Baltimore Orioles trade Freddy Galvis back to Philadelphia

With the trade deadline having passed at 4 PM EST this afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles did make an 11th hour deal. They sent SS Freddy Galvis to the Philadelphia Phillies. In exchange, they got Single-A pitcher Tyler Burch.

Galvis of course played in Philadelphia for five years, so this is a homecoming of sorts for him. For what it’s worth, the Orioles will see Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park in the last week of the season. So they’ll play against Galvis as an opponent later this year.

Burch is a RHP and been playing at the minor league level since 2015. He’s 3-3 on the year with Single-A Clearwater, with a 4.51 ERA. This isn’t a move that will benefit the O’s at the big league level anytime soon, if ever. But it’s another farm hand in the organization, and that’s always a good thing.

This also signals that the Birds are content with Ramon Urias both in the field and at the plate. So maybe Galvis can go to Philadelphia and make a deep run into the playoffs. Meanwhile, maybe the O’s found their man at middle infield for now.

Earlier in the day the Birds also sent reliever Sean Anderson to Tampa for cash considerations. Anderson of course will be back in Baltimore next weekend when Tampa comes to town. All low level moves, but moves none the less. I would look at that as a symptom of the fact that the Orioles’ rebuild is working. Sure they could have traded the Mullins’, Mancini’s, et al of the world and gotten massive returns. But do you want to rebuild forever? They’re doing just fine where they are. Carry on, for the rest of the season.


Baltimore Orioles fall, but opponents starting to respect Ryan McKenna

The Baltimore Orioles struggled to get anything going tonight against Detroit at Comerica Park. They sent Alexander Wells to the mound, but similar to the bats, he couldn’t get any momentum going. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Detroit got on the board early with an RBI-single by Schoop (a former Oriole), giving them a 1-0 lead. Schoop would score later in the inning on Hasse’s sac fly-RBI. One thing Detroit did early and often in this game was getem on and get ‘em in. And that’s to their credit.

Hasse would strike again in the third inning with an RBI-single. And Detroit would get two solo homers from Cabrera. One in the fifth and one in the seventh. It looked as if Cabrera had drank from the fountain of youth. He looked like he did ten years ago slugging homers. An RBI-double would also net Detroit a sixth run later in that seventh inning.

Ryan McKenna was the Birds’ line bright spot offensively tonight. He was able to get the O’s on the board in the seventh thanks to an errant throw. Leyba sent a shallow fly ball into left that was caught, which in theory would have kept McKenna at third. However the throw was way off line and ended up in no man’s land. That allowed McKenna to score. Cedric Mullins would also score on a wild pitch in the eighth.

That McKenna scoring play is important. Not for the sake of this game, which the Birds dropped 6-2. But teams are starting to take note of McKenna’s speed. The guy’s lightning quick, and we see that on the base paths and in the field everyday. Those diving catches in the outfield? McKenna doesn’t make those if not for his speed.

So opponents know that he can cause problems on the base paths. And that caused an errant throw this evening, which netted the Orioles a run. Again, it didn’t mean much tonight. But it does bode well for the future. Play that same scenario back in a one-run game. Speed counts. (And I say that as one of the slowest human beings on the planet!)

The series continues tomorrow night at Comerica Park. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Tarik Skubal. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles walk the line to victory

The Baltimore Orioles we’re hoping to get a decent outing out of Jorge Lopez last night against Miami. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Lopez was ineffective, but ultimately if was just one of those strange type of games that had a little bit of everything. Lopez’s line: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Lopez spotted Miami a 5-0 lead. Never a good recipe for victory. However early on we also saw that the O’s weren’t going to go quietly into the night. Pedro Severino got the O’s back in the game in one fatal swoop, with a three-run homer in the last of the second.

Trey Mancini smacked a solo shot an inning later. That was followed by an RBI-double later in the inning by Ramon Urias. And in case you’re not keeping track at home, Urias’ RBI-double tied the game at five. Again, putting the Miami Marlins and anyone watching on notice that this game was going to be a dog fight.

However Miami would take the lead right back. They loaded the bases in the fourth, and Anderson was hit by a pitch. Diaz would proceed to ground out, scoring a run on a fielder’s choice. This of course forcing the Birds to once again play from behind.

It was the Orioles’ turn to put traffic on the base paths in the eighth. And Pedro Severino’s RBI-groundout got them to within 7-6. Maikel Franco’s RBI-single subsequently tied the game back up at seven.

So to the last of the ninth we went with the score knotted at seven. The Birds immediately loaded the bases, bringing Ryan McKenna to the plate with a chance to walk Miami off. McKenna worked the count full, forcing Miami to throw a strike – which they couldn’t do. McKenna walked, and in doing so walked in the winning run. On a walk off walk, the Orioles had an 8-7 victory.

This is the type of win that shows the character of this team. Would they have won this game last year or two seasons ago? Probably not. But while it’s only one game, I would submit that it shows guys are coming together and starting to gel as a team. Trey Mancini addressed this after the game:

We’ve been in the fight until the end in basically every single game, and I’m so proud of the way the guys have been playing. It’s just been a different feeling, I’d say, this second half, just a different energy and it’s been really, really fun to be a part of.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The O’s now head to Detroit to open a four-game set at Comerica Park. Alexander Wells gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Casey Mize. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles fall to Miami

Spencer Watkins struggled tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. Not awful struggles, but he didn’t pitch as well against the Miami Marlins as he had in previous outings. And that’s okay; it was bound to happen. Watkins’ line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Watkins put two runners on in the second inning. And before he knew it the O’s trailed 3-0 on Leon’s three-run homer. And that illustrates the issue that Watkins had tonight – and it happens to every pitcher at various points. You don’t want to get too much of the plate, lest you risk the ball getting hit a long way. And that’s what happened to Watkins tonight.

Marte’s RBI-single in the fourth would extend the lead to 4-0. However the O’s tried to come back. Austin Hays would smack a solo homer in the bottom of that fourth inning, closing the lead to 4-1. The teams then traded solo homers in the fifth and sixth – Diaz for Miami and Cedric Mullins for the O’s.

Miami would also get a solo shot from Anderson in the top of the seventh. But the O’s again would try to but into the lead. In the bottom of the inning Ramon Urias’ RBI-single cut the lead to 6-3.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the game from the Orioles’ standpoint was the big league debut of rookie Connor Greene. He had bounced around other teams’ farm systems but had never made it. A big group of family and friends were at the game, including his father – who had to be bery proud.

And Greene faired well. He pitched two innings, giving up two hits and a run. One of those singles was an RBI-single in the eighth by Aguilar. And end of the day, it was just a crazy ballgame.

The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards. Jorge Lopez gets the start, and he’ll be opposed by Miami’s Jordan Holloway. Game time is still set for just aftrr 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: The good guys bat last

John Means made one bad pitch for the Baltimore Orioles today. Other than that he pitched well enough to win. And he deserved to get the win. But that isn’t how it always works out in baseball. Means’ line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

The Birds found themselves trailing early when Zimmerman’s RBI-groundout scored a run in the first inning. But they didn’t trail for long. Come the last of the first Trey Mancini sent a shot deep into the left field grandstand, tying the game at one.

One inning later, it was Maikel Franco’s turn. His solo shot gave the Birds the lead, which was extended to 3-1 in the fourth on a solo homer by Ryan Mckenna. At least for awhile the ball was flying off of Oriole bats.

However the mid to late part of the game slowed down. It kind of turned into a long slog. Of course Washington used this time to take the lead. Zimmerman, once again – this time a three-run homer. This gave Washington a 4-3 lead.

The O’s already had the series. Nobody would have necessarily blamed them for dropping the finale. But they fought on. To their credit.

The Birds loaded the bases in the ninth. Pat Valaika’s sac fly-RBI tied the game at four. Ramon Urias came to the plate as a pinch hitter, with a chance for the Orioles to walk Washington off. And to sweep the series.

Urias sent a bouncer to third. Ryan McKenna ran on contact – which to be honest, I felt was a mistake. Yet, I probably look to play it safe a little too often. And go figure, the throw from third was off line. McKenna slid in under the throw, and the Birds walked off as 5-4 winners. The okay was reviewed, and upheld.

Manager Brandon Hyde addressed his decision to send McKenna after the game:

We had one of our better guys to have at third base in that situation, obviously running on contact there. McKenna got a really nice read, ball hit dirt early, great slide at the end. I was just kind of hoping the throw would be off-line. He’s a plus runner and got a good break. … Good things happen when you put the ball in play and Mac with a really nice contact read there. Was a fun one.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Again, I would have held the runner. But had they done that…all bets would have been off. It’s a win. And had I been in the dugout odds are I would have managed them right out of said win!


Baltimore Orioles: Matt Harvey shines, Birds hold on to beat Washington

Matt Harvey turned in another great post-ASG start tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. Opponents’ bats are 4-for-40 against Harvey thus far in the second half of the season. And similar to last week in Kansas City, Harvey pitched to a quality start.Harvey’s line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

The O’s took the least early when Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning. Ryan Mountcastle followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the last of the fourth. For what it’s worth, Mountcastle had a grand slam against Washington last time around in May. Granted that was in a losing effort. Tonight’s homer came in a win.

The O’s would strike again in the sixth. Austin Hays’ RBI-double ran the score to 3-0. Later in the inning the Birds would load the bases, and while they didn’t plate all of the runners they were able to get a couple home. Pedro Severino’s RBI-single and Maikel Franco’s sac fly-RBI appeared to put the game out of reach at 5-0.

But to their credit my, Washington felt never felt they were out of it. Soto’s solo homer in the seventh cut the lead to 5-1. One inning later in the eighth it was Washington’s turn to load the bases. And Turner’s two-RBI single cut the lead to 5-3.

But that’s as close as Washington would get. The O’s would close out the game, and cruise to a 5-3 win. They’ve guaranteed a series win against Washington at Camden Yards.

The O’s did get lucky in a sense tonight however. Washington had to scrap their scheduled starter (Scherzer) in favor of Lester, who was scheduled to start tomorrow. Scherzer apparently had shoulder soreness. To his credit, Lester pitched fairly well. But it’s always a gift when you can avoid a team’s ace, and one of the best pitchers in baseball at that.

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


Baltimore Orioles: Pat Valaika homers twice in win over Washington

Jorge Lopez got the start for the Baltimore Orioles last night as the Birds opened a three-game set against Washington at Camden Yards. Another shortish start, however the goal is to put people in a position to succeed. By lifting Lopez when he does, Brandon Hyde is doing just that. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Lopez gave up a solo homer to Bell in the fourth. He was lifted later in the inning when Hyde saw Soto on deck. Once Lopez had exited, the Orioles got out of the inning. And they didn’t trail for long after that.

The O’s would tie the game on Austin Hays’ RBI-double in the last of the fourth. Ramon Urias’ RBI-single later in the inning would score Hays. But that was only a preview.

Pat Valaika was the star of the night offensively for the Birds. He hit a solo homer in the fifth to extend the Orioles’ lead to 3-1. The O’s would also score in the sixth on a fielder’s choice by Urias’, and a sac fly-RBI by Pedro Severino.

But come the seventh inning, it was the Valaika show again. His second solo homer of the game put an exclamation point on the game, which resulted in a 6-1 win for the Birds. It was Valaika’s second multi-home run game of his career; Valaika on his effort:

I think tonight I just squared up those balls better than I have pretty much this whole year. It felt good to actually drive the ball and not see it die on the track, so hopefully I can continue that and keep it rolling.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The series continues tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Max Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.


