Baltimore Orioles haunted by unearned runs

This entire season has been one where the Baltimore Orioles have had little margin for error. Heck even when everything goes perfectly, sometimes they still can’t get things right. But mistakes lead to unearned runs, which add up.

David Hess pitched four solid innings this afternoon in the finale with Colorado at Coors Field. Hess’ line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R (4 earned), 1 BB, 6 K. The Birds even spotted him a run, on Austin Wynns‘ sac bunt in the second inning. A run scored on an errant throw, and the Orioles led 1-0.

As I said, Hess pitched four solid innings. The fifth inning he started to have a few struggles. Hess’ pitch count wasn’t elevated, however the light air in Denver can tire people out quicker. One way or the other, Colorado figures him out in that sixth inning. Marquez, Hess’ pitcher counterpart, drove in a run on a squeeze bunt. Hess made an errant throw home, and the game was tied.

Hess worked out of the inning, however he had already shown his vulnerability. Arenado smacked yet another homer against Oriole pitching in the next inning, this of the two-run variety. Colorado led 3-1. That lead extended to 5-1 when Marquez smacked a two-RBI triple. Pitching against the opposing pitcher is generally thought of as easy. Apparently not for David Hess.

However the Birds battled back. Jonathan Villar smacked an RBI-single in the seventh, which was followed by a sac fly-RBI later in the inning by Dwight Smith Jr. Renato Nunez‘s RBI-single brought the O’s to within one at 5-4, however Murphy’s run scoring-single in the bottom of the seventh extended the Colorado lead back to two at 6-4.

But again, the Orioles battled back once again. Keon Broxton, who made quite an impression in his first weekend with the Orioles, smacked an RBI-double in the eighth, followed by Trey Mancini‘s two-RBI triple. But Colorado got to bat last in the ninth, and Desmond walked in the tying run. Wolters’ sac fly-RBI then gave Colorado an 8-7 walk off victory against the O’s.

I mentioned Hess’ errant throw in the fourth inning which allowed a run. On the aforementioned Murphy run scoring-single, the run scored because of an errant throw by Renato Nunez. These two mistakes both led to runs. And given that the Orioles lost by two, that kind of stands out.

But it’s never just one or two things. Oriole pitchers were also afraid to throw fastballs in the strike zone. They tried to pound the inside corners with sliders, which led to a bases-loaded situation. Colorado hitters got very patient in the ninth inning, and it cost the Orioles the game.

The Birds now come home for a quick turnaround game tomorrow afternoon on Memorial Day against Detroit at Camden Yards. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Daniel Norris. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles snap seven-game losing streak in Colorado

The Baltimore Orioles snapped a seven-game losing streak with their victory last night against Colorado at Coors Field. Andrew Cashner ironically has had better stat lines. But in losing efforts. Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Renato Núñez and Jonathan Villar put the Birds on the board in the first inning with RBI-singles. Colorado would get on the board also in the first with an RBI-double from Arenado. But in the third Núñez would smack a solo homer to give the Birds a 3-1 lead. It was Nunez’s fourth homer in as many games.

However Colorado uses the dimensions of it.’a home park to it.’a advantage. And they also have the benefit of having a slugger like Arenado. The ball flies out of Coors Field, and fast – none quicker than Arenado’s three-run shot in the last of the third. This gave Colorado a brief lead at 4-3.

But the Orioles came right back. Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single In the fourth inning tied the game at four. That brought Villar back to the plate, and he promptly deposited the Orioles into the driver’s seat for the rest of the game with a three-run homer. And the Birds took a 7-4 lead.

Colorado would pull to within one later in the game, but that would be too little too late. Stevie Wilkerson and Dwight Smith Jr. would add RBI-singles in the seventh which acted as insurance runs. And the O’s snapped a seven-game losing steak in style, with a 9-6 win at Coors Field.

The issue going into the series finale of course still remains the Birds’ propensity to give up the long ball, and Coors Field’s apparent ability to surrender them. If they can find a way to keep the ball in the ballpark for this afternoon’s series finale, they’ll have a golden opportunity to win the series.

The series concludes tomorrow at Coors Field in Denver. David Hess gets the fall for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Colorado’s German Marquez. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall on walk off homer

John Means started for the Baltimore Orioles at Coors Field last night, and turned in his normal great effort. He didn’t last as long in the game as he has in previous starts, but Coors Field can do that to a pitcher who’s. It used to pitching there. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

The O’s trailed early in the game as Arenado smacked a solo homer in the last of the first. But they got back on track quickly. Newly acquired center fielder Keon Broxton got the O’s on the board in the second. In fact, he gave them the lead. He smacked a two-run homer and the Birds led 2-1.

Normally players don’t come to the Orioles and immediately pay dividends like that. In fact, usually it’s the opposite. The fact that Broxton came in and immediately made an impact is a good sign for the O’s.

Later in that second inning Pedro Severino smacked an RBI-double which extended the Orioles’ lead to 3-1. One inning later Dwight Smith Jr’s solo homer made it 4-1. These home runs are good signs for the O’s for sure. However one does have to take into account that this game was played in Coors Field in Denver. Camden Yards is a hitters park which surrenders a lot of homers. Coors Field is even more so. With the air in Denver being so thin, the ball can really sail.

Jonathan Villar‘s fourth inning RBI-double ran the lead to 5-1. However in a park like Coors Field, no lead is truly safe. Colorado started to fight back. They netted two runs off of an RBI-single and an RBI-double in the last of the fourth. While the O’s also produced an additional home run (from Núñez) in the seventh, it wouldn’t be enough.

