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Baltimore Orioles slug their way out of controversy and onto victory

Austin Voth didn’t surrender even a hit in tonight’s game for the Baltimore Orioles – that is until the sixth inning. And that came after a lengthy delay while manager Brandon Hyde argued with umpires about a call where he felt the O’s got hosed. Voth’s line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

But winning this game was more about getting guys on base and then getting them in than it was anything else. The Orioles put 19 hits on the board, a season high. And it started with Adley Rutschman’s solo homer in the first.

Jorge Mateo’s RBI-double in the second extended the lead to 2-0. Rutschman would come up again in the fifth, netting the Birds a run on a sac fly-RBI. And that’s part of the story of this game; the O’s just kind of kept talking runs on.

However the top of the sixth brought some controversy, which could have changed the game. With a runner on second and nobody out, Terrin Vavra hit a swinging bunt back to the pitcher, who threw wide of first base. This allowed a run to score. However the umpires ruled that Vavra ran inside the base line, interfering with the throw, and he was called out.

The call was questionable at best. Brandon Hyde came out and argued for awhile, but it was to no avail. End of the day that’s a judgement call. As I said, it was questionable at best. But that was the sort of moment that’s capable of swaying a game. The O’s only led by three at that point…

…but instead, the Orioles used it as a launching point. A launching point to seal the win. The O’s put four runs on the board, taking a 7-0 lead following that moment in the sixth. This included RBI-singles by Jorge Mateo and Cedric Mullins.

Tampa did attempt a comeback. Arozarena smacked a two-run homer on the last of the sixth. But the O’s kept adding on. Odor added an RBI-single, in the seventh, and Cedric Mullins a solo homer in the eighth. Tampa’s Walks would wedge an RBI-double in between those two runs, and Ramon Urias would add a sac fly-RBI in the last of the eighth.

With their 10-3 win this evening, the Al’s have now taken some possession of the final wild card spot in the American League. If the season ended today, they’d be in the playoffs. The team they catapulted over? Tampa.

The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Field. The Birds have yet to announce a starter, but whomever he is will be opposed by Tampa’s Shane Mclanahan. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in Boston

Dean Kremer got the start for the Baltimore Orioles in their one-game “series” against Boston at Fenway Park this evening. This was a makeup for a previously postponed game earlier in the year. Kremer’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Boston took an early 1-0 lead in the last of the first on an RBI-single by Verdugo. They would put two more across in the last of the third as well. Pham’s RBI-double and Bogaerts’ sac fly-RBI ran the score to 3-0, Boston.

However the Orioles fought back. Terrin Vavra stayed hot, smacking a two-RBI triple in the sixth. Vavra would later score on an infield RBI-single by Austin Hays.

In short, Hays legged out an infield single. Originally he was called out, but Brandon Hyde challenged the call. Replays upheld the challenge, and the O’s had managed to tie the ballgame.

But it wasn’t meant to be, tonight. Hosmer smacked an RBI-double in the last of the sixth, giving Boston a 4-3 lead. Which turned into a 4-3 victory.

So technically the O’s are once again a half game out of the post season. But they now head to Tampa for a three-game weekend set. And Tampa’s the team they once again trail. Tampa this weekend and Toronto early next week might be the biggest series’ the O’s have played in years.

The series at Tropicana Field opens tomorrow night. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Cory Kluber. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles’ game against Toronto postponed

The Baltimore Orioles were supposed to complete the current home stand and series against Toronto this evening. But that’s not happening now, as the game was officially postponed. It will be made up as part of a September 5th doubleheader.

September 5th happens to be Labor Day, for the record. The O’s were previously scheduled to take on Toronto in a 1:30 PM matinee at Camden Yards. But now it’ll be a single-admission doubleheader, with game one starting at 1 PM. So you read that right, folks. Two games for the price of one on Labor Day!

The O’s now head to Boston for a one-game makeup tomorrow night at Fenway Park tomorrow night. Austin Voth was the previously scheduled starter, but it’s unclear if it’ll be him of tonight’s scheduled starter (Dean Kremer) on the mound tomorrow. Whomever pitches, he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Josh Winchkowski. Game time is set for just after 7 PM at Fenway Park.

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Baltimore Orioles sit half game out after Rougned Odor helps defeat Toronto

The 2022 Baltimore Orioles are typifying the concept of something magic happening everytime you go. This team finds ways to win, and they have more heart than any Orioles team we’ve seen in some time. Kyle Bradish took to the mound last night against Toronto at Camden Yards, setting the tone for the O’s. Bradish’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

One of the more important plays in the game was subtle, and it came in the first inning. With runners at first and second (nobody out) Anthony Santander sent a soft line drive to center. Toronto’s center fielder (Merrifield) appeared to catch the ball, okay it back in, and catch both runners (who thought the ball would fall in) off base for an inning-ending triple play. Or was it?

Something looked “off” on the play from the beginning. Sure enough Brandon Hyde challenged the call, and sure enough the umpires ruled that Merrifield had trapped the ball. Meaning it was in play, and everyone was safe – thus loading the bases with nobody out. That’s a HUGE difference in terms of the result of the play. Ryan Mountcastle would later ground into a double-play and Terrin Vavra would smack an RBI-single, giving the O’s a 2-0 lead.

Toronto would get on the board in the second with a solo homer by Bichette. Vavra’s sac fly-RBI in third extended the lead to 3-1. However in the sixth Toronto struck back. Kirk’s RBI-single brought them to within 3-2. But Bichette would strike again later in the inning, giving Toronto a 5-3 lead with a two-run homer.

The teams went back to their respective clubhouses in the middle of the sixth, sitting through a 78-minute rain delay. When play resumed Ryan Mountcastle got the O’s back to within one with an RBI-double in the last of the seventh. One inning later Rougned Odor came to the plate with a runner on base…

…Rougned Odor, mind you, who the Orioles were widely criticized for signing. Granted he’s only hitting .196 for the season, but is a vocal leader in the clubhouse. And yes that’s the same Rougned Odor who would smack a two-run homer last night in the last of the eighth, sending the Birds to a 6-5 victory over Toronto.

Going back to the triple play that wasn’t in the first inning, the O’s put two runs across in the wake of that. In a one-run ballgame, that’s a huge moment. It played a big role in the win, and a big role in the Orioles now having won the series with Toronto.

And it played a big role in the Orioles now sitting a half game out of a playoff spot. Tampa, who currently occupies that spot, plays in Milwaukee this afternoon prior to the O’s playing tonight. And the Orioles go to Tampa this weekend for three games. Moments of consequence. For the Orioles. In August.

The series with Toronto concludes this evening at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Jose Berrios. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Long balls help the Birds in CHASING OCTOBER

Coming into tonight’s game against Toronto, Ryan Mountcastle hadn’t homered for the Baltimore Orioles since July 3rd. One of the stranger storylines of the past month or so. Nevertheless, Jordan Lyles got the start in the series opener against Toronto, a game that ironically was Toronto’s first visit of the year to Camden Yards. Lyles’ line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

This series is huge in the grand scheme of the playoff chase. Toronto came in as the top Wild Card team. And the Orioles of course are competing for a playoff birth. Can we officially say that yet? I feel like we can. And we should.

The O’s took an early 3-0 lead when Ramon Urias smacked a three-run homer in the last of the first. Biggio would get Toronto on the board in the third with a solo shot, but the O’s would get their three-run margin back in the bottom of the inning on Anthony Santander’s solo homer.

Ryan Mountcastle tacked another run on in the fourth, again with a solo home run. It was Mountcastle’s first home run since July 3rd. It would really help the playoff push if he would heat up right about now. He certainly made a difference tonight.

The teams would swap solo homers in the sixth, with Austin Hays hitting one out for the O’s. Tonight was Hays’ return to the lineup after being hurt for a few games. And similarly, now would be the time to heat up if you’re Austin Hays.

Toronto would put two runs across in the eighth, and bring the tying run to the plate. The Oriole bullpen bent…but it didn’t break. Felix Bautista came on to get the final two outs of the inning, and did so by inducing an inning-ending double-play.

Mountcastle would strike again in the last of the eighth, with an RBI-single. That ran the score to 7-4 (in the Orioles’ favor), and acted as an insurance run given that Toronto put two on in the ninth. But the Orioles’ pen was strong once again, with Bautista grounding into a game-ending double-play.

What the Orioles are doing is nothing short of amazing. Brandon Hyde deserves more than just token consideration for Manager of the Year. But more importantly, the Orioles are in this thing, and they have a real shot. Whether they make it or not remains to be seen.

But one way or the other, the Orioles are no fluke. They haven’t just lucked into winning games. They’re a “good team.” And the math says that they’re CHASING OCTOBER.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alek Manoah. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Controversy mars Birds’ loss

Spencer Watkins’ start for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon in the series final at Camden Yards didn’t go quite according to plan. The second time through the order seemed to be his bugaboo, as Pittsburgh hitters figured him out. Watkins’ line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead on Jorge Mateo’s solo homer in the third. However Allen’s RBI-single in the fifth tied the game at one. Mitchell singled a second run home later in the inning, and Pittsburg held a 2-1 lead. After an RBI-groundout, that was extended to 3-1.

Following a fourth run being tacked on, the Birds trailed 4-1 in the seventh. To be clear, it’s tough to argue that you got screwed by the umpires when you only put across one run. But this game will go down as one that did feature controversy, and almost predictably it went against the O’s.

Newman hit an infield single which smacked off of Mateo’s glove and trickled away. Allen was at third and he tried to score. And he was thrown out at home plate – the ball beat the runner to the plate by a country mile.

Pittsburgh challenged the call, citing the rule stating you can’t block home plate. The umpires reviewed the play, and ruled that catcher Robinson Chirinos had in fact violated the rule. The runner was ruled safe at home, and Pittsburgh led 5-1. They would tack on three more, including two on a two/l-run homer by Hayes, to close out an 8-1 win.

The Orioles took two-of-three in this series, so that’s not a bad weekend with Pittsburgh at all. However that was a tough call on the reversal. Crew Chief Rob Kulpa told Brandon Hyde not to come out of the dugout and argue the reversal. He did, and was promptly ejected. And Hyde was LIVID.

Major League Baseball released a statement before the game even ended regarding the call:

The catcher’s initial setup completely in foul territory was illegal and he maintained that position without possession of the ball.

