Wednesday, April 28, 2010

O's win second in a row!!!!!!

Gimme two: The Orioles won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The Orioles beat the Yankees last night, 5-4, in what could be the start to their first winning streak of the season. They beat the Red Sox to avoid a sweep in Fenway on Sunday, 7-6.


The Orioles, however, looked shaky in both wins, coming close to blowing each one. Go back to their first win of the season in Tampa, and you'll remember that the Orioles could have easily blown that 5-4 win too.

If a handful of pitches go differently, this team could only have 1 win.

But a win is a win. I'll take it. And when they come against the Red Sox and Yankees in consecutive games, it's cause to celebrate.

Last night the O's rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the 6th inning, scoring 3 runs with 2 outs to take the lead. They also tacked on another run in the bottom of the 8th to increase the lead to 5-2, and they were lucky they did because that Katz insurance run was the difference.

Cesar Izturis was in the middle of the scoring, with 3 RBI on the night. Yes, you read that right.

The other unlikely hero was Alfredo Simon. Yes, you read that right too.

Having been called up earlier that day, Simon came in in the top of the 9th to close out the game. Simon, you might remember, was an Orioles starter to begin the 2009 season, but an elbow injury caused him to miss the rest of the season after only 2 starts. Last night he looked completely healthy, with his fastball touching 97 MPH with some great movement. He also struck out Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter while notching his first major league save of his career.

His save didn't come without some hiccups, though. After striking out Granderson to start the inning, Simon gave up a base hit to Nick Swisher and then walked Nick Johnson, who has the best batting eye in the game. Simon then fanned Derek Jeter before Cesar Izturis misplayed a Brett Gardner ground ball, which allowed a runner to score. A Mark Teixiera base hit plated another run, making the game 5-4 with Alex Rodriguez coming to the plate.

I'll be honest. At that point, I was ready to turn the game off and go to bed, sure the O's would blow another win. But with the first pitch, Simon got Rodriguez to ground out to Julio Lugo to end the game.

Thank freaking God.

When I saw Simon warming up in the bullpen in the bottom of the 8th inning, I thought Dave Trembley had completely lost it. Here was Simon, making his 2010 debut as a closer against the Yankees. But Simon apparently asked Trembley for the ball when he arrived in Baltimore, and Trembley obliged.

So is Simon the Orioles' new closer? Not so fast, but apparently he as the mentality and the fastball to succeed in the role. And he was a former closer in the minors. So it's not something completely new to the 28-year-old.

Trembley has said he will go with who is pitching well in the bullpen -- no more roles -- which is probably for the best right now considering the bullpen's unreliable nature since the start of the season. Just let whoever is pitching keep pitching until they aren't getting batters out any more.

The Orioles may still be a dreadful 4-16, and Trembley may be on his way out, but at least he, and the Orioles, are going to go out swinging.


Kevin Millwood went 5.1 IP with 4 K and 3 BB. His ERA on the season is 3.38. LHP Alberto Castillo pitched 1.2 innings of shutout baseball, striking out 3. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Rhyne Hughes and Nolan Reimold each had an RBI.

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