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Britton and Tides Shut Out Clippers 4-0 while Aubrey Homers Twice

Zack Britton dominated the Clippers for 7.1 innings

Young Zack Britton stepped on the little hill in the center of the diamond to face the best hitting and top run scoring team in the International League, the Columbus Clippers who even on bad nights have rung up opposing pitchers like telemarketers calling at dinner. Tonight the 22 year old lefty from Panorama City California disconnected those heavy hitting telemarketers for 7.1 innings allowing only 5 hits. He was assisted by Armando Gabino who pitched 1.2 innings allowing just a hit.  It was a dominating performance by both Britton who is rumored to be on the fast track to the Major Leagues with a AAA record of 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA and by Gabino who is certainly the most overlooked pitcher in the Orioles system.  By the way Gabino is 5-0 with 2 saves and an ERA of 2.42 and for the year opponents are only hitting .216 against him.

Armando Gabino (5-0, S2, 2.42 ERA) has been the most overlooked pitcher in the Orioles system this year

From where I was I could see the scouts in attendance taking copious notes and paying a lot of attention to both Britton and Gabino. Britton also showed that he sees the entire picture when in the 7th inning following a Josh Rodriguez double created a fielder’s choice which got Rodriguez at 3rd base after a rundown.  The other part of the play after getting the rundown in motion Britton was backing up third base at the end of the play.  Rodriguez was the only Clippers hitter to reach second base and with his elimination the only Clippers threat ended.  The Clippers scattered only 6 hits in the game and received only one walk.

Robert Andino hit his 10th home run and second in the past two days on Saturday

The Tides scored early and while only producing 7 hits were very effective in run production.  Robert Andino hit his 10th home run and second home run in two days in the bottom of the 1st inning.  Michael Aubrey got his 8th home run in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  In the bottom of the 3rd inning Matt Angle reached on an infield single and advanced to 2nd base on a throwing error by Clippers 2nd Baseman Cord Phelps. He went to 3rd base on a Robert Andino single and scored on a sacrifice fly to the right field warning track by Jeff Salazar.   The Tides added a 4th run courtesy of Michael Aubrey who hit his 9th home run and 3rd in the past two days in the bottom of the 4th.

Defensively the Tides played a very solid game committing no errors and turning 3 double plays.

Michael Aubrey “high 5’s” Joey Gathright following his second home run of the evening and third in the past two days

Clippers starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (8-4 2.66 ERA) took the loss giving up 4 runs on 6 hits, three of which were home runs.  Interestingly enough Tomlin has only given up 11 home runs while facing 368 batters in 101 innings. However he has faced Michael Aubrey 5 times this season and given up 3 hits all of the home runs.  I think that Aubrey has Tomlin’s number.  Zack Britton (1-1 1.50 ERA) got the win for the Tides dominating the very powerful Clippers offense.  Armando Gabino (5-0 SV-2 2.42 ERA) picked up his 2nd save showing that he can effectively close games as well as start them or pitch solidly in the middle innings.

In all the Clippers had no runs on 6 hits with 1 error leaving four runners on base while the Tides had 4 runs on 7 hits with no errors stranding 3 runners.  The teams close out this series Sunday at 6:15 with Zack Clark (0-4 5.06 ERA) starting for the Tides against the Clippers David Huff (3-0 4.15 ERA).  The Tides can split their season series of 8 games with the Clippers with a win on Sunday.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Offensive Barrage at Harbor Park: Tides Outlast Clippers 12-9

Michael Aubrey homers in the bottom of the 2nd

On a very hot and humid evening the Norfolk Tides and Columbus Clippers met for the second game of what is a critical series for both teams.  The Tides are hoping to start making up ground in the International League Southern division and working their way back into contention. The Clippers face the situation of making sure that they remain on top of the Western division of the IL.  The Clippers had taken game one of the series by a score of 6-1 on Thursday night behind an outstanding pitching performance by Carlos Carrasco. Despite the weather conditions which were just as miserable as were Thursday’s game it appeared as though two completely different teams had taken the field.  The game was high scoring and pitchers melted in the heat and withered under the offensive barrage of their opponent.  In fact with the exception of the 9th inning runs were scored in each inning of the game.  It seemed that no matter what a pitcher did the result was going to be a hit or walk as there were 31 hits and 12 walks in the game.

