• Apr

    Orioles improve to 2-0; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    The Good:

    1) Not only did the Baltimore Orioles win their second game of the season last night, they grabbed a road series victory against the defending division champion.

    2) Chris Tillman was asked to move up a day in the rotation, and performed strongly in place of the injured Brian Matusz. Control was not great (not talking so much about his 3 walks), but his change-up looked better. Outside of the high strike 3's to Damon and the first Shoppach K. Tillman did a better job of using the two-seam to work down in the zone. Velocity still not where you would want, but saw several 93's tonight, and a consistent 90-92 vs. the mostly 88-89 we saw in the last Spring start vs. Boston. Two highlights for me would be the 2nd K of Shoppach where he buried the Tampa catcher with a heater on the outside black, and the 2nd punch-out on Damon with the overhand curve. That was the definition of taking advantage of opportunity.

    3) Loving Markakis in the 2 hole. The combination of him and Roberts back-to-back at the top of the lineup is pretty much ideal. Without a tough lefty on the mound, we saw Scott in what will likely be his customary 5 spot.

    4) The O's started the game by getting 20 pitches out of Shields in the 1st.

    5) Nice play by Reynolds with the sliding catch in foul territory.

    6) The Markakis play to end the game has received its due attention but his play in the 3rd also had me asking why his UZR/150 numbers have appeared low the last two years. He covers plenty of ground as a RF, especially towards the line.

    7) Lee had 2 hits.

    8) Jones had a good grab coming in on a ball in the 4th. Sometimes Jones has received criticism for not always hustling; that was not the case tonight. He hit a weak grounder to SS in the 7th , but was of the box quickly and running through the base. This is something you can always control, and is always good to see.

    9) Guerrero's hit to RF was the second example in two days of how the ball comes off differently from his bat. Just makes another sound. Vlad did a good job of baserunning, making it difficult for Tampa to turn the double play with a hard slide into Brignac at SS.

    10) Beautiful play from Roberts in the 7th, going over the middle and making a throw with accuracy to get Johnson.

    11) Accardo showed pretty decent stuff, good movement.

    12) The throw-out of Upton from Pie, along with the tag from Wieters, is as good as it gets. You have to do everything right in that situation to get the out, just outstanding.

    13) In the 8th, Hardy worked a walk after being down in the count 1-2. This put two runners on for Roberts and forced Shields out of the game.

    14) Roberts just exploded on the ball for the O's first HR of the year. All the better that it came from the right-side.

    15) Even without impressive velocity, the ability to perfectly locate pitches makes Uehara's arsenal a difficult match-up for anyone.

    The Bad:

    1) Guerrero has had a Hall of Fame career, in part to being able to hit balls with authority that were outside of the strike zone. You wonder how much further up the all-time lists he would appear with better strike-zone judgment. With as often as he puts balls in play (and with his limited running ability at this point), we will probably see plenty of double plays from him this year.

    2) Two 2 out walks from Tillman; the one to Joyce came after being down 0-2.

    3) Worst news of the night was probably the groin pull for Scott that has left him 'day-to-day.'

    4) In the 7th, Upton was stealing and the O's correctly called for the pitch-out. Wieters likely would have thrown out Upton but was unable to get the ball out of his glove.

    5) Tough first 8 at-bats for Jones so far this year. Will be interesting to see his approach today.

    6) Upton hitting his way on against Gregg was fine. The walk to Shoppach, bringing up the potential winning run, was not.

    The Ugly:

    1) Gonzalez's stuff will never be in question, but the lack of control will always be an issue. His mechanics were a mess last night, and he quickly got himself in trouble. The O's got out of it, but his two walks to start the inning allowed Tampa to bring up the would be tying batter without having earned that opportunity.

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Michael Williams

Lifelong. Down by the river.