Colorado would tie the game at six in the last of the seventh with two home runs. The game looked destined for extra innings. However as we know, the home team hits last. Story’s homer in the last of the ninth walked Colorado off winners, and the Orioles fell 7-6.

The series continues this evening at Coors Field. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Colorado’s Kyle Freeland. Game time is set for just after 9 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Hoodwinked Part II?

The Baltimore Orioles didn’t roll over for NY in this afternoon’s series finale. It looked like they might have at first, but they got their act together behind Dylan Bundy‘s effort, which put the Birds in a spot to win the game. Bundy’s line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Richie Martin gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second when he grounded into a force out allowing a run to score. NY would strike back on a solo homer by Frazier in the fifth. That tied the game at one, however one inning later New York would take a 3-1 lead on a two-RBI single by Urshela, which chased Bundy.

Romine’s seventh inning RBI-single and Voit’s eight inning homer put New York ahead 5-1. Things didn’t look so good for the O’s, however they got on the board again in the last of the eighth on an RBI-single by Trey Mancini. The O’s proceeded to put two more runners on base, bringing Renato Nunez to the plate…

…and Nunez didn’t disappoint. He smacked a three-run homer, tying the game up at five. This was exactly the type of spark for which the O’s had been looking for some time. It was late-game heroics, and perhaps a precursor to Orioles Magic, at it’s best. The O’s were in business…or where they?

Mychal Givens came in to pitch the ninth, and recorded two quick outs. Things appeared to be setting up nicely perhaps for a walk off Oriole win. Then NY pinch hit Torres, who had done so much damage to the Orioles already. The good news was that they kept him in the ballpark. The bad news was that he walked.

That walk set up a sequence that involved New York loading the bases, and Hicks walking in the go-ahead and eventual winning run. Givens all but came unglued in a sense with the game on the line. At least that’s how it looked on paper.

The 2-2 pitch to Torres was borderline at best. In saying that I mean that it appeared to be strike three. Givens was already walking back to the dugout, expecting ol’ blue to ring Torres up. I think even Torres thought it was strike three. But the only guy at Camden Yards who thought it was ball three was home plate umpire Jim Reynolds. There wasn’t one person at Oriole Park at Camden Yards who wasn’t shocked when Reynolds called ball three.

Obviously it’s easy to suggest that Givens has to have better control than that. But he also did everything except strike Torres out. In reality, he did strike him out in his mind. And that’s exactly the type of thing which can throw a pitcher for a loop in a game.

As I’ve said before, it’s unfair to blame one call made by one umpire on a loss. But that was fairly glaring to anyone who saw it. Generally pitchers try not to engage umpires when they leave the field, but when the inning finally ended Givens walked off the mound while giving a long, cold, and calculating stare to Reynolds. Almost a threatening stare. And one can’t really blame him.

The O’s now head back out on the road for a three-game series and road trip to Coors Field to take on Colorado. John Means gets the call for the Birds, and Colorado is yet to decide on it’s starter. Game time is set for just after 8:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Did the Birds get hoodwinked on a rule?

First off, the Baltimore Orioles gave up four home runs last night to New York. It’s tough to argue that you lost because of a bad call in a situation like that. However there was a play at the plate of involving the O’s in the last of the fifth, and the runner was called out. The Birds challenged, and the call was upheld. But was that the correct call?

Dan Straily struggled once again, although this time he struggled against a lineup that’s taking right now. New York was raking when they came into the series, and it.’a continued. Straily’s line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

New York smacked two separate two/m-run homers in the second inning, putting the Birds in an early 4-0 hole. Torres also smacked his ninth homer against the Orioles this year in the third, running the score to 5-0. Only two of Torres’ homers this year have come against a team other than the Orioles. The way he hits Orioles’ pitching is uncanny.

Hanser Alberto would get the Orioles on the board in the last of the third with an RBI-double. However NY would come back an inning later with another home run, this time by Sanchez. Not to mention Torres’ tenth homer against the O’s later in the game.

However the Birds would start a rally in the last of the fourth when Joey Rickard reached on a fielder’s choice. However New York fumbled the ball around the infield, allowing a run to score. One inning later, Richie Martin‘s solo homer cut the lead to 7-3. Later in the inning Renato Nunez smacked a two-run shot, and the O’s were within two at 7-5.

However it was the end of that fifth inning that leaves me with questions. Joey Rickard doubled, and Pedro Severino was sent home to try to score – from first base. It was always going to be a close play, and I do question the decision to send him. Better to continue the inning with two runners in scoring position (and two outs) than have the runner cut down at the plate, abruptly ending the inning and cooling a rally. No need to take an unnecessary risk.

But they sent Severino. He was thrown out at home plate. But the question is whether or. It NY catcher Sánchez blocked the plate. The Orioles challenged the play, and it was upheld under review. End of story, right?

Again, when you surrender four home runs it’s tough to look at one call and say that played a role. Similarly, when you went 2-for-8 with RISP it’s tough to point at one call or one play and say that played a role in the loss. But…did the Birds suffer an incorrect call on that play?

MLB rule 7.13 clearly states that a catcher may block the plate only if he has the ball. Sanchez clearly blocked the plate, and he did have the ball – eventually. But there was about one second as Severino was coming in where he was also blocking the plate while waiting to receive the ball. In accordance with the rule and how it’s written, the Orioles has a very legitimate case.

