Talking Behind Their Back: Marlins
Over the course of a three game series in Miami, the Orioles were able to jettison many of the things that led to their five-game winning streak.
In Game 1, a 7-6 loss in 12 innings, Koji Uehara allowed just one run over six innings but left with the score tied as the Orioles were handcuffed by Marlins pitcher Andrew Miller who went seven inning and gave up just one run. Danys Baez came on in relief and gave up five runs in 1/3 of an inning thanks largely to a Hanley Ramirez grand slam (Ramirez's first of two in the series). Baltimore was able to score two in the eighth and three in the night to force extras but ultimately lost.
Errors and miscues were the story of a 5-2 loss in the second game of the series. Orioles starter Jason Berken gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings to take the loss but multiple mistakes by Felix Pie may have ultimately cost Baltimore. Pie was slow to break while running behind Brian Roberts in the first and was thrown out. Later, when a Matt Wieters throw to second ended up in the outfield, Pie hesitated on the throw, which led to a run scoring, further compounding Wieters's error. Melvin Mora also had a throwing error in the game as Florida scored two unearned runs in the game.
Game 3's 11-3 loss was just an old fashioned beating as Rich Hill gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings. Since throwing seven shutout innings in Seattle on June 1, Hill has allowed 15 runs in his last four starts for a 1-2 record. Hill's trouble always seems to come early as 10 of those runs have come somewhere in the first three innings of games. Only once during this span has Hill made it out of the first three innings clean and he followed that up by allowing four runs in the fourth. Clearly the key for Hill is to minimize damage early and hopefully get stronger as the game goes on.
Looking back at all three games it really does look like a slide from respectable baseball to the type of baseball that is more indicative of a last place team. Good starting pitching and a late rally led to a loss that is acceptable, even if Baez has now given up a three-run homer and a grand slam in his last two relief appearances. Mediocre starting pitching and a slew of miscues led to a rough loss in Game 2 while Game 3 was just a blow out.
The Orioles hope to look more like the team that swept Philadelphia than the one that got swept in Florida as they host the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals were able to stave off a sweep despite having their home stadium overrun with Boston Red Sox fans (Orioles fans can probably relate to that). It's entirely possible that the Nats will hear more cheering for them while in Baltimore than they have in D.C. for the past three games simply because they might have a noticeable contingent of fans willing to travel north to Camden Yards.
As per usual, the Battle of the Beltways (Parkway? 295 Tussle?) will be a meeting of two last place teams as the Nationals sport the worst record in the majors (21-49, .300) while the Orioles are the second best last place team in the majors (yay?) behind the Pittsburgh Pirates at 32-40, .444. The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck wrote about the Orioles' being one of the best of the worst and adequately summed up the situation through the wisdom of Caddyshack: "So they've got that going for them, which is nice."
I think the Orioles can take two of three in this series with Brad Bergesen going against fellow rookie pitcher Ross Detwiler in the first game and Jeremy Guthrie (fresh off a win) going against Shairon Martis in the second game. The Sunday finale could pose a problem as Washington ace John Lannan will be on the mound against probably someone not named Uehara.
Uehara's start is up in the air as he has not been cleared to throw since asking out of his last start after six innings and had his arm examined today. It seem likely that Uehara will miss some time and that David Hernandez will be recalled to make Sunday's game a matchup of dueling 24-year-olds.
Despite being just 24, Lannan is the Nationals' lone veteran starting pitcher, having pitched in three seasons. While Martis leads the team in wins at 5-2, Lannan's 3.44 ERA is easily the best on the team (he's the only starter under 4.00) and when he has his sinker ball working he can go late in to games, having twice pitched into the ninth this year, coming away with one complete game.
June 26, 2009; 3:23 PM ET
Categories: Marlins , Nationals , Orioles | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins, Talking Behind Their Back, washington nationals
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