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Tides Lose in Sunday Afternoon Slugfest 8-6

“The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.” Earl Weaver

Getting his swing back. Nolan Reimold hammers a deep fly ball on Sunday

The Norfolk Tides lost their 5th straight falling to the Buffalo Bisons in a Sunday afternoon slugfest in which for the third time in three games they collected what should have been enough hits and runs to win. In fact today of the 8 runs scored by the Bisons 3 were unearned coming as the result of poor fielding and throwing by Tides infielders in particular a top of the 8th inning error where shortstop Robert Andino ran past what would have been an easy double play ball off the bat of former Norfolk Tides infielder Justin Turner that scored two runs at a point that the Tides were ahead in the game.  The runs gave the Bisons a lead that they would not relinquish and seal the fate of the Tides on this blistering hot Sunday afternoon.

Jeff Salazar steps on home plate following his 7th inning home run

Tides starting pitcher Chris George gave up 5 runs, 4 of which were earned in 5.2 innings work and Zack Clark so new to the team from AA Bowie that he went out in a jersey without his name affixed to it gave up 3 runs in 2.1 innings of which only 1 was an earned run.  Ross Wolf pitched the 9th inning coming in with two on and two out. He got J R House out while trying to bunt and made an excellent play to field the ball and throw out Valentino Pascucci at third. He then got Jesus Feliciano to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Brandon Snyder bunts for a hit

The big damage to the Tides came from the extremely potent Buffalo offense. For once the Bisons’ parent organization the New York Mets has invested in putting experienced and potent offensive force together despite a dearth of young prospects. The Bisons pack a huge offensive punch including Mike Hessman the all-time Minor League home run king but the Chief Tides basher has been Mike Jacobs who has beaten Tides pitching about in a rude and nearly ruthless manner over the past two days as well as former Tides catcher J R House who today had a home run, double plating 3 of the Bisons runs.

However if there is a silver lining in the past three games it is for the first time this season the Tides seem to be hitting the ball consistently using both contact and power to make things happen. The Tides picked up their first run in the bottom of the 2nd inning one singles by Rhyne Hughes, Brandon Snyder and Michel Hernandez. The Bisons collected two in the top of the 3rd inning when Andy Green reached on an error J R House doubled and Jesus Feliciano singled to drive in both Green and House.

The Tides tied the score in the bottom of the 4th as Rhyne Hughes and Brandon Snyder singled and Michel Hernandez sacrificed to right field to score Hughes.  Buffalo then scored 3 runs in the top frame of the 6th driving Tides starter Chris George out of the game and it was as the sage Earl Weaver mentioned, the part about the three run home runs as   J R  House clubbed a three run homer off of George with one out.  However the Tides did not roll over and die as they had in so many games earlier in the season and in the bottom of the 7th the now scrappy Tides offense plated 4 runs.  Michel Hernandez, Blake Davis and Matt Angle singled to load the bases. Robert Andino then hit into a double play but Hernandez scored.  Jeff Salazar then hit a 2 run home run off of Pat Misch to tie the game. Nolan Reimold and Rhyne Hughes singled and Brandon Snyder singled to drive in Reimold before Blake Davis grounded out to end the inning.

Chris George allowed 4 earned runs in 5.2 innings getting no decision

In the top of the 8th the Bisons took the lead when Robert Andino missed what looked to be an easy grounder that easily could have been a double play, the ball rolled into short left field and two runs scored and the Bisons were back in the lead and add an insurance run in the 9th to make the final score 8-6.

The Bisons scored 8 runs on 11 hits with 1 error and 11 men left on base. The Tides 6 runs on 15 hits and 4 errors leaving 8 on base including 5 left in scoring position with 2 outs.