Baltimore Orioles to visit the Cleveland Guardians starting in 2022

The Baltimore Orioles had some really solid games against the Cleveland Indians in the mid-1990’s. Both cities had great rosters, similar makeup’s, and even similar fan bases. This because the cities themselves were very similar – blue collar, old school, traditional, etc. Plus a lot of players have gone back and forth between the two teams.

In December Cleveland announced that in 2022 they were going to retire the Indians name and pick a new one. That process apparently came to an end today when the team announced that effective at the end of this season the franchise will be known as the “Cleveland Guardians.” You can visit www.clevelandindians.com to see the new logo’s, and a video announcing the new name, narrated by Tom Hanks.

My personal opinion was that the Indians name didn’t need to be changed. This is literally one of the most storied franchises in baseball. But if they decided to change the name, I think Guardians is as good a name as any. I like the fact that they kept the team’s red and navy blue color scheme, and it seems like they put a lot of thought into what the new name would be, and how it reflected the city. Apparently there are statues of “guardians” on a bridge right outside of Progressive Field, which was the inspiration behind the name.

It’ll take awhile to get used to the Cleveland Guardians as opposed to the Cleveland Indians (or just “the Tribe”). But the Orioles will play this new/old team starting next season. I recall noting in the series finale with Cleveland at Camden Yards earlier this year that it would be the last time the Cleveland Indians played in Baltimore.

The O’s open up a homestand tonight with the second infusion of the Battle of the Beltways, as the Washington Nationals come to town. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Patrick Corbin. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Illness and oddities strike again

The Baltimore Orioles had to put today’s starter, Keegan Akin, and Anthony Santander on the IL (COVID protocol) before this afternoon’s series finale in Tampa. More on that in a moment. The O’s were attempting to win today’s game, which would give them a series victory vs. Tampa – a rarity. But that made things look a bit more bleak in terms of winning today’s game, and the series. The Birds replaced Santander and Akin on the roster with Ryan McKenna and Alexander Wells – who ended up being today’s starter, making his big league debut. Wells’ line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

It’s unclear what prompted Santander and Akin to need to go into COVID protocol, but the Birds were alerted late last night that there was a problem. However Wells performed admirably in Akin’s stead. He was on the taxi squad for this road trip, so he was already in Tampa. But with little preparation, he was thrust into the bright lights this afternoon. And he got the job done – BIG TIME. In doing so, he left the game with a chance to be the winning pitcher.

The O’s got on the board right away with back-to-back doubles. Austin Hays‘ RBI-double gave them a 1-0 lead. But Tampa came right back – as they’re prone to do. Arozarena’s solo homer tied the game at one. Arozarena’s quickly becoming an Oriole-killer. And he seems to buy into the strange antics that wins games for Tampa over the O’s.

Tampa would get the lead in the last of the second on Wendle’s RBI-triple, but the O’s came right back. Pat Valaika‘s solo homer tied the game back up at two in the third. And one inning later they had the lead back, again on a solo homer. This time by Ryan Mountcastle. To their credit, the Birds never gave up in this one, regardless of the outcome.

And sure enough, neither did Tampa. Arozarena’s second homer of the day tied the game at three in the last of the fifth. One inning later however, Mountcastle’s RBI-single gave the Birds the lead back at 4-3. And the Oriole bullpen seemed to hold that lead – that is until the bitter end.

Tanner Scott was summoned to pitch the ninth. The Birds recorded one out, and allowed two runners on base with a base hit and a walk. That brought Arozarena back to the plate. And this is where the strange plays and oddities that Tampa loves to spring on the Orioles came into play. Everyone in the world’s expecting Arozarena to smack a walk-off three-run homer, and be hailed as a hero. Everyone including the Oriole outfield…

…instead, Arozarena bloops a soft pop up into right field. Austin Hays sprints in, and Ryan Mountcastle sprints out (from first base) to try to make the play. The two collided, and the ball dropped in. Now luckily nobody scored on the play. However the bases were loaded, and Meadow’s subsequent two-RBI single won it for Tampa in walk-off fashion by the score of 5-4.

Regarding the players in COVID protocol, it’s a waiting game at this point. The Orioles have only said that they’re (Santander and Akin) in COVID protocol on the IL; not whether they’re showing symptoms or even if they’ve tested positive. One way or the other, hopefully if they are sick they make a full recovery. If they aren’t sick, hopefully it remains as such.

Alexander Wells deserved the win today, but obviously Tampa’s sneaky trickery prevented that. But you can’t say enough about his outing today, especially given that it was his big league debut. The O’s will have an off day tomorrow at home before welcoming the Washington Nationals to town on Friday night for three games over the weekend.


Baltimore Orioles: John Means struggles in return

Leave it to Tampa to spoil John Means’ return to the Baltimore Orioles from the Injured List. Now on one hand, it would have been tough to expect Means to be what he was before going on the IL. It was a win just to have him back on the mound. But he did have his struggles. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

I don’t think that fans need to worry about this signaling impending doom regarding John Means. He was actually better than his numbers indicate. His strike to ball ratio was about 2:1. And if anything that could have been part of the issue – he was getting too much of the plate. But he’ll work his way back to where he was previously.

Brujan’s RBI-single in the first got Tampa on the board with a 1-0 lead. Franco’s sac fly-RBI later in the inning ran it to 2-0. The Birds would get one back an inning later on Pedro Severino’s RBI-single.

Arozarena’s solo homer in the third have Tampa their two-run lead back at 3-1. And an inning after that Mejia’s two-run homer appeared to break the game wide open for Tampa, giving them a 5-2 lead. However remember how I talk about the strange things that happen when Tampa plays the Orioles? Yeah, about that…

When I say strange things, most of the time I’m referring to Tampa taking the opportunities afforded to them. They seem to have no problem taking what the Orioles give them. But turnabout could have been fair play tonight.

Ryan Mountcastle his what should have been a sac fly with a runner at third in the top of the eighth. However Tampa right fielder Lowe dropped the ball. So Mountcastle would end up on second base. He would later score on Anthony Santander’s run-scoring single.

While the O’s never got any further than 5-3, that’s all a good sign. They held Tampa accountable for their mistake. The Mountcastle play would have yielded a run either way, as he was on third base with less than two outs. But the Birds made Tampa pay for what they did. And again, that’s a good sign. Tampa’s Mejia would smack a bases-clearing triple in the eighth, and Choi added an RBI-single, sending the Birds off to defeat this evening, 9-3.

The series concludes tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Keegan Akin gets the start for the Birds, and Tampa is yet to name a starter. Game time is set for just after 12 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Spencer Watkins, Oriole bats hand it to Tampa

The Tampa Rays were expecting Spencer Watkins to be the most recent Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher to experience the oddities which generally occur when these two teams meet. Oriole pitchers generally fall short on broken bat singles and softly hit balls. But Watkins ensured that didn’t happen, but pitching to a virtuoso performance at Tropicana Field. Watkins’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Watkins dominated Tampa hitters all game long. And you could tell that Tampa was kind of waiting and expecting something odd to happen. Because when these teams get together oddities do occur. And they usually work in Tampa’s favor. It just never happened tonight.

Oriole bats also did their part. The Birds got on the board right away with an RBI-double by Ryan Mountcastle. Anthony Santander would add a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, and the O’s were off.

That 2-0 lead held up until the sixth inning. Or I should say the O’s picked the sixth inning to get back on the board. And it was a big inning in a sense – exactly what you want while hitting.

Pat Valaika would double the lead (in the sixth) with a two-RBI double. Before the inning ended the O’s also got RBI-doubles from Kelvin Gutierrez and Austin Hays. The lone run surrendered by Watkins was an RBI-double in the bottom of that 6th inning by Arozarena.

While the runs on the board are probably more important, the performance put on by Spencer Watkins tonight was a great one. Mind you, Watkins was a career minor leaguer after being drafted in the 30th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2014. However his stuff has been superior across the board.

The series continues tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. The Orioles have announced that John Means will return to the Big Apple as a fan of the team tomorrow night, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Shane McLanahann. Game time is set for just after 7:00 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: The Dark Knight shines under the Kansas City sunshine

Matt Harvey took the ball for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon going for a series win in Kansas City. Harvey’s return to NY of course didn’t go well. While he only pitched in Kansas City for one season, this return was starkly different. It was perhaps the best outing by an Orioles’ starter in some time. Harbey’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

This was exactly the sort of outing that Harvey needed. And similar to last night, the O’s also got the bats going. Albeit perhaps not as they did last night. But they certainly did enough.

Ramon Urias’ two-RBI single in the third got the O’s on the board. That put them off in the right direction with a 2-0 lead. It also signaled to Harvey that his efforts were going to be backed up on this day.

Trey Mancini’s RBI-single in the fifth ran the score to 3-0. One inning later Austin Wynns’ RBI-double scored Ryan McKenna all the way from first base. And that was impressive; McKenna’s speed brought the run in as much as did Wynns’ placement of the ball. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the caliber of speed on the Orioles that they have now. And that can be the difference between winning and losing.

Kelvin Gutierrez would give the Orioles an insurance run in the eighth when he reached on an error, scoring a runner from third. So the O’s win today, and with a shutout at that. They also take the series with Kansas City, two games to one.

The O’s now head to Tampa to open up a three-game set at Tropicana Field. Spenser Watkins gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Ralph Yarbrough. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Jorge Lopez struggles again in fifth as O’s snap losing streak

Jorge Lopez made his second half debut for the Baltimore Orioles tonight in Kansas City. The good news was that he was spotted a big lead. The bad news was that he predictably couldn’t get out of the fifth inning. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Lopez’s issue has been the fifth inning all season. This evening he pitched four very solid innings. He then loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth, and started giving up runs. The O’s eventually were forced to go to the ‘pen to preserve the lead.

Ramon Urias put the O’s on the board in the second with an RBI-double. Domingo Leyba’s RBI-groundout later in the inning ran it to 2-0. And the Birds were off to the races.

But the real damage was done in the third. Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-single ran it to 3-0. DJ Stewart, Anthony Santander, Pedro Severino, and Urias all added RBI-singles. Santana would tack on an RBI-double for Kansas City, giving the O’s a 7-1 lead after three.

Mountcastle would add a sac fly-RBI in the fourth. And as I said, it was the fifth where Lopez ran into trouble. He uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded, cutting the lead to 8-2. Kansas City would also add two more before the game ended, with the O’s winning 8-4.

My personal view is that Lopez’s issues in the fifth inning are mainly psychological. He knows he struggles in the fifth inning. This evening, he started going away from his best pitch (fastball) in the fifth, relying more on breaking balls off the plate. That shows a lack of confidence in that he didn’t want to get beat by putting the ball too close to the plate.

Luckily for the O’s they had a big lead. But what happens to Lopez moving forward is another story. My personal view is that he not only should be in the bullpen, but that he’d be a good reliever. But whether the Orioles can afford to put him there is another story.

The series concludes tomorrow at Kauffman Stadium. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Carlos Hernandez. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Keegan Akin hit hard as second half opens

The Baltimore Orioles taxes Keegan Akin with starting the first game of the second half last night against Kansas City. It didn’t go well. For the sixth time in eight starts, Akin didn’t make it to the fifth inning. Akin’s line; 3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

And the assault started immediately. Perez’s RBI-single in the last of the first fave Kansas City a 1-0 lead. In the second Lopez would smack a two-RBI single, and Merrifield an RBI-double. Perez would add another RBI-single, breaking the game wide open at 5-0 in the second.

Kansas City would add another four runs before the game ended. Trey Mancini would get the Birds on the board in the top of the fourth with an RBI-groundout. Pedro Severino’s solo homer in the eighth ran the final to 9-2.

