Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Villar ’

Baltimore Orioles: Can’t compete with lightning in a bottle

The Baltimore Orioles had to endure an hour and fifteen minute rain delay before getting last night’s game against New York going. That means that starter Asher Wojchiekowski was sitting on ice during that time as the team waited out the rain delay. Wojciechowski’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Wojciechowski wasn’t horrible by any means. In fact, my personal opinion is that he pitched better than his numbers indicate. The Birds as a whole are catching New York at the wrong time. In winning last night, they’ve won six straight games.

To that point, they also seem to know that they’ve caught lightning in a bottle. No matter who they’ve brought up from the minors or plugged into their lineup to replace injured players, it seems that they’ve all magically worked out.

New York smacked back-to-back homers in the third, between Tacuhman and LeMahieu. Gregorious would add an additional homer later in the inning, and New York led 3-0. As if Tauchman (who to be honest I’ve never even heard of until he came to town with New York this week) hasn’t caused the Orioles enough trouble, he robbed the Birds of a homer later in the game. Flat out robbed them by climbing the wall. Again, lightning in a bottle.

However the O’s battled back. Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-triple in the last of the third cut the lead to 3-1. Villar would later score on Trey Mancini‘s RBI-groundout. However in the first two games of this series the Birds have gotten to within one before NY stopped the rally on numerous occasions. And then NY would pile on again – in this case, Romine smacked a two-RBI double in the fourth to give them a two-run lead once again.

But the O’s came back again. Anthony Santander‘s two-run homer in the fifth brought the O’s back to within one. But again, New York wasn’t in the mood to let them get over the hump. They would go onto tally four more runs, and their bullpen closed the door on the Orioles. The Birds ended up falling 9-4.

The silver lining is that the O’s are hanging with New York – for awhile. You can clearly see their yearn to win based on how often they come back. But again, NY is playing on a totally different level. The injuries they’ve had this year could have been considered catastrophic based on who they lost and who they’ve had to plug in. However what they’re doing is somewhat of a freak of nature. As I said, lightning in a bottle.

The series concludes tonight at Camden Yards. John Means comes off the IL to make the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s James Paxton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: When common sense fails

The Baltimore Orioles got a decent start so to speak out of Gabriel Ynoa this evening. The numbers don’t indicate that, but Ynoa was also the victim of some hard luck. Ynoa’s line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 earned), 2 BB, 1 K.

The O’s started the season with six of their first nine games against New York. At the time, New York had their share of the injuries – as they do now. I suggested that the Orioles were lucky to be seeing their AL East rival while they had some injury problems.

What I couldn’t have known is that no matter who New York plugged into their lineup was going to succeed. Guys would be coming up from the minors and smacking home runs at will. It’s one thing to have a next man up philosophy and have guys play well. But whomever put on the pinstripes ended up being flat out dominant. Much to the chagrin of nearly every other team.

New York took a 1-0 lead on a second inning homer by Romine. However Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single in the third tied the game at one. However one inning later the O’s has two runners on, one of which (in the form of Jace Peterson) was at third. The O’s attempted a double-steal, and Peterson was called out at home plate.

However the Orioles challenged the call. In my personal view it wasn’t even close – replays clearly seemed to show that Peterson slid across home plate well before the tag was put on. However the call was upheld on review, ending the inning.

That was a key turning point in the game. It definitely put the Orioles a bit off-center for a spell. Trey Mancini was so angry that he had to be restrained from going on the field and saying something he would regret. In seeing the replay, it seems to be common sense that the runner was safe. Peterson clearly beat the tag. But the Orioles would argue that common sense failed them this evening.

As I said and as I tweeted during the game, that was a major turning point. Or perhaps a launching point. Because New York took full advantage of the opportunity they were given, and took the lead in the fifth. By the end of the sixth, they had extended it to 6-1.

In full, New York smacked five home runs in this game. That’s something that’s plagued Orioles’ pitching all year. But all five of those homers came from the bottom of the order. And the majority of them came on the bats of guys who in essence are fill-in’s. It’s one thing to fill in admirably for a regular player. These guys are flat out playing like world beaters.

However the Orioles battle back. Jace Peterson smacked a two-run homer in the sixth – and this time the league office allowed the run he represented to cross home plate (if you can believe that). Chris Davis would add a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, which was followed by a two-run homer by Jonathan Villar which tied the game at six.

The Orioles has battled back against the pinstripes and tied the game. Brandon Hyde correctly saw that a lefty hitter in Ford would lead the seventh off for New York. So he correctly brought in southpaw Paul Fry to face Ford. Again, common sense. And good sound baseball rationale.

