It’s only 91 degrees at first pitch. Anyone have a sweater I can borrow?
I had to keep reminding myself that the Orioles were playing a game today. I’ve been a bit distracted by all the Hall of Famers roaming around Camden Yards.
I braved the stifling heat to watch the unveiling of Earl Weaver’s statue in the picnic area, and I wasn’t alone. You may recognize a few of the names: Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Paul Blair, Al Bumbry, Don Buford, Scott McGregor, Rick Dempsey, Brady Anderson, Buck Showalter, Nick Markakis, Brian Matusz, Chris Davis.
Just to name a few.
The on-field ceremony was brief, but it contained, in my opinion, the most powerful moment of the day.
After having his name announced over the PA system, Weaver walked onto the field with his hands held together, stopped and bowed to Robinson, Palmer, Murray and Ripken.
That’s what I call a “Wow” moment.
Weaver threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Showalter caught it. Perfect.
Weaver wouldn’t be pleased with the way today’s game started. Dana Eveland allowed singles to three of the first four batters he faced, and he needed a diving catch from Xavier Avery in left field to record the out.
Avery raced toward the line and made an amazing grab to rob Jason Kipnis, then popped to his feet and unleashed a throw to first base that almost doubled off Asdrubal Cabrera.
Avery must have been thinking, “Oh snap.” Cabrera might have shared that one.
Jose Lopez followed with a ground ball that kicked off third base, cleared Ryan Flaherty’s head and rolled into shallow left, enabling Shin-Soo Choo to score the game’s first run. Michael Brantley walked to load the bases, and pitching coach Rick Adair visited the mound with a 1-0 count on Shelley Duncan.
Duncan struck out on an 83 mph slider, and Casey Kotchman flied to center.
Eveland is down 1-0, but it can consider himself fortunate. He threw 19 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Update: Choo homered off Eveland with two outs in the second inning to extend the Indians’ lead to 2-0.
Eveland started the third by hitting Kipnis, who promptly stole second base. He ran the count full to Lopez before striking him out and retired Brantley on a fly ball to center, but Duncan reached on J.J. Hardy’s error. Kotchman flied out to end the threat.
Hardy has committed only three errors this season.
Eveland has thrown 60 pitches, 34 for strikes. Keep in mind that Showalter wants to limit Eveland to 80 pitches.
Down on the farm, J.C. Romero has rejoined Triple-A Norfolk after being placed on the temporary inactive list, and infielder/outfielder Steve Tolleson has reported to the Tides after being optioned by the Orioles.
Update II: Mark Reynolds walked with one out in the third, Ryan Flaherty singled and Brian Roberts lifted a sacrifice fly to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Avery doubled, but Flaherty had to hold at third. Hardy flied out to the warning track in center to end the inning.