Akin tried to remain upbeat after the game, and we do have to remember that he’s a rookie. He admitted that struggles are in essence to be expected:

You’re going to have your ups and downs. You get your chance to go out there every five days as a starter, so you’ve just got to forget about them, take some positive things. Obviously, I’m not happy about it, but confidence-wise I think I’m doing well. You’ve just got to learn from it. It’s a learning process, it’s my first full season up here, so it’s just day in and day out got to learn and get better and execute when it comes time for the game.

Quote Courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The series continues this evening at Kauffman Stadium. The Orioles have yet to announce a starter, and Kansas City will throw Brady Singer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Will COVID-19 affect the Birds in opening the second half?

The Baltimore Orioles begin the second half of the season tonight at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas Cit with the first of three against the Kansas City Royals. It’s really only the second half by virtue of the fact that the All-Star game was this past week. Every team in baseball has already passed the 81-game point.

But as we go into the weekend and the immediate interim here’s something to watch; last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game was canceled due to several NY players testing positive for COVID-19. One of those players was Aaron Judge, who was obviously an all-star.

Both Trey Mancini and Cedric Mullins participated in the all-star festivities. Both in different capacities, but they both participated. Presumably, they will both need to be tested now for COVID-19.

I’m making a broad assumption here, but I believe both players were vaccinated. Mullins reads PSA’s encouraging fans to get vaxed before home games. And Mancini, being a cancer survivor…needless to say it would stand to reason that he would have gotten the vaccine. But ultimately I don’t know that for sure, and at the end of the day it’s actually none of my business.

However mind you that the vaccine MIGHT only protect people from the severe symptoms which could land someone in the hospital. In fact? Many people will only be infected on an asymptomatic basis. Whether or not it stops an infected person from spreading the virus is another story. So both players will have to be tested, and they’d in theory have to sit out if they test positive.

The Orioles aren’t the only team in this predicament – every player on the AL roster would have shared a clubhouse with Judge. So that could be a massive issue as the league opens back up for the second half. Between last year and this year, the Orioles have never had a player test positive.

Again, the Birds open up the second half tonight against Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and Kansas Coty has yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.


Baltimore Orioles represented proudly by Cedric Mullins in the All-Star Game

The Baltimore Orioles’ lone All-Star Game representative this evening was Cedric Mullins. There were arguments to be made for other guys along with Mullins, but Mullins was the only Oriole on the roster. He started the game and played centerfield.

Mullins came to bat for the first time in the top of the third, and struck out. He then ended up reaching on a fielding error on the top of the fifth inning. Mullins would move to second base on a groundout, and would later score on Xander Bogaerts’ run-scoring single.

As it stands at the moment this article is being written, the American League leads the National League 5-2 in the last of the sixth. But Mullins’ night is done. Needless to say, he contributed to the game with the run scored. And in doing so, did the Orioles and their fans proud.


Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini finishes second in Home Run Derby

Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles was already the best story of the MLB all-Star game. He was almost the winner of one of the mos lt prestigious events surrounding the game. He finished as the runner-up in the Home Run Derby.

Mancini advanced out of the first round with 24 homers. He only managed 13 in the second, however the round ended early. Mancini eclipsed his opponent’s high of twelve homers in the round.

He then squared off against Pete Alonso of the New York Mets in the final round. And Alonso bested Mancini by one homer. (And again, the round ended early). However it was a great showing for Trey Mancini, who continues as I said to be the best story of the season.

Mancini had Notre Dame pitching coach Chuck Ristano pitching to him. Ristano pitched to Mancini in the 2013 Big East Home Run Derby when Mancini was at Notre Dame. He told Ristano at that time that that if he ever made it to the MLB Home Run Derby, he’d have Ristano pitch to him. And obviously Mancini was true to his word.


Baltimore Orioles draft outfielder Colton Cowser

The Baltimore Orioles selected outfielder Colton Cowser with the fifth pick in this evening’s MLB Draft. Cowser, 21, is enrolled and plays collegiately at Sam Houston State. He bats left and throws right.

This past season at Sam Houston, he hit .374 with 16 homers and 52 RBI. This over 55 games. He was also named to the conference all-defensive team. All in all his college stats are impressive.

Ultimately the Orioles’ first priority needs to be to sign him. But once that’s done the success or failure of his career will start to be decided at the minor league level. The O’s are stacked in the outfield on the farm, but they took the best player available. And that’s all you can ask.


Baltimore Orioles: Did Brandon Hyde mismanage the pitching staff?

I thought Spencer Watkins have the Baltimore Orioles some good innings as a starter this afternoon. In fact, I thought he could have gone further into the game – despite it only being his second start. Watkins’ line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

The first two ChiSox pitches of the game yielded positive results for the O’s. The first was a bunt single. Austin Hays followed with a two-run homer on the second pitch. This gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead early.

Watkins gave up a solo homer to Vaughn in the fourth inning. He recorded one out in the fifth before being pulled. Being the last game before the All-Star break, the thought is that manager Brandon Hyde wanted to work out the bullpen a bit.

I suppose my question is whether or not that was a good idea. I get the point, but even in a losing season, these are still regular season games. The games still count. I would argue that the onus should be on winning the game as opposed to working out the bullpen.

And that decision would cost the O’s. Vaughn would smack a three-burn homer in the sixth to give Chicago a 4-2 lead. Again, these are regular season games. The goal needs to be to win them at all cost. Nobody’s faulting the Orioles for not winning, given the rebuilding. But the goal should be to win them.

And that score held on until the very end. With the Birds down to their final out, Hyde pinch-hit Trey Mancini. And Mancini delivered big time, with a two-run homer to tie the game. That’s about as clutch of a play as you’re going to see, abs potentially the best one Mancini’s made all year.

That sent things to extra innings, and with two on in the tenth it appeared that Hyde was going lift reliever Tyler Wells, who appeared to be on the ropes. But Wells was left in, and Engle proceeded to smack a two-run homer, giving Chicago a 7-5 victory.

Again, did Hyde err in keeping Wells in the game? Wells has been perhaps the Orioles’ best reliever in the first half. So maybe one can understand why he’d opt to leave him in. End of the day, results largely dictate whether any of these moves were right or wrong.

And that’s all she wrote for the first half. Well, the period before the All-Star break, that is. The O’s draft fifth in tonight’s MLB draft. You might also catch a line on here from me about Trey Mancini in tomorrow’s Home Run Derby. And of course Cedric Mullins in Tuesday’s All-Star game. This while I stick my toes between the sand in Ocean City all week. Surf’s up, dude!


Baltimore Orioles: Keegan Akin for the win in a losing effort

The Baltimore Orioles started Thomas Eshelman this afternoon agains the ChiSox, however it was Keegan Akin (as a reliever) who was the big story. Eshelman was hit by a line drive in the third inning, and was never really the same. Eshelman’s line: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K.

Goodwin smacked a solo home run in the second to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Anderson’s ground rule RBI-double in the third ran it to 2-0. And once again, the Orioles fall victim to a quirky play. Anderson sent a screaming ground ball down the first base line. The ball boy – yes, the ball boy – fielded the ball and interfered with the play. The guy knew he messed up, but it may well have cost the Orioles a run with a runner on second base. It always seems to be something.

However before Anderson came up to bat, Eshelman got hit by a comebacker in the shin. To his credit he attempted to field the ball and throw the runner out at first base, but he went down in a heap in foul territory in front of the Orioles’ dugout. He stayed in the game, but he didn’t appear to be the same after that. Following Mondada’s RBI-double and a walk, he was lifted in favor of Akin.

Akin pitched 4.1 innings in relief for the O’s today. And in doing so saved potentially two bullpen relievers in an already-taxed bullpen. The game was already going south when he entered and he did give up four runs himself, however he ate innings for the Orioles. That‘a not something that appears in a box score. But he performed a valuable service.

Domingo Leyba’s RBI-single in the last of the fourth put the O’s on the board, cutting Chicago’s lead to 4-1. However Chicago would put two across in the fifth and two in the seventh. Those runs of course sandwiched around a second Leyba RBI-single in the sixth.

The Orioles did threaten in the eighth – sort of. They loaded the bases, and Austin Hays walked, cutting the ChiSox lead to 8-3. However that was as close as the Orioles would get, falling once again to Chicago.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Dylan Cease. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: To the victors go the spoils

Jorge Lopez made it into the fifth inning for the Baltimore Orioles last night. Not an awful start, and in fact given the quality of the opponent (ChiSox) it was decent. Lopez’s line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

After the game Lopez indicated that he was hopefully going to be able to re-charge his batteries a bit during the All-Star break, but that he still felt good:

For me, I’ve just got to keep working and get better,” he said. “I’ll take these four days and take a rest and clear my mind and just keep competing. … I just need to keep improving. Physically, I don’t feel tired. Probably mentally to be over and over and over in the same spot, it kind of takes you down. But I’m a strong man. I have a family and that’s giving me strength.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the last of the second when Ramon Urias smacked a solo homer. Chicago would tie it in the third on Godwin’s RBI-double. One inning later the O’s appeared to have a runner in scoring position. Then they had the lead back – or did they?

Anthony Santander led off the fourth with what appeared to be a double. As Santander asked for time to adjust his equipment, he got the signal that it was actually ruled a home run. And my personal opinion was that was the right call. The ball had appeared to go over the wall, hit on the other side of the wall, and bounce back into the field of play.

Chicago challenged the call. Again, my personal opinion was that it should remain a home run. At worst, there didn’t appear to be “clear and convincing evidence” that the call on the field was incorrect. Yet the umpires ruled it a home run. And end of the day, the Birds couldn’t ultimately bring Santander to the plate.

Thus the game remained tied – until Abreu’s RBI-single in the fifth. One inning later Anderson’s two-RBI single ran it to 4-1. The ChiSox would put four runs across in that sixth inning, then three in the seventh and three in the ninth. This sending the O’s to a 12-1 defeat.

You don’t lose by eleven and blame one call. The Birds walked enough people and gave up enough two strike and two out RBI to hurt themselves. But they did have the lead at 2-1 for a few minutes during that replay review. And had that play stood, it would have been a different game.

The O’s can’t seem to catch a break in that sense. But World Series contenders like Chicago get calls like that. Again, I thought it was a home run to begin with. But was there “clear and convincing evidence” to overturn the call on the field? Personally I think not.

The series continues today at Camden Yards. Thomas Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Lucas Giolito. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: One thing can snowball a game

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Matt Harvey pitched a decent first inning last night against Toronto. It was an incredible stroke of bad luck in what I think was a bad decision by the umpiring crew that snowballed the inning. And by extension the game. Harvey’s line: 3.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Toronto put the first two hitters of the game on base. Guerrero then appeared to line out to center. However replays clearly showed that while Ryan KcKenna made a valiant effort to get to the ball, it popped out of his glove while he was on the ground. Needless to say, it was a base hit.

However the umpires awarded home plate to the runner on second, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. They appeared to view this as a ground rule double; they placed two runners in scoring position with nobody out. And with Toronto leading 1-0.

Both of those runners in scoring position would end up scoring. Toronto led 3-0 after the first inning. I can’t quite grasp how they saw fit to turn a routine line drive to center field into a double. During the play, the Orioles tagged one base runner out, and at one point two runners were on first base. Yet this was disregarded by the umpires, and the Orioles got no outs. And found themselves trailing.

