Sunday, May 29, 2016
On Friday night, Dylan Bundy earned his first major league win with an inning and a third of scoreless relief behind starter Mike Wright. Bundy entered in the fifth inning with two outs, two on, and the scored tied at three, and got the powerful Mike Napoli to pop out to end the inning. After allowing only a single in the sixth, Dylan was the beneficiary of Chris Davis' RBI double and Mark Trumbo's two-run homer; the O's went on to win 6-4.
Yesterday's game was much more of a downer for the Birds, as Ubaldo happened and the team was creamed 11-4. So we'll skip to today's game, another 6-4 win for the good guys. Early on, it looked like the Orioles might cruise, as they had a 4-0 lead after the top of the fourth inning. But Chris Tillman surrendered three home runs in his last three innings of work, allowing Cleveland to tie the score after six. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Hyun Soo Kim hit an absolute laser to the right field corner for his first MLB home run to put Baltimore back on top, 5-4. He got the customary silent treatment in the dugout and responded with some pantomimed high-fives before his teammates belatedly mobbed him to offer their congratulations.
Tomorrow begins a four-game series with the first-place Red Sox, as crucial as a set of games at the beginning of June can possibly be. The O's are just one game off the pace (and tied in the loss column), so if they manage to take three out of four they'll be back on top. Let's go!
Friday, May 27, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Brian has been something of a whipping boy for Baltimore fans, including yours truly. I may or may not have dubbed him "Sad Giraffe". But although he never lived up to his initial potential, Matusz did start off promisingly enough: 15-14 with a 4.37 ERA (97 ERA+) and 7.4 K/9 IP in 40 starts in 2009-10. Then, from late 2012 through 2015, he was a decent lefty specialist. Brian also famously held David Ortiz to four hits and one walk in 30 plate appearances, while striking him out 13 times, for a batting line of .138/.167/.241. But something about Matusz allowing 18 base runners in six innings across seven appearances this year caused Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette to lose faith in him, and now he's a free agent. Hopefully he lands on his feet elsewhere.
Monday, May 23, 2016
he jumped on the second pitch he saw from Smith. Earl Weaver Special, Orioles take a 3-1 lead, and that would be the final score despite an unusually wild performance by Zach Britton in the bottom of the ninth. It's always a special thrill to pull out a victory at the last possible moment.
Friday, May 20, 2016
-His birth name is Benigno.
-He made his major league debut on August 27, 1974 with the New York Mets, and hit a home run against Astros pitcher Tom Griffin in his first career at-bat. He was the first player in Mets history - and the first native of Puerto Rico - to perform that feat.
-Benny never played more than 76 games in one season, and topped out at 191 plate appearances, reaching both milestones in 1980 with the Orioles. That year he posted a 127 OPS+ on the strength of a .265/.335/.500 batting line, as he popped 10 homers and drove in 33 runs in a limited role.
-He batted only twice in the 1983 postseason, and drove in a run in each plate appearance: in the Game Four clincher in the ALCS, he had a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the tenth inning to bring home the Orioles' third and final run. Ayala also batted for Jim Palmer in the top of the seventh inning in Game Three of the World Series, and delivered a game-tying single against Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. He also scored the eventual winning run on an error by Phillies shortstop Ivan de Jesus.
-In recent years, Benny has focused on helping his fellow Puerto Rican ex-big leaguers as part of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT). He helps former players to acquire pensions, health insurance, instructional jobs, and more.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
What, you've never heard that one? Oh. Well, anyway, happy birthday, Brooksie! It's been a pleasure to have you in our lives for another year. Thank you for helping to make Baltimore the town that it is.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
April 17, 2007. That earned him a start in left field the next day, and he had two singles and a walk in four trips to the plate, scoring twice. But then he was sent back to AAA Norfolk until late June. He played only five games spanning his next two callups, going 0-for-10 with three walks and a sac fly. That concluded his big league career, as Knott spent 2008 in AAA with the Twins and Phillies and bounced around three professional leagues in 2009 (Atlantic, Mexican, and Pacific Coast) before calling it a career. But hey, that is one shiny card.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Sunday, May 15, 2016
It's been about two and a half months since Janet was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and I'm still trying to take stock of everything. I poured out a great deal of my thoughts in a post over at Janet's blog, and if you'd like to read that sort of thing, you can do so here. Thanks once again for your support, prayers, and positive thoughts and words.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Friday, May 13, 2016
It's been a good couple of nights in Birdland. Last night Janet and I treated our unborn child (six more weeks!) to its second O's game. A rare RAIN-FREE game, to boot! After Ubaldo Jimenez did his best to send us screaming toward the exit, somehow allowing "just" five runs on 14 base runners in five-plus innings, the Orioles reacquainted themselves with the ever-adventurous Detroit bullpen. A two-run spurt in the bottom of the sixth set the stage for a fantastic five-run seventh. The Birds swatted five singles in the span of six batters, with Pedro Alvarez's single squirting under Miguel Cabrera's first baseman's mitt and into right field to score Adam Jones with the tying run. Jonathan Schoop followed with the coup de grace, a line drive into the right field corner for his first career triple, plating Chris Davis and Alvarez with the go-ahead runs. From there, it was the tried-and-true formula of O'Day in the eighth and Britton in the ninth, 7-5 final. Baby B is 2-0.
Oh! And the Red Sox FINALLY lost, 7-6 to the Astros. So the O's are alone in first place again. It's better than the alternative, I'll say that.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
32 games into 2016, the even year phenomenon has been a blessing for the Birds. They're in first place with a 20-12 record and a league-best 49 home runs, including the four they blasted in today's 9-2 laugher over the Twins. They're setting all sorts of fun team records, including a seven-game win streak to start the regular season, a first-ever extra-inning shutout win over the Yankees, and their active streak of three straight games featuring back-to-back home runs.
Speaking of touching 'em all, Adam Jones is finally showing signs of life after a slow and injury-marred start to the year. He blasted a towering homer for the second game in a row this afternoon, and went 6-for-10 in the abbreviated two-game set in Minnesota with four runs scored and five RBI. It's early enough in the season that he's boosted his triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) from .200/.269/.274 to .238/.298/.362 with a pair of strong showings. If he's righting the ship, Machado/Jones/Davis/Trumbo is a brutal gauntlet for opposing pitchers to navigate.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 2016
There's some very encouraging news on the health front, while we're talking about it. Janet has completed the first of her two courses of chemotherapy, and the tumor has already shrunk significantly. It started out with a circumference of 3.4 cm, roughly the size of a golf ball, I'd say. Now it's maybe the size of a blueberry, and even the oncologist was having a hard time locating it by touch! If you are interested in keeping closer tabs on our experiences throughout this challenging time, Janet has been keeping a blog (and even trusting me to contribute occasionally). So hop on over to Janet versus the Titmonster...and yes, I'm to blame for the name. No apologies.
Friday, May 6, 2016
As an example, I give you this woebegone card specimen, featuring former Orioles sub Bob Johnson. Those yellowish bars criss-crossing the front of the card are from decades-old strips of tape, which I'd guess were used by another collector to affix the card to an album of some sort. Card enthusiasts in the 1960s and 1970s didn't have Ultra-Pro binders and pages and penny sleeves at their disposal, so they muddled through as best they could. It's all any of us can do.