Yeah, glad I missed this one. That was actually a reprieve.
Brian Matusz continued his troubling trend of being beaten up and making me cry, giving up thirteen hits, which apparently is the most he’s ever given up in a game. That’s not okay, kiddo. To be fair, though, the runs came for the most part when he gave up the long ball, so he’s really just turning into Tommy Hunter. Which isn’t good either, but you get the idea.
Of course, what did we do then? We put in Tommy Hunter. Yep.
Tommy Hunter only gave up one home run today, but then he was replaced by Kevin Gregg, who copied him and also gave up a home run, so there’s really nothing good to say about our pitching tonight other than the fact that they’d all be a great help at the Home Run Derby in Kansas City in a few weeks.
Oh, and that offense thing still doesn’t exist. There’s that, too. I really don’t know what to say about that (although we scored all three of our runs on homers tonight, too). I’d like it if we could score runs in more than one way and not rely on the long ball so much. It’s too Yankee-ish and nobody in Baltimore wants that sort of thing going on. We’d like their success without their stigma, to be honest.
No, really, we did. The players were different, but the result was the same – the Mets beat the Orioles five runs to none. Also the same: I’m happy either way because I’m a fan of both teams.
But I bet none of you are happy, because this team is really not doing very well in Queens. Today, the problem was that even though we were playing in a larger ballpark, Tommy Hunter was the starting pitcher so we all knew a ball was going over the wall at some point anyway. Today’s Hunter Homer came off the bat of Lucas Duda with one man on, so if you guessed that it would be a two-run homer in the sixth inning today, you’re a winner!
I should make this a game or something: predict the number of runs scored for a homer off Tommy Hunter and guess the correct inning in which he gives it up and you get a free cartoon. Seriously.
Oh, and Brian Roberts was picked off. Yeah.
To top it off, Johan Santana, who was struggling in the starts after his no-hitter, righted the ship tonight against the Orioles. He got into jams, sure, but he also got out of them, much to everyone in Baltimore’s chagrin.
The Orioles and the Mets finish their series tomorrow night, which means I have to go back to watching the games on MLB.tv on Friday. Booooo. I’d rather the Mets and Orioles keep reliving 1969 on my TV forever.
Well, for that first inning or two things looked great – Adam Jones homered in the second and Arrieta seemed, well, like Good Arrieta tonight.
Then the wheels fell off. Arrieta allowed two runs in the third and three in the fourth, then put two runners on in the fifth before being pulled from the game. Both runs came around to score, as well as a third which was charged to reliever Miguel Gonzalez (who is still better than Mike Gonzalez, to be fair).
Oh, and in the fifth, the umpire defied the Word of God and committed the cardinal sin of ejecting Matt Wieters from the game. Yeah. That’s…not good. Weets was just defending his pitcher (Gonzalez), too.
There was some good in all of this, however. Adam Jones went 3-for-3 with two walks at the plate tonight, slamming two homers on the evening. He’s got a 20-game hit streak going. I’d pick him in Beat the Streak, but then he wouldn’t hit. You can do it, though, since you don’t have my luck.
We also got Endy Chavez back and sent Tommy Hunter to AAA Norfolk. Avery went down to Norfolk, too, but Avery’s still a prospect and he was just filling in for Endy and Nolan Reimold on the roster, so it’s not as big a deal as it is to send down an established Major League starter. I still miss Koji, you know.
If we get swept tomorrow, it’ll be only the second time this year. I don’t even want to look up how many times we were swept by the end of May last year, but I’ll bet you it was a lot more than one or two.
One of the many things this team is not good at in the first eight innings.
Home runs are not okay when they’re from the other team.
Here’s the deal: Tommy Hunter didn’t pitch too well tonight. After giving up strings of hits that led to single runs in the first and the second innings, he surrendered a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the third. It would have been a one-run homer, but Chris Davis missed a catch (what else is new?) and Jose Bautista ended up on first. To make the hole even deeper for his teammates to climb out of, Hunter gave up another two-run shot in the fourth inning, which made things 6-0 very early.