But common sense once again bit the Orioles. Ford would homer against Fry, as would Tauchman. Those homers gave New York a 9-6 lead, which turned into a 9-6 victory.

Again, that foul call at the plate set the tone for the rest of the game. While the Orioles came back, they were off-center for the remainder of the evening. And while you have to admire some of these guys from New York who are tearing it up when they have no business doing so, from the opponent’s perspective it.’a frustrating to see. Regardless of what the Orioles did, New York was ready for them.

If you’re inclined to suggest that the play at the plate could and should have been overcame, you’re right to say that. However keep in mind that the Orioles would have left 2-1 had that call been reversed as it should have been. Not to mention that the inning would have continued. You just never know what would have happened. For the record, Jonathan Villar managed to hit for the cycle tonight, becoming the fifth Oriole in history to do so.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Birds, and New York is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

UPDATE: Brandon Hyde said after the game that he felt the non-overturned call at home plate was “pathetic.”

Baltimore Orioles can’t complete sweep, settle for series win

The Baltimore Orioles will have to settle for simply taking the series in Anaheim this weekend. The Birds took three-of-four, including of course their epic 16 inning win on Thursday night in the series opener. Dylan Bundy wasn’t exactly “on” per se, but he did put the Orioles in a spot to win the game. And that’s all you can ask of a starting pitcher. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

The O’s actually fell behind early in this one, following Thaiss’ second inning two-run homer. However they soon came to within one at 2-1 when Jonathan Villar smacked an RBI-double in the third. Incidentally, Anaheim starter Pena appeared to leave the game in the second when a blister popped on his throwing hand. However he got some quick treatment on it, and stayed in the game. Anaheim was direly in need of a long outing, so kudos to him.

Villar would later tie the game at two in the fifth inning with an RBI-single. But it was Trey Mancini who got the O’s thinking that they could complete the sweep later in the inning. His two-RBI single gave the Orioles the lead at 4-2.

With how the Orioles had pitched in this series, one might have thought that was a safe lead. But sometimes you just don’t have it on certain days. Bundy surrendered a two-run homer to Pinole in the last of the sixth, tying the game.

The Orioles would eventually fall on a walk off homer by Thaiss in the last of the ninth. Look at it as you wish, but this was an incredibly successful series for the Orioles. Perhaps the best series of the season. They took three-of-four from a team on the west coast, and the one game they dropped wasn’t lost until the last of the ninth inning. On a walk off home run.

This Oriole team grew up this weekend in Anaheim. They’ve been trending well since the beginning of the month, but I really believe that at some point (perhaps next year or the year after) we’ll look back at this series as when they started taking a step forward in the rebuilding process. While they lost today, there’s nary any negative which can be spun out of this series from the Orioles’ standpoint.

The Birds now head off to their last stop on the west coast swing, a two-game set with San Diego at Petco Park. The O’s are yet to announce a starter, and Sam Diego will throw Chris Paddack. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Are teams being ghosted by instant replay?

The home run ball haunted the Baltimore Orioles once again this afternoon. The Birds, led by starter Dylan Bundy, surrendered five home runs to San Diego. Now in fairness Bundy didn’t give them all up, but the tone was set early. Bundy’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Renato Nunez actually gave the O’s a 1-0 lead with an RBI-double in the first inning. Part of the problem is that when the Orioles score early and get on the board, it’s only one run. They can’t be satisfied with that; they need to play for the big inning.

True to form, Garcia’s two-run homer in the second gave San Diego the lead at 2-1. Hinder would add an RBI-groundout later in the inning, and the Birds trailed 3-1. One inning later, Reyes hit his first of two homers on the day, and San Diego led 4-1.

But the O’s did mount a rally. Jonathan Villar smacked a fourth inning two-run homer. However the next two innings brought three more San Diego runs off of the long ball. Pedro Severino would add a solo homer, and the O’s would also score on a bases loaded walk. But when the smoke cleared, the O’s fell 10-5.

Based on something that happened at the tail end of the game however, I think that the league needs to take a look at instant replay and how it’s utilized. In the top of the eighth with San Diego well in front, Tatis grounded out to short on what appeared to be a fairly routine play. However San Diego thought he was safe, a fact that instant replay seemed to back up. The only issue was that San Diego was out of replay challenges.

However as we’ve seen numerous times, the San Diego bench all but goaded the umpires into ordering an umpire review. They ruled Tatis safe, and he proceeded to attempt a steal of second. He was thrown out.

However again, the San Diego bench complained to the point to where the umpiring crew ordered a review. The call was overturned, and Tatis was awarded second base. He would score on an RBI-double. So San Diego in effect scored a run on what should have been a routine ground out to short.