Gurriel’s RBI-single in the fourth extended the lead to 4-0. Bichette and Guerrero would also add RBI-singles, extending the lead to 6-0 and breaking the game wide open. Toronto would put up a run in the fifth, two in the sixth, and one in the eighth. Austin Hays’ sac fly-RBI in the fifth and Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-single in the eighth rounded out the Birds’ 10-2 loss.

Often times a play such as that one in the first can set the tone. The O’s went from potentially having two outs to trailing and having two runners in scoring position – with no outs. And Harvey never recovered, as he ended up getting nitpicked to death in a sense.

The series concludes tonight at Camden Yards. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alex Manoah. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Spencer Watkins shines in debut

The Baltimore Orioles called up Spencer Watkins from the minors to start tonight’s game against Toronto. It was his big league debut – and it came against a team that’s dominated the Birds to date. But Watkins was stellar in his debut, sticking around long enough to qualify for the win. Watkins’ line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

The lone run Watkins surrendered was on a sac fly-RBI by Guerrero in the first inning. For the rest of his outing, he mowed Toronto hitters down. And luckily for Watkins, his new big league teammates picked tonight to have their bats come alive.

Pedro Severino got the party started in the fourth inning with a two-run homer. And as much as Severino has struggled at times behind the plate this year, that was a welcome sight for Orioles’ fans. Cedric Mullins would also stay hot, smacking a two-run shot of his own in the last of the fifth. The O’s held a 4-1 lead.

Later in that fifth inning Trey Mancini would score on a wild pitch. Down the road a little further in the inning, Anthony Santander’s three-run homer opened the game wide open. The Birds led, 7-1.

Toronto would smack two additional solo homers (Grichuk and Guerrero), and a two-run shot by Gurriel in the ninth. But it made no difference in the final. This game was all Orioles for most of the way. And for once, it began and ended with starting pitching again.

Watkins did really well for himself. That goes without saying. My hope and my belief is that he earned at least a second start. But now the real challenge comes – both for him, his catcher(s), and his coaches. Now there’s a book on him.

In short, now there’s film on him out there at the big league level. That’s why pitchers can look so good in their debuts, only to flop after a few starts. Opponents are going to adapt to what they see on film. It’s up to Watkins to adapt also, keeping his game fresh.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Hyun Jin Ryu. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Brandon Hyde pushed almost all the right buttons

Thomas Eshelman got the start this afternoon in the series finale for the Baltimore Orioles in Anaheim. As had been the case for Oriole starters all year, he was simply a holdover until the next pitcher. Eshelman’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

Eshelman loaded the bases in the first inning before recording so much as an out. However to his credit he limited the damage. Walsh’s RBI-double and Gosselin’s RBI-single gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead. Ohtani and Rendon would each homer in the third (solo shots), and Anaheim led 4-0.

The O’s on the flip side, couldn’t seem to muster so much as a base runner. But after Anaheim starter Sandoval left the game, things started to happen. The Birds got on the board in the sixth when Ramon Urias smacked an RBI-double. DJ Stewart would follow with a two-RBI double, cutting the Anaheim lead to 4-3. And putting true Orioles back in the game.

Manager Brandon Hyde had given Cedric Mullins at least the first part of the day off. But he summoned Mullins to pinch hit in the sixth with the Birds trailing by the aforementioned score of 4-3. And Mullins delivered, smacking an RBI-single, tying the game. About as clutch as it gets.

But he wasn’t done yet. Mullins would homer in the top of the ninth with the score still tied at four, giving the O’s the lead at 5-4. Hyde then summoned Cole Sulser for the save, who promptly loaded the bases once again. Lagares’ two-RBI double would eventually win it for Anaheim, sending the O’s home.

It’s worth mentioning that Brandon Hyde pushed all of the right buttons in this game. He got Eshelman out when he needed to, and he inserted Mullins as a pinch hitter at just the right time. And it appeared to work. Until it didn’t.

Unfortunately the Orioles don’t appear to have anyone in the bullpen who’s capable of holding a narrow lead in the ninth. And that isn’t Hyde’s fault. Someone has to pitch there. And it’s not an issue of “stuff.” It’s an issue of confidence. Hyde appeared very frustrated after the game:

Pretty irritated, so it’s tough to process right now. Yeah, we swept Houston, we get left on the field here first night, lose by three the second night and left on the field the third game. Definitely in two of the three games here after we just swept Houston. So it’s frustrating to not win these sort of games. When we have the lead, with our record the way it is, it’s nice to win. And so it’s disappointing giving a game like this away.

Quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports

Hyde knew that he did everything correctly. Sulser and others just need to be more fearless out there. One thing in baseball and in life; of you’re afraid, it usually shows.

During the game Cedric Mullins was named as a reserve on the American League All-Star team. As of now, he’s the lone Orioles’ representative. He not only deserves to be there, but he should be starting.


Baltimore Orioles: Umpires get scouting reports also

The Baltimore Orioles sent Jorge Lopez to the mound in Anaheim last night. End of the day, it was one of those starts where the tone for the game was set early. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 4 K.

Lopez loaded the bases in the first inning, this before even recording an out. Luckily Anaheim only netted two runs. One on an RBI-single by Walsh, and a second on a fielder’s choice by Gosselin. So that was actually good on Lopez for minimizing the damage.

However Anaheim would also get an RBI-double by Lagares in the third, and an RBI-so gel by Gosselin in the fifth. The Birds’ lone run of the night came on a fielder’s choice by Pat Valaika. Bottom line: the O’s fell last night, 4-1.

Jorge Lopez seemed very frustrated at times over the strike zone. And the fact that it got to him showed:

Yeah, sure. My emotions showed it. I really compete and sometimes I show my emotions. It’s something I’ve been working on so long. But, yeah, some calls should be there. I didn’t get it. I’ve just got to keep doing the best I can.

Quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports

Catcher Pedro Severino’s struggled at times this year in terms of framing pitches. Umpires like pitches framed well if they’re going to give a strike. Especially on borderline pitches.

Umpires read scouting reports also. So they know Severino doesn’t always frame pitches well. They also know that Lopez likes to nibble. So again, they aren’t going to be as willing to give borderline strike calls. Does that mean that pitches in the strike zone weren’t called balls? They absolutely were.

The series concludes this afternoon at Angel Stadium. Thomas Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Patrick Sandoval. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Did Brandon Hyde err in judgement?

The Baltimore Orioles fell late last night in Anaheim. Interpret as you wish; being a west coast game it was obviously late at night (or early in the morning). But it was also in walk off fashion. Keegan Akin got the start for the O’s, and while he only pitched three innings, he left with the lead. Akin’s line: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Trey Mancini’s solo homer in the first was followed by one by rookie Domingo Leyba in the second. That gave the Birds an early 2-0 lead. Leyba’s homer was also the first of his career.

Anaheim would even the score on a two-run homer by Iglesias in the last of the second. But the Orioles pounced in the third. They loaded the bases up, only to have them cleared by Anthony Santander’s double. Pedro Severino would add an RBI-double of his own, and the Orioles led 6-4.

But Anaheim chipped away. Ohtani smacked a solo homer in the last of the third. One inning later Stassi’s RBI-double and Fletcher’s RBI-single brought them to within one. That brought Ohtani up again, and this time he smacked a two-run homer, giving Anaheim a 7-6 lead.

Austin Hays tied the score back up in the sixth with an RBI-double. Ohtani got aboard in the last of the ninth, and stole second base. He would later score, giving Anaheim a walk off 8-7 win, on Walsh’s RBI-single. The Orioles challenged the tag at home plate, but it was upheld.

My question is why were they even pitching to Walsh? First base was open, and a would-be runner at first was meaningless. The winning run was already at second.

Had I been Brandon Hyde, I would have put Walsh on base. Especially with a .153 hitter in Rengifo up behind him. As I’ve said before, managing a big league team isn’t easy. So you do have to at times cut guys some slack. But my personal opinion is that Hyde pitched to the wrong guy. There was one out, but it wouldn’t have been hard to see a .153 hitter ending up recording a ground ball double-play.

The series continues this evening at Angel Stadium. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Alex Cobb (also a former Oriole). Game time is set for just after 10 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins waits on

Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles has been the best outfielder in the American League thus far during the first half of the season. He’s potentially been the best across Major League Baseball. He’s hitting .322 with 14 HR’s, 99 H, and a WAR of 4.0. He’s also made numerous incredible plays in the field, which vouch for his greatness.

Yet the fans didn’t see fit to vote him as a starter on the AL All-Star squad. He’ll be there, don’t worry about that. But he wasn’t voted as a starter. Instead, Teoscar Hernandez, Aaron Judge, and Mike Trout were voted starters.

Judge has been average at best thus far. Hernandez is good – but is he starter good? And Mike Trout is Mike Trout. He speaks for himself, but he’s also been injured for the past month. So should he really be starting?

And a lot of analysts think that’s where Mullins will have his wrong righted. They’ll replace him on the roster with Mullins. But the fact remains that he should have been there to begin with.

Is that the fault of the fans, or is it due to the fact that the Orioles aren’t a contender? Well keep in mind that the Orioles struggled to get players voted onto the team even when they were a contender. They’ve always been a small market team. Casual fans aren’t jumping on their bandwagon. Unfortunately that’s just a fact. So the Trout’s and the Judge’s of the world will always be put forth for the ASG.

Again, Mullins will get his day in the sun. He will be on the team. Hopefully as a starter.

The Birds find themselves out on the West Coast this Fourth of July weekend, and they open up a series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this evening at Angel Stadium. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Los Angeles’ Griffin Canning. Game time is set for just after 9:30 PM.


Baltimore Orioles, Austin Hays win a Donnybrook in slam-bam manner

If there’s one drawback to the Baltimore Orioles’ victory over Houston last night it’s that spot starter Travis Lakins Sr. had to leave the game early with shoulder soreness. Ironically, Houston’s starter had the same fate. In a game that was already a bullpen game, that’s a problem. Lakins’ line: 1.2 IP, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Cedric Mullins homering on the first pitch of the game however was a harbinger of things to come. Houston would even the score in the second on Toro’s sac fly-RBI. This after a phantom balk call on Lakins, advancing the runner to third.

The teams would trade two-RBI singles in the fifth, tying the game at three. Austin Hays struck for the O’s. The good news at that point was that the Orioles (who had won the previous night) were going to the brink against one of the best teams in baseball. And a team that utterly dominated them last week at that.

And the Orioles’ resilience was rewarded. Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double in the seventh gave them the lead back in the seventh. And 4-3 was the closest Houston would get to the lead. What ensued after that was pure theater. This in the sense of how many runs the Birds were actually going to put on the board.

The eighth inning brought a barrage of runs. Anthony Santander smacked a solo homer, Maikel Franco a bases-clearing double, and Austin Hays an RBI-single. That brought us to 9-0, but the Birds weren’t done yet. In the ninth Ramon Urias and Austin Wynns added on two-run homers.

When the smoke cleared (translated: when the game ended), the Orioles had defeated perennial contender Houston 13-3 at their place. Most people probably didn’t have the Birds winning this series, but this is why you play the games. This is why players put on opposite uniforms and compete.

Again the one point of concern was Lakins. I would bet that he’s on his way to the IL with the injury last night. Now that said, it wouldn’t have shocked me to have seen him optioned after the game anyways to get a fresh arm in the bullpen. So I suspect that the someone from the “taxi squad” will be called up for tonight’s game. The O’s are off on Thursday prior to heading out to Los Angeles for the Fourth of July weekend, so hopefully some form of regrouping the bullpen will occur then.

The O’s will go for the series sweep this evening against Minute Maid Park. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Luis Garcia. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.


