Thursday, September 22, 2011

Way to Go O's

Baltimore is in full spoiler celebratory mode as the O's continue to win series over American League playoff contenders. They've now won three in a row against the Rays, Angels, and Red Sox who are all vying for the A.L. Wild Card spot. Out of those three teams, I would be fine with anyone making it except for the Sawx. And their team seems to feel the same way as they're playing to a 5-16 record so far in some crucial September games.

My original intent was to show an autographed Red Sox card of a player who had also played for the O's, but I try to avoid having signed Yankees or Red Sox cards taint my collection whenever possible, and don't have any to share. Then my thought was to share a card of Mark Reynolds, who homered twice last night to help power the O's to a win. But you've already seen all my autographs of him too.

So I settled on sharing autographs of the four Orioles pitchers who appeared in the game last night and held the Red Sox in check.

Tommy Hunter started last night's game and gave up all four of the Red Sox runs over 6.2 innings. Overall, it was a solid performance against a potentially explosive offense.

Tommy signed and personalized this card for me prior to Sunday's Orioles-Angels game. His autograph is awesome and this is probably the longest signature + inscription combination I've ever received from a player inside a stadium. Nice work Tommy!

Clay Rapada came on in relief of Hunter, who appeared to tweak a leg/groin muscle in the 7th inning but was nearing 100 pitches and likely would have been pulled following the inning anyway. The timing might have been fortuitous though since Rapada is almost certain to get lefties out and he mowed down Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz on only 10 pitches. It was good enough to earn Rapada his second win of the season since the O's took the lead in the top of the eighth.

Next up was Willie Eyre who needed only three pitches to get two outs to close out the eighth inning and earned a hold for the effort. Now that's what I call being efficient with your pitches!

Willie also signed this card for me prior to Sunday's game. For some reason, I forgot to ask him to personalize it for me, but it's still my first in-person autograph of his, so it will be inserted into the collection. 

Jim Johnson, whose current closer status is the worst kept secret in Birdland, came on in the ninth inning to mow the Sawx down in order on only nine pitches. 

And there you have it, the O's first four game series win in Boston since 2003. I always enjoy when we can get rid of silly losing streaks like that; the Birds seem to have some sort of "haven't beaten team X over a certain number of games/series for many years" record against most opponents and they all irk me. 

To recap, three Orioles relievers pitched 2.1 innings of no-hit baseball to close out the game and only needed a combined 22 pitches to get 7 outs. BOOM! That's some effective relief pitching!

I couldn't close out this post without noting how it appears that the Tides stole/borrowed their picture of Rapada for his 2011 Tides team set card. 

This is the picture the O's used for Clay's inclusion in the 2011 team postcard set. It appears to have been taken a split second before the picture on the Tides card. The Tides card has the Orioles logos shopped out, but you can tell that it's from the same sequence of pictures. 
I doubt that anyone else cares about something like that, but I don't remember an Orioles minor league team ever doing that before and figured I would share.


zman40 said...

That is strange to see a photoshopped card in a minor league set.

Tommy's auto is amazing and I like Willie's, too. But, Johnson's signature is certainly lacking.

Orioles Magic said...

Tommy has one of the best autos on the current team. I almost said something about JJ's crappy penmanship but think I've complained about it before. But seriously, almost anyone could do that J J I