Baltimore Orioles: John Means business in final home game

The Baltimore Orioles were finally able to keep Tampa at bay this afternoon, this behind starter John Means. In the closing home game of the very strange 2020 season, Means stepped up and put one in the books for the O’s. Means’ line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 12 K.

Twelve strikeouts is a nice round number for the final game at Camden Yards. At least that’s what strikes me about the stat line. He was sending Tampa hitters down throughout his outing.

The Orioles again got on the board early this afternoon on Renato Nunez‘s two-RBI single. However predictably Tampa would even the score. The lone run Means surrendered was a solo homer by Adames in the fourth.

However the O’s stopped the Tampa rally in it’s shoes, shutting them down for the rest of the game. Again however, the story of the day was John Means, who spoke after the game on his twelve strikeouts (all quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I didn’t know it was that many. I knew that I was getting some swings and misses. I just had the fastball going today. Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t. I had my good fastball that was riding pretty well. I didn’t know it was that many, but I had an idea.

Means also briefly mentioned this being the last home game, and having no fans:

It just doesn’t feel the same, it doesn’t feel like the last game here. I feel like we’re just going to keep playing and playing and it doesn’t have that feeling. The only feeling is the weather, I guess. It’s a little chillier. It just sucks. The whole year, it is what it is, but it doesn’t feel like a true Major League Baseball season when you don’t have fans cheering you on. We’re playing meaningful baseball here and it’s tough to not get that support, but I know it will come.

Regardless of anything else. Means pitched a great game today, allowing the Birds to salvage a win in this series. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Means starting the next game played at Camden Yards either.

Baltimore Orioles: Not being able to score negates good pitching

The Baltimore Orioles are having no luck putting runs up against Tampa. This obviously puts a lot of pressure on the Birds’ pitching so as to in essence be perfect. And that perfectionitis hit starter Jorge Lopez last night, as he pitched the O’s to a quality start and ended up a hard-luck loser. Lopez’s line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

The O’s took an early lead when they loaded the bases in the first inning and Chance Sisco was hit by a pitch. That gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. And it held up – for awhile.

Tampa evened the score in the third on Tsutsugo’s solo homer. They then took the lead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Arozarena. And there’s your ballgame. Tampa pitching shut the Orioles down for the remainder of the game.

Tampa must really have a heck of a scouting report on the Orioles, because they’ve totally shut down Oriole bats. And mind you, the O’s had been hot and had been scoring coming into this series. But even when they square a ball up and hit it hard, it’s right at someone. It’s almost uncanny.

Jorge Lopez was optimistic after the game in terms of having a shot at the rotation next year. He was a pick up that was under the radar by Mike Elias, however he’s paid dividends thus far. Lopez him being in the 2021 rotation (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Yeah, absolutely. Since I got drafted and since I got called up it’s a big opportunity. I want to be a starter on the major league level. The most important thing is to get consistent. That was one of my toughest things. Just get consistent every outing, and that’s what I’m trying to show everybody. I just try to lock it in and execute and have a good plan and have that good energy out there always. It’s been really good.

The loss guarantees that the O’s will finish the season under .500, although they’re still mathematically alive for a playoff spot. I wouldn’t hold my breath. However. SS Jose Iglesias was hit on the wrist by a pitch last night, and appeared to be in immense pain. He was lifted from the game immediately. The Orioles also announced before last night’s game that 1B Chris Davis would remain on the IL for the rest of the season.

The Tampa series, and the home portion of the schedule will close out this afternoon at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Ryan Yarbrough. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb a hard-luck loser

Alex Cobb gave the Baltimore Orioles a quality start last night. Against Tampa. That can’t be argued. In fact, it may have been Cobb’s best start of the season. However it was Oriole bats that couldn’t get untracked in the game last night, equaling a loss for the O’s. Cobb’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Cobb gave up one run in the last of the first on Lowe’s RBI-single. And again, Tampa finds the littlest ways to beat you – or the least likely manner, I suppose I should say. That was set up by a triple – didn’t see that coming.

An RBI-single in the third would give Tampa a 2-0 lead. The lone Orioles’ run came in the fourth inning on Austin Hays‘ solo homer. But when you only score one run, the opponent only needs two. Tampa was able to get exactly what they needed, and defeated Cobb and the Birds.

After the game Cobb addressed the “streakiness” of his season (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It’s been up and down. I felt like I started off pretty well and then the middle part toward this later part I’ve been struggling to find … We’ve been trying to make a lot of adjustments with the delivery. I’ve been working with (Darren) Holmes and Brocail a lot, especially this last week to make some adjustments and I think it’s going to pay off a lot in the long run. But it’s a challenge to do that in-season and feel comfortable out there. But it’s something you have to go through in game situations to work on stuff to see how hitters are responding to your stuff and see if you’re on the right path. There’s been some games where I’ve had to battle and try to get through it, but I think we’ve made a lot of progress. And coming off the year last year, where my health got me and I had to have two surgeries, I knew this year was going to have these types of moments where they’ve been up and down and trying to find your delivery and stuff like that. It’s difficult, but I think that the trajectory has been moving up and I’m pleased with that.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Charlie Morton. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles defeated by Tampa once again in an unlikely manner

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Dean Kremer perhaps wasn’t quite as crisp as he’s been in the past today in game one of a doubleheader against Tampa. However you’re not always going to have your best stuff at your disposal. He put the O’s in a position to win the game. Kremer’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

The lone run Kremer gave up was an RBI-triple in the second by Phillips. That gave Tampa a 1-9 lead. However Kremer didn’t take the loss today. Ryan Mountcastle‘s RBI-single in the last of the sixth tied the game at one, and got Kremer off the hook.

However the Orioles’ bugaboo against Tampa has long been the unexpected. It seems that you can do anything and prepare for most contingencies, but they find the one manner for which you didn’t prepare. And that’s how they beat you. It has to be maddening.

Tampa has runners at the corners in the seventh. They played Tsutsugo in his at-bat with the infield in. The idea being to cut the go-ahead run down at home plate. If the ball was hit in the infield, the play was at home plate.

However Tsutsugo hit the ball very softly to Iglesias at short. It was hit so softly, he had no play at home plate. So Iglesias smartly took the play at first. But that allowed the run to score.

Tampa would tack on another insurance run later in the inning. But that’s how they’ve beaten the O’s for years. They found the one way against which the Orioles couldn’t defend. Again, it has to be annoying from the Orioles’ perspective.

The series continues this evening with game two of the doubleheader – a game in which Tampa will be the designated home team. Baltimore native Bruce Zimmerman makes his night league debut and gets the start for the Birds, and Tampa is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for about 40 minutes from now.

Baltimore Orioles: Keegan Akin earns his first big league win

Keegan Akin earned his first major league win last night for the Baltimore Orioles. He only pitched five innings, but that qualifies you for a win. And let there be no mistake that he pitched very well. Akin’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K.

Nine strikeouts in five innings is striking. Especially for a guy who didn’t make it out of the first inning in his last start. At one point Akin struck out six straight hitters. Akin on the six consecutive K’s (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Oh, for sure. I’m a big tempo guy on the mound. When I get in a rhythm I just like to stay in it and go, go, go. Honestly, I didn’t know I struck out six in a row until you just told me. You just kind of zone in and it’s a blur, really. You just get locked in and you go.

Hanser Alberto got the scoring starter in the last of the third with an RBI-double. Later in the inning Jose Iglesias would add an RBI-groundout, and Ryan Mountcastle a sac fly-RBI. That in and of itself is good to see given that they’re manufacturing runs, and scoring without getting hits.

Atlanta would end up scoring on a balk in the top of the sixth. But the O’s kept a lid on things, and never really allowed them back on the game. In the bottom of the inning they managed to tack on two insurance runs when Renato Nunez smacked a two-RBI double. The Birds took the game 5-1, and won the series two games to one.

The O’s will now get set to play a doubleheader tonight against Tampa at Camden Yards. (Tampa will be designated as the home team in the second game, as it’s a makeup of a postponed game at Tropicana Field). Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Blake Snell. Game time is set for just after 4:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall, but Thomas Eshelman is a key piece

Thomas Eshelman is one of the most versatile guys in the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen. He can pitch in relief, he can spot start (as he did tonight), and really just about be anything that is needed. It’s also a great way to stay at the big league level. While he goes as the loser tonight, he pitched valiantly. Eshelman’s line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Freeman smacked an RBI-double in the top of the third, giving Atlanta a 1-0 lead. They doubled that an inning later when DuVall smacked a solo homer. Atlanta would also add three insurance runs in the ninth to run the final to 5-1 after the O’s added one in the ninth. And the lack of offense doesn’t fall on Eshelman.

However make no mistake that manager Brandon Hyde and company are happy with Eshelman in general. As I said above, he pretty much is ready to go whenever he’s tapped. Again, be it as a starter or in relief. And on short rest at that.

Granted tonight he started, however I suspect he wasn’t expected to go deep into this game. In other words, this was probably meant to be a “bullpen game” in general. To a traditionalist such as myself, that’s still a foreign concept. But is it really?

I would submit that Eshelman’s probably setting himself up to pitch the way that baseball might exist moving forward. We already know that the idea of a 20-win starter is gone. However the number of innings starters are going is getting to be fewer and fewer. That isn’t going to change.

It wouldn’t shock me if someone like Eshelman becomes the norm in Major League Baseball. Shorter outings, removing the emphasis on starters and relievers. This also would force people such as myself to in effect re-learn the game and how it’s approached. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Again, the onus in this game was on Orioles’ bats. They put up 14 runs last night, but couldn’t muster anything in this game. And that does happen. Incidentally, manager Brandon Hyde was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Cole Hamels. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Monday night delight

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Jorge Lopez was the benefactor of a donnybrook of runs this evening. After the weekend in New York, that was good to see. It was also good to see that Lopez held his own. That does make a difference. Lopez was the first Orioles starter to go seven innings this year. Lopez’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Ryan Mountcastle got the party started early in the game with an RBI-single in the last of the first. But that was only getting things warmed up. The O’s would explode in the last of the third, which effectively ended the competitive portion of the game.

DJ Stewart stayed hot, which is obviously great news for the Orioles. His three-run homer kicked off the biggest inning of the year for the Birds. That brought Mountcastle to the plate again, and he went back-to-back with Stewart for a solo homer. That gave the O’s a 5-0 lead.

Cedric Mullins added a two-RBI single, and Jose Iglesias a three-run homer. By the end of the third inning, the O’s led 10-0. The bats may have struggled in the Bronx over the weekend, but they snapped back in one fatal swoop.

