Early impressions as O's grab the lead at NY (Update)

Early impressions as O's grab the lead at NY (Update)
A few early observations as the Orioles lead the Yankees 2-0 in the 4th tonight. Jake Arrieta needed just 33 pitches to get the first nine outs. *Nick Markakis picked a good time for his second home run. His two-run shot gives the O's a 2-0 lead at New York as they look to break a 3-game losing streak. Markakis' blast to right snapped a 2-for-23 drought for the O's right fielder. He turned on a Phil Hughes fastball. Hughes had jammed several hitters early on with his fastball, but that one...
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Steve Johnson moves to Triple-A, Mahoney to DL

Steve Johnson moves to Triple-A, Mahoney to DL
It could turn out to be just for a start or two, but Baltimore native Steve Johnson today has moved from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk. Also today, Bowie has placed first baseman Joe Mahoney on the minor league seven-day DL, retroactive to April 12. Mahoney has missed the last few games with a quad injury. The O's were hoping he would avoid the DL. Mahoney is 1-for-7 in two games on the year. Johnson has made one start and pitched four scoreless innings for Bowie at Harrisburg last...
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An early look at the O's minors

An early look at the O's minors
Yes, it is a very small sample size, but to date only one O's minor league team is playing .500 ball. Thanks in part to Norfolk's 1-6 start, the four clubs' overall record is 8-16. Norfolk is 1-6 Bowie is 2-4 Frederick is 2-2 Delmarva is 3-4 Only Single-A Delmarva, led by Manny Machado and Kipp Schutz, has hit much. The Shorebirds' team average of .260 is fifth best in the South Atlantic League. Schutz, who already has a six-RBI game, is 11-for-22 with four doubles, a homer, eight RBIs...
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Another check of the RISP stat

Another check of the RISP stat
It is not hard to figure out how the Orioles have lost three straight games by a combined score of 23-5. Not when you see their starting pitching ERA in those three games is 12.27 and they have hit just 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in those games. As pointed out in my previous post, the O's need a starter not named Zach Britton or Jeremy Guthrie to step up soon and tonight with Jake Arrieta on the mound in New York would be a good place to start. Britton and Guthrie have pitched...
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Is this three-game losing skid a bump in the road or a sign of bigger trouble?

Is this three-game losing skid a bump in the road or a sign of bigger trouble?
Let's see, the Orioles have lost one of their best starting pitchers to injury, their starting shortstop to injury and now they've lost three games in a row. A record of 6-4 after 10 games sounds pretty good - and is pretty good. The Birds still own a share of first place after losing Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. But during a three-game slide in which they've gotten two very poor starting pitching efforts, maybe the O's are currently facing the first mini-crisis of the season. With...
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Tillman's time was short tonight

Tillman's time was short tonight
Whether it was a lack of velocity or a lack of quality pitches, this was basically a disastrous outing for Chris Tillman tonight at New York. He got ahead of the first batter he faced, Brett Gardner at 0-2, but then threw a fastball right down the middle that went for a base hit. The Yankees kept hitting after that. Over just 1 2/3 innings, Tillman gave up nine hits and six runs, all earned. He walked one and fanned two, throwing 57 pitches, 33 for strikes. It seems hard to believe two starts...
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Checking in with some stats and notes before the NY series opener

Checking in with some stats and notes before the NY series opener
Some stats, facts and notes to ponder as the Orioles and Yankees hope to begin their rain-delayed series tonight in The Bronx. *The Orioles are 40-26 since Buck Showalter took over as manager. They are six games better than the Yankees during that stretch. *Mark Reynolds is 5-for-9 on the year (.556) when batting with runners in scoring position. His career average is .266 when batting with RISP. *Of the Orioles' 35 runs scored on the year, they have scored 11 in the first three innings and...
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Denny Hocking with some candid comments on Rowell and Mahoney

Denny Hocking with some candid comments on Rowell and Mahoney
One of the pleasures of this job as it relates to the minor leagues has been the chance to get to know and interview some interesting people. That includes coaches and players. I have met many in the minors that would classify as a great interview. I can now add Bowie Baysox coach
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Talking with Tillman and the subject is his velocity

Talking with Tillman and the subject is his velocity
When Chris Tillman takes the mound in New York tonight, there may be some fans checking the radar gun readings almost as much as they check the ball and strike count. There has been a lot of discussion among the fans that Tillman's velocity may be down and they are wondering if that impacts his pitching and not in a good way. Some fans cited a lack of his normal velocity as a reason why Tillman gave up four runs in his start against Detroit, but he seemed to be throwing with similar velocity...
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Buck made the call and Britton will miss NYY series

Buck made the call and Britton will miss NYY series
Orioles rookie pitcher Zach Britton faced the Yankees in spring training, but his first outing against them that counts will have to wait. Manager Buck Showalter had two choices for a starting pitcher for the Thursday game in the Bronx because both Jake Arrieta and Britton pitched in the Saturday doubleheader and would be on normal rest for Thursday. But Showalter said Arrieta will start that game and Britton will pitch the series opener on Friday at Cleveland. It's probably a little...
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Joe Mahoney out with quad injury