Nobody scored after that on either team until the ninth inning.
The Orioles had seven hits on the day, with four of them coming in the ninth inning. Toronto’s traditionally a good pitching team, but we should’ve taken some opportunities that we didn’t. I’m actually quite surprised that the team wasn’t no-hit given their offensive performance tonight.
Really, when you think about it, we probably wouldn’t have won this game anyway even if we pitched well tonight because we didn’t hit or anything.
In the ninth, we loaded the bases with no outs. As mentioned above, four of our seven hits came in that inning alone. We managed to push across two runs, but that was it. We’re really not very good at this sort of thing, are we?
This team is quite hit-or-miss with their offense still. They don’t give up, which I very much appreciate, but I really don’t like the fact that the offense seems to disappear for games at a time. It’s troubling and makes me concerned about their prospects as a so-called ‘good team’ this year.
We’re still somehow tied with the Rays for first place. I’m very confused. I’d just like to see this team show me why they’re in first at some point on this road trip.
It honestly seemed like nobody wanted to win this game at one point. C’mon, guys, it’s Christmas*!
Here’s the basic gist on this one – the Red Sox and the Orioles both struggled significantly. Clay Buchholz walked in two runs and allowed a bunch more. Tommy Hunter balked in a run at one point. It wasn’t until the Red Sox pulled out for good later in the game that it seemed like somebody was definitely going to win.
This was clearly an offensive-minded game on both sides. I mean, look at this from the Sox point of view:
That’s a team effort – eight of the nine starters came across the plate once. The Orioles scored most of their runs in a similar fashion, clustering their small infield hits and being patient enough to let Buchholz walk them. Unfortunately, the other team scored two more runs tonight. Sometimes, that just happens.
To be fair, the Red Sox have been on a roll lately, but the Orioles should have scored in certain places that they didn’t. At one point, they had men on in the eighth, but only the birthday boy (Weets) was able to come through and drive in a run. Nobody behind him did anything effective, and the score remained 8-6.
Just two more games to go before we get an off-day. I think we sorely need an off-day. Kevin Gregg had to pitch tonight, after all. (Incidentally, that is part of why we lost tonight. What a shocker.)
The fanbase's general idea of Tommy Hunter tonight.
Things really could have been worse tonight, guys.
Tommy Hunter was going on short rest. He could have been demolished by the most potent lineup in the American League. He wasn’t. He did give up four runs over six innings, but let’s be honest – there were moments where it could have imploded on him.
Then things fell apart when Lindstrom took the mound in the seventh. People got lots of small hits. Steve Tolleson – recently added to the roster – made an error instead of starting an inning-ending double play at third. Hardy and Reynolds failed to complete a double play, as well. Adam Jones missed the cutoff man. Basically, everything went to hell.
That being said, the Orioles held their own through the first six innings of this ballgame and won the first game of this doubleheader, and that impresses me given that nobody expected anything from them at all this year. I’m not going to be too upset about losing three to the Rangers, considering that they’re the best team in the American League.
Look at it this way – we’ve played ten games against Boston, New York and Texas recently. We’ve won six of those games. That’s pretty darn good. This is a team that nobody expected anything from. They’re winning even though everyone counted them out just for being the Orioles. There’s something different about them this year – they’re at the very least mediocre with occasional, but fleeting, moments of greatness. It’s making a distinct difference in things like the fanbase’s reactions to the games, the attendance, and even the team’s morale. They look and feel stronger than they were last year. It’s peculiar, but it’s also very distinct – you can feel it around them.
That being said, I’d also like to point out that color commentator Gary Thorne accidentally called former Oriole Koji Uehara ‘Ogando’ tonight. He is not Ogando. Yeah. I’m not even going to touch that one. The fanbase is pretty sure that Thorne is permanently drunk in the booth anyway.
(I should really stop cribbing game recaps from Top Gear, but it just works all too well.)