The Orioles were ferociously smacking Atlanta pitching around tonight. Jose Iglesias, DJ Stewart, and Ryan Mountcastle would add RBI-singles in the last of the fifth. It all kind of made you wonder if the O’s might call the dogs off early up 13-0. But, that also would go against the idea of playing to the final out.

Atlanta would tack on one run, but the Birds would get it back. Pat Valaika‘s solo homer in the last of the seventh cushioned the lead back to 13 runs. Count this as a game where the O’s put it all together.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Thomas Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and Atlanta is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles swept in the Bronx

The Baltimore Orioles got a quality start this afternoon at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx our of starter John Means. He was stingy, surrendering just one solo homer. The issue of course was that Oriole bags couldn’t get going, causing the Birds to suffer a sweep at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

The O’s got on the board in the second inning on a solo homer by Renato Nunez. However Means’ aforementioned surrendered solo homer came in the last of the third. Wade smacked a Means pitch out of the park, tying the game at one.

But New York couldn’t muster much more against Means. This start combined with his previous start bodes well for the future of this franchise. Everything came together for Means this afternoon, in an effort for which he was non-decisioned.

The O’s got the first two outs in the last of the eighth, and then New York put two runners on base. Torres then proceeded to smack a two-RBI double, which in effect won the game for New York. And in fact your final from Yankee Stadium, New York defeats the O’s 3-1.

The Orioles may have seen their playoff chances end with this sweep in the Bronx. And if that’s true, that’s okay. Keep in mind that this team wasn’t supposed to win twenty games. So they’ve turned some heads. But there’s still some season left to go; anything can happen.

The Orioles now return home to open a series with the Atlanta Braves tomorrow night. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Touki Toussaint. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Hunter Harvey’s wild pitch sinks Birds

The Baltimore Orioles got a good start this afternoon out of Dean Kremer. You have to figure that it’s been tough for the kid; his first two big league starts have come agains the Bronx Bombers. But he won the first start last week, and held his own this afternoon. Kremer’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

The lone run that Kremer gave up was on a sac fly-RBI by Frazier in the last of the first. Other than that, Kremer and subsequent pitchers were stingy. Not much seemed to shake Kremer. And that’s a good sign.

The O’s tied the game at one in the top of the sixth when Ryan Mountcastle dropped a bloop RBI-single behind second base. This was a classic pitcher’s duel, and both teams struggled at times to put runners on base. Something had to give as we went to extra innings.

And unfortunately, it was the new extra innings rules that forced something to give. And for the O’s at that. Hunter Harvey was brought on to pitch the tenth, and of course New York got to start with a runner on second base.

Harvey uncorked a wild pitch, and the runner went to third. He would later score on Voit’s sac fly-RBI. It’s really a shame; this was a game the O’s had a golden opportunity to win. And that one slight mistake cost them the game.

As I said after last night’s loss, defensive mishaps like that can cost you games. And in this case it did. Now granted would a wild pitch setting up a run be such a problem in the third inning? Maybe, maybe not. In a 2-1 game it would still stick out. However the O’s would have had time to overcome it. In extra innings it’s a different story.

The series concludes tomorrow at Yankee Stadium. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s J.A. Happ. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Defensive mishaps make a huge difference

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Keegan Akin only lasted for two outs in the first inning. But please don’t take his stats and make assumptions as to how he pitched tonight. He was far from perfect. But he was done wrong by the defense behind him. Akin’s line: .2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

DJ Stewart stayed hot with a solo homer in the first inning. He was the lone bright spot for the Birds. I can’t stress enough how promising it is for the organization that he’s coming along. He’s been having a field day of late with major league pitching.

But again, that was the Birds’ line bright spot. New York immediately put two runners on with nobody out in the last of the first. Hicks flies out to left fielder Ryan Mountcastle. Now keep in mind that Mountcastle isn’t a natural outfielder. He’s being turned into one.

LeMahieu, the runner at second, decided to test Mountcastle and tag up to try to take third. Mountcastle’s throw was a bit under thrown, allowing New York an extra base. Frazier would eventually reach on a fielder’s choice, however the throw home from Jose Iglesias was off line, giving New York a 2-1 lead.

Later in the inning Andujar would add a two-RBI double. Later in the game New York would blow it wide open. Bout smacked two-run homers in both the fourth and fifth innings. Ten runs to the Orioles’ one appeared to be all they needed.

Granted you can’t blame two mishaps in the first inning for giving up ten runs. However those two mishaps (which for the record neither of which were errors) set the tone for the game. It also drove Keegan Amun’s pitch count way up, causing him to exit in the first inning.

It’s those types of mistakes that can be accepted from this team right now. But moving forward they need to keep that under control. If in the future they’re in a pennant race and this sort of thing pops up, that’s going to be a big league problem.

Look at it this way, if Iglesias’ throw (which wasn’t a tough okay) is online, the O’s gun down a run at the plate. Does the rest of the game unfold the way that it did? Tough to say.

The series continues tomorrow afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in game one of a doubleheader

Alex Cobb came off the IL to make the start for the Baltimore Orioles in game one of a doubleheader against New York in the Bronx. Cobb has trouble finding his way, but righted himself later. Cobb’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

New York got off to a quick start in this one. LeMahieu led off the last of the first with a solo homer. Gardner added a two-run shot later in that first inning. Before the non-existent crowd would have otherwise settled down, the O’s trailed 3-0.

Cobb didn’t fair much better in the second. Higashioka smacked a two-run home run in the second, running the score to 5-0. At this point if you’re the O’s you’re trying not to get yourself run out of the ballpark. But things stabilized.

Neither Cobb nor any other Oriole pitcher gave up another run. Save for a bloop RBI-single. They got very stingy, in fact. But the damage was done.

New York starter Cole made a no-hit bid. Mind you, the game was only seven innings long. But Hanser Alberto broke that up in the fifth inning. That was about as much offense as the Birds could muster in game one.

The doubleheader and the series continues later this evening at Yankee Stadium. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Masahiro Tanaka. Game time is set for about 40 minutes from now.

Baltimore Orioles fall, split with NYM

The Baltimore Orioles stayed hot at the plate last night against the NY Mets. Unfortunately New York’s bats got hot as well, however. And that happened slowly as the game went on. Jorge Lopez didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, but was victimized by the long ball. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Renato Nunez and Ryan Mountcastle smacked RBI-singles in the first inning, and the Birds took an early 2-0 lead. New York would get a run back in the last of the second on an RBI-single flew by McNeil. But the good news was that the O’s were getting guys on base, which puts pressure on opposing pitching.

But the O’s were able to open up a bigger lead later on. Rio Ruiz‘s two-RBI double in the third have the O’s a 4-1 lead. Hanser Alberto would add an RBI-single later in the inning. And the Birds held a 5-1 lead.

But even with a decent lead, New York was only a couple of big homers out of the game. McNeil’s two-run home run in the fourth cut the lead to 5-3. Now the Orioles did tack on one more run an inning later. DJ Stewart‘s bar stayed hot, and he hit a solo homer. Stewart is really coming along and of late has really been clicking against big league pitching. That bodes well for the Orioles’ lineup.

But the last of the sixth saw the Orioles’ lead evaporate. Conforto smacked a solo homer, Cano an RBI-single, and Giminez a solo homer of his own. That tied the game at six.

Two innings later Alonzo added a solo homer of his own, giving New York a 7-6 lead, which turned into a 7-6 victory. The O’s had chances in the later innings, but couldn’t bring anyone in. They also should have had at least three additional runs. With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, Rio Ruiz hit what rightfully hooks have been a bases-clearing double…

…but Conforto made an amazing over-the-shoulder catch. That obviously ended the inning as well. That’s to Conforto’s credit, incidentally. At the time the O’s held a slim one-run lead. But it’s a moment on which you look back as a big one in the game. If that ball falls, the Birds sweep the series. Instead they split it.

The O’s now head to the Bronx for a four game set with the New York Yankees. Keegan Akin gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Gerrit Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Big wheels keep on turning in Queens

The Baltimore Orioles got the best start of the season out of John Means this evening against the NY Mets in Queens. In fact, Means resembled his first half, 2019 self. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Means qualified for a quality start, and in fact Oriole bats also posted up. That’s the other aspect of the game. You can pitch great but if your offense doesn’t score you runs you’ll end up a hard-luck loser. The Birds put it all together tonight at once.

DJ Stewart remained hot, smacking a two-run homer in the second inning. Keep in mind that between Saturday and Sunday Stewart homered in three straight at-bats. So he’s really starting to get with it at the big league level.

New York would get their lone run in the last of the second on a solo shot by Marisnick. Other than that, Means shut New York down. And the O’s just kept chugging along.

Ryan Mountcastle also stayed hot. He smacked a two-run homer of his own in the fourth. That was followed up later in the inning by an RBI-triple from Cedric Mullins. Again, that’s great to see. Both Stewart and Mullins have struggled at various times in the bigs. The fact that things seem to be clicking for them is welcome for this team.

Pat Valaika and Rio Ruiz would also homer later in the game. When the smoke cleared the Birds had themselves an 11-2 victory. But following a big weekend against the New York Yankees, the Birds turned in perhaps one of their most complete performances of the season. And that in and of itself is an excellent sign.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Citi Field. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Rick Porcello. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Dean Kremer dazzles in debut as Birds take series with NY

The Baltimore Orioles finally got to see the first piece from 2018’s trade of Manny Machado come to the big leagues this afternoon in starter Dean Kremer. And he didn’t disappoint. Kremer carried himself and played like he belonged in the big leagues. He sent New York down 1-2-3 in the first inning, and his outing took off from there. Kremer’s line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

Also for the Orioles, DJ Stewart picked up right where he left off last night. Stewart’s two-run homer in the first inning got the Orioles going. It was Stewart’s third home run in as many at-bats. New York would score in the second on an RBI-ground out, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 2-1.

But when your starter is as effective as a Kremer was today, that’s not an issue. In fact, the bases were loaded in that second inning. Kremer figured out a way to get out of the inning while minimizing the damage.

That thin 2-1 lead held until the sixth inning before the Birds broke it open. They would load the bases, and Bryan Holaday would draw a walk, extending the lead to 3-1. Andrew Velazquez‘s RBI-single would further the lead, and Ryan Mountcastle‘s sac fly-RBI in the seventh pushed it to 5-1, which was the final.

This game of course was played under the backdrop of the 25th anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr. breaking the consecutive games played record. Cal tossed out a virtual first pitch to his son, Ryan (the first baseman for the Bowie Baysox), and he appeared on the MASN telecast and the Orioles Radio Network. 2131 is a moment that no Orioles fan of a certain age will ever forget. It’s a moment that stands alone in time and marks a generation of Orioles fans. So in a sense, it’s poetic justice that the Birds won today.

