Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Orioles Team Report; April 30, 2008

Garrett Olson took a major test Tuesday, and he passed with flying colors.

The promising left-handed prospect was called up from Class AAA Norfolk on Tuesday for the opportunity he’s been waiting for since failing his initial major league test last season.

He responded by shutting out the Rays for 6 2/3 innings before allowing two runs and being taken out. He was plagued by the same nemesis as last year: walks. He issued five of them.

“The reports were that it was time for him to see if he could do it at this level,” manager Dave Trembley said. “He’s got to command the fastball. Major league hitters, with all due respect, are a little more sophisticated. They know their strike zone, they don’t swing at bad pitches and they’ll work the count. So we need him to show that he can throw strikes.”

When Olson was called up in 2007, he was 1-3 with a 7.79 ERA in seven starts. He never appeared to have the command necessary to succeed at the top level. In 32 1/3 innings he gave up 28 earned runs, walked 28 and struck out 28.

Olson was brought to the Orioles on Tuesday with reliever Bob McCrory, while reserve infielder Brandon Fahey was optioned to Norfolk and relief pitcher Greg Aquino was designated for assignment.

The moves were made necessary by the rainout that forced a doubleheader, the injury to Adam Loewen and the Monday game that went 11 innings before being suspended, using up so many relievers that the Orioles bullpen has pitched 24 2/3 innings in the last eight games.

Orioles 7, Rays 4: Rookie Garrett Olson shut out the Rays until the seventh inning, but the bullpen couldn’t stop the scoring rally that climaxed with B.J. Upton’s home run. Before that the Orioles got two RBIs from Melvin Mora and two from Aubrey Huff’s home run, and solos from Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millar and Nick Markakis.

Notes, Quotes

• LHP Garrett Olson pitched shutout baseball through 6 2/3 innings to get his second career win in his first start after being called up from Class AAA Norfolk. He allowed two runs and walked five batters, but other than that he was impressive enough to earn a berth in the rotation.

• 3B Melvin Mora is hitting just .248, but he had his 13th and 14th RBIs on a single and sacrifice fly to boost his average with runners in scoring position to .381 (8-for-21).

• LHP George Sherrill earned his 10th save one day after suffering his first blown save of the season when he gave up a home run to the White Sox’s Jose Uribe in the 11th inning of a suspended game. He had successfully converted his first nine save opportunities.

• RF Nick Markakis went 1-for-5 against the Rays and he slipped to 7-for-36 in the 10 games since going 3-for-3 on April 18. His average has fallen from .345 to .287 and he’s had only one homer and three RBIs during that time.

• INF Brandon Fahey, batting .200 with one RBI and no runs scored in 15 games, was optioned to Class AAA Norfolk and RHP Greg Aquino was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for LHP Garrett Olson, who started on Tuesday, and RHP Bob McCrory, both of whom were called up from Norfolk. McCrory, 25, was 0-2 with four saves and a 1.90 ERA in Class AAA.

By The Numbers: 30—RHP Daniel Cabrera didn’t walk a batter in his April 23 start at Seattle. It was the first time in 30 starts that the still developing right-hander did not issue a base on balls.

Quote To Note: “Obviously, you’d have to use some common sense. I have to look down the road. I understand there is an interest from fans and everybody wants to know, but I can’t give answers to things that I don’t have answers for and I don’t like to speculate because I get myself in trouble when I change my mind. So I’d rather not change anything.”—Manager Dave Trembley, about what he’ll do with adjust his starting rotation.


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