Archive for June, 2012

Prospects Battle to a Tie

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

The Stars and Strips did battle for seven innings in temperatures that were over 100 degrees and battled to a 2-2 tie.  Myworld can’t say any of the pitchers really stood out.  They all threw between 88-91 with a breaking ball.  They looked like clones of each other, though John Kilchowski was 6′5″ and skinny while Christian Martinek was 6′5″ and thick.  David Berg had the most separation with his fastball because of his sidearm delivery.  The highest velocity we saw was 83.

For the Stripes Drew Ward turned on one into the right field bleachers to bring them within one run at 2-1.  In the next inning Ryder Jones showed good bat control and poked a curve ball over the shortstops head for an RBI single.  The son of Craig Biggio, Caven pulled one down the right field line for a double, the third base coach chose not to send Ryder home and the next batter grounded out for the third out.

The Stars were the first team to score.  Kyle Farmer rifled one over the centerfielders head in the second inning to score Eugene Vazquez.  They scored another run in the third, but they could have scored so much more.  On a pick off attempt at first, Michael Lorenzen broke for the plate but was gunned down by Cavan BiggioWillie Abreu made it hurt with a double that bounced over the centerfield fence that should have scored two, but only scored one.

David Berg with his side arm delivery struck out all three hitters he faced in the seventh inning to preserve the tie.  He threw sidearm and didn’t get anything approaching more than 83.  Marco Gonzalez for the Stars worked four innings, the most of any prospect pitchers.  He only allowed one hit in his four innings of work.

One player Ro Coleman stands only 5′0″ tall.  He let a grounder scoot past his glove in the fifth.  A player that small should be low enough to the ground that no baseball should scoot past his glove.  He also got one at bat and flew out to shallow left.  Hitters standing 5′0″ probably lack a lot of height to be hitting the ball in the air.  That is not the way to impress scouts.

Two Major International Signings

Friday, June 29th, 2012

In a couple days major league baseball will have rules in place to protect them from themselves.  With no rules in place they tend to throw money at players like they were beads at a Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans.  There seems to be no concept for cost.

The Dodgers signed Cuban Yasiel Puig to a seven year $42 million contract, more than the Athletics paid to sign Yoenis Cespedes, even though Cespedes is clearly the superior ball player.  Perhaps it is the international ceiling cost that will go into effect July 2 that is artificially driving up the price.  Puig has not played in over a year and reports have him out of shape.  He is young and he hits for power, but he may struggle defensively.  He also lacks speed.  The Dodgers have to hope that his bat translates well for a corner outfield position and they are not forced to move him to first base or trade him to the American League where DH is still an option.

The Red Sox signed shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin to a $2.05 million bonus, the most ever for a Taiwan position player.  He is only 5′8″ and won’t get much taller.  His best tool appears to be his speed.  His defense could ultimately bring him to second base and he won’t hit for a lot of power.  He did win a youth MVP tournament with a .607 average that had players such as Jorge Soler, Bubba Starling, Francisco Lindor and Blake Swihart playing in.  They all got big money so Lin probably deserves the same.

Come July 2, all those big contracts will have to be lowered considerably.  That can’t make too many agents happy, especially those representing Cuban players who have to pay a lot of money up front to get their players out of Cuba.

To read more detail on Puig you can go here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/international-affairs/2012/2613621.html and for Lin you can go here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/international-affairs/2012/2613618.html

Chiefs Batter Bulls in Durham

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Mtworld is in Durham, North Carolina where we witnessed a one way slugfest, the Chiefs burying the Bulls 14-3.  For those who have seen the movie Bull Durham it is a nice replica of that ballpark.  After the movie the team moved away from original park into this new location, which tries to mimic the old stadium.  They brought the bull with them, but it stands next to the left field foul line, instead of right field like the original.  They have what they call the Blue Monster, similar to the Fenway Park Green Monster.  A manual scoreboard is placed within the blue monster as well as a video screen to show stats, crowd shots and advertisement .