While the Tides offense has come alive the pitching has been weak and they were not helped by four errors which allowed three unearned runs.  In spite of this the Tides are showing signs of life under Interim Manager Bobby Dickerson who took on an umpiring crew that made three obviously bad calls that cost the Tides runs the most egregious being a hit by J R House in the top of the 2nd which should have been a foul ball that was ruled fair and went for a double, a force at second in the top of the 8th which the 2nd base umpire ruled that second baseman Blake Davis who was plowed over at second had been pulled off the bag.  Later in the 8th Mike Hessman was ruled hit by a pitch which had all the marking of a ball that hit the bat before striking him. The last call got Dickerson tossed by Home Plate Umpire Chris Conroy.  Dickerson does not just manage but he leads and appears to inspire. Players that have not been performing have been benched and for the first time in recent memory the Tides took infield practice on a game day. What appears to be the new mantra in the Orioles organization is accountability and chemistry.  Things are not better yet but if I were the Orioles I would make Dickerson the permanent manager of the Tides tomorrow.  It takes time to get the pitching right and I do not see a quick fix to that with the probability that Arietta will be in Baltimore possibly within the week, however it appears that he is bringing some discipline and order back to a team that has a lot of talent but not achieved the success that it is capable of accomplishing. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming days and weeks as Andy McPhail and the Orioles begin to make the hard choices regarding players and ultimately who will remain in Baltimore and on the 40 man roster.

The Orioles defeated the Red Sox today at Camden Yards 4-3 in 11 innings with David Hernandez getting his first win of the season in relief.

The final game of the season series between the Bisons and Tides will be on Monday at 12:15 as Troy Patton (3-7, 5.73 ERA) will take the hill for the Tides against former Tide Bobby Livingston (2-5, 4.18 ERA).

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Come Back from 6-0 deficit but Lose as Hinkley gives up 4 runs in 9th Inning

Armando Gabino had his worst outing of the year

On a very warm evening the Norfolk Tides looked like they would get a big comeback win. On their first night with Interim Manager Bobby Dickerson at the helm the Tides opened their four game series against the Buffalo Bisons at Harbor Park where a crowd of 6345 gathered to celebrate “Marine Night.”

The Tides managed to rebound from a 6-0 Buffalo lead only to lose in the 9th inning when Michael Hinckley just promoted to Norfolk from AA Bowie loaded the bases with no outs to give up 4 runs in the top of the 9th inning.

Tides starter Armando Gabino had his worst outing of the season giving up 6 runs on 6 hits, though 2 of the runs were unearned due to a fielding error by Second Baseman Blake Davis in the 3rd inning which opened the floodgates. Gabino got into trouble again in the 4th and was relieved by Jim Miller. Miller would settle things down and pitch three innings before yielding to Ross Wolf in the 7th. Wolf too held the Bisons in check as the Tides offense went to work.

Jim Miller continued good work as a middle releiver

Brandon Snyder ignited the Tides in the 5th inning when with one out he hit a line drive over the right field wall into the Tides bullpen. That hit by Snyder rocked Harbor Park. The fans that had been silenced by the Bisons were back in the game and the effect was electric.  Blake Davis then singled and Michel Hernandez walked.  With 2 on and 1 out Matt Angle singled to drive in Davis to cut the lead to 6-2.  In the 5th inning the Tides scored another run when Josh Bell reached second on a throwing error on an infield ground ball.  Nolan Reimold who seems to be improving after a dismal season in Baltimore followed by a worse start in Norfolk singled to drive in Bell making it a 6-3 game.

Matt Angle with one of his four hits

The Tides tied the game in the bottom of the 7th when with 1 out Michel Hernandez singled and advanced to second on a single by Matt Angle.  Hernandez scored when Robert Andino singled and Matt Angle advanced to second base.  Jeff Salazar singled to drive in Angle and move Andino to third base and would score on a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at six.

