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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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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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Woe Woe Woe the O’s Woes Continue to Grow

Earl Weaver like him or not knew how to manage and motivate

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

Well if you are an Orioles fan like me you have got to be wondering what is going on in Birdland.  The Orioles sports fans are losing and are patently not following the advice of their legendary Orioles skipper Earl Weaver. After a perfectly miserable 2009 season the Orioles looked like they had righted the ship and were ready if not to be competing for the AL East title at least to be competitive and playing .500 ball.  Veteran hitters like Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins were added to the line-up and last year’s crop of rookies including Catcher Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold were expected to start shining.  Additionally with Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis  and Felix Pie in the lineup the hitting drought of last year was expected to end.  In the pitching department great things were expected as the young arms of the O’s supplemented by veteran Kevin Millwood acquired from the Rangers over the winter were also expected to perform at a higher level than last year.

Matt Wieters is developing well for the O’s

Unfortunately no plan survives first contact with the enemy and it looks like the Orioles who definitely have the talent and potential to be competitive need to find a way to win.  After losing their opener in Tampa they won the second game in that series but haven’t seen a win since. They lost the third game in Tampa and returned home to be swept by both the Blue Jays and the Rays before losing last night in Oakland to the surging Athletics.  With a 1 win and 9 losses the O’s are tied with the Houston Astros for the Marianas Trench of Major League Baseball and as of the moment show no sign of coming out of this crash.

Miguel Tejada brought back for his bat leads the O’s in RBIs but is not hitting well for average…yet

The team batting average is only .232 and the have scored a total of 29 runs in their first ten games and their on base percentage is a mere .309.  Neither are they stealing bases with only 3 stolen so far this year. Felix Pie is leading the team in hitting at .400 with a on base percentage of .455 and slugging percentage of .650.  Miguel Tejada leads the team in RBIs with 7 nearly a quarter of the Orioles total run output.  Matt Wieters is showing signs of maturity at the plate hitting .313 and an OBP of .405.  However some of the bats which are expected to deliver have not woken up yet and maybe it is time to invoke prayers to Jobu to wake them up.  Brian Roberts is now on the 15 day Disabled List and has been replaced at second by Justin Turner called up from the O’s AAA affiliate the Norfolk Tides.

Big Righthander Kam Mickolio was Brought up for injured Mike Gonzales

The pitching staff widely regarded as having some of the best arms and potential in the majors has fared no better with a 4.89 ERA giving up the most hits with 97 hits to their opponents in these ten games and they have allowed 32 walks. In one area the pitching staff is doing well, the can strike out opponents ranking third in the majors with 80.  Kevin Millwood leads the staff with a 2.13 ERA while rookie Brian Matusz has the team’s only win and leads the team with 15 strike outs.  The biggest disappointment has been newly acquired closer Mike Gonzalez.  Gonzales has blown two saves and lost both games and has an 18.0 ERA.  He is on the 15 day DL and the O’s have called up Kam Mickolio from Norfolk as a middle relief man while moving Jim Johnson to the closer role.

Now it is certainly very early in the season but losses in April count just the same as losses in September and losing nine of your first ten games puts you in a very deep hole to start the season.  However at this point one has to start asking what is going on. The O’s are a very talented team and by all rights should be doing much better than their record and statistics suggest.

Orioles Manager Dave Trembley….”Nice guys…finish last?”

At the end of last year I laid the blame on Orioles Manager Dave Trembley.  As I said then:

“The one spot that I think that the team needs a change is the Field Manager Dave Trembley.  Trembley seems to be a good teacher but is not terribly inspirational.  Admittedly he began the year with a weak squad but something is not working and I do like his calm, but I wonder if the teams needs fire rather than calm right now.  My choice would be for the O’s to make a serious offer for Bobby Valentine now that he has returned from Japan.”

From “Oh, Oh, Oh O’s….The Orioles Skid Continues….” September 29th 2009 at  https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/oh-oh-oh-o%e2%80%99s%e2%80%a6-the-orioles-skid-continues-but-there-are-some-bright-spots/

Please do not get me wrong. I think a lot of Dave Trembley, however the team seems to have little life and it is my opinion that a very motivational manager with proven success at all levels of baseball like Bobby Valentine would be an ideal choice to manage the Orioles.  With so much of the season left I do not think anything is gained by keeping Trembley at the helm.  Now is it possible that Tremblay and his managerial style could turn the team around….certainly.  He is popular with the players a gentleman and a very nice person but I’m not so sure that he is the man to make this happen.  In addition to Valentine Clint Hurdle who has managed at Norfolk and led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007 is coaching at Texas and if one wanted a Baltimore connection there is Don Baylor who is currently the hitting coach for the Rockies.  If an interim manager is needed the Orioles could reach down to AAA Norfolk for Tides manager Gary Allenson who has the advantage of having worked with many of the younger O’s for the last four years and managed the Bluefield Orioles of the Appalachian League as well as the Ottawa Lynx before they moved to Norfolk and became the Tides.  He has a long history of managing in the minors and it may be his time to hit the bigs.

