Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Birds Fall in Finale

The Orioles final game of 2010 ended with a loss, as the Birds fell to the Tigers 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Brad Bergesen (8-10) took the loss, though he pitched a solid game. Bergesen took a no-hitter into the fifth inning but ended up giving up three runs on four hits while walking none and fanning four over seven innings.

The O's took an early lead, scoring once in both the first and second innings, but it wasn't enough. Nick Markakis went 3-for-5 with an RBI and ended the season with a team-best .297 batting average.

With the loss, a season of disappointment finally came to an end, as the Orioles finished last in the AL East with a record of 66-96. The O's have had an incredible past two months though, and the future looks promising for this club under Buck Showalter.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Matusz Mows Down Tigers

My wife and I were in attendance as Brian Matusz and the O's 'pen struck out 13 batters in a 2-1 victory over Detroit on Saturday night.

In a quick contest (the game lasted just two hours) the Orioles won their fourth straight with dominant pitching, great defense and a few timely hits.

Matusz (10-12) lasted just six innings, but allowed only two hits (one a solo homer in the second) and two walks while fanning a career-best nine batters. Mike Gonzalez and Jim Johnson held the Tigers hitless over the next two frames, and Koji Uehara worked around a lead-off single in the ninth to pick up his 13th save in 15 tries.

Nick Markakis put the Birds on the board with a solo blast in the fourth. Markakis has just 12 homers this season, but has went deep in two straight games. Matt Wieters' sac fly in the fifth gave the O's the lead and eventually the win.

The Orioles have just one game left in 2010, and have a chance to sweep Detroit and win five straight games for the first time all year. The O's (66-95) are now 34-22 under Buck Showalter, and send Brad Bergesen to the mound on Sunday afternoon.

O's Take Two From Tigers

The Birds took both games in a doubleheader against Detroit on Friday at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman led the O's to a 10-6 victory in the afternoon contest, and Jeremy Guthrie followed with a stellar performance in a 2-1 win later that evening.

Tillman (2-5) allowed just one run (a solo homer) off three hits over seven innings, striking out a career-best seven Tigers while walking two. Mark Hendrickson allowed Detroit to creep back into the game, but Matt Albers closed the door to give the Birds the win.

The Birds used a six-run fourth followed by a three-run fifth to take a commanding lead. Adam Jones went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs, and Felix Pie went 2-for-4 with a triple and three knocked in to lead the Orioles offensively.

Guthrie (11-14) took the mound and one-upped Tillman, going eight strong shut-out innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while fanning five. Koji Uehara gave up a solo shot in the ninth but struck out two batters and recorded his 12th save of the season.

Offensively, the O's banged out 13 hits but crossed the plate just twice, once on Nick Markakis' solo homer in the third.

The O's (64-95) have now gone 33-22 under Buck Showalter, and have won more games under Buck in two months than they had won over the first four months of the season. Showalter is the first manager since 1900 to accomplish that feat...

The Birds send Brian Matusz to the mound on Saturday night...Let's Go O's!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Millwood Wins as O's Blank Rays

Kevin Millwood may not be an Oriole next season, but he went out on top, shutting down the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 in a series-clinching victory on Wednesday night.

Millwood (4-16) stifled the best team in the league through seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while walking three and fanning seven. I know the man hasn't lived up to most fans' expectations, but Millwood ate innings for an O's team that needed starting help in 2010, and never really complained about the lack of run support throughout the season. I can't say that I'll miss him, but I appreciate the help and hope Kevin excels next year (more than likely in the National League).

As usual, the O's offense went silent with Millwood on the mound Wednesday night. The two teams traded zeroes until Felix Pie slapped a three-run triple in the seventh inning to put the O's on the board. Millwood battled through the bottom of the inning before giving way to the bullpen...Jim Johnson allowed a hit in the eighth, but Koji Uehara retired the side in the ninth to pick up his 11th save, assuring Millwood a win in his O's finale...

The Birds (63-95) have finished the road series on a high note, taking two of three from the Rays and guaranteeing they won't lose 100 games in 2010. The O's take on Detroit for four games at Camden Yards for the final series of the season...Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound Thursday night.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

O's Can't Stop Rays From Celebrating

Brad Bergesen and the Birds fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 on Tuesday night...the Rays clinched a playoff berth with the victory.

Bergesen (8-11) didn't have his best command against Tampa, allowing five runs off six hits and three walks over five innings. The bullpen no-hit the Rays through the final three frames, but the damage had been done...

Both teams collected six hits, but the Birds blanked in the run department. The O's were held scoreless against Tampa's ace David Price (19-6). Price allowed six hits, walked none and fanned eight over eight innings...

Kevin Millwood takes the mound Wednesday in the series finale...the Birds then head home for the final four games of the season against Detroit.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Matusz Topples Tampa

The Rays were hoping to pop some champagne with a victory; instead, the O's handed them a 4-0 loss in St. Petersburg on Monday night.

Brian Matusz looked like the Rookie of the Year we all expected to see in April...Matusz (9-12) blanked the Rays on three hits over seven innings, walking two, hitting a batter and striking out eight. Matusz has now won five straight contests...

The bullpen was almost as impressive: Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth before Koji Uehara came on to strike the side out in the ninth...

In a pitcher's duel, the Birds finally got on the board in the fifth...Cesar Izturis slapped a double and crossed home plate courtesy of Nick Markakis' RBI triple. The O's tacked on three more runs in the seventh, but the one run was all Matusz and the 'pen would need on Monday night...

With just six games left this season, the Orioles (62-94) would have to lose them all to hit 100 losses, an almost sure-thing before Buck Showalter took the helm. The Birds need to win just twice more to equal their win total from last season. Brad Bergesen will take the mound for the O's on Tuesday night...here's hoping the champagne stays corked for at least one more day!

Blame Canada?

The Orioles were swept out of Toronto after a 5-2 loss to the Jays on Sunday afternoon.

With the loss, the O's went just 3-15 against the Blue Jays in 2010, and never won a game at Rogers Centre all season. The Birds hadn't beaten Toronto until a three-game sweep of the Jays earlier this month...

Rick VandenHurk got the start for the O's and took the loss. VandenHurk went just four innings and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks while fanning five. The bullpen didn't fare much better: Alfredo Simon came on in relief and hit Jose Bautista...Simon and Buck Showalter were both ejected on the play. Matt Albers allowed another two runs before David Hernandez held Toronto to just two hits over the final two frames.

The offense was unable to get much going against the Jays...the Birds managed seven hits (all singles), and Adam Jones collected three of them himself.

The O's have now dropped four straight and head to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays for a three-game set before returning home for the final series of the season. Brian Matusz takes the mound for the Birds on Monday night...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

O's Fall to the Long Ball

The Orioles dropped another game in Toronto, falling to the Jays 5-4 in 11 innings on Saturday afternoon.