Blake Davis Scores in the 5th inning on a Matt Angle Single

It appeared at this point that the Tides had all the momentum and had the Bisons on the ropes.  In the top of the 9th Michael Hinckley who had just been promoted to Norfolk from Bowie when hard luck Pedro Viola was sent down to Bowie made his first AAA appearance.  He gave up a single to former Tides infielder Justin Turner and a double to Mike Jacobs.  He then walked all time Minor League Baseball Home run king Mike Hessman to load the bases.  Now with the bases loaded he walked Russ Adams to give Buffalo the lead.  At this point Bobby Dickerson brought in former Oriole Cla Meredith hoping that Meredith’s Major League experience would pay off and shut down the Bisons before more damage could be done.  This was not the case as the first batter that Meredith faced Valentino Pascucci doubled down the line in right to clear the bases and give the Bisons a 10-6 lead.  Meredith struck out Andy Green but lost it on a wild pitch which put Green on first and Pascucci on third base.  J R House grounded out to score Pascucci before Meredith got Jesus Feliciano to ground out to end the frame. The Tides went down quietly in the bottom of the 9th and the game ended with the final score Buffalo 11 and the Tides 6.

Buffalo had 11 runs on 12 hits with 1 error and 8 men left on base, the Tides 6 runs on 12 hits and 2 errors with 6 runners left on base.  Bisons’ reliever Bobby Parnell (1-1 4.73 ERA) got the “unsave” and the win and Hinckley the loss giving up 4 runs without retiring a batter.

I did notice a couple of things that I thought were important. First Bobby Dickerson did not wait and wait to make pitching changes; he got pitchers out of the game when they got in serious trouble. Unfortunately in the 9th inning he had misplaced confidence in Cla Meredith. The second thing and this was even more important, the Tides hitters got the team back in the game as relievers Miller and Wolf held the Bisons after they had gotten out to the 6-0 lead.  Another note of interest was the continued hitting of Brandon Snyder and the 4 hits of Matt Angle in the lead off position.

The Tides and Bisons play tonight at Harbor Park and it will be a hot one with temperatures in the high 80s at game time. Jake Arietta (6-2 1.77 ERA) will be going for his 7th win of the season against Dylan Owen (1-1 4.76).

See you there.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On: O’s Fire Dave Trembley, Samuels to Manage O’s; Allenson promoted to Baltimore as Coach, Dickerson to Manage Tides

Gone: Dave Trembley Fired by Orioles

The axe finally came down on Dave Trembley in Baltimore following a sweep by the Yankees and an 8th straight loss.  The 15-39 Orioles decided that it was time for a change firing Trembley and promoting Third Base Coach Juan Samuel as to Interim Manager.  In the ripple effect that followed Norfolk Tides Manager Gary Allenson was promoted to the Orioles to assume the 3rd Base Coach position and Orioles Minor League Infield Coordinator/Latin America Field Coordinator Bobby Dickerson named as the Tides Interim Manager.  Last year Dickerson Managed the AAA Iowa Cubs to a 72-72 record.  He has an extensive Minor League career and has a 525-462 record as a Minor League Manager in which he led the AA Southern League West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx to the post season on two occasions.

It is now time for Andy McPhail and the Orioles to get the kind of big name franchise kind of manager that is also a good teacher for young talent to show Orioles fans that they are serious about winning.  Of course if you have ready me since the close of the 2009 campaign, that man is Bobby Valentine.  In the mean time it is important for the O’s to really start scrutinizing their roster and making changes to the 25 and 40 man roster and focus on performance as well as potential.

Dickerson will manage his first game against the Buffalo Bisons tonight at Harbor Park.  See you there and may God help the Orioles and Tides. Armando Gabino (2-0 1.80 ERA) will pitch for the Tides and face Tobi Stoner (3-5 5.13 ERA). The game will see the return of a number of familiar faces to Harbor Park including Justin Turner, J R House and Mike Cervenak.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Defeat Rochester 2-1 Split Series Arietta Wins 5th

Jake Arietta Notched his 5th win against Rochester

The Norfolk Tides recovered from the loss of the first two games to the Rochester Red Wings by taking games three and four of the series, each by a score of 2-1.  On Tuesday Afternoon the Tides evened the series with a win.  Once again it was pitching and defense that did the job for the Tides with just enough situational offense to win the game.  Unfortunately Padre Stevem had this little thing called work to do and could not attend in person but was able to catch parts of the broadcast on his computer in between group sessions and individual counseling sessions with patients at the Medical Center’s Substance Abuse Treatment Center.

