I do think that the Tides are better than their record indicates and that many of the Tides have legitimate shots at being regulars in the Major Leagues, be it with the Orioles or other organizations and I will talk about that subject as well in the coming weeks. These will be part of the regular posts and show up on the Norfolk Tides Scouting Report as well.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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