The Orioles also very quietly took three-of-four in this series with New York. Mind you it was originally a three-game set, but one was a makeup game. Either way, they took three-of-four. While New York is at a reduced power level, they’re still New York. We went from talking about an epic losing streak to them, to the Birds taking the series. Also noteworthy for Dean Kremer’s first major league start, and his first major league win.

Baltimore Orioles: DJ Stewart breaks out in another win vs. New York

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Keegan Akin put the Birds in a position to win last night against New York. And that’s all you can ask a starting pitcher to do. The rest of the team has to kind of take it from there. And they did. Akin’s line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K.

Unfortunately Akin didn’t qualify for the win. He was lifted in the top of the sixth, and the score was still 0-0. So Akin was non-decisioned. But he pitched well enough to have gotten the win. It just didn’t work out accordingly.

This game was also a coming out party of sorts for DJ Stewart. Which is a good thing because with Santander suddenly on the IL, Stewart is probably going to be getting more playing time. However his solo homer in the last of the sixth broke the scoreless tie and gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Later in that sixth inning Ryan Mountcastle‘s two-RBI single extended the Birds’ lead to 3-0. A two-RBI double would then run the score to 5-0, and the O’s were off to the races. After being held scoreless for nearly six innings, the runs came in buckets. This against a team that had previously won 19 straight games against the O’s.

Just to show he wasn’t kidding, DJ Stewart smacked an additional solo homer in the last of the seventh to extend the lead to 6-0. New York would get one back in the top of the eighth on a solo homer by Frazier. But in the end, the O’s won their second straight against New York. Hardly a 19-game winning streak, but hey you have to start somewhere.

The O’s will go for the series win this afternoon at Camden Yards. The Birds are yet to announce a starter, but they’ll be facing New York’s Masahiro Tanaka. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles snap skid in a New York Minute

The Baltimore Orioles had lost 19 straight games to New York coming into last night’s doubleheader night cap – including the first game of the doubleheader. However an offensive breakout and a nice starting outing by Jorge Lopez made quick history of that steak. While Lopez only pitched five innings, he did qualify for the win. Also when the game only has seven innings a five inning outing is akin to a quality start. Lopez’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Ryan Mountcastle got the party started in the last of the second when he blasted a two-run homer off into the night. Lopez allowed a base runner one inning later, who would take second on a wild pitch and third on a pass ball. Estrada’s ground out would score the runner, cutting the lead to 2-1.

And while that cut the lead, it exhibited that the Orioles could contain damage is a sense. As opposed to letting a mistake compound things further. They minimized the damage, and didn’t let a mistake turn into a barrage of runs for the opponent.

Although..:New York would take the lead in the fourth. Kratz’s two-RBI single gave them a 3-2 lead. For a brief moment it appeared that New York would continue their steak to 20 consecutive wins over the Orioles. But it wasn’t to be.

Mountcastle’s RBI-single in the last of the fifth would tie the game back up at three. Rio Ruiz‘s subsequent RBI-single would give the Birds the lead back at 4-3. And just for good measure, the O’s would get two all-important insurance runs to seal the win thanks to Pat Valaika‘s two-RBI double.

This is a big win for the O’s in the sense that it snaps the losing streak to New York. 19 straight games is a lot of losses. Not all of them were blowouts, mind you. The Birds battled in some of them – such as game one of the doubleheader. But it’s still losing 19 straight games to the same team, and a division rival at that. But that streak is now over.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Keegan Akin 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 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles drop their 19th straight game to New York

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Thomas Eshelman didn’t make it out of the third inning this evening in game one of a doubleheader with New York. But keep in mind that he had just pitched in relief on Tuesday, and this game was only seven innings long. Alex Cobb was supposed to get the start, but he was sent to the IL before the game for an unspecified reason. Eshelman’s line: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 earned), 3 BB, 1 K.

Cedric Mullins put the O’s on the board early with a solo homer in the last of the first inning. However one inning later New York had tied the game at one on a Sanchez homer. New York may be in a weakened state with all of their players on the IL, but they’re still the Bronx Bombers.

And in the third inning they loaded the bases due to an error. And before you knew it Gardner smacked a two-run scoring single. Tauchman would later walk with the bases loaded, giving New York a 4-1 lead. Incidentally, only two of those runs were earned.

And I’ve said this a lot this year, but other teams are holding the Orioles accountable. When mistakes are made in games, opposing teams are making them pay. They not only need to minimize the amount of opportunities that opponents can make them pay, but they need to find ways out of jams. So that other teams DON’T hold them accountable.

But the good news is that the Birds battled back. Rio Ruiz smacked a two-run homer in the fourth which cut the lead to 4-3. And one inning later in the fifth Renato Nunez smacked a solo shot, tying the game at four runs a piece.

The game went to extra innings. In reality, the teams played a full game (9 innings). But due to the league’s doubleheader rule where games are seven innings in 2020, it’s considered extras .

Similarly, the O’s had chances in the extra two frames. But they couldn’t push a run across to win the game. And New York toon advantage, pushing two across in the top of the ninth. The Birds would net one in the bottom of the inning, but it wasn’t enough. It was the Orioles’ 19 consecutive loss to New York.

The series continues with game two of this doubleheader this evening from Camden Yards. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Deivi Garcia. The game will begin in approximately 40 minutes.

Baltimore Orioles blow chance at big inning in loss

Baltimore Orioles’ starter John Means made into the sixth inning this afternoon against the New York Mets. Unfortunately he struggled with his control at the end, prompting his exit. And it was only downhill from there. Means’ line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Means unfortunately fell behind right away, as he surrendered a two-run homer to Conforto in the top of the first inning. But the O’s fought back – or tried to at least. At first. Ryan Mountcastle‘s RBI-single in the last of the second cut the lead in half.

That second inning was a key moment in the at game. The O’s would eventually tie the game at two when Cedric Mullins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Obviously at that moment the bags remained juiced. But the O’s allowed New York off the hook, only tying the game.

The Orioles need to start taking advantage more when their opponents mess up. We saw Toronto hold the O’s accountable for pretty much 100% of their mistakes last weekend. The O’s need to start doing that also, because other teams are going to do it to them. Bases loaded would have been an opportune moment.

And it was Conforto again who put New York ahead in the fifth with an RBI-double. And the game snowballed from there. New York would put runs up here and there, before netting a four-run eighth inning. That put the game out of reach.

Jose Iglesias would add an RBI-single in the last of the ninth. An additional run would score on a throwing error, running the final to 9-4 in favor of New York. The teams split the short two-game set at Camden Yards.

Several of those runs in the eighth inning were scored on pass balls. And again, opponents are holding the O’s accountable for mistakes like that. It’s a reminder that when people get on base anything can happen. And often times it will.

But that second inning should stick out for fans. The O’s could have opened up a big lead. They could have had a big inning. And they let their opponent off the hook. That has to change.

The Orioles are off tomorrow, which is a good thing. They had to remove Renato Nunez after he struggled running out a ball up the first base line in the fifth inning. His status moving forward is unclear.

Baltimore Orioles: Renato Nunez starts the party and provides insurance

The Baltimore Orioles finally got a starter to go deeper than four innings. Asher Wojchiekowski pitcher five tonight against the NY Mets at Camden Yards. It may only be one more, but it’s something. It’s a start. Wojciechowski’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Renato Nunez put the Orioles ahead early with a three-run homer in the last of the first inning. However New York chopped away. A sac fly-RBI and an RBI-single in the second got them to within 3-2. Luckily for the O’s in that moment, Anthony Santander followed suit in the last of the second with an RBI-single, and Jose Iglesias pushed another run across on a fielder’s choice. The O’s appeared to be in the driver’s seat…

…until they weren’t. Cano smacked a solo homer in the third. That was innocent enough; it came with two outs and solo home runs generally aren’t going to beat you. But Gimenez’s two-run homer in the sixth suddenly tied the game at five.

This was a big moment in the game for the O’s. Mind you that they just came home from a series in Toronto in which they surrendered several leads, and lost games at the eleventh hour in walk off fashion. Psychologically that can grate on a team. But the Orioles battled back.

Pat Valaika immediately got the Birds the lead back with an RBI-double in the last of the sixth. And that was a big moment all and of itself. Because the O’s didn’t string things out and waste any time. They jumped on the horn immediately and took the lead back.

Anthony Santander would add a two-run homer later in the inning, as the Orioles started to pull away. And for good measure, they added on an insurance run in the seventh. This on Renato Nunez’s solo homer – his second homer of the game.

And that Nunez home run was important also in terms of exorcising the demons of that Toronto series. The Orioles took several one-run leads, only to settle for that one run. And it would more often than not end up not being enough. This time around they were having none of that, and they padded the lead – which turned into a 9-5 win over the New York Mets.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Michael Wacha. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles break skid with extra innings win

Keegan Akin had a solid outing this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles. It was still a shortish outing, however he put the O’s in a position to win the game. And that’s all you can ask of your statrting pitcher. Akin’s line: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, (0 earned), 2 BB, 6 K.

The Birds took the lead early. Jose Iglesias‘ RBI-single gave them a 1-0 lead. And that lead stood up for awhile. Unfortunately for Akin however, it was surrendered on yet another botched play by the Oriole infield.

Toronto had one out and two runners in scoring position in the last of the fifth. However Biggio reached on a throwing error by Hanser Alberto at second base, allowing both runners to score. And giving Toronto a 2-1 lead.

This sort of thing has PLAGUED Oriole pitching this entire road trip. And the sad thing is that both Tampa and Toronto have taken full advantage of the Orioles’ mistakes. That’s certainly an incentive not to make mistakes like that, but sometimes they happen. But the Orioles have allowed those mistakes to kill them.

But the good news is that this time the Orioles fought back. And right away at that. Anthony Santander smacked an RBI-double in the top of the sixth, tying the game at two. This of course also letting Akin off the hook for the loss. And keeping the Orioles in the game.

And of course it was Santander who did it. As I’ve written previously, he’s quickly turning into a stud. And a fan favorite at that – if twitter mentions mean anything. He’s been the right guy at the right time in the lineup over various games this season, and today was no different.

However the game remained tied at two and went to extras. Just what the Orioles wanted after the way this road trip has gone. But Bryan Holladay‘s two-RBI double in the top of the eleventh gave the Birds a 4-2 lead. Toronto would net one in the last of the eleventhC but for once it wasn’t enough. And the O’s took the finale.