I suppose my question is what exactly is Robinson Chirinos supposed to do there? It was a bang-bang play for sure, however maybe the league needs to review this rule and amend it. Mind you, the ball beat the runner by a long shot. In seeing the play, one could hardly argue that Chirinos impeded the ability of the runner to touch home plate.

The Orioles open a three-game set tomorrow night against Toronto. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Yusei Kikuchi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles blow out the candles for Camden Yards

The Baltimore Orioles yesterday commemorated 30 years of playing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This in front of a raucous crowd of 41K plus. Austin Voth took to the mound, and provided yet another good outing. Voth’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, THE BALLPARK THAT FOREVER CHANGED BASEBALL, opening in April of 1992. President George H.W. Bush was on hand to throw out the first pitch. For one reason or another, the O’s picked this weekend to commemorate the ballpark’s 30th anniversary. (The season obviously started late.) Needless to say, former players AND the fans showed up. So did the current Orioles.

The Orioles took the lead early when Terrin Vavra smacked an RBI-single in the last of the first inning. Jorge Mateo added one of his own an inning later, and the newly-acquired Brett Phillips tacked on an RBI-double. The O’s led 3-0 after two.

Pittsburgh would net two runs of their own in the top of the fourth on a two-run homer by Cruz, which quieted the crowd for a short period. But Ryan McKenna’s two-RBI double in the fifth got the party started again. Both teams would tack on an additional run, the O’s on a sac fly-RBI by Cedric Mullins in the last of the seventh.

On such a momentous occasion, the Orioles took care of business. They’ve won the series with Pittsburgh going into the finale this afternoon. And ALL appears right with the world.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Bryce Wilson. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Camden Yards’ commemorative weekend starts with a win

The Baltimore Orioles had to wait awhile before last night’s game against Pittsburgh was able to begin at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Storms rolled into the Baltimore area, causing the Birds and starter Dean Kremer to sit through an hour and 49 minute rain delay. But once the game started, we were reminded of the first game ever at Camden Yards, this on the ballpark’s 30th anniversary weekend. Kremer’s line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Opening Day of 1992, 30 years ago this year, of course saw the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards – which is being commemorated this weekend. It seemed that most people knew and understood that it was a special place right away. You almost felt like the “Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball“ had been standing for generations and already had a storied history.

Incidentally, I would submit that when they trademarked that phrase ten years ago, they should have made it “The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball BACK.” Because baseball had gotten used to the cookie cutter stadiums that didn’t have as much character as say the Fenway’s and Wrigley’s of the world.

Then Camden Yards comes along, with it’s old fashioned feel to it. And it rejuvenated the game, along with starting a trend of retrofitted ballparks. Cleveland got one, then Texas, Denver, and others. Oriole Park at Camden Yards brought baseball back to it’s roots in a sense, and yes it forever changed baseball.

The first game at the ballpark was started by journeyman veteran Rick Sutcliffe. He pitched a complete game shutout, and the O’s won 2-0. People walked away thinking that the new park would be a pitcher’s park. Little did we know that was an outlier!

Last night’s game was kind of a reminder of that in a sense – once it started, of course. Kremer, while not pitching a complete game, did a pretty decent Sutcliffe impression. Ramon Urias’ RBI-single in the last of the sixth gave the O’s a 1-0 lead.

And when your pitching across-the-board is as solid as that of the Orioles has been, you’re in good shape at that point. And in fact, the Orioles were. Felix Bautista got the save, and the O’s cruised to a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh.

The series continues late this afternoon at Camden Yards. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Brubaker. Game time is set for just after 5 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles sweep themselves closer to the playoffs

2022 is already a success for the Baltimore Orioles. It was a success well before this afternoon’s game. Last year they won 52 games total. In 2022 and this afternoon, Kyle Bradish went to the mound to try to get the Birds their 54th win, and more importantly to keep pace in the playoff race. Bradish’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Bradish had a bit of a tough afternoon today, but pushed through five innings. He gave up an RBI-single to Garcia in the first, however one inning later Ryan McKenna tied things up at one with a solo homer. Both teams left a large number of runners on base, meaning Bradish did allow some base runners. As did the Oriole pen.

But it was once again the later innings that proved fateful for the Birds. They seem to do their best work around or after the seventh inning stretch. Robinson Chirinos smacked a solo homer in the top of the seventh, giving the O’s the lead at 2-1. But Texas came right back on Heinz’s solo homer in the bottom of the seventh. And we played on.

But again, the O’s do their best work in the later innings. They got the lead back in the eighth on an RBI-double by Terrin Vavra. Chirinos would add a sac fly-RBI, and the O’s led 4-2 after eight.

But while the O’s were smelling a sweet deep in the heart of Texas, they weren’t done yet. Santander would tack on an RBI-double in the top of the ninth. He would later score on a wild pitch. Texas would get a run back in the last of the ninth with a solo homer by Semien, but the O’s wrapped up a 6-3 win.

And with that, they swept Texas in Texas. (This after sweeping them in Baltimore last month.) they remain a game behind Tampa for third place in the AL East, and a game-and-a-half out of the final wild card spot. Whether they make it remains to be seen. But they’re “in it” for sure!

Again, 2022 is a success. The rebuild is working! The expectations thus will be higher next year. But the Orioles have unfinished business in 2022 before we flip the calendar.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds stand a game-and-a-half out of the wild card

Despite the trades that were made the past few days, the Baltimore Orioles have been taking care of business in Texas. Jordan Lyles went to the mound last night, and he was dominant. Lyles’ line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K.

The Birds took the lead in the third on Jorge Mateo’s three-run homer, and of course never looked back. They would also score twice more before the inning ended. Adley Rutschman added an RBI-double, and Ryan Mountcastle a sac fly-RBI. And after three innings, the O’s had a 5-0 lead.

Anthony Santander would smack an RBI-double in the fifth, extending the lead to 6-0. Texas would get on the board in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-single by Semien. But this was the Orioles’ day. And the Orioles’ week.

Jorge Mateo would homer again in garbage time, a two-run shot. Texas would tack on a meaningless run in the last of the ninth, and the O’s wrapped up an 8-2 win. This, deep in the heart of Texas.

It’s August. So maybe it’s at least worth looking at the playoff standings. Especially given that they’re relevant. For those who care about such things, the O’s are a game-and-a-half out of the final wild card spot.

And it’s really shocking if you think about it. There was nothing about this team that made people think they could compete. Least of all the way they started the season. But quietly they’ve worked their way into the discussion. Granted, most people feel like they’re playing with a house of cards, that could collapse at any moment. But they’re also playing with house money, and they’re competing hard. And the fact remains that they’re in it. They have a shot!

The series in Texas concludes this afternoon at Globe Life Park. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles trading Jorge Lopez to Minnesota

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Baltimore Orioles are trading closer Jorge Lopez to Minnesota. This in exchange for LHP Cade Povich, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Juan Nuñez and LHP Juan Rojas. I’ll admit that it’s a bit ironic given that Lopez hit a bit of a skid while in Minnesota last month. But history makes for strange bedfellows at times.

The guys the Orioles are getting back aren’t by any means top prospects. However as good as Lopez has been, I would remind fans that he’s basically a one-inning pitcher. Will any of the four prospects make it to the big leagues? Tough to say. Right now they have highish ERA’s. But could they help the Orioles at the big league level? Absolutely.

They way you have to look at it (regarding this Lopez trade as well as the Mancini trade yesterday) is that the Orioles aren’t necessarily looking to contend this year. Now if they back into a playoff spot, great. However they’re already ahead of schedule. Next year the expectations might be a totally different story.

So the more prospects, even low-level prospects, you have in your system, the better. Because those prospects could be flipped to another team in exchange for a big league player in future years. This when the window to win is in the here and now, and for a player who could help the Orioles compete. Point being that “the plan” has never been just to rebuild the big league roster as a winner. But also to rebuild the minor league system.

In order to do that, you want all the prospects you can get. Obviously depending on the player being acquired (by the Orioles in the future), certain top prospects might be off the table. But the more prospects in your system overall, the more chances you’ll have at packaging a few together to net a return of a great player. Nevertheless, yesterday it was Mancini; today the news du jour is Jorge Lopez to Minnesota.

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Baltimore Orioles trailblaze in Texas

The Baltimore Orioles began life in a post-Trey Mancini world in grand fashion last night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX. Spencer Watkins got the start, and was dominant for the Birds. Watkins’ line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Watkins had the lead before even taking the field. Cedric Mullins’ solo homer in the first inning gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. An inning later we saw Mullins come to bat again, and he smacked an RBI-single, extending the lead to 2-0.

Later in the inning Anthony Santander smacked a bloop RBI-single that fell in. Ryan Mountcastle hit an RBI-single of his own, and the O’s were paper cutting Texas to death. They also got two runs in the fourth on RBI-doubles by Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle respectively.

Texas would smack solo homers in the seventh and eighth. These off the bats of Seager and Solak. Jorge Mateo would add an RBI-double in the seventh as well, capping off the Orioles’ 7-2 win. Obviously it wasn’t an easy game for the O’s given the Mancini trade, as was addressed by Brandon Hyde following the ballgame:

Very tough day. I had no idea how we were going to respond, and I was really happy with our at-bats, especially early. Cedric set the tone with an opposite-field homer there in the first inning. Spenser Watkins was fantastic. … Happy with how we responded after a tough day.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The series continues tonight at Globe Life Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Spencer Howard. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini reportedly heading to Houston (updated)

The Baltimore Orioles did it. They made the tough decision to trade Trey Mancini this afternoon, with a little over a day left before the deadline. Mancini’s now headed to Houston where he’ll join his new team, the Houston Astros.

Word on the street is that the Birds are getting multiple pitching prospects in return for Mancini. So this article will be updated once the players’ names are released. However unless the O’s got peanuts in return, this was the right move to make, at the right time.

I assume that Mike Elias had exhausted his options, and was in essence made aware by Mancini’s representation that he (Mancini) wouldn’t be picking up his side of the mutual $10 million option next year. This meaning that he’s going to test the free agent market. So why risk losing him and not getting anything back?

