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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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Aubrey’s Assault Continues: 2 Home Runs and 6 RBIs in Tides 10-7 Win over Chiefs Gabino Gets 6th Win

Michael Aubrey hits his second of two home runs in the 4th inning

Michael Aubrey has been locked on of late and tonight against the Syracuse Chiefs he continued his recent rampage.  In the past 6 games he has hit 7 home runs and driven in 16 RBIs.  In the past 10 games he has a .314 batting average a .395 on base percentage and an astronomical .971 slugging percentage. After having struggled through much of the first half of the season battling injury and his mechanics the Tides slugger who hit .290 for the Tides last year and .289 for the Orioles as a September call up and before the terrible decision to sign Garrett Atkins in the off season was expected to be the Orioles starting First Baseman but instead was sent back to Norfolk.  Michael Aubrey is locked on like no one in a Tides uniform that I have seen in recent years.

Armando Gabino pitched his way to his 6th victory

Meanwhile on that little hill in the middle of the Diamond Armando Gabino (6-0, S2 2.34 ERA) continues to rack up wins as a spot starter for the Tides tonight getting the win pitching 6 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits surrendering 2 walks and striking out 7 before yielding to some rather inadequate relief pitching by Pat Egan, Jim Hoey and Frank Mata.  The trio of relievers combined to allow 6 runs on 7 hits and surrendered 4 walks to make the game a lot closer than it needed to be.  The biggest disappointment continues to be Pat Egan who gave up 3 of those runs on 5 hits and a walk.  Egan’s ERA is now 8.18 and in 11 innings work has given up 20 hits and 10 runs.  He seems to have no movement on his pitches and every time that I have seen him he has been tattooed by opposing hitters.

Jonathan Tucker scores in the 7th inning

The Tides hitters led by Aubrey lit up Chiefs pitchers beginning in the first inning where after singles by Robert Andino and Joey Gathright Nolan Reimold walked to load the bases for Michael Aubrey who plastered a pitch by Chiefs starter Jason Jones (1-5 6.21 ERA) over the right field wall for a grand slam home run and fast 4-0 lead.  The Tides added another run after Paco Figueroa doubled and was driven home on a Michel Hernandez single.  In the 2nd inning Matt Angle scored on a Nolan Reimold single.  In the 4th inning the Tides extended their lead to 9-0 when Robert Andino hit his 11th home run with one out followed by a two run shot by Michael Aubrey.  The Tides scored their final run in the bottom of the 7th when Jonathan Tucker and Joey Gathright singled off of reliever Josh Wilkie. Robert Andino singled to score Tucker and Gathright was thrown out at third to end the inning.

Robert Andino homers in the 4th inning

In the 5th inning Gabino made his only mistake when he gave up a home run to Luis Ordaz.  Gabino left after completing the 6th inning and was relieved by Pat Egan who allowed 2 runs in the 7th and another in the 8th before yielding to Jim Hoey with one out in the 8th. Hoey put down the Chiefs’ threat in the 8th but walked two and was replaced by Frank Mata making his first appearance since being optioned back to the Tides.  Mata was shaky in his return allowing a double and a single as well as giving up two wild pitches scoring both of the runs charged to Hoey and one of his own before striking out Justin Maxwell to end the game.

Gabino got the win his 6th of the year and Jason Jones the loss. The Chiefs had 7 runs on 9 hits with no errors leaving 7 on base while the Tides had 10 runs on 13 hits and no errors stranding 8 runners.  Four Tides Gathright, Andino, Aubrey and Tucker had multiple hits and Aubrey was responsible for 6 of the Tides 10 runs.

Fair Winds and Following Seas…the Tides release Joey Gathright

The game would be the last for Joey Gathright in a Tides uniform as he was released today. Joey is a class individual and was well liked in Norfolk.  In 2009 he hit .325 with 106 hits for the Tides before being traded to the Red Sox in September.  He returned to the Tides this year and was not the same spending time on the DL.  It was a disappointing and frustrating time for Joey but he conducted himself with a great deal of poise and grace even when struggling.  He left on a good note going 2 for 3 with a run scored.  I hope that someone picks up the 29 year old Gathright and wish him well. Zack Clark was assigned from the Tides to single A Frederick and Troy Patton called up to Baltimore to sit in the bullpen on the 21st was optioned back to the Tides following the O’s game against Tampa.

