Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sunday June 19 vs the Red Sox

Opponent: Boston Red Sox
Outcome: L
Score: 7-15
Streak: L1
Record: 18-49
Rank: 7th
GB: 23

If you were looking for good news about this game for the Orioles you'd probably start with the fact that they scored 7 runs, the most they'd scored in a game in two weeks.  And you'd probably end there too.  It was not a good afternoon for the home team.

The Birds actually got on the board first with a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the first by Fred Lynn and Eddie Murray.  But the Red Sox came roaring back in the top of the second.  Ellis Burks decided that he like the solo home runs the Orioles hit so much that he added one of his own to start the inning.  Jim Rice and Rich Gedman followed with singles.  After a line out by Pat Dodson, Spike Owen doubled scoring Rice.  Dickie Noles was making his second (and as it turned out final) start for the O's that day and manager Frank Robinson had already seen enough.  He went to the bullpen and brought in Mark Williamson who promptly gave up an RBI double to Wade Boggs and a two RBI single to Marty Barrett to make the score 5-2.  Barrett scored on a single by Mike Greenwell two batters later to make it 6-2.

Boggs and Barrett had back-to-back RBI hits again (both singles) in the top of the third to increase the Red Sox lead but the Orioles staged a bit of a comeback in the bottom of the fourth.  With two outs and Murray and second Larry Sheets hit a two run home run.  Terry Kennedy followed with a single to right and then went to second when Dwight Evans made an error on the ball.  Red Sox starter Mike Smithson next hit Rene Gonzales with a pitch.  Bill Ripken then hit an RBI single bringing in Kennedy and knocking Smithson out of the game.  Red Sox manager John McNamara brought in Wes Gardner to pitch.  His first pitch to Ken Gerhart went to the backstop allowing Gonzales to move to third but he eventually got Gerhart to line out to end the inning.  The Orioles had narrowed their deficit to three runs. 

They wouldn't stay that close for long.  The Red Sox got two runs in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Greenwell and an RBI single by Burks to make it 10-5.  They then piled on in the top of the seventh when Dodson greeted new Orioles pitcher Doug Sisk by homering on his first pitch.  Later in the inning an Evans RBI double followed by a run scoring ground out by Greenwell made the score 13-5. 

Cal Ripken had an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh but a two run home run by Greenwell in the top of the ninth just kept pushing the Sox lead higher.  Jim Traber had an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to make the final score 15-7.

I was at the game again, rooting for the Red Sox.  Here's the game story from the next day's Evening Sun:





Monday, June 18, 2018

Saturday June 18 vs the Red Sox

Opponent: Boston Red Sox
Outcome: L
Score: 0-5
Streak: L1
Record: 18-48
Rank: 7th
GB: 23

As a Red Sox fan in the second half of the 1980's there was nothing more exciting then a game in which Roger Clemens was pitching.  So I was very excited to be at the ballpark today because Clemens was starting.  And even better - I had front row seats for the game.  I was sitting on the third base side just up from the Orioles dugout.

Clemens was on today and the Orioles really had no shot.  He pitched a complete game shut out (his sixth of the season so far) for his tenth win and struck out nine.  He did give up nine hits and walked one but no base runner reached third until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Meanwhile the Sox offense was taking care of business.  They scored two runs in the top of the first (a Dwight Evans double scored Wade Boggs and a Mike Greenwell single scored Evans) and added another in the top of the second (a Boggs single scored Pat Dodson).  An RBI single by Evans in the top of the fourth scored Spike Owen with the fourth run and effectively ended the day for the Orioles starting pitcher Jose Bautista (although manager Frank Robinson left him in to intentionally walk Greenwell before lifting him for Doug Sisk).  Boston got their fifth and final run of the game in the eighth when a single by Marty Barrett scored Rich Gedman.

I lingered after the game for a bit, just enjoying being at the ballpark on a nice afternoon after watching my favorite team win.  Orioles bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks was walking by on his way to the dugout and I called out to him "Hey Elrod, when are they going to let you manage again?"  He stopped and looked at me, then just shook his head and chuckled as he walked away.

