Post your comments here tonight: Let the live blogging begin. I’ll be posting some stats, notes and commentary on tonight’s game in this entry throughout the Orioles-Braves game. I hope you the readers do the same. Post any comments and/or questions here and keep the dialogue going. I’ll try to answer questions and keep it interesting during the game. Each time something new is added, it will appear at the top of the content right below this message and push the rest of the content down the page. Not too complicated, even I can keep up with that. Hope you post plenty of comments here tonight. Now on to the live blogging....
Hammel loses no-hit bid: No no-hitter for Hammel tonight. With two outs in the last of the seventh, he walked Dan Uggla to snap a streak of 17 batters retired consecutively. Then Jason Heyward singled to left to put runners on the corners and give the Braves their first hit. But Hammel got Eric Hinske to fly out to end that threat.
So has a one-hitter and 5-0 lead on 86 pitches through seven.
Hammel time: Hammel has allowed just one baserunner tonight over his first five innings in Atlanta and that was a leadoff walk to Dan Uggla in the second. He has a 3-0 lead through five frames.
Hammel has thrown just 57 pitches and needed just 10 to get through the fourth and just six to get three quick outs in the fifth. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss something.
Reynolds raps one to left: Mark Reynolds came up with the game’s first big hit in the top of the fourth. The Orioles took a 2-0 nothing lead as he singled in a pair of runs with the bases loaded on an 0-2 pitch.
After Beachy left, Anthony Varvaro walked the next two hitters and that brought up Reynolds. In 16 games since he returned from the DL before tonight, Reynolds was batting .327 with three homers and nine RBIs.
Beachy leaves game: After retiring the first 11 O’s batters and making it look easy tonight, Beachy issued a two-out walk to Chris Davis and then left the game in the fourth. There is clearly some injury as he called the trainer out and walked off the field moments later. The Fox announcers said Beachy had a sore elbow earlier in the week and that his start was pushed back to tonight. Now he is out of the game and Anthony Varvaro is on after his recent callup from the minors.
Beachy tough early: When you have an ERA like Beachy does (1.98), you are seldom ever easy to hit. But the stat sheet says he is particularly tough in the early innings and he has retired the Orioles in order in the first two innings tonight on just 25 pitches. He’s changed speeds nicely and hit corners so far.
In the first three innings of his starts this year, Beachy’s ERA is 0.75 and opponent hitters bat just .134 against him. Maybe if the Orioles are going to get anything off him tonight, they’ll have to do it the second or third time around the order.
Tonight’s pitchers: Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.22 ERA) makes his 13th start for the Orioles. Hammel pitched to an ERA of 2.09 over his first six starts, but has posted a 4.50 ERA over his last six starts. Even though Hammel has just one quality start over his past six outings, it’s hard for an O’s fan to find fault with a pitcher that begins tonight 10th in the AL in ERA.
Hammel is 0-3 with an ERA of 9.00 in five career starts against Atlanta, but the Orioles are 9-3 when he starts this year.
The Orioles tonight will try to beat the major league ERA leader, Brandon Beachy. The 25-year-old right-hander is 5-4 with an ERA of 1.98 over 12 starts. Despite that tremendous ERA, the Braves are just 7-5 in his outings.
Beachy ranks first in the NL in ERA, second in opponents’ batting average and fourth in WHIP. He has given up two earned runs or less in 11 of 12 starts and is 2-1 with a 1.36 ERA over five home starts. The Orioles have a tough task ahead of them tonight.
A take on B-Rob: Since he went 3-for-4 in his first game back on Tuesday, Brian Roberts is 2-for-14 over his last three games. But he has hit several balls very hard including one that saw him robbed of a homer Thursday and two shots where Atlanta players made good defensive plays on him last night.
At the plate, Roberts is looking like the Roberts we remember - working deep counts and hitting the ball hard often. I think more hits will soon be falling for him, maybe beginning tonight.
While Roberts has yet to steal a base, during either his minor league rehab games or with the Orioles, that is probably just a matter of time. Maybe he is not the complete 100 percent Roberts the fans once saw but he is looking pretty good so far to me.