Well my friends, we’ll have more in my next post about Thursday afternoon’s series finale.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Tides and Orioles Report: A Look at Where we Stand

As the Tides get ready for game three of their four-game set with the Syracuse Chiefs there have been some significant personnel moves which involve both the Tides and their parent organization the Baltimore Orioles.  These moves are probably just the start of moves that might take place prior to the trading deadline at the end of the month.  This is the report that I promised back at the All-Star break

To begin in Baltimore the O’s reinstated closer Mike Gonzalez after the completion of his minor league rehab for a strained left shoulder.  They made room on the 40 man roster by moving relief pitcher Jim Johnson from the 15 day disabled list to the 60 day disabled list effectively ending his season.  Johnson has been on the DL since May 28th with right elbow inflammation.  Third Baseman Josh Bell was optioned back to the Tides after going 6 for 19 (.263) in six games for the O’s.  Bell’s return to the Tides will add another strong bat to the order as well as a switch hitter.  On Tuesday the Orioles had optioned Chris Tillman back to the Tides as was reliever Frank Mata on the 19th. While disappointing for these pitchers they are both still on the 40 man roster and their return to the Tides solidifies both the starting rotation as well as the bullpen.

Some Tides are making a difference at Baltimore, especially outfielder Corey Patterson and relief pitcher Alfredo Simon.

In the moves Tides left handed pitcher Troy Patton was recalled to Baltimore after going 6 and 9 with a 4.91 ERA which was 3.44 in the last 18 games. A lot of Troy’s losses came on games where he got no run support or the opposing team was given extra chances through the errors of Tides players.  It the first time that Troy has been at the Major League level since 2007 with Houston.  The move of Patton to Baltimore means that Armando Gabino will be called upon again to make a spot start.

The Tides have 29 players on the roster 3 of which are on the DL so a player will have to be moved to keep the active roster at the 25 man limit.  My recommendation would be Tim Bascom for the time being in order to let his injury heal and to get his confidence back after several outings where he was shelled by the opposition. Pat Egan is another possibility for movement and even potentially Brandon Erbe however I would not want to see that move just yet.  There is the case of Cla Meredith who was sent to Norfolk from the Orioles and cut from the O’s 40 man roster and he has not been effective at all since coming down to Norfolk and my sources tell me that he is extremely frustrated with his situation vice the Orioles.  He could be used to sweeten any deals that the O’s make approaching the trading deadline as I believe that he can be effective at the Major League level despite his struggles here and that a fresh start may be what he needs.  Alberto Castillo has performed adequately with the exception of a couple of bad outings but it is obvious that the 35 year old lefty’s better days are behind him.  Chris George has been solid for the Tides and is good to have in the organization as a left hander and Armando Gabino is the undiscovered gem of the Tides. Gabino has pitched well in starting situations where he is 5-0 and has helped hold the bullpen together in middle to late relief.  Two men that have been up and down between the Tides and Aberdeen which is for all purposes functioning as a taxi squad are relievers Jim Miller and Andy Mitchell.  Both had rough starts to their seasons but have been solid “go to” guys when a starter gets in trouble early in the game and Miller has served well in his natural position of being a closer.  Brandon Erbe has been on the DL and while struggling early has been bereft of run support and as is the case with most of the Tides pitchers victimized by poor defense at critical junctures.  Mike Hinckley appears to have major league stuff but still needs some work as he is inconsistent.  Zack Clark also seems to be solid and except for one bad outing has done well but had almost no run support.  Zack Britton seems to be on the fast track for the majors and I am really impressed by his speed, ball movement and control as well his sense for where he needs to be on the diamond when the ball is in play.  Kam Mickolio has been on the DL much of the year and when he was healthy seemed to struggle. He has major league stuff but something needs to be fine tuned. He has been on the 7 day DL for some time now and since he is on the 40 man roster I wonder if it would not be wise at this point to move him to the 60 day DL if he is not ready in order to free up some room and give him time to heal and get his mechanics right.  He has too much potential just to let go but I wonder about leaving him in the 7 day DL limbo.  Denis Sarfate is another that is overlooked. He has been functioning for the most part as the closer and done well with the exception of one appearance.  He has great stuff with speed, control and good movement throwing in the mid to high 90s with the ability to throw hitters off with an occasional off speed pitch.  Jim Hoey looks to have promise but has not been up long enough to see how he will do in the long run.