Certainly it’s a tough pill to swallow for everyone involved – especially Orioles fans. Mancini was a fan favorite from day one, and he truly embraced the spirit of the Orioles and the city of Baltimore. He became a clubhouse leader, respected by just about everyone. And that was before he had cancer. Following that situation he further cemented his legacy in Baltimore and with the O’s.

Keep in mind that assuming he remains consistent and in fact doesn’t opt to pick up the mutual option (with Houston), he’ll become a free agent after the World Series. That means the Orioles will have as much a shot as anyone to sign him. Whether that fits into their long term plan remains to be seen. But it’s a possibility.

Needless to say, Trey was only here for a short time. But his impact will never be forgotten in Birdland. And I know that all Orioles fans will follow him on the side, and wish him well with Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros. As will this writer.

Update: According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it was a three-team trade, also involving Tampa. The Birds got RHP Seth Johnson and Chayce McDermott from both Houston and Tampa, Mancini goes to Houston, and CF Jose Siri goes to Tampa.

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Baltimore Orioles: A step backwards?

Austin Voth got the start for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon in the series final at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark. And Voth pitched five outstanding innings, putting the Birds in a spot to win the ballgame. Issue was he didn’t get the run support that he should have. Voth’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

The score was still 0-0 when Voth exited after the fifth inning. Runs were tough to come by this afternoon. However Cincinnati broke through in the last of the sixth with an RBI-double by a Votto. Later in the inning Farmer’s sac fly-RBI extended their lead to 2-0.

But the O’s did have some fight in them, as is usually the case. Cedric Mullins got a run in with a sac fly-RBI in the top of the seventh. And one inning later Anthony Santander tied the game at two with a solo homer.

Needless to say, Santander has a certain moxie about him that not everyone has. He comes through in the clutch when the team needs a base hit, a run, etc. And that’s a tough thing to find. The O’s are certainly thankful that he’s here as opposed to having to play against him.

All of that said, this ultimately wasn’t the Orioles’ day. Drury’s solo homer in the last of the eighth have Cincinnati the lead back, and ultimately a 3-2 win. The Orioles dropped two-of-three this weekend.

This leaves the Orioles at .500, while Cincinnati’s 40-61. Statistically this is a series the Orioles should have won. Is Cincinnati a better team than the Orioles? No. So thus, is this a step backwards?

I would submit that the answer to that appears to also be no. Look at it from the opposite perspective; did the Orioles ever take two-of-three from a much better team circa 2018-2022? Of course. Heck, last year they swept Washington at home, which ultimately led to Washington ripping their team apart and commencing a rebuild.

And as a reminder, the O’s aren’t totally out of their rebuild yet. This probably isn’t the beginning of their window to win a title. Now it’s certainly a year we’ll point to and say that they turned a corner, but they probably aren’t quite there yet.

All of that said, it’s also about how you match up with another team. You could have the best record in the league, and match up poorly with the mix of players an awful team has. It happens all the time. Now if the Birds lose the straight, maybe this ends up being a step backwards. But you aren’t going to win them all, abs you aren’t always going to win series’ against teams you should beat. That’s just how it works.

The Orioles now head to Globe Light Field to open up a three-game set against Texas. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Jon Gray. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Dean Kremer hit hard in loss

Dean Kremer got the start in the second game of three for the Baltimore Orioles in Cincinnati this evening. He started out in good shape, but Cincinnati hitters seemed to figure him out the second time through the order. Kremer’s line: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Kremer seemed to be pitching-to-contact. And at least from the second time through the order and onward, Cincinnati was swinging away. They made contact, and made good contact at that.

The O’s however did have an early lead. Anthony Santander continued his hot steak, playing a run in the first with an RBI-single. Later in the inning Trey Mancini scored on a balk, giving the Birds a 2-0 lead.

However it wouldn’t last. Papierski’s RBI-single in the last of the second cut the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. Two innings later in the fourth, Frayley’s RBI-single tied the game at two.

Almost immediately following the tying of the game, Cincinnati had the lead. And they never looked back. India’s two-run homer gave Cincinnati a 4-2 lead. Solo homers by Votto and Fraley later in the game ran the lead to 7-2, and Drury would cap things off in the eighth with an RBI-single, which sent the O’s to an 8-3 loss.

Is this a case of a “bad team” beating a “good team? I’d say it’s more of a bad team beating a team that’s quickly on the rise. But either way, just because you’re “good” doesn’t mean you win every game. The season ebbs and flows, and you have to take the good with the bad. The O’s will have a shot at winning the series tomorrow, and if they do they’ll be satisfied with that.

The series concludes tomorrow at the Great American Ballpark. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cincinnati’s Nick Lodolo. GMe time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Comeback kids equal 2021’s win total

You could be the most ardent Baltimore Orioles’ hater out there, but you’d have no choice but to admit that they’ve turned things around in a fairly quick manner. In short, the rebuild’s working. And it’s working much quicker than previously thought. Kyle Bradish came off the IL last night and got the start in Cincinnati. Bradish’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

The lone two runs given up by Bradish came off a two-run homer in the last of the first by Votto. And for awhile it appeared that those two runs might stand up and give Cincinnati the win. But these Orioles have proven time and time again that they can come back. No matter what.

Cincinnati walked Trey Mancini in the sixth. And as I’ve said before, the old saying that nothing good ever happens after a walk only applies if you’re in the field. If you’re at bat, good things can happen after a walk. And that’s exactly what happened, as Anthony Santander smacked a two-run homer into the left field grandstand, tying the game at two.

And despite putting off several Cincinnati rally attempts, the O’s entered the ninth inning still tied at two. And it remained tied, at least until Cedric Mullins’ two-RBI single gave the Birds a 4-2 lead. On top of that, they immediately tacked on a couple of insurance runs, as Mancini added an RBI-single, and Ryan Mountcastle’s sac fly-RBI.

All in all, it amounted to a 6-2 Orioles’ win. And yes, another comeback win. These O’s seem to play better from behind.

At 51-49, they’ve now equaled last season’s win total. Which given how most they looked at times last year, is really remarkable. Heck, they looked almost just as lost at various points in April of this season. But they’re firing on all cylinders now, no matter how you spin it.

The series continues tonight at the Great American Ballpark. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini wows perhaps one final time

The Baltimore Orioles taxed Jordan Lyles with starting the final game of this week’s series with Tampa, and the current homestand. However the focus wasn’t on Lyles today for the most part. He put the O’s in a spot to win (and was credited with the win of course), but the main focus today was on Trey Mancini. And boy did he ever not disappoint this afternoon. Lyles’ line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K.

The O’s got on the board in the last of the third when Anthony Santander smacked an RBI-double. And that one run would in theory have stood the test of time. Lyles and the Oriole ‘pen were strong this afternoon. But that’s almost not even news anymore. What is news is what the eighth inning had in store for the Orioles and Oriole fans.

We’ve all heard the trade rumors swirling around Trey Mancini. And we all know Mancini’s story when it comes to the cancer treatments he had to undergo. While the national media and the league have tried to spin it into a feel-good baseball story, in reality it’s a Baltimore story. And the fans at today’s game who applauded for Mancini at every turn of the way absolutely got that.

Mancini came up with Austin Hays on second base in the last of the eighth inning. Almost on cue, the fans rose to their feet and saluted Mancini, who at that point was POSSIBLY entering into his final at-bat as an Oriole at Camden Yards. And what an at-bat of consequence it was shaping up to be, with the Birds leading 1-0 and a runner in scoring position. Mancini was in a position to give the O’s at least one insurance run, and possibly put a cap on his career as an Oriole at the same time.

But as can often happen in moments like these in sports, Mancini did perhaps the thing not a soul expected. He sent a fly ball to fairly deep right field. The Tampa right fielder misplayed the ball and if fell in play. Not only that, but it rattled around a bit in the right field corner.

Hays scoring was a given. But as Tampa played the ball back in, Mancini was waved home. And he slid into home plate just before the tag, and kicked up a cloud of dirt in the process. This gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead, which solidified into a 3-0 win. They took three-of-four from Tampa, and four-of-seven on the home stand.

Again, make no mistake that Mancini’s story is a Baltimore story – this as opposed to a great story for MLB, which is what the league and the national media wants people to believe. And if come the trade deadline (August 2nd) Mancini’s no longer an Oriole, that was a great Baltimore and/or Oriole moment today. Because there would have been NO BETTER WAY for him to close out his Orioles’ career (at Camden Yards). It’s obvious that he doesn’t want to leave, nor do the Orioles really want to trade him. It’s just something that may have to be done.

Incidentally, the backhanded question to be asked could be whether or not the Tampa right fielder committed an error on the play. The ball appeared to deflect off of his glove ever-so-slightly. And I mean REALLY slightly. But the guy had obviously lost the ball in the sun based on his body language, and I presume that the official scorer picked up on that and awarded an inside-the-park home run as opposed to an error. Either that or he got caught up in the moment himself. Either would be an acceptable answer.

The O’s now head to the Great American in Cincinnati to open a three-game series this weekend against the Cincinnati Reds. The Birds have yet to announce a starter, but whomever he is will be opposed by Cincinnati’s Mike Minor. Game time is set for approximately 6:40 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Tyler Wells injured in loss

The Baltimore Orioles have avoided the injury bug this year, save for John Means. But that string came to an end last night as starter Tyler Wells left in the fifth inning with back discomfort. Brandon Hyde isn’t rushing to judgement quite yet, but he said that there was a good chance that Wells was destined for the 10-day IL. Wells’ line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Tampa took an early lead off of a two-run homer by Choi in the first inning, and a solo shot in the second by Raley. However Rougned Odor’s RBI-single in the last of the second got the Orioles on the board.

One inning later Adley Rutschman was able to score in the third on a wild pitch, cutting the Tampa lead to 3-2. However Tampa would tack one on in the fifth on Diaz’s RBI-double. Wells departed shortly thereafter after feeling the discomfort in his back. Wells on his situation:

I was out there and it happened, and I was like, ‘Oh, that doesn’t feel great.’” I didn’t want to continue to try to test it because I know, you see it so many times with other people. One extra one and it just irritates it, and I wanted to make sure I stayed on top of it and didn’t really get to a point where I made it any worse.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

But the fight went on despite Wells’ injury. Trey Mancini’s RBI-double in the last of the fifth brought the Birds back to within one at 4-3. And the score remained right there nearly until the bitter end. Or what we thought was the bitter end. Jorge Mateo smacked a solo homer in the last of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings.

