NEWBERG REPORT PLUS — JULY 8, 2007
The game starts off with a sharp single, a sac bunt, another sharp single that drives in a run, and a five-pitch walk. The way Kevin Millwood was uncomfortably shuffling around the mound, the illness of the blowing wind was palpable, and it was basically impossible to imagine the Orioles were done scoring for the day.
But they were. And Kenny Lofton – who shockingly is the number 28 OPS hitter in all of baseball (.946) in June and July – scores on a Marlon Byrd single in the bottom of the first (Byrd is number nine in OPS [1.050] over that same span) and then on his own solo shot in the sixth (drawing walks in his other two trips), and the Rangers win, again on the strength of excellent starting pitching.
That’s seven straight series the club has won or tied, and a 15-8 stretch of baseball, most of which has been played without 75 percent of the starting infield.
Big, big moment for Frankie Francisco in the eighth.
And then there was this from earlier in the day:
BALTIMORE ORIOLES-Placed SS Freddie Bynum on the 15-day DL. Recalled SS Luis Hernandez from Norfolk (IL).
Hernandez, at age 23, came into this season as a lifetime .246 hitter, over six years in the Braves minor league system. Joining the Orioles as a free agent this off-season, he hit a combined .244 between AA Bowie and AAA Norfolk. He joined Baltimore today and entered the game defensively after Melvin Mora had pinch-hit for Brandon Fahey in the seventh.
Hernandez’s first stroll into a big league batters’ box was with two outs in the ninth inning against Eric Gagné.
Not exactly fair.
But if baseball was always fair, and always predictable, I probably wouldn’t have decided to take my daughter to the ballpark at all this afternoon, and even having made that decision, I might have packed up and left after those first four hitters.
Another great day at the yard, and I am baseball-content going into this four-day break.