The infield play does need to be cleaned up. Now perhaps some of the miscues can be chalked up to playing this series on a minor league field. But those mistakes need to be fixed so that games aren’t in essence being given away.

The O’s also executed a trade before the deadline came and went today. They traded reliever Miguel Castro to the NY Mets in exchange for minor league pitcher, Kevin Smith. New York of course will be at Camden Yards playing the O’s for the next two days following today.

The O’s now return home to open the aforementioned short two-game set with the NY Mets. Neither team has announced a starter for tomorrow. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle homers but victory snatched from the O’s

In his debut as a Baltimore Orioles’ starter, Jorge Lopez looked pretty strong at first. However after having seen him once or twice, Toronto batters started to catch up. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

The Birds gave Lopez an early lead. Ryan Mountcastle smacked his first major league home run in the first inning, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. It was a no doubter, and it landed out towards the highway on the other side of Sahlen Field. Luckily a Good Samaritan retrieved the ball and it was saved for Mountcastle’s private collection.

Toronto would tie the game at one on an RBI-single by Guerrero in the last of the fourth. One inning later Biggio’s RBI-single would give Toronto a 2-1 lead. Grichuk would later add a sac fly-RBI, chasing Lopez.

However the O’s seemed to regain their never say die outlook this afternoon. Pedro Severino‘s sixth inning RBI-single in the sixth cut the lead to 3-2. That brought Ryan Mountcastle back to the plate. With his first big league homer out of the way, he decided it was an opportune moment to hit his second. Except this one was a two-run shot, and gave the Orioles their lead back at 4-3.

But Toronto wasn’t done yet either. The Birds recorded two quick outs in the eighth, before Toronto put two runners on via a base hit and a walk. Tellez’s RBI-single then tied the game at four.

However the O’s came back again. With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Birds had runners at the corners and Jose Iglesias coming to the plate. A base hit would give them the lead. Iglesias hit a slow swinging bunt to short…

…it was so slow, it gave Iglesias a fighting chance of reaching base safely and scoring the run. Iglesias hustled out of the box, and ran down the line – HARD, down the line. And he was called safe at first, allowing the run to score and giving the Orioles a 5-4 lead.

Unfortunately for the O’s and closer Cole Sulser however, the game wasn’t over. They had two runners on in the last of the ninth with two outs and a full count. Sulser threw what everyone, including the hitter, Shaw, thought was strike three. Replays showed it was clearly on the edge of the batter’s box.

Everyone except home plate umpire Sean Barber thought it was strike three and that the game was over. He ruled it ball four, loading the bases. Hernandez’s subsequent two-RBI single won it for Toronto.

Now Sulser did put a couple of guys on, which didn’t help. When you put runners on base anything can happen. And umpires are in fact human. But it does sting to lose a game like that, when in fact the game should have been over. But to the victors go the spoils.

The Orioles also announced two trades before the game. Tommy Milone was dealt to Atlanta for a Player to be named later (PTBNL). Reliever Mychal Givens was also sent to the Colorado Rockies. In return, the O’s got infield prospects Terribly Vavra and Tyler Nevin. They also are receiving a PTBNL.

The series with Toronto concludes tomorrow at Sahlen Field. The Orioles haven’t announced a starter as of yet, and Toronto will throw Chase Anderson. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb haunted by defense behind him

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Alex Cobb didn’t pitch perfect this evening. Heck, he wasn’t in the game long enough for that. But I feel that he was pitching good enough to put the O’s in a spot to win the game. Which is the task of every starting pitcher. Cobb’s line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R (4 earned), 2 BB, 2 K.

Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the last of the first when Guerrero smacked a two-run scoring single. However keep in mind that there were two runners in scoring position due to the fact that Santander misplayed the ball in the outfield. That ultimately came back and bit the O’s.

Toronto also netted a run in the fourth, but the Birds gave them an extra out. With a runner at third Fischer grounded into what would have been a tailor-made double-play. The Orioles were willing to concede the run, however Hanser Alberto has trouble transferring the ball to throw back to first. That doesn’t go as an error (because you never assume the double-play), but it cost the Orioles runs in the future, and of course it cost Cobb some pitches.

And in fact, Cobb gave up a two-RBI single to Biggio later in the inning. That ran the final to 5-0. Again, Cobb wasn’t perfect. But I think that he in theory pitched well enough to win. Errors and extra outs can at times do a pitcher in.

Here’s an interesting question; was this Cobb’s final appearance for the Orioles? With the trade deadline being Monday, he’s a veteran guy with good experience, and could be a candidate to be traded. Could he help a team for a potential stretch run in a stretch season? Yes, he could.

But there are a lot of other things at play. Are teams willing to part with prospects to potential work their way into the postseason in the strangest year on record? Furthermore? With potential labor unrest coming, do teams really want to commit themselves to a salary? All good questions. 

Four innings seems to be the magic number for manager Brandon Hyde. I find that interesting, and perhaps a little concerning. It’s one thing if the pitcher’s struggling. But we’ve seen Hyde pull pitchers who were doing okay or even holding their own at the four inning mark. The recognize that I’m a mastodon in the sense that I want my starters to go deep into games. If anything, bullpens are bigger than starters now. But four innings to me is a really short outing. I feel it taxes the bullpen too much.

This isn’t to be overly critical of Hyde. I recognize he’s doing the best job he can and that he’s only a second-year manager. Plus, nobody’s ever managed a sixty-game season before. It’s just interesting to me that he seems to get his starters after four innings. Just something I’ve noticed.

The series continues tomorrow afternoon at Sahlen Field. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Taylor Roark. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall on late walkoff homer

No matter what happens, Toronto seems to have the Baltimore Orioles’ number. No matter how the game unfolds, they just seem to find a way. John Means only made it four innings, and couldn’t even qualify for the win. Means’ line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Means gave up two solo homers. One to Guerrero, and one to Hernandez. Both occurred in the last of the fourth. Those were the only runs he surrendered. And then the O’s turned to the bullpen.

However the O’s fought back in the sixth. They loaded the bases, and Ryan Mountcastle‘s two-RBI single tied the game at two. However Toronto is quickly becoming the team who lives by the refrain anything you can do I can do better. Guerrero would score from third on a wild pitch in the last of the sixth, giving Toronto their lead back at 3-2.

But the Orioles weren’t finished yet. Renato Nunez tied the game at three in the eighth with a solo homer. And from there the game went to extra innings tied at three.

That mean that the O’s would start the inning with a runner on second base. After the runner was moved to third on a bunt, he was played by Hanser Alberto‘s bloop RBI-single. However unfortunately for the O’s, Toronto also gets as runner at second base to start the inning.

And the home team bats last. Toronto may not have been plying at Rogers Centre, but Sahlen Field is their de facto home – for now. Toronto was down to it’s final strike. And Grichuk smacked a ball over the fence for a walk off home run and the O’s had a 5-4 loss.

Grichuk has killed the Orioles over a couple of seasons. He can’t see to help but hit whatever they throw up there out of the park. It’s uncanny. However them’s the breaks.

The series continues tomorrow from Buffalo’s Sahlen Field. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Taijuan Walker. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles canceled in Tampa

Tropicana Field in Tampa isn’t exactly a spot that the Baltimore Orioles would have expected to have a cancellation or postponement. However tonight’s series finale in Tampa has been canceled after consultation with the league and the MLBPA. This in a effort to stand in solidarity with social justice initiatives throughout the sports world.

Both teams were planning on playing. The managers met early in the afternoon and the game appeared on par to begin. However late this afternoon the league came out and said that it would prefer that the entire slate of games be canceled. This as opposed to just a few games being played.

It’s unclear how this affects the season moving forward, or if further cancellations will occur. Does this mean that the weekend series in Buffalo with Toronto is in jeopardy? Tough to say. Time will tell. All we know is that there’s no game tonight.

As of now the Birds are supposed to open up a three-game set against Toronto tomorrow night at Toronto’s temporary home, Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY. Starters are TBD for both teams as of now. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall late despite Anthony Santander

The Baltimore Orioles seem to be in perpetual bullpen mode when it comes to starting pitchers. Asher Wojchiekowski was pitching well, but only went four innings tonight before being lifted. Incidentally lots of teams operate in that manner now, but I’ve noticed that the Orioles seem to do it also here and there. Wojciechowski’s line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

The O’s took the lead early tonight on the heels of a Hanser Alberto single in the first inning. Cedric Mullins was already on first base, and he scored when the Tampa outfield misplayed the ball. Hey if a team like Tampa’s going to give you runs like that, you take them!

Mullins would later score on a fielder’s choice by Renato Nunez. The Birds led, 2-0 and appeared in control. However Lowe’s third inning two-run homer tied the game at two. Two innings later in the fifth Diaz grounded into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, giving Tampa a 3-2 lead.

As I’ve said, Tampa finds weird ways to score runs. That fielder’s choice came on a high Baltimore chop off the turf. The pitch of the chop allowed the Orioles to only record one out, which allowed a run to score. This as opposed to a ground ball double-play which would have gotten the Orioles out of the inning.

However as has been the case so often this season, Anthony Santander came to the Orioles’ rescue. To be blunt, the dude’s going out and having himself a season. He’s quickly winning the hearts and minds of Orioles fans from the Delaware line to Richmond (VA), and everywhere in between. He’s turning into a legit stud.

Nevertheless, his RBI-single in the seventh scored Hanser Alberto, and tied the game at three. However unfortunately, sometimes complaining does work. Tampa complained about the strike zone for most of the game. In the last of the eighth, it got really small for Oriole relievers. As a result, Perez smacked a misplaced slider out of the ballpark, giving Tampa a 4-3 lead. And a 4-3 victory.

Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. Tampa’s good at that. Their hitters adjusted to the strike zone. The Orioles did not. What that doesn’t change is the heroics of Anthony Santander, who lifted the team on it’s back when it needed it the most.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. John Means gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Ryan Yarbrough. Game time is set for approximately 6:40 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: You can’t give extra outs and expect to win

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Tommy Milone gave the Birds a good outing tonight against Tampa at Tropicana Field. The result indicates he didn’t pitch good enough to win. But he put the Birds in a position to do so. And that’s all you can ask of a starter. Milone’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 6 K.

Renato Nunez have Milone and the O’s am early 1-0 lead with a first inning home run. However an inning later Tampa took the lead at 2-1 on Renfro’s two-run shot. But it’s important to note that the only reason there was a runner on base was due to a Pat Valaika throwing error at shortstop. For good measure, Margot would launch a solo homer immediately following Renfro’s shot, giving Tampa a 3-1 lead.

