Pictured above is Eric O'Flaherty, Patron Saint of Blowing Games. In another nail-biter, the O's AGAIN came from behind to score a 5-4 win over Seattle, giving the Birds their first four-game sweep since 2004. O'Flaherty was inexplicably brought into the game in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a solo home run to an ice cold Aubrey Huff, which turned out to be the game winner.
Now, look, I'm going to be a realist for a second. This team can't keep winning games by coming from behind. It's not going to work.
Now that I'm done with that, THIS IS BIRDLAND, G!
Luis Luis came through with a 2-for-2 day at the plate and made some fine defensive plays behind our pitchers, who started off on the familiar rocky road thanks to Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera went six innings, which he should get some credit for after allowing two first inning solo home runs to Ichiro and Raul Ibanez, putting the O's in a hole right away. Over the six innings, Cabrera allowed four earned runs on five hits and four walks, with five strikeouts.
The difference between Cabrera now and the old Cabrera is he throws slower. It's probably on purpose, with him trying to control the ball better, but it does hurt his K-rate and does make him more hittable, which is going to give him a lot of really horrific outings, like it did last year. The best thing he had going for him was he was really hard to hit; you either struck out or walked, in most cases. Since his walk rates aren't falling any, that means he's letting MORE guys on base. Which is bad news.
But, again, now that I'm done with that, THIS IS BIRDLAND, SON!
Jamie Walker got a couple of outs today, and Dennis Sarfate picked up the win. I really like Dennis the Menace so far -- that guy's philosophy seems to be, "Hey, you. Hit THIS." His fastball is really nice, he's getting ahead in counts, and he's just doing a really good job. He's so good, in fact, that I think we could be looking at a top-notch setup guy or even a closer. Not that we need another closer right now, since George Sherrill is now 4-for-4 in save opportunities, as he got a 1-2-3 ninth inning on Betancourt, Ichiro and Lopez.
Carlos Silva was very Carlos Silva for the Mariners, going seven, allowing four earned on nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
For the O's, Brian Roberts went 3-for-4 with two RBI to salvage what had been a pretty bad series for him, and Melvin Mora hit a two-run homer in the third, capping a three-run inning where the Birds took their first lead of the game.
The Mariners tied it in the top of the fourth on an idiotic "defensive indifference" play by Cabrera. Let's not even get into it.
Five in a row. First place. Five in a row!
I'm getting some serious "first half of 2005" vibes about this team, but this is a team that's built in a way that it could get better as the season goes on. If they steal enough games early...who knows?
Jay Payton got to pinch run. Never complain about PT, Jay!
We're having some good fun to start this season. On to Arlington! Let's mess with Texas.
I do send one recommendation to M's fans, though: Be careful about hoping John McLaren gets the ax. You might get Sam Perlozzo.