Monday, April 14, 2008

Orioles Team Report Apr 14, 2008

Trying to figure out Daniel Cabrera may be something close to impossible. The 6-foot-9 right-hander has baffled Orioles’ coaches, managers and executives throughout four-plus years in the major leagues.

He has had games in which he performed like a seasoned veteran and dominated opponents, as he came close to doing Saturday against the Rays. There have been as many games, though, in which Cabrera performed like a prospect who might never reach his vast potential. Those contrasting outings are reflected in the 40-49 career record he took into the game at Tampa Bay.

Each year, managers and pitching coaches have declared Cabrera ready to step up and display his true talents. And each year, he has failed to take the full stride.

“I know there’s a lot of people that won’t believe it until they see it, but I think he’s going to have a very solid season for us,” Trembley said during spring training. “I think he knows very clearly what’s expected of him. I’ve seen him come into camp with a different look about him. His focus and demeanor has been certainly much more businesslike.”

Cabrera led the league in walks in each of the past two seasons with 104 and 108 and has not had a winning record since going 12-8 as a rookie in 2004. In three starts this season he has three no-decisions and has walked 10 with a 5.94 ERA.

Rays 6, Orioles 2: Brian Burres didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings, but gave up five hits, the last a three-run homer by B.J. Upton to put the Rays ahead 6-0. The Orioles’ bullpen blanked the Rays the rest of the way. The only Orioles’ runs came on Nick Markakis’ first home run in the sixth and a Markakis walk that forced in the other in the seventh.

Notes, Quotes

• LHP Jamie Walker, who had not given up home runs in consecutive appearances since 1998, gave up eighth-inning, game-tying home runs in back-to-back appearances—to the same batter, the Rays’ Carlos Pena—on Friday and Saturday. The Rays won the first game, the Orioles won the second.

• RHP Matt Albers will get his first start as an Oriole on Monday. Albers was needed because Steve Trachsel was moved back a day by a rainout in Texas, a game made up in a doubleheader on Wednesday. Albers was in the bullpen as the long reliever after losing out on the fifth rotation spot to Brian Burres.

• C Ramon Hernandez hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning on Saturday to give him a career average of .309 with six home runs and 39 RBIs in his career against the Rays. His two hits on Saturday were his first this season against Tampa Bay.

• LHP Brian Burres didn’t allow a hit on Sunday until the fifth inning, but he ran out of luck in that frame. He allowed five hits that, with one of his four walks, accounted for six runs and the loss that dropped his record to 1-1 boosted his ERA to 5.40.

• 2B Brian Roberts, who was 2-for-4 on Sunday, has had hits in his last five starts and was 9-for-22 in that stretch. He moved ahead of Nick Markakis and Luke Scott for the team lead in hits with 14. All three had 12 hits entering Sunday.

By The Numbers: 2—Home runs off the bat of the Rays’ Carlos Pena, marking the first time since 1998 that Jamie Walker gave up home runs in back-to-back appearances (Friday and Saturday). Both game-tying shots came in the eighth inning.

Quote To Note: “When you come in here and play this team, you better get as many runs as you can because you’re probably never going to have enough. … Every time you get an opportunity to tack on, you have to tack on.”—Manager Dave Trembley talking about playing the Rays at Tropicana Field.


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