In the fourth Ryan Mountcastle recorded his first big league RBI, with a single that cut the Tampa lead to 3-2. However in the sixth Tampa would extend it’s lead to 4-2 on Choi’s sac fly-RBI. And that would be the final, as the O’s fell to Tampa in game one of the series.

However it’s important to note once again that the bases were loaded in the sixth due to another Valaika throwing error. Now this isn’t to call out Valaika, as Tropicana Field’s a tough infield with the field turf. However the two errors were responsible for two unearned runs. And that meant the game in this instance.

I wrote earlier today that Tampa finds wacky ways to beat you. It doesn’t help when you give them extra outs. They usually find a way to bring a run into score, compounding your problems. You can’t give extra outs to anyone at any level of baseball. But Tampa’s a team to whom you really can’t do that, as they always find a way to come through.

Before the game the O’s announced that they had ended the season of pitcher Wade LeBlanc. He was placed on the 60-day DL with a stress reaction in his elbow. As you’ll recall, that forced him from Sunday’s game against Boston in the first inning. To take his spot, the Birds recalled LHP Keegan Akin from their alternative site in Bowie.

The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Asher Wojciechowski gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa is yet to announce their starter. Game time is set for approximately 6:40 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: #RIPFlanny

On this day in 2011 I said that so long as I penned a Baltimore Orioles’ column I’d remember August 24th. That was the evening that we learned of the untimely death of former Oriole Mike Flanagan. It’s a day that few people who follow the Birds will ever forget.

The Birds were in Minnesota, and the story of Flanagan’s death in essence unfolded as the game played out that night. It wasn’t until after the game that the Orioles and MASN television acknowledged Flanagan’s death. And that was by design.

This affected anyone who knew what Flanagan meant to the organization. Mike loved being an Oriole during his playing days. And he loved being affiliated with the organization after he retired. He spent numerous years in roles such as pitching coach, Vice-President of Baseball Ops, and of course as a broadcaster. He was beloved by the fans.

And he’s missed by the fans. His dry New England wit was unparalleled. But of course the reason he was so loved is because he was a great Oriole to begin with. Famously he was the last Oriole to pitch at Memorial Stadium. That means something. And it was done by design. He loved the Orioles and he loved the fans. And the fans loved him back.

So to Mike Flanagan’s family, I hope they know that Orioles fans are thinking of them today. These types of anniversaries are never easy. But they also help to remember the person. And no matter how he was connected to you, Mike Flanagan was someone you’d want to remember. May he rest in eternal peace.

Baltimore Orioles defeat Boston, split series

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Wade LeBlanc couldn’t make it out of the first inning yesterday. He surrendered a solo homer to Pillar on the second pitch, but with two outs he called for the trainer. LeBlanc left with what was later deemed elbow soreness, and Thomas Eshelman abruptly took over, pitching very well. Eshelman’s line: 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

The O’s loaded the bases in the last of the first but let Boston off the hook. They also loaded the bases in the last of the third, but weren’t quite as charitable. Rio Ruiz‘s two-RBI single gave the Birds a 2-1 lead. Almost immediately following Ruiz’s single, Andrew Velazquez pushed a bunt down the third base line, scoring a third run for the O’s.

Not a lot of guys are going to bunt with two strikes. And that might be part of the reason why Velazquez did it. Call it the element of surprise, perhaps. Either way it worked, and the O’s ended up with a two-run lead.

Boston however would rally in the fifth. Bogaerts’ RBI-double off the right field scoreboard would get them to within 3-2. However Miguel Castro recorded a strikeout with two outs, ending the threat with the O’s in the lead.

However the O’s got some insurance back in the seventh. Rio Ruiz’s two-RBI double gave them a 5-2 lead. And that turned into a 5-4 victory following Bradley’s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Another example of why insurance runs are important.

As sloppy as the first two games of the series were, the O’s earned a series split with Boston. That makes a world of difference in terms of momentum as they now hit the road. The Wade LeBlanc injury is a concern, and we’ll have to see where he stands moving forward. But tomorrow being an off day, the Orioles could also skip him in the rotation this week and not be too bad off. The Birds will head to Tampa for a series beginning Tuesday night following an off day tomorrow.

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander starts really that snaps skid

Alex Cobb did his job last night as the Baltimore Orioles’ starter. He put the team in a position to win. That’s what you ask of your starting pitcher in every game, but especially when you’ve lost six straight. Cobb’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

And Cobb has a brief lead in the game as well. Pat Valaika‘s solo homer in the second inning gave the Birds a 1-0 lead. However losing streaks don’t go easily. You had to know that both Boston, as well as “the losing streak,” were going to put up a fight.

Bradley’s solo homer in the fifth tied the game at one. Later in the inning Verdugo’s RBI-double gave Boston a 2-1 lead. One inning later, Pillar’s infield RBI-single extended Boston’s lead to 3-1.

And the Boston bullpen didn’t appear to be looking to allow the Orioles back into the game. Out after out was recorded, and the Birds seemed to be headed for their seventh straight loss. Only they weren’t.

Anthony Santander‘s spot came up in the eighth inning. He strode to the plate with a runner on and the Orioles trailing by two. And Santander delivered; he sent a deep shot down the left field line. The distance was never going to be an issue. But would it stay fair?

And the answer was YES, it would! Santander’s two-run shot tied the game at three, and put life into the Orioles. It’s tough to put into words what Santander means to this team right now, as he’s hitting everything that’s coming his way. And it’s generally leaving the ballpark. He also seems to have the clutch gene in him whereby he makes his presence known at the right times. A two-run homer in the first inning is a great thing. But doing it when Santander did is even better.

The game went to extra innings, which of course meant that Boston got to start the tenth inning with a runner at second base. Three walks later, they had a 4-3 lead. But that wasn’t about to render Santander’s earlier heroics null and void…

…because the O’s also got to start their half of the tenth with a runner at second. Cedric Mullins led off the inning and dragged a sacrifice bunt up the first base line. However Boston tried to make the out at third base, and instead got nothing. That gave the Birds runners at the corners with nobody out. A wild pitch later and the runner from third scored tying the game.

Following a single which also left runners at the corners, Boston would walk Anthony Santander. Being walked with second base open is respect. And fear. But it was probably the right call by Boston.

However the O’s weren’t about to squander this chance to win a game, and snap the skid. With the bases loaded, Pedro Severino‘s RBI-single gave the Birds a 5-4 win. And it’s a big win at that, as it snaps a six-game losing streak. Which is a load off of the minds of everyone in the clubhouse.

The O’s will try to go for the series split this afternoon at Camden Yards. Wade LeBlanc gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Zack Godley. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in Ryan Mountcastle’s debut

John Means became only the latest Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher to be chased from a start early on. As was the case on Thursday, Boston came out swinging early. And for that they were rewarded. Means’ line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Means gave up a solo homer to Bogaerts in the second inning, and a two-run shot from Martinez in the third. Those were the only runs that Means surrendered, however he still only stuck around for three innings. That was by design, as he was on a pitch count.

Devers smacked a three-run homer in the fifth, running it to 6-0. One inning later Chavis’ two-RBI single ran the score to 8-0. The O’s weren’t just losing, they were getting blown away.

But they did battle back. Pat Valaika and Cedric Mullins smacked solo homers in the seventh to cut the Boston lead to 8-2. Chance Sisco hit a three-run shot in the eighth. So the Birds didn’t just accept their fate lying down, but they did fall 8-5.

However the big story of the day was that the Orioles called one of their top prospects, Ryan Mountcastle up to the big leagues. Mountcastle replaced Chris Davis on the roster after he went to the 10-day IL. Mountcastle started in left field last night.

Mountcastle is of course expected to be one of the next generation’s stars in Birdland. So it was a historic night for both him and for the organization. Mountcastle drew two walks in four at-bats, and did score a run.

Mountcastle acknowledged before the game the bizarre circumstances surrounding his debut given the circumstances of the 2020 season (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

There have been no fans. I don’t think it’s going to be the same, but at the same time I know this is the highest you can play and there should be really good competition and I’m excited to get going.

No player will ever forget his big league debut. When Mountcastle looks back at his he’ll undoubtedly remember it two-fold given the situation.

The Birds will try to snap their losing streak as the series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall to Boston

The Baltimore Orioles continues their skid last night in game one of four against Boston. Starter Asher Wojchiekowski didn’t pitch horrendously. However he fell victim to a high pitch count. Boston hitters fouled off pitch after pitch, chasing him earlier than he would have liked. Wojciechowski’s line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Boston got on the board in the second on Peraza’s RBI-single. Incidentally, it was another run surrendered by the Birds on a softly-hit blooper. There isn’t much anyone can do about this. It’s just something that seems to happen a lot.

Later in the inning Verdugo grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. This very well could have been an inning-ending double play instead of another run scored. However Nunez had an ever-so-brief problem getting the ball out of his glove, which resulted in the Birds not being able to turn two. When things aren’t going well things like that happen.

An inning later Boston would get a solo homer out of Bogaerts. However the Birds briefly fought back in the seventh. Pat Valaika got them on the board with a solo homer. But the only thing that did was ensure they didn’t get shut out.

Boston would put four insurance runs on the board in the top of the ninth just for good measure. As I said, when things aren’t going well things like that happen. The O’s need to come back to the ballpark today rededicated to their fundamentals among other things.

Starters also need to go deeper into games. One of the reasons four insurance runs in the ninth inning happens is because the bullpen is taxed. If starters can start going deeper into games, that helps rest the bullpen.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the Birds, and Boston is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles swept by Toronto

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Tommy Milone pitched the Birds to a quality start this afternoon. Mind you, that’s classified as six innings plus of three earned runs or less surrendered. And in fact the way that Milone pitched sized up to being classified as a quality start. Milone’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

The O’s were trailing as of the second inning when Grichuk smacked a solo homer. The guy literally couldn’t NOT hit any offering by an Orioles’ pitcher in this series. If they threw it, he hit it. And it generally went out of the ballpark. He single-handedly killed the O’s.

However Dwight Smith Jr.‘s run-scoring single in the fourth tied the game at one. The Toronto outfield mishandled the ball, allowing the run to score. That also allowed Smith to get to third base – on an error. The Birds would take the lead later in the inning on Pat Valaika‘s run-scoring single.

But with the aforementioned Grichuk in the Toronto lineup, no Oriole lead appeared to be safe. And that goes for the entire series, not just today’s game. But in the top of the sixth Grichuk hit his second homer of the game, this one of the two-run variety. That gave Toronto a 3-2 lead. Just to show he wasn’t kidding, Grichuk made a run at home run number three on the day in the eighth inning. But Dwight Smith Jr. was having none of that, and it fell safely into his glove. Toronto would later add two insurance runs, and take the game 5-2.

