• Page 1 of 341
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»
Orioles Win Two Of Three Over Seattle
by Al Galdi
May 21, 2015 -- 7:24pm
ESPN 980

Game 1: 9-4 win on Tuesday night (May 19)

Game 2: 4-2 loss on Wednesday night (May 20)

Game 3: 5-4 win on Thursday afternoon (May 21)

What I liked:

1. Winning homestand
– This series concluded a 5-4 homestand for the O’s, who now are 18-20 in what has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde, start-and-stop-type season so far.

2. Hitting in the clutch – The O’s went 10-for-24 with runners in scoring position in the series.

3. Steve Pearce – Pearce had two singles, including an RBI single, in Game 1 and a grand slam and a walk in Game 3.  Pearce was arguably the Orioles’ MVP last season but has struggled so far this year.  Perhaps this series gets him going.

4. Jimmy Paredes – Paredes has been this season’s version of Pearce: a diamond-in-the-rough of a find who has had multiple stints with the O’s and is delivering far past any reasonable expectations.  Paredes went 4-for-12 with a walk and five RBI in the series, providing a two-run homer and two-run single in Game 1.  

5. The bullpen – Orioles relievers combined to allow three runs in 10 innings, recording 13 strikeouts but also giving up 14 hits and six walks.  Game 3’s two-plus-hour rain delay meant that Chris Tillman lasted just three innings, requiring six relievers to complete the game.  The results were mixed, as the relievers combined to allow three runs in six innings on nine hits and four walks.  But there was a lot more good than bad from the bullpen in this series.

6. Miguel Gonzalez’s Game 1 start – Gonzalez gave up two early homers: Seth Smith’s which led off the game and former Oriole Nelson Cruz’s three-run bomb in the top of the third.  But Gonzalez then tossed four straight scoreless innings.  The final line was four runs in seven innings on just five hits and two walks.

What I didn’t like:

1. Wei-Yin Chen’s Game 2 start
– Like Gonzalez, Chen also allowed four runs in seven innings.  But his included giving up a two-run homer, an RBI triple and three doubles.

2. Bud Norris going on the 15-day disabled list – The O’s officially placed Norris on the D.L. with bronchitis on Monday, retroactive to May 11.  He can return on May 26, two days before the O’s will need an extra starting pitcher for their makeup doubleheader with the White Sox.

View Comments (0)
Nationals Sweep Two-Game Series Against The Yankees
by Al Galdi
May 21, 2015 -- 1:18pm
ESPN 980

Game 1: 8-6 10-inning win on Tuesday night (May 19)

Game 2: 3-2 win on Wednesday night (May 20)

What I liked:

1. Furious end to the first quarter
- This series essentially marked the end of the first quarter of the Nats’ season.  They are now 17-4 since their 7-13 start.

2. The offense – The Nats blasted six homers and worked 10 walks over the two games.

Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off two-run homer in Game 1 was the 10th walk-off homer of his career.  To put that into perspective, Jim Thome holds the major-league record for career walk-off homers with 13.  And Zimmerman is in just his age-30 season.  He had two walks and a stolen base in Game 2.

Ian Desmond had a solo homer in each game.

3. Jordan Zimmerman’s start in Game 2 – Zimmermann allowed two runs in seven innings, giving up two runs in the first and then tossing six scoreless innings.  He now has a 2.08 ERA over four starts this month.

4. The bullpen - Nats relievers combined for seven scoreless innings in the series, including five scoreless innings on just two hits and a walk in Game 1.

5. Wilmer Difo hopefully burying the Smiley Gonzalez scandal once and for all - The corresponding roster move to Jayson Werth going on the 15-day disabled list (see below) was the the Nats recalling Difo from Double-A Harrisburg.  Signed out of the Dominican, his pinch single in Game 1 made him the first player signed by the Nats out of Latin America to play in the major leagues since the 2009 Smiley Gonzalez scandal.  Difo’s call-up is expected to be short-term, as he spent all of 2014 at low-Single-A Hagerstown and has played only 33 games this season between Harrisburg and high-Single-A Potomac.

What I didn’t like:

1. Bryce Harper getting ejected in Game 2
– Harper had a solo homer and a walk in Game 1 but then got tossed along with Matt Williams by home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson in the bottom of the third of Game 2 for arguing balls and strikes.

The trouble started when Hudson called strike one on a pitch that was low according to MLB.com’s Gameday strike zone.  Harper questioned the call as he stepped out of the batter’s box.  Hudson told Harper to get back into the box.  Williams and others in the Nats’ dugout then began yelling at Hudson, who responded toward Williams.

Harper said Hudson then told him to get back in the box, but Harper replied that he wouldn’t because Hudson was still talking to Williams.  Harper said that he made it a point to keep his head down as he talked back to Hudson so he wouldn’t think that Harper was showing him up.

