Tidal Waves: Mother Nature Playing Havoc With Tides’ Schedule, Other Notes

After a wicked storm dumped heavy rain all along the East coast on Sunday April 22nd, raining out game two of a doubleheader between Norfolk and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees in Batavia NY, both teams woke up on Monday morning ready to get back at it.

One problem. Mother nature wasn’t done with her fury yet.

A Nor’easter projected to dump eight inches of snow in the town of Batavia postponed the ballgame between the Tides and Yankees. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader when the Tides host the Yankees at Harbor Park from June 1st – June 4th.  The start time and date of the make up games has not yet been announced.

The Tides head home to Harbor Park to start a 10-game home stand on Tuesday night against the Durham Bulls, losers of their last six in a row (at the time of this article).

Meanwhile, the Tides have dropped six in a row, getting swept four straight by Gwinnett and losing two close games late against the Yankees this past week. On Friday the 20th against Scranton/WB, the Tides led 4-2 in the 7th inning before the Yankees scored four unanswered to win 6-4. Jon Link took the loss (0-1) as both he and Pat Neshek combined to give up three runs in the 8th inning.

On Sunday, in Game 1 of what was to be a doubleheader, the Tides took a 5-2 lead into the 7th inning before the Yankees scored three times to tie the score, and eventually win 6-5.

Former Oriole Jack Cust hit a two-run double to center off Tides reliever Zach Phillips and took the lead in the 8th as Willie Eyre (0-3) loaded the bases on a double and two walks. Chris George was called upon to get the Tides out of the jam, but a wild pitch got away from catcher Luis Exposito allowing the Yankees the go-ahead run.

Xavier Avery shining in leadoff spot

The Tides as a team are struggling to hit in the early going, but one player excelling is leadoff hitter Xavier Avery.

Avery is riding a seven-game hit streak after going 1-2 with a single and three walks in Sunday’s loss to Scranton/WB. Avery overall is hitting .286, tops on the team for players with at least 50 at-bat’s. He leads the team in triples (2), homeruns (2) and stolen bases with four.

During the seven-game hitting streak, he’s batted .423 with a triple and more importantly, six walks. It appears Avery is gaining confidence in the leadoff spot, seeing as many pitches as he can and having a good eye at the plate is something that will definitely peak the interest of the Orioles. Avery walked 49 times in each of the last two seasons.

Matt Antonelli

Continuing his patience at the plate, Antonelli is now 4th in the International League with 14 walks and has a .433 OBP which is tops on the Tides. He had a streak of 14 games straight of reaching base before it was broken on Sunday with an 0-4 line. Antonelli has played a range of positions with Norfolk, which is music to the ears of some in Baltimore because of his versatility. For now, he’ll continue to play every day in Norfolk because there’s not a spot for him on the ML roster.

Berken’s workin’

Jason Berken has been strong out of the bullpen for the Tides so far this season, good for third in the IL with an 0.60 ERA. He has started for Norfolk this season, but could be used as a long-man, or middle reliever for the Orioles down the road this season.

Other notes

Former Orioles infielder Josh Bell has been assigned to the Arizona Diamondbacks after being designated for assignment on April 16th. Bell has essentially been traded to the Diamondbacks and the Orioles will either receive cash or a PTBNL in the deal. Bell never lived up to his potential hitting just .200 in 79 games with the Orioles in 2010 and 2011 after coming to the O’s in the George Sherrill trade in 2009.

Newly acquired catcher Luis Exposito is off to a fast start with six hits in 19 AB’s, including two doubles and a triple. Exposito came to the Tides after being claimed by the Orioles on waivers from the Boston Red Sox. To make room for Exposito, the Tides released catcher John Hester.

Follow me on Twitter @MattCLund for all news Norfolk Tides and Baltimore Orioles.

Matt Lund is a co-host of the BSR Podcast and regular contributor to BSR. A Towson University alum, Matt is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan and native of Charm City working in sports broadcasting.