However Tampa’s Arozarena’s two-run double in the tenth gave Tampa the lead back. And it ended up being the game-winning moment, as Tampa took this one, 6-4. And on we go to tomorrow.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 12:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Ramon Urias slugs Orioles Magic into the yard

Spencer Watkins set the Baltimore Orioles up to be in good shape this evening at Camden Yards. While he left in line to be the loser, he put the O’s in a spot to win the game. Watkins’ line: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Keep in mind that the opponent against whom the Birds are playing this week is a contender. That of course being the Tampa Rays. And here we are in the second straight game, and they’ve found a way to win.

The O’s took an early 1-0 lead in the last of the first on a solo homer by Cedric Mullins. However whole that was a harbinger for later, the O’s would have to fight back from that point. Arozarena’s RBI-single in the third tied the game at one, and Tampa took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a solo homer by Paredes.

Things would unfortunately get slightly worse before they’d get better. Quinn would finish off the fourth inning with a run-scoring double, and Tampa led 3-1. BUT…as long as Ft. McHenry stands on guard at the mouth of Baltimore harbor, these Orioles won’t quit.

The O’s began their modest comeback in the last of the fourth with an ANTHONY Santander solo home run. That cut the lead to 3-2, however the O’s still trailed. For the time being, that is…

…but they wouldn’t trail for long. The O’s would put a runner on in the last of the eighth. Tampa was looking to wind down the game and get to the last of the ninth with their closer. However that wasn’t to be as Ramon Urias strode to home plate.

There may well be many days where Tampa and their curious (at times) antics are going to succeed. More often than not, in fact. But if Urias was going to have anything to say about it, their antics were about to fail. And as his two-run homer cleared the wall and pumped Orioles Magic into the yard, the fans took notice. Because the time’s they are a-changin’.

The O’s would also get a sac fly-RBI by Trey Mancini later in the inning, running the final to 5-3. Again, these Orioles DO NOT quit. And I’m not doing so, they’re endearing themselves to a whole new generation of Orioles fans. They’re giving those people an incredible gift; the opportunity to experience Orioles Magic first hand.

The series continues tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Drew Rasmussen. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles tame Tampa in series opener

Austin Voth wasn’t perfect in his outing last night for the Baltimore Orioles against Tampa at Camden Yards. But he pitched around situations, and put the Birds in a spot to win. Voth’s line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

The Orioles threatened in the second, loading the bases with nobody out. But while they only pushed one run across in that sequence, at least they scored one. It was more than the day before against New York. And it came on a sac fly-RBI by Rougned Odor.

However Tampa reminded the Orioles why it was important to bank runs as much as they could. In short, one run wasn’t going to be enough. Lowe smacked a solo homer in the top of the third, tying the game at one.

The Birds put traffic back on the base paths in the fifth. And they were able to push more across this time. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a two-RBI single, and the O’s seized the lead back at 3-1.

Later in the inning Anthony Santander reached on a fielder’s choice and an error, forcing another run across. Austin Hays would tack on a sacrifice fly, giving the Orioles a 5-1 lead. Which turned into a 5-1 win, thanks to the Orioles’ bullpen being so strong. At 3.09, the Orioles have the third-best bullpen in the major leagues in terms of ERA. That’s a huge tool.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Shane Mclanahan. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Don’t fault Brandon Hyde for pitching to Aaron Judge

Dean Kremer went to the mound this afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the series finale against New York. His numbers are worse than he actually looked, but he gave the O’s some decent innings. That of course kept the bullpen fresh, as we head into the dog days. Kremer’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Kremer was perfect through two innings. However in the second time through the order New York seemed to figure him out. LeMahieu’s RBI-double in the third gave New York a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning g Judge came to the plate, smacking a two-run homer that may not have landed yet.

Judge came up with a runner on, hence the aforementioned two-run homer. A lot of fans seem to think that Brandon Hyde should have walked him, given his power and how he hits against the O’s. So…what day you?

My attitude is no, you pitch to him (unless the situation in the game warrants putting him on). Walking a guy simply because he hits you well shows a certain amount of gutlessness in my view. Furthermore in my opinion it cheats the game. I can’t beat this guy so I just won’t play with him isn’t the greatest look in sports.

You find a way to beat him, or you deal with the fallout. This isn’t to say that you can’t maybe try to pitch around him a bit, but you don’t outright walk him because you don’t want to pitch to him. As I said, that’s a bad look. There may be “man law” involved in that as well. But that decision didn’t win or lose the game for the O’s – keep that in mind.

Kiner-Falefa’s RBI-single in the sixth extended NY’s lead to 4-0. Trevino’s RBI-double ran things to 5-0, blowing the game wide open. New York would finish things off with an RBI-single by Hicks, and the O’s fell 6-0.

Going back to the issue at hand above however, the O’s were beaten in this game from the first run in the third inning. This because they didn’t score any runs. If you can’t score, everything else is secondary.

The Orioles had guys on base in this game. And they left them there. Again, you can’t fault Judge “beating you” when you don’t put any runs on the board. However again, I agree with the idea of pitching to him.

The O’s open a three-game set tomorrow night against Tampa at Camden Yards. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Corey Kluber. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles defeat New York on heels of Jorge Mateo’s speed

Jordan Lyles struggled this evening for the Baltimore Orioles against New York. But as I said after last night’s game, their lineup has humbled many a pitching staff. But needless to say, Lyles did keep the O’s in the game, despite giving up three runs. Lyles’ line: 5.0 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K.

Lopez allowed New York onto the board early by surrendering an RBI-double in the first to Judge. Carpenter smacked a two-run homer in the second, and Judge an RBI-single in the fourth. And the Birds fell behind by three runs.

Three runs is far from an insurmountable lead. But against New York it’s a bit harder. So the Birds chipped away. Jorge Mateo for on in the fifth, and promptly stole second base. Cedric Mullins’ subsequent sac fly-RBI got the O’s on the board.

Mullins would later score on a run-scoring double by Adley Rutschman. Two innings later Mateo’s RBI-single scored Urias and tied the ballgame. Later in that seventh inning Mateo would reach third base on a throwing error and a steal, and he would score on an RBI-single by Mullins.

For good measure, Ramon Urias would give the Orioles two insurance runs with a two-run homer in the eighth. And the O’s went into win, 6-3. The O’s won it with six unanswered runs in the later innings.

Make no mistake that Jorge Mateo’s speed got the O’s the win this evening. His stolen base helped attest for the first run, and his base running caused ab errrant throw, and he ended up getting him to third base in the eighth. Speed can make a huge difference – in any sport. And we saw it with the O’s tonight.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Nestor Cortes. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Not ready for prime time?

The Baltimore Orioles sent Tyler Wells to the mound for the second half opener last night against New York at Camden Yards. And given the competition, the results were almost predictable. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Wells wasn’t “awful” per se. But he had his struggles against perhaps the most potent lineup in baseball. Judge smacked a three-run homer in the third, and the Birds trailed 3-0. But…they battled back. Remember, these Orioles don’t give up.

Jorge Mateo smacked an RBI-double in the last of the third to cut the lead to 3-1. Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double later in the inning cut it to 3-2. However one inning later New York would add to their lead on an RBI-double by Trevino, and took a 4-2 lead.

Judge would smack a solo homer in the fifth, his second home run of the game. New York would also tack on two more, including a seventh inning home run by Gallo. But again, these Orioles don’t quit…

Ramon Urias added an RBI-groundout in the sixth. But in the last of the seventh with the O’s trailing 7-3, Anthony Santander hit a three-run homer that may not have landed yet. That cut the lead to 7-6, but end of the day the Orioles just couldn’t make it over the hump, falling to New York by one.

After the game manager Brandon Hyde addressed the fight that he sees in this team:

I feel like the majority of our losses are like this. I’m just proud of our guys. I think that we continue to fight and scrap and claw our way back into games. Sometimes it would get away from us in the past. Our dugout stays into it, and we’re right there.

Quote courtesy of Zachary Sliver, MLB.com

To answer the titular question, I don’t think you can point at this loss and say that the O’s aren’t ready for prime time. They lost a tough game in a close manner – to a World Series contender. And make no mistake, New York was nervous as the ninth inning began. They know this Oriole team’s ability to come back. It didn’t happen last night, but they know who the Orioles are.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Gerrit Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles open second half against New York

The Baltimore Orioles open the second half of the season tonight against the New York Yankees at home. Ironically, they do so in the same position that they opened the first half (and the season): at the .500 mark. Raise your hand if you saw that coming…!

Obviously the O’s begin play once again against perhaps the best team in baseball, that being New York. So this weekend’s series is certainly a “measuring stick” in a sense. Will the starting pitching be as strong as it was down the stretch for the last two months or so? Will the bullpen be as strong as it’s been almost since day one of the season? Will Oriole bats remain hot?

These are all questions that will be answered in due course. Another question that will be answered is what will the Orioles do at the trade deadline? The MLB trade deadline was pushed back to August 2nd this year, and of course there’s only one deadline now. (This as opposed to in the past when they had a waiver trade deadline at the end of August.) Will the O’s but or sell?

My personal opinion is that it’s not quite time to buy yet (this year). Now if they come shooting out the gate in the second half and are in playoff position, maybe that opinion changes. So the real question is whether Trey Mancini gets traded. Needless to say, that’s a really tough call.

Mike Elias needs to do his homework on Mancini – and I have no doubt that he is. If it appears that there’s a genuine interest in hitting the free agent market, he should probably be traded. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. I think the O’s should try to keep him and lock him up to a long term deal, but if his agent isn’t amenable to that, they should consider trading him. So long as they get fair value in return.

The O’s also have a deal in place for their first round pick yesterday. Jackson Holliday’s deal is for a reported $8.19 million. It’s unclear where Holliday will be assigned, but I would think the Gulf Coast League Orioles would at least be an option.

The aforementioned series with New York begins tonight at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Jameson Taillon. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Jorge Lopez reps the Birds well in the ASG

The Baltimore Orioles’ lone all-star representative, Jorge Lopez did the Birds proud in the game last night. The American League won the game, 3-2, thanks to homers by Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton. But Jorge Lopez’s name appeared in the box score as well.