Baltimore Orioles, Austin Hays blast off and hold on in Houston

Thomas Eshelman got the start last night for the Baltimore Orioles…”deep in the heart of Texas.” Starting in Houston is a tough task, but Eshelman pitched really well – aside from being squeezed several times. And given that his opposite number was Houston’s Greinke, the O’s themselves had a tall task. Eshelman’s line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 0 K.

The Birds took a 1-0 lead in the third on Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-single. Tucker’s sac fly-RBI one inning later would tie the game, and Altuve would later walk with the bases loaded to give Houston a 2-1 lead. However the inning should have been over. Eshelman walked Maldonado to load the bases prior to being pulled. But what was called ball four looked an awful lot like strike three. As I said above, Eshelman got squeezed.

At that point if you’re Houston (a contender), you’re thinking that all’s right with the world. They took an early lead, but now you have the lead and things are as they should be. But Ryan Mountcastle put them on notice not to get too comfortable. His two-run homer in the fifth have the Orioles the lead back at 3-2.

The teams would trade runs in the seventh, but Houston would also put an additional run on the board that inning on a walk with the bases loaded. Tying the game at four, again Houston had to be feeling that things were put back the right way. But the Orioles were poised to pounce, much in the manner that team such as Houston normally do to them.

Austin Hays had already earned his keep for the day when he brought an apparent home run back (recording an out) early in the game in right field. But his two-run homer in the ninth gave the Orioles a 6-4 lead. Pedro Severino would add a two-RBI double, and Ramon Urias would add an RBI-double of his own. This appeared to end the game, blasting Houston into space when it counted.

But as I said above regarding Houston, you never want to get too comfortable. Houston put three runs back on the board in the last of the ninth. Ultimately they weren’t able to come all the way back, but would anyone have put it past them to have done so? Either way, the O’s took the series opener, 9-7. A well-earned victory over a championship-caliber opponent at their place – “deep in the heart of Texas.”

The series continues this evening at Minute Maid Park. The O’s have yet to announce a starter, but whomever he is he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Jose Urquidy. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Frustrating day and weekend in Buffalo

Jorge Lopez did what he could to put the Baltimore Orioles in a position to win this after noon at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. He didn’t go five, but he battled both himself, and an inconsistent strike zone throughout his outing. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K.

Lopez had the lead before he even got on the field. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a solo homer in the first inning to give the Orioles a 1-0. And that right there might be something to consider. We’ve seen a lot of solo homers off Oriole bats; teams know that solo home runs don’t hurt you. So they’ll throw pitches in the middle of the plate with nobody on base, because they know that if worst comes to worst, they can overcome it. And they’re generally right.

Toronto would tie the game in the second on a run that scored on a GIDP. They would later take the lead in the third on Guererro’s two-RBI double. Later in the inning Toronto thought they had a fourth run. DJ Stewart appeared to mail a runner at the plate for the final out of the inning. However the runner was ruled safe, but later called out after the Orioles challenged the play and it was overturned.

Ramon Urias attempted to get the O’s back into the game in the fifth with an RBI-double. That cut the lead to 3-2, however Biggio’s two-RBI double in the bottom of the inning ran it to 5-2. Toronto shut down the Orioles’ lineup for the rest of the game, and took the game and the series.

Players on multiple sides took issue with the strike zone this afternoon. However the O’s didn’t seem to handle it as well as Toronto. Whereas the Orioles kept wanting to say this was a strike or that was a ball, Toronto pitchers pitched to the umpire’s zone.

Toronto frustrates the heck out of the Orioles in general. Save for Friday night’s game, every bounce seems to go their way. And they aren’t shy in celebrating even a standard base hit. They had a shot at winning this game, but couldn’t come up with a clutch hit, especially with runners in scoring position.

The O’s now head to Houston to open up at three-game set at Minute Maid Park tomorrow night. Thomas Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Zack Greinke. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Toronto cut deep by the O’s

The Baltimore Orioles hasn’t won a game since last Friday night against Toronto. And Toronto, who’s had just about every bounce for their way in every game since then, hadn’t lost since that time. The Birds were sending a struggling Matt Harvey to the mound in Buffalo last night. But sometimes people and events surprise you. Harvey’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Harvey pitched a great game. He also put innings in and helped save an over-taxed bullpen. He gave up a solo homer to Springer in the second which gave Toronto a 1-0 lead. However the Orioles immediately tied the game an inning later when Freddy Galvis grounded into a run-scoring double-play.

That sounds like a cheap way to score a run, and in a way it is. But when you’re struggling like the Orioles are you take runs however you can get them. That also perhaps put Toronto on notice that the O’s had about had it with watching them celebrate.

But Toronto would end up taking the lead back, and extending it. Guerrero smacked a solo homer in the last of the third, and Gurriel an RBI-double in the fourth. Semien’s two-RBI double in the seventh in theory should have been the fatal blow. That should have had the O’s simply playing out a string in the end of the game. Giving Harvey an undeserved loss, and extending the losing streak.

And Toronto seemed to sense that. Did they take their foot off the gas? Tough to say. But what we can say for sure is that the Birds had other ideas of how this game was going to end.

Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-single in the eighth cut the lead to 5-2. After Toronto changed pitchers, Anthony Santander smacked an RBI-single, cutting the lead to 5-3. Notice that Toronto changed pitchers; remember how I said above how they had just about every bounce go their way of late? They probably figured that changing pitchers would work simply because they were lucky and the Orioles weren’t. Not on this day.

Austin Hays would smack a two-RBI double, which brought the O’s all the way back and tied the game. A game that eventually went to extra innings, and that the Orioles won in the tenth inning when Pat Valaika walked with the bases loaded. The O’s held onto win 6-5.

As I said, the Orioles had to have been tired of watching Toronto celebrate inning after inning. And it started last Saturday when they savagely came back on the O’s with a six-run ninth inning. They’ve now kind of been paid back for that. Turnabout is fair play.

The series continues this afternoon at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Hyun Jin Ryu. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Are the Birds tipping their pitches?

Dean Kremer had perhaps the worst start of his career last night for the Baltimore Orioles in Buffalo against Toronto. It might be the worst start of anyone’s career. That’s not as much a conviction of Kremer as it sounds. These sorts of outings happen. And they aren’t easy to stomach for anyone. Kremer’s line: .1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 0 K.

Toronto put two runs on the board right away. Kremer loaded the bases by way of walks, and Hernandez’s RBI-single gave Toronto a 1-0 lead. Grichuk would also add an RBI-groundout.

At that point you felt good that the Birds had recorded an out, and you thought maybe Kremer would pitch out of the jam allowing only two runs. But that wasn’t to be; Biggio walked as well, and Gurriel’s grand slam lit Toronto ahead 6-0.

Toronto would put three more runs on the board in the early innings, but the Orioles’ pen held them at bay for the rest of the game. Which was good. But the damage was done.

The O’s have really taken it on the chin the past few days. Against Houston I wrote that it was as if the Houston players knew what Oriole pitchers were throwing before they (the pitchers) did. I had that same feeling last night as well.

Which makes me wonder if the Orioles aren’t somehow tipping their pitches. Obviously it would be unintentional if being done, however some of the swings and mammoth home runs we’ve seen appear a bit over/m-the-top. As in you’d have to know the pitch and the location in order to be able to hit the ball like that.

The most incriminating thing about that possibility is that if opposing teams are picking up on something that’s telling them what’s coming, obviously nobody in the Orioles’ dugout is picking up on it. That would be a huge problem.

Another interesting moment came in the fourth inning with Grichuk on first base. The ball was tagged deep to center field, but not deep enough as it was caught. The Orioles proceeded to easily throw Grichuk out at second base trying to rage up and advance.

First off, it was a stupid idea to try to advance on what amounted to a routine fly ball. But…Toronto was leading 9-0 at the time. I won’t say anything further about it, but it seems like poor form.

The series continues tonight at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alex Manoah. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Latest team to suffer on Houston’s revenge tour

Thomas Eshelman became only the most recent Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher to have issues with two outs. In the first couple of innings tonight against Houston, he seemed to record two outs with relative ease. Then the problems began. Eshelman’s line: 4-0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Houston put three runs on the board in the first inning. All with two outs. The same thing happened in the second inning, but the O’s held them to only one. And while there were walks sprinkled into that mix, the hits were all softly hit. As in, the outfielders were positioned way too far back in order to make the play.

Those are tough to stomach in my opinion. You aren’t expecting a big league team to get fat on balls that look like they were hit by T-Ball players. But they all count. And they sure as heck counted against Oriole pitching tonight.

Houston would put two up in the fourth, one in the sixth, four in the seventh, and two in the eighth. They seemed to know what was coming before the Orioles knew what they were going to throw. And no matter what, they seemed to put the ball in play.

So the O’s get swept at home by Houston. They aren’t the first to get beaten around, and they won’t be the last. One thing that was constant in the series was Orioles fans giving some pretty harsh treatment to the Houston players.

We all know why they were being mercilessly boo’d, and Camden Yards isn’t the first visiting ballpark in which it’s happened. However the Houston players have made all of those fan bases eat their words. Their attitude is sure, go ahead and boo us. But we’re going to not only beat your team, but make them look foolish in the process.

These players seem to resent the way that their franchise was handled in the wake of the cheating scandal in 2018. Now for the record, Inwould argue that they’re lucky. The players in effect snitched on their coaches and front office, all of those personnel were fired, suspended, etc. – “held accountable.” Not only did the players not face any discipline, but they got to keep their World Series trophy.

Yet in their mind the league’s done them wrong. I can’t imagine being shameless enough to where I’d get angry over the perception that I was a cheater, when in fact…I WAS a cheater! That’s been their story all season. The more viciously they’ve been boo’d, the more determined they’d become.

And you can almost see the players laughing at opposing fans in the dugout. Obviously the players don’t see it as shameless given that it’s being used as fodder. I think that playing the victim when in fact you were the aggressor is a really hard sell. But…it’s working for them. And the Orioles were only their most recent victim.

The Orioles now hit the road, starting with four games in Buffalo, NY against Toronto at Sahlen Field. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto‘s Anthony Kay. Game time is set for just after 7 PM tomorrow night.


Baltimore Orioles fall despite Jorge Lopez’s valiant effort

The Baltimore Orioles played a much more complete game tonight against Houston than we saw last night. Granted it came in a losing effort still, however starter Jorge Lopez put them in a spot to win. And then some. Lopez’s line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

If you’re keeping track at home, that’s a quality start for Lopez. It’s always a shame to waste a quality start on a loss, but I also think it’s worth pointing out that maybe the Orioles’ coaching staff is learning how to better handle Lopez. Maybe they know what to look for better in terms of when Lopez is tiring, and/or of opposing teams are seeing his stuff better.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the second when Straw smacked a solo homer to left. The ball appeared to hit off the top of the left field wall and bounce back into play. However that’s a home run under Camden Yards’ ground rules, and the call was rules as such upon review.

Cedric Mullins’ sac fly-RBI would tie the game at one an inning later in the third. And that tie would last for much of the remedy of the game. But it didn’t last long enough, as Straw’s RBI-single on the seventh have Houston a 2-1 lead. One inning later McCormick’s sac fly-RBI would give Houston a 3-1 lead. And that would be your final.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Thomas Eshelman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Jose Urquidy. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles fall, almost get no-hit

Keegan Akin of the Baltimore Orioles was almost the opposing starter in a no-hitter last night. Luckily the O’s held that off, however they couldn’t hold off Houston. Despite his numbers, Akin pitched decent enough. He was also failed by the defense behind him. Akin’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

The start of the game was delayed an hour by biblical-like storms that passed over Camden Yards, With two runners on, Houston’s McCormick sent an RBI-single in the third inning. However Austin Hays’ attempted to cut the run off at home plate as opposed to playing it back into second base. That allowed two runners to enter into scoring position.

