Monday, May 8, 2017
So what does this have to do with my first-born? Well, two weeks ago, Caleb made a Saturday afternoon appearance at Point Breeze Credit Union in Westminster. Janet, Finn, and I jumped at the chance to say hello to our favorite person on the team. (Well, maybe Finn was mostly just along for the ride.) As it turned out, we arrived at 12:15, just as the shuttle showed up to deliver Joseph. It was pretty cool to see a good-sized crowd already lined up inside the bank, cheering for the team's backup catcher as he made his slightly belated entrance. He apologized for being late, and jokingly blamed the team rep that had accompanied him.
When we got to the front of the line, we introduced Caleb Joseph to our Finn Caleb, and told him that we'd even debated naming him Caleb Joseph...but Janet "thought it would be weird". Caleb's well-reasoned response was that "everyone has to be named for somebody".
At the time of our meeting, #36 was 0-for-12 on the young season and famously had not driven in a run since September 11, 2015. My sister and I had tickets to the game later that night (April 22, 2017), and wouldn't you know it? Caleb Joseph started that night and went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the Birds' 4-2 win over Boston; he hasn't looked back since. I'm not saying that my kid is a lucky charm or anything, but Caleb is now batting .316 (12-for-38) with a home run and four RBI since their meeting. Yep, the long dry spell is over. You're welcome.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
I wouldn't have guessed the outcome from the way the game started. Chris Tillman got the call after missing the first month of the season with an ouchy shoulder, and started by throwing nine balls in his first ten pitches. But the White Sox squandered a bases-loaded opportunity en route to an 0-for-7 performance with runners in scoring position. Tillman seemed to discover his command as the game wore on, allowing three singles and three walks in five scoreless innings. Alec Asher bridged the gap to the ninth inning, scattering five hits in three and a third frames. After he yielded back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth, Brad Brach came on to earn the save. The first batter he faced, Leury Garcia, hit the ball right back to the mound, and Brach started the 1-6-3 double play.
All of the scoring happened in the first two innings against Chicago ace Jose Quintana, who was uncharacteristically wild. Adam Jones and Manny Machado drew back-to-back walks in the bottom of the first, and Mark Trumbo followed with his specialty, an infield single. A Chris Davis sac fly put the Birds on the board, and rookie Trey Mancini knocked in Machado with a single to right field. The O's put up another two-spot in the second, thanks to base hits by four of the first five hitters in the inning. Jones and Machado each drove in a run. Joey Rickard, everyone's favorite doe-eyed Royal Farms spokes-outfielder, was named Player of the Game on the strength of a 3-for-5 performance with a double, a run scored, and a stolen base.
I won't pretend that Finn paid rapt attention to the game; he is ten months old, after all. He was far more interested in grabbing the cap off of my head and the sunglasses off of Janet's face, when he wasn't staring at the other fans in the rows behind us. He was also quite enamored of Janet's Dippin' Dots, and once he started fussing in the late innings, she was fortunately able to cover him with a blanket and get him to sleep. But we did get his "first game" certificate from Fan Assistance, and we have these excellent photos to remember the day.
Friday, April 14, 2017
-11th in games played (1330), passing Brian Roberts (1327)
-7th in base hits (1458), passing Roberts (1452) and Ken Singleton (1455)
-9th in doubles (245), passing Boog Powell (243)
-5th in home runs (224), passing Rafael Palmeiro (223)
Oh, and by the by, the O's are a league-best 7-2, which includes a perfect 4-0 mark against the 1-9 Blue Jays. I can live with that.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
As we kick off the 2017 season, the O's fortunes are expected to hinge on the performance of their two talented young starters, Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Two games in, and we're trending upward. Gausman, starting the opener in place of the injured Chris Tillman, allowed two runs in five and a third innings against a Toronto team that has hit him hard in the past. Tonight, Bundy was masterful in a 3-1 victory to sew up a two-game series sweep of the Jays. Pounding the strike zone with a fastball-curveball-slider mix, the Oklahoma native held the opposition to one run on four hits and no walks in seven innings. He struck out eight batters, and had five 1-2-3 innings out of seven. No sweat.
Friday night, the Yankees roll into town, and Dylan Bundy passes the baton to...Ubaldo Jimenez. Gulp.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017
So what does all of this have to do with Alan Mills? Well, today was his first game as Baltimore's bullpen coach, marking his return after having pitched in 346 games for the Birds from 1992 to 1998 and 2000 to 2001. So far so good, as his charges kept things moving with five and two-thirds innings of shutout relief. Although Mychal Givens allowed an inherited runner to score, the O's relievers held the line from there, with Tyler Wilson earning the win thanks to a scoreless 11th inning of work. The O's have never lost a game with Alan Mills as bullpen coach.
Monday, February 13, 2017
So here we are, 49 days from Opening Day. Sweet merciful crap, spring training is way too long. I wouldn't blame the players for getting as stir-crazy as Kurt Ainsworth seems to be in this candid shot from the summer of 2003. Then again, that facial expression could be saying, "My shoulder is being held together with Big League Chew and fishing line." It wouldn't be that far from the truth. Also true: the "Fun Bird" on Kurt's left sleeve is still one of my least favorite O's logos. Somehow it crosses the line from endearingly goofy to just plain corny. Plus, I'll always associate it with those barftacular Orioles teams of the early 2000s.
Until next time, I'm going to go apply for a trademark on the word "barftacular".