Some of the other interestiung facts about the park.  The infamous Crash Davis, the Kevin Costner character who played catcher actually played for the Durham Bulls and led the leage in doubles in 1948.  He never had the most homeruns by a minor leaguer as portrayed in the movie.  Roger Craig, pitcher, manager and pitching coach got his start with the Durham Bulls as a batboy.  Finally, Durham was home for one of the minor league teams of the Negro League for a number of years.  I didn’t think the Negro Leagues had a minor league system.

Jim Paduch got the start for the Bulls.  He might as well have been pitching batting practice.  Corey Brown led off the inning with a triple.  Two doubles and two singles later the score was 4-0.  There were a lot of balls hit to the right field area where Jesus Feliciano does his best to lumber after them.

Yunesky Maya got the start for the Chiefs.  In the bottom frame Henry Wrigley got the Bull fans excited by turning on a pitch and sending it into the patio above the blue monster in left field.  The two run homer would be the only runs that Maya would give up in his six innings of work.  He struck out five, but three were called strikes that each of the hitters had brief words with the umpire on the call.

The Bulls fielding broke down in the third.  The inning started with a double by Xavier Paul and a walk to Brett Carroll.  Back to back errors by Tim Beckham and Henry Wrigley allowed one run to score.  Seth Bynum drove in two with a double and the fourth scored on an Erik Komatsu sacrifice fly.

Seth Bynum continued his RBI barrage in the fourth with a 3-run homer.  His double in the ninth preceded a 2-run homer from Corey Brown.  Brown finished a double short of the cycle while Bynum had two doubles and a homerun to drive in five.

Poor Jim Paduch was left in to give up 12 runs over five innings.  In 2003 he was the Cincinnati Reds minor league pitcher of the year.  The last four years he has been toiling in the independent leagues.  With too many similar performances he will be back in the Independent League.

Game Notes: Yunesky Maya at one point was the ace of the Cuba National pitching staff.  While his stuff is decent he doesn’t throw hard and at 5′11″ the hitters get a good look at him.  At 31 he may end up with a career like Leslie Anderson of the Rays, who did not play in the Bulls game today…Chris Marrero just does not hit for enough power for a first baseman.  He hits some nice line drives, but they don’t have enough carry…Corey Brown has been juicing the ball.  He hit a 2-run homer to the opposite field over the blue monster onto the roof of the restaurant.  The wind was blowing out into left field, but it was tagged..Josh Lueke was hitting only 92-93 with his fastball.  He seemed to be relying more on his curveball to strike hitters out.  He retired all six hitters he faced, three of them on strikeouts…Near the stadium is a restaurant called Dames Chicken and Waffles.  If you want to try something unique check hit out.  I had four chicken drumsticks on top of four waffles with a side of macaroni and cheese.  I don’t have to eat for days…Mark Teahen made two errors on throws at second base for the Chiefs…The Chiefs only out hit the Bulls by one, but they bunched all their hits together…In the eighth inning, for his second inning of work, Jeff Mandel threw three pitches and got three base hits up the middle.  At least with a 12-2 lead he was throwing strikes.

NPB Review - Central League

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

It has been some time since we’ve taken a detailed look at the NPB.  Our first review will be the Central League, where they need more modashos to drive their batting averages up.  A modasho is a reference to a player who gets three or more hits in a game.  Currently, the Central League only has two players hitting over .300 and the player in third place is hitting less than .290.  That is a paucity of offense.  Check out http://yakyubaka.com/ for all your Japanese news.

Chunichi Dragons (34-21-10)

Top Offensive Players - Tony Blanco is hitting .279 with 15 homeruns and 36 RBIs.  He doesn’t have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title, but his homeruns and RBI production ranks in the top five.  He lost the first base job to 43 year old new comer Takeshi Yamasaki at the start of the season but has reclaimed it back.  He has shown that at this point in his career he is the superior offensive player.  Defense is another issue.  Yohei Oshima is the top hitter (.286) and is tied with Masahiro Araki (.262) for most runs scored at 28.  Kazuhiro Wada (.279, 5, 28) is second on the team in RBIs.