And keep in mind, if that’s called correctly the Birds would have trailed by one and the fifth inning would have still be going on. Instead they trailed by two, and the inning was over. You never know how things would have turned out – certainly it’s possible that New York could have extended their lead had things been different. We just don’t know.

My personal view is that the umpires blew that call. Again, a million things happen in games that can sway them – it would be wrong to say that specific thing led to the Orioles losing. Unequivocally, that would be an inaccurate statement. But if we’re talking about the rules as they’re written, the Orioles were seemingly legislated out of a further rally with that call being blown.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Masahiro Tanaka. Game time is set for just after 12:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: New York goes bombs away at Camden Yards

As I’ve said often, it all begins and ends with starting pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. Tonight they didn’t get a very good start out of David Hess. Before the crowd had even settled in, two runners were on and Hess had given up a three-run home run to Sanchez. Hess’ line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

Regardless of what Hess or subsequent pitchers threw out there, New York hitters found a way to put it in play, often resulting in runs. The third inning brought an RBI-double by Urshela, and a two-run homer by Frazier. When the smoke had cleared, NY had doubled their lead.

New York would put three additional runs on the board in the fifth, and the rout appears to be on. However the Birds did try to pick their way back into the game. They ultimately failed at that, but point being that they didn’t get shut out!

Stevie Wilkerson‘s three-run homer in the last of the fifth cut the lead to 9-3. However an RBI-groundout and an RBI-single would give NY an 11-3 lead. The O’s would put one additional run across in the last of the sixth, to round out an 11-4 loss.

The frustrating thing from the Orioles’ perspective is that New York shouldn’t be as good as they are right now. All of their star players are on the IL. Yet the guys who have taken their place are playing at the same frantic pace. They’re still slugging home runs, and when they play the Orioles they’re slugging them at a frantic pace.

And on that note I would say this; both the Orioles and New York have hungry players. Guys who recognize that they have an opportunity to play, and who are trying to do everything in their power to take advantage of that. First off however, NY’s “hungry players” are ahead of those of the Orioles.

As a result, the Orioles’ “hunger” manifests itself in errors of aggression. Guys want to make a play so badly that they’re actually making mistakes. NY’s hunger manifests itself in tape measure home runs and solid defense. And that’s proving to be the difference when looking at these two teams.

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

Baltimore Orioles: Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory

The Baltimore Orioles had New York on the ropes last night. The Birds, behind starter Andrew Cashner, dominated New York’s lineup in all phases of the game last night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But often, losses are about the plays you fail to make as much as they are about the plays that are made by the opponent. The Orioles failed to hit the cut off man on various occasions last night, allowing NY runners to take extra bases. Those runners would eventually score. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Trey Mancini smacked an RBI-double, and Pedro Severino an RBI-single in the first inning to give the O’s a 2-0 lead. NY would cut that lead to 2-1 an inning later on a solo homer by Torres, who can’t seem NOT to homer against the Orioles. That was his ninth homer of the inning year, with seven of them having been against the Birds. It’s uncanny.

But the O’s kept the pressure on. Hanser Alberto and Renato Nunez smacked solo homers in the third, extending the lead to 4-1. Alberto and Dwight Smith Jr would also add RBI-singles in the fourth. The game appeared well in hand at 6-1. However New York chipped away. And as I said, the O’s allowed multiple runners to take extra bases. That came back to haunt them.

New York netted two runs in the sixth, cutting the lead to 6-3. However you still felt that the O’s were in command of the game. Especially after Mancini added an additional run on a sac fly-RBI in the bottom of that inning. However as I said, New York chipped away, and took advantage of Oriole mistakes. And I’m not talking errors, but as I am said above – things such as not hitting the cut off man. Torres also smacked his second homer of the game in the eighth, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 7-6.

Pedro Severino allowed a foul pop which appeared catchable to fall in the ninth, keeping an at-bat alive. The ball appeared to sail on Severino; at first it looked like it was going to fall near the screen. But it had a lot of English on it, and it came back towards the field – falling near home plate. However that’a another Oriole mistake that haunted the Orioles, and of which New York took advantage. Hicks tied the game with a sac fly-RBI, and Sanchez followed that up with a three-run homer. New York won the game 10-7.

Games like this are part of the rebuilding process. However it’s pretty incriminating to lose a game in which you were winning 6-1. But again, little things such as letting teams take extra bases and not catching a pop up will just eat you alive. The O’s took advantage of multiple New York mistakes to build that lead also – which is promising. But when you give a team like NY (who’s seemingly getting by right now squarely on confidence) extra opportunities, they’re going to take advantage.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Domingo German. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: What do division rivals have that the Birds do not?

The Baltimore Orioles welcome in the New York Yankees tonight for a four-game set at Camden Yards. Ironically that’s a longer series than normal, but it amounts to the shortest home stand of the year. Once everyone gets settled in at home, it’ll be back out on the road after Thursday’s matinee game – to Denver, for a three-game road swing before coming home again!

Everyone knows that the Orioles are rebuilding. That’s why their record overall isn’t as big of an issue as it was last year at this time. Nobody expects them to be good. Not now at least. However, they’re playing a team that had a similar moment a few years ago when they were about the rebuild. However New York not only tore down, retooled, and rebuilt in seemingly one fatal swoop, they thrived while doing it.