This wasn’t as bad a series for the O’s as one might think given the fact that they were swept. They weren’t far off in the games. Toronto had a lot of things bounce their way. And that’s how it goes sometimes in sports.

Incidentally, the Orioles have traditionally struggled against Toronto. They’re just a franchise that’s had the Orioles’ number for some reason. I can’t tell you why, they just always seem to find a way against the O’s. Grichuk’s antics this series is only the latest example.

The Boston Red Sox come to town tomorrow night for a four-game set at Camden Yards. Asher Wojciechowski gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander thrives in extra-inning loss

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Wade LeBlanc struggled last night against Toronto. He couldn’t fully locate his pitches, and Toronto hitters turned on them the second time through the order. LeBlanc’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

But the good news for the O’s is that they had Anthony Santander on their side. He smacked a two-run homer in the last of the first to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. However in the top of the third Grichuk’s two-run homer tied the game back up at two.

But Santander wasn’t going to be outdone. In the third he took the lead back with his second homer of the game, this a solo shot. However Santander continues to put the league on notice that he’s quickly turning into a big time slugger. And the Orioles couldn’t be happier about that.

However Toronto would put five runs on the board in the fifth inning. They loaded the bases with nobody out (chasing LeBlanc), and didn’t really look back. Five-run innings are tough to come back from. But the Birds would certainly try.

They got a two-run homer from Chance Sisco in the last of the fifth. That ran the score to 7-5, as the Birds inched their way back into the game. Renato Nunez would later add on a sac fly-RBI. That brought the Birds to within 7-6.

Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single in the seventh tied the game at seven. And following that, to extra innings we went. However the O’s couldn’t sustain the momentum in the tenth. Gurriel reaches base on a fielder’s choice, allowing a run to score from third. And the O’s fell, 8-7.

Even in a losing effort we do see the Orioles’ knack for coming back. And as I said above, Anthony Santander is putting the entire league on notice that he’s arriving on the scene. That’s perhaps the biggest takeaway out of everything in terms of the Orioles’ start to the season. They may well have a bona fide slugger on their hands.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Tommy Milone gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Tanner Roark. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb a hard-luck loser on flukey plays

If you look at the Baltimore Orioles’ line score, Alex Cobb‘s Numbers don’t look so hot. However he was pretty on his game tonight. Sometimes the line or box score doesn’t tell the story that should or could be told. Cobb’s line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Cobb retired Toronto in short order in the first two innings. However he allowed two infield base hits to start off the third. That’s two balls that were placed perfectly and had to be eaten. Two base runners, no outs.

Biggio then connected on another infield hit, in what amounted to a swinging bunt up the third base line. That scored a run, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning Grichuk would smack a three-run homer, and the O’s trailed 4-0.

Now one might argue that a pitcher who gave up a three-run homer shouldn’t be called a hard-luck loser. And that’s a fair point. However keep in mind that those runners wouldn’t have been on base if not for the infield hits. So all things being equal, it easily could have just been 1-0 Toronto. Instead, it was 4-0.

Pedro Severino would get the O’s on the board in the last of the fourth with an RBI-single. However to their credit, Toronto pitching shut the Orioles down for the rest of the game. And in fact, Toronto would even score an additional run in similar fashion. Grichuk would dump a softly-hit bloop RBI-single into shallow right center field. And as insurance runs, Biggio would add a two-run homer in the ninth. Just for good measure, the O’s decided to get into the bloop game. Renato Nunez‘s bloop RBI-single tan the final to 7-2 in Toronto’s favor.

The Orioles have struggled over a great many years with teams that would nitpick them to death in this manner. Dating back over several different era’s. Think back to the 2014 ALCS against Kansas City. The O’s were paper cut to death in a series full of broken bat and bloop singles.

I’m not sure how you defend against this type of thing. The only defense is a good offense, and that didn’t happen for the Orioles tonight. If you keep the bats hot you can keep up in games. Even when the opponent’s getting every break in the book. Granted Toronto did get three runs off of homers. But the damage was done in simplistic manners.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Wade LeBlanc gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Nate Pearson. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall despite Anthony Santander’s two homers

John Means didn’t even last an inning for the Baltimore Orioles against Washington today. In fact, he turned in the shortest outing of his career. If anything, Means was getting too much of the plate. Means’ line: .2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 0 K.

Means surrendered three runs, two on RBI-singles, and one on a sac fly-RBI. But in what’s become commonplace, the O’s showed signs of life. Anthony Santander‘s solo homer cut the lead to 3-1.

Washington would extend their lead to 5-1 in the fifth with two additional runs. But again, that aforementioned Santander homer was a harbinger of things to come. Both the act, and the person who did it.

The O’s were thrust right back into the game in the last of the sixth. Pedro Severino smacked a three-run homer, and suddenly the Birds we’re back to within one at 6-4. One inning later Anthony Santander came to the plate again. And he didn’t disappoint, smacking a solo homer and tying the game at five.

This Oriole team is nothing if not resilient. They battle back and they play to the final out. And they’re starting to do it with power. Anthony Santander is starting to turn into a legit stud at the plate. He’s not only hitting the ball, but it’s traveling a long way after he makes contact.

Unfortunately, Santander’s two homers weren’t enough today. Washington put a runner at third base in ten eighth, and he would score on an E5 throwing error. That would end up being the winning run for Washington.

And that really shows you the two aspects of this game offensively. It’s great to smack the ball out of the yard, especially when runners are on base. However sometimes when you put runners on base things happen. That run came with two outs, so it would have been the end of the inning.

The Orioles dropped this series, but as I wrote last night they’ve won the season series with Washington. Given that they’re the defending champions, that means something. This Oriole team is in good shape, and people are starting to notice.

The O’s begin a three-game set with Toronto tomorrow night at Camden Yards. The Birds are yet to announce a starter, but Toronto will throw Hyun Jin Ryu. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Birds fly on Jose Iglesias’ three hits

Asher Wojchiekowski got the start for the Baltimore Orioles against Washington tonight at Camden Yards. While his real potency only lasted five innings, he did his job in putting the O’s in a position to win the game. Wojciechowski’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Pedro Severino stayed hot from the get go, smacking a two-RBI double in the last of the first. And that was big for the O’s. After losing 15-3 last night, they needed to come out early and establish that it was an anomaly. That’s how you prevent losing streaks; you forget about a game like that by winning the next day.

Andrew Velazquez would add an RBI-triple, and Hanser Alberto a sac fly-RBI in the last of the second. The O’s led 4-0. However Washington would cut that lead in half at 4-2 in the fourth when Soto smacked a two-run homer. However Rio Ruiz‘s solo homer in the bottom of the inning to extend it back to 5-2.

Washington chawed Wojchiekowski following Turner’s two-run homer in the top of the sixth. But the Orioles’ bullpen shut them down from there. And the O’s even managed to put across an insurance run. Jose Iglesias‘ RBI-single in the last of the eighth ran the score to 7-3. It was Iglesias’ third hit of the game.

As I said, it was important that the O’s win tonight so as to get back on the horse after last night’s loss. You want to instantly forget games like that, and this is the best way to do it. Basically you can’t start a losing streak if you don’t lose two straight.

The O’s have also won the season series with Washington with this win. They can go for a series victory for the weekend tomorrow. But they’ve won the season series with Washington regardless.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Max Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: When good things end, they end ugly

The Baltimore Orioles brought a six-game winning streak into last night’s series opener against Washington. Starter Tommy Milone was taxed with keeping Washington at bay. Unfortunately however, when winning streaks end (which they undoubtedly will eventually), they usually end in an ugly manner. Milone’s line: 4.0 IP, 9 H 6 R (3 earned), 0 BB, 2 K.

The O’s actually had the lead in this one, as Anthony Santander stayed hot and smacked a solo first inning home run. This after what’s become a familiar situation for the Orioles, a two hour rain delay. Before the game even started.

Gomes’ two-RBI triple in the second fave Washington a 2-1 lead. Washington would also put three across in the third on Soto’s fielder’s choice. The runs would score as a result of an error. Kieboom would also add a two-RBI single, and Cabrera a sac fly-RBI.

The only other Oriole runs on the night came from Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-double in the seventh, and Dwight Smith Jr‘s RBI-single in the eighth. However a Washington kept adding on, including six runs in the eighth, and two in the ninth. When the smoke cleared, they defeated the Birds 15-3.

As I said, when winning streaks end they usually end in an ugly fashion. When things are flying high and going smoothly, you don’t just hit a bump or snag in the road. They come crashing down on you. However the O’s can go out tonight and start a new winning streak. That should be the goal. 

The series continues this evening from Camden Yards. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Patrick Corbin. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Can you say SWEEP?!

The Baltimore Orioles and starter Thomas Eshelman went into this afternoon’s game in Philadelphia already guaranteed of a series victory. They had to wait an additional hour and forty-five minutes due to a rain delay, but they had their eyes set on a series sweep. And that’s the mark of a winner; it’s not enough to take two-of-three. They wanted a sweep. Eshelman’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

As has been the case in the other two games of the series, Philadelphia actually had the lead. Realmuto’s two-run homer put them ahead 2-0 in the fourth. But that was about the gist of the noise that Philadelphia made.

The O’s loaded the bases in the fifth, and started a rally when Pat Valaika grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. However later in the inning with the bases loaded again, Anthony Santander cleared them with a three-run double. That gave the Birds a 4-2 lead. And they showed no signs of looking back.

Jose Iglesias would add a two-RBI double in the seventh, and Pedro Severino a three-run homer in the eighth. Realmuto would also smack another two-run homer to get Philadelphia back to within five runs at 9-4. But just for good measure, the Birds weren’t done. Rio Ruiz‘s two-run homer in the ninth ran the final to 11-4.

This was truly a remarkable series. Keep in mind that the O’s were on the verge of sweeping Washington before Sunday’s game was suspended. If they can complete that game of course tomorrow they will have swept Washington. But in the interim they’ve swept Philadelphia. This is a team that was seen as a joke going in. I don’t think anyone’s laughing anymore.

Whether this is truly a season to remember in Birdland remains to be seen. But so far so good. It could all go south tomorrow. But needless to say, this team is fun to watch, and they okay hard. Quite frankly, that’s all the city of Baltimore has ever asked for.

The O’s now return home to open up a three-game set with Washington. (Please note, last Sunday’s suspended game will be completed at 5 PM prior to the series opening.) Tommy Milone gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. Game time is set for 45 minutes after the completion of the suspended game.