Ow that one run made no difference in the final result. None whatsoever. However it could have given a different game situation. In fact, one could reasonably ask why a team is begging for a replay review when they’re up big in a game like that. But that aside, is it fair that teams are basically getting an unlimited number of challenges?

We’ve seen Toronto and Boston both do this shamelessly over the years. In some cases teams even do it before they’ve spent their instant replay challenge. The mentality being if we can goad the umpire into reviewing the play on his own accord, we can save that challenge. However obviously if the umpire wanted to review the play on his own, he would have done so immediately.

This is a loophole through which teams are getting extra challenges and taking advantage. The rule should be changed to either not allow umpire reviews at all, or to provide for manager ejections if the umpires are in essence begged to review plays “on their own accord.” Otherwise things could end up being that the manager with the best politicking skills wins the game. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

Baltimore Orioles: Redemption for Jonathan Villar, Birds snap loss streak

With this afternoon’s victory in Seattle, the Baltimore Orioles snapped a ten-game losing streak. With the win, the Orioles won their 22nd game of the season, this one behind starter Andrew Cashner. And for once, the O’s got a quality start out of a pitcher, and they won. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Ironically today it was Seattle who took the early lead and couldn’t hold it. Vogelbach’s RBI-double in the first gave them a 1-0 lead. However the O’s threatened immediately following that in the top of the second. They put runners on first and second with one down. However Jonathan Villar got picked off of second, followed by a strikeout to end the inning.

And it wasn’t even close – Villar getting picked off, that is. You could have driven a Mack Truck through the space between Villar and the bag. Those are the types of mental errors that we’ve seen a lot from the Orioles of late. And it’s costed the games.

However for once, neither the team nor the player allowed that mistake to define them in this game. Villar came up to bat next in the fourth inning, and smacked a three-run homer which gave the O’s a 3-1 lead. Sometimes tough stretches can be more mental than anything else. But Villar was able to dust himself off after his mistake and make a big (positive) difference for the O’s in this game.

The score remained at 3-1 until the sixth when the Orioles extended it to 5-1 with a two-run homer by Anthony Santander. Seattle would close to within 5-2 with a run in the bottom of that sixth inning off of an error, but again the Orioles didn’t allow that to let the wheels come off. In fact, they further extended their lead in the seventh with a sac fly-RBI by Pedro Severino.

And in fact, the Birds were able to put up a couple of insurance runs. They loaded the bases in the eighth, and Hanser Alberto‘s two-RBI single extended the lead to 8-2. Santana would smack a solo homer in the last of the eighth and Smith an RBI-single in the ninth, but that was too little too late for Seattle.

The big story is that the O’s snapped a ten-game losing streak. However as I said, there were a couple of moments when this could have gone another way. The Villar error, and even the run-scoring error (by Hanser Alberto) in the sixth. Not to mention your run-of-the-mill runners on base throughout the game. The O’s overcame that to win this game. And in Jonathan VillarMs case, he overcame a pretty bad mistake on the bases to play a big role.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at T-Mobile Park as the O’s try to go for a series split. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Yusmeiro Kikuchi. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ aggressiveness used against them

The Baltimore Orioles got a halfway decent start out of Dylan Bundy this afternoon. He was done in after only five innings due to a high pitch count, which cam as a result of some extended at-bats. In saying that I mean guys fouling off multiple pitches. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 8 K.

This game was a pitcher’s duel at first, as it was scoreless through five innings. However in the top of the sixth Bogaerts smacked an RBI-double, and Holt an RBI-single, to give Boston a 2-0 lead. Holt would later score on an E6, and the Birds trailed 3-0.

The O’s would come back however in the bottom of that inning. Renato Nunez smacked an RBI-double, and Jonathan Villar added a sac fly-RBI. However that’s as close as the O’s were able to get. Martinez would add a solo homer in the seventh, and Boston would also add three runs in the top of the ninth to take the game 7-2.

The worst part about playing Boston is that as good as they are, they’re also smart. They know that the Orioles are scrapping, and doing everything in their power to win games. That can often lead to pushing too hard. Boston knows that.

They know that the Orioles are going to play shifts on their players. They had also seen earlier in the game and on tape that sometimes Jonathan Villar sometimes leaves his spot at second slightly early when the ball’s in play. So Boston puts on a hit-and-run, and hits the ball right where Villar would have been.

Coincidentally, this other example also involves Jonathan Villar – not to beat up too much on him. Late in the game Boston had him at a 1-2 count. Normally that’s a count in which a pitcher’s going to bury a pitch in the dirt hoping that the hitter will chase. Instead of the slider in the dirt or something along those lines, Villar got a high fastball.