Toronto continued to hurt the Birds with the long ball, blasting four home runs, including a walk-off solo shot in the bottom of the eleventh.

Jeremy Guthrie allowed three solo homers over 6 1/3 innings and took the no-decision. Guthrie allowed four runs off seven hits while walking none and striking out six. The bullpen held the Jays scoreless until Mark Hendrickson allowed the walk-off homer to the first batter he faced...

The Birds got on the board first, scoring three times in the second (two of the runs came on bases loaded walks), but were shut down until Ty Wigginton launched a solo shot in the seventh. The O's went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.

The Orioles have one chance left to beat the Blue Jays in Toronto this season...Rick VandenHurk will make his first start in an O's uniform on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

O's Still Winless in Toronto

The Birds had a chance to beat the Blue Jays for the first time in Toronto this season, but fell 6-4 at Rogers Centre on Friday night.

Chris Tillman pitched a good game, but took the loss. Tillman (1-5) allowed just four hits and a walk, but three of the hits were long balls and all five baserunners scored. Matt Albers allowed a run in the eighth to give the Jays an insurance run.

The Orioles out-hit Toronto 16-5 but squandered a number of opportunities against the Jays. The team went 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 men on base in the loss.

The Birds have two more chances to take a game in Toronto this season...Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound Saturday afternoon. With just nine games left to play, the O's (61-92) need to win four of them to eclipse last year's record...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

O's Miss Out On Fenway Sweep

Kevin Millwood gave up a few home runs, and the O's offense went quietly in a 6-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.

Millwood (3-16) gave up two long balls to put the Birds in a hole they couldn't climb out of...Millwood's 30 taters allowed are second-worst in the AL. His final line: five innings, seven hits, six runs, a walk and five strikeouts. Millwood was brought on to eat innings and mentor a young staff, and while he has certainly been a work-horse, his record leaves much to be desired. His first inning ERA is the worst in baseball (nearly 12.00) and his 16 losses are the worst on a squad full of rookies. Let's not even talk about the 16 losses...and don't even try to bring up the fact that Millwood has some of the worst run support in baseball. If you give up six runs a game, you're going to lose more often than not...

Once again, though, the Birds just couldn't score with Millwood on the mound. Ty Wigginton slapped an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to plate Nick Markakis and give the O's a 1-0 lead. The Sox answered right back, as David Ortiz smashed a three-run shot in the bottom of the inning to give Boston a lead they would never relinquish.

Still, the Orioles won the series at Fenway and went 9-9 against the Red Sox this season. They are playing great baseball under Buck Showalter, and have held their own against the East over the past two months. The O's take Thursday off before taking on the Blue Jays in Toronto for a three-game set. Before last week's home sweep, the Birds had gone 0-12 against the Jays in 2010. The O's still have yet to beat the Jays in Toronto, and they send Chris Tillman to the mound on Friday night to attempt to reverse that trend...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Early Pitching Duel Turns Into Late Rout For O's

The Orioles scored nine unanswered runs in a 9-1 rout of the Boston Red Sox Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Brad Bergesen and Clay Buchholtz were locked in a tight 1-1 ballgame until the Birds broke through in the seventh inning off Boston's bullpen. Ty Wigginton launched a three-run shot just past Pesky's Pole in right field to give the O's the lead...Wigginton has now knocked in the game-winning runs in three straight games.

The Birds scored again in the eighth before exploding for four runs off Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. The Orioles scored nine runs through the final four frames, and have guaranteed a winning trip in Boston for the first time since 2004.

The Birds go for the sweep on Wednesday night, with Kevin Millwood taking the mound. A win would also give the Orioles a 10-8 season series victory over Boston, something they haven't done since 2004...Let's Go, O's!

Monday, September 20, 2010

O's Over Sox at Fenway

The Orioles took down the Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Monday night at Fenway Park.

The Birds are now 8-8 against Boston this season, their best record against any divisional foe.

After the O's took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Dice-K, Brian Matusz struggled through the bottom of the frame, allowing the Red Sox to tie the game. Matusz settled down and went five innings, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks while fanning four.

The bullpen held Boston scoreless through the final four frames, allowing just two hits...David Hernandez blew the save but took the win, and Koji Uehara picked up his 10th save in 12 tries, striking out two in the ninth.

Offensively, there wasn't much fireworks to speak of. The O's had eight hits (Nick Markakis' 43rd double this season was the lone extra-base hit) and went just 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position. But the Birds played smart baseball, using sac flies, timely hits, and an error to score just enough runs to win the game. Luke Scott went 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs to lead the O's.

Brad Bergesen, fresh off a complete game victory over Toronto, takes the mound for the Orioles Tuesday night...a victory would guarantee a season-split with Boston and virtually eliminate the Sox from post-season play...Let's Go O's!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

O's Avoid Sweep In Extra-Inning Thriller

Just an hour after the Ravens lost to the Bengals in Cincinnati, the Orioles provided some much-needed relief for Baltimore sports fans with a 4-3 win over the Yankees in 11 innings at Camden Yards.

Down 3-2 in the ninth inning, Luke Scott went deep off New York's closer Mariano Rivera to tie the game and send it into extras. It was just the second homer Rivera has allowed this season.

Koji Uehara was sent out to the mound in the tenth, and expelled some demons by striking out the side. Overall, the bullpen was magnificent after Chris Tillman's shaky start...more on that later.

Scott led off the 11th with a double to left field, and Ty Wigginton followed with a game-winning, walk-off hit to center to give the Birds the victory.

Chris Tillman allowed three runs over just 3 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits but walking six. The bullpen came up huge in this game, shutting down the Yankees over the final 7 1/3 frames...

The O's lost the series to New York, but went 4-2 on the homestand. The Birds now begin a nine-game road trip starting Monday night in Boston. Brian Matusz takes the mound...Let's Go O's!

Guthrie, O's Get Crushed

Jeremy Guthrie wasn't able to stop CC Sabathia from becoming the Major's first 20-game winner on Saturday night, as the Yankees rolled over the O's 11-3 in front of a sell-out crowd at Camden yards.

Guthrie allowed six runs on seven hits over just five innings of work, his shortest outing since early July. He walked two and struck out five and was saddled with his 14th loss of the season. The bullpen didn't fare much better, allowing another five runs of six hits over the final four frames...Rick VandenHurk, who will start against Boston next week in place of Jake Arrieta, gave up a three-run bomb in the ninth to give the Yankees a blow-out victory.

The offense was mainly non-existent, besides Robert Andino. Andino fell a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. The rest of the O's managed just six hits (all singles) and the team went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

The Birds send Chris Tillman to the mound on Sunday afternoon in an attempt to avert the sweep...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Koji Can't Get it Done Against Yankees

The O's were one strike away from a victory over the Yankees on Friday night at Camden Yards, but Koji Uehara gave up a mammoth home run to give New York the lead, and eventually the 4-3 win.