Basically, this team does far better when I don’t watch them, so that might be the way to go from now on. Granted, I was unable to watch this because my Asperger’s social skills therapy is on Tuesday nights, but for whatever reason I didn’t watch the game and the Orioles won, and this has happened before this year, so it obviously works. The starting pitcher (Tommy Hunter) even got the win. I mean, that never happens.
So let’s talk a little bit about Dontrelle Willis before I go to bed, okay? Because there’s some news there that emerged fairly recently.
Pitcher Dontrelle Willis is filing a grievance against the Baltimore Orioles, alleging the club placed him on the restricted list and is preventing him from signing with another organization even though he left the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate with the consent of a team official.
Willis received permission from Tripp Norton, Baltimore’s director of baseball administration, before leaving the Norfolk Tides last Wednesday, said agent Matt Sosnick.
Okay. Firstly, Tripp Norton sounds like the name of somebody who should be a NASCAR driver. That out of the way, let’s look at this article a little more closely.
Dan Duquette, Baltimore’s executive vice president of baseball operations, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call or email. But Duquette told CBSSports.com on Monday that Willis left Norfolk without the organization’s permission. Duquette added that the Orioles would welcome Willis’ return and think he can be a successful reliever in the big leagues.
As long as Willis remains on the restricted list, he can’t sign with another club without Baltimore receiving compensation. Sosnick said Duquette has not returned his phone calls, and that the Orioles are holding Willis “hostage” by refusing to discuss the matter.
“Dan has said nobody gave Dontrelle permission,” Sosnick told ESPN.com. “Dan knows that’s not true. I can’t imagine making this kind of deal over something so trivial. We’re talking about a minor league player that Baltimore has relatively no financial investment in whatsoever. It’s the dumbest thing ever and a waste of everybody’s time. Dan has had a thousand chances to ratchet this down a notch, and all he’s done is ratchet it up.”
It’s interesting, because I really don’t know who to believe here. Sosnick has been particularly outspoken about the issue, but that’s an agent’s job. You’re supposed to be outspoken and pushy as an agent so your client’s wants and needs are met. On the flip side, Duquette really shouldn’t put too much stock in a player like Willis, so the fact that he’s just been quiet and denying the claims is interesting – either he’s telling the truth, or there’s more to this story that hasn’t come out yet.
Also, apparently Willis is “being held hostage” by the Orioles. Um. Is the team looking for a ransom?
Willis, 30, is 72-69 with a 4.17 ERA in parts of nine major league seasons. After capturing the Rookie of the Year award with Florida in 2003 and winning 22 games in 2005, he went to Detroit with Miguel Cabrera as part of an eight-player trade in December 2007. Willis has since struggled with injuries, anxiety-related issues and a decline in velocity, and he’s had limited success in stops with Arizona, San Francisco and Cincinnati.
Willis signed with Baltimore in late March after being released by the Philadelphia Phillies late in spring training. The Orioles said they planned to use Willis out of the bullpen, and the pitcher appeared to be on board with the idea. But Willis later had second thoughts because his arm wasn’t responding well to relieving and he did not feel comfortable in the role. He expressed a desire to start in a conversation with Norton last week.
“Tripp told Dontrelle, ‘If Dan isn’t open to him starting, of course we’ll give him his release. We don’t want a player doing something he doesn’t want to do,’ ” Sosnick said. “I’ve known Tripp Norton for 15 years and had good, direct, honest dealings with him time after time. I’m disappointed for Tripp that he’s been placed in the middle of this.”
Maybe Tripp should stick to NASCAR.
In all seriousness, I’m wondering if Willis’s decision to leave goes back to his anxiety issues. Perhaps something’s going on in his brain or in his private life right now that nobody wants to discuss in public. If that’s the case, he could be on the restricted list until he’s able to recover, which would make perfect sense.