Heck, in 2016 when they traded for the likes of guys like Aaron Judge, they actually improved after knocking down what was in place previously. Consider that for a moment; the season was going south (by New York standards), they sold, and they actually improved. They made an outside run at the post season that year, but fell short (they fell short to the Orioles, who won the second Wild Card in the American League).

This year however, they have the biggest single excuse NOT to be good: injuries. Yet they still are. Regardless of who they plug into the lineup, he seems to produce. They signed Kendrys Morales last week, of course who’s an aging slugger. Granted he’s only had 13 plate appearances, but he’s hitting .300. This as opposed to .200 to that point with Oakland. Heck most recently, they took first place from Tampa over the weekend, in a series that featured New York with a seven-run inning in yesterday’s game. A seven-run inning from a group of guys put together with mud and spit?

Speaking of Tampa, they have something similar going on. Last year I all but scoffed at them trading literally everyone of note who had been on their team away. In doing so, they acquired what rightfully should have been single-A talent. That team of single-A talent finished with 90 wins last year, and is probably on it’s way to doing something similar this season. With guys of whom nobody’s ever heard.

So what do those teams have that the Orioles do not? I think that a certain small percentage of the fan base expected something similar to occur in Baltimore this season. That the team would show up and just blow everyone away. And for a week or so in the very beginning, they were raking in the wins. So again, what gives?

It’s well-known that the Orioles over a long period of time have made mistakes in their scouting – both of players for their own organization, and for players in other organizations. Both New York and Tampa have made it their business to know their competitors as well as they know themselves. That’s a tough thing to do. But you see the results, against of course what the Orioles’ results have been to this point.

This is not to say that the current crop of Orioles are simply a band of misfits thrown together by chance or as a matter of convenience. Most of the guys earned their roster spots in spring training. And we’ve already seen a few diamonds in the rough, such as Dwight Smith Jr., and Richie Martin.

The Orioles are just going about their rebuild differently, basically because they have to. They’re building the organization back up in a brick and mortar type of manner – similar to how the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs did a few years ago. And go figure, current Orioles’ GM Mike Elias was a part of that organization, and current manager Brandon Hyde was a part of the Chicago Cubs’ organization.

So if I were Orioles fans, I wouldn’t put too much stock in why New York or even Tampa was immediately good again, and the O’s aren’t. As I said, the organization is building up in a different manner. Neither way is right or wrong, although New York/Tampa’s way does actually yield to instant gratification. But the goal is to have sustained success as an organization, which is what the Orioles are building towards doing. If that happens in the next few years, the process will have been a success. The ends justify the means.

Baltimore Orioles unable to get the bats on track in Cleveland

John Means pitched a decent outing for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon. Or at least an outing that’a more decent than what his numbers say. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K.

Means did what a starter is supposed to do. He put the team in a good position to win the ballgame. Means struggled a bit in the fifth, which drove his pitch count up. Otherwise odds are he’d probably have gone deeper into the game. He wasn’t pitching poorly.

The O’s got on the board in the fourth inning when Trey Mancini broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. Mancini’s shot was on a line to left field. At first it looked like it wouldn’t have the gumption to get out, but it cleared the wall and the Birds had a lead.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, that lead didn’t last long. Luplow’s two-run homer in the bottom of that fourth inning gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead. It wasn’t a deep shot, but it cleared the wall so it counts.

Lindor’s RBI-single one inning late me extended Cleveland’s lead to 3-1. That ended up chasing Means after the inning, as a Cleveland wore him down. Means has probably been the Orioles’ most impressive starter this year, and this afternoon’s game in a losing effort is no exception.

What hurt the Orioles this afternoon was the silence of their bats more so than anything else. They were 0-for-1 with RISP in the game. That’s a problem on two fronts. First off they couldn’t get a hit with a runner in scoring position. However they also only had one opportunity with a runner in scoring position. Both are problems, although as games go on there are always peaks and valleys. Last night’s game was good in terms of offensive output for the Birds. Tomorrow’s could be as well.

Cleveland would get an insurance run in the eighth on a solo homer by Santana. The good news is that anytime Means or any other pitcher found himself in trouble in this game, they did a great job of minimizing the damage. But that doesn’t do much good when you can’t put runs on the board. But part of the beauty of baseball is that tomorrow is the next opportunity to win a game. However it’ll take more than one hit, which is what the Orioles has today – the Mancini homer.

The series concludes tomorrow at Progressive Field. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Shane Bieber. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Overcoming an error equals a win

The Baltimore Orioles got a good outing last night out of Dylan Bundy in Cleveland. Remember folks, it begins and ends with starting pitching. While Bundy came one out shy of a quality start last night, he did put the O’s in a spot to win. That’s all you can ask of a starting pitcher. Bundy’a line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 earned), 3 BB, 7 K.

Bundy was cruising along in this game until he had one out in the second inning. Ramirez reached base on an error by second baseman Jonathan Villar; it was a routine ground ball, which simply went between the wickets. Ramirez would then steal second, and score on Bauers’ run-scoring single. (Because of the error that’s not an RBI-single – the run was unearned.)

That’s the type of play that’s often snowballed on the Orioles this year (and last). However Bundy and the Birds buckled down and refused to allow that one mishap to define who they were in this game. And that’s kind of a big deal. First off they got out of the inning without further damage, and that ended up being the only run the Birds surrendered in the entire game. They put that error behind them and moved on.