The game was one of the most offensively offensive this year at Harbor Park as the teams scored a combined 21 runs had 32 hits and committed 5 errors.  Additionally the pitchers walked 11 and hit 1 with a pitch.  The teams left 23 men on base 16 in scoring position with 2 outs.  Pitchers threw 343 pitches in the game which lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Rhyne Hughes hits one of his two doubles

The game was a see-saw affair.  Columbus got on the board first in the top of the 1st inning with back to back home runs by Jordan Brown and Jared Goedert. The Tides answered in the bottom of the 2nd with 3 runs of their own on a Michael Aubrey double and Rhyne Hughes single as well as 2 Columbus errors and a hit batsman.  The Tides took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd on Robert Andino’s 9th home run to lead off the inning.  The Clippers regained the lead in the top of the 4th inning when Josh Rodriguez hit a single to drive in two runners with 2 outs.  In the bottom half of 4th Paco Figueroa doubled to lead off the inning but was left stranded on 3rd.

In the top half of the 5th inning Columbus seemed to take control, at least for a half an inning as they scored two more runs off Tides starter Troy Patton. Nick Weglarz doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Cord Phelps and following a walk issued to Lou Marson Patton was pulled from the game replaced by Pat Egan who gave up a single to Ezequiel Carrera before getting out of the inning. With the score now 7-4 it looked as if the Tides were on their way to yet another loss. However this was not to be so. In the bottom of the 5th the Tides struck back on a Rhyne Hughes double which scored Jeff Salazar and Michael Aubrey’s 7th home run of the season a two run blast which tied the game yet again.  The Tides took the lead in the bottom of the 6th using some “small ball” scoring 2 runs on 2 singles a walk and a wild pitch.

Jeff Salazar gets a RBI single

But the Clippers were not done scoring 2 in the top of the 7th to tie the game.  It looked like the game would go into the 8th tied but the Tides mounted a 2 out blitz to score two more runs when Blake Davis walked and went to 2nd base on a Matt Angle single. Robert Andino walked to load the bases and Jeff Salazar singled to score Davis and Angle. They would add an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th inning when Rhyne Hughes clubbed his second double of the game and scored on a single by Paco Figueroa.  Denis Sarfate would come on in the 9th for the save ending the inning with an epic 13 pitch battle with Columbus slugger Jared Goedert.

In all the Clippers had 9 runs on 16 hits committing 3 errors and leaving 13 men on base while the Tides had 12 runs on 16 hits and 2 errors leaving 10 stranded.  Neither starter figured in the decision reliever Jim Hoey (1-0 0.0 ERA) making his first appearance in relief for the Tides this year got the win going 1.1 innings giving up a hit but no runs and Denis Sarfate notched his 12th save of the campaign.  Jeremy Sowers took the loss giving up 4 runs on 4 hits with 3 walks in 1.2 innings of relief.

The teams meet tonight amid scatter rain showers which could delay the game with Zack Britton (0-1 2.53 ERA) on the hill for the Tides against Columbus right-hander Josh Tomlin (8-3 2.58) who has the third best record in the International League.

Well I’m off to the game.

Blessings

Padre Steve+

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Tides Top Braves 4-3 on Solid Pitching and Key Home Runs

Chris George provide 6 innings of solid pitching for the Tides

The Norfolk Tides finished their home stand in convincing fashion defeating the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 4-3 on a beautiful night for baseball at the Church of Baseball Harbor Park Parish.  Chris George of the Tides faced off against Jo-Jo Reyes and tonight would belong to the Tides Left hander backed up by solid relief work by Kam Mickolio, Ross Wolf and closer Denis Sarfate.