It is likely that Chris Tillman could soon be called up to Baltimore as a starter

Jake Arietta took the hill for the Tides facing a Rochester team that until Chris Tillman shut them down Monday had pulverized Tides pitchers.  Both Tillman and Arietta showed that they are not your typical run of the mill AAA pitchers but rather something special.  Both are power pitchers, both have become more confident and more patient, maturing immeasurably since the 2009 campaign.  The two could when they both get to Baltimore be something akin to Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale and when combined with a maturing Brian Matusz and Jeremy Guthrie could become one of the most feared pitching rotations in baseball.

On Tuesday Arietta pitched 7 innings allowing 1 ruin on 7 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts lowering his ERA to 1.86, the best in the International League.  In fact of AAA level starters in the International and Pacific Coast Leagues with over 60 innings work only Luke French of the Seattle Mariners affiliate the Tacoma Rainiers has a better ERA.  The only Rochester run came in the top of the 5th when Jason Repko bunted his way aboard and then stole second. He was singled home by Matt Tolbert and that was all the scoring that the Red Wings mustered for the Day.   Arietta was followed by Kam Mickolio who again had a good outing after a rough start mowing down the Wings in order in the 8th. Denis Safate came in to get the save  striking out the first two batters that he faced, but then allowing a single to Dustin Martin who then went to second on a wild pitch and followed that with a walk to Brock Peterson before retiring Jason Repko on  a routine fly ball to left fielder Danny Figueroa.

Closer Frank Mata had His Contract Purchased by the Orioles

The Tides offense also came in the 5th inning when Anthony Swarzak walked Michel Hernandez and was pulled in favor of Jose Lugo. The first batter that Lugo faced was newly called up outfielder Danny Figueroa, twin brother of Tides second baseman Paco Figueroa.  Danny had been called up to replace the struggling Nolan Reimold who was placed on the temporary inactive list due to the birth of a baby.  Figueroa didn’t take long to figure out Lugo and promptly blasted the first pitch into the Straub Beer party deck in right field.  Tides reliever Jim Miller traded a couple of balls for the one Danny hit into the deck from fans so that Figueroa could have a memento of his first AAA level home run.

The Red Wings had 1 run on 8 hits and 1 error leaving 9 men on base, the Tides 2 runs on 4 hits with no errors and 5 men left on base.  Jake Arietta (5-2 1.81) got the win and Jose Lugo (0-3 6.54) the loss.  Denis Sarfate (0-0 S1 1.54) got the save.  The Tides have a travel day Wednesday and open a 4 game series in Pawtucket against the Pawsox on Thursday with Chris George (1-1 4.22) starting for the Tides and Boof Bonser (0-2 10.61) taking the hill for the Sox.

Justin Turner was signed by the New York Mets

There has been quite a bit of action in the personnel department for the Tides and Orioles even since last week.  Michael Aubrey was placed on the 7 Day DL on the 24th retroactive to the 23rd.  Ross Wolf was assigned to Aberdeen while Jim Miller was recalled from Aberdeen; Alberto Castillo returned to the Tides but was called back up the 25th along with closer Frank Mata whose contract was selected by the Orioles.  Danny Figueroa was promoted to the Tides from AA Bowie and Nolan Reimold placed on the temporary inactive list. Up in Baltimore David Hernandez was moved to the Bullpen a move that the Orioles say will be for the rest of the season which could open the way into the rotation for Chris Tillman.  On a further note infielder Justin Turner who was designated for assignment last week was signed by the New York Mets and assigned to AAA Buffalo.  I would expect that due to the Mets’ personnel; situation that Turner could be playing in New York by mid-summer.

Until the next time peace my friends,

Padre Steve+

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Moves and Rumors of Moves…Well Not the Rumors Part…Orioles and Tides Make Some Moves

Scott Moore was called up to Baltimore on Friday

The player personnel departments of the Baltimore Orioles and their farm system have been busy in the past two days.  With the worst record in baseball the Orioles are searching for answers to their woes in the hitting department and in their bullpen.  On Thursday they optioned relief pitcher Alberto Castillo to the Norfolk Tides.  Today they called up infielder Scott Moore who has been hitting very well lately including two home runs on Wednesday and a three RBI night Thursday from the Tides to join the team in Washington to play the Nationals.