It's deja vu all over again...Uehara has just two blown saves this season, both coming against the Yankees on home runs with two outs and New York down to their final strike...

Last week, it was Nick Swisher that blasted a two-run walk-off shot against Uehara to deny the Birds a sweep in New York. On Friday night, A-Rod crushed a 2-2 pitch with two men on to erase the O's 3-1 lead and send Uehara to his knees on the mound...

While I certainly didn't like the outcome, I liked the fact that Showalter threw Koji out there with the game on the line and a chance at redemption against the Yanks...he was one strike away from doing just that and giving the O's a big win against their AL East rivals.

Sadly, Kevin Millwood was unable to pick up his fourth win this season after going seven strong innings, allowing just one run (a solo shot by A-Rod in the second inning) on five hits, four walks and six strikeouts...

Offensively, the Birds didn't get too much going against A.J. Burnett, but it looked like it was going to be enough...Nick Markakis put the O's on the board with a sac fly in the third, and Adam Jones went deep the next inning to give the Birds a 2-1 lead. Robert Andino connected for his first homer of the season in the seventh, and the O's took a 3-1 lead into the fateful ninth inning.

The loss snapped the Birds' win streak at three, and coupled with Tampa Bay's loss, propelled the Yankees into first place in the division. The Orioles can still play spoiler though, with two games left against New York this season. Jeremy Guthrie takes on CC Sabathia on Saturday night...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birds Sweep Toronto Out Of Baltimore

How about them O's?

After starting the season 0-for-12 against Toronto, Buck's Birds swept the Jays out of Baltimore with a 3-1 win on Wednesday night.

O's starter Brad Bergesen allowed a solo homer in the first inning before settling down and pitching a complete game against the Jays. Bergesen allowed seven hits, no walks, and struck out three in a truly masterful performance...he needed just 95 pitches and finished the game in under two hours.

A day removed from scoring 11 runs off Toronto's pitching, the O's were held mainly at bay Wednesday night. After Toronto went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first, the Birds answered right back...Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis both singled and then pulled off a double-steal before Roberts came home on Luke Scott's ground-out. The O's were held off the scoreboard again until the fourth inning, where they scored what turned out to be the final, and winning, runs of the ballgame.

After an off-day Thursday, the Birds host the Yankees (88-58) for a three-game set...like I said before, it doesn't get any easier for the Orioles (58-88) in September. So far though, the team has gone 9-5 this month and are the last club the struggling Yankees want to see on the road. Kevin Millwood looks to keep it going against A.J. Burnett on Friday night at the Yard...

O's Spank Jays

Buck Showalter's T-shirt Tuesday proved to be the most exciting game I've attended this season, as the Birds crushed the Toronto Blue Jays 11-3 at Camden Yards.

Seated 14 rows back behind home plate, thanks to a wonderful friend from work, my buddies and I watched as the Orioles mashed 16 hits (five for extra bases) and took down Toronto for the second straight game.

Jake Arrieta looked incredible in what may have been his final start of the season...Arrieta (6-6) went six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while fanning five. After the bullpen spoiled the shutout in the eighth inning, Alfredo Simon retired the Jays in order in the ninth to seal the victory.

The Birds were only up 3-0 when Arrieta departed, but matched a season-best with six runs in the seventh inning, and went on to plate two more in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Markakis finally reached double-digits in long balls, smacking his 10th homer of the season in the fifth. Robert Andino basically put the game away with a three-run double in the seventh, and Adam Jones went deep in the eighth...

The O's look for the sweep on Wednesday night...Brad Bergesen takes the mound for the Birds.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

O's Finally Take Down Toronto

It took a while, but the Birds beat the visiting Blue Jays 4-3 in 11 innings on Monday night.

The O's had been winless against the Blue Jays this season, going 0-12 before finally snapping the streak...

I'm going to be completely honest with my faithful readers (both of you), I did not see this game...at all. I was hosting a double birthday party/ Ravens game, and had my hands full...this was the first game all season that I missed.

I can give a quick recap: Brian Roberts led-off the game with a home run, Brian Matusz was pulled after one inning after being hit by a come-backer, and Luke Scott won the game in the 11th with an RBI single.

I certainly apologize for the lack of coverage, but I'm not going to write about a game I didn't watch. It may be football season, but I will continue to watch and cheer for my O's until their season ends in early October...

I'm actually going to the game on Tuesday (I need to pick up a Buck Showalter shirt!) so I will obviously have some insight after the game. Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the O's...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tigers Tear Apart O's 'Pen

The O's squandered Chris Tillman's outing, falling 6-2 to the Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

Tillman allowed just one run off one hit, though he walked six batters...he left with two on in the seventh inning, and Michael Gonzalez induced a grounder to keep the Birds up 2-1.

Gonzalez fell apart in the eighth, as did the rest of the bullpen. Gonzalez, David Hernandez and Alfredo Simon let Detroit score five times to put the game out of reach and deny the Birds a road sweep...

The Birds managed to go 4-2 against the Yankees and Tigers, winning a second consecutive road series. The Orioles were just two outs away from sweeping New York, and came almost as close in Detroit before taking the loss.

The O's head home to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night...the Birds have yet to beat the Jays this season, going 0-12. Brian Matusz looks to reverse that trend...

Guthrie Shuts Down Tigers

The O's won again on Saturday night, taking down the Tigers 5-3 at Comerica Park.

Jeremy Guthrie cruised through seven innings, holding Detroit scoreless on five hits and a walk while fanning four. Matt Albers came on to start the eighth with the Birds up 4-0, and allowed three runs on four hits to put the Tigers within striking distance, but Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts to seal the Birds' second straight win over the Tigers.

The O's banged-out 16 hits but were held off the board until a four-run sixth...Adam Jones and Felix Pie led-off the inning with back-to-back doubles, and Cesar Izturis connected for a two-run triple. Every starter had at least one hit except for Ty Wigginton (who picked up an RBI with a sac fly in the sixth).

The Birds are now guaranteed a winning series against Detroit, and have put together another winning road trip. The O's send Chris Tillman to the mound on Sunday afternoon...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

O's Tame Tigers in Detroit

The Tigers out-hit the O's, but the Orioles outscored Detroit in a 6-3 victory on Friday night.

Kevin Millwood pitched a good game, going six innings and allowing just three runs (two earned). Millwood allowed a run in the first inning but then held Detroit scoreless until the sixth...Matt Wieters dropped a foul pop-up off the bat of Johnny Damon, who then walked on a full count. The next batter up crushed a two-run shot to knot the score at three and deny Millwood a "W".

The O's bullpen kept putting up zeroes...David Hernandez gave up a lead-off triple in the seventh inning, but struck out two batters and stranded the runner on third base. It was great to see Hernandez back on the mound, and he was rewarded with the win. Jim Johnson allowed a hit in a scoreless eighth, and Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his eighth save in nine tries.