Hudson after the game to a pool reporter: “Had nothing to do with the box.  “[Harper] didn’t like the pitch, and I let him have his say going and coming.  The dugout didn’t like it, and one thing led to another and I had to run him.  I had to eject him.”

Regarding Williams, Hudson said, “He said something he shouldn’t have.”

Harper after the game: “I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight.  Plain and simple.”

Hudson and Harper have history.  In 2013, Harper yelled at Hudson after Hudson said that Harper did not check his swing in the ninth inning of a game against Atlanta.  In 2012, Hudson ejected Davey Johnson from a game.

This was the second ejection in eight days for Harper and Williams.  The bottom line is that you’re not supposed to argue balls and strikes.  Harper again entered into that arena and again got tossed.  Being right doesn’t justify getting ejected.  Harper’s fire is part of what makes him great, but he needs to know when to calm down.  He’s the Nats’ best batter right now, and he does the team no good from the clubhouse.

2. Gio Gonzalez’s start in Game 1 – Gio tossed three perfect innings before unraveling in the fourth and fifth innings, giving up four runs on four hits and two walks in the fourth and then two runs in the fifth on a single and then two-run homer by Mark Teixeira.  The six runs in five innings left Gio with a 4.94 ERA and 1.54 WHIP over eight starts this season.

3. Jayson Werth going on the 15-day disabled list – The Nats placed Werth on the D.L. with a left wrist contusion on Tuesday, retroactive to May 16.  Werth hasn’t played in a game since getting hit by a pitch on his left wrist in the 10-0 win at San Diego on May 15.  X-rays were negative, and an MRI exam revealed no fractures or tendon damage, but this is the same wrist that has been broken twice before: 2005 with the Dodgers and 2012 with the Nats.  

Werth was the Nats’ best overall offensive player 2012-2014, but there is no ignoring his injury history with the Nats.  He missed 75 games in 2012 due to the broken left wrist.  He missed 28 games in 2013 due to a right hamstring strain.  He missed the first week of this season due to arthroscopic surgery on his right AC joint in January and has struggled both offensively and defensively so far in what is his age-36 season.  Now he is back on the D.L.  

4. The end of Wilson Ramos’ 19-game hitting streak – Ramos went 0-for-4 in Game 2, ending what was the longest hitting streak in the majors so far this season.

View Comments (0)
Nationals Win Three Of Four At San Diego
by Al Galdi
May 18, 2015 -- 1:53pm
ESPN 980

Game 1: 8-3 loss on Thursday night (May 14)

Game 2: 10-0 win on Friday night (May 15)

Game 3: 4-1 win on Saturday night (May 16)

Game 4: 10-5 win on Sunday (May 17)

What I liked:

1. The surge continues
- This series concluded a 5-2 trip out west for the Nats, who improved to 15-4 since their 7-13 start.

2. More great offense – The bats were on fire for a third straight series.  The Nats batted .309 (43-for-139), including going 16-for-45 with runners in scoring position, and totaled 16 walks.

Bryce Harper went 8-for-13 with six walks and a stolen base, blasting a solo homer in Game 2 and a three-run homer and a triple in Game 4.  He now is batting .564 (22-for-39) with 22 RBI over his last 11 games.  Over the last 75 seasons, only one other player compiled a batting average of .550 or higher with at least 22 RBI over a span of 11 games within a single season according to Elias: Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker in April 1997.

Danny Espinosa went 5-for-14 with three walks, providing a two-run double in Game 2, another double in Game 3 and a three-run homer in Game 4.  The switch-hitting Espinosa, who was supposedly abandoning batting as a lefty during spring training but ended up not doing so come the regular season, now has an .872 OPS as a left-handed batter this year.  All five of his homers, six of his seven doubles, 12 of his 14 walks and all 13 of his RBI have come as a left-handed batter.

Denard Span went 6-for-14 with a stolen base over Games 1-3 before not playing in Game 4.

3. The starting pitching after Game 1 - Jordan Zimmermann tossed six scoreless innings in Game 2, recording six strikeouts.

Max Scherzer was awesome in Game 3, recording 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings.  He gave up just four hits, two walks and a wild pitch.

Stephen Strasburg, coming off two hideous starts, was better though still not as good as he can be in Game 4: three runs in five innings on seven strikeouts versus five hits, a walk and a wild pitch on 91 pitches.  

4. The bullpen – Nats relievers combined to allow four runs in 13 innings.  Particularly impressive were Blake Treinen in Game 1 (one run in four innings, six strikeouts) and A.J. Cole in Game 2 (three scoreless innings on just one hit and no walks).