And they weren’t trailing for long. Jonathan Villar, who committed the aforementioned error, smacked a three-run homer one inning later in the top of the third. Again, this is a good sign – and not just for the obvious. It showed that Villar himself didn’t let that one mistake define him in this game. Look at it this way; his error led to a run being surrendered. He then directly drove in three runs. That’s a net gain of two!

Stevie Wilkerson‘s solo home run in the fourth extended the Orioles’ lead to 4-1. And the game remained at that score for almost the rest of the way. Wilkerson came up again in the eighth, and smacked an RBI-single to the gap in right center. Wilkerson was later thrown out at second as he tried to advance to second base (on a play that was challenged by Cleveland). However the damage always done, and the O’s had an insurance run…

…an insurance run they in essence didn’t need, however. Oriole pitching was superb last night. And that began with Dylan Bundy. He set the tone, and the bats picked him up also. However had the O’s hung their head after that error early in the game, I suspect things would have ended quite differently.

The series continues this afternoon at Progressive Field. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Adam Plutko. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Brandon Hyde mismanaging the Oriole ‘pen?

Baltimore Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde spent a lot more time on the field tonight than he intended. By that, I mean he changed pitchers a lot, beginning with starter Dan Straily. Was Straily however lifted too early, and did that set the tone for the game? Straily’s line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

Straily gave up a solo homer in the first to Kipnis, however the Birds took the lead in the second at 2-1 on Rio Ruiz‘s two-run homer. Trey Mancini would extend the lead to 5-1 in the third, and for a moment it appeared that the Birds were going for a rout. However two RBI-singles in the third would cut that lead to 5-3 and one in the fourth would cut the Birds’ lead to 5-4.

Straily came out to pitch the fourth, however was lifted after pitching to one hitter. Hyde turned to Ynoa, who proceeded to give up a three-run homer to Kipnis – his second of the game. But more importantly, the O’s trailed. That set a certain tone for the rest of the game.

I’ve noticed about Brandon Hyde that he has a quick hook. He doesn’t leave pitchers out there under any circumstances if they’re not getting the job done. But is that the right thing? Managing a bullpen isn’t easy – I’m not going to pretend that it is. But Hyde went through four relievers tonight. Who knows how things would have gone had he not done so, but the fact is that he blows through relievers with ease. Is that wrong? Not necessarily. But it’s certainly not working out – yet.

The saving grace is that Stevie Wilkerson gave the Birds the lead back in the fifth with a two-RBI double. However Cleveland came back in the sixth. But Cleveland would tie it again in the sixth when Kipnis grounded into a run-scoring double play. Santana’s RBI-single, and Martin’s two-RBI single would turn it into a two run-inning.

And Cleveland added on from there, often on Oriole mistakes. This while Brandon Hyde continues changing pitchers. Again, is it possible that he isn’t good at managing things as such?

The answer is that I don’t know. Buck Showalter was great at managing a bullpen. But you can’t judge a young manager against someone of Showalter’s stature. However Hyde’s a rookie manager; if he is mismanaging the bullpen, it’s probably out of lack of experience. This isn’t to say that Cleveland and their 14 runs tonight was the direct result of poor managing overall. It’s a thankless job in a sense. And there’s no magic bullet for managing the ‘pen.

So is it fair of me to ask questions? Absolutely. Is it fair to say that things need to improve? For sure. But for the record, many other things occurred in this game. And sometimes you just have to tip your cap. If part of the issue in some losses is Hyde and his bullpen management, there’s every chance that will improve in time. You have to give people a chance to grow into their roles.

The series continues tomorrow night at Progressive Field. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Jeffry Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Andrew Cashner fall in pitcher’s duel

Andrew Cashner did exactly what he was supposed to do tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. He put the Birds in a great position to win, and to split a doubleheader with New York. Only problem was that New York’s starter German pitched an equally good start. And Oriole bates just couldn’t get what they needed in the way of a clutch hit. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Cashner of course is credited with a quality start. However both he and the Orioles would trade that for a victory. However to the victors go the spoils.

Voit’s RBI-double in the third inning gave New York a 1-0 lead. One inning later the Orioles’ bugaboo reared it’s ugly head: the home run ball. And after hitting two homers in the first game this afternoon, it was once again Torres (with a solo shot).

The Orioles did threaten in the fifth, and got on the board on a sac fly-RBI by Hanser Alberto. That fifth inning was shaping up nicely for the Birds, and it could have been even bigger. However Pedro Severino took a called third strike that should have been ball four.

That didn’t end the inning, but it changed the momentum of the inning. Replays backed up the fact that the ball was way outside. However that one blown call turned the inning, and allowed New York to reign itself in. Voit would add an additional RBI-single in the last of the seventh, and New York took the night cap as well from the Orioles by the score of 3-1.

The O’s will be happy to get out of NYC, where they sat through a lengthy rain delay on Monday, had another rainout on Tuesday, and then dropped both ends of a doubleheader today. They probably feel that it’s time to move on. Next stop: Cleveland.

The Birds will open a four-game set with the Tribe tomorrow evening at Progressive Field. Dan Straily gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, David Hess bitten by the long ball

The Baltimore Orioles dropped the first leg of a twin bill at Yankee Stadium this afternoon. David Hess got the start, and with mixed results. Hess pitched a solid enough six innings, and within that six he pitched a few 1-2-3 innings. However he was hurt by the long ball. Hess’ Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Hess gave up four homers on the afternoon. That’s not going to be conducive to winning a game. The good news however was that the Birds’ offense kept up. For the most part.

