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The Change in Baltimore Begins….Now

Armando Gabino was one of 4 Orioles called up the last day of the season

This is my first post season Orioles and Tides report, it is short but as you can see the Orioles are wasting no time in getting ready for the 2011 campaign following one of the most remarkable turnarounds in baseball history.  The final day of the season the O’s called up pitcher’s Armando Gabino, Kam Mickolio and Frank Mata as well as first baseman Rhyne Hughes not to report. All are on the O’s 40 man roster.

Michael Aubrey who led the Tides in Home Runs and Slugging percentage declared Free Agency

Gabino was the treasure of the Tides this year where he went 7-0 in spot starts and pitched well throughout the season as a starter and reliever with a 2.37 ERA. But in Baltimore he was rung up hard in 5 appearances.  Mickolio started the season in Baltimore but only made 3 appearances.  In 23 Major League appearances over the last 3 years he is 0-3 with a 4.32 ERA.  He was injury prone and went down to Norfolk. He seemed to struggle with his confidence much of the season. However the 6’ 9” right-hander was throwing hard in the 95-98 MPH range and having more good outings than bad toward the end of the season.  He finished with a 4-3 record and 6.37 ERA after a horrible start.  One place where he excelled was strikeouts where in 35.1 innings he had 48 K’s.

Big right-hander Kam Mickolio got the end of the season call up

Mata was up and down during the year but he generally has good stuff although he was not very effective in 15 games having a 7.79 ERA in the Majors. At Norfolk Mata finished with a 5-3 record and 3.16 ERA. Finally Rhyne Hughes who was acquired from the Rays organization at the end of 2009 was called up. He went to the Orioles where he appeared in 14 games and hit .213. He struggled at the plate in Norfolk much of the year and was platooned at first base and designated hitter with Brandon Snyder and Michael Aubrey. At Norfolk Hughes played in 104 games and hit .258 getting better as the season progressed. He had 10 home runs and 39 RBIs and had a .314 On Base Percentage and a .410 Slugging Percentage.

Scott Moore hitting a home run here also declared Free Agency

A number of Tides were offered minor league deals but refused the assignment and are now Free Agents.  First Baseman Michael Aubrey who led the team in home runs (22) and slugging percentage (.485) and had a .310 On Base Percentage.  However he only hit .235 in 102 games as opposed to 2009 when he hit a combined .290 with Columbus and Norfolk.  I think that he has major league potential and I expect him to find a home.  Scott Moore was on the 40 man roster and played some in Baltimore this season. Moore had spent the majority of 2009 on the DL and did very well with the Tides this year. Moore’s problem is that the Orioles don’t seem to have a place for him except in the minors. In 41 games with the Orioles this year Scott hit .209 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs.  In 61 Games at Norfolk Scott hit .280, had a .345 OBP and a .473 Slugging Percentage. He hit 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 225 plate appearances. I also expect Scott to find a home.

Journeyman Alberto Castillo refused a minor league assignment to become a Free Agent

Two pitchers, relievers Cla Meredith and Alberto Castillo also declined minor league deals to become free agents.  Meredith has a number of years in the Majors one of which was outstanding. In 2006 with the Padres Meredith went 5-1 with a 1.07 ERA in 45 appearances.  Since then his Major league record has gone down. In 2007 he went 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 80 appearances, in 2008 0-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 73 appearances and in 2009 pitching for the Padres and Orioles he went 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA.  In 21 appearances in Baltimore in 2010 he went 0-2 and had a 5.40 ERA.  His record as a reliever in the Majors is 14-14 with a 3.62 ERA. In 20 appearances at Norfolk he was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 27 innings of work. I do think that he will also find a home as his numbers are not that bad all things considered. The question for me is if his performance in 2006 and 2007 is indicative of his potential or if those years were an aberration.

