* It was nice meeting some of the Baseball Prospectus crew at their event before the game. It was an enjoyable time, and Andy MacPhail also stopped by to answer questions. I asked about Garrett Atkins – when the team decided on him at first-base – and got a somewhat lengthy response that ended with Andy saying there were a number of first-basemen left on the free agent market to compliment Atkins at third. Never got a chance to ask the follow-up; why’d he sign Tejada instead of a first-baseman then? Nor did I have a chance to ask – after he went on about intangibles with relief pitchers and the 9th inning – if they signed Mike Gonzalez because they didn’t think Jim Johnson had what it takes to close.
I’ll be honest; I felt a bit awkward (more than usual, I suppose) talking to the BP guys, since I’m both a fan and kind of a peer*. I didn’t really have any questions for them, but was looking forward to just casually chatting with them some during the game. Alas, they sat in a separate section (I think – I didn’t see them around).
* I’m under no disillusions that I’m on their level, but Craig Tatum and Matt Wieters are teammates after all.
* Felix Pie led off the game with a home run, and later added a single and a walk. He was plus on both sides of the ball, throwing a runner out at the plate and making a nice catch on a ball in the gap that I doubt the other left-fielders could have gotten to. Let’s see what the guy can do with some playing time.
* Nick Markakis wouldn’t chase anything, walking in his first plate appearance and maybe swinging at three pitches all night – two line drives caught by Rays’ outfielders, and a hard come-backer that actually knocked Matt Garza over when he gloved it. Awesome patience.
* Jeremy Guthrie was solid, with a 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR line. Hard to expect any more out of him.
* Guess. The Birds scored in their first plate appearance of the game, and batter two through the bottom of the ninth they were shut out. 5 singles and 3 walks. That’s it.
* Baserunning. With Luke Scott on second and Ty Wigginton (pinch-hit single for Lugo) at first, Nolan Reimold came up to hit for Izturis. A ball got away from the catcher, and Wiggy broke for second. Scott stopped… then ran to third. Ty stopped once he saw that Luke wasn’t running, and got tagged out between first and second. That ended the inning, with Reimold never getting a chance to actually hit in the game (Turner came in at short).
* Atkins came up in the bottom of the second with two on and no outs. I said, “here comes a double play.” And so it was. 0-4 with 2 strike-outs.
Guthrie had to pitch a shutout to win, and that’s way too much to ask. Just a sad state of affairs offensively. Almost pathetic even. O’s lose 5-1. They’re 1-6. Jeebus.