What I didn’t like:

1. Doug Fister’s Game 1 start and now stint on the 15-day disabled list
– Fister allowed seven runs in two innings on eight hits (including two homers) and a walk, leaving him with a 4.31 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over seven starts this season.  The Nats placed him on the D.L. on Friday with right forearm tightness.  Matt Williams revealed on Saturday that Fister had been diagnosed with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm and that there was no timetable for his return.  Reliever Craig Stammen is expected to miss the rest of this season with two torn flexor tendons in his right forearm.

2. Jayson Werth missing more time – Werth got hit by a pitch on his left wrist in Game 2, which he left early, and then did not play in Games 3 and 4.  X-rays were negative, but this is the same wrist that has been broken twice before: 2005 with the Dodgers and 2012 with the Nats.  Werth missed the first week of the season due to arthroscopic surgery on his right AC joint in January and has struggled both offensively and defensively so far this year.

View Comments (0)
Orioles Lose Two Of Three To The Angels
by Al Galdi
May 18, 2015 -- 1:06pm
ESPN 980

Game 1: 3-1 loss on Friday night (May 15)

Game 2: 6-1 loss on Saturday night (May 16)

Game 3: 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon (May 17)

What I liked:

1. The starting pitching
– The Orioles got three very good starts in this series.

Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs in seven innings in Game 1, recording seven strikeouts.

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed two runs in seven innings in Game 2, issuing no walks in a start for the first time since Sept. 2013.

Then came Mike Wright in Game 3, which Bud Norris was unable to start due to bronchitis.  Wright, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on May 13, was terrific in his major-league debut: 7 1/3 scoreless innings on just four hits and no walks.  He’s in his age-25 season, is a big kid (6-6, 215), was a third-round pick of the O’s in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and has been very good for Norfolk this season after a rough year in 2014.  The Orioles' farm system has produced very few quality starting pitchers for the O's (Jake Arrieta has done well with the Cubs) over the last 20 years.  Will Wright help to break that trend?

What I didn’t like:

1. The offense
– I don’t know what was worse: that the O’s batted .163 (15-for-92) in the series or that they totaled just two walks over the three games.  Five runs over three games isn’t good enough, and the O’s wasted two quality outings from Chen and Jimenez.

2. The bullpen – Orioles relievers combined to allow five runs in 5 2/3 innings.  Zach Britton gave up three runs in the top of the ninth of Game 2, which was his first game in five days.

View Comments (0)
Nationals Win Two Of Three At Arizona
by Al Galdi
May 14, 2015 -- 1:20pm
ESPN 980

Game 1: 11-1 win on Monday night (May 11)

Game 2: 14-6 loss on Tuesday night (May 12)

Game 3: 9-6 win on Wednesday (May 13)

What I liked:

1. The roll continues
– The Nats now are 12-3 since their 7-13 start and have won five straight series off winning just one of their first six series.

2. The offense - The Nats totaled 26 runs, batted .315 (35-for-111), went 11-for-30 with runners in scoring position and totaled 12 walks.

Denard Span went 6-for-12 with two walks, providing a solo homer and RBI single in Game 1 and an RBI double in Game 2.

Bryce Harper went 4-for-10 with three walks, blasting a two-run homer and a double in Game 2 and a double in Game 3.  I did not like Harper and then Matt Williams getting ejected in the top of the seventh of Game 3 after Harper struck out on a check-swing-that-wasn’t (you want your best batter to have the discipline to not get booted from a close game), but it’s hard to be too critical of Harper these days given the National League-leading 1.119 OPS he exited this series with.  Also, the man who replaced Harper in Game 3, Michael Taylor, smacked a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the ninth.

Yunel Escobar had five singles in Game 1, giving him two five-hit games over seven games off totaling zero five-hit games over his first 1,096 career games.

3. Max Scherzer’s Game 1 start - Scherzer allowed one run in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 1.99 and WHIP to 0.93 over seven starts this season.

4. Clint Robinson pitching in Game 2 – The 30-year-old rookie reserve outfielder/first baseman tossed a scoreless eighth inning, marking the first time that a position player pitched for the Nats since the franchise came to D.C. for the 2005 season.

What I didn’t like:

1. Stephen Strasburg’s start in Game 2
– Strasburg, coming off lasting just three innings due to discomfort underneath his right shoulder blade in a 2-1 loss to Miami on May 5, allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings on eight hits (including two homers) and a walk.  He also committed an error during the Diamondbacks’ five-run fourth.  

The numbers on Strasburg over seven starts this season aren’t pretty.  He has a 6.06 ERA and 1.71 WHIP.  He has a strikeout percentage (strikeouts divided by total batters faced) of 20.6 percent, far below his previous season averages.   

So what’s wrong with Strasburg?  

It’s possible that his health is the biggest issue, as when asked after the game if his back felt fine he said, “Yeah, it’s good enough.”  