Lopez entered the game with one out in the last of the seventh at Chavez Ravine. And he closed out the inning inducing two groundouts – one by Kyle Schwarber and one by Jake Croneworth. Lopez was credited with a hold.

End of the day, I’m happy that Lopez got in the game. The all-star game is meant to be a fun exhibition for the fans. And I’ve always believed that while it should look as much like a regular game as possible, every fan at least has the right to see someone from their team playing in the game. Needless to say, nice showing by Jorge Lopez last night!

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Baltimore Orioles: Now, we pause

The Baltimore Orioles were one of the hottest teams in baseball down the stretch in the first half. Despite losing to Tampa, that continued yesterday when they drafted SS Jackson Holliday first overall in MLB’s first-year players draft. Needless to say, he was drafted into an organization that’s most definitely on the rise.

After yesterday’s loss to Tampa, the Orioles dispersed. At least one guy, however, does still have to work this week. That being closer Jorge Lopez, the Birds’ lone all-star representative. My personal opinion is that they should have had more than one guy chosen, but I digress.

I’m always interested to see how teams reshuffle things coming out of the break. The O’s take on the NYY at Camden Yards Friday night, the first game back from the break. It’s a unique opportunity for a team to reset their starting rotation. So if you’re Brandon Hyde, choose well!

And with THAT, I’m off to Ocean City until Friday – I’ll be on “Holliday.” Enjoy your all-star break, all!

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Baltimore Orioles select Jackson Holliday first in MLB Draft

The pick is in, and the Baltimore Orioles have selected SS Jackson Holliday with the first pick in the MLB draft. Holliday is out of Stillwater High School (in Stillwater, OK). He’s also the son of former big leaguer Matt Holliday, and the nephew of Oklahoma State University baseball coach Josh Holliday.

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Holliday to get through the minor league system. Middle infield is a position where the Birds are currently a bit soft. They’ve been using stop gaps for most of the rebuild. So now they’ve seemingly got their guy.

Holliday’s father, Matt, was a 15-year amalgam veteran. He was a career .299 hitter. Jackson Holliday is represented by super agent Scott Boras. The next step of course, is signing him.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in first half finale

Today wasn’t Jordan Lyles’ day for the Baltimore Orioles. The Birds’ starter seemed to flail in the wind this afternoon in the first half finale at Tropicana Field. And that happens, incidentally, with the best of starting pitchers. So it’s nothing about which to fret. Lyles’ line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

The O’s trailed from the beginning in this one, as Tampa’s Arozarena smacked a two-run homer in the last of the first right off the bat. Lowe’s RBI-double in the second added to the lead, and Tampa blew it open in the last of the third on a three-run homer by Phillips.

But these are still the Orioles. And they fight until the end. Adley Rutschman’s RBI-single in the fourth cut the lead to 6-1. A moment later it was 6-2 on an RBI-single by Ramon Urias.

Two innings later the O’s made it interesting. Roughned Odor smacked a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 6-4. However Tampa would add an insurance run in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer by Mejia. The O’s got back to within two in the eighth with a solo homer by Austin Hays. And that was your ballgame.

So the O’s head into the all-star break with a .500 record. 46 wins and 46 losses. Anyone would have gladly signed up for that before the season began. They did that primarily by winning 11 of their last 13 games to close the first half. Needless to say, nobody in playoff contention wants to play these Orioles. One way or the other, they’ll have their say in the playoff race in the second half.

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Baltimore Orioles: Small wonders win ballgames, Birds back over .500

After having their 10-game winning streak snapped last night, the Baltimore Orioles looked to start a new one this afternoon. Dean Kremer got the start today at Tropicana Field, and while he had a struggle or two, he also set the tone for the Birds. In terms of pitching, that is. Kremer’s line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Tampa took an early lead in the last of the first, scoring on a wild pitch by Kremer. However the Orioles tied it quickly. Ramon Urias had another big game at the plate today, tying the game at one with an RBI-single in the top of the second.

But Tampa’s a tough team to keep down, especially at the Trop – where the O’s have lost ten straight. Kremer uncorked another wild pitch in the third, giving Tampa the lead back at 2-1. Arozarena would follow with a solo homer, and Tampa led 3-1. Suddenly we wondered if the O’s were about to start a losing streak – but the game was far from over. Not by a long shot.

Tyler Nevin’s RBI-single in the fifth got them Birds back to within one at 3-2. Brandon Hyde sent Adley Rutschman, who previously had the day off, up as a pitch hitter in the eighth. And Rutschman didn’t disappoint, smacking a solo home run and tying the game at three.

The game went to extra innings tied at three, and the O’s almost had it won due to good fundamentals. With Austin Hays at second as the ghost runner in the top of the tenth, Ramon Urias popped out in foul ground. Hays tagged up and went to third base. He would later score on Rutschman’s sac fly.

It appeared that Hyde was pushing all the right buttons – and he was. But the O’s would have to wait one more inning to snap that losing streak at Tropicana Field, as Choi’s RBI-single in the last of the tenth would tie the game back up at four. And we played on.

Rougned Odor was the ghost runner in the eleventh, but he was picked off trying to get to third base. Jorge Mateo followed with a triple (which would have given the Orioles the lead, if not for the pickoff), and Cedric Mullins walked. Mullins would later steal second base, on a play where Tampa appeared to neglect to even throw through. This gave the O’s two runners in scoring position…

…and they didn’t neglect the opportunity. Down to his last strike and with the Birds down to their last out in the inning, Ryan Mountcastle blooped a ball into shallow right field, scoring both Mateo and Mullins. This giving the O’s a 6-4 lead, which was eventually closed out by the bullpen. This snapped the Birds’ aforementioned ten-game losing streak in Tampa, and it guaranteed that they would have a record of at least .500 at the break. They’re currently one game above .500.

Small things win games such as this one. While it didn’t ultimately win the game, Austin Hays tagging up on that foul ball in the tenth and going to third certainly could have been a game-deciding play. It looked like it would be for awhile.

But make no mistake that one of the many plays that did decide the game was Mullins stealing second in the eleventh and getting into scoring position. That enabled a base hit to score two runs, and gave the Orioles the lead AND an insurance run. Those sorts of intangibles in games don’t show up on the stats sheet, but they make a huge difference. They certainly did for the O’s this afternoon.

The series (and the first half of the season) concludes tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Corey Kluber. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles’ winning streak halted at ten

The Baltimore Orioles were reminded this year that all good things must come to an end. With a 5-4 loss to Tampa, the Birds’ winning streak was halted at ten games. Starter Tyler Wells definitely pitched well enough to win the game, but it just wasn’t meant to happen tonight. Wells’ line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

The O’s did lead for part of the ballgame. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the top of the third inning. Ramon Urias added a second solo shot one inning later, and the Birds were off to a 2-0 lead.

But Tampa found a way to chip away. In the last of the fourth they smacked three doubles, including an RBI-double by Chang. He would come up again in the sixth, adding a second RBI-double – tying the game at two.

Mejia would add a second RBI-double later in the inning, and Bethancorp’s two-run homer gave Tampa the lead at 5-2. However the O’s did battle back. Urias would hit a second homer in the eighth, this one of the two- run variety.

But this wasn’t the Orioles’ night, and they fell in Tampa, 5-4. It’s important to note that they were going to drop a game and snap the winning streak at some point. That’s why you have to enjoy those highs so much, because they can end at the drop of a dime.

A lot of times when teams have epic win streaks they end in a blaze of glory. This meaning that multiple errors are committed, and the first loss is usually pretty ugly. That didn’t happen to the O’s tonight. They battled tough and just ended up with one less run. As I said, all good things must end.

The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa’s starter is TBD. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Ten straight, courtesy of the Orange & Black

It’s almost scary how quickly things have turned around for the Baltimore Orioles. Last night at Wrigley Field they won their tenth straight game, and swept Chicago’s “northsiders” in a short two-game series at the “Friendly Confines.” This behind a solid start from Spencer Watkins, who certainly spearheaded the Birds’ tenth straight victory. Watkins’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

The O’s led the entire way in this game. Anthony Santander’s two-RBI double in the top of the first gave them a 2-0 lead. Austin Hays’ RBI-single later in the inning ran it to 3-0. Chicago and the crowd had barely settled in, and the Birds already had the lead.

The lone thing that went wrong for the Birds in this game came on what first appeared to be a two-RBI double by Trey Mancini in the second inning. However Chicago challenged the play, claiming that the second runner (Cedric Mullins) was actually out at home plate. And the umpires reversed the call on replay, making it only an RBI-double. But no matter, the O’s still held a 4-0 lead.

Chicago did get on the board in the last of the fifth with a sac fly-RBI by Ortega. But a few innings later the O’s started plating insurance runs. Adley Rutschman and Rougned Odor smacked an RBI-double and single respectively in the eighth. Ramon Urias also scored on a balk, running the final to 7-1.

It absolutely can’t be lost on anyone that the O’s lost 19 straight games at one point last year, and now they’ve won ten straight. If anything, I would argue that the 19 straight losses brought this team closer together. Needless to say, they seem to have great chemistry and they seem to like playing with one another, as evidenced by Brandon Hyde’s comments after the game:

Just really happy with how we’re playing. Spenser was fantastic, set the tone, putting zeros up early. Bullpen once again does a great job, and we scored some runs for these guys early in the game, which was nice, and got some tack-ons late, which we’ve had a tough time doing. We’re playing good baseball right now.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

He mentioned insurance runs; that’s how you sustain winning streaks. You have to assume that most games are going to be close. So insurance runs late make a huge difference. The Birds now stand one game above .500, and they find themselves having won more games than they’ve lost for the first time since early last season.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds victorious in the Friendly Confines, hit .500

The gravy train ran on for the hottest team in baseball last night, as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Chicago Cubs. The Birds got a dominating outing from starter Jordan Lyles, who made himself at home in the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field. Lyles’ line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

the game got off to an inauspicious start however, as Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the last of the first on a solo homer by Happ. Rivas’ RBI-single an inning later ran the tally to 2-0, and for a split second we wondered if the Orioles’ winning streak was in jeopardy. But it wasn’t.

Anthony Santander’s RBI-single in the top of the third got the Orioles on the board and cut Chicago’s lead to 2-1. One inning later they took the lead when Ramon Urias smacked a two-run home run. They extended that lead to 4-2, the eventual final, when Jorge Mateo hit a solo homer in the seventh.