Top Pitchers - The top pitcher for the Dragons is their closer Hitoki Iwase.  He leads the Central League in saves with 24 with a 1.76 ERA.  The Japanese lack the impressive whiff to innings pitched ratio of major league pitchers (30 innings pitched 17 whiffs) so unless it is one to one or greater myworld will not mention it.  Shinji Tajima has been unhittable as the set-up man (4-0, 0.50, 9 holds).  Their ace appears to be Soma Yamauchi (6-3, 2.26), but they also appear to be getting good production from Daisuke Yamai (2-3, 1.60), Kazuki Yoshimi (5-2, 1.83) and Kenichi Nakata (3-6, 2.22).

Foreign Aid - Jorge Sosa has also been unhittable in a setup role (2-0, 0.00, 1 save and 6 holds).  He has yet to give up an earned run in 29 innings pitched (3 unearned runs).

Yomiuri Giants (33-24-6)

Top Offensive Players - The Giants domed stadium can generate a lot of offense.  The biggest bat is Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe (.318, 10, 30) who leads the Central League in hitting.  He became the fourth Giant to hit ten or more homers over 12 or more consecutive seasons.  Hayoto Sakamoto (.316, 7, 36) is the leader on the team in RBIs.  He is also second in the Central League batting race, giving the Giants the only two players hitting over .300 in the Central League.  Hisayoshi Chono (.285, 8, 29) is a young bat who will only get better with experience.  He leads the team with 11 stolen bases.  Shuichi Murata (.270, 4, 25) was a free agent the Giants signed away from the Bay Stars.  He has been a disappointment power wise, especially when you consider he was the cleanup hitter for the WBC Japanese team.

Top Pitchers - Toshiya Sugiuchi (8-2, 1.55) has been a good free agent signing from last year’s champion Softbank Hawks.  He threw a no hitter earlier this season, a rare feat in the NPB.  They have also been getting good starts from Tetsuya Utsumi (6-5, 1.83).  The closer is Kentaro Nishimura (1-1, 1.95, 15 saves).  Tetsuya Yamaguchi (0.25, 2 saves and 19 holds) has been dominant in a setup capacity.  His 19 holds are tops in the Central League.

Foreign Aid - Scott Mathieson (2-0, 1.61, 1 save and 7 holds) has been a good signing from the Phillies.  The NPB is not used to 95 mile per hour fastballs that have given him a 32/28 whiff to innings pitched ratio.  Dennis Houlton (5-6, 3.33) was another free agent signing from the Softbank Hawks, but he has been inconsistent this year.  Injuries have restricted Dicky Gonzalez to just 19 innings pitched.  John Bowker (.189, 2, 7) has been a disappointment offensively.  He has gotten 162 plate appearances to get it together but has failed to provide results.  Edgar Gonzalez (.261, 1, 8) has been signed to replace him and provide depth in the infield.  He is the older brother of Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez.

Yakult Swallows (30-29-4)

Top Offensive Players - The Swallows have a love/hate relationship with Wladimir Balentien (.251, 18, 43).  He leads the NPB in homeruns and when he is hitting he can carry the Swallows on his shoulders.  When he is not hitting he is the biggest anchor in any lineup.  Fortunately when he is not hitting pitchers walk him.  He has 41 walks to go with his 50 strikeouts.  Lastings Milledge (.265, 8, 28) has seemed to enjoy the leadoff spot for the Swallows.  He is hitting .310 since hitting from the leadoff spot and his 29 runs scored is second to Balentien at 32, but he is only 4 for 9 in stolen bases.  Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (.263, 4, 25) is the top Japanese player with the bat, leading the team in doubles with 11.

Top Pitchers - No real standout ace on this staff with Shohei Tateyama (5-5, 2.71), Masanori Ishikawa (5-6, 3.17) and Katsuki Akagawa (5-4, 2.74) all putting up similar performances.  The closer is Tony Barnette (1-1, 2.48, 18 saves, 2 holds) who has replaced the sore armed Chang-Long Lim.