Jake Fox launched a two-run homer in the fifth to give the O's a short-lived 3-1 lead. The Birds went on to score twice in the eighth inning and added an insurance run in the ninth to give Uehara a comfortable lead to work with...Matt Wieters made up for his defensive miscue with a sacrifice fly in the eighth that put the O's ahead for good.

The Birds are now 3-1 on the six-game road trip, and need just one win to take the series and ensure another winning road trip. The Orioles (54-87) have 21 games remaining this season, and need to win nine of them to avoid a 100-loss year...Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound on Saturday night.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

O' So Close...

The O's were two outs away from their first sweep of the Yankees in New York since 1986. They'll have to wait until next season to reach that goal, as the Yankees won 3-2 after a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Koji Uehara blew his first save in eight tries, allowing a two-run bomb to Nick Swisher to give the Yanks the win and deny the O's the sweep. Brad Bergesen was incredible, allowing just one run over 6 1/3 innings, but took the no-decision after Koji took the loss and his first blown save of the season.

Matt Wieters provided all the O's offense with a two-run blast in the fifth inning...Wieters was given the green light with a 3-0 count and sent the predicted fastball into the left field stands to give the Birds a 2-1 lead they would hold onto until the fateful ninth.

It would have been nice to sweep the Yankees in New York. Honestly, it would have been more than nice; it would have been unbelievable. But taking two of three from the best team in all of baseball, in September, is still a thrill. I hope the players feel it as much as the fans, because this past month has been one of the best months to be an O's fan in the past decade...

In a brutal nine-game stretch against AL rivals, the Orioles went 5-4 and showed that they are the team to beat this year if you want to make it to the playoffs. I don't think I've ever been prouder of this team since I started this blog three years ago...

The O's take Thursday off before beginning a three-game series against the Tigers in Detroit. Kevin Millwood takes the mound Friday night...hopefully he's learned something from the young Orioles' rotation...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

O's Hand Sabathia a Loss at Yankee Stadium

The Birds tagged CC Sabathia for three runs before he recorded a single out, and went on to beat New York 6-2 on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

The O's have now won four straight games against the best teams in all of baseball, Tampa Bay and New York, and have a chance to sweep the Yankees on their home field for the first time in nearly 25 years. Dating back to their sweep of the Angels, the Orioles have now won five straight road games, a season high.

O's starter Jake Arrieta kept New York's offense off-balance all night, and took the win after allowing just two runs off eight hits and one walk over 6 1/3 innings, while fanning three. Arrieta was pulled with one out and runners on the corners in the seventh inning, setting the stage for Matt Alber's stellar relief appearance. Albers escaped the jam unscathed, going 1 2/3 innings before giving way to Mark Hendrickson in the ninth. The two relievers didn't allow a single hit or base on balls through the final frames...

The O's got to Sabathia early, scoring all the runs they would need in the first inning. Ty Wigginton put the Birds on the board with a bloop single that loaded the bases for Adam Jones, who ripped a two-run single to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead before Sabathia recorded an out. Nolan Reimold extended the lead with a mammoth two-run bomb in the third inning, and Nick Markakis' RBI single in the seventh sent Sabathia to the showers with no chance of picking up his 20th win of the season. Sabathia had gone 21 straight games without a loss at Yankee Stadium, but the Birds snapped his streak and stopped him from becoming the first 20-game winner in the Majors this season...

The O's go for the historic sweep of the Yankees in New York on Wednesday afternoon...if the Birds can pull it off, they will have won a season-best five straight games. Since Buck Showalter took over, the Orioles have the second-best record in all of baseball (the Yankees are third-best after Tuesday's loss!). Brad Bergesen takes the mound later this afternoon...

Monday, September 6, 2010

After Series Win Over Rays, O's Sink Yanks

After an 8-7 victory over Tampa at home on Sunday afternoon, the Orioles took down the Yankees in New York with a 4-3 win on Monday.

The O's have now won three straight over the best two teams in baseball...the Yankees (86-52) own the best record in the Majors, while Tampa Bay lurks just a few games behind and lead in the race for the Wild Card. The Orioles (52-86) own one of the worst records in baseball, but have managed to compete with these playoff-bound teams as if they belong in the hunt for October...

The starting pitching has held it's own, with Chris Tillman keeping the game within reach on Sunday and Brian Matusz holding down New York's potent offense on Labor Day. The bullpen has continued to impress, and Koji Uehara has been nearly unstoppable as the O's closer. Uehara has now appeared in three straight games and is a perfect 7-for-7 in save situations since Buck Showalter has taken over...

The Birds can make it four straight, and guarantee a series victory, with a win over the Yankees on Tuesday night. Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Birds...he'll take on CC Sabathia, who hasn't lost to Baltimore since Opening Day of 2009.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Guthrie Gives Showalter Win #900

The O's won their 50th game of the season on Saturday night, evening the series with an 8-4 victory over the Rays at Camden Yards.

Jeremy Guthrie turned in yet another stellar performance, allowing just two runs off six hits over seven innings, while walking one and fanning seven. Guthrie gave up a solo homer to the very first batter he faced, but settled down and managed to pick up his team-leading ninth win.

Michael Gonzalez struck out all three batters he faced in a scoreless eighth, and Koji Uehara closed out the game, though he allowed back-to-back solo shots with two down in the ninth...Uehara has emerged as the team's closer, so it shouldn't be too shocking that he gave up a few runs when the game wasn't on the line. At least, that's what I'm hoping...Uehara hadn't allowed a home run all season before Saturday's outing.

Meanwhile, the Birds' bats came to life against Rays' starter James Shields. The O's knocked Shields out early, scoring seven runs through the first five innings. Nick Markakis blasted a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to give the O's a lead they would never lose. The Birds banged-out 15 hits and had three multi-run innings.

With the win, Buck Showalter became just the 64th manager in history to record 900 career wins. The Birds hope to add to that total on Sunday afternoon...Chris Tillman was called-up from Norfolk and will start for the Orioles.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Birds Drop Three Straight Under Buck

For the first time since Buck Showalter took over as manager, the O's lost three straight games, falling 4-1 to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Rays' starter Matt Garza, "...shoved it down the Orioles' throats," as the Birds managed just a run on a sacrifice fly against him. Garza had told the media earlier that he was ready to face the Birds' bats, and he backed it up over 5 2/3 innings.

O's starter Kevin Millwood was tagged with his fifteenth loss of the season, as he allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks over 5 2/3 frames. The bullpen allowed just two hits from then on, but the damage had been done.

Offensively, the O's managed just seven hits and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Jeremy Guthrie is tasked to stop the slide on Saturday night...the O's (49-86) need one win to reach 50 on the season, while Showalter needs just one victory to reach 900 for his career...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sox Take Series as O's Regress

We all knew September would be rough...but these past two games have really hurt. The O's brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning, but failed to even make contact with the ball, falling to the visiting Boston Red Sox 6-4 on Thursday night.