Here's the game articles from the next day's Sun paper:




Sunday, June 17, 2018

Friday June 17 vs the Red Sox

Opponent: Boston Red Sox
Outcome: W
Score: 3-2
Streak: W2
Record: 18-46
Rank: 7th
GB: 22

For the second straight night I had good seats to see the Red Sox and for the second straight night I went home disappointed. 

Early on it looked good for the Red Sox.  In the top of the Sox got a couple runners on when Pat Dodson walked and Ellis Burks singled.  Marty Barrett attempted to sacrifice the two runners over but Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton fielded his bunt and threw the ball away.  Dodson score and Burks and Barrett ended up on third and second respectively.  Wade Boggs hit a sacrifice fly to score Burks and the Sox were up 2-0. 

It remained 2-0 until the bottom of the sixth.  Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd was on the mound for Boston and he had held the Birds to four hits over the first five innings.  But with one out in the sixth Jim Traber singled and Fred Lynn followed with a two run home run, his ninth of the season.  The game was now tied 2-2.

It would remain tied into extra innings.  With one out in the bottom of the eleventh, Eddie Murray walked.  With Traber at bat, Murray attempted to steal second.  The throw from Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman went into center field and Murray advanced to third.  Traber then singled to bring Murray in with the winning run.

There are two things I remember about this evening.  One is that I attempted to get an autograph before the game.  I'm not sure I had ever attempted to get a player's autograph before a game before and I was probably pretty rude about it.  I basically stuck my scorecard out to a Red Sox player who was in the middle of a conversation with someone in the stands - he kind of game me a look and randomly signed my scorecard in the middle of the grid.  So when I kept score that night I had to work around the signature.  What made it worse on my part is that I actually had no idea who I was getting to sign - it turned out it was pitcher Tom Bolton.  I've tried to be much more polite since then on the rare occasions when I try to get autographs.  Here's my scorecard showing Bolton's autograph:


The other thing I remember about this night is seeing lightning in the distance north of the ballpark while Boyd was pitching. 

Here's the game story from the next day's Sun paper:




The back of one of these clippings has "Orioles notes" and mentions that the Birds had signed their second round pick from the draft - Arthur Rhodes.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Thursday June 16 vs the Red Sox

Opponent: Boston Red Sox
Outcome: W
Score: 8-4
Streak: W1
Record: 17-47
Rank: 7th
GB: 23


The Orioles came home to take on the Red Sox for the first time this season.  The Sox were preseason favorites to win the AL East but were not living up to expectations so far.  The team came into Baltimore in fifth place with a 30-30 record, eight games behind the first place Yankees.

I've mentioned before that my favorite team is actually the Red Sox so I had decided to celebrate my new job with getting tickets for all four games of the series between the Red Sox and Orioles this weekend.  Despite this being Thursday it was NOT "Three Buck Night" - the Orioles had decided the Red Sox were enough of a draw that they didn't need cheap tickets.  I splurged on the most expensive seats at the ballpark - $9.50 a piece for seats in the lower deck.

I had an up close view this night of something I wasn't too happy about but it started out with something I had never seen before.  The game was scoreless through three innings.  In the top of the fourth the Red Sox got back to back singles from Marty Barrett and Wade Boggs to lead off the inning.  But Dwight Evans grounded into a double play, forcing Boggs at second but moving Barrett to third.  What happened next was pretty wild.  Jeff Ballard was pitching for the Birds this night and he's left handed so his back was to Barrett as he pitched to Mike Greenwell.  Barrett took a huge lead on the second pitch of the at bat, basically going what seemed to me about half way down the line as Ballard delivered the pitch.  He retreated to the base and waited.  Ballard basically was ignoring him.  Now keep in mind the the Orioles dugout in Memorial Stadium was on the third base side so this has happened in front of their dugout.  If anyone yelled to Ballard from the bench he didn't pay any attention because two pitches later Barrett stole home, reaching home almost before Ballard threw the pitch.  1-0 Red Sox.  Greenwell then doubled and was knocked in on a single by Jim Rice, putting the Sox up 2-0.