Foreign Aid - Chang-Long Lim has been the Swallows stopper for the last couple years but was going to be converted to the rotation this year.  A sore arm has limited him to just seven innings, though he has yet to give up a hit in those seven innings.  He is looking to pitch in the United States next year, but there is not a large market for 34 year old pitchers with sore arms.  Look at the contract given to Hisashi Iwakuma for the Mariners.  Orlando Roman (4-5, 2.67) is another member of the vanilla rotation.  We’ve already talked about Milledge and Balentien on offense.

Hanshin Tigers (28-29-8)

Top Offensive Performers - Shortstop Takashi Toritani (.252, 2, 23) may be the next big Japanese bat to play in the United States.  He was the top vote getter in the Central League voting by the fans.  He needs to improve on those numbers if he wants to attract major league interest.  Craig Brazell (.246, 7, 30) is the big RBI bat with Takahiro Arai (.248, 4, 29) close behind.  Tomoaki Kanemoto (.255, 4, 19) is at that age where his offense is best given in small doses where he needs a lot of rest to keep the bat fresh.

Top Pitchers - Atsushi Nomi (5-5, 2.93) shares the ace responsibilities with Randy Messenger (4-6, 2.57).  The closer is Kyuji Fujikawa (1-1, 1.90, 12 saves) while the set up man is Daiki Enokida (2-0, 0.65, 17 holds).  His 17 holds are second in the Central League.

Foreign Aid - Jason Stanridge (4-4, 2.26) fits well in the Tigers three hole in the rotation.  Matt Murton (.228, 2, 20) has struggled with an average almost 100 points lower than last year.  He seems to be most comfortable in the leadoff spot.

Hiroshima Carp (26-32-6)

Top Offensive Performers - Nick Stavinoha (.238, 9, 24) is returning to the States for knee surgery.  His season is done.  Shota Dobayshi (.263, 7, 21) is trying to replace his power production until Brad Eldred arrives.  Takahiro Iwamoto (.333, 3, 13) and Soichiro Amaya (.320, 3, 11) each have only under 120 at bats, but they are getting every day playing time now.

Top Pitcher Performers - They have the top pitcher in the Central League in Kenta Maeda (7-3, 1.51).  He is the only pitcher in the Central League to throw more than 100 innings.  Yusuke Nomura (4-3, 1.78) has been a nice surprise.  Kan Otake (7-2, 2.34) matches Maeda in wins, but lacks the three complete games.

Foreign Aid - Kam Mickolio (1-3, 3.21, 5 saves, 14 holds) has been bounced around from closer to set up.  Dennis Sarfate (0-4, 1.96, 9 saves) has had trouble staying healthy.  Bryan Bullington (3-8, 4.14) has been a big disappointment.  He is last in the league in ERA for all those Central League pitchers who qualify.  With Stavinoha out for the year the Carp hope to replace him with Brad Eldred.  Brad was recently released by the Detroit Tigers so he can sign a contract with the Carp.

DeNA Bay Stars (20-37-5)

Top Offensive Performers - Alex Ramirez (.276, 8, 33) was signed as a free agent from the Giants, but is starting to show his age.  He has been playing so long in the NPB that he is no longer counted as a foreign player.  Norihiro Nakamura (.276, 6, 29) is the other big bat to drive in runs.  Not a lot left among the others to brag about.

Top Pitching Performances - Daisuke Miura (6-4, 2.71) would be an ace on many other pitching staffs.  Shun Yamiguchi (0-1, 2.01, 10 saves) is an effective closer when he gets an opportunity.  Not a lot of those playing for a last place team.

Foreign Aid - They seem to have trouble finding effective foreign players.  Giancarlo Alvardo (1-6, 3.92) and Brandon Mann (1-5, 3.91) have been finding wins rare, but when you give up close to four runs per game in this offensively challenged league it will not result in a lot of wins.

Jupiter WBC Dates Established

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The WBC for Jupiter, Florida that had been originally scheduled for November has been changed to September 19-23.  That date is good for Spain and France, who will just be completing the European championships, so their players should still be fresh from playing.  It will not be good for Israel, who may have had some hopes of using major leaguers Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler, if they could have convinced them to play.  Now it is a moot point, since Braun and Kinsler will be focused on the major league schedule in September.  South Africa is the fourth team that will compete in the qualifier.