The Orioles actually had a lead in this game – a couple of times. Trey Mancini smacked a two-out solo home run in the first inning. The put the Orioles on the board, and set the tone for the game. Sanchez would tie the game in the last of the first with a solo home run of his own.

However an inning later Austin Wynns smacked an RBI-double, and the O’s had the lead back at 2-1. However the story of this game was New York’s homers off of Hess. Torres sent a solo shot over the wall in the last of the second, followed by Maybin’s solo homer. At which point NY led the Orioles 3-2.

Eduardo Nunez briefly tied the game in the fourth with a solo homer of his own, but Torres still had to come to bat again in the bottom of that fourth inning. He smacked a two-run homer, which gave New York the lead back at 4-3. Later in the inning they were able to score in a non-homer manner, on an RBI-single by Tauchman.

The good news for the O’s is that they kept New York off the board for the remainder of the game. Hess took over the major league lead in number of home runs surrendered in this game. Not exactly the list on which you want to be the leader. However other than the homers, Hess actually looked fairly decent. That has to be one of the takeaways from this game.

Another should also be that in pitching six innings (and with Brandon Kline pitching the sixth and seventh), Hess was able to help the Orioles save the bullpen for the second game. That’s always a concern in these doubleheaders.

Game two of this doubleheader is later this evening at Yankee Stadium. Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Domingo German. Game time is set for just after 6::30 PM. (Before the first game New York announced that the second game would start no earlier than that time; this as opposed to normally in a straight doubleheader when the second game starts 25 minutes after the completion of the first.)

Baltimore Orioles the victims of weather once again

You’re liable to see something new in baseball everyday, and in fact I saw something I had never seen before this evening with the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx. It rained in NY all day, and more rain is expected tomorrow. The New York Yankees announced that the game would start at 7:45 PM.

But that never happened; the field itself was still soaked. The managers, umpires, grounds crew, etc. got together on the field several times over the course of an hour or so. It appeared that they were actively trying to play the game, although the field conditions seemed to indicate that wasn’t possible.

The game was officially canceled at approximately 8:45 PM – one hour after they thought they’d be able to start the game. However this was just a bizarre scene; the coaches walking the field and nobody seeming to know what was going on. At various points Oriole coaches looked incredibly frustrated; almost as if they felt their hands were being tied and they were being forced to play despite the field conditions. It took a bit of time, but the right decision was eventually made.

The game will be made up on Wednesday as part of a single-admission doubleheader. This is the third time this year the O’s will have gone through that routine, however the first game will begin at 3 PM. The second one will commence approximately 25 minutes after the completion of the first one.

As of now, tomorrow’s game is expected to be played at Yankee Stadium. David Hess gets moved into tomorrow’s starting slot for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s J.A. Happ. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Chris Davis starting to return to form?

Baltimore Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis is hitting .263 in his past seven games. That might sound lackluster for a guy who led the league in homers just a few short years ago, but this is Davis about whom we’re talking – his struggles have been well-documented. Certainly Orioles’ starter John Means appreciates his effort this afternoon – especially after a two hour and 45 minute rain delay to even get the game started. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

For the record, Means is a keeper for the Orioles in the midst of this rebuild. Granted he’s still inexperienced, however speaking for myself I’m seeing something in him that’s an intangible and hard to find. He has grit, and he doesn’t give in. He’s not afraid to have the ball put in play, which is a quality Orioles fans haven’t seen in a young starter for some time. If he plays his cards right, Means could be the organization’s next great pitcher.

Chris Davis got the Birds started this afternoon with a solo homer in the second inning. Later in the inning Stevie Wilkerson followed suit, and the Birds held a 2-1 lead. The only mistake that Means made was in the third, as Trout smacked a solo homer to cut the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. However Trout is a once in a generation talent, so you all but give him a pass on that. However as I said, Means isn’t afraid to have the ball put in play. His attitude is I’m going to give you everything I have; if you beat me, you beat me.

The good news was that the Orioles as a team didn’t allow that solo home run to beat them. I put it like that because while the O’s never trailed in this game, sometimes something like that can swing a game. The Birds had the intestinal fortitude not to let that happen. They got a two-run homer from Dwight Smith Jr. in the last of the third, and a two-run shot from Pedro Severino in the sixth. This capped off a 5-1 Orioles’ win, salvaging two victories on a tough home stand.

It is noteworthy that Chris Davis is starting to get his stroke back. The fact that he fell as far as he did is still tough to explain. But somehow he seems to be coming out of that elongated slump, which lasted over several seasons. A lot least for now, it appears that’s the case.

I’m not sure that it’s feasible to think that Davis could ever be the feared hitter he was a few years ago once again. Anything’s possible, however that comment has as much to do with age as anything else. But Davis hit cleanup this afternoon for the first time in 2019, and as I said he’s trending upwards. If he can simply be a solid hitter who’s capable of hitting-for-power here and there, that would help the Birds’ offense leaps and bounds.

The O’s now head out on the road and will open a three-game set against New York in Yankee Stadium tomorrow evening. David Hess gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jonathan Loaisiga. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Did a lack of situational hitting doom the Birds?

The Baltimore Orioles fell 7-2 to Anaheim this afternoon in the middle game of a three-game set. Dylan Bundy got the start, with mixed results. One could argue that Bundy out the Birds in a spot to win early, at least before the game blew up on them in the sixth inning (after Bundy had departed). Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

The O’s found themselves down early, as Pujols smacked a two-run homer in the first inning. However the Orioles tied the game back up at two almost immediately, as Dwight Smith Jr. hit a two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the inning. And Bundy settled down a bit after that, incidentally with a nice shut down inning in the second following the Smith homer.

