Results tagged ‘ Stevie Wilkerson ’

Baltimore Orioles: Are pitches being tipped?

The Baltimore Orioles suffered yet another blowout loss this evening, this time to Houston. Starter Aaron Brooks certainly set the tone for the game, but he only gave up nine runs. When all was said and done Houston had put up 23. Brooks’ line: 3.0 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Most people look at that stat line and say that at the very least Brooks didn’t walk anyone. And that’s certainly true. However looks can be deceiving. That means that Brooks was putting balls into the strike zone. And in essence, getting too much of the strike zone. The same was true of every subsequent Oriole pitcher.

I admittedly fall into the mindset that a two-out base hit isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s only one base runner; if they can just get one out the inning is over. However Houston routinely makes people pay for that attitude.

They also find ways to get on base. A couple of their runs came off of two very softly hit balls. Several more came when a ball dropped between three different fielder’s. They put the ball in play, and and they run. Incidentally, the lone Oriole runs in this game came on a sac-fly RBI by Jace Peterson in the last of the first, and a solo homer in the seventh by Rio Ruiz.

The O’s gave up five homers in this game – yet again. Often I wonder in stretches like this if pitches aren’t being tipped. Obviously both Houston and New York are gifted in terms of hitting. However it should be fairly telling that hitters seem to know exactly what’s coming. And where.

The where part of that could be the key. In this game specifically, we saw Correa hit a home run over both bullpens in left center. Unofficially, that’s a new Camden Yards homer at 474 feet. I’m not suggesting that Oriole pitchers are doing their job in deceiving opposing hitters – that fact speaks for itself. But in order to hit balls that far, you’d have to know where the pitch is coming in. And maybe even how fast.

Mind you, I’m NOT accusing anyone of stealing signs. We all know that happens in baseball (not that it should), but that isn’t what I’m saying. I’m wondering if the Orioles themselves aren’t doing something to tip pitches. Something subtle, on which opposing teams are picking up. Perhaps positioning of a fielder, or something along those lines.

Again, to me the telling part is that the balls are traveling as far as they’re going. It’s not so much about speed. Stevie Wilkerson proves that when he pitches – as he did again tonight. He pitches very slowly. That actually throws off hitters trying to make contact. But if a hitter knows where the pitch is going, he can position the bat to make contact.

It might behoove the Orioles to take a long hard look at how their pitchers are winding up among other things. Because if pitches are being tipped, it’s going to continue happening. And that’s certainly not the goal.

One thing that is worth mentioning is that Houston decided it was appropriate to challenge a call of safe/out at second base up by 14 runs or so in the sixth inning. My personal opinion is that it’s probably poor form to be that nit-picky when you’re winning in a blowout.

In contrast, Houston recorded a double down the left field line in the ninth inning (against Wilkerson). Replays seemed to show that the ball was foul. There were two outs and the Orioles trailed big – no challenge was lodged. Similarly, I fee that’s appropriate. That call isn’t going to affect the outcome of the game. Of course…That runner at second base allowed Houston to score three more runs in the game. Not sure what to say about any of that.

The series and the home stand conclude tomorrow. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Justin Verlander. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Stevie Wilkerson for the win…!

Jimmy Yacabonis started for the Baltimore Orioles last night, but that’s almost irrelevant. Almost. Yacabonis was in essence the opener. Yacabonis’ line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R 2 BB, 1 K.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on a sac fly-RBI in the second inning. However that runner made it into scoring position by virtue of a wild pitch. Just another example of a small thing that hurt the Orioles in a game. Attention to detail is important.

The teams exchanged runs here and there, but Calhoun’s seventh-inning bases-clearing double gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead. The Al’s closed to within 4-3 on a sac fly-RBI in the eight, and later in the inning Stevie Wilkerson‘s RBI-double tied the game back up at four.

The Orioles thought they had the game won – several times over at that. But Trey Mancini‘s solo homer in the ninth would have been the winning run. If not for Godwin’s solo homer in the last of the ninth tying it at five.

And…we played on. I suppose it was destined that this game would turn into a marathon. I’ve said this before, but once a game goes past the twelfth inning, it goes into the twilight zone. You never want to be a part of a marathon game, but being in the midst of a west coast swing where it’s tough to call up another reliever and so forth…not ideal for the O’s. But you have to play the hand you’re dealt.

Newly-acquired Jace Peterson smacked a two-RBI single in the 15th, and later in the inning Hanser Alberto added an additional run with an RBI-single of his own. A three-run lead in the 15th should be safe – one would think. However to their credit, Anaheim didn’t quit. Even at that late hour. They managed to tie the game back up in the bottom of the inning. And on we played.

But it wasn’t tied for long. Jonathan Villar‘s two-run homer in the 16th gave the Birds a 10-8 lead. But the O’s still had to play the last of the inning. And they were out of pitchers.

Stevie Wilkerson has of course appeared in relief, and he’s been decent at it. Perhaps there’s a method to the madness of having position players pitch here and there, because Wilkerson was ready when called upon. For the record, I wouldn’t have used Wilkerson in that spot. It’s one thing when the game’s out of hand. It’s another when going for a save. I would have used a starter.

But the Orioles called on Wilkerson, and he delivered. He retired Anaheim 1-2-3, and the O’s went home with a 10-8 victory in a six hour plus long game. In doing so, Wilkerson became the first position player to ever record a save. And that’s it for now…on the twilight zone.

The series continues tonight at Angel Stadium. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Griffin Canning. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Stevie Wilkerson saves the day in Birds’ win

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves in somewhat of a precarious position this afternoon in game one of a day/night doubleheader. They had used too much of the bullpen the night before, ultimately using Stevie Wilkerson to pitch the ninth. So this afternoon they turned to Aaron Brooks in the role of an opener. Brooks’ line: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The Orioles claimed Brooks earlier this season off of waivers from Oakland. This was his Oriole debut. He was good in that role, however again the fact that they used an opener might have made things all the more difficult for tonight’s game. But one game at a time, I suppose.

Zunino smacked a solo homer for Tampa in the third inning. However aside from that, solid pitching on both sides kept both teams off the scoreboard. And for an Orioles’ staff which gave up 16 runs last night against a Tampa team who seemingly wanted blood, that’s quite a feat.

However Oriole pitching wasn’t being rewarded for that feat. And for once, Tampa seemed content winning the game 1-0. However eventually, Oriole bats decided to have other ideas.

Stevie Wilkerson, who of course had completed last night’s game on the mound, stepped to the plate in the seventh with one on and one out. He sent a deep fly ball to center towards the bullpens. The question was going to be whether or not it had enough to get out. Tampa’s center fielder Kiermaier had made many a great play against the Orioles. He seemed to be tracking the ball, thinking he had a shot at it.

But it wasn’t to be for once, as the ball cleared the wall just out of Kiermaier’s reach. Wilkerson’s two-run homer put the O’s in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 lead. The O’s were able to keep Tampa off the board for the remainder of the game, and closed out a 2-1 victory.

That’s a huge win for a team who lost 16-4 last night. And Lord knows it wasn’t easy. While the Wilkerson homer was the key, the biggest point of the game was probably the top of the seventh when Richard Bleier came in with two on and nobody out. Tampa was looking to extend their lead, which at that point was 1-0. Bleier retired the side and didn’t let a run cross. Make no mistake that the O’s got confidence off of that moment.

The series continues this evening in the second game of the doubleheader at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Charlie Morton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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