September 2010

Orioles/Rays series opener

Greetings from Tropicana Field, where the Orioles will try to stop the Rays from clinching a playoff spot. Although, Tampa Bay’s magic number is one, so a Red Sox loss would also give them a postseason ticket, so part of that is out of the O’s hands.

As expected, manager Buck Showalter has the Orioles best lineup out in the “competitive spirit.”

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Luke Scott 1B
Corey Patterson (DH)
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Felix Pie LF
Cesar Izturis SS

Brian Matusz LHP 

Os/Red Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*The Orioles rotation for the weekend is Chris Tillman and Jeremy Guthrie. Sunday’s starter is TBA and depends on whether Rick VandenHurk is needed out of the bullpen. The O’s will also try to stay competitive and not disrupt the AL pennant race, although if the Yankees win tonight to extend on their 2 1/2 game lead that thought could change. Manager Buck Showalter said there’s at least 3 options for Sunday: Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and VandenHurk

*Julio Lugo rejoined the team yesterday and felt a little rusty, but physically OK. He’s available if needed.

*Look for guys like Nolan Reimold and Brandon Snyder to get some playing time this weekend in Toronto, when Showalter rests some of the regulars.
 
ORIOLES LINEUP:
Brian Roberts 2B
RF Nick Markakis RF
1B Ty Wigginton 1B
DH Luke Scott DH
C Matt Wieters C
CF Adam Jones CF
LF Felix Pie LF
3B Robert Andino 3B
SS Cesar Izturis SS

RHP Kevin Millwood

RED SOX LINEUP:

Ryan Kalish CF
J.D. Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mike Lowell 1B
Bill Hall 2B
Josh Reddick LF
Yamaico Navarro SS

RHP John Lackey 

Os/Red Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*Blogged it last night, but it’s worth a re-mention to note that Nick Markakis is one of just three players in baseball history to post four consecutive seasons of least 43 doubles .Markakis doubled twice last night to accomplish the feat.
*Julio Lugo is back with the team after he was diagnosed with a pinched partial nerve in his head that had been giving him reoccurring headaches. Lugo is available tonight if needed, although manager Buck Showalter said they will make sure he’s OK physically from the layoff first.
*The Orioles rotation is “day-to-day” for the Toronto series although Jeremy Guthrie figures to get one of those starts. The O’s want to give Rick VandenHurk a start but are running out of opportunities to do so.
 

ORIOLES LINEUP:

Brian Roberts  2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Robert Andino 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

RHP Brad Bergesen

RED SOX LINEUP:

Marco Scutaro 2B
JD Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Ryan Kalish CF
Daniel Nava LF
Lars Anderson 1B

RHP Clay Buchholz

Matusz matters

A week removed from an injury-shortened start against Toronto that
saw him exit after the first inning, Brian Matusz didn’t record an out on
Monday until 22 pitches into his outing, after Boston had used a leadoff
walk and a pair of singles to tie the game at 1. But following that
laborious frame, Matusz retired 14 of 16, allowing only a two-out double
to Martinez followed by an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre.

Matusz exited after five innings of one-run baseball, striking out four
and issuing three walks in the 101-pitch outing. Monday’s outing lowered
his ERA to 2.57 over his last nine outings and improved him to a career
2.45 mark in five starts against Boston. He has allowed eight earned runs over 29 1/3 innings against the Red Sox, which is the lowest mark of any Major League pitcher (minimum of 25 IP) this year.

If you look closer, his recent surge is even more impressive. Matusz has pitched to a 1.91 ERA over his last six starts and has allowed three earned runs or less in each of those. He also lowered his career ERA at Fenway Park to 2.00, which is the lowest by an opponent (minimum 15 innings) at Fenway this year.

When asked if that success –and his solid stats against the Yankees — are perhaps what he will reflect on most fondly when mulling over his rookie season, the 23-year-old responded absolutely.

“You want to have the most success against teams in your own division,” Matusz said. “I’ve had good success against the Yankees and Red Sox this year. So, sure that’s really a high point of the season. I’m just happy to see things turn around a little bit. I went through a streak where I was really struggling, but I’m starting to really throw the ball a lot better.”

Markakis makes history

Nick Markakis doubled in the seventh and ninth innings of Monday’s 4-2 win at Fenway Park, collecting his 43rd two-base hit this season.

That puts him in pretty elite company, as Markakis is now just the third player in Major League history to hit 43 doubles or more in four straight seasons, joining Hall of Famers Joe Medwick (1935-39) and Tris Speaker (1920-23.)

Orioles/Red Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*Jake Arrieta may avoid surgery after all.

*Julio Lugo has been cleared to return to baseball activities
and will rejoin the team for Tuesday’s game in Boston. He was given the green light today after being examined in Baltimore.

*Kevin Millwood will start Wednesday’s game with Jeremy
Guthrie tentatively scheduled for Friday’s opener in Toronto. That would leave
Rick VandenHurk as the likely choice for Saturday’s game with Chris Tillman
moving back to Sunday. But nothing is final for the Blue Jays series.


