Ravens Blitz Broncos, Sign Elvis Dummervil

Never ever underestimate Ozzie Newsome-

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_22861666/elvis-dumervil-agrees-contract-baltimore-ravens

The Baltimore Ravens just parlayed a paperwork glitch by Dummervil's ex-agent, into a game changing acquisition, which has greatly elevated the Ravens odds of repeating as SB Champs.

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Matusz Has Long Wait to Toss First Pitch Today

Bradenton, Florida

Between errors, an injury, a spring training ejection by HP Umpire Chad Fairchild and a gaggle of walks, hits and a Grand Slam by Chris Dickerson, Brian Matusz had a 32 minute wait before tossing his first pitch in today's game vs Pittsburgh.

All told, the O's collected 5 hits 4 walks and the aforementioned Grand Slam, to plate 8 first inning runs. The irony, is that starter Chris Laroux, making his first start of the spring had pitched in 6 previous spring training games, without giving up an earned run.

The Pirates have a long way to go, but a 2 run HR by Andrew McCutcheon didn't help Brian Matusz in what figures to be his next to last start in spring training. 8-2 w one out and one on in the bottom of the 1st.

Hold onto your seats sports fans…

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O’s Make Minor League Trade with Phillies

Dan Duquette, O’s GM announced a few minutes before today’s’ game versus Pittsburgh in Bradenton, that the Orioles have sent minor league OF Ronnie Welty to Philadelphia for 22 year old Puerto Rican RHP Julio Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was an Eastern League All-Star and pitched for the Puerto Rican Futures team last season.

Duquette strongly implied that Rodriguez would open the season in Double A. Which would mean the Bowie Bay Sox will reap the immediate rewards.

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This Is One Where The Buck Stops on Buck

Trust me, I am a believer. Buck Showalter, along with Bob Melvin and Robin Ventura are far and away the leading candidates for AL Manager of the Year. Between me and you-it’s a toss-up between Buck and Melvin.

But, if voters cast their votes based on today’s’ bitter 4-3 loss at Yankee Stadium, Showalter might lose more than a few votes. He has been ultra careful doling out extra  rest for his starters over the past couple weeks. And make no mistake about it, his plan has worked to perfection.

So, why with a scant two run lead at 3-1 going into the bottom of the 7th elect to allow Wei-Yin Chen to come out for the 7th inning? Surely, like all managers, Buck knows the wisdom of giving your relief pitchers “clean” innings, ones in which they start the inning with a clean slate.

Having muffed once at the correct time to take Chen out, surely he’d bite with once Steve Pearce got a one out hit. But, no Showalter showing unusual petulance kept Chen in to retire Martin, and allow a two-out walk to Jayson Nix.

Okay, Buck was sure to take out Chen now with two on and two out, with the Orioles leading 3-1. But, instead Chen was allowed to face yet another batter, Eduardo Nunez who promptly laid out a line-drive lite, to make it 3-2.

In came Pedro Strop to face a left-handed hitting Ichiro Suzuki who immediately walked to load the bases. Next up was Jeter who worked back from an 0-2 count to coax a game tying RBI walk. That was followed by an error on an odd line-drive one hopper by JJ Hardy, that allowed the game winning run to cross the plate.

In the meantime, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano made very easy work of the Orioles in innings 7,8 and 9.

What was especially perplexing, was the pitcher who should have been up and ready for inning 7, Darren O’Day, who had pitched a “clean” 7th last night, ended up pitching today anyway.

Final score was NY 4, Baltimore 3, and the loss ended a 13 game one run game winning streak. Strop was the losing pitcher, JJ Hardy made a huge error…but this loss is in Showalters’ column.

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Tillman, O’s Hot Through 5 Innings

Somewhere former Orioles GM Andy MacPhail is probably having a cold one and smiling. Both of the centerpieces in his signature trade with Seattle, which netted the Orioles Adam Jones and a young then 19 year-old pitcher named Chris Tillman are paying huge dividends in the O’s day game at Camden Yards.

Ahead 5-0 after 5, Tillman worked his way out of trouble in innings 1 and 2 and has silenced the Tampa Bay Rays through 6 on just 3 hits

In the Orioles 5 run 5th inning, Jones contributed the first two RBI’s, with an 0-2 pitch ground single between SS and 3B.