Of position players there are a number that have been struggling or injured that might be moved to Aberdeen as a holding measure including Joey Gathright who has not been the same as he was last year when he hit .325 for the Tides.  Joey still hustles and plays hard but there is something in his mechanics that is limiting his effectiveness at the plate.  Nolan Reimold who the Orioles have invested a great deal of hope in is still only hitting .210 after leading the American League rookies in 2009 in home runs. He too had an injury that he does not seem to have bounced back from and suffered from some personal issues that have taken his focus off the game.  He does not seem to have the winning look in his eyes right now and seems to have his head down a lot.  Orioles and Tides fans really want him to succeed so I don’t know what will be the case.  Michael Aubrey has come on strong hitting 5 home runs in the last 6 games while Jeff Salazar, Matt Angle and Rhyne Hughes stay very productive.  Paco Figueroa  and Blake Davis are coming along and Jonathan Tucker shows promise.  Robert Andino has to improve defensively but he has been a clutch hitter with men in scoring position leading the Tides in RBI production.

I think that there are a good number of Tides with major league potential. Of course their disposition depends on what the Orioles do in Baltimore. The trade deadline is approaching and there are a number of players that could be moved whose moves could affect players in Norfolk and Bowie.  In the system the O’s have players that could be used to sweeten deals and would not have to be their big time prospects. We saw this in the move of Ross Wolf to get Jake Fox from Oakland.

The time has come for Andy McPhail and the Orioles to get a new manager, hopefully Buck Showalter and start shedding unproductive or underperforming players at Baltimore and in their minor league system. The teaching of fundamentals at all levels must be reemphasized especially fielding and various reaction drills.  Bobby Dickerson has really done well in changing how the Tides play, there is a lot more heads up play and players that are not on the field seem now to be in the game.  The team is responding to his leadership where maybe they had gotten used to Gary Allenson and did not respond to him as they should have done.

There is work to be done in the Orioles organization and it has to start from the top, a new manager and possibly new hitting and pitching coaches at the major league level. I think that Showalter need to be hired now and not later and that Bobby Dickerson be announced as the manager and not the interim manager of the Tides.

My prediction is that I think that the Tides will finish the season above .500 and I do not see the meltdown of last year happening with this year’s team. I think that they will finish in either second or third place in the division while Durham wins it.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose 1-0 to Clippers: Andino’s 20th Error Allows Only Run

Zack Clark pitched very well but took the loss for the Tides

Zack Clark deserved a win on Sunday night but did not get one.  Clark allowed just one run in the 2nd inning a run that very well should not have scored. With runners on first and third with one out and Columbus catcher Lou Marson batting Clark got Marson to hit a ground ball to second base setting up what appeared to be a easy double play that would have ended the inning.  Jonathan Tucker playing his first game at 2nd Base for the Tides made the play and threw cleanly to Shortstop Robert Andino coming across the bag. Andino fumbled the ball, Wes Hodges scored and all runners we safe.  It was Andino’s 20th error of the season a stat that makes him the league leader in errors with only Toledo Shortstop Brent Dlugach being close with 19.  Andino has committed 22% of all errors committed by position players on the Tides this year and in many cases those errors have hurt the team giving the opposition additional opportunities to score runs and frequently torpedoing otherwise excellent pitching performances by Tides starting pitchers.

Rhyne Hughes looks on in disbelief at the umpires explanation after not getting an obvious interference call when attempting to advance to 3rd base

The run was the only run scored in the game. Clark worked his way out of a number of jams as did Alberto Castillo (1-0, S3 4.37 ERA) .  The Clippers got 10 hits, 4 walks and had two runners reach on errors but scored just the one run leaving 8 men on base. The Tides made 3 key double plays which squelched scoring opportunities for the Clippers and both pitchers aided by a strong wind coming in from right field kept the long ball at bay.

Clack picked off Eziquiel Carrera in the top of the 5th inning

While Clark and Castillo kept the Clippers from scoring any more runs the Tides offense was shut down by Clippers starter David Huff who until he jumped the gun on the Indians press department by announcing on Facebook that he would start against Detroit Sunday and because he had broken team policy was kept with the Clippers.  Huff (4-0 3.14 ERA) pitched 7 innings allowing just 2 hits while striking out 3 and walking 3 during the game.  The Clippers gave the Tides three gifts in the form of 3 errors but the Tides failed to capitalize and left 6 men on base in a very disappointing night. With the loss the Tides go 3 and 5 against the Clippers for the season.  The Clippers can help Norfolk this week as they play the IL South Division leading Durham Bulls beginning tonight.  The Bulls and Clippers match up well so it should be a good series.