Demoted from the 40 man roster earlier in the season Cla Meredith declared Free Agency rather than take a minor league assignment in pitching deep Orioles organization

Alberto Castillo is a journeyman who has spent the majority of his career in the minors including 7 seasons in the independent leagues. He has played parts of 2008, 2009, and 2010 with the Orioles and for a time was on the 40 man roster. In 62 appearances during those seasons he went 2-0 and had a 4.81 ERA. His record in 3 seasons at Norfolk is 6-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 108 games.  In his time at Norfolk he pitched 118 innings giving up 111 hits, 38 walks, allowed 42 earned runs but struck out 123.  He is 35 years old but has had no injuries while with the Orioles organization and the fact that he is a left-handed reliever who can go with a submarine delivery when needed he might fit the need of an organization for a left-handed reliever.

Rhyne Hughes will get another chance with the Orioles in 2011

The Orioles will not stop here, expect them to shell out the money for some big hitters and if needed package some of their young talent to get it. I will write more as things develop.

Frank Mata got the call to Baltimore

Now back to the NLCS games.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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

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

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

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

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

Former Tide Jake Arrieta got the Win in Yankee Stadium Tuesday

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

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

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win in 10: Defeat Bulls 7-6

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

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

Zach Britton struck out 9 Bulls but had a no decision

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

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

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

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

Frank Mata got the win in relief for the Tides

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

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

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

Peace

Padre Steve+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dennis Sarfate got his 20th save of the season

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and blessings

Padre Steve+

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

Jeff Salazar homers for the Tides

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jose Lobaton singles

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

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

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

Robert Andino currently leads the IL in hits with 137

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

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

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Andino’s Errors Costly as Tides Lose to Bulls 9-8

Frank Mata strikes out Desmond Jennings on Sunday night

It was a warm and uncomfortably humid night at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.  It was so humid that it seemed that the very air was trying to mug the 5000 of so fans that braved to weather to come to the game.  After a 28 minute delay the game got underway with Tim Bascom facing former Tide Bobby Livingston.

Michael Aubrey doubles

Both Bascom and Livingston held the opposing team scoreless for the first three innings but that did not last as they entered the 4th inning when the game became a see-saw match as each team kept pace with the other.  In that inning Bascom gave up a single to Leslie Anderson which was followed by Angels Chavez’s 9th home run of the year to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead. The Tides got 2 in the bottom of the 4th when Nolan Reimold singled and scored on Lou Montanez’s triple. Montanez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Aubrey.  In the 5th inning Bascom walked J. J. Furmaniak and with two outs gave up a home run to Rocco Baldelli.  The Tides then scored 4 in the 5th inning as with 1 out Scott Moore and Robert Andino singled to put runners on first and second.  Nolan Reimold flied out for the second out but was followed by Montanez who doubled to bring Moore home.  With Michael Aubrey at the plate Livingston threw a wild pitch allowing Andino to score once again tying the game.  Aubrey doubled his 25th of the year to score Montanez and would score himself when Bull’s right fielder made a play right out of Bull Durham and simply missed an easy routine fly ball off the bat of Brandon Snyder for the 4th run of the inning.

Rocco Baldelli doubles off of Alberto Castillo

In the 6th inning the game went glunk for the Tides.  Pat Egan relieved Tim Bascom and gave up a single to the persnickety Angel Chavez who has been a pain to Tides pitchers this series.  However Egan got Omar Luna to ground into a double play and it looked like the Tides would get out of the inning with no damage and the lead.  That did not happen, the next batter Fernando Perez hit a sharp ground ball which was deflected off the glove of Paco Figueroa for an infield hit. Desmond Jennings then hit a routine chopper to Robert Andino who bobbled the ball to put runners on first and second. The very next batter, J.J. Furmaniak hit a similar ball to Andino who this time missed the ball completely appearing not even have his mind in the game took his time to track it down behind 2nd base to allow Perez to score.  This opened the door for the Bulls whose next batter Dioner Navarro singled to left to score Jennings and was followed by Chris Richard who doubled to score Furmaniak and Navarro to give the Bulls an 8-6 lead.