Baltimore Orioles sweep Washington

This is in essence a continuation of a Baltimore Orioles’ game recap which began on August 9, 2020 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The game was suspended due to rain with the O’s leading 5-2 in the top of the sixth, and was resumed today at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. For the beginning of the column, follow this link. Click to page two for the continuation of the column.

Baltimore Orioles: Another Philly special courtesy of the Birds

The Baltimore Orioles were hoping that starter Wade LeBlanc was going to go deep into last night’s games due to overusing the bullpen on Tuesday. Unfortunately LeBlanc only made it into the fourth inning. However that was the only disappointment on the night for the O’s. LeBlanc’s line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Philadelphia took the lead in the second on Knapp’s RBI-double. However an inning later the game was tied due to Anthony Santander‘s solo homer. But Philadelphia would get spotted two additional runs, giving them a 3-1 lead.

The Orioles’ mark appears to be sneaking up on people. Their rallies begin innocently, and before you know it they’re right back there in the game fighting. In the fourth the Birds did just that, putting a couple of runners on base. Then Chance Sisco‘s two-RBI single (he later took second on the throw) tied the game at three.

And an inning later the O’s had the lead. And for good. Rio Ruiz‘s solo homer in the fifth took care of that. For good measure in the seventh, Sisco would homer in the seventh – another solo shot. Philadelphia would push another run across in the eighth, but the sum of the parts equals an Oriole victory.

Keep in mind, there are people out there who predicted that the Orioles would only win 15-20 games. Heck, the only prediction I was willing to give at the beginning was that they wouldn’t finish in last place. I’m standing b my that prediction as of now, incidentally.

But the O’s have defied predictions – THUS FAR. Philadelphia on the other hand was expected to potentially contend. Fans or no fans in the stands, it can’t sit right with their fans to be getting shown the door by a team like the Orioles, who wasn’t expected to make any noise. The O’s have taken the first two games of the three-game set. And their confidence appears to be at a high. They’re putting the rest of the league on notice.

The series concludes this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Thomas Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Jake Arrieta. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Austin Hays’ inside-the-parker finally wins it for the O’s

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Alex Cobb cMe within two outs of a quality start this evening in Philadelphia. That’s considered six innings at a minimum, and three runs or less. Cobb’s line: 5.1 IL, 3 H, 3 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 2 K.

Cobb pitched-to-contact all night, hence the low walk and strikeout totals. He gave up a two-run single to McCutchen in the third inning. He also surrendered a solo homer to Bruce in the fifth, which gave Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.

But as usual, the Orioles weren’t about to go away. In fact, perhaps it’s not so much about not going away as it is in-game adjustments. The 2020 O’s seem to be really good at making in-game adjustments. In other words, identifying something that’s working for the opponent, and finding a work-around. That’s the mark of a solid coaching staff.

Renato Nunez got the O’s on the board with an RBI-single in the sixth. Rio Ruiz‘s RBI-double got them to within one at 3-2. And that’s where things really began to open up for the O’s. You could almost see the tide turning in their favor. And they weren’t about to let up.

Dwight Smith Jr.‘s RBI-single tied the game at three later in that sixth inning. And again, you could see the Birds gaining confidence as time went on. They did to Philadelphia what they did to Washington; snuck up on them.

But the O’s weren’t simply content with tying the game. They wanted to win it. And once again it was Hanser Alberto who got the party started. His RBI-double gave the O’s the lead at 4-3 (Alberto would take third on the throw). Anthony Santander would extend the lead to 5-3 with an RBI-single, scoring Alberto.

The O’s May have made some great in-game changes, but at the end of the day Philadelphia muscled the win. Harper smacked a two-run homer in the eighth tying the game. Segura followed suit with a solo shot, giving Philly a 6-5 lead. It’s a tough way to lose, but the Orioles are doing a lot of things right. You win some, you lose some. Only…

…the O’s didn’t lose. The game’s nine innings, not eight. The Birds would load the bases in the ninth, and tie the game at six on Nunez’s RBI-single. What happened next is anyone’s guess.

Pedro Severino (with the bases loaded) popped a ball up just off the pitcher’s mound. It appeared to be the end of the inning. However Philadelphia’s infield botched the play and let it drop. That scored two runs for the O’s, giving them an 8-6 lead…

…but wait, there’s more. Philadelphia loaded the bases in the last of the ninth, and were down to their last strike. But Gregorious blooped a softly-hit two-RBI single into center, tying the game. That’s part of being the home team – having the last at-bat.

Of course it would be an unconventional play that would turn the tide back to the O’s – for good. With a runner starting on second base, Austin Hays sent a liner to center. It went under the glove of the diving outfielder, and went all the way to the wall. Hays ended up with a two-run inside-the-park home run. Philadelphia would push one across in the tenth also, but it was meaningless. O’s win, 10-9.

The series continues tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. Wade LeBlanc gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Zach Eflin. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles head to South Philly

The Baltimore Orioles open up a three-game set in Philadelphia tonight against the Phillies. Discounting the exhibition game the teams played at Citizens Bank Park last month, I remember well the last time the Birds were in Philly. July of 2018.

For the record, the Orioles lost both games of that short two-game series. It was the beginning of the end of the Showalter/Jones era. However as a history buff I really enjoyed getting to go around Philadelphia to locations such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc…ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. History’s one of my passions in life. So while I didn’t have time to wait in line to go into the signing room, I felt that simply being at that hallowed ground on that day put me in the presence of some of the greatest men in American history.

The series begins tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Zach Wheeler. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Falling through the cracks of justice

As I said yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles lead Washington 5-2 with one out and two men on in the top of the sixth. That would be yesterday’s game, which is suspended. The Birds now have to wait in suspense. They’re just held in animated suspense.

However the O’s know when said suspense will end; that would be Friday when Washington comes to Camden Yards for their previously scheduled series. The game will be completed at some point prior to the regularly-scheduled 7:35 game. Washington will bat last in the completion of the first game, and thus be the home team. (Once that’s completed, the Orioles of course retain their home team status.)

This sounds unfair to a degree. Because the Orioles obviously were winning the game when it was suspended. And had the Washington grounds crew handled their duties properly in terms of getting the tarp out and covering the field, it would have probably been a thirty minute delay and the game would have been completed.

However the fact is that by the letter of the law, it was handled properly. MLB Rule 7.02(a) states:

Light failure, malfunction of, or unintentional operator error in employing, a mechanical or field device or equipment under the control of the home club (e.g., a retractable roof, a tarpaulin, or other water removal equipment)”

Obviously this situation falls under the realm of the tarpaulin (tarp). However it does feel just a little jaded in this case. Overall, this is a good rule. However I don’t think it properly takes into account the potential of the home team being part of the problem. The Nationals’ grounds crew indubitably didn’t sabotage the field on purpose (hoping to get the game suspended and perhaps helping the Nationals). But their actions certainly were a big cause as to why the game was suspended.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was semi-coy with his comments after the “game” (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNSports):

So now I know. Not being able to get the tarp on the field. I guess it’s a recent rule. I’ve never been a part of something like this, so I didn’t know.

I guess what I’m saying, and what Hyde would appreciate, is perhaps in a case like that the game could be considered official. Something along the lines of if in the assessment of the umpire/league the suspension was caused by the actions of one team, the game is considered official. Yes, a clause like that would have given the O’s the win yesterday.

The issue with that however would be that when you leave something up to someone else’s “discretion,” you’re almost asking for trouble. However one way or the other, the Orioles are kind of falling through the cracks of justice in this one. And they’re being held in suspense.

Baltimore Orioles: Game in Washington suspended

The Baltimore Orioles are currently leading Washington 5-2 in the top of the sixth inning with one out. Starter Asher Wojchiekowski is long gone, starting on short rest. Wojchiekowski’s line: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Washington starter Strasburg kept the O’s at bay for the most part, as did the Orioles’ pen with Washington. But that changed in the fifth inning. Bryan Holaday smacked an RBI-single to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-double later ran the score to 3-0. Tack on an RBI-single by Anthony Santander, and the Birds held a 5-0 lead.

Washington got two back in the bottom of the inning on Castro’s two-run homer. However the Birds made it out of the inning. And it appeared to be smooth sailing moving forward.

But as is the case in life at times, that wasn’t the case. A torrential downpour came out of nowhere in the sixth inning, prompting the umpires to call for the tarp. But the grounds crew was ill-prepared. On top of that, it appeared that the tarp hadn’t been put away properly to begin with. Because the Washington grounds crew struggled, and struggled…and struggled more. Just to get the tarp on the field. 15 minutes later, the rain was beginning to cease, but the field was a mess. There was mud all over the infield.

Two hours later, the game was finally suspended. It will be picked back up with one out in the sixth inning and two runners on base in the top of the sixth. This will occur on Friday at Camden Yards, with Washington as the home team. The time of the game hasn’t been announced, but the previously-scheduled game will occur after the completion of this one.

For the record, any stats that occur on Friday will be retroactive to today. Any players who exited the game won’t be able to play in the continuation. It’s literally as if the game never stopped.

The O’s are off tomorrow and head to Philadelphia for three games on Tuesday.

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander and company chump the champs

Thom Eshelman got the start for the Baltimore Orioles tonight in Washington D.C., but didn’t last as long as the Birds would have liked. Eshelman wasn’t awful, but he didn’t have that glossy finish on his pitches as we’ve sometimes seen. As I’ve said before, roughly a third of a pitcher’s starts are going to be great, a third poor, and a third in between. That final category is where Eshelman was tonight. Eshelman’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Washington got a solo homer from Soto, and a sac fly-RBI from Suzuki in the second inning. Washington would also net an RBI-double in the last of the sixth by Thames. It’s important to note, that run started out as a swinging bunt, and it snowballed…

…when you get runners on base things happen. Reliever Shawn Armstrong came off the mound to field a swinging bunt, and threw errantly to first base. That gave the runner second, and he took third on a wild pitch. That allowed him to score on Thames’ RBI-double.

Obviously he would have scored on a double anyways – most probably, at least. But when you give up extra bases like that you also allow teams to find ways score runs simply by putting the ball in play. That’s what the Orioles need to stay away from.

While the Birds put up 11 runs on 19 hits on Friday night, through seven they had only mustered two hits tonight. This perhaps prompted Brandon Hyde to send up two pinch hitters in the eighth: Pat Valaika and Pedro Severino. And they didn’t disappoint; they smacked back-to-back solo homers to put the O’s right back into the game, cutting the Washington lead to 3-2.

So that run allowed by Shawn Armstrong was the only thing standing between the Orioles and pay dirt. Washington has led almost the entire game, and their pitching had dominated the Birds. But it was a tense lead. It felt like they were allowing the O’s to hang around. And they paid royally for that.