Robert Andino Strikes out in teh bottom of the 8th his 3rd strikeout of the night

The Tides host the Syracuse Chiefs beginning tonight in a 4 game set.  The Chiefs are another outstanding team with the 4th best record in the International League.  Chris George (4-4 4.36 ERA) will take the hill for the Tides and face Jeff Mandel (4-4 4.96 ERA) and though their records are similar George may have the edge as opponents are hitting .255 against him while Mandel’s opponents are .307 against him.  For once as well the Tides match up better offensively in most categories against the Chiefs than their recent opponents while Syracuse has a decided edge in team pitching over the Tides being second in the league in their team ERA. Up at Baltimore the Orioles activated Luke Scott from the DL and optioned reliever Frank Mata back to Norfolk.  Mata who did well for the Tides was roughed up on a number of occasions in pitching 17.1 innings in 15 games with a record of 0-0 and ERA of 7.79.  He allowed just 1 run in his first 7 appearances after being called up on May 26th but in his past 4 games in 5.1 innings has given up 8 earned runs.  Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez remains with the Tides on a rehab assignment after Gonzalez’s extended time on the DL.  Kam Mickolio, Brandon Erbe and Brandon Snyder remain on the DL for the Tides. It should be an interesting series.

Peace, Padre Steve+

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Bulls Stomp Tides 11-3 in First Game of Series

Zack Clark was rung up for 6 runs on Thursday

After beating the daylights out of the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday the Norfolk Tides had the favor repaid by the International League Southern Division leading Durham Bulls who seem to have a penchant for stomping the stuffings out of most of the teams that they play.   Thursday night was a brutal reminder of how deep the Tampa Bay farm system is and what they have in reserve down in Durham.

The Bulls manhandled Tides pitching. Starter Zack Clark (0-4 5.06 ERA) lasted but 3.2 innings giving up 6 runs on 10 hits including a two run home run to Elliott Johnson, 2 doubles to Justin Ruggiano and a double to Chris Richard.  Mike Hinckley came in and pitched 2.1 innings momentarily halting the massacre only giving up 1 run on 3 hits.  The slaughter continued as Cla Meredith who has performed miserably since his demotion from Baltimore gave up 3 runs on 3 hits along with 2 walks in an innings work and saw his Earned Run Average creep back up to 12.91.  Closer Alberto Castillo was tagged for an 8th inning home run by Justin Ruggiano.  Meredith was dropped from the 40 man roster when he was designated for assignment in May by the Orioles and we all hoped that he would recover and do good things and work his way back to the majors.  This has not happened and it is time that the Orioles give him his outright release and bring Chris George or Andy Mitchell back to the Tides lineup.  As for Clark he is still learning at the AAA level, one hopes that he will learn what he needs to from this thumping and not let it affect his next start.  However Clark has been up and down the Orioles minor league system a number of times since being signed in 2006 including 2 prior trips to Norfolk so one has to wonder if Clark has reached his limit.  I do not know if he has but it certainly is a valid question to ask as Clark had played in College before coming into the Baltimore system and while he has a passable career ERA he does not have a history of being a consistent winner.  Castillo only gave up one run but it was a long ball and though only having two really bad outings has not been the same as he was last year.  He is now 35 years old, has been in professional ball 16 years, it is possible that he is running out of gas and no amount of heart and determination will keep you in the game when nothing is left in the tank.  Being an old guy in a young person’s organization I have a soft spot for guys like Castillo that are still plugging away when their best years appear to be behind them, it takes a lot to go out day after day when things hurt and don’t get better quickly and you know that the fastball doesn’t quite have the same zip that it once had the legs tell you that they feel like lead.  I’d like to see Castillo do well and get that one last shot in the majors, a time where the sun can shine upon him in the twilight of his career and he can go out a winner.  Of course I want the same for guys like Chris George who has not had a bad season and even Andy Mitchell who was shifted to the relief role and has had some good outings after a rough start to the season.  George was sent to Bowie and Mitchell appears to be back on the Tides “taxi squad” officially assigned to Aberdeen but apparently with the team.