It’s also possible his mechanics are to blame, as his location has been off (six of the eight hits he gave up in this game came on pitches in the upper half of the strike zone).

And it’s possible that Strasburg’s oft-discussed mental makeup is still a problem.  He gave up a three-run homer to Mark Trumbo two batters after committing that error.  Wilson Ramos on Strasburg after Game 2: “I think he’s thinking too much.  You can’t go out and think too much.  I think that’s what’s happening with him right now…I don’t know what was happening with him.  It was really different on the mound from the bullpen.”

But it’s also possible that Strasburg has simply been the victim of bad luck.  Batters facing Strasburg have a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) so far this season of .398, far above the accepted industry average of .300.  In other words, balls that were landing near fielders last season may simply be landing in no-man’s land this season.

Strasburg’s velocity has been fine.  He registered an ERA+ of 126 (100 is average) each of the previous two seasons.   He has been a very good pitcher and should be expected this season to ultimately revert to his track record. 

Also, look up what the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw has done so far this season.  Strasburg isn't the only quality starting pitcher who is struggling.

2. Gio Gonzalez’s start in Game 3 – Gio allowed five runs in five innings on nine hits and two walks.  Williams was so agitated at one point with Gio or the infield or both that the manager let everyone have it during a rare mound visit that did not result in a pitching change.

3. The defense in Game 3 – Jayson Werth committed a throwing error during the Diamondbacks’ one-run second.  Ian Desmond committed an error during the Diamondbacks’ three-run third and then had another error during their one-run eighth.   

4. The bullpen
– Nats relievers combined to allow seven runs in 10 2/3 innings on 14 hits and six walks.  Sammy Solis and Matt Grace combined to allow six runs in 2 2/3 innings in Game 2.

View Comments (0)
Orioles Win Two Of Three Over Toronto
by Al Galdi
May 14, 2015 -- 12:49pm
ESPN 980

Game 1: 5-2 win on Monday night (May 11)

Game 2: 10-2 loss on Tuesday night (May 12)

Game 3: 6-1 win on Wednesday night (May 13)

What I liked:

1. Ubaldo Jimenez’s start in Game 1
– The resurgence of Ubaldo continued.  He allowed two runs in seven innings, recording nine strikeouts.  Ubaldo, who was so bad last season that he was removed from the rotation in August and kept off the Orioles’ ALCS roster, now has a 2.41 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over six starts this season.

2. Miguel Gonzalez’s start in Game 3 – Gonzalez allowed one run (unearned) in 7 2/3 innings.  He now has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his seven starts this season, good for an ERA of 2.93.

3. Manny Machado and Jimmy Paredes – The Orioles’ two hottest hitters continued to produce, as Machado and Paredes combined for 10 of the team’s 22 hits in the series.

Machado went 5-for-13, including a solo homer in Game 1 and two doubles in Game 2.  He now has a .943 OPS this month.

Paredes went 5-for-12 with a walk.  He now has a 12-game hitting streak and a 1.050 OPS over 21 games this season.  Perhaps most impressively, Paredes has been so good offensively that he's compelled Buck Showalter, who doesn't like to have a regular DH, to use Paredes as the regular DH, though Paredes' poor defense does have something to do with that.

What I didn’t like:

1. Chris Tillman’s start in Game 2
– Tillman allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits, a walk and two hit-by-pitches.  He entered this season having been the Orioles’ best starting pitcher over the previous 2 ½ seasons, but he now has a 6.34 ERA and 1.64 WHIP over seven starts this year.  And the extent to which Tillman has gotten slaughtered by the Blue Jays over three starts this season is jaw-dropping: 19 runs in 13 2/3 innings on 21 hits and nine walks.  

2. The defense in Game 2 – The O’s committed three errors in Game 2, during which four of the five runs given up by the bullpen were unearned.  Manny Machado had a throwing error during the Blue Jays’ four-run seventh.  Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy had throwing errors during the Blue Jays’ four-run eighth.

3. Two additions to the 15-day disabled list again - The O's placed Ryan Flaherty back on the D.L. with a right groin strain on Tuesday.  He was placed on the D.L. on April 24 (retroactive to April 23) with a right groin strain, was reinstated on May 8, appeared to tweak the groin last weekend and then left Game 1 of this series in the top of the third.

The O’s placed Jason Garcia on the D.L. on Wednesday retroactive to May 11 with right shoulder tendinitis.  He was acquired by the O’s from Houston for cash considerations following the Astros taking him with the fourth overall pick in the Rule-5 Draft last December and has struggled, allowing nine earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.  The O’s are in a difficult spot with Garcia.  Because he is a Rule-5 pick, they must keep him on the 25-man roster all season or risk losing him via waivers or by offering him back to his original organization (Boston).

View Comments (0)
  • Page 1 of 341
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»