Timely hitting and good pitching – that’s what wins games. Lyles and the Orioles’ pen were all outstanding last night. That’s another quality start for an Oriole starter last night. Those are starting to rack up also.

After the game Brandon Hyde hit the nail on the head in terms of the O’s having won their ninth straight game:

We’re playing baseball all the way around. Some games we’re throwing it lights out, some days we’re mashing, we’re getting extra-base hits one after another. That’s the sign of a good team, when you can win baseball games in different ways and fashion.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

You find different ways to win games. And the O’s are doing just that. And it’s paying off; they’ve won nine straight games for the first time since September of 1999.

The series concludes this evening at Wrigley Field. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Justin Steele. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Jorge Lopez to the All-Star Game

It was announced last night that the Baltimore Orioles’ All-Star representative this year will be closer Jorge Lopez. Save for that weekend in Minnesota, Lopez has been dominant in the first half. He has a 1.74 ERA, with 16 saves.

The disappointment I suppose is that no position players made the roster. The likes of Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, and others certainly should have at least been considered. And obviously as guys opt out over time, they might still trickle their way onto the roster. The All-Star game is next Tuesday evening from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Orioles of course are off today, despite being the hottest team in baseball. Tomorrow night they head to the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field to open a short two-game set with the Chicago Cubs.

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Baltimore Orioles: Hottest team in baseball sweeps LA and the home stand

The Baltimore Orioles were back in the saddle again this afternoon against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Birds and starter Austin Voth came into today’s game having won seven straight. A win today would also give the O’s a perfect home stand. Voth’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

It started off inauspiciously, however. Hamilton’s two-run homer in the third gave LA a 2-0 lead. For a moment it appeared that the winning streak was going to stop at seven. Boy would you have been wrong had you put money on that.

One inning later in the last of the fourth Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-double cut the LA lead in half at 2-1. But that was only the table-setter. Later in the inning Ramon Urias’ two-RBI single and Roughned Odor’s RBI-single gave the O’s the lead at 4-2. But it didn’t end there – OH NO.

Anthony Santander would extend the lead to 5-2 with an RBI-double in the last of the fifth. If you’re Los Angeles you’d just as soon forget the bottom of the fifth inning today. But the Orioles and the fans at Camden Yards won’t soon forget it.

The Birds would end up loading the bases, Ryan Mountcastle scored on a passed ball. Santander would almost immediately follow, scoring on a wild pitch. And Ramon Urias would follow with a run-scoring single. When the smoke cleared, the O’s led 8-2.

If you’ve read me for awhile, you’ve seen me say that good things happen when you get guys on base. The O’s had the bags juiced, and fluky things plated a couple of runs. And on the aforementioned Urias hit, he was able to reach safely because the pitcher didn’t cover the bag. Again, get people on base and good things can happen.

The Birds would add a ninth run on an RBI-single by Trey Mancini in the sixth. Los Angeles would add three more runs in the later innings, including a two-run homer by Stassi. However Los Angeles reminded me a lot of the Orioles in 2018 – they have some talented players, but appear on the verge of a rip down and rebuild. The O’s of course are in a different point in that process.

The O’s swept LA, and swept the home stand. They’re the hottest team in baseball, having won eight straight. Where the season goes from here remains to be seen. But they’re firing on all cylinders at this moment.

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Baltimore Orioles: Baseball’s hottest team churns on

The Baltimore Orioles are baseball’s hottest team. Yes, you read that correctly; I’ll say it again for the people in the back…the Baltimore Orioles are baseball’s hottest team. Try that one on for size! Having won six straight coming in, they sent Dean Kremer to the mound against Anaheim this afternoon in hopes of keeping the party going. Kremer’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

Despite being the hottest team in the league, the Birds still sit in last place in the AL East. But that’s a testament to the division as much as anything else. Yet, national pundits continue to overlook the Orioles. And consistently at that. And in fact you watch…as soon as the winning streak ends, you’ll see people saying I told you they were bad.

But savvy fans know that one game a season does not make. It’s the overall body of work that matters. And we’re nowhere near being done; odds are some struggles still await this 2022 Oriole team. But to date, the overall body of work exceeds expectations.

Perhaps the best moment of today’s game came in the last of the third inning, when Tyler Nevin came up to bat for the first time. His Dad, Phil, of course is the interim manager of the Anaheim Angels. He was suspended for the first two games of this series (due to the Anaheim/Seattle brawl a few weeks ago), but returned to the Anaheim dugout this afternoon.

Today was the first time that father and son had been on a big league field together. Father and son exchanged the lineup cards before the game and posed for a photo with the umpiring crew. It was the sort of moment that only baseball can provide. And it didn’t disappoint.

For the record, (Tyler) Nevin reached base on a single in his first at-bat against his old man. Needless to say, (Phil) Nevin had to have mixed feelings on that. One inning later in the last of the fourth, Anthony Santander’s RBI-single have the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

And when your pitching staff doesn’t give up any runs, one run is all you need. The back end of the Oriole bullpen was dominant once again, with Relic Bautista getting a key strikeout to end the eighth, and Jorge Lopez closing the door in the ninth.

The Birds will go for a sweep of the series and the home stand tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Jose Suarez. Game time is set for just after 12 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini plays the hero as the magic returns

Tyler Wells got the start last night against Anaheim for the Baltimore Orioles, with mixed results. For awhile it looked like he was in line to be the losing pitcher. For most of the ballgame, in fact. But anyone who thought that sure had something else coming. Wells’ line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Wells gave up a three-run homer to Trout in the third inning. And that was it. He departed obviously after four innings, but the bullpen was solid. Luckily, so we’re Oriole bats.

The Birds began their comeback in the seventh with an RBI-single by Ramon Urias. One inning later Ryan Mountcastle smacked an RBI-single, and the comeback was on. But not before Ohtani extended the Anaheim lead back to two runs in the ninth with a solo homer.

That simply made the road slightly tougher for the Birds, who had that look of determination in their eyes. This as the old sentiments of Orioles Magic began to descend once again upon Camden Yards.

With a runner on second in the last of the ninth, Adley Rutschman’s RBI-double cut the lead to 4-3. Rutschman would later score on Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double, and the O’s had officially “come back.” But that only tied the game – the Orioles had in mind to win it.

Mullins would advance to third on a wild pitch, but that wasn’t such a big deal as he was already in scoring position. But the moment everyone was waiting for came in the form of Trey Mancini’s RBI-single to left. That plated Mullins, sent everyone home happy, and reminded the fans of this franchise’s not-so-distant magical past, and perhaps of a similar future.

After the game Mancini tipped his cap at the crowd and his teammates in the clubhouse:

It was so exciting, one of the best wins I’ve been a part of in my time here. I’m guessing it was one of our top crowds of the year. It was a great energy, the fans brought it all night, and we fed off that, especially late. It was just an amazing comeback for us. It was unbelievable to be a part of a great team win for us

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The series continues this afternoon at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Patrick Sandoval. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Jordan Lyles strong as Birds inch towards .500

With a victory tonight, the Baltimore Orioles are within four games of the .500 mark. It’s no coincidence that they’ve come to this point coinciding with when the starting pitching improved, as did the bullpen. If it begins and ends with starting pitching, it began and ended this evening against Anaheim with Jordan Lyles. He was outstanding, and he pitched to a quality start. Lyles’ line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Lyles is all but anchoring the rotation at this point. In the absence of John Means, that is. And Anaheim may be having an underwhelming season to date, but they do have a formidable lineup that includes at least two generational talents. They were all kept at bay tonight.

Adley Rutschman got the O’s on the board with a solo homer in the last of the second. It was the first Camden Yards home run of his career. An inning later Ryan Mountcastle added an RBI-double, which doubled the Birds’ lead – to 2-0.

But Oriole bats weren’t through just yet. Trey Mancini would add an RBI-single in the fifth. Mountcastle would come up again as well, and tack on a sac fly-RBI. Anaheim would add a sac fly of their own by Suzuki in the seventh, but the Oriole bullpen didn’t allow anything further. Jorge Lopez closed out the game, giving the Orioles their fifth straight win.

The stunning thing is that the O’s remain in last place in the AL East. And sadly, there’s a vocal minority of fans who only look at the standings. And they don’t want to care about a last place team. But the savvy fans know that this team is coming on. It may not be this year, but once things start really clicking, watch out for the Baltimore Orioles.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Reid Detmer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Spencer Watkins strong as Birds sweep Texas away

The Baltimore Orioles sent Spencer Watkins to the mound this evening in the series final with a Texas at Camden Yards. And Watkins turned in perhaps the best outing of his career, sending Texas down to defeat once again. Watkins’ line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Watkins was whatever adjective of which you can think which is stronger than solid. I think stellar is probably the term best used. Watkins was stellar all night. And the O’s reaped the rewards.

Ryan McKenna, who it was pointed out to me this evening bears a slight resemblance to Baker Mayfield (the new quarterback of the Carolina Panthers after being traded today), attested for all of the Oriole offense tonight. Quite frankly, McKenna had a great series overall.

McKenna smacked an RBI-single in the last of the seventh. However a second run was allowed to score on a throwing error by Texas’ Seager. And that was the entire Orioles’ offense, in a game that quickly became a pitcher’s duel.

Taveras would double a run home in the fifth, getting Texas on the board. But they couldn’t put anything more on the board than that. And neither could the Orioles, but they of course already had the lead. And it delivered them a 2-1 win.

Jorge Lopez also recorded the save this evening, after blowing two of his last three save situations. (And in the one he didn’t blow, he surrendered the lead, which in effect is the same thing.) He gave up a base hit tonight, but he held the line and held firm. Which should help him get past his confidence issues that have sprung up.

With the win, the Birds swept the series with Texas. It was their first three-game series sweep in about a year; their last sweep was last July, against Washington at Camden Yards. I’ve said this previously, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue that this team isn’t turning a corner.