And that did have a negative impact, as Gurriel sent a sac fly-RBI into center field later in the inning. You have to hit the cutoff man, because that sort of thing will cost you runs. While Akin obviously put the guys on base, he was failed by the defense behind him once they were there.

But Alvarez’s subsequent three-run homer broke the game wide open. Even the best defense behind you can’t prevent that. Gurriel would add another sac fly-RBI in the seventh, but by then the story was Houston tossing a no-hitter. It was shaping up to be a staff no-no, as they had used various pitchers. But the Orioles were desperately trying to scrimp a hit together.

Before they could however, Houston would run their lead to 10-0. The competitive portion of the game was long over. The question was could the Birds muster a hit.

And yes, they found a way. Maikel Franco ended the no-hit bid in the last of the eighth with a two-run homer. So the no-hitter and the shutout were lost in one fatal swoop. It doesn’t change the fact that the O’s lost the game, but at least they didn’t suffer the ignobility of being no-hit.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Zack Greinke. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Four-run fifth sinks the O’s

Matt Harvey pitched a decent outing for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He probably didn’t go as deep into the game as manager Brandon Hyde would have liked, but in theory he put the team in a spot to win. Although a four-run fifth inning wiped that out. Harvey’s line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Oriole bats gave Harvey an early lead. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning. He hit to about the deepest part of the ballpark, giving the O’s a 1-0 lead. And Harvey held Toronto at bay for four innings.

But things changed in the fifth. I’m not sure if he tired quickly or what, but while he was previously recording outs, he seemed to just lose it all at once. Which again tells me he doesn’t have the stamina to go much further than about 70 pitches or so in a game.

Bichette’s RBI-single in that fifth inning got the Toronto rally started, tying the game at one. Hernandez added an RBI-double to give them a 2-1 lead. Grichuk and Biggio added RBI-singles before the O’s could record the third out.

But the damage was done. And on top of that, Toronto would add two runs in the eighth and take the game – following a solo homer by Pedro Severino in the last of the eighth, and a two-run shot by Trey Mancini. The O’s made a run at it, but couldn’t come all the way back. Toronto would add on an insurance run in the ninth to take the game, 7-4. And take the series.

As I said, the O’s made a valiant run at coming back. This game was never pretty from the get-go. They never gave up though, which for a rebuilding team is really all that counts. But obviously we’re also in the business of wins and losses. Every game counts.

I’ve said this before, but I do wonder if the Orioles are too predictable in terms of how they position their fielder’s. If I’m Brandon Hyde I think it’s at lease worth looking at. Because often the O’s are playing their outfield straight up, and guys are pulling the ball tightly down the line. Basically hitting ‘em where they ain’t.

One bright spot today was reliever Adam Plutko. He pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in the immediate relief of Matt Harvey. That may well have saved another bullpen reliever, and it stemmed the tide of Toronto momentum. Not that it mattered on the scoreboard, but that’s one of those things that happens in games which are intangible.

The Orioles will open up a three-game set with the Houston Astro’s tomorrow at Camden Yards. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Father’s Day takes on a new meaning this year

At some point during every Baltimore Orioles game, I think of my Dad. He doesn’t follow the team as religiously as he used to, but that’s okay. I obviously pen this column, so I pick up the slack! However I’m always reminded of the grand Saturday afternoon when he took me to my first game at Memorial Stadium.

It was the greenest grass I’d ever seen, the best hot dogs I’d ever tasted, and the coldest Coca-Cola on earth. I thought about that day a lot 15 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. There was little doubt that he’d beat it given the type of cancer that it was and how early we caught it, but it was still scary. However that was a breeze compared to this past year.

Just before Christmas my Dad got a COVID test, as he had been feeling ill. He tested positive. To anyone reading this who didn’t have COVID or know someone who had it, I can’t put into words what goes through your head when you get that news about your parent. On top of that, I see my Dad just about everyday; so I was exposed to it also.

I’m happy to report that if I actually had the virus, it was asymptomatic and I never knew the difference. But while you hear about people who had the virus and were able to treat themselves at home without incident, you also hope that it doesn’t end up being your loved one who’s grasping for breath in a hospital. Away from family and loved ones.

Needless to say it was a unique Christmas. We had our respective Christmas Dinners for one or two over FaceTime, and my parents were happy to know that I did my best to make all of the traditional foods that our family would have for Christmas (Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and ravioli on Christmas Day). But my Dad’s condition deteriorated as the week went on. (Ironically my mother tested negative. Certainly strange given that they live together, but for that we were thankful.)

He was admitted to the hospital on Monday, December 28th. Again, I can’t properly put into words what goes through your mind when news like that comes. The first thing I did was to alert my two Uncles – my Dad’s brothers. In a moment like that, you look for something comforting. Both of them said the exact same thing: “everything’s going to be okay.”

The message in and of itself was comforting for sure. But in various situations in my life I had also heard those same words in that same tone of voice from my Dad. In that moment, hearing that message coming from his brothers, it was like hearing it in my father’s voice.

He was in and out of intensive care for awhile. He never lost consciousness, but could only talk on the phone or on FaceTime for maybe a minute at a time before he’d lose his wind. The whole experience was morbidly awful. This virus is no joke.

It got incredibly real when they asked my mother what her wishes would be if a ventilator became necessary. We had a family conference, and we all agreed that if it came to that, they had our blessing. Around that same time I touched base with a priest to at least go over options for what’s now called Anointing of the Sick. I never wrote my Old Man off, but honestly there were about two or three days where I didn’t think things were going to end well.

But as quickly as he deteriorated, suddenly he began improving. He was sent out of intensive care, and a few days later (January 9th) he was released. I don’t know what anyone reading this believes religiously or spiritually, but I’m a fairly religious person. And I saw it as a miracle.

His “rehab” continues to this day. I’m not sure he’ll ever be the same. For the most part he can do most of the things he was doing before he got sick (he’s a fairly active 68-year old). But he gets tired easily, and still doesn’t have the stamina he had previously. But if this is how the rest of his life unfolds, I’m very thankful. Because he’s alive; and there was a moment where that wasn’t always going to be the case.

As was the case when he had cancer, I thought a lot about that first day at Memorial Stadium so many years ago. I thought about how it would be walking into Camden Yards to write about the team that he originally loved and passed onto me, knowing he was no longer of this world. And it ate me alive. Mercifully, it wasn’t his time.

So as the title indicates, Father’s Day takes on a different meaning for me this year. And the fact is that I know a lot of people weren’t as lucky. I know that there are people at every game who are missing someone lost in this pandemic. Maybe missing them through the Orioles, or maybe using the Orioles as a temporary diversion. That could have been me.

Maybe my Dad will watch the game today. Maybe he won’t. But whatever he does, he’s alive. And that wasn’t always guaranteed. And make no mistake, all of us are very thankful. Thanks for sticking with us, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!


Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen spoils Ryan Mountcastle’s career day

He was greeted rudely, but the Baltimore Orioles’ Dean Kremer settled in nicely this afternoon. He gave up solo homers to Semien and Guerrero in the first inning before the crowd had even settled in. But he got it together, and pitched to a quality start. Kremer’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

This is a game that Ryan Mountcastle won’t soon forget. For starters, he smacked a solo homer in the last of the second which cut the Toronto lead in half. Cedric Mullins would continue hot at the plate and inning later with a solo shot of his own, tying the game at two.

Mountcastle would come up again in the fourth with a runner on base. And his two-run homer gave the Birds the lead at 4-2. Mind you, that was his second homer of the day. Had he stopped there, he would have still had a darn good game. Incidentally, DJ Stewart added to the homer parade, going back-to-back with Mountcastle and smacking a solo shot – giving the O’s a 5-2 lead.

However remember a moment ago when I said Mountcastle could have stopped there and had a pretty good day? He didn’t do that. He came up again in the sixth, and – you guessed it – smacked a solo homer (his third home run of the game). You don’t get much better than that in terms of performing at the plate. Did we mention that Mountcastle was a rookie?!

After Toronto put one across in the top of the seventh, the Birds got it back on Mullins’ second homer of the game – a solo shot. The Orioles took a 7-4 lead into the top of the ninth. Life appeared to be good.

The Birds called on Paul Fry to close the game for the second consecutive game. He promptly loaded the bases and walked a run in. Bichette and Guerrero proceeded to smack two-RBI singles, giving Toronto a 9-7 lead. Grichuk would add an RBI-double, and the Birds fell 10-7. This despite Mountcastle’s three homers, and Mullins’ two.

Bichette hardly hit the ball hard, as it was a dying quail into right field. But Paul Fry hardly looked comfortable, and when that’s the case you don’t have to hit the ball hard. It’s tough to lose a game like that, with the opponent putting up six runs in the ninth inning to come from behind. But you have to get right back at it tomorrow.

Incidentally, Toronto’s starter Manoah was ejected with one out in the fourth inning after he hit Maikel Franco. This after the DJ Stewart solo home run. The benches and the bullpens emptied, but no real fight ensued. Just the Toronto pitcher being ejected.

The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards. Matt Harvey gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Hyun-Jin Ryu. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins with an All-Star performance

The Baltimore Orioles could have been forgiven for losing tonight. Bruce Zimmerman was supposed to start but was sent to the IL with Bicep Tendinitis at the last minute. So they called up Thomas Eshelman from triple-A Norfolk to make the start. Eshelman’s line: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Eshelman obviously didn’t pitch deep enough to qualify for the win. However he gave the Orioles an incredibly solid outing that really set the tone for a win. That isn’t too shabby for a guy who was just up from triple-A earlier today. He acted as a stopper, helping the O’s snap an eight-game losing streak.

While Eshelman probably should have been the story, he wasn’t. On the backdrop of his tee-shirt night, Cedric Mullins continued his amazing first half with a performance worthy of being an All-Star. He led the game off with a solo homer, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead, which would stand until the fifth.

Gurriel’s solo homer in that fifth inning would tie the game. It was the one mistake Eshelman made. Other than that he was stellar. Which given that he had just joined the team today, is outstanding.

But the O’s almost immediately got the lead back. Austin Hays’ RBI-single in the last of the fifth put the Birds back in the lead at 2-1. We also got to see something we hadn’t seen in some time: the Birds adding insurance runs. Freddy Galvis’ RBI-single in the last of the eighth extended the lead to 3-1.

But the O’s weren’t done yet. Maikel Franco also added an RBI-single, making it 4-1. And Mullins came up again with two on. For good measure mind you, he smacked his second ball of the game out of the ballpark. His three-run homer earned him the first Orioles’ curtain call in however long, and earned the Birds a 7-1 win.

Cedric Mullins has been incredibly valuable to the O’s thus far. And yes, he’s worthy of an All-Star game birth. And as a starter at that. Both he and Thomas Eshelman in effect won the game for the O’s tonight, snapping the aforementioned eight-game skid.

The series continues tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alex Manoah. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Should Brandon Hyde have played under protest?

The Baltimore Orioles can’t seem to make it over the hump no matter what happens. Starter Jorge Lopez couldn’t pitch out of the fifth, making him only the most recent Orioles’ starter unable to go deep into a game. Lopez’s line: 4.1 P, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Cleveland has largely picked up right where they left off the previous game each day in this series. Ramirez smacked a two-run homer in the first, followed by a Bradley solo shot. Before the crowd had even settled in, Cleveland led 3-0.