Wildcats New NCAA Champions

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The Arizona Wildcats swept the two time defending champion South Carolina Gamecocks to become the new NCAA defending champions.  After winning the opener 5-1 the Wildcats took the second game of the best of three 4-1.  This game was a little more tense, with Michael Roth and James Farris dueling to a 1-1 duel after eight.  Roth was gone after two outs in the seventh while Farris departed after two were out in the eighth.

Farris may have been undone by a 12 pitch at bat by Christian Walker in the seventh.  He eventually walked and scored the tying run on a ground out by Kyle Martin.

Robert Refsnyder started the ninth inning rally for the Wildcats with a single.  In the opening game it was his 2-run homer in the first inning that was too much for the Gamecocks to overcome.  A Brandon Dixon double broke the 1-1 tie and number nine hitter Trent Gilbert came through with a 2-run single to make it 4-1.  For Gilbert it was his second and third RBIs of the game.  He drove in the first Wildcat run in the third inning with a ground out.

South Carolina was not done, loading the bases with only one out in the bottom of the ninth.  Despite two walks in the inning Mathew Troupe stayed on the mound to get the last two outs to preserve the victory.  It is their first national title since 1986.  Andy Lopez, the coach for Arizona became the second coach to win national championships for two schools, having took Pepperdine to the national championship in 1992 (Augie Garrido was the first with championships at Cal State Fullerton and Texas).  Twenty years is a long time between national championships for Lopez, but 26 years is even longer for Wildcat fans.

Tensions Rise in KBO

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The player’s association has stated that they will not particpate in the All Star game as a result of the owners voting not to select a tenth team to join the KBO.  The owners are probably wondering how they could have painted themselves into such a corner.  As the season began the KBO was on pace to break a record for attendance, with 7 million fans.  It is unclear whether this dispute between the players and the owners will have an impact on this attendance, but there is a threat that the players could boycott the remainder of the season after the All Star break.

According to KBO rules, if a player is selected for an All Star team, but does not participate it is an automatic 10 game suspension.  That would certainly have a significant impact on the quality of play, especially for the better teams who will have the greater number of All Star selections.  Impacting the quality of the league was one of the biggest reasons owners had cited for not supporting a tenth team.  These suspensions seem to contradict with that philosophy of providing a top product on the field.

The players association has threatened that if the 10 game suspensions are meted out they will call for a boycott of the remainder of the season.  That would certainly end any hope of reaching the 7 million in attendance.  Fans would certainly not come out to watch replacement players with the same enthusiasm that they watch their heros, if the owners are even considering that.

The All Star game is scheduled for July 21.  It does appear that there is a big disagreement between the owners of the KBO and the players association regarding this tenth team.  In the past the owners have shown a dictatorial hand when dealing with the players, giving them the “our way or the highway” philosophy.  Some would probably hope that the players association would go away, not learning any lessons from the MLB owners twenty year or so resistance to the major league player’s association that resulted in the first ever loss of the World Series.  A stubborn dictatorial approach will not help the growth of the KBO.  The owners and the players need to get together to establish what will work for both sides.

It is still not clear from many of the clubs whether their objection to a tenth team is really for the best interest of the KBO, or a fear that an addition of a tenth team will draw into a team’s current fan base, which will result in less money coming in for their team.  The players also have an incentive for a tenth team because that certainly means more jobs for them.  A dilution of talent will result.

What is in the best interest of the KBO probably needs to be decided by an independent arbitrator that has no investment in a team and is not affiliated with the player’s association.  Whether such an entity can be found is unclear.  It would have to be someone both the owners and players agree to perform a study of what is best for the KBO.

Wildcats Draw First Blood

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The Arizona Wildcats won the opener, getting a complete game one run effort from Konnor Wade and a homerun and two RBIs from right fielder Robert Refsnyder to win the opener 5-1.  Refsnyder mashed a 2-run homer in the opening frame to give the Wildcats a quick 2-0 lead.  Many would not know by his name, but Robert is Korean, adopted as an infant by parents to grow up playing baseball in Southern California.  The KBO could always draft Refsnyder to address their shortage of talent of ballplayers in Korea.  Refsnyder also did it with his glove, throwing out a runner at third to spoil a possible Gamecocks rally.