Later in that eighth inning the O’s had a couple of guys on, with Anthony Santander coming to the plate. And he sent a towering fly ball towards left…it barely cleared the fence, but it was a home run. And a three-run shot at that, which gave the O’s a 5-3 lead. And an eventual win.

Washington did mount a rally attempt in the last of the eighth. Cole Sulser, who’s quickly earning the trust of Brandon Hyde, put two runners in scoring position. However with the game hanging in the balance, he knotched a strikeout with two outs ending the threat and the inning.

One thing we know about these Orioles is that they play until the final out is recorded. Washington almost seemed to lose interest as the game wore on. And the Birds cranked it up when it mattered most. With the win, the Orioles have officially won the D.C. leg of the Battle of the Beltways.

The series concludes tomorrow at Nationals Park in D.C. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. Game time is set for just after 12:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Someone paid

Former Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter used to say that eventually someone was going to pay for the types of offensive struggles the Birds has this week. And we saw that phenomenon tonight; it was the Washington Nationals. Starter Tommy Milone was dominant against the organization which drafted him, and Oriole bats were hot from the beginning. Milone’s line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Jose Iglesias‘ RBI-double in the first inning got the party started. The Birds opened the game with back-to-back doubles. One inning later Austin Hays smacked an RBI-single, and Hanser Alberto tacked on a run on a fielder’s choice. That easily could have been the end of the game. When your pitching limits the opposition to zero runs, you don’t need many to beat them. But…the runs just kept coming.

Iglesias, who ended up with four hits in the game, would add an RBI-single in the fourth. But it was Renato Nunez‘s three-run homer in the sixth which broke the game wide open. That have the O’s a 7-0 lead, an led signaled that the Birds has no intention of looking back.

Pedro Severino and Anthony Santander also got involved in that sixth inning in terms of putting runs on the board. And they came in buckets. When the smoke cleared, the O’s had themselves an 11-0 victory over the defending World Champions.

I always say that in a game that gets out of control like this one, it’s never indicative of either teams’ true capabilities. Games like this happen, and the O’s have been on the other end of their share of them also. So from the Orioles’ perspective you gladly take the win, move onto tomorrow, and take it with a grain of salt.

But again as Buck Showalter used to say, someone’s eventually going to pay for the type of slump in which the Birds found themselves this week. Washington ended up being that lucky team tonight. We saw the O’s break out of the slump partially last night. So that in a way acted as a harbinger for what we saw in D.C. this evening. Now…if another body in that city could get their act together in the same manner, we’d be in business. (Looking at you, Congress!)

The series continues tomorrow night at Nationals Park. Thom Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Austin Voth. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Bats come alive but Birds fall

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Wade LeBlanc surrendered the lead to Miami this evening on the first pitch. Former Oriole Villar smacked a first pitch homer. It would act as a harbinger, as the O’s fell and were swept in four games by Miami. LeBlanc’s line: 3.1 IP, 7 H 6 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

However Renato Nunez brought the Birds right back in the second by tying the game with a solo homer of his own, only to have Miami take the lead again with a sac fly-RBI in the bottom of the inning. But Anthony Santander followed Nunez’s example of tying the game – an inning later in the third with an RBI-triple.

The O’s held a brief lead later on in the third when Dwight Smith Jr. drove a run in with. A sac fly-RBI. But Miami would come right back, and put two runs on the board to take the lead back in the last of the third. But again, the O’s weren’t down for long. Chance Sisco‘s solo homer tied the game right back up at four.

Miami tried to pull away, putting two runs of their own on the board in that fourth inning. But again the O’s battled back, netting solo homers from Renato Nunez and Dwight Smith Jr. However Miami put two across in the seventh and stayed off a late Orioles’ rally to win the game 8-7 despite the Birds putting one across in the ninth.

Despite the loss, fans should take heart that Oriole bats came alive tonight. The longer you go into a team slump at the plate, the harder it is. Now the losing streak itself is another story. But we know that at least now as the O’s hit the road, they do so with their bats having corrected themselves.

Tomorrow the O’s head down to D.C. for the first of three against Washington at Nationals Park. Tommy Milone gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s TBD. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Miami pitching wearing Birds out

The Baltimore Orioles has two hard luck losers in yesterday’s doubleheader: Alex Cobb and Asher Wojchiekowski. Cobb’s line (game one): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 Ann, 7 K. Wojchiekowski’s line (game two): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

The O’s in this series have really suffered from death by paper cut. Oriole pitching has been great in the three games thus far with Miami. However Miami’s pitching’s been superb.

Cobb gave up a solo homer to Anderson in the fourth inning of game one. Normally a solo homer isn’t going to beat you. But when you don’t score any runs, it’s entirely capable of beating you. And in that case, it did.

Aguilar got Miami on the board right away in game two with a sac fly-RBI. Later in the inning Anderson’s RBI-single would run the score to 2-0. And the Birds held Miami off the board for the rest of the day. They did however mount a slight comeback when Austin Hays‘ RBI-single in the sixth cut the lead to 2-1. But that was the final, and the O’s were swept in the doubleheader.

And incidentally, it was perhaps the strangest doubleheader in franchise history. Per MLB’s new rules for this year, doubleheader’s are only seven innings. On top of that, the Birds played the doubleheader at Camden Yards. Yet they were the visiting team in game two.

Seeing the Birds bat first in the inning at Oriole Park was just bizarre. The Orioles still wore their home whites, but for the purposes of last at-bats and so forth Miami was the home team. That will be the case tonight also.

The series concludes tonight at Camden Yards – again with Miami “hosting” the O’s. Wade LeBlanc gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Miami’s Jordan Yamamoto. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Brandon Hyde mismanaging the bullpen?

Baltimore Orioles’ starter John Means wasn’t in the game for very long tonight. But he was outstanding when he was Mean hung one pitch, and in reality it was the only one that counted. Means’kine: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Means surrendered a solo homer with two outs in the fifth to Miami’s Cervelli. And manager Brandon Hyde popped out of the dugout immediately to relieve him. Now to be fair, Means started the season out injured. This is also only his second start. So perhaps Hyde being careful with him is understandable.

But it just seemed to me to be a fairly quick hook. Especially with a guy in Means who had pitched as well as he did to that point. This doesn’t mean that Hyde’s a bad manager. I actually like how he’s coming along in that department. And managing the bullpen is probably the toughest thing that a manager needs to learn. But especially with a doubleheader tomorrow, I wonder if it wouldn’t have paid to leave Means in the game further.

Miami’s Berti would smack ab RBI-single in the sixth. Miami would later load the bases, and a third run would score on an E5. Miami would add an insurance run in the eighth in the form of a solo homer by Aguilar.

Miami’s pitching obviously shut down Oriole bats tonight as well, and that’s to their credit. This is an Oriole team that was soaring coming out of the weekend, and it would have stood to reason that would have continued given that Miami had to assemble an almost new team. But their pitching shut the Orioles down. And that can sometimes happen.

It almost took divine intervention to get the game off at all. A tropical storm blew through Baltimore in the first part of the day, and then later on there were issues with some COVID tests on Miami’s side. But better to be safe than sorry. The game was delayed 45 minutes and all was eventually well.

The O’s and Miami will play a doubleheader tomorrow at Camden Yards , with the Orioles as the visiting team in game two. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Miami’s Elieser Hernandez. In game two Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Orioles, and Miami’s starter is TBD. Game one begins at 5 PM, with game two beginning approximately 30 minutes after the completion of game one.

Baltimore Orioles: MLB announces game schedule vs. Miami

Major League Baseball has announced the game schedule for the Baltimore Orioles’ and Miami Marlins this week. The O’s will host Miami starting tomorrow at 7:30 PM. The teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, starting at 5 PM. The Orioles will serve as the home team in game one, and Miami as the home team in game two. Both games will be seven innings long, a first in Oriole history.

The second game of the doubleheader (the one in which Miami will be the home team) will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. And on Thursday evening the teams will conclude their series with a game at 7:30 PM in which Miami will be the home team. So far as I know (and I’m going off of memory on this), it’ll be the first time in the history of Camden Yards in which the Orioles will be the visiting team. Because, 2020…

…although that’s not technically true. Circa 2007 or 2008 the O’s had a game in Chicago suspended due to rain in the seventh inning. The game was completed the next time the ChiSox played the O’s, which was a month later at Camden Yards. The game was completed prior to the regularly-scheduled game, with the Orioles technically as the visiting team. But I digress.

All of this is up in the air, as a Hurricane Isaias moves up the east coast. It’s anticipated to dump a lot of rain into the Baltimore area tomorrow. What’s unclear is whether or not this will affect the 7:30 PM game at Camden Yards. What’s also unclear is what the contingency plans would be, if any. It might just go as a rainout, only to be made up if need be. Time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: Hometown kid Bruce Zimmerman makes debut in loss

Bruce Zimmerman made his major league debut last night for the Baltimore Orioles. That in and of itself is cool enough. But in Zimmerman, the O’s also have one of their own in a sense. Zimmerman’s a Baltimore native. You really can’t beat making your major league debut in your hometown, with your hometown team, and in your hometown ballpark. Zimmerman’s line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Zimmerman obviously had some growing pains, but that’s to be expected. He surrendered a three-run homer in the first to Adames, giving Tampa a 3-0 lead. But the O’s battled back. Hanser Alberto smacked a solo homer in the second, cutting the lead to 3-1. One inning later Ryan Mountcastle‘s RBI-double brought the Orioles to within one.

But Tampa always pops back into the driver’s seat – this time on Renfroe’s solo homer in the last of the third. However, the O’s weren’t going to be outdone quite yet. Rio Ruiz‘s two-run homer in the fourth tied the game at four. And in fact, the O’s were able to take the lead. Later in the inning DJ Stewart‘s two-RBI double gave the O’s a 6-4 lead.

But this is Tampa we’re talking about. Their anything you can do we can do better outlook is always on display. Wendle’s two-run homer in the last of the fourth tied the game at six. They would manufacture four runs in the fifth, taking the nightcap off the doubleheader, 10-6.

However the story was Bruce Zimmerman, who spoke on his debut in his hometown after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It’s hard to put into words. Obviously, I’ve been working for it my entire career so far. Tried to get some sleep last night and was able to get some hours there. Woke up, took it easy, knew I was going to show up a little later than the rest of the guys since it was a doubleheader. Just tried to take it all in. I’ve been to this stadium numerous times with family and friends to watch the Orioles, but it was a little different feeling driving up to the stadium today and kind of taking it all in and realizing this was the culmination of a lot of hard work and just trying to make the most of it.

The series with Tampa continues tonight at Camdeb Yards. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.

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