Also on Friday the Tides brought Left Hand Pitcher Chris George off the 7 day disabled list and Chris will pitch tonight against the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Infielder Justin Turner who has been cold at the bat this season and was on the Orioles 40 man roster was designated for assignment which means that he was removed from the 40 man roster which means that the Tides have 10 days to from the date of designation to return the Justin to the 40-man roster or to trade, release, or outright the player to Minors. As a note a player may only be designated for assignment if the 40-man roster is full and a player needs to be added which in this case is Scott Moore.

Also at Norfolk Paco Figueroa was called up from the Aberdeen Ironbirds.  Figueroa an infielder had a .306 average at AA Bowie before being called up.

It will be interesting since we are coming to the end of May just what other moves might be made. If I was a betting man I would look for more in Baltimore that will affect the Tides.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Defeat Pawsox 5-2 on Tillman’s Pitching and the Long Ball

Chris Tillman pitched seven shut out innings to get the win

After losing the opening game of their series against the Pawtucket Red Sox the Norfolk Tides dominated the Boston Red Sox AAA affiliate on a beautiful Wednesday night.  Baltimore Orioles General Manager Andy McPhail and 3872 of his closest friends, except the Pawsox fans enjoyed the moderate temperatures and light winds which made the night a beautiful night for a ball game.  Tonight it was Chris Tillman (4-4 3.31) who shut down the Pawsox for seven innings allowing no runs and only three hits striking out 4 and walking only 2.  Tillman was followed by Pedro Viola in the 8th inning and Viola made things a bit sporty for the Tides allowing a run on two hits before retiring the side.  Denis Sarfate entered in the 9th inning and after retiring Aaron Bates walked Dusty Brown and then gave up a single to Lars Anderson who with a name like that needs to be on the Norwegian Biathlon Team.  After a visit to the mount by manager Gary Allenson Sarfate walked Tug Hulett to load the bases with one out.  Allenson then took Sarfate out for closer Frank Mata (0-0 1.96) who got Bubba Bell to ground out to first which allowed Brown to score and then struck out Ryan Khoury to end the game and notch his 8th save of the year.

Adam Donachie Singles and Justin Turner Drives him in

And They Come across the plate


Tonight the Tides hitters finally started hitting the long ball and it began with Scott Moore who crushed a 2-0 pitch over the right field wall which drove in Nolan Reimold who had walked.  In the 3rd inning Adam Donachie singled and Justin Turner blasted a one out shot over the left field wall bouncing the ball off a picnic table in the left field picnic area to score two more runs for the Tides extending their lead to 4-0.  That score would remain until the 6th inning when Scott Moore did not leave us waiting from more but smashed a two out 2-0 pitch from Sox starter Michael Bowden which left the ballpark completely passing over the bullpen in the direction of the East Fork of the Elizabeth River. Good thing there were no boats passing by or we might have needed a rescue team.  That ended the scoring for the Tides and though the Pawsox attempted a comeback they fell short.

Scott Moore crosses home plate after his second home run of the night

The Tides had 5 runs on 7 hits and an error leaving two men on base. The Sox had 2 runs on 6 hits and no errors leaving 7 runners on base.  On Thursday the Tides and the Sox meet again at Harbor Park with Tides ace Jake Arietta (3-2 2.20) going up against Fabio Castro (2-2 6.56).   Hopefully the Tides will take advantage of the momentum generated tonight and transfer it into solid pitching and hitting on Thursday night at Harbor Park. The weather should be excellent to see a game so see you there.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Blown Out of Buffalo 11-4: Northern Road Trip Ends with Tides Losing Six of Eight Games….Is there any Hitting in the House?