The game looked to be over in the second inning, when starter Brad Bergesen allowed five runs off five hits and allowed the Sox to take a huge early lead. Only two runs were earned, as Ty Wigginton's error at first base extended the inning and eventually cost the O's the game. Bergesen rebounded, going 5 1/3 innings without allowing another run to cross the plate, but the deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

The Birds put up four runs in the sixth inning, capped by Matt Wieters' two-run double. Four of the eight hits the O's collected went for extra bases...Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts both doubled, and Wieters had two for the game.

The damage was done though, as the O's were unable to capitalize in the bottom of the ninth...with two on and none out, Corey Patterson bunted to advance both runners. The O's had two in scoring position with one out, but Cesar Izturis and Josh Bell both struck out to end the game.

Next up: the Tampa Bay Rays come to Baltimore for a three-game set starting Friday night. Kevin Millwood takes the mound for the O's...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sox Pound 'Pen as O's Fall to Lester

The curse continues...Jon Lester remains unbeaten against the Orioles, as the Boston Red Sox pounded out six runs in the seventh inning to beat the O's 9-6 Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

The Birds came out swinging, scoring four runs in the first inning to take a commanding 4-1 lead. The O's added another run in the second, going up 5-2 against Boston's Lester, who came in to the game with a perfect 12-0 record against Baltimore. It finally looked as if Lester would lose to the O's...

Starter Jake Arrieta wasn't perfect, but kept the damage manageable after allowing three runs off six hits over five innings of work, walking none and fanning five. The O's bullpen, such a strong group over the past month, fell apart in the seventh inning. Mark Hendrickson allowed a two-run bomb that tied the game...Alfredo Simon gave up an RBI double before surrendering a back-breaking three-run blast two batters later to put Boston up 9-5.

The loss ended the Orioles' win streak at four games...they have reached four straight victories five times (three times under Buck Showalter) this season, but have yet to win five straight contests. The O's and Boston are now even at 7-7 this season, with four games left to play...that's still a vast improvement over last season, when Boston went 16-2 over Baltimore.

Brad Bergesen takes the mound Thursday night in the rubber-match of the series...Go O's!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Matusz Topples Sox as O's Win Again

I could start to get used to this. The Birds won their fourth straight on Tuesday night, beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 at Camden Yards.

Starter Brian Matusz made one mistake: a pitch that Jed Lowrie sent over the wall for a two-run shot in the fifth inning, putting the Sox on the board and ending the O's streak of scoreless innings at 30. That was all the Sox would score, as Matusz was awarded the win after six strong innings, and the bullpen took care of the rest...Koji Uehara notched his fifth save in as many tries...Orioles pitching has allowed just three runs through the past four games.

The Birds gave Matusz an early lead to work with, scoring three times off Josh Beckett. Nick Markakis laced his 40th double of the season in the first inning, and came around to score on Luke Scott's broke-bat single. The O's took advantage of a throwing error in the third to score twice more. The team was clinging to a one-run lead until the bottom of the eighth, when Scott and Felix Pie launched back-to-back solo jacks to put the team up 5-2 and give Uehara some breathing room. Scott set a new career high with 26 home runs so far this season...

The Birds finished August 17-11 (17-10 under Buck Showalter), and picked up three separate four-game win streaks over the month. The O's had just two four-game win streaks over the previous four months...behold, the power of Buck.

As I stated in yesterday's post, it doesn't get any easier for the O's in September. The trouble begins on Wednesday night, when Jon Lester takes the mound for Boston. The Orioles have never beaten Lester (12-0 against Baltimore), and will turn to Jake Arrieta to snap that streak...Go O's!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Birds Post Back-to-Back Shutouts; Sweep Angels

On Saturday, Kevin Millwood pitched the O's to a 5-0 win over the Angels. Jeremy Guthrie matched him on Sunday afternoon, pitching into the ninth inning as the Birds held on for a 1-0 victory.

This marked the first time the Orioles had ever swept the Angels on the road, and was the team's first winning road trip of the season (4-2 on the trip). It was also the first three-game road sweep this year (the O's swept Texas in four games before the All-Star break) and the first time since 2007 the O's posted back-to-back shutouts. In fact, if not for the run that Bergesen allowed on a balk on Friday, the Birds would have blanked the Angels in three straight contests.

Are you noticing a pattern here? A whole lot of firsts, thanks mainly to new skipper Buck Showalter. In Buck's first month at the helm, the O's have gone from laughing stock of the league to a team that poses a real threat to any club in contention. The Birds have a 16-11 record in August (16-10 under Buck's command), marking their first winning month in over two years and their first winning August since 1997 (their last winning season).

The Orioles enjoyed a well-deserved day off on Monday, and now battle the visiting Red Sox starting Tuesday night. Win or lose, the Birds have one of the best records in baseball for the month.

September doesn't look nearly as welcoming....the O's play just five teams all month, and only one isn't in the AL East. The Birds play 27 games in September, and 21 of them are against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays. Detroit is the only non-divisional foe the O's will face...all five teams are over .500, and most are playing for the postseason.

It will be tough, but I can't wait to see how the O's handle this stretch of the season. After a stellar August, I have no reason to believe that the Orioles can't keep up the performance against their divisional rivals. If nothing else, at least Buck will get to experience first-hand what he has to look forward to next season...

Brian Matusz starts it all off on Tuesday night...Let's Go O's!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bergesen Pitches O's Past Angels

Brad Bergesen sparkled, the O's defense dazzled and the offense did just enough to give the Birds a series-opening 3-1 victory against the Angels on Friday night.

Bergesen (6-9) went eight strong innings to pick up the win, allowing just four hits while walking none and fanning four. Bergesen allowed a run to cross the plate in the first inning on a balk (he was called for a second balk later in the game) but kept his composure and completely dominated the Angel's lineup.

Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his third straight save in three appearances...

The Birds managed three runs off eight hits; Mick Markakis gave the Birds a quick (though short-lived) 1-0 lead in the first inning. Brian Roberts opened the game with a double and stole third base before Markakis drove him home. Luke Scott and Corey Patterson both plated runs in the later innings to give the O's a cushion...

With three games left in August, the Birds need to win just one to post their first winning August since 1997...thank-you, Buck Showalter! Kevin Millwood takes the mound for the O's on Saturday night.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Birds Blown Out Of Chicago

It was an ugly game to watch if you were rooting for the Orioles...the Birds dropped the finale against the White Sox 8-0 on Thursday night.

Jake Arrieta struggled early, walking three batters and allowing a run in a 35-pitch first inning. Arrieta (4-6) lasted just four innings, allowing four runs off seven hits and those three walks. The bullpen didn't fare much better, with Rick VandenHurk and Armando Gabino combining to allow another four runs off seven hits and a walk through the final four frames...