The Tides came back in the bottom of the 6th inning against Bulls reliever Brian Shouse. Jeff Salazar doubled to lead off the inning and was followed by Paco Figueroa who walked. Scott Moore stuck out swinging and was followed by Robert Andino who singled to load the bases.  Shouse then walked Nolan Reimold to score Salazar and narrow the Bulls lead to one run.  Lou Montanez drove in Figueroa on a force out. Shouse walked Michael Aubrey to load the bases. Then controversy happened. Brandon Snyder appeared to draw a walk on a checked swing on a 3-2 count but Bulls catcher Dioner Navarro appealed the call to the 1st Base umpire Stephen Barga who called Snyder out. Snyder ran down to argue the call and was tossed from the game and Bobby Dickerson continued the discussion for several minutes before giving up. Thus at the end of the 6th the score was tied 8-8.

There were no runs scored in the 7th or 8th innings, Frank Mata set the Bulls down in order in the top of the 7th while Shouse retired the Tides giving up a walk to Paco Figueroa.  Mata had trouble in the 8th after getting two outs on a double play loading the bases to bring in Alberto Castillo who struck out Chris Richard swinging.  Joe Bateman replaced Shouse in the 8th allowing a leadoff walk to Andino but retiring Reimold, Montanez and Aubrey in order. Castillo came back out in the 9th to face Rocco Baldelli who doubled and advanced to second on a ground out by Leslie Anderson. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Angel Chavez before Castillo stuck Omar Luna out swinging to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order facing Jake McGee in the bottom of the 9th and the delayed and slow moving game came to an end with the Tides losing 9-8.

Joe Bateman (6-0 1.81 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Jake McGee the save, his first and Alberto Castillo got the loss (1-1 4.33 ERA) got the loss. In the end the game came down to Robert Andino’s costly errors which helped the Bulls to 4 unearned runs in the 6th inning.  Andino now has a league leading 28 errors many of which have cost the Tides pitchers runs and the team games. Egan should have left with the lead and Castillo should have been pitching for a save with a decent lead.  Despite his clutch hitting Andino will need to get his head in the defensive game if he hopes to play shortstop in the Major Leagues.  When he is locked on defensively he is excellent but as of now his poor defense is a liability that sometimes cancels out all his excellent work at the plate.  When I first entered the Army a Special Forces Sergeant told me and those with me that there were two things in the Army, “attaboys” and “aw shits” and that it took 2000 attaboys to make up for one aw shit.  Andino now has 28 aw shits this year in the field. I wish him well but his defense needs to improve dramatically to be the kind of asset to a Major League franchise that his obvious talent at the plate would make him.

The teams played today with the Bulls winning again. The article on that game will be separate from this and will likely appear tomorrow.  The Tides travel to Durham for the first two games of a road trip that will take them to Charlotte and Gwinnett before returning home on the 31st for their final home stand of 2010 against the Braves. Troy Patton (7-10, 4.85ERA) will take the hill for Norfolk against Durham right-hander Richard de los Santos (13-5, 3.59 ERA).

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Durham Clinches IL South for 5th Straight Year: Tides Lose 8-6 Thursday & 3-1 Friday

Robert Andino hit his 13th home run in the bottom of the 8th on Thursday in the Tides 8-6 loss to the Bulls

The champagne was flowing in visitor’s clubhouse as the Durham Bulls clinched their 5th straight International League South Division title at Harbor Park. The Bulls who currently are 32 games above 500 have the best record in the League and 14 ½ games up on the second place team the Gwinnett Braves defeated the Norfolk Tides by scores of 8-6 on Thursday and 3-1 on Friday.

Troy Patton had a no-decision in Thursday’s game

The Tides did not make the Bulls final steps to the title easy giving them a run for their money both nights. On Thursday Troy Patton got the start for the Tides pitched well for 4 innings before running into trouble in the 5th inning.  He gave up a run in the 4th and 2 in the 5th before being relieved by Pat Egan with 1 out in the top of the 5th inning.  He left the game with the lead as the Tides has scored 3 runs in the 1st and another in the 2nd to take an early 4-0 lead off Durham starter Darin Downs who was making a spot start for the Bulls.

In the 7th inning the Bulls tied the game.  Egan gave up two singles with one out and was relieved by Frank Mata. Elliott Johnson hit what could have been a double play producing ground ball to Shortstop Robert Andino but Andino misplayed the ball and was slow to get back to the ball.  It was almost as if he forgot that the runner on second was there which allowed that runner, the speedy Desmond Jennings to score the tying run.