The lead was short-lived.  Eddie Murray and Jim Traber led off with back to back singles.  Fred Lynn followed with another single but Murray was thrown out attempting to score.  Red Sox starter Jeff Sellers then walked Larry Sheets to load the bases.  Mickey Tettleton then doubled, scoring Traber and Lynn to tie the game up and moving Sheets to third.  With Rene Gonzales at the plate, Red Sox manager John McNamara replaced Sellers with John Trautwein.  Gonzales attempted a suicide squeeze bunt but missed the pitch.  Red Sox catcher Rick Cerone tagged Sheets out in what got ruled an attempted steal of home.  Gonzales then grounded out to end the inning.  Due to bad base running, the Birds got only two runs out of four hits and a walk.

The Orioles went ahead for good in the bottom of the fifth.  The first two batters reached on a single by Joe Orsulak and a hit-by-pitch to Bill Ripken.  Cal Ripken doubled to score both of them and then scored himself on a single by Traber two batters later.

The Red Sox cut the Orioles lead to one run with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings but the Birds had yet another one of those weird innings in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach.  Bob Stanley had come into pitch for the Sox and he struck out Gonzales to start the inning.  Orsulak singled but Stanley struck out Bill Ripken for the second out.  Stanley then walked Cal Ripken and Murray to load the bases.  Orsulak and Cal came into score when Traber singled.  Lynn was intentionally walked to reload the bases and then Stanley hit Ken Gerhart with a pitch to bring in yet another run.  Stanley finally got Tettleton to strikeout to end the inning.  The Orioles scored three runs on two hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch to bring the final score to 8-4.

Here's the game story from the next day's Evening Sun along with a feature on Barrett's steal of home:







Friday, June 15, 2018

Wednesday June 15 at the Tigers

Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Outcome: L
Score: 0-1
Streak: L2
Record: 16-47
Rank: 7th
GB: 23.5

The Orioles came into tonight's game with a shot at going .500 for their six game road trip to New York and Detroit.  They had probably their hottest starter going this evening in Mike Boddicker who had won his last three decisions and the team had won his last four starts.  

Boddicker did his job this night - holding the Tigers to just two hits over seven innings although he did walk five.  One of those walks was costly however.  Luis Salazar led off the bottom of the second with a walk, moved to third on Matt Nokes' single and then scored on Dave Bergman's sacrifice fly.  

The problem for the Orioles is that as good as Boddicker pitched this evening, Tigers starter Jeff Robinson pitched even better.  He threw a complete game shutout, scattering five hits and only one walk.  Mickey Tettleton had the only extra base hit of the game with a two out double in the seventh.  The Birds never got a baserunner to third the entire game.  It was the team's tenth shutout loss of the season.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Tuesday June 14 at the Tigers

Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Outcome: L
Score: 3-9
Streak: L1
Record: 16-46
Rank: 7th
GB: 23.5

The Orioles had played four games in a row that they were very competitive in.  They had gone 2-2 over those four games but they'd only been outscored by three runs combined in the two games they'd lost and they conceivably could have won all four games.  That streak ended tonight.

Veteran pitcher Dickie Noles had been called up from the Orioles AAA affiliate in Rochester, NY to make tonight's start.  Noles had come up with the Phillies in 1979 and was part of their World Championship team in 1980.  He had spent a couple of years in the Cubs starting rotation in the early 1980's but had spent the previous three seasons bouncing from the Cubs to the Rangers to the Indians back to the Cubs and then to the Tigers.  The Orioles had signed him just before Opening Day and sent him to Rochester. 

Noles did not prove to be an improvement over what the Orioles had been running out there this season.  He did pitch a perfect bottom of the first but things got dicey in the second inning.  Alan Trammell and Darrell Evans hit back to back singles to start the inning and Noles hit Chet Lemon with a pitch to load the bases.  Matt Nokes then singled to score the game's first run.  After Ray Knight popped out for the first out of the inning, Tom Brookens connected for a grand slam, the third one hit against the Orioles in the past week.  Noles managed to get out of the inning without giving up any further runs but the Birds were now down 5-0.

