October 2012

Casey Cares 5K with Nick Markakis

The Casey Cares Foundation will welcome Orioles Outfielder Nick Markakis and his wife, Christina, at the Third Annual Casey Cares 5K this year where they will be kicking off the race. The event takes place this Sunday, October 7th at Pulse Health and Fitness in Sparks, MD and benefits programs of the Casey Cares Foundation, a charity that provides uplifting and continuous programs with a special touch to critically ill children and their families.

“My wife, Christina and I are so honored to be the ambassadors for the Casey Cares 5K,” Nick Markakis said in a statement.  “As the Founders of The Right Side Foundation, we truly support the mission of Casey Cares as it holds true to our own mission”.

The 3.1 mile race includes a chip-timed course and 1 mile Fun Walk/Run with a cash prize for the top male and female runner and grand prize for top group fundraiser.

For more info visit their website here.

Orioles @ Rays – regular season finale

Updated: The times for games through Saturday have been announced by Major League Baseball with a POTENTIAL Orioles-Yankees tiebreaker game (see below) slated for 7:37 p.m ET. Friday’s American League Wild Card time is 8:37 p.m. with Saturday’s AL Division Series Game 1 at Detroit at 6:07 p.m. ET.

Greetings from Tropicana Field, where the Orioles will play their final regular season game. What happens from here. I’ve gotten a lot of questions and blogged all the scenarios which you can read here.

I’ve been asked who could start later this week, and the best way to answer that is who can’t. You can eliminate Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman –who is starting tonight–, Miguel Gonzalez and Jason Hammel for any games Thursday and/or Friday.

My best guess is Joe Saunders would be the guy to go on turn on Friday and Thursday would be started by Steve Johnson and have a short leash with a host of bullpen arms available to take over if needed. Although, Saunders on short rest is another option the team has.

Speaking of Johnson, he threw about 10-15 pitches off a mound today with pitching coach Rick Adair watching closely. Johnson, who had some left knee pain after landing funny when taking a comebacker Saturday from Dustin Pedroia, said he didn’t feel any discomfort in his knee and is good to go. Had he not been, the Orioles were debating on holding Tillman out of tonight’s start and going with lefty Zach Britton. They sent two lineups over to the Rays, but Tillman will start because Johnson made it through his session fine.

“I have a Hammel brace,” Johnson said.  “I can feel it here, but it’s only going to help me out there just to make sure I don’t have too many lateral movements with my knee. It kind of keeps it in place. I didn’t feel it one time out there. I feel good.”

Johnson said he can go whenever the team needs him, including a potential tiebreaker game on Thursday.

“Being in the bullpen kind of helped with that,” he said of throwing consecutive days.  “What I did today was mainly just a flat ground, what I would normally do. Just off a mound.”

Adair also rolled a ball off the mound for him to field to test Johnson’s movement and also deemed the right-hander good to go.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Chris Tillman RHP
RAYS LINEUP
B.J. Upton CF
Ben Zobrist SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce RF
Ryan Roberts 2B
Carlos Pena 1B
Sam Fuld LF
Steven Vogt DH
Chris Gimenez C

Jeremy Hellickson RHP

Orioles scenarios

Either the Baltimore Orioles or the NY Yankees will win the AL East division and the other team will win a Wild Card spot. The O’s enter today back by one game and tied with the Rangers and A’s, who play each other.
  • The NY Yankees clinch the division if they beat Boston OR Baltimore loses to Tampa Bay. Either outcome clinches the division for N.Y.
  • The NY Yankees can also clinch home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, and would face the Wild Card team in the ALDS, if they beat Boston, OR Baltimore loses to Tampa Bay AND Texas beats Oakland. If the Yankees lose, both Baltimore AND Oakland must also lose for the Yankees to clinch; the Yankees hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rangers by virtue of winning their season series, 4-3.
  • If Baltimore beats Tampa Bay AND the NY Yankees lose to Boston, then the Orioles would host N.Y. in a tiebreaker game on Thursday, October 4, at a time TBD. The winner would be the AL East champion and the loser would play in the AL Wild Card Game.
  • Baltimore cannot secure home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, because even if they win the AL East, both Texas (5-2) and Oakland (5-4) hold the tiebreaker over them by virtue of winning their head-to-head season series. Whatever happens in a potential Game 163 tiebreaker does not count toward seeding for the playoffs.
  • So, if the Yankees win AND the Orioles lose tonight, the O’s would go on the road to the loser of tonight’s Texas/Oakland game for a Wild Card game on Friday. If the Yankees and Orioles both win, the Yanks would win the division and the Orioles would host Friday’s Wild Card game versus the loser of Oakland/Texas.

Tillman starts Wednesday

The Orioles announced after Tuesday’s game that Chris Tillman will start Wednesday’s regular season finale. Why?