In the 8th inning when Mata gave up a leadoff home run to Leslie Anderson and then proceeded to load the bases before walking J.J. Furmaniak to score Angel Chavez.  He was relieved by Cla Meredith who got the second out before Justin Ruggiano hit a grounder with eyes that got through to left for a single to score Omar Luna and Desmond Jennings. He then retired Rocco Baldelli to end the inning with the Bulls now leading 8-4.

The Tides scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two run home run by Robert Andino, his 13th of the year.  Nolan Reimold doubled but was left stranded at second when Scott Moore flied out to right.  Meredith held the Bulls in the 9th inning but the Tides went down in order in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a game ending double play.

The Bulls had 8 runs on 14 hits and committed 2 errors stranding 10 runners and the Tides 6 runs on 14 hits and one costly error by Andino.  The Tides left 11 men on base.  Dale Thayer (3-1 3.40 ERA) the Bulls’ third pitcher of the night got the win and Frank Mata (3-3 4.02 ERA) got a blown save and the loss for the Tides while Winston Abreu got his 19th save of the year.

Desmond Jennings is hit by a pitch from Zach Britton in the 5th inning

On Friday it was a pitchers’ duel as Zach Britton faced off against Ramon Ortiz.  Britton gave up a run in the 1st inning on a single to Chris Richard and a double to Rocco Baldelli and that would be the last run that the Bulls scored until the 7th as Zach allowed just one more hit during the evening. The Tides scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd loading the bases on a walk to Adam Donachie, an infield hit by Paco Figueroa and a walk to Matt Angle. Unfortunately the three of the Tides most productive RBI men, Robert Andino, Jeff Salazar and Nolan Reimold were retired and the Tides scored the one run when Donachie scored on a ground out by Salazar.

Zach Britton gave up only 3 hits but got the loss on Friday

Neither side mustered anything until the 7th inning. Britton retired the first batter that he faced, Dioner Navarro on a ground ball to second. He then walked J.J. Furmaniak and Angel Chavez and was relieved by Jim Hoey. Hoey who has been very good for the Tides since coming up from double-A Bowie appeared to have things under control. However, with the runners now on 2nd and 3rd he issued a wild pitch with Desmond Jennings at the plate.  This allowed Furmaniak to score before Hoey struck out Jennings to end the inning.  In the bottom half of the 8th Nolan Reimold singled and Brandon Snyder walked by Joe Bateman struck out Scott Moore and Lou Montanez to end the threat. In the 9th the Tides brought out closer Dennis Sarfate who gave up an uncharacteristic home run to leadoff hitter Rocco Baldelli before retiring the rest of the Bulls in order. In the 9th it looked like the Tides might come back. With 1 out Paco Figueroa singled and Matt Angle hit a sinking fly ball which looked to be a sure hit possibly one that could get by left fielder Justin Ruggiano but the ball hung up just long enough for Ruggiano to make the play charging in hard from left and throwing to first to double up Figueroa who like most everyone in attendance thought the ball was in for a hit.

The Bulls had 3 runs on 4 hits and an error and the Tides 1 run on 7 hits with no errors. Jake McGee (1-0 0.00 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Britton (2-3 3.08 ERA) the loss for the Tides.  It was a hard loss as the Tides Britton pitched very well and even the Tides relievers with the exception of the wild pitch by Hoey and the home run allowed by Sarfate pitched well.  The Bulls clinched their 5th straight IL South Title with a record of 79 wins and 47 losses, not only best in the division and best in the League but the best in between the IL and the Pacific Coast League.  They have a .285 team batting average, second best in the IL and the best team ERA (3.45) in the league.  The Tampa Bay Rays, the parent club of the Bulls has one of the premier organizations in baseball. They draft well, develop players well and produce at competitive teams and they build their winning teams without spending huge amounts of money, developing primarily from their own ranks.

Tonight the Tides send Chris Tillman (10-7 3.51 ERA) up against Brian Baker (7-4 3.61 ERA) in game three of this elongated 5 game series.  In personnel news veteran pitcher Andy Mitchell was reactivated by the Tides.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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