Meanwhile, the O's offense could barely manage a hit off Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who got the win after allowing just three hits over eight innings, walking two and fanning ten. The Birds finished with four hits on Thursday night, and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Overall, it was just an ugly game to watch (the O's committed two errors as well), as the team dropped the series to Chicago. The Birds now head to California to take on the Angels for a three-game set...Brad Bergesen takes the mound for the O's on Friday night.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Matusz Dominates as O's Roll

Orioles 4, White Sox 2. That was the final score on Wednesday night, as the O's continued to impress and dominate a team in contention.

Brian Matusz (6-12) allowed just three hits and one run (a solo homer) over seven innings, while fanning five and walking just one batter. Michael Gonzalez pitched a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara actually gave up a run but was awarded his second save in as many tries this season...it looks like Buck Showalter has made his decision on who will close out the remaining games this season, but nothing has been made official as of yet...

In a well-pitched battle between two lefties, Matusz was given the early cushion...both teams went scoreless until the Birds pushed two runs across in the fifth inning. The Birds took a 3-0 lead in the sixth, and after Matusz gave up the solo shot, Brian Roberts answered right back in the seventh inning with a solo homer of his own.

The O's took a 4-1 lead into the ninth...Uehara gave up an RBI triple but struck out the next batter on three pitches to give the Birds the win.

The O's send Jake Arrieta to the mound Thursday in the rubber-match game...the Orioles need to win just two of the five remaining games this month to pick up their first winning month in over three years and their first winning August since 1997 (their last winning season).

Thanks, Buck! Go O's!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Late Rally Not Enough as O's Fall to Chicago

The Birds dropped the first game of a series for the first time since Buck Showalter took over, falling to the Chicago White Sox 7-5 on Tuesday night.

The O's gave starter Jeremy Guthrie a two run cushion in the fourth inning...Luke Scott blasted a solo shot to open the frame, his 25th of the season and third in as many games. Guthrie allowed the Sox to score a run in the bottom of the inning and again in the fifth to deadlock the game.

Guthrie (7-13) unraveled in the seventh inning, allowing four runs to cross the plate and all but assuring his second consecutive loss...he allowed six runs off 10 hits while walking two and hitting two batters in 6 2/3 innings.

The Orioles mounted a rally in the ninth inning, scoring three runs off Chicago's bullpen, but the Sox's seven runs were just too much to overcome...

Brian Matusz takes the mound for the O's Wednesday night...

Monday, August 23, 2010

O's Split with Rangers as Millwood Falls Again

It's been a familiar occurrence so far this season...the O's offense disappears for Kevin Millwood, but the team is typically down by a few runs before coming to the plate. It was no different on Sunday afternoon, as the O's split the four-game set with the visiting Texas Rangers after a 6-4 loss.

After a lead-off single and a walk, Millwood gave up a three-run blast to Josh Hamilton, and the O's were down 3-0 before he recorded an out. Millwood settled down, but gave up another three-run blast in the fifth to put the Birds in a hole they would never recover from.

Luke Scott launched a two-run homer in the sixth, and Ty Wigginton went deep in the ninth, but the hole was too deep. Scott and Wigginton have now hit homers in two straight games...the Birds are now 12-8 under Buck Showalter...

I'd post more, but I'm way too late to be informative, so let's just go from here...the Orioles were off on Monday but start a six-game road trip, beginning in Chicago, on Tuesday night. Jeremy Guthrie takes on Gavin Floyd...Go O's!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

O's Blast Lee Again

The Birds belted four homers off Cliff Lee en route to an 8-6 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

Rookie third baseman Josh Bell hit his first Major League home run in the third inning, a two-run bomb to center field that put the O's on the board...after Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott hit back-to-back solo shots in the fourth inning, Bell crushed a three-run blast to center field, finishing his career day with five RBIs (he had four total coming into the game).

Brad Bergesen allowed five runs over seven innings, but the offense bailed him out as he recorded the "W" without his best stuff. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his first Major League save. Given how well Koji has pitched lately, this may have been a sign that Buck Showalter has found his new closer...that remains to be seen.

The Birds have now taken two of three from Texas and have a chance to win the series on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Millwood takes the mound to face his former club...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Markakis, Showalter Ejected in Tough Loss

A questionable strike zone led to two ejections in a 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers Friday night at Camden Yards.

After Nick Markakis struck out looking for the third time in the game, Markakis said something to home-plate ump Jeff Nelson and was tossed in the seventh inning. It marked the first time in his career that Markakis was ejected from a game...

Buck Showalter had seen enough of Nelson's strike zone and said something about it prior to the start of the ninth inning, and was tossed from the game as well.

O's starter Jake Arrieta took the loss, but turned in yet another quality start. Arrieta allowed just two runs (one earned) off eight hits through 6 2/3 innings, walking three and whiffing three. Arrieta didn't enjoy the same strike zone as mound counter-part C.J. Wilson, who finished the game with 12 strikeouts...the O's managed to work just one walk and record three hits off Wilson.

The Birds will take the national stage yet again on Saturday afternoon, as they take on Texas on FOX. Brad Bergesen is slated to take the mound for the third game of this four-game series...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Matusz Nearly Goes the Distance as O's Blank Texas

Buck's O's know how to start a series off right...for the fifth consecutive series, the Orioles drew first blood, shutting out the visiting Texas Rangers 4-0 on Thursday night.

Brian Matusz started, and nearly finished, the game for the O's. Matusz turned in one of the more impressive starts of his young career, pitching eight scoreless innings while allowing just five hits, striking out six and walking one. Koji Uehara came on in the ninth, and despite allowing two hits, kept the shut-out intact.

The game was deadlocked until the offense exploded for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Corey Patterson, playing DH, drove in the first run of the ballgame before Brian Roberts doubled home two more runs. Nick Markakis plated Roberts before being tagged-out at second base in a run-down...

That was all the support Matusz would need, as he cruised through the eighth before being pulled in the ninth for Uehara...this marked the first time three O's starters went eight innings consecutively since 2005...Sidney Ponson was still on the roster back then. Wow...

The O's have now won five straight against Texas, and send rookie Jake Arrieta to the mound Friday night...Go O's!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birds Drop Series to Seattle

Jeremy Guthrie wasn't at his best, and the O's fell just shy of a series win against the Mariners after losing 6-5 on Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

It was the second time the Birds have dropped two straight since Buck Showalter took over, and the team's second consecutive series loss.

Guthrie wasn't bad; he just wasn't the ace we've seen since the All-Star Break. Guthrie gave up six runs (five earned) off eight hits over eight innings, walking one and fanning three.

The Birds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning off Luke Scott's two-run single, but failed to score again until the seventh inning, when Matt Wieters slapped a two-run bomb that put the O's within a run. The Orioles had the tying run in scoring position with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Brian Roberts struck out and Nick Markakis grounded out to end the game.