Refsnyder was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Yankees and is listed as a second baseman.

Wieters Leads O’s to Victory in Beltway Battle

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The crowd was not as large as the 46,000 plus that filled Camden on Saturday, but over 41,000 plus watched a 1-0 pitcher’s duel until Matt Wieters turned on a Sean Burnett pitch and drove it deep to the Orioles bullpen in the eighth inning for a 2-run homer and a 2-1 victory.  It was the smallest crowd of the three game series that drew over 132,000.  The three game series in D.C. drew over 120,000.  The Orioles won the Beltway Battle four games to two.

It was typical of a game between the team with the best ERA in baseball (Nationals) and the team with the best bullpen ERA in baseball (Orioles).  A non-traditional pitcher’s duel that saw both starting pitchers depart before the seventh inning, Jake Arrieta going six and Ross Detwiler five.

Ross Detwiller had been spending much of his May and June in the bull pen so he was limited to five innings.  While the Orioles loaded the bases off him in the fourth and had runners on second and third in the fifth he didn’t crack.  The Orioles had another opportunity with Craig Stammen pitching his second inning of relief and putting runners on second and third in the seventh with two outs but again failing to score.

The Nationals trotted out Sean Burnett, who had the best ERA among relief pitchers entering the game.  The formulae has worked like clockwork for Davey Johnson in the June, with the expectation that Tyler Clippard would trot out for the ninth.  The Orioles didn’t have to face Tyler.  Adam Jones started the inning with a single and Matt Wieters took the second pitch deep into the celebrating Orioles bullpen.

Jake Arrieta went six for the Nationals.  His one blemish came in the third giving up a lead off double to the Nationals back up catcher Jonathan Solano.  After hitting Steve Lombardozzi with a pitch he got Bryce Harper to hit into a comeback 1-6-3 doubleplay to appear to be out of the inning.  The sore shouldered Ryan Zimmerman was able to line a single into right center to give the Nationals their first run.

The best bullpen in baseball was called on to get the Nationals out the last three innings.  One has to wonder whether they are the best because of the matchups that Buck Showalter gives them.  Troy Patton, acquired years ago in the Miguel Tejeda trade, looked to be a journeyman pitcher until given an opportunity towards the end of last year.  He has turned that opportunity into a lefthanded longman job.  He got the first five outs, three by whiff, including the two lefthanders he faced Rick Ankiel and Bryce Harper.

After giving up a hit to Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Strop got the last out of the eighth.  The homerun by Wieters put the ninth inning in the hands of Jim Johnson, who has turned into one of the better closers in the American League.  He did issue a one out walk to Ian Desmond, but a Danny Espinosa strikeout and an attempted steal by Desmond on the swing and a miss resulted in a game ending strikeout/throw out double play.  For Johnson it was his 22nd save, second to Chris Perez in the American League.  He has one blown save, against the Boston Red Sox, but the Orioles were able to win that one, giving him his first victory.

Game Notes: Ryan Zimmerman was given a cortisone shot for his sore shoulder.  As most expected he has been battling shoulder issues.  It may be best that he go on the disabled list to let the shoulder heal rather than hit .220 for the rest of the season.  With Mark DeRosa ready to come off the disabled list they may need the 25-man roster space.  Zimmerman is restricted to hitting the ball to right field or right center for singles and has not pulled a pitch in a long time, which is where his power lies…Jonathan Solano was originally signed to be the back up catcher to Wilson Ramos with the expectation that they would eventually trade Jesus Flores.  They couldn’t trade Flores, but when Ramos went down Solano was on the disabled list in the minor leagues.  He is now healthy and fulfilling his originally intended backup role, but to Jesus Flores and not Wilson Ramos.  He is hitting a nice .375 in limited playing time.  Standing next to Matt Wieters he looked like a bit of a munchkin so he may be smaller than his 6 foot list height…Bryce Harper caught Adam Jones napping on a bounced single up the middle.  Harper turned it into a hustling double.  Jones thought he had Harper at second, but if he had hustled to the base hit initially, rather than break for it after he saw that Harper was not stopping as he rounded first he may have got him…Prior to his homerun Matt Wieters looked bad, swinging and missing at two pitches that dived in the dirt…Mark Reynolds almost made it back to back after Wieters homerun, stroking one that Harper caught against the scoreboard.

