• Apr

    O's blow lead in NY; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    The Baltimore Orioles were in position to move back into sole possession of first-place with a win over the New York Yankees tonight. Unfortunately, even after getting to Phil Hughes and building an early 5-0 lead; the O's were unable to earn the two-game series split in New York.  With the loss, the O's fell to 6-5, while the Yankees moved to 7-4.

    Jake Arrieta gave the Orioles a very solid start, blanking the Yanks in the first four frames.In the 9th, Kevin Gregg was unable to close down New York to earn the save. In the 10th, Mike Gonzalez immediately got himself into trouble.

    The Good:

    1) Arrieta looked good early, attacking the Yankees in the first. Despite just 1 walk, Arrieta did not have great control tonight. He had a successful outing due to the strength of his overall stuff. If Arrieta can be a basic facsimile of what we saw tonight, he will win plenty of games in the Majors. What I liked best about his outing was the 6th inning. After Teixeira doubled to knock in Gardner, that inning could have gotten away from Arrieta with Rodriguez, and Cano coming up. Instead Arrieta made the pitches he needed to get out of the inning. 6ip, 5 hits, 3 er, 1 bb, 2 k's.

    2) Several times already this year we've talked about how we wish Guerrero had a more patient approach. Of course we know that at the twilight of a Hall of Fame career, he is not going to change now. With the violent swings he takes, he is still a fun hitter to watch, and the 2nd inning single was an example. I'm amazed at how lost he can look within ab's, and the adjustments he is able to make. In the 5th, Guerrero did a good job of getting in the O's 5th run.

    3) Markakis turning on a ball and depositing a HR into the seats was great. He would follow-up that earlier blast with an rbi double to right in the 5th. He also singled off Rivera in the 10th giving the O’s a chance.

    3a) The Markakis HR was made all the better by the fact that Izturis had reached base ahead of him with his line-drive single to left. In the 5th Izturis would reach base again with a bunt single.

    4) In the 4th, Scott led off the inning with a double bringing up Jones. On a 1-1 count, Jones had a poor bunt attempt that went back to the screen. On 1-2, Jones did what was necessary to get a grounder to the right-side and advance Scott. Scott would score on a Reynolds sac-fly. There are those that would not support Jones giving himself up that early in the game, but I think that was the appropriate play.

    5) Roberts ended the 5th inning ranging over the middle and making a strong throw to get out the speedy Granderson.

    6) Outstanding defensive play by Izturis in the 7th to get the second out of the inning, and delay the potential tying run from scoring.

    7) Speed kills. Pinch-running for Scott (who had walked), Pie advanced to 3rd from 1st on the Jones single to LF. It was unfortunate that Pie would be thrown out on the Chamberlain wild pitch, but it was his speed and hustle that initially created the opportunity.

    8) Johnson's stuff was pretty filthy tonight out of the pen. He got the first two batters he saw, while Rodriguez and Cano both hit tough pitches to reach base. Sometimes you just tip your cap to the opposition. That is easier to do when you challenge hitters and force them to hit their way on base.

    The Bad:

    1) After retiring the side in-order during the 1st, Arrieta allowed a four-pitch walk to Rodriguez to start the 2nd. His control particularly suffered the remainder of that inning, and going into the 3rd.

    2) Berken relieved Arrieta in the 7th and walked Swisher to lead off the inning. Trying to protect a lead, you can not give the opposition a gift runner.

    3) As Pie was thrown out at the plate, Jones had advanced to 2nd. Reynolds was still up with a chance to add to the Orioles lead. Reynolds was not able to get that 2 out hit, and struck-out for the 3rd time tonight.

    4) I’m sure Lee has not been asked to sacrifice himself many times, but that was what was needed in the 10th after Markakis led off the inning with a single.

    The Ugly:

    1) You get out to a 5-0 lead against anyone, anywhere; you have to win that game. The O's spent the last few innings trying to hold on. That never seems to end well in New York. Against the Yankees you have to continue to add on. Give some credit to Colon, who was overwhelming during his 3 innings of work.

    2) Posada tying the game in the bottom of the 9th on Gregg's 1st pitch is pretty ugly. It is not second-guessing to wonder why Uehara did not get the call.

    3) Gonzalez walking Teixeira to start the 10th was fairly infuriating. Simply can not happen in that situation.

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Michael Williams

Lifelong. Down by the river.