Joe Mahoney out with quad injury
The Orioles' 2010 minor league Player of the Year, Joe Mahoney, is not in the lineup for Double-A Bowie tonight due to a quad injury. He missed Sunday's game and is not playing this evening as Bowie is at Richmond. Mahoney went 1-for-7 with a double and two walks in the first two Baysox games of the season at Harrisburg. The injury is considered day-to-day. Right now, there are no plans to put him on the DL and O's officials hope he can return in a day or two. Mahoney was added to the...
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Triple-A Tides look to avoid 0-5 start tonight

Triple-A Tides look to avoid 0-5 start tonight
Like their parent club, the Triple-A Norfolk Tides have not gotten their offense going much this year. But unlike the Orioles, Norfolk is winless and is last in the league in batting. The Tides scored just five runs in going 0-4 in their season-opening series at Charlotte. The Tides' team batting mark of .165 is last in the International League. Norfolk plays at Gwinnett tonight looking to avoid its first 0-5 start since 1993. Ryan Adams has begun the season at 1-for-12 while Brandon Snyder...
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A look at CF depth in the O's minors

A look at CF depth in the O's minors
The Orioles, like any organization, would like to create a situation where they have solid depth throughout their minor leagues with prospects at both the lower and higher levels. While some fans right now would question the Orioles' minor league depth and may well be right about that, at certain positions the Orioles are becoming well stocked. Center field is one of those positions. When the 2011 season began last week the O's had a center fielder that will be batting leadoff at each of...
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Markakis: "The first week we did pretty damn good."

Markakis: "The first week we did pretty damn good."
One year after dealing with a miserable 2-16 start, these are better times for the Orioles. Even after losing the last two games against Texas, the club is off to a 6-3 start and in first place in their division. "I say it's good," O's outfielder Nick Markakis said of the club's start. "We've got a winning record and we just played a really good ballclub. It's not like we got blown out, we played close games with the exception of one. I think, overall in the first week we did pretty...
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Guthrie talks about his outing vs. Texas

Guthrie talks about his outing vs. Texas
Pitching just a couple of days after getting out of the hospital, O's right-hander Jeremy Guthrie threw well versus Texas Sunday, even if he didn't feel 100 percent or have some of his usual velocity. "Legs felt good, but it's a strange feeling. I don't breathe very well and I get tired," said Guthrie, who had a form of pneumonia. "It's like you running a few sprints and being tired. Normally I can run a bunch of sprints before I get tired, now one of them makes me tired. It takes a...
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Guthrie returns, but Rangers beat O's to take series finale

Guthrie returns, but Rangers beat O's to take series finale
Jeremy Guthrie returned to the mound for the first time since the O's season opener today. He pitched well, but it did not lead to a win. Texas takes two of three from the Orioles, winning 3-0 today behind Derek Holland in front of 21,452 at Camden Yards. The Orioles, who begin a series Tuesday in New York, fall to 6-3 while the Rangers are 8-1. The Orioles scored five runs over the first three innings Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader. But since that point, they have scored just...
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Will Britton face the Yankees?

Will Britton face the Yankees?
The never-ending saga of the changing Orioles rotation will play out next in New York as the O's begin a series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. All the starters for that series are officially listed right now as TBA. Manager Buck Showalter said today that Chris Tillman will pitch either Tuesday or Wednesday. It could be that Brad Bergesen's time in the minors will be very short and he returns to pitch the other game. Bergesen was just sent out yesterday, but could return before 10 days...
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The RISP stat

The RISP stat
The Orioles entered today with a team batting average of just .220, but they were batting .400 with runners in scoring position at 18-for-45 through eight games. You can't keep that pace up and they haven't. Today they are 0-for-2 with RISP and Mark Reynolds has been the guy up both times. Reynolds, after getting several clutch hits the last few days, today struck out with runners on first and third in the first. He then grounded out with second and third in the third. Keep in mind,...
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Manny Machado gets off to a good start with Delmarva

Manny Machado gets off to a good start with Delmarva
O's top shortstop prospect Manny Machado has gotten his first full season of minor league baseball off to a good start. He is 3-for-7 through three games with Single-A Delmarva with a triple and three RBIs. He has already walked five times in the three games and has an OPS of 1.381. He served as the DH in Game Two of their twin bill last night. Delmarva is 2-1 with a 2.25 team ERA and will send Jacob Pettit to the mound today at home against Greensboro. Triple-A Norfolk was rained out last...
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Matusz gets set to take the next step in Sarasota

Matusz gets set to take the next step in Sarasota
Brian Matusz said he is optimistic about his rehab process, which will continue starting tomorrow at the Orioles' spring home in Sarasota, Fla. Matusz went on the disabled list April 3, retroactive to March 30, with a strained left intercostal muscle. He said he has not had any pain for the last four days, yet he has not yet been cleared to throw or even play catch. Matusz is not sure when he might get back with the team and take the mound again. "I honestly don't know," he said. "I...
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