The Birds host the Texas Rangers for a four-game set starting Thursday night. It will be the first time Showalter faces his former team. Brian Matusz is slated to take the mound...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

O's Offense Goes Quietly in Loss

The game was a lot closer than the final score suggests, but the Orioles were shut out 4-0 by the visiting Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

Despite pitching one of his best games of the season, O's starter Kevin Millwood was charged with his AL-leading 13th loss of the year. Millwood allowed just one run off six hits through eight innings, walking three and fanning four, but the outcome remained the same: the offense abandoned him yet again. The O's average just under three runs every time Millwood is on the mound, and the results are typically the same each outing...another loss for the veteran pitcher.

The Birds managed just three hits all night, with two coming off the bat of rookie third baseman Josh Bell. The O's only real scoring threat came in the bottom of the eighth...trailing 1-0, the Birds had runners on the corners with two outs before Nick Markakis grounded out to end the inning.

In the only move I've questioned since Buck Showalter took control, Millwood sat out the ninth inning and was replaced in a very close (and highly winnable) game by rookie Armando Gabino. After a single and a walk, Gabino allowed a three-run bomb that put Seattle up 4-0 and effectively ended any hope of another ninth-inning comeback. Matt Albers needed to come on to record the final two outs, and five of Seattle's 11 hits came in the top of the ninth inning...

The Birds are now 10-5 under Showalter, but could take the series Wednesday night, as new staff ace Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound in search of his eighth win of the season...Let's Go, O's!

Monday, August 16, 2010

O's Walk-Off With Another Extra-Inning Win

Adam Jones' bunt single in the 11th inning scored Nick Markakis from third to give the Orioles a 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards on Monday night.

Yup. You read that right. The Birds used a little trickery to snap a two-game losing streak, their longest in August under Buck Showalter.

Brad Bergesen, fresh off a complete-game two-hitter, got knocked around early and left after just 5 1/3 innings. Bergesen allowed a run in the second before giving up back-to-back solo shots in the third, as Seattle evened the score 3-3. Bergesen was pulled with the bases jammed in the sixth inning with just one out...reliever Mark Hendrickson induced a ground-out and a strikeout to keep the game knotted.

Both teams stayed off the scoreboard until the tenth inning. The Orioles' bullpen was absolutely magnificent, as they combined to allow just three hits and one run (a solo blast off Alfredo Simon in the tenth) over 5 2/3 innings. The staff combined for 13 strikeouts, a season high.

The Birds loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth, and scored the tying run on a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk to pinch-hitter Julio Lugo. After Matt Albers kept the Mariners off the board in the top of the 11th, Nick Markakis smacked a lead-off double to open the bottom of the inning.

The O's had 15 hits on the night...Markakis' double (the 200th of his career) was their first extra-base hit of the game. Ty Wigginton's ground-out moved Markakis to third, and after Corey Patterson grounded out, it was up to Adam Jones to win the game...Jones layed a perfect bunt down the third base line, scoring Markakis and sending the O's to their fifth straight series-opening victory in five tries under Showalter.

Kevin Millwood gets a chance to keep it going on Tuesday night...Go O's!

O's Lose a Close One to Rays

For the first time since Buck Showalter took over as manager, the Orioles lost consecutive games, falling to Tampa Bay 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.

Starter Jake Arrieta turned in yet another quality start for the O's but took the loss. Arrieta (4-4) allowed three runs in the first three innings before settling down enough to keep the Birds in the game. The bullpen kept Tampa off the board through the final frames, but the offense was unable to produce.

The Orioles totaled just five hits in the ballgame, and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Felix Pie's sac fly in the second put the O's on the board, but it wasn't until Jake Fox's solo homer in the seventh that the Birds managed to push another run across...too little, too late.

The O's missed out on their first winning road trip in nearly two years, finishing 3-3 against Cleveland and Tampa Bay. A win would have also given the Birds four consecutive winning series, which hadn't been done in over five seasons...

The Orioles head home and take on the Seattle Mariners on Monday night...Brad Bergesen, fresh off a complete-game 2-hitter, takes the mound...Go O's!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rays Get Revenge on National Stage

Playing an afternoon game on FOX for the first time this season, the O's started out hot but faded fast in a 7-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Adam Jones broke open a scoreless game with a three-run blast off the left field foul pole in the third inning, but the bats went cold after that. The O's squandered a bases loaded opportunity with one out in the first inning, but seemed to grab the momentum after Jones' shot...

Brian Matusz was unable to hold onto it though, as the Rays tagged him for a five-run fourth, with four runs coming on a grand slam off the bat of back-up catcher Kelly Shoppach. Matusz was charged with the loss, and is now tied with Kevin Millwood for the most losses (12) in the A.L.

The Birds could still win the series with a victory on Sunday afternoon, which would give the team it's first winning road trip this season. Jake Arrieta takes the mound.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Retro O's Shut Down Rays

The pitching was dominant, the offense was clutch and the defense was solid as the O's (shining brightly in all-orange uniforms) cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Jeremy Guthrie turned in yet another quality start, giving up just two hits over six innings while picking up his team-leading seventh win. Guthrie wasn't as sharp as usual, walking four while fanning three, but managed to completely shut down Tampa's offense. Koji Uehara continued to impress from the 'pen, tossing two scoreless innings, and Michael Gonzalez struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

The offense gave Guthrie a cushion right out of the gate; with two outs, the Birds strung together four straight hits...Adam Jones' triple gave the O's an early 2-0 lead and the Birds led by three before Guthrie even took the mound. Luke Scott continued to punish the baseball, going 3-for-3 and smashing his team-leading 22nd homer off ex-Oriole Lance Cormier in the seventh inning. Overall, the Birds banged out 12 hits, five for extra bases (Felix Pie went 3-for-4 with two doubles) and went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The O's have now won 9 of their past 11 games, the best stretch the team has had in over five years, and if the Birds can win one of the next two in St. Petersburg, it will mark their first winning road trip this season...Brian Matusz takes the mound in a nationally televised game on Saturday afternoon...Go O's!

Win Streak Snapped at Four (Again)...

Five. That's the magic number this season. The O's missed out on five straight wins after falling to the Cleveland Indians 4-1 at Progressive Field on Thursday night.

Honestly, I can't complain. The O's have won four straight,before dropping one,twice now behind Buck Showalter, giving them a more than respectable 8-2 record under the new manager. Heck, if the Birds can win four of five for the rest of the season, I'd be in heaven...no complaints here!

Kevin Millwood gave up a few runs early on, but gave the O's yet another quality start, as he went seven innings and allowed just three runs...the O's starting staff has now turned in nine quality starts in the past ten games. Showalter just missed out on an Orioles' record: only Davey Johnson turned in a better record (9-1) in his first ten games as the new skipper in town. Buck is still the first manager in history to turn around a team so far under .500 this quickly...and hopefully, it can only get better (stats courtesy of Orioles.com).