Now to his credit, Villar didn’t bite. However that’s a pitcher and a pitching staff who knows that they’re playing a team that’s pushing. And the Orioles can’t allow teams to see that, as it can and will be used against them.

Part of why Boston was able to tack on three late runs was because they put pressure on the Orioles. The Orioles already had enough self-inflicted pressure on them. And they eventually folded.

The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards. John Means gets the call for the Birds, and Boston is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles snap seven-game losing streak in Colorado

The Baltimore Orioles snapped a seven-game losing streak with their victory last night against Colorado at Coors Field. Andrew Cashner ironically has had better stat lines. But in losing efforts. Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Renato Núñez and Jonathan Villar put the Birds on the board in the first inning with RBI-singles. Colorado would get on the board also in the first with an RBI-double from Arenado. But in the third Núñez would smack a solo homer to give the Birds a 3-1 lead. It was Nunez’s fourth homer in as many games.

However Colorado uses the dimensions of it.’a home park to it.’a advantage. And they also have the benefit of having a slugger like Arenado. The ball flies out of Coors Field, and fast – none quicker than Arenado’s three-run shot in the last of the third. This gave Colorado a brief lead at 4-3.

But the Orioles came right back. Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single In the fourth inning tied the game at four. That brought Villar back to the plate, and he promptly deposited the Orioles into the driver’s seat for the rest of the game with a three-run homer. And the Birds took a 7-4 lead.

Colorado would pull to within one later in the game, but that would be too little too late. Stevie Wilkerson and Dwight Smith Jr. would add RBI-singles in the seventh which acted as insurance runs. And the O’s snapped a seven-game losing steak in style, with a 9-6 win at Coors Field.

The issue going into the series finale of course still remains the Birds’ propensity to give up the long ball, and Coors Field’s apparent ability to surrender them. If they can find a way to keep the ball in the ballpark for this afternoon’s series finale, they’ll have a golden opportunity to win the series.

The series concludes tomorrow at Coors Field in Denver. David Hess gets the fall for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Colorado’s German Marquez. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Manufactured runs make a difference

The Baltimore Orioles closed the unofficial first half of their spring slate of games this afternoon against Philadelphia at Ed Smith Stadium. The Birds sent Josh Rogers to the mound for the start, and with some limited success at that. Rogers’ line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Rogers said after his outing that he felt good, and that he felt he made some strides in this outing. I suspect that Rogers could be earmarked for the Norfolk Tides’ rotation, however the fact that he’s being given starts in spring games tells you that he is in fact competing for a roster spot for the Birds as well. Time will tell who breaks camp with the big league club, however at the end of the day this first half of the Grapefruit League schedule has involved some intense competition by some very young pitchers. That bodes well for the future.

The Orioles took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI-single by DJ Stewart. That scored Jonathan Villar, on what in essence was a manufactured run. Following a single Villar went to second on a wild pitch, to third on a groundout, and then scored on a subsequent single.

Philadelphia would tie the game on a solo homer in the second by Gosselin. However the O’s also manufactured another run in the last of the third inning, and again it involved Jonathan Villar. He got aboard once again with a single, and proceeded to steal second base. He took third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. As I’ve said many times, traffic on the base paths can lead to runs being scored.

However Philadelphia would plate four runs in the fourth which opened up a 5-2 lead for them. The Orioles brought in Paul Fry, who pitched two perfect innings and struck out one. Fry was not only perfect in terms of not allowing a base runner, but he served as a stabilizing factor in the game, allowing the Birds to get back into it.

The O’s got to within 5-4 in the last of the sixth on Joey Rickard‘s two-RBI double. They were able to tie the game back up at five later in the inning on Diaz’s sac fly-RBI. However the top of the eight brought the lead back to Philadelphia, who was also able to break the game open. They took a 6-5 lead on Guzman’s RBI-double, and that lead was extended to 8-5 on a two-run homer by Plouffe.

While the O’s fell to Philadelphia on this day, don’t shoo off the effect of those two runs manufactured by Jonathan Villar. That’s one aspect that’s been missing from the O’s for some time; they were consistently unable to get runs home by any manner other than homers. That made them predictable, and easy to which to pitch.

The fact that they’re doing this in spring training is a good sign. These games may not count, but you ultimately play like you practice. Does this mean that the O’s will contend this season? No. But perhaps a run here and there in spots where they otherwise wouldn’t have scored runs previously will give them an additional win here or there. Every little bit helps.

Tomorrow is the Orioles’ lone off day of the Grapefruit League season. In fact, the Ed Smith Stadium complex will be closed to players. The idea is for them to be anywhere but the facility. The regular season of course has off days built in all over the place – but consider this one akin to perhaps the all-star break in comparison with the regular season!

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