However while pointless, the O’s weren’t going quietly into the night. Or quietly into the Cleveland afternoon, in this case – you get the point. Austin Hays‘ solo homer in the second cut the Cleveland lead to 3-1. The teams would trade solo homers in the third and fourth, with Maikel Franco doing the honors for the Birds. Trey Mancini would add an RBI-double later in that fourth inning, bringing the O’s to within one run at 4-3.

However they wouldn’t get any closer than that. Pinpoint placement of base hits and home runs would work to Cleveland’s advantage, along with insurance runs in the later innings. Cleveland went onto win the finale 10-3. This was the second consecutive series in which the O’s were swept, sending them to an 0-7 road trip.

While the final Cleveland run was scored on an error, there wasn’t any glaring mistake or faux pas in this game that came to Cleveland’s aide (unlike in the other three games). Nothing on the field, at least. But was there an oversight in the dugout that might have helped Cleveland and hurt the Birds?

The O’s were trailing 4-3 when Chang grounded into an apparent double-play to end the fourth inning. Trailing by one, the Birds were very much in the game at that point, and to be honest they had the wind at their backs in terms of momentum. Or so we thought.

Cleveland manager Francona took his sweet time, but eventually challenged the double-play. And in fact, they came back and ruled that Change was safe at first base. The next hitter was Clement, who’s RBI-double sent Cleveland off to the races towards their ten runs.

The rule is that a manager has ten seconds to hold up play if he’s trying to decide if he wants to challenge. Francona took ten seconds and then some. Now granted, nobody’s sitting there on the field with a stopwatch timing his ten seconds. But at a certain point you kind of know your time’s up. I’ve seen umpires tell a manager that his timing was too late to challenge a call.

For the record, how long the other manager took to challenge a call isn’t something Brandon Hyde could have turned around and challenged himself. BUT…he could have protested the decision by the umpire to allow the challenge to go forward. Meaning he could have played the game under protest.

A manager can only formally protest something in a game (play under protest) when a rule has potentially been misinterpreted or misapplied. A bad (judgement) call, for instance, can’t be protested. But given the fact that Francona appeared to wait for at least a minute or two to challenge the call, one could argue that the umpires misapplied the rule.

If Brandon Hyde had formally told the umpire he wanted to protest the call, the umpire would have signaled to the press box that the game was formally under protest. And at that point the game would have continued as normal. The protesting team would then have until noon the next day to send formal paperwork into the league office if they wanted to move forward with the protest. If the league decides that the rule in question was misinterpreted or misapplied to the point that it affected the outcome, the game would be ordered replayed from that point onward.

Given that Cleveland immediately started putting more runs on the board after that point, thus putting the game out of reach, there’s a legitimate argument that could have been made for playing the rest of the game under protest. It’s an old school tactic and it’s not something we see often anymore in Major League Baseball. But it is a tool that Brandon Hyde at least should have considered today. Because in my view he had a very legitimate case.

The O’s now head home to Camden Yards to open up a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow night. Bruce Zimmerman gets the call for the O’s, and Toronto is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Faux pas’ once again bury the Birds

It’s almost uncanny how the line between winning and losing seems to be set on mistakes the Baltimore Orioles make in games. An error here, a botched rundown there, and opponents get fat. Keegan Akin found that out last night. Akin’s line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

The Birds took an early lead when Freddy Galvis and Ryan Mountcastle smacked RBI-singles. You get guys on base, good things can happen. But even there; it was great that the O’s took an early lead. REALLY great. But that first inning also ended on a ground ball double-play with runners at the corners. In other words, the Birds left money on the table.

The teams would trade runs in a sense, with Cleveland’s Ramirez smacking a solo homer in the last of the first. Ryan Mountcastle’s third inning RBI-single extended the Orioles’ lead to 3-1. But that lead seemed temporary at best.

Rosario’s third inning RBI-single cut the lead to 3-2. However on that play, a throwing error by DJ Stewart allowed two runners into scoring position. All in all, Cleveland would put five runs on the board in the last of the third, assisted by the aforementioned error and a botched rundown.

Ryan Mountcastle would do everything in his power however to bring the O’s back. He had three hits on the night, including a two-run homer in the fifth which cut the Cleveland lead to 6-5. But Hernandez’s two-RBI triple in the sixth ran the score to 8-5. The O’s would add two more late, and ended up falling, 8-7.

Obviously this wasn’t a blowout loss by any means. The Orioles were in it until the end. However it does show how the O’s have no room for error. Opponents aren’t in the business of letting them off the hook. Oriole mistakes are coming back to haunt them tenfold in games. The message? Tighten it up.

The O’s will try to salvage one game in this series and on the road trip in the series finale this afternoon at Progressive Field. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Eli Morgan. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Cleveland feeling it against the Birds

Matt Harvey struggled in Cleveland for the Baltimore Orioles last night. There was plenty of blame to spread around, however everything begins and ends with starting pitching. But Harvey’s numbers probably look worse than how he actually pitched, because as I said there was plenty of blame to spread around. Harvey’s line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R (5 earned), 2 BB, 2 K.

Stevie Wilkerson committed an error in the first inning, causing Harvey to throw more pitches and elongating the inning. That runner would score on Bradley’s run-scoring single. However in the second the Birds would tie the game on MIkel Franco’s RBI-double.

Cleveland would take the lead back in the fourth on an RBI-single by Clement. However Clement would end up at third on a throwing error by Cedric Mullins. Cleveland would proceed to put to four more runs on the board in the inning, taking a 6-1 lead. Trey Mancini’s RBI-single in the fifth and Bradley’s seventh inning homer would round out Cleveland’s 7-2 victory.

One could ask which comes first – the chicken or the egg. Is Harvey more to blame for putting the ball in play, or the defense behind him for the errors once the ball was in play? While yes it begins and ends with starting pitching, we tend to put too much emphasis on that when things go south. Manager Brandon Hyde seemed to look more to the defense behind Harvey after the game:

I thought Matt threw the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball in a long time, probably since the first month for me stuff-wise. I know the velo wasn’t quite as high, but I thought he pitched better. I liked his slider, I thought he threw some good changeups to left-handers. But when you have to get four outs an inning, it makes it really, really challenging.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The series continues tonight at Progressive Field. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Aaron Civale. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles on the wrong side of bizarre events

Dean Kremer had a good outing in his return to the majors with the Baltimore Orioles. He was called up to make the start last night in Cleveland. First off, he had to wait an additional hour due to a rain delay. But some odd circumstances worked against Kremer, and the O’s. Kremer’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 earned), 0 BB, 2 K.

Kremer gave up a leadoff single in the first, and then Rosario appeared to foul a pitch off. However upon further review it appeared that the ball hit Rosario as opposed to the bat. So the umpires awarded him first base after an instant replay review, giving Cleveland runners at first and second with nobody out.

However this set off manager Brandon Hyde, who argued that Rosario had swung on the pitch. And it was a legitimate beef. After the game Hyde said he was just asking the umpire to ask for help, which apparently didn’t happen:

I was arguing the check swing. Understand that ball hit him in the finger but wanted to see if they’d ask for help. First base umpire said he didn’t go on the swing and threw me out for telling him he missed it.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Kremer allowed both runners to move into scoring position on a wild pitch, and then induced Ramirez to pop a pitch up into left field. it appeared to be a routine play, which perhaps would have ended up as a sac fly. However remember that rain delay from before? Yeah, about that…

DJ Stewart slipped on wet grass trying to get to the ball, allowing it to fall for an RBI-single. One could argue that it would have been a sac fly anyways, but that‘s a tough break. Cleveland would plate two more runs in the inning, one on a sac fly and the other on an RBI-single.

The good news is that Kremer settled down after that first inning. And he ended up pitching a decent outing, albeit in a losing effort. DJ Stewart would get the O’s on the board in the fourth with an RBI-groundout, which was followed by another RBI-groundout by Freddy Galvis. The teams would also trade runs in the sixth and seventh, with the Orioles’ coming on an RBI-single by Maikel Franco.

Whether or not the series of events in the first inning hurt Kremer or not is another story. But they were still a bizarre series of events. But that‘s baseball. In the words of Gilda Radner (as her great character, Rosanne Rosanadanna), “if it’s not one thing, it’s another thing!”

The series continues tonight at Progressive Field. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Did Brandon Hyde out-think himself?

Bruce Zimmermann came within an out of a quality start for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon. Not that it really mattered, because Zimmermann isn’t getting the run support he needs to win games. He’s pitching a decent season to this point, it just isn’t reflected in the won/loss column. Zimmermann’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

The O’s actually had the lead in this one. Pat Valaika’s RBI-single in the second inning gave them a 1-0 lead. They led Friday night and today, but never yesterday. Nevertheless, they still lost all three games. And Tampa would even things up in the third on the way to victory with an RBI-single by Diaz.

Tampa took the lead in the fourth on a two-RBI single by Walls. The worst part? It was a rally that started in typical Tampa fashion; that being quirky. Lowe got on with an infield single to lead off the inning. The Orioles shifted to the left, leaving the left field line unoccupied. Lowe smacked a swinging bunt which bounced foul and then bounced back fair before the bag.

But Tampa doesn’t care that they’re hitting the ball well or making it look good while doing it. They care about getting guys on base. So that quirky single against the shift was as good as a squared up line drive that smacks off the wall to them.

And on that note Brandon Hyde may have inadvertently helped them out. With runners at first and second in the seventh, Tampa sent Meadows up as a pinch hitter. Hyde opted to put him on, and he was followed by Arozarena. There was one out, and Arozarena had been scuffling. So Hyde was hoping for a ground ball double-play.

But almost predictably, Arozarena broke out of his slump, and sent a deep drive that ever-so-barely made it over the fence in right field, for a grand slam. That have Tampa a 7-1 lead. And that was the final.

I wouldn’t have walked Meadows. First off when you match up like that, usually Tampa’s ready for you. However Hyde did that with third base open. Usually managers only do it with first base open. That makes a difference.

But even still, Tampa’s a team that thrives off of getting guys on base. Why give them an extra base runner? They almost shamelessly take whatever they can get, however they can get it. You could almost see that grand slam coming a mile away.

The Orioles now head for Cleveland to open a four-game set at Progressive Field. The Birds have yet to name a starter, but whomever he is he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Francisco Mejia. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: You have to cross your T’s

Jorge Lopez went to the mound this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles in Tampa. The damage was done, but the Birds made a point of getting him out before he went through the order three times. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 8 K.

The eight strikeouts are a nice touch for sure. However that also shows that like the Oriole pitchers we saw last night, Lopez was living in the middle of the plate. That’ll get you some strikeouts if you’re good. But it’ll also get guys on base. And that’s how Tampa flies.

Lopez gave up a base hit and a walk today start off the game. Wendle came up with two outs and runners at the corners, and the Orioles applied the shift (leaving the left side of the infield open). What does Wendle do? Send an RBI-double to left fielder, and Tampa had a 1-0 lead.

Margot and Keirmaier would add infield RBI-singles, giving Tampa a 3-0 lead after one. Incidentally, Margot’s single was basically a swinging bunt. Kiermaier’s was a broken bat hit in the infield. Tampa never squared anything up in the inning, and netted three runs. Lowe would add a two-RBI double in the last of the fourth, putting Tampa ahead 5-0.

However all wasn’t lost for the Orioles. Not at that point at least. The Birds loaded the bases in the fifth, bringing Austin Wynns to the plate. And Wynns answered the call, smacking his first career grand slam. That put the Orioles right back into the game.