Brandon Hicks gets himself thrown out of the game in the 2nd inning

The Braves got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning without a single hit as Chris George initially struggled with control walking Matt Young and Wes Timmons before getting Freddie Freeman to hit into a double play.  Young advanced to third on the play and scored when a balk was called on George.  In the second inning the Braves threatened and were shut down by the Tides and in the process having their Manager Dave Brundage and Brandon Hicks thrown out of the game.  Mitch Jones doubled and advanced to third on a single by Brandon Hicks.  Jordan Schafer reached first when on a fielder’s choice ground ball Tides First Baseman Brandon Snyder alertly saw Jones attempting to score and gunned him down at the plate. Brandon Hicks then with Luis Bolivar batting attempted to steal third and was thrown out by Tides Catcher Michel Hernandez.  This was a close call and Braves Manager Dave Brundage fiercely argued the call with Hicks.  Both were thrown out of the game after a delay of about 5 minutes.  Bolivar then grounded out to end the inning.

J C Boscan attempts to pick off a Tides runner at 2nd base as Matt Angle attempts to get out of the way

In the bottom half of the 2nd inning the Tides struck back with the suddenness of a thunder storm.  Rhyne Hughes reached on a fielding error by Braves First Baseman Freddie Freeman. The next batter, Brandon Snyder then crushed a pitch over the left field wall deep into the left field picnic area.  Michael Aubrey grounded out to Jo-Jo Reyes and it appeared with the bottom part of the Tides lineup coming to bat that he might escape with no more damage.  However that was not the case as Tides Catcher Michel Hernandez lifted a ball to the opposite field send the pitch into the Straub’s Beer right field party deck to make the score 3-1.  In the bottom of the 3rd inning Robert Andino cracked his 17th double of the year with one out and scored on a single by Jeff Salazar. The Braves plated another run in the top of the 4th inning when Mitch Jones scored from 2nd base on a Luis Bolivar single.

Michel Hernandez got his first home run in Norfolk

Kam Mickolio came into the game in the 7th in relief of George and after allowing a single to Luis Bolivar to lead off the inning got J C Boscan to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and then struck out Matt Young on a 96 mile and hour fast ball.  Ross Wolf came into the game in the 8th and working quickly got Wes Timmons and Freddie Freeman to ground out and Barbaro Canizares to pop out to end the inning.  Denis Sarfate came in to close the game and got Mitch Jones to fly out and then on a low and inside off speed pitch saw Joe Thurston who had replaced Hicks when the latter was tossed in the 2nd inning lift the ball just over the right field wall near the foul pole for a solo home run.  Sarfate wasted nothing else and using high hard heat with every pitch in the mid-90’s blew away Alex Romero and Luis Bolivar to end the game.

The Braves had 3 runs on 8 hits and 1 costly error and left 5 men on base.  The Tides had 4 runs on 8 hits and no errors leaving 6 on base.  Chris George (2-1 3.63) got the win and Jo-Jo Reyes (0-4 5.40) took the loss for the Braves.  Denis Sarfate got his 7th save.  Tonight after a long bus ride west the Tides take on the Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians who lead the International League West.  Troy Patton (4-7 5.13) will take the hill for the Tides facing Josh Tomlin (5-2 2.89).  In personnel news the Orioles outrighted relief pitcher Alberto Castillo to Norfolk in what seems an endless roller coaster for the left hander.  It was announced as well that Bobby Valentine, Padre Steve’s choice for the permanent managerial post for the Orioles since last season interviewed with Peter Angelos and Andy McPhail yesterday.  If you are an Orioles fan you have to hope that Bobby V will join the Orioles after all one can only hope and after all of the suffering with no name managers through most of the decade it is time that we have a marquis manager with a winning attitude and skill working with young talent, and Bobby V fits the bill.

The Tides finished the home stand with a 4 and 4 record which is remarkable if one remembers that the first three games of the series were lost in slugfests to the Buffalo Bisons.  The remarkable thing about the Tides right now is the change that I have seen on the field in the past week. Hitters are more aggressive, the base running is more aggressive, infielders are communicating better, pitchers are challenging hitters and the team is playing as a team with every member in the game even if they are not on the field.  It has been a remarkable sea change and it looks like the Tides are rolling in and might turn into a Tsunami to wreak havoc on the southern division of the International League.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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