Earlier this season, Millwood had pitched well but the offense let him down. Lately, he's been hit hard early, and Thursday night was no exception. But Millwood was able to settle down and keep the O's in the game. Unfortunately, the past came back to haunt him, as the O's bats went silent in the finale against Cleveland.

The Birds managed just one run off six hits, and didn't get on the board until the sixth inning. Cleveland's 'pen held them hitless through the final three frames, ending any hope of a late comeback.

You have to look at the positives here: the O's missed out on a sweep but have still won their last three series...a first this season. Jeremy Guthrie, the hottest pitcher on the staff since the All-Star break, leads the Orioles against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. Guthrie started the initial surge under Showalter, and certainly has the momentum on his side to do it again.

Like I said before, if the O's can't win five straight, I'm more than happy with four...let's get it started tonight!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bergesen's Gem Keeps O's Rolling

The Orioles won their fourth straight game on Wednesday night, taking down the Indians 3-1 at Progressive Field.

This is getting scary...in a good way, of course. These Orioles look nothing like the team we watched for the first four months of the season. Since Buck Showalter took command, the season-highs and season-firsts are becoming an almost every-game occurrence.

Take tonight, for instance. Brad Bergesen pitched a complete game two-hitter for the win. Have you seen an O's pitcher do that lately? Not just a complete game, mind you, but a two-hit victory? I didn't think so.

Meanwhile, the defense behind Bergy was virtually flawless, and the offense stepped-up just enough to give him a cushion to work with. The Birds banged out 13 hits, and while they could only tack on three runs, it kept Bergesen sharp, focused and confident.

So...just nine games into the Buck Showalter era and the O's have accomplished more in 10 days than they had all season. Two four game win streaks...I think that happened just twice over the past four months. Three straight series victories...a first this year. The seven straight quality starts was a new high; I think I read it was the best performance since 2003. The O's victory on Monday night was the first Monday win since 2009. The Birds put up 14 runs on Tuesday, a season high. And while I don't have the exact stats on hand, the clutch hitting with runners in scoring position has improved drastically. In fact, every single facet of this team has improved over the past nine games. No wonder the Orioles are 8-1 going into Thursday night's contest.

Oh, and after the Pirates (39-74) lost tonight, the O's (40-74) are no longer the worst team in baseball. It's been a LONG time since I could say that! Forget the first draft pick; I want to see what this team is capable of. I know this season is over, but for the first time in a long time, the phrase, "We'll get 'em next year," actually has some meaning behind it. I think we've all waited long enough for a winning team, and it's never too early to install a winning atmosphere for these young kids, as well as the veterans.

The Birds look for a clean sweep of Cleveland on Thursday night...Kevin Millwood takes the mound...Go O's!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arrieta Hit Hard, but O's Bats Hit Harder

Sadly, the O's string of seven consecutive quality starts came to an end on Tuesday night. Strangely enough, that didn't stop the Birds from spanking the Cleveland Indians 14-8 at Progressive Field.

One day removed from winning on a Monday night for the first time this season, the Orioles scored a season-high 14 runs to improve to 7-1 under Buck Showalter. It's simply amazing...

Starter Jake Arrieta was nearly unhittable early on, but after surrendering a run in the third, Arrieta was tagged for five runs in the fourth inning. Showalter kept him in the game, and Arrieta was rewarded with a win after allowing six runs on six hits through six innings, while walking two and striking out three.

Though the starting pitching wasn't quite up to par, the Birds offense battled back and stole the show on Tuesday night. The Orioles posted three straight multi-run innings (four on the night), and tied a season-best with six runs crossing the plate in the eighth. Four O's went deep in the victory: Felix Pie, Matt Wieters, Corey Patterson and Luke Scott all used the long ball to put runs on the board. In the eighth inning, the team hit for the cycle before an out was recorded: Felix Pie led off with a double before Wieter's long drive scored them both. Corey Patterson followed with a triple and came around to score on Cesar Izturis' single. Luke Scott finished the monster inning with a three-run bomb.

The O's could guarantee a third straight winning series with a victory on Wednesday night. Brad Bergesen takes the mound for the Birds...Go O's!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Roberts Lifts O's in Extras

This has been an absolutely incredible week to be an Orioles fan. Brian Roberts capped off the festivities with a lead-off homer, his first of the season, to give the O's a 3-2 walk-off win in the tenth inning against the Chicago White Sox.

It honestly doesn't get much better than this. After sweeping the Angels, the Birds took three of four from the Sox to take a season best homestand, 6-1. All seven games have been played with new skipper Buck Showalter at the helm, giving even more credence to the fact that a manager can, in fact, turn a team around. The O's have been playing the best baseball I have seen from this team in years...

Brian Matusz turned in his second straight quality start, but took a no-decision after the bullpen blew the lead in the ninth. The O's starters have now turned in seven consecutive quality starts...pitching, defense and timely hitting...wow, what a difference a week makes!

Matusz went six innings, allowing just one run off three hits and two walks while fanning four. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Ty Wigginton evened the game with a solo shot to left before Luke Scott scored on a play at the plate to give Matusz the lead and a chance to win the game. Koji Uehara pitched two innings of no-hit ball before handing the game over to Alfredo Simon in the ninth inning...

Simon gave up a first-pitch-swinging lead-off home run, and the game was knotted at two. Michael Gonzalez and Matt Albers (who took the win) came on in relief and held Chicago's potent lineup to just one hit through the final 1 2/3 innings.

With the game tied in the bottom of the tenth, Brian Roberts led-off with a mammoth homer over the right-field scoreboard to give the Birds yet another walk-off victory. Roberts crushed the second pitch he saw, perfectly timing his first round-tripper of the season...glad to see that man back in the lineup!

The Orioles now head out on the road...they take on Cleveland for three games before squaring off against the Tampa Bay Rays for another three-game series. Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Birds Tuesday night...Go O's!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Streak Snapped on Saturday; O's Win on Sunday

The O's lost a heart-breaker, 4-2 on Saturday night, but bounced back to take down the visiting Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, Kevin Millwood turned in the fifth straight quality start under new skipper Buck Showalter. Jason Berken came on in relief and was charged with the first O's loss under Showalter's watch.

The win streak may have come to an end, but Jeremy Guthrie did his best to ensure a losing streak would not begin. Guthrie went eight solid innings, allowing just one run on six hits and a walk. Guthrie's quality start was the sixth straight for O's starters, a season-high, and he now leads the team with six wins. Alfredo Simon picked up his 17th save in 20 attempts, but was tagged for two runs in the ninth.

Offensively, the Birds looked good. Felix Pie gave the O's a 1-0 lead with a solo shot in the second inning. After Guthrie allowed a run in the fifth, the Birds answered right back, plating two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh, which would prove to be the game-winner in the ninth.

After sweeping the Angels, the Orioles have now taken two of three from the White Sox and have a chance to win the series on Monday night. Brian Matusz is slated to take the mound...Go O's!