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Buck Let’s One Slip Away

Hard to criticize the job Buck Showalter has done managing his bullpen during the first 80+ games of the 2012 season. However, his decision late at night in Seattle, to leave in Jason Hammel to throw a 115th pitch of the night to Casper Wells is indeed a head scratcher.

Hammel entered the bottom of the 7th with a two run lead. The tall right-hander had not walked a single batter, that is until Dustin Ackley led off the 7th with a walk. With Ackley on 3rd and 2B Munenori Kawasak1 at firs and just 1 out, Showalter elected to have his big horse pitch to # 9 batter, SS Brendan Ryan who Hammel induced to pop out to the catcher.

So, with two outs and the ultra talented left-handed hitting Ichiro Suzuki coming to the plate, what is a manager to do? Hammel, who had retired Suzuki all three prior at-bats, was allowed to face Suzuki. Suzuki was able to coax a walk.

Up comes right-handed hitting OF, and Towson graduate Casper Wells. Hammel at this point had thrown close to 115 pitches. Wells promptly launched a double to deep center, which scored all three base runners on that last pitch. Both walks in the game and the inning scored.

After that 115th pitch, Troy Patton was brought in to end the inning, inducing John Jaso to ground out. Patton would give up back to back HRs to Miguel Olivo and Dustin Ackley and the Mariners went on to a 6-3 victory.

Gone were an opportunity to get back a game against the Yankees, who had lost earlier in the evening. With Darren O’Day and Luis Ayala both out in the pen, hard to see Showalters’ logic in allowing a tiring Hammel to throw to Wells.

With King Felix on the hill tomorrow night, Buck may have also let an opportunity for a series win in Seattle slip away as well.

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Shhhh…Hammel Holding Braves Without Hit for 6

Don’t jinx it, just turn on FOX to watch 7, 8 & 9. Maybe see O’s history made.

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Think O’s Only Team Trending Down? Think Again!

As  you hopefully know by now, Stan the Fan is writing a weekly MLB Power Rankings column. It appears on pressboxonline.com every Monday by mid-day.

One of the great benefits of doing this each week is actually charting how each team is trending.

The Orioles have stumbled badly, losing 9 of their past 11 games. They have sprung more leaks than Carters’ has liver pills. However, they are not alone in that regard. And I am not just pointing to bad teams…in fact, pending the out come of two games late tonight (Friday, June 1st)-the Dodgers trailing against the Rockies and the Rangers leading the Angels 2-0 in the 6th inning, here is how the top 8 teams will have done so far this week:

# 1 Texas 2-2, # 2 LAD 0-5, # 3 Wash 0-3, # 4 NYY 2-2, # 5 Tampa 1-3, # 6 Baltimore 0-4, # 7 Miami 3-1 & # 8 STL 1-3. That is a combined 9-23 record for the week, by arguably the top 8 teams in the game.

So, be disappointed, pissed or say “I told you so”. But, the Orioles are not alone in swooning into June.

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Random Orioles Thought

Let’s get real for a minute…raise your hands really high, if you thought the Orioles were for real. OK, I thought that would be the response <as only a few held their hands up high>.

Have you noticed, everyone is looking for starting pitching? The Yankees second best starter is Andy Pettite, a guy just 3 starts back from retirement, the Red Sox are holding their breath for the next set back, the Phillies lose Roy Halladay for at least 2 months, the Angels lose Jerred Weaver and the list goes on and on.

What’s the point you ask? Well, it’s simple really- buy low and sell high is how the successful Wall Street wise guys make their money.

Jason Hammel, like the Orioles in general has been a terrific story for April and May. But his career ERA over 7 seasons in the big leagues is 4.84. Up until last night, it had been near 2.75 for this season. Prior to last night, Hammel had allowed 3 HRs in 55 IP-last night he gave up 4 in 6 1/3rd innings.

While I know it would seem like a giant step backwards, the question really is- would trading Hammel now make the most sense?

 

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Josh Hamilton Slams 4 HRs in A Game

Texas Rangers’s CF Josh Hamilton became the 16th player in MLB history to slug 4 home runs in a game tonight against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden yards. His total base count, through the top of the 8th inning is already an AL record at 18.

Sean Green, then of the LA Dodgers holds the MLB record of 19 total bases in a game, in which he also hit 4 HRs versus the Milwaukee Brewers on May 23, 2002.

The Rangers currently lead 10-3. Hamilton’s night also has produced 8 RBIs.

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