Frustrated Hitters like Joey Gathright have not had a Good Season so far in 2010

The Tides first northern expedition of the year ended badly in Buffalo on Monday night. On a cool, cloudy and breezy Buffalo night the Tides fell to the Bisons by a score of 11-4.  The game was actually relatively close and could have gone to extra innings but for the 7 runs allowed by the Tides in the 7th and 8th innings.  Tides Starter Troy Patton (2-5 5.53)  gave up 4 runs, three earned on 8 hits in 5.2 innings work.    Jim Miller came into the game to relieve Patton in the bottom of the 6th with 2 outs and retired the first batter that he faced.  Miller gave up a solo home run to Jason Pridie in the bottom of the 7th before retiring the rest of the order.  However the 8th inning was the inning of doom for the Tides as the Bisons’ bats lit up Miller and Pedro Viola for 6 runs on 4 hits which included home runs by Russ Adams and Mike Jacobs and a double by Jesus Feliciano each of which scored two runs.  The Tides tried to rally in the top of the 9th but the rally fell very short with the Tides scoring 2 runs on a series of singles by Josh Bell, Michael Aubrey, Brandon Snyder, Robert Andino and Adam Donachie.  The Tides had scored two runs early in the game when Michael Aubrey hit a two run home run in the top of the 2nd inning.

Rhyne Hughes leads the Tides in batting averaage

The road trip was difficult for the Tides especially in the hitting department. The Tides scored just 21 runs on 57 hits and only 2 home runs.  They were shut out twice with one of those a complete game for the opposing pitcher.  They now sit at the bottom of the International League in the team batting average with a .234 team average and an On Base Percentage of just .299 also the lowest in the league.  They rank third from the bottom in run production with a total of 157 runs in 39 games with a Slugging Percentage of .366 the second lowest in the league.   In some ways the Tides hitting mirrors that of their parent club the Baltimore Orioles.  Who have a .251 average a .310 OBP and scored just 133 runs next to last in the American League with a fourth from the bottom Slugging Percentage of .384.    It is obvious that the Orioles and the Tides need to improve markedly in hitting and run production if they ever want to be competitive.

Former Tides Pitcher Alfredo Simon got the win in Relief in Baltimore while Corey Patterson (below) had a game tying home run in the bottom of the 8th

In the pitching department the Tides are part of the middle of the pack in the International League with an ERA of 4.27.  In a number of pitching categories the Tides are competitive however they have given up 142 walks the most in the League other than Pawtucket and are in the top third of the league in terms of home runs, runs and earned runs.  With the exception of the final game of the series in Buffalo the pitchers kept the Tides in the games despite giving up the long ball in inopportune moments.

While the Tides pitching could improve the pitchers are on the whole improving but the hitters are struggling and players that hit for good averages last year are not getting it done this year. In 2009 Joey Gathright hit .325, Justin Turner .300, Michael Aubrey .290, Scott Moore .254 and Brandon Snyder .248.   By comparison Gathright is hitting .184, Turner .250, Aubrey .266, Moore .256 and Snyder .202.  The team batting average in 2009 was .272 and currently in 2010 .234.  On base percentage 2009 was .330 and this year .299, slugging percentage in 2009 .389 and 2010 just .366.  The Tides have to figure out a way to hit this year otherwise even the improving pitching staff will continue to lose games that on other teams that they would win.   Certainly the talent is there and the hitters are capable of better.  Could it be the change in the hitting coach that occurred with Richie Hebner replacing Dallas Williams who had held the job for four years?  If it is not Hebner certainly there has to be an explanation for this slump.  At the beginning of the season I was not concerned but coming up on a third of the way into the season I am becoming concerned about despite a number of games where the Tides appeared to have broken out of this collective slump but then lapsed back into it.

The Tides played tonight against the Pawtucket Red Sox and lost by a score of 6-0, more on this game tomorrow.

Meanwhile in Baltimore the Orioles defeated teh Royals by a score of 4-3 in the bottom of the 10th inning. Luke Scott hit 2 home runs off of last year’s Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.  Former Tides outfielder Corey Patterson hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to tie the game and give the O’s another chance to win.  Former Tides starter and now Orioles closer Alfredo Simon got the win.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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