O’s Take it On Chen

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Camden Yards was rocking as in the old days.  A wave was surging in the late innings that went around seven times.  It was a sea of orange, scattered with shades of red.  It didn’t help the O’s to victory, but the more than 46,000 saw a good game that the Nationals won 3-1.

The Oriole bats had trouble finding hits off Edwin JacksonAdam Jones hit a screaming line drive leading off the seventh inning that hit off the left field foul pole for a homerun.  It would be the Orioles only tally and by then they were down 3-0.  It was only the second hit off Jackson.  After giving up back to back singles to Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds one out later Davey Johnson went to the bullpen, calling on Michael Gonzalez.

Buck Showalter countered with Ronnie Paulino to pinch hit for the lefty swinging Nick Johnson.  Gonzalez went through a lot of pitches, running the count to 3-2.  Paulino finally hit a soft liner to Ian Desmond at short.  Betemit found himself to far off the bag and was doubled off at second to end the inning.  That would be about it for the Orioles.

Sean Burnett came on in the eighth.  He got J.J. Hardy to ground into a double play to end that inning.  It was difficult to focus on the game since there was some chaos going on in the left field stands.  An older Nationals fan had complained to an usher about the treatment he was recieving from some younger Oriole fans.  Eventually the police had to be called.  The younger fans resisted and more police had to be called.  It was unclear whether the Oriole fan was going after the older National fan and the policeman just got in the way, but there was some physical contact with the officer that led to some wrestling in the aisle.  The Oriole fan and the older National fan were taken away by the police.  The older National fan had a look of shock and horror on his face.  The Oriole fan was angry.  One has to wonder whether it had been worth it for the National fan to complain.

After order was restored Tyler Clippard retired the side in order to pick up his 12th save.  Davey Jonhson has already said that when Drew Storen returns after the All Star break Tyler will remain his closer.  Drew will pitch in a set up role as he nurses his arm back to health.

Wei-Yen Chen got the start for the Orioles.  He has had a pretty good season except when he is facing the bats of the Nationals.  Last night it was his fielding that let him down in the second inning.  With two out and runners on second and third, Wilson Betemit fielded a 2-out grounder off the bat of Xavier Nady.  His throw to first bounced in the dirt with Mark Reynolds unable to scoop it up.  The scorer generously ruled it a hit.  By the time Reynolds had retrieved the ball both Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche had crossed the plate.

Adam LaRoche hit a solo shot in the fourth off Chen that barely cleared the right centerfield fence.  Adam Jones tried to climb the wall, but he came up short in catching the ball.

Chen had to leave the game after just a bit over 80 pitches.  A Jesus Flores comebacker bloodied his finger.  He survived to pitch the fifth but Buck turned to the bullpen after that.  Four different pitchers pitched one inning each to shut out the Nationals the rest of the way, but their bats couldn’t overcome the 3-0 deficit.

Game Notes: Myworld arrived early to watch batting practice.  Stephen Strasburg is an active participant in chasing batted balls.  Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen stood as far back in left field as they could, never moving from their spot.  There would be no batted balls retrieved if it was left to them.  Gio Gonzalez was like a social butterfly as he wandered from group to group, showing his athleticism by making a nice running catch on one batted ball…Edwin Jackson had a perfect game after four. In the fifth a Ryan Zimmerman error on a tough hop ground ball, a Wilson Betemit single and a Nick Johnson walk loaded the bases with two outs. He got out of the inning by coaxing Steve Pearce to pop to short…Ryan Zimmerman continues his 0 fors. He did hit a line drive to centerfield that was an atem ball, but his average has now dropped below .220. Since his brief hot streak in early June that raised his average to .250 he is 6 for his last 48 with nary an RBI in his last 11 games.  That is not the kind of production you want to see from your number three hitter.