ORIOLES LINEUP:

Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Cesar Izturis SS
Josh Bell 3B

LHP Brian Matusz

RED SOX LINEUP:
Marco Scutaro 2B
Darnell Mcdonald RF
Victor Martinez 1B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mike Lowell DH
Jed Lowrie SS
Bill Hall LF
Jason Varitek C
 Ryan Kalish CF

RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka

Showalter on getting to know Jones

An interesting comment that went largely unused in Sunday’s 4-3 walkoff win was by manager Buck Showalter in discussing Adam Jones’ RBI bunt.

“I thought that was a great…what’s the word…what’s
best for the Orioles,” Showalter said of Jones’ perfectly placed bunt, which scored Brian Roberts in the first inning.  “I said to [bench coach Jeff] Datz as he started the at-bat, ‘Look where the
third baseman is playing him.’ Especially with [Andy] Pettitte probably not wanting to
push the leg a little bit. It’s a great play. Look what they give you and take
it. All of a sudden, it gets around the league and they start playing in and
some of those balls he hits now go through.

“That’s impressive, especially with,
quite frankly, a guy with 19 home runs and you know how badly he wants to hit
20, but you want to let it happen in the flow of the season and not there.
Everything’s a little chapter when you’re kind of trying to identify what’s
going on with guys. You see stuff like that, it’s not the first time. It kind
of gives you a little opening about what they might be about.”

Os Instrux

Today the Orioles will start an unofficial instructional league for the 15 players listed below. It’s not available to the public and will take place in the mornings at Camden Yards. The instructors include Brian Graham, Mike Bordick, Don Werner, Denny Hocking, Milt May and David Stockstill with top pick Manny Machado headlining the group.

Here’s the list.

Catchers:
Riley Hornback, 12th round pick, 2010
Tanner Murphy, 22nd round pick, 2010
Michael Ohlman, 11th round pick, 2009
Wynston Sawyer, 8th round pick, 2010

Infielders:
Mychal Givens, 2nd round pick, 2009
L.J. Hoes, 3rd round pick, 2008
Manny Machado, 1st round pick, 2010
Connor Narron, 5th round pick, 2010
Jonathan Schoop, non-drafted free agent, 2009
Tyler Townsend, 3rd round pick, 2009

Outfielders:
Xavier Avery, 2nd round pick, 2008
Glynn Davis, non-drafted free agent, 2010
Kyle Hudson, 4th round pick, 2008
Trent Mummey, 4th round pick, 2010
Brenden Webb, 30th round pick, 2009

*One more thing, the media day on Thursday is a travel day for me so I won’t be able to catch any of these guys at instrux. But I did catch up with a few of them, including Machado, Narron and Givens at Aberdeen’s season finale, so check back for some interviews and offseason outlooks.

Os/Yankees finale

*In light of Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s comments about Jeremy Guthrie hitting a lot of Yankees, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he had no problem with Girardi’s comments.Showalter said he’s probably be upset if he was Girardi.
*Brad Bergesen will start Tuesday’s game at Fenway Park, which moves him up a day to cover for Jake Arrieta, who was shut down yesterday. The O’s already have a six-man rotation so this isn’t a huge deal. Kevin Millwood could be moved up to make Wednesday’s start or the team could give long man Rick VandenHurk a start.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Robert Andino 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Jake Fox DH
Ty Wigginton 1B
Corey Patterson LF
Matt Wieters C
Cesar Izturis SS

Chris Tillman RHP

YANKEES LINEUP:
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Lance Berkman 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Austin Kearns RF
Ramiro Pena 3B

Andy Pettitte LHP

Girardi frustrated with Guthrie

Pitching inside is part of Jeremy Guthrie’s game, a critical component that has helped the Orioles right-hander put together a resurgent 2010 season. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn’t have to like it.

Following New York’s 11-3 rout of Baltimore on Saturday night, Girardi spoke out about Guthrie’s propensity for hit batsmen — which includes 10 Yankees since July 28, 2008 — his latest striking Derek Jeter’s left elbow with the first pitch of the game.

“[There's] too many. Just too many,” Girardi said of Guthrie’s 13 hit batters, second in the Majors only to Yankees starter A.J. Burnett’s 16.  “I don’t really understand it. I know he likes to pitch inside, but it’s too many. And that doesn’t include the ones in Spring Training.”

Guthrie plunked Mark Teixeira -who missed the several days following — and Francisco Cervelli in Grapefruit League action and Girardi also aired his frustrations this spring. When asked following Saturday’s game if he thought Guthrie was purposely hitting Yankees, Girardi said he didn’t know.

” You’ll have to ask him,” he said. “My thought is it’s way too many.”

Neither Jeter or Guthrie took offense to the first-pitch fastball that afforded Jeter first base, with the Yankees captain calling Guthrie “effectively wild” and saying he took no offense to being hit. Following Jeter’s plunking, neither bench was warned and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo didn’t deem it necessary to speak to Guthrie, furthering the case that it was accidental.

“[I was] just trying to go inside,” said Guthrie, who has made a conscious effort to be more aggressive this season.  “Derek knows I am going to throw the ball in there all day long, that’s the way I approach it. So I guess it was a good indicator when I tried to throw the pitches away later on in the game they went inside and when I tried to throw that one inside it went way inside. So it’s just a matter of not having great command [on Saturday night.]“

“I don’t read anything into it all,” Jeter said of Guthrie’s pitch and tendency to hit more Yankees batters than any other Major League squad.

“I haven’t been counting,” Jeter said. “I don’t know why he would.”

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