On the offensive side of the house it looked like the Tides would match up well scoring 3 runs on 3 hits in the top of the 2nd inning, however after the 2nd inning the Tides would muster only 4 more hits.  Michael Aubrey and Jonny Tucker each had doubles while Tucker and Blake Davis each had 2 hits in the game.  The Tides also left 11 men on base which means that they did not capitalize on the hits that they got or the walks and errors committed by Durham.  The teams meet today with Tim Bascom (2-2 5.47 ERA) on the hill for the Tides and Virgil Vasquez (3-0 4.44 ERA) pitching for the Bulls.

Until 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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Bats Must Need Hats….Tides fall to Durham 7-2

Brandon Erbe got the start and the loss for the Tides

The Norfolk Tides had no luck on Saturday as they were manhandled by the Durham Bulls 7-2 on a beautiful North Carolina spring afternoon.  The Tides started Brandon Erbe who faced Durham’s Carlos Hernandez.  Today was Brandon’s second International League start for the Tides after a disappointing debut for the Orioles prospect in Norfolk on Monday.  Yet the Tides hitters failed to produce runs that might have supported Erbe and the relievers with Rhyne Hughes driving in both of Norfolk’s runs. It is starting to look like at least some of the hitters for the Tides might need hats for their bats like Pedro Cerrano in Major League.

Today the Tides got out to an early lead when the streaking Rhyne Hughes extended his hitting streak to nine games driving in Robert Andino with a double to right.  Erbe held the Bulls scoreless through the first three innings then began to weaken in the fourth when Justin Ruggiano homered to right to tie the game.  The Tides lost an opportunity in the fifth when with Joey Gathright at the plate Jonathan Tucker was gunned down trying to steal second and as luck would have it Gathright doubled immediately following the out.  Robert Andino then grounded out to end the inning leaving Gathright stranded at second.

The Bulls took the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Elliott Johnson doubled to score Fernando Perez. They would add to the lead in the sixth when Hank Blalock and Dan Johnson singled and Blalock was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Shealy. Chris Richard then doubled to left scoring Johnson. This brought Gary Allenson to the mound and Erbe headed to the clubhouse with Ross Wolf coming in to relieve Erbe. Wolf was able to stop the bleeding and end the inning.  In the top of the seventh Heath Rollins relieved Hernandez and sent the Tides down in order. Wolf gave up three singles in the fourth inning to Ruggiano, Blalock and Shealy with Shealy driving in Ruggiano to extend the Durham lead to 5-1.

Durham hitters like Dan Johnson continued to pound Tides pitchers

The Tides attempted a rally in the top of the eighth. Joey Gathright singled to left to begin the inning and was followed by Andino who struck out swinging.  Rhyne Hughes who had driven in the Tides only run came to the plate. Gathright took the opportunity and stole second base. Hughes then continued his hot hitting doubling for the second time in the evening to bring Gathright home.  Unfortunately for the Tides neither Brandon Snyder nor Scott Moore was able to extend the rally and the Tides went into the bottom of the eighth down 5-2.

The Bulls went back to work in the bottom of the eighth against Alberto Castillo who came into the game to relieve Ross Wolf.  Castillo fared no better than the previous Tides pitchers and gave up a single to Angel Chavez to start the inning. He got Jose Lobaton to strike out swinging and Fernando Perez to fly to right.  Then lightening struck when Elliott Johnson smashed his first home run of the season over the right field fence making the lead 7-2.  Winston Abreu came in to close out the game and did not disappoint the Bull’s fans.  After surrendering a base on balls to Josh Bell he got Jeff Salazar and Adam Donachie on strike outs and Jonathan Tucker to fly out to Center Fielder Justin Ruggiano to end the game.

Erbe got his second loss of the season pitching 5.1 innings giving up 4 runs on 7 hits including the home run by Ruggiano and striking out 4.  Hernandez got the win going 6 innings giving up 1 run on 5 hits with 5 strike outs.  Once again Rhyne Hughes proved his value to the Tides with two doubles and two RBIs. He has now hit in nine consecutive games. Hughes is hitting .394 with a home run, triple and four doubles with 9 RBIs and scoring seven.  The acquisition of Hughes last year by the Orioles might well be one of the best moves made by Orioles management and one that good benefit the O’s later in the season or in 2011.  Hughes is on the 40 man roster and should there be a need in the outfield at Orioles Park.

The Tides and Bulls play Sunday to complete the series with Chris Tillman scheduled to take the mound for the Tides in search of his first victory of the 2010 season.  The Tides will return to Harbor Park on Monday where they will face the Gwinnett Braves.

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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