Luckily the Birds shut Tampa down from that point on, despite their inventive ways of getting on base. But as I’ve said previously, Tampa’s hitting doesn’t just wear out your pitching. Their pitching wears down your hitters as well. And they shut the O’s down for the remainder of the game, winning it 5-4.

You really have to cross your T’s and dot your I’s when you play this Tampa Rays team. They just find a way. You put on a shift? No problem, they’ll just hit it where your third baseman used to be. Shattered bat? Again, no problem. They’ll just let out an infield single.

The Orioles of course value the long ball. However Tampa values base runners. And things usually happen when they put runners on base. The defense commits an error, they hit against the shift, etc. They just find a way. So again, you have to cross your T’s and cross your I’s against them. And thus far the Orioles haven’t.

The series concludes tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Bruce Zimmermann gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Stay out of the middle of the plate

The Baltimore Orioles turned to Keegan Akin in game one of their series in Tampa this evening. The hope was that Akin could get deep into the game, sparing the Birds’ bullpen for an additional day coming out of an off day. But while Akin didn’t go deep, he did leave the O’s in a spot to win the game. Akin’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

I use that phrase a lot – put the team in a spot to win. And in reality that’s the goal of any starting pitcher. Akin easily could have gone deeper into the game, but the O’s opted to match up instead. However if as a starter when you leave the game the team is in a spot to win the game, you’ve done your job. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

The Orioles finally took a 2-0 lead inning when Trey Mancini smacked a two-run homer in the last of the third. And that’s rare for the Orioles. To take the lead against and at Tampa. Usually it’s the other way around. But on this night, the O’s got on the board first.

But that was the extent of the good vibes the O’s had. Margot cut the lead in half at 2-1 on m the last of the third when he grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. That should have put the Orioles on notice as to protecting the lead.

Lowe gave Tampa the lead at 3-2 in the fourth with a two-run homer. Margot‘s seventh inning RBI-single would give them a 4-2 lead. And that lead turned into a 4-2 victory. The O’s pitched well enough to win. This not only in theory – but also in practice.

The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Firld. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Rich Hill. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Can’t live in the middle of the plate

The Baltimore Orioles had the tables turned on them a bit tonight as they fell in blowout fashion to the New York Mets. Orioles’ starter (and former Met) Matt Harvey was ineffective once again as he pitched against his former team. But New York was on a mission tonight, and nothing the O’s threw at them was going to change that. Harvey’s line: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Alonso smacked a two-run homer off of Harvey in the first inning. This however after Cedric Mullins made yet another diving catch in center field. He’s single-handedly playing his way onto the all-star team. And incidentally, he deserves to be a starter.

Ryan Mountcastle stayed hot for the O’s, smacking an RBI-single in the last of the first. However that’s as close as the Orioles would come. New York would put two runs on the board in the third, and then break the game wide open on a three-run homer by Pillar. Mind you, over a great number of years when he was with Toronto, Pillar went to town with Orioles’ pitching. And tonight he picked up right where he left off while playing in the AL East.

New York would also get a solo shot from McKinney in the fifth, and a second homer by Pillar (this of the solo variety. Alonso would add an RBI-double in the ninth, but New York would also close out their scoring at 14 runs, the remainder of which come on homers.

Whether it was Matt Harvey or anyone else who came in, Oriole pitchers lived in the middle of the plate tonight. Look no further than Harvey’s stat line; one walk and two strikeouts. Certainly New York recorded their share of outs hitting to contact, however Oriole pitching didn’t do themselves any favors by pitching-to-contact.

The Orioles will enjoy an off day tomorrow while heading to Tampa to open a three-game set in Bethany Beach, DE.


Baltimore Orioles: Gravy train keeps on chugging

This time around, the Baltimore Orioles weren’t asking tBruce Zimmermann to be a stopper tonight against the New York Mets. In fact, they were asking him to be a “continuer” in a certain sense, as they came in after winning on Sunday. And Zimmmermann did his job, keeping the gravy train running. Zimmerman’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Zimmermann gave up a first inning two-run homer to Alonso. And that was the nudge the O’s needed, as the rest of the evening was perfumed by orange & black. The Orioles promptly tied the game in the second on Pat Valaika’s two-RBI double. Cedric Mullins would stay hot, with an RBI-double later in the inning which gave the O’s the lead at 3-2.

And the Birds didn’t really look back. Valaika would bet another RBI-double in the third, running the score to 4-2. you really have to tip your cap to Valaika, who’s fresh off the bereavement list. He was hot when he left the team. And he stayed hot tonight now that he’s back. That, along with almost everything else that happened tonight, bodes very well for the Orioles.

The O’s would extend their lead in the fourth with an RBI-single by Trey Mancini. One inning later Maikel Franco would become only the sixth player in the history of Camden Yards to hit a homer into the second deck. The best part from the Orioles’ perspective? It was a homer of the three-run variety. It blew the game wide open, with the Orioles leading 8-2.

Ryan Mountcastle, last week’s AL Player of the Week, would stay hot also, with an RBI-single in the last of the sixth. Anthony Santander would also smack a solo homer in the last of the eighth, which ran the score to 10-2. Alonzo would smack a solo shot for New York in the ninth, rounding out a 10-3 Orioles’ win.

Oriole bats have heated up suddenly as we’ve gotten into June. The weather may play a role, or not. But either way they’re heating up, and that’s a good sign. As is a second consecutive blowout win, along with the fact that they’re adding on insurance runs as needed.

For what it’s worth, this was game number sixty for the Orioles. They stand at 22-38 after tonight’s win. Last year they were 25-35, in a sixty game season. So had they won three games during that 14-game losing streak, they’d be right on par with last season (as it stands now they aren’t far off). I’d say the big league team is slowly improving.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Matt Harvey gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Tarikuan Walker. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: The day Cedric Mullins started a rout

One might say that starter Jorge Lopez put the Baltimore Orioles in a position to win today in the series finale at Camden Yards. Granted it wouldn’t have taken much today. But he did his job. Lopez’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Cedric Mullins had a lengthy at-bat to lead things off. And it culminated in a solo homer to give the Birds a 1-0 lead. Little did anyone know what Mullins had put in motion with that homer.

Both Austin Wynns and Mullins again would add RBI-singles in the second; Wynns’ came with the bases loaded. Later in the inning Trey Mancini would plat two runs on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error on the Cleveland pitcher, and Anthony Santander would add a two-run double. Cleveland trailed 7-0 after the second inning.

But they’d get an RBI-double from Bradley in the third to get on the board. However that didn’t hamper the day the Orioles were having. Ryan Mountcastle and DJ Stewart would add RBI-singles in the last of the third ran the score to 9-1. And both of those were infield singles, where the Orioles hustled and the Cleveland infield couldn’t really get it’s act together.

Before the fourth inning ended the Birds would also get a two-RBI single from Maikel Franco, and an additional RBI-single from Ramon Urias. Not to mention another diving catch by Cedric Mullins in center to save a run on defense. Not that it would have mattered – but playing hard when the stakes are low shows character. Cleveland would get two back in the fifth on a two-run homer by Rosario – which ended Lopez’s day, although he pitched deep enough to get the win.

This isn’t to say that the O’s are turning a corner, but this was the Birds’ second consecutive home series win in as many series’. Needless to say it’s a “step” for a team that started out as poorly at home as the Orioles did.

It also shows how the pendulum can swing in a 162-game baseball season. You go through a 14-game losing streak, and then suddenly you get it together, win a couple of series’, and as was the case today, get a game where everything just kind of falls for you.

There were a lot of hero’s in this game, but none more than Cedric Mullins. For the second consecutive game, he reached base on all but one at-bat (3-for-4 with two walks). Mullins of course also got the rout going with that solo homer in the first in the first inning today.

The O’s would also add five “insurance runs” in the last of the seventh; after loading the bases, they got RBI-singles from Santander, Galvis, Mountcastle, and McKenna. Not to mention an additional solo homer by Ramon Urias. Cleveland would smack a two-run homer in the ninth also, rounding the game out nicely at an 18-5 Orioles’ victory.


Baltimore Orioles lose game, possibly John Means

John Means’ start didn’t quite go according to plan for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon against Cleveland. He gave up two solo homers in the first inning. After the second one, he showed signs of discomfort. The trainers came out to check on Means, who ended up leaving the game. More on that later. Means’ line: .2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

That of course HUGELY taxed the Orioles’ bullpen, but those are the breaks. The Birds came back in the last of the first and cut the lead in half on an RBI-single by Freddy Galvis. But Cleveland was given a huge advantage with Means leaving, and they took advantage. Third inning RBI-singles by Ramirez and Rosario would run the score to 4-1. Those two would later score on a three-run homer by Chang.

Cedric Mullins was one of the bright spots for the O’s. He went five-for-five on the afternoon, and smacked a solo homer in the last of the third to bring the O’s back to within 7-2. Cleveland would score again in the fifth on a passed ball, bringing Mullins to the plate again in the last of the fifth. And he launched A SECOND solo homer over the wall, cutting the lead to 8-3.

Cleveland would put two additional runs on the board later in the game, and the Orioles would also get a solo homer from Ryan Mountcastle. This is the first time in Mountcastle’s young career that he’s homered in three consecutive games. Needless to say, the ball was flying today.

The bigger concern of course is John Means. After the second homer he showed signs of discomfort. This after a circle changeup, which shouldn’t happen. Losing today isn’t a huge deal – it’s almost par for the course. Losing Means for any period of time would be tough.

Officially the Orioles said that Means had shoulder fatigue. But who knows what that means. If there’s a silver lining it would be that the Birds have off days on Monday and Thursday of this week. So they could feasibly skip Means on the rotation if need be, and put him on the IL retroactive to tomorrow. All of that remains to be seen.

The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards. (On a side note, tomorrow’s game will be the last ever in history in which the Cleveland Indians will appear in Baltimore, as the franchise is retiring the nickname after the season.) Jorge Lopez gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Cal Quantril. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Harvey with 18.1 consecutive scoreless innings

Matt Harvey had been stellar for the Baltimore Orioles in the second half thus far. Coming into tonight’s game, he had thrown 12 consecutive scoreless innings. And that trend continued. Harvey’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Harvey was in cruise control for the most part. He seemed to be able to record outs at will, and put the ball wherever he wanted it to be. And that’s consistent with how he pitched in his other two starts in the second half. This contrasted with his 7+ runs ERA in the first half. It’s like he’s a different pitcher.

Pedro Severino’s solo homer in the third inning got the Orioles on the board. Ryan Mountcastle would add a solo shot in the fourth, to run it to 2-0. One inning later in the fifth, Severino would come up again. And his second solo shot of the game gave the O’s a 3-0 lead.

They would also add what appeared to be an insurance run m the sixth, on Ramon Urias’ RBI-single. However the issue is that’s all the O’s got that inning. And the inability to pile a couple more runs on after that could have affected the outcome of the game.

And that might be because Tanner Scott uncorked a wild pitch in the eighth which scored a run. Detroit would proceed to load the bases, and Cabrera’s sac fly-RBI cut the Birds’ lead to 4-2.

The lead was cut further in the last of the eighth to 4-3 when Scott uncorked another wild pitch. However he got out of the inning. And it’s to the Orioles’ credit that they were able to get away with the win.

What Matt Harvey’s done thus far in the second half is nothing short of miraculous. He looked so bad in the first half, but thus far it’s really come together In the spender. Harvey’s a guy who worked tirelessly at his craft. And his performance thus far in this game and the entire second half has been nothing short of a miracle.

The series continues tomorrow at Comerica Park. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Matt Manning. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.