The O’s will now welcome in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first of four tomorrow. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Chase Silseth. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins walks Birds off as winners

The Baltimore Orioles got a bit of a longer outing tonight out of Austin Voth. To be clear, a longer outing than they’re used to getting. Does this mean they’re stretching Voth out? Tough to say. But he pitched into the fifth inning tonight against Texas. Voth’s line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

This game was sort of wild from the beginning. Jorge Mateo’s RBI-single in the second gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. Cedric Mullins added a two-RBI double, and Trey Mancini an RBI-double of his own. When the smoke cleared the O’s led, 4-0.

But Texas snapped back in the fifth. They put three runs on the board, bringing them to within one at 4-3. Then Garver’s solo home run in the seventh tied the game. Whereas it looked like the O’s might cruise to victory…let’s just say that nothing’s easy in thugs world.

But they would get the lead back in the last of that seventh inning. Anthony Santander’s RBI-single gave the Birds a 5-4 lead. And it even looked like they had put some insurance runs up, as Ramon Urias’ two-RBI single gave them a three-run lead at 7-4.

But Texas came back again, and in one fatal swoop. Lowe’s three-run homer in the top of the eighth tied the game at seven. Then it was the Orioles’ turn – in the last of the eighth. Ryan McKenna picked an outstanding time for his first homer of the season, a solo shot. It gave the O’s an 8-7 lead.

And go figure, the teams swapped homers in the ninth. The game was re-tied at nine when Roughned Odor smacked a solo home run. And to extra innings we went! One might have labeled this as the game that wouldn’t die.

Almost true to form for this game, Texas threatened in the top of the tenth. They loaded the bases, but the Orioles pitched out of it. This put the O’s in a spot to once again take advantage of the ghost runner on second rule in extra innings. And of course the advantage that they also had (from the beginning) is that the home team bats last. And it was Cedric Mullins who played the hero last night, with an RBI-single to win the game for the O’s.

It goes down as one win. But this was a crazy game that went back and forth. Just when one team thought they had dealt a death blow to the other, something else would happen. Needless to say, it was about as entertaining of a game as you’re going to see in a given year.

The series concludes this evening at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Glenn Otto. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: All’s well that ends well on the Fourth of July

Dean Kremer pitched a lot better than his statistics look this afternoon against Texas at Camden Yards. He fell apart a bit in the fifth, but prior to that he was stellar. You always like a decent outing on a day such at the 4th of July. Kremer’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

The O’s took the lead in the last of the second when Jonathan Arauz smacked an RBI-single to right. An inning later that was extended to a 2-0 lead on Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double. Texas would get on the board in the fifth on a sac fly-RBI by Garcia.

But little did we know that was a harbinger for what was to come. Because Kremer struggled in the fifth inning, and eventually departed before it was over. Lowe’s RBI-single tied the game at two. But Garver smacked a three-run homer, which gave Texas a 5-2 lead, and sent Kremer to the showers.

But the O’s still had a lot of fight in them. One way or the other, this team battles, and it definitely shows. Cedric Mullins’ solo homer in the last of the fifth cut the lead to 5-3. Arauz would later reach on an E3, allowing two runs to score, tying the game at five.

And that’s when things got interesting. Well, they were “interesting” from the beginning, but you get the idea! The O’s threatened a few times, but couldn’t score. They did however bring in beleaguered closer Jorge Lopez to pitch the ninth. And sadly, Lopez continued his string of struggles, surrendering the go-ahead run in the form of a solo homer to Semien.

However keep in mind that the home team bats last. And the Birds still had the last of the ninth, where they made good of their final opportunity in the regular innings. Adley Rutschman’s RBI-double tied the game at six, and sent us to extra innings.

And after retiring Texas, the O’s found themselves in a good position. Austin Hays began the inning at second base, per MLB rules. Roughned Odor tried to sacrifice him over to third, but the pitcher (Moore) bobbled the ball, and everyone was safe. Texas opted to intentionally walk Ramon Urias, loading the bases and bringing Jorge Mateo to the plate.

For the record, that was sound baseball logic, as it gave Texas a force out at every base. what was unfortunate if you’re Texas was that Moore hit Mateo with the first pitch he threw in the at-bat, giving him first base and playing Austin Hays to give the Orioles a 7-6 win. As I said, a force at every base. Meaning that you have nowhere to put the runner.

End of the day, it was a good win for the O’s. A lot of moving parts, but a good win. However the ninth inning has just become very much in question, as Lopez is struggling. Granted today wasn’t a blown save, as the Orioles didn’t have a lead at the time for him to save. But it’s the same effect. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets the ball if the O’s are in a save situation tomorrow and onward.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Spencer Howard. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds snap losing streak, salvaging one in Minnesota

Tyler Wells pitched to a quality start this afternoon at Target Field for the Baltimore Orioles. the Birds have gotten great starting pitching on this road trip, and today was only the most recent installment. Unlike the first two games in Minnesota however, Tate’s efforts paid off this afternoon. Tate’s line: 6.0 IL,1 BB, 7 K.

Not only was Wells the winning pitcher today, but it may well have been one of the best starts of his career. This win snapped a 12-game losing streak at Minnesota’s Target Field. More importantly in the interim, it snapped a four-game losing streak in the present.

We played to a 0-0 tier through four innings. Then in the top of the fifth Roughned Odor smacked a solo homer, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead. One inning later in the sixth, Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle smacked back-to-back solo homers, leaving the Birds with a 3-0 lead.

Minnesota would add a rub on an RBI-single by Polanco in the last of the sixth. They would threaten a few times, but the Oriole pen held strong. End of the day, the O’s snapped their losing streak and managed to salvage one in Minnesota.

The Birds now head home to open up a three-game set at Camden Yards against Texas with a Fourth of July matinee. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Dane Dunning. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Should we be concerned about Jorge Lopez?

Jordan Lyles produced a quality start for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon at target Field in Minnesota. This after a one hour and six minute rain delay to begin the game. But once the game started, Lyles was definitely in a zone. Lyles’ line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K.

The O’s took the lead early on thanks to an RBI-double by Tyler Nevin. He sent a loping liner into the right field power alley, splitting the outfielders – it literally couldn’t have been placed better (aside from into the stands). One inning later Anthony Santander smacked a solo homer, and the O’s led 2-0.

Jorge Mateo’s sac fly-RBI in the fourth gave the Birds a 3-0 lead. However Minnesota had settled in by then, and they didn’t allow the O’s to cross the plate again. They also chipped away at the lead.

It started with a solo homer in the last of the seventh by Gordon, which chased Lyles from the game. One inning later Correa added a sac fly-RBI, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Which is where the score stood going to the last of the ninth, and Jorge Lopez came in.

Lopez of course had blown the save last night, his first of the season. For the record, bringing him in and getting him back in the saddle again is the right move – provided that it’s a save situation, which it was. The easiest way to get the monkey off your back is to get right back on the mound.

Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be Jorge Lopez’s series. He surrendered a leadoff home run to Polanco, promptly tying the score. A few base runners later, Miranda’s RBI-single won it once again in walk off fashion for Minnesota, with the Birds falling, 4-3. Lyles on the loss:

It’s another bad day for me. Jordan’s start was really good. I mean, it’s all on me. I’ve just got to figure it out tomorrow. These things are going to happen. It’s the first time it happened to me, so I knew something was coming and I have to figure it out. I have to control it and keep it going.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Brandon Hyde and many of Lopez’s teammates (including Jordan Lyles) maintained confidence in Lopez after the game. But the question is are these two games just outliers, or is there a cause for concern about Lyles?

And I can’t answer that, folks. Again, I did support giving him the ball this afternoon in a save situation. Now having said that, in the wake of two straight blown saves, maybe Lopez shouldn’t be available tomorrow. Maybe he needs to clear his head just a bit. Give him a day off, and be ready for Monday and onward.

The series with Minnesota concludes tomorrow afternoon at Target Field. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Devin Smeltzer. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in walkoff fashion, Brandon Hyde tossed

The Baltimore Orioles got another quality start out of a starter last night against Minnesota at Target Field. Spencer Watkins have the Birds everything he had, and then some. Needless to say, he put the Orioles in a position to win the game. Watkins’ line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 E, 1 BB, 5K.

Watkins’ only struggle in the game was right out of the gate – in the first inning. He loaded the bases, and Miranda’s RBI-single with two outs gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead. However Minnesota got greedy on what amounted to a soft ground ball into shallow left field. Correa tried to score a second run, and was viciously gunned out at home plate by Ryan McKenna.

In a close game, that’s a big play. And for a pitcher, only surrendering one run after loading the bases is a win. And Watkins would go onto retire 15 straight hitters as the game wore on. The O’s would tie the game at one in the top of the third on Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double. And we remained tied for some time.

Jorge Mateo reached on a fielder’s choice and an error in the eighth, scoring McKenna. That gave the Orioles the lead late in the game. But it was short-lived, as Jorge Lopez finally ended up blowing a save. Buxton’s two-run homer in the last of the ninth gave Minnesota a 3-2 victory.

At some point every closer blows a save. As solid as Lopez has been this year, you let it go and move onto the next game. In fact, if you’re Brandon Hyde you hope that you have the opportunity to hand Lopez the ball again today, and get hin back in the saddle.

Speaking of Brandon Hyde, he wasn’t around to see most of the game. After the top of the third inning he came out of the dugout and engaged in a spirited argument with home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus and crew chief Alfonso Marquez. De Jesus had turned and engaged with the Oriole dugout several times in the previous half inning, and Hyde’s frustration boiled over. Hyde on the situation:

Well, during the Mullins’ at-bat there was a disrespectful exchange between the home plate umpire and our dugout. I felt it warranted me to go out there and see what was going on, and it got heated from there. And we’ll go through the proper channels with it.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MADNsports

Later in the game Rougned Odor also had an issue with De Jesus’ strike zone. The comment about “going through the proper channels” probably indicates that Hyde will write this up to the league. Maybe for inconsistency, or for how he approached the dugout. Interesting to say the least.

The series with Minnesota continues this afternoon at Target Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Sonny Gray. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds fall big in Seattle finale

The Baltimore Orioles sent Austin Voth to the mound in this afternoon’s series finale in Seattle. Voth once again acted as an opener, but not with the same success as in the past. Now while Both gave up three runs, only one of them was earned. Voth’s line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

Seattle took a 3-0 lead in the last of the second. Haggerty pushed a bunt up the third base line, against the Orioles’ shift. Second baseman Jonathan Arauz’s throwing error allowed a run to score. It also allowed a second rubber into scoring position, and that run scored on Crawford’s single later in the inning. Rodriguez would plate another run (this one earned) on a sac fly-RBI.