On the other hand, the fact that Tripp Norton was the one giving the orders here is interesting, as I’m not seeing any input from Duquette whatsoever. I kind of think Duquette would have had to have been involved in any decisions made regarding players being released, so if Duquette’s opinion isn’t being mentioned at all, it makes it look like Norton just went ahead without his GM’s permission. That generally doesn’t look too good.
Willis went home after meeting with Duquette, Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin and failing to reach agreement with the Orioles over whether he would start or relieve for the Tides. Willis told MASNSports.com that he was “dumbfounded” when the Orioles placed him on the restricted list, because he thought he had clearance to leave Norfolk.
“I thought it was a mutual parting of ways,” Willis said. “It’s one of those things where, if he had told me he was putting me on the restricted list, I wouldn’t have left. I didn’t grab my book bag and run out of the class. I’m almost dumbfounded. I’m not even upset. I don’t know if it’s personal because I don’t know Dan.”
Okay, so Willis talked to Duquette personally. Basically, he sounds like he’s just really, really confused, just like the rest of us are.
According to Baseball-reference.com, “A team can request that a player be placed on the restricted list if that player has left the team without a valid reason, or has announced his intention to retire but is still of an age or level of skill that could allow him to return to professional baseball in the future. In effect, the team states that it retains rights to the player if and when he becomes active again.”
Wow, the Orioles actually didn’t break the rules this time. That’s interesting.
Several players with legal or off-field issues have been placed on the restricted list in recent months. The Cleveland Indians placed pitcher Roberto Hernandez (aka Fausto Carmona) on the list in January after he was arrested on charges of using a false identity. The Tampa Bay Rays did the same with minor league pitcher Matt Bush after he was charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident in March.
Again, I really hope Willis’s anxiety issues aren’t coming back and hurting him right now. That would be horrible.
Sosnick denied speculation that Willis has received interest from a club in Japan or Korea. He said he would be happy to reach a financial accommodation with the Orioles should Willis pursue opportunities in Asia.
So that’s the situation now. What do you folks think? Who’s right? What’s really going on here that we’re not hearing? Sound off in the comments section with any and all conspiracy theories you might have!
I remember reading once - when he was with the Rangers - that Tommy Hunter bakes cakes. Here is a picture of cake.
So tonight’s story is called Tommy Hunter. And the offense.
Tommy Hunter was just incredible tonight, pitching into the eighth inning before loading the bases and being removed. He didn’t allow a single run, although he scattered hits here and there throughout his night. As a reward, the fans voted him MASN’s player of the game, an honor he certainly earned tonight.
And then there was the offense. It exploded for an uncharacteristic eight runs tonight. There were people hitting with runners in scoring position, a few homers (Weets, Jonesy and Markakis), and even some adept baserunning from folk hero Robert Andino. His legend grows.
The Twins managed to push two runs across in the eighth when Pedro Strop came on to clean up after Hunter, but after those two – who were credited to Hunter – he closed the door, and Luis Ayala pitched a clean ninth. It’s nice having a bullpen you can depend on, to be honest. I mean, I was fully expecting a blown game here, and the bullpen actually comes in and slams the door shut without catching anybody’s fingers in the door jamb. It was quick and clean and effective.
To be honest, the team looks suspiciously good right now, and it’s unnerving me. Are people going to jump on the bandwagon after two wins? The Twins aren’t exactly the best team in the league. What’s going to happen when the Orioles face tougher opposition? The Yankees are coming into town on Monday. This team looks good now, but let’s see how they hold up when they’re facing a team that they’re overmatched by on paper.
I guess I’ll sit here and be cautiously optimistic for now. I kind of like being optimistic. It’s better than complaining all the time.
(P.S. Ryan Flaherty made his Major League debut tonight! Congratulations, Ryan, you’ve made it!)
There are few days I hate more than the end of the season. Even though the Orioles pulled out an amazing ninth-inning win, coming from behind to ruin the Red Sox’s chances of making the playoffs, I’m still completely crushed. It’s because I have to say goodbye to everybody now. I guess I should start with that.