If you watched the game or if you look at the line score, it appears that the sixth inning won the game for Anaheim. And in fact, that was certainly the big inning. But make no mistake that the seeds of this loss for the Orioles were lain in the last of the third. Yes, while the O’s were at bat.

The Birds led the inning off with two singles, giving them two on and nobody out. Rio Ruiz came to the plate, in a situation that screamed for a bunt. Ruiz, being a lefty, could have easily dragged one down the first base line, possibly even for a base hit. But more importantly that would have put two runners in scoring position, giving the O’s a shot at taking the lead, and perhaps even at a big inning. Instead, Ruiz swung away, and ended up striking out. Anaheim would later pitch out of the inning.

The O’s let them off the hook in a sense, due to either an unwillingness or a lack of an ability to bunt. Ruiz works on his bunting everyday. It was intriguing to me to watch, because Anaheim seemed to know that the situational hitting was poor for the Orioles – the first baseman played back. Basically had Ruiz gotten a bunt down, he had a golden chance to actually reach base safely.

This is part of learning and thus part of the rebuilding process. However you have to play to the scoreboard, and the Orioles didn’t really do that in that moment. A bunt and a base hit would have given them a two-run lead. Heck, a bunt and a sac fly would have given them a one-run lead. So…why swing away?

Without fail, Anaheim held the Orioles accountable almost immediately for the O’s not holding them (Anaheim) accountable. Pujols smacked a second homer, this one a solo shot. That gave them the lead, which they never surrendered. They went onto put up three in the sixth, and one more in the ninth.

You have to hold teams accountable for their mistakes. Because other teams are certainly holding the Orioles accountable. There’s no guarantee that runs would have scored back in the third had Rio Ruiz bunted. The ends could have very well been the same. But you have to think ahead in the game and ask yourself if you’ll ever have this opportunity again in the game. And for the Orioles at least, that generally isn’t happening. If they utilized situational hitting better, they’d have a better record than they do.

The series with Anaheim and the home stand conclude tomorrow at Camden Yards. John Means gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Griffin Canning Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Fifth inning sinks the Birds

The Baltimore Orioles were unable to stay out of the big inning last night. They were already trailing the Anaheim Angels, but the fifth inning chased starter Dan Straily, and cemented Anaheim’s spot in the driver’s seat in this game. Straily’s line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Straily was throwing strikes last night. And that in essence was the problem. His pitches were coming in high and square down the middle. This is why it’s so important to employ late movement in the strike zone on your pitches. If they have little pizzazz, they’re going to fly a long way.

Things looked good at first, however. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning, and the O’s led 1-0. However Calhoun’s RBI-triple in the second inning tied the game at one. The O’s would never lead again in the game.

One inning later Trout smacked a two-run homer, and Anaheim led 3-1. But the Orioles tried to battle back an inning later in the fourth. Chris Davis dumped an RBI-single into left field, cutting the lead to 3-2. But that was as close as the Birds would get.

Anaheim our five runs on the board in the fifth inning. Staying out of the big inning is a major theme in MLB. The O’s couldn’t do it last night, and Anaheim feasted on what they left behind. A big part of that rally came with two outs, which is another area in which we’ve seen the Orioles struggle. It’s unclear why that is, but obviously opponents are seeing something with two outs.

The seventh inning brought a long rain delay. However after the delay the Orioles did manage one more run – on a solo homer by Davis. After such a bad start at the plate, Davis is starting to come on. His average is currently .193, which means he’s creeping towards the Mendoza Line. It sounds like I’m saying that sarcastically, but I’m not. First off what I said was factually true. But for a guy that started the season so poorly, that’s a feat. You have to start somewhere.

The series continues today at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy. He’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Matt Harvey. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Anaheim comes to town amid more weather

The Baltimore Orioles open up a three-game set with Anaheim this weekend at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The weather is something that’s certainly in question for this weekend, much as it was during last weekend’s series with Tampa. There’s a possibility of thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow afternoon. I’ve also heard the term washout used regarding Sunday.

Last Sunday’s game was simple enough to reschedule because Tampa returns to Baltimore in July. Anaheim makes one visit to Camden Yards this year. If a game is rained out, would they consider making it up when the O’s head to the west coast in July? Basically playing an Orioles’ home game on the road? Not as if that’s never happened.

The series begins tonight at Camden Yards – weather permitting. Dan Straily gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Trevor Cahill. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in series finale

The Baltimore Orioles took The defending world champion Boston Red Sox to the brink last night. Boston eventually defeated the Orioles, but it took them twelve innings. The Birds matched Boston point-for-point, beginning with starter Andrew Cashner. It begins and ends with starting pitching, right? Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Cashner set the tone early in the game when the first hitter reached on a two-base error. Cashner in essence started the game with a runner in scoring position. But Cashner pitches out of it, not allowing a runner to cross. All in all, this was one of the best starts of the season for any Oriole starting pitcher.

Boston would take a 1-0 lead in the third on a solo homer by Betts. That was in essence the only mistake that Cashner made. He was able to labor through the sixth inning (giving him a quality start), and left to a standing ovation for his effort.

However he was rewarded for his effort – in a certain sense at least. With the decision already made to lift Cashner, Trey Mancini smacked an RBI-double in the last of the sixth which tied the game. So while Cashner deserved to win this game, at the very least he wasn’t the loser and ended up with a no decision.