Norfolk Tides Manager Gary Allenson might be a good interim manager should the Orioles fire Trembley

Regardless of what course the Orioles take it is imperative that they start winning. Success breads success and as Chuck Tanner said: “I don’t think a manager should be judged by whether he wins the pennant, but by whether he gets the most out of the twenty-five men he’s been given.” Unfortunately I don’t think that Dave Tremblay is getting the most of this very talented young team and even though it is very early in the season it is not too soon to make the change at the top.  As Leo Durocher said “What are we out at the park for, except to win?”

I’m hoping that the Birds will turn it around soon.

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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Tides Win 6-4 in Friday Night Battle with the Bulls, Arrieta, Montanez and Castillo Shine

Jake Arrieta pitched 5 scoreless innings

After losing their opener 5-3 on Thursday night the Tides came back to defeat the Bulls at Harbor Park on a cool and crisp early April evening by a score of 6-4.

Tides starter Jake Arrieta pitched 5 scoreless innings giving up only 2 hits and striking out 2 to set the pace for the Tides who jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Bull’s starter Heath Phillips who had to be one of the most frustrated players at the park last night. In the bottom of the fourth Phillips gave up a single to Lou Montanez who took second on a balk to Brandon Snyder.  Montanez then took third on a wild pitch and scored when Snyder grounded out to short.  In the 5th Phillips ran into trouble. With one out Tides catcher Adam Donachie doubled and advanced to third when Jonathan Tucker grounded out to second. With two out Phillips walked Joey Gathright and Justin Turner to load the bases.  Phillips then walked Lou Montanez to score Donachie.  Phillips was pulled for Heath Rollins who gave up a walk to Brandon Snyder to score Gathright before getting Josh Bell to ground out to end the inning.

Lou Montanez after beating the run down

In the top of the 6th Jim Miller came into the game for the Tides. Miller who has spent most of his career as a closer is now working middle relief for the Tides a role that he began last year.  After striking out Bull’s Matt Joyce and Justin Ruggiano who then was ejected by umpire Fran Burke for saying something inappropriate on his way back to the dugout, I imagine that he was questioning Burke’s parentage, sexual preference or some other behavior and not the call and when tossed came back and gave Burke a piece of his mind.

Justin Ruggiano loses his arguement with umpire Fran Burke

Miller then faced Dan Johnson and with 2 strikes on Johnson gave up a monster home run that hit the back of the right field party deck awning before quite possibly heading into the Elizabeth River.  That shook Miller who seemed to lose confidence and control walking Joe Dillon before giving up a double to deep left center to Ryan Shealy which scored Dillon from first. Miller then got Angel Chavez to ground out to end the inning. The Tides went down in order in the bottom of the 6th.

In the 7th Miller came back out gave up a walk but then got Elliott Johnson to line out into a double play when Alvin Colina got caught too far off of first.  Miller then gave up a base hit to Rashad Eldridge and was replaced by Frank Mata.  Eldridge stole second and was driven in on a single to center by Matt Joyce.  Joyce then stole second off of Mata who then walked Chris Richard and gave up a single to Dan Johnson to score Joyce before retiring the side.

Jim Miller gets Ruggiano on a called third strike

The Tides did not wait long to come back.  The hitting which had not gone well in the first part of the game took off with two outs the bottom of the 7th.  Justin Turner singled and Lou Montanez tripled deep to center field driving in Turner. As Montanez came into third the throw got away and Montanez started down the third base line after hesitating for a moment.  He was then caught in a run down and avoided a tag by catcher Alvin Colina and scored easily when as no one covered the plate for the Bulls.  In the top of the 8th Mata took the Bulls down in order. In the bottom of the 8th Adam Donachie singled to drive in Scott more for an insurance run.

Castillo ties up and strikes out Chris Richard

Alberto Castillo came in to close the game for the Tides.  He gave up a leadoff double to Elliott Johnson but then struck out the side on a combination of 94 mile an hour fastballs and some good off speed pitching leaving Johnson to die at second.  In the win Lou Montanez led the offense going 3 for 3 and a walk scoring twice and driving in two.  Arrieta and Castillo showed excellent stuff and Mata got the win after having a rough outing in the top of the 7th. The win evened the series 1-1 and the teams play Saturday night with Alfredo Simon making his Norfolk 2010 debut against the Bull’s David Bennett.

Castillo on his way to striking out the side for his first save of 2010

At the Major League level the Orioles new closer Mike Gonzales lost his second time in 3 outings lowing a 9th in inning lead for the second time and the Orioles lost to the Jays 7-6.  Out on the West Coast the Giants downed the Braves 5-4 in 13 innings and the A’s clipped the Angels 10-4 in Anaheim.

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