Friday, May 16, 2008
Windy, Rainy, Cold & Sloppy
The winds were whipping hot dogs wrappers and trash throughout Camden Yards. An almost autumn chill was in the air. But these gusts had nothing to do with Lastings Milledge's circular route to a hit baseball. Nor, did it effect a relay throw from FLop. And that stiff breeze tonight at Oriole Park was also not caused by the whiffing bats of Wily Mo Pena and Elijah Dukes--with the game on the line. Once again--Our Outfield not producing in the clutch in a sloppy affair.
Our Washington Nationals had their chances this evening in Baltimore against The Orioles to win. They failed. And sometimes there can be no more excuses.
Our Number 44 badly misplayed a looping liner to right center by Baltimore's Melvin Mora in the bottom of the 5th. A terrible tract to the hit baseball by Milledge which amazingly found grass for an RBI Double. Lastings simply muffed this fly. In fact, he looked like he didn't even want to pursue the ball--consistently looking at Elijah Dukes running toward him from right field. The Centerfielder needs to take charge on this play. Milledge did not--yet again.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 3rd--Felipe Lopez--looking to turn two and end a rally by The Orioles --crossed over the second base bag--taking a throw from Ryan Zimmerman to retire Mora--then proceeded to wildy throw to first base--well past the stretched glove of Aaron Boone. A crucial error that allowed Baltimore to score their first two runs of the evening and draw even. Yeah--Melvin Mora slid hard into FLop, but he still had plenty of time to make the throw. Our Number 2 rushed when he didn't have to.
Wily Mo Pena continues to be an enigma at the plate. Again tonight--hitless and striking out badly with runners in scoring position. Our Number 26 not helping by walking back to the dugout with his bat on his shoulder. Pena looks completely lost at the plate. Who would have thought--nearly 100 At-Bats into his season--not one single home run.
Elijah Dukes also hitless tonight--although he did knock in one run with a Sacrifice Fly with the bases loaded.
Three times each this evening--both Pena and Dukes headed to the plate with runners on and less than two outs--and only one time did a single runner score for Our Washington Nationals.
Of course, Shawn Hill did not have a good night also--throwing way too many pitches--99 of them before he left after five struggling innings. A eight hit, two walk performance for Our Number 41 that could have actually ended better--if Milledge and Flop had turned the two key defensive plays of this game.
Really there is not much more to say about this poorly played baseball game. On a night the strong winds and whipping rainy mist wreaked havoc around Camden Yards--The Baltimore Orioles overcame this disadvantage--while Our Washington Nationals were blown away.
Final Score from Orioles Park at Camden Yards: Baltimore 5 and Washington 3. The momentum gained in Queens over the past four days--at least temporarily--lost. In fact, this game is just hard to write about. As artistically pleasing as yesterday's victory over The Mets was--tonight's game was the exact opposite--hard to watch.
But you can bet--Sohna and I will be back tomorrow night. We are sitting in Club Level at Camden Yards on Saturday. We want to compare their service (provided by Aramark) to New Nationals Park (Centerplate).
Game Notes & Highlights
This game stared so well for Washington. Three straight hits scored two runs off The Orioles starting pitcher Garrett Olsen. FLop single to center. "The Guz" ground rule double over the left centerfield wall and Ryan Zimmerman with a slashing single down the left field line for two RBI's. Olsen was in trouble with no outs--but Our Washington Nationals could not further capitalize--a trend that continued throughout this game.
Zimmerman had a fine game--three hits, two rbi and smacked a hard hit liner right at Kevin Millar at first base for the final out of this game. For a moment, it appeared Our Number 11 would gather four hits tonight. At least Ryan appears to be coming around--while others are continuing to slump. Even Austin Kearns was held out of this game--reportedly working on his swing in the batting cages.
There was a very odd rundown in the key 5th inning. Right after Mora had doubled--thanks to Milledge's miscue--Aubrey Huff smacked a comebacker to Shawn Hill on the mound. Mora was trapped between 2nd and 3rd. Hill hesitated then finally ran directly at Mora. But instead of continuing to run right at him--Shawn threw to Zimmerman at third--and a way too long of a rundown commenced. Eventually, a 1-5-6-1 recorded out, but not before Huff ran all the way to second base--scoring position--where Aubrey should not have been. Sure enough--Millar would knock him home on the very next at-bat for Baltimore's 5th and final run of the game. Four runs scored tonight by Baltimore that were preventable. Only Luke Scott's rocket shot home run off Hill in the 4th was a sure thing for The Orioles.
Dmitri Young returned to the lineup after his extended absence due to back pain. He received a gift single when The Orioles misplayed a routine pop up in the wind behind shortstop. Other than that--Our Number 21 was not a factor. Although Sohna and I both noticed that Dmitri looked slightly heavier than what we recall from Spring Training.
Finally, on the field-we got to do something about Our Outfield. Pena, Milledge, Dukes and Kearns are under performing so poorly--you just have to wonder what's wrong. There is NO WAY they can collectively be this bad--at the same time.
Of course there was alot of stuff off the field and in the stands tonight worth mentioning.
None better than MY BEST FRIEND!! SCREECH!! on hand at Oriole Park. During the entire 4th inning, Screech came to visit The African Queen and I sitting in The Terrace Box Seats--just off first base at Camden Yards. Having spotted him earlier near Home Plate--I went down to visit him. The second I told him Sohna was sitting three sections away--off he went--to see his Girlfriend. His presence sending our Section into overdrive. Orioles Fans rooting vocally for their team--now turned their attention--totally--to Our Washington Nationals Mascot.
The looks on some of the children wanting pictures and autographs--PRICELESS. One parent telling her daughter after hugging Screech--"You Traitor!!" (That's Good Stuff). We were all having a good time and it was nice to see those not familiar with My Best Friend! enjoying his antics.
The New Scoreboard in Right Center is very colorful. Not as big as the HDTV Scoreboard at Nationals Park--but the content is good and alot of information is provided. Although--unless I just couldn't see it--I did not notice the pitch count and number of balls and strikes thrown by any pitcher on any tally board. Did I miss it?
Also--Baltimore has replaced their out of town wall scoreboard with a better quality one.
There is a new Seafood Stand at Camden Yards located behind Home Plate on the Main Concourse. Charm City Seafood served up some good offerings this evening. The $4 Maryland Crab Soup with spices--EXCELLENT. The freshly made Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich with Old Bay Potato Chips equally as good. This Crab Cake melted in your mouth. $13 and worth it. Of course Teddy's Pretzel (located behind the first base side) still sells the best melt in your mouth soft pretzel we have EVER tasted in any ballpark. Whether you choose Cinnamon, Buttery or Plain--a great deal for $4.
Finally--tonight was Friday Night Fireworks at Oriole Park. For this show--Sohna and I moved to the field box seats directly behind home plate. The display was excellent--a good ten minute program. We liked it and the program provided a nice alternative to waiting in line to drive out of the nearby parking garage to head back to Alexandria.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass
All other photos--Nats320