“At the very worst, we’re one down [in the division] and one to play, and he’s the best we have available to go tomorrow,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There were some things that could have happened that would have changed that, though.”

Here’s what Tillman had to say about getting the nod for the biggest start of his career…

[on getting the start] “It’s exciting. I’ve just to take it like it’s another one, though. I can’t put too much pressure on myself. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to my team. I’ve just got to go out there and kind of keep what I’ve been doing.”

[on just finding out] “I think there were a couple different scenarios going on. They never really told me for sure but they said, ‘We’ll let you know.'”

[on his season] “I’m happy with what I’ve achieved so far this year, but like we’ve been saying all year, we’re not done yet. We’ve got a long way to go. It’s an exciting time for all of us. I can’t tell you how happy I am with this team and the way things have been going, playing good baseball. We’ve just got to keep it going.”

[on it being an honor] “It’s a big deal and I think any one of these guys could have gotten the ball on that day. We’ve all been throwing well. It’s exciting for all of us. We kind of pick each other up and kind of fuel off each other’s efforts. It’s a lot of fun.”

Orioles @ Rays lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from Tropicana Field, where the Orioles –having already secured a postseason spot– are a game back in the AL East from the Yankees.

The Rays were officially eliminated with the A’s clinching a spot last night, but Tampa Bay is still playing a host of regulars including third baseman Evan Longoria. Reports out of New York are Dustin Pedroia is playing despite a broken finger and Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the Red Sox lineup as well.

Rays manager Joe Maddon tweeted this on his account: “We’re going to go hard to win these two games just the way Buck and the Orioles did it last year. I know he wouldn’t want it any other way.”

*Jason Hammel threw five innings in a simulated game on Monday and said today he’s good to go. Hammel could pitch as early as Saturday, which would be on regular rest, but obviously that depends on if the Orioles have a game. Hammel is the team’s best starter when healthy and he’s responded favorably using a knee brace that constricts his later movement and keeps the scar tissue that’s been bothering him from causing discomfort.

*Kevin Gausman is here at Tropicana Field and the Orioles top pick in this year’s Draft threw a bullpen session and spent a little while catching with pitching coach Rick Adair and manager Buck Showalter. Gausman has been pitching in the fall instructional league in Sarasota, where he has two more starts scheduled including Friday. Gausman, a righty selected out of LSU, is considered the Orioles most polished pitching prospect and there are some in the organization who think he is further ahead in his development than Dylan Bundy. Bundy, 19, was promoted earlier this month.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

RAYS LINEUP

Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Ben Zobrist SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Jeff Keppinger 1B
Matt Joyce RF
Ryan Roberts 2b
Luke Scott DH
Chris Gimenez C

James Shields RHP

Orioles @ Rays

Greetings from Tropicana Field where the Orioles, who enter today tied in the American League East with the Yankees, will play the Rays for the final regular season series of the year.

A few notes…

*Nick Markakis will not have the pins removed from his left thumb as the team had hoped. The area isn’t fully healed enough in there and it will be a minimum of three weeks before Markakis could return. He’s hoping to get cleared to have the pins removed next week and then he would be put in a sling for two weeks after that.

*Jason Hammel threw a simulated game in Sarasota, Fla. today, throwing 73 pitches over five innings. Hammel also fielded his position with no problems and he is a candidate to start a potential playoff game on Saturday, which would be on regular rest.

*Wilson Betemit had the splint on his right wrist removed and he is 5-7 days away from picking up a bat to swing, which is certainly good news for the Orioles.

*In case you missed it, Chris Davis was named Co-American League Player of the Week.

*If the Orioles play a tiebreaker game against the Yankees to determine who will win the AL East, that game will be played in Baltimore. The two clubs have tied for the season series but the O’s have a  better divisional record to give them the edge. More ticket info on that potential game is here.

*Miguel Gonzalez is listed as Tuesday’s starter with TBD on Wednesday. It could be Chris Tillman or the team could hold off on using Tillman until later in the week depending on where they are in the division. Showalter said there are four options to make that start right now.

*Tsuyoshi Wada, who is recovering from Tommy John on  his left elbow, is in the clubhouse. Second baseman Brian Roberts, who has been sidelined with season-ending hip surgery, was also at Tropicana Field.

*As expected, outfielder Steve Pearce is here. The O’s claimed him again over the weekend.

*Rookie LJ Hoes will report to the instructional league before going to the Arizona Fall League. Hoes was with the team through Sunday’s game in Baltimore.

*Steve Johnson (left knee) is day-to-day with a mild sprain after an MRI done today came back negative.
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP
RAYS LINEUP
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Ben Zobrist SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Jeff Keppinger 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Sam Fuld RF
Ryan Roberts 2B
Chris Gimenez C

Alex Cobb RHP

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