The bottom of the third started out looking like a repeat of the second.  Pat Sheridan legged out a ground ball to second for a single and Trammell reached on an error by Orioles third baseman Rene Gonzales.  When Evans hit a single that brought in Sheridan with the Tigers' sixth run of the game, Orioles manager Frank Robinson had seen enough.  Noles was yanked in favor of Doug Sisk who got Lemon to ground into a double play and Nokes to ground out to end the inning.

Meanwhile veteran Tigers starter Doyle Alexander was keeping the Orioles batters from accomplishing much.  The Orioles wouldn't get an extra base hit until the seventh inning when Ken Gerhart led off with a double and then scored on Jim Traber's two run home run.  The Orioles got another run on Bill Ripken's lead off home run in the top of the eighth to cut the Tigers' lead to 6-3 but the Tigers got all three runs back in the bottom of the eighth on a two RBI single by Brookens and an RBI double from Lou Whitaker.  Brookens had a 4 for 4 night with a double and a home run - he scored two runs and knocked in six.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Monday June 13 at the Tigers

Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Outcome: W
Score: 6-4
Streak: W1
Record: 16-45
Rank: 7th
GB: 23.5

The Orioles arrived in Detroit to take on a Tigers team that was just coming off a road trip to Baltimore and Cleveland.  They had won five straight and had moved from third place into second by sweeping the Indians.  The sweep knocked the Indians out of second and started the Tribe's descent to sixth place where they ended the season.  The story of tonight's game looked like it was going to be about yet another failure of the Orioles bullpen but it turned out to be the Tigers' bullpen that faltered.

The Orioles drew blood first tonight with a two out rally in the fourth inning.  Eddie Murray continued his hot hitting with a double and then Larry Sheets reached base on an error by Tigers first baseman Darrell Evans.  Tigers starter Walt Terrell then walked Fred Lynn to load the bases.  Jim Traber singled to knock in Murray and Sheets before Mickey Tettleton flew out to end the inning.

Matt Nokes got the Tigers on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run off of Orioles starter Jose Bautista but Tettleton got the run back with a solo home run of his own in the top of the seventh.  But Evans would atone for his earlier error by tying the game up with a two run home run in the bottom of the seventh.

The bottom of the eighth started out looking like one of those horror movie innings that the Orioles bullpen seemed to specialize in.  Mark Williamson had come on in relief of Bautista the inning before and he walked Gary Pettis to start this inning.  Williamson then moved Pettis to second on a balk with Lou Whitaker at the plate.  Whitaker laid down a bunt to attempt to sacrifice Pettis to third but ended up being safe when Orioles third baseman Rene Gonzales was unable to throw him out at first.  Orioles manager Frank Robinson went back to his bullpen and brought in Don Aase.  Aase struck out Pat Sheridan for the first out of the inning but Alan Trammell singled to score Pettis and put the Tigers up for the first time all game.  Evans then hit a ground ball to Murray at first base but the throw was low to Aase covering and Evans was safe on Murray's throwing error.  Robinson went back to the bullpen and brought in Tom Neidenfuer, the Orioles closer who had been the previous day's losing pitcher.  Neidenfuer prevented further damage when he got Chet Lemon to ground into a double play to end the inning.  The Tigers now lead 4-3 though.

Tigers manager Sparky Anderson let Terrell start the top of the ninth but lifted him in favor of Willie Hernandez after Lynn hit a single with one out.  Pete Stanicek came in to run for Lynn and stole second while Hernandez was pitching to Traber.  Traber eventually drew a walk and Tettleton crushed a three run home run (his second home run of the game) to put the Birds up 6 to 4.  Hernandez got out of the inning without any further damage but Neidenfuer pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to preserve his own victory.

This was my first day at my new job.  I had to go down to the DC area to my company's headquarters for orientation that morning before heading up to my local office near Baltimore that afternoon.  I remember stopping by a McDonalds to pick up lunch on the way back from DC and noticing that the workers there were all wearing maroon pinstriped dress shirts like the one that my friend Linda had picked out for me over the previous weekend.  I told myself that if this new job didn't work out that at least I already had clothes for a fall back position at McDonalds.  Luckily it wasn't needed - I ended up staying at this job for almost nine years.