The O’s would attempt a comeback starting in the fourth with Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-double. However Seattle would plate six runs in the last of the fourth. Which ended the competitive part of this afternoon’s game.

Trey Mancini would plate two runs in the fifth on a two-RBI double. And the O’s fell in the series finale with Seattle, 9-3. However even in a losing effort, the Oriole pen was solid in the second half of the game. Seattle didn’t score after the fourth inning. A loss is a loss, but that means something.

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Baltimore Orioles: Dean Kremer strong in loss

Dean Kremer was outstanding in his start for the Baltimore Orioles last night in Seattle. Unfortunately, the Birds themselves were hard-luck losers. But Kremer didn’t deserve to lose, and he didn’t (he was non-decisioned). Kremer’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

We all know how hot the Orioles have been of late. This month (June, 2022) is their first winning month since 2017. That almost more than anything shows how they’re turning the corner. In last night’s game however, they were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. That makes a difference.

But the pitching was strong, as it’s been all month. Sometimes you’re going to have games like this. In the end, it was Winker’s two-RBI double in the last of the eighth that won it for Seattle.

What’s important is going forward and not making this game a trend. As I’ve written many times, you can’t win if you don’t score. But if the O’s get back on it today, this game won’t be a trend. It’ll be a blip in the radar.

The series in Seattle concludes this afternoon at T Mobile Park. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Chris Flexen. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman shines in return to Pacific NW

Tyler Wells took to the mound in Seattle last night for the Baltimore Orioles in Seattle. And as I’ve said many times, a starting pitcher’s job is to put his team in a position to win the game. Wells, along with the bullpen behind him, did that. And in fact, Wells qualified for the win by virtue of pitching five innings. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

This was a big game for catcher Adley Rutschman, who returned to the Pacific Northwest for the first time as a major leaguer. Rutschman of course attended Oregon St. University, and Seattle was the closest major league team. So he had numerous family and friends in the stands last night, and they saw him deliver early and often. Rutschman set the tone for the game early on with an RBI-single in the top of the first, giving the O’s a 1-0 lead.

Following Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double in the second, Rutschman would come up again in the third inning. And he smacked a solo home run, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead. And that obviously lit a fire under Oriole bats; Ryan Mountcastle went back-to-back with Rutschman by hitting a solo home run of his own just a moment later. And the O’s would go back-to-back again in the fourth, with Anthony Santander hitting a two-run shot, and Austin Hays a solo.

When the smoke cleared, the O’s cruised to a 9-2 victory in Seattle. Many people would argue that the Orioles are cleaning up against teams with worse records than they have. And that’s true. But the fact is that the plan in place seems to be working. How many one-run games have they won this year? How many comebacks have we seen? This franchise is turning a corner, and it’s good to see.

The series continues this evening at T Mobile Park. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Robbie Ray. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles rally late, but fall in Chicagoland finale

The Baltimore Orioles got another quality start out of Jordan Lyles this afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. Well, technically not a true “quality start” given that he gave up four runs. But you get the point; he put the team in a position to win the game. Lyles’ line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a second inning two-run homer by Sheets. And for the record, that’s Gavin Sheets – Baltimore-area native, and son of former Oriole, Larry Sheets. You always like to see local kids making it in the big leagues. Not to mention the son of a former Oriole.

The O’s cut that lead in half in the top of the third on a solo homer by Jonathan Arauz. The O’s of course picked up Arauz off waivers from Boston this weekend, promoting him immediately to the big leagues. And he made an almost immediate contribution.

But Chicago came right back. Vaughn added a sac fly-RBI, also in the third. And one inning later Zavala’s RBI-single extended the lead to 4-1.

It appeared that the ChiSox would just coast to a 4-1 lead. But the O’s loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth. Arauz smacked an RBI-single to center, cutting the lead to 4-2. Cedric Mullins would add a run-scoring sac fly, but the Birds could only make it to 4-3, and fell in the series finale. Obviously however, this weekend series in Chicago was a grandiose success.

On the aforementioned RBI-single by Arauz, there was a chance that the Birds could have plated two runs. However Adley Rutschman was held up at third. He would later score on Mullins’ sacrifice fly.

This is where situational baseball comes into play. In the second or third inning, maybe you send Rutschman (while he’s a catcher, he doesn’t “run like a catcher” – yet). But with nobody out in the ninth inning and the Birds within striking range, you don’t want a runner thrown out at home plate.

The Orioles now head to Seattle for a three-game set at Safeco Field. Tyler Wells starts in tomorrow night’s series opener for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s George Kirby. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Spencer Watkins, Oriole bats strong as Birds light up ChiSox

Spencer Watkins made his return to the majors this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles. He was taxed with keeping a fairly powerful, but struggling ChiSox team at bay, on the South Side of Chicago. You know, the “baddest part of town” – this according to the late Jim Croce. Nevertheless, Watkins delivered for his team and it’s fans this afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. Watkins’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

At first glance, one might argue that five innings pitched is far from outstanding. But Watkins was placing the ball wherever he wanted, at will. Nothing seemed to phase him, yet the Chicago bats he was facing never seemed to figure him out. And that bodes well for the O’s. For what it’s worth, the game started in a 90 minute rain delay.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jorge Mateo smacked a solo home run. While that set the table for the game, Chicago would tie it up later in that third inning on Robert’s run-scoring single, aided by a Mateo error. And on we went in a tie.

But the game only remained tied until the fifth. Mateo would cross home plate again when Cedric Mullins reached base on an E5. Two innings later the O’s would load the bases (in the seventh). Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch, scoring another run and giving the O’s a 3-1 lead.

Mancini would later have X-rays on his hand (after the game), which came back negative. He appeared to be fine. So did Austin Hays, who later in that seventh inning would smack a bases-clearing double, blowing the game wide open at 6-1.

Chicago would score once more on an RBI-groundout in the last of the ninth. But the O’s would take the game, 6-2, and with that have won the first three games of this series in a Chicago. They’ve guaranteed themselves a series win, and have the opportunity to sweep tomorrow. With one more win before the end of the month, they’ll also clinch a winning month for the first time since 2017.

The aforementioned series conclusion is tomorrow at Guaranteed Rate Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Dylan Cease. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: ChiSox come undone at the hands of the Birds

With Kyle Bradish on the IL, the Baltimore Orioles once again turned to Austin Voss to spearhead a bullpen game last night. Manager Brandon Hyde only needed a few innings out of Voss, as was the case last weekend against Tampa. And Voss delivered; Voss’ line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Voss in essence has acted as a “long opener” in his two starts this past week. And he’s been effective in doing it. I’m not a fan of “bullpen games,” but to his credit Hyde’s making it work.

The O’s led almost the entire way in this game. Cedric Mullins scored on a wild pitch in the first inning, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead. Ritchie Martin’s RBI-single in the second extended that lead to 2-0. However Chicago would cut that lead in half in the bottom of the inning on Burger’s RBI-double. But that would be the highlight of the game from the ChiSox’s perspective.

With Adley Rutschman at the plate in the fourth, a balk was called on Chicago starter Kopech. This allowed Jorge Mateo to score from third, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead. That hall was controversial, as the Chicago dugout was unclear as to what Kopech did. Having said that, most balks are controversial. The O’s would tack on an insurance run in the eighth on Austin Hays’ RBI-double, going home with a 4-1 victory on the South Side of Chicago.

We did have the benches clear in this game. Kopech hit Jorge Mateo in the top of the second inning. Mateo took exception to it, and the benches cleared when he started shouting at Kopech. Both benches were warned.

At first glance I didn’t think it was intentional. Mateo is fast as heck; why would you hit someone who can steal a base very easily? (In fact, Mateo would steal second and be driven in by Rutschman.) However while we can’t be in a position to judge intent, let’s just say that it did look suspect.

That seemed to ruffle Chicago more than it did the Orioles. Mateo was able to steal second and score, and Kopech balked in a run later in the game. In the Birds’ minds it appeared to be over right away, and Brandon Hyde said as much after the game:

He gets hit in the back after squaring to bunt and didn’t like it. I don’t know the exchange, honestly. I need to look at the replay, what Jorgie did. But it’s one of those competitive things that happens and we moved on pretty quickly. I thought it was over at that point. We’re trying to win the game and they are, too. It’s one of those things that happen and you move on.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Chicago’s had a couple of other dust-ups already this year. Yet it was the Orioles who moved on. This while the Chi Sox flailed in the wind a bit. Let’s leave it at the fact that they didn’t do themselves any favors.

The series continues this afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Lance Lynn. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman homers, and Kremer strong in win

The Baltimore Orioles called on Dean Kremer to tame the Chicago White Sox lineup in the first of four games on the south side of Chicago. And similar to his other starts this year, Kremer delivered. He kept Chicago at bay, while Oriole bats did their thing. Kremer’s line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

The O’s almost got on the board in the third, but umpires ruled Cedric Mullins out at home plate when he tried to score from first on Trey Mancini’s double. The Birds challenged the call, but it was upheld. My personal opinion was that he was tagged out before sweeping his hand over home plate. Now whether the catcher blocked the plate before the ball arrived…that might be a different story.

But one inning later the O’s were on the board and in the lead. Following a Ryan Mountcastle double, Adley Rutschman sent a two-run homer deep into the Chicago evening. And if you didn’t see it folks, it was A SHOT. But it set the table nicely for the Orioles.

And the Orioles also got some “revenge” for Mullins being thrown out at home plate earlier in the game. In the bottom of that fourth inning it appeared that Chicago walks going to cut the lead in half on Garcia’s single. However Sheets was thrown out at home plate when he dared to run on Austin Hays in right field. Hays gunned him down at home plate, and it wasn’t even close. I’ve said this before, but as close as some of these games can be, plays like that make a huge difference.

Rutschman would smack an RBI-double again in the sixth, and the Birds would add an insurance run on Mullins’ RBI-single in th le ninth. And while they did ultimately have to use closer Jorge Lopez for the final two outs, little things like that make a difference also. Insurance runs can be the difference between a tense or relaxed ninth inning. And again, little things like that do make a difference.

The series continues this evening at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field. Austin Voth gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Michael Kopech. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.