Robert Andino: That walkoff you hit in the ninth should hopefully solidify the #freerobertandino hashtag’s existence on Twitter. You deserve it.
Brian Matusz: Please, please, PLEASE fix whatever’s wrong with your pitching this off-season. I can’t bear to watch someone I adore as much as you struggling like this. It really hurts.
Nick Markakis: Keep on balancing strange objects on your chin, buddy. I know you’ll be back next year.
Adam Jones: You were the absolute MAN this season. I’ll miss you big-time this offseason. If you want any more drawings, just let me know!
God Matt Wieters: Your cat looks like my cat. Well, one of your two cats looks like one of my four cats.
MATT ANGLE: COME BACK ALREADY. I MISS YOUR DWEEBISH EARS. I LOVE YOU, FAVORITE ORIOLES PROSPECT.
Kyle Hudson: You kind of look like a dweeb too, and it’s adorable. I can’t wait to see you next year, either.
Nolan Reimold: YOU ARE FREE, NOLAN. FELIX PIE IS GONE. With that said, welcome to being a regular-ish player. Except now it’s October so you have to wait until February.
Jeremy Guthrie: Get better taste in music. Oh, and go Stanford!
Kevin Gregg: PLEASE LEAVE.
Alfredo Simon: I’m sad that I can’t put any more Shutdown Sauce on my food until February. This crushes me in a strange way.
Zach Britton: We both have cats, so you’re cool in my book. (Thank you, Orioles Pet Calendar. Mine arrived in the mail yesterday. Expect a post.)
Chris Tillman: I’m going to miss the adorable gap in your front teeth. It makes you look so endearing.
Jake Arrieta: You’re hot.
Buck Showalter: I’m really going to miss your outbursts this offseason. They made my days so entertaining. And you know what? In the end, you did the best with the team you had. I’m not sure why you keep getting them to play so darn well in September, though. Can they do this the rest of the season, too?
Willie Randolph: I’m sorry if last night brought back bad memories of your tenure with the Mets. It kind of did for me.
Jim Johnson: You’re better than I thought! It’s nice to see you pitching well.
Troy Patton: OH, YOU’RE ALIVE.
Chris Davis: Sorry you’re on a team that loses now.
Tommy Hunter: I could say the same to you, too.
Mark Reynolds: You walk far more than people notice. Must be the strikeout numbers blinding them. At any rate, I’ll even miss you this offseason.
I’m going to miss everyone, not just the people named here, of course. I just can’t deal with the offseason. Be prepared for a ridiculous number of Arizona Fall League updates from yours truly because I just can’t let go of baseball. Ever.
Oh, and one more thing: good luck in the playoffs, Koji. I miss you to death. がんばれ!
The trade deadline passed this afternoon as I was watching the Mets fail to capitalize on opportunities to win a game against the Nationals in D.C. Here’s a little recap about what happened:
~ The one that hurt me most was the Uehara trade. I knew it was coming and it still hurt because I love Chinstrap Penguin to death. At the very least, he’ll get an opportunity with a contending club, and we’ll get an opportunity to work with Chris Davis, who is likely going to play first base in Lee’s absence, and Tommy Hunter, a cake-baking former starter-turned-reliever who we’re going to put back in the starting rotation. Considering that the starters have been struggling this season, this trade was a good move for the Orioles, but it hurts my heart a little. Okay, more than a little. I miss you, Koji.
~ Derrek Lee went to Pittsburgh for minor leaguer Adam Baker, who will be assigned to High-A Frederick. The kid was hitting .282 with fifteen homers in 103 games for Class A Bradenton when he was sent off and was an 11th round pick in 2009. He’ll probably advance fairly quickly if he’s able to keep up that pace. On the other hand, I miss Derrek Lee already. The guy was starting to heat up and he was an honestly nice man. All the best, Derrek.
That aside, the Orioles are now pretty much set for the rest of the season. The trade deadline stress is over. Let’s move on and see how everything pans out.