The score remained tied and we went to extra innings. The O’s thought they had won it in the eleventh. And for all intents and purposes, they did. Trey Mancini smacked what would have been a walk off home run. The ball cleared the fence in center field, and would have landed on the other side…

…the only problem was that Boston center fielder Bradley Jr. climbed the wall and brought the ball back in. It was one of the better plays you’re going to see this year in the outfield, and it foiled the Orioles’ best shot to win throughout the extra innings. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

Unfortunately for the O’s, that propelled Boston to take the lead in the twelfth on a solo homer by Benintendi. That’s why they’re the defending champions – they rise to the occasion. However the Orioles took Boston to the brink in this game. That’s not something that should go unnoticed. It goes as a loss in the standings, however it’s fair for a team like the Orioles ( a rebuilding team) to take a moral victory out of that. Their reward? A day off today at home.

Baltimore Orioles: It begins and ends with starting pitching

Last night the Baltimore Orioles got superior starting pitching. This evening they got an average outing at best out of starter David Hess. That might be okay in some instances. Not against the defending World Series champions. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

I’ve said this before, but it begins and ends with starting pitching. Now granted I said that in the context that in the past the O’s were a team expected to contend, and they needed solid starting pitching to do so. However the same is still true. This is the regular season, and regardless of the outlook on the entire season you need to have solid starting pitching of you’re going to win games. The Orioles got it last night. This evening? Not so much.

Now one might point out that Hess didn’t take the loss, and he certainly didn’t throw a total clunker out there. And that’s all true, and to Hess’ credit. But Oriole starters have been going four to five innings in games routinely – last night was the exception, not the rule. That sets the tone for the opponent, as well as for the Orioles. If your starter isn’t going deep into the game, you’re putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage.

Boston took an early 2-0 lead on a two-run homer by Martinez. However the Birds fought back. Rio Ruiz smacked a two-run homer of his own in the last of the first, and before we knew it the ballgame was tied. The teams would once again swap homers in the fourth inning, Boston off the bat of Bogaerts, and the Orioles off the bat of Hanser Alberto.

One inning later however, Boston did their big damage (following Hess’ departure). Moreland’s three-run homer gave them a 6-3 lead. That was the big blow of the game, however the O’s did make a run. Dwight Smith Jr’s RBI-double in the eighth cut the lead to 6-4. Later in the inning Chris Davis‘ RBI-single cut it to 6-5. But that’s as close as the Orioles would get as Boston would put up two insurance runs in the ninth, and they fell in game two, 6-5 to Boston.

The series with Boston concludes tomorrow night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Chris Sale. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: The night Boston found out John Means business

It’s tough to pitch better than John Means once again did this evening. This time it came against Boston, of course the defending World Series Champion. If you’re going to play games against the defending champs, you may as well win them. Means put them in a spot to do that this evening. Means’ line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Means kept Boston hitters guessing all game long. And that began in the first inning, when he sent them down 1-2-3. But they were never quite able to figure Means out, and it showed in the result.

Jonathan Villar hit what appeared to be a lead off homer in the first inning. However upon review it was ruled that a fan had impeded the Boston outfielder from getting to the ball. Villar was called out. One almost thought this was the Kentucky Derby!

However Villar wasn’t going to be kept off the board tonight. The Birds loaded the bases with nobody down in the second inning, and Villar came to bat with two down. He smacked a grand slam to center, giving the O’s a 4-0 lead. You can’t score more than four runs at a time, but the Orioles managed to do just that.

Boston would get one across in the fifth on a sac fly-RBI. But that was as close as they got. As I said, John Means was dominant tonight. So was the Orioles’ bullpen. Combined, they held a potent lineup to three hits.

Means is showing a lot of promise. It goes without saying that he’ll hit a bump in the road at some point. But he shut down one of the best lineups in baseball last night. Despite still being young, he may be the best starter that the Orioles have right now.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Hector Velazquez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fans called to arms

Baltimore Orioles’ majority owner Peter Angelos took the nearly unprecedented step in standing with the players during the 1994 Major League Baseball strike. That ruffled a lot of feathers in the league office, starting with commissioner Bud Selig. And the reverberations of that are still being felt today.

For the record, my personal opinion is that Angelos was right to stand with the players. Either way, you have to admire bucking the hand that feeds him to stand up for what he believed. That aside, he’s been unpopular in the league offices since then. The fact that he was able to in essence hoodwink the league into owning the television rights to the Washington Nationals didn’t help.

Last week the Nationals were allegedly awarded in excess of $100 million in back pay for the rights to their games on MASN from 2012-2016. While that’s more than MASN and the Orioles wanted to pay, it’s also significantly less than the $288 million that the Nationals initially wanted. MASN of course may or may not appeal the decision.

Peter Angelos of course is in ailing health, and his sons John and Lou have been running the team for well over a year. MLB has asked the Orioles to clarify who’s in charge of the team. In essence however, if John and Lou are being gifted the team or if they inherit it when their father dies, 2/3rds of the owners still have to approve them as the new owners. (As an example, Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner in essence gifted the team to his son Mark last year. The other owners approved it, and on they went.) Votes like that are normally formalities, because no owner wants to set a precedent that his family could be voted out of owning his team/company. However the potential is there for the league to not approve the Angelos sons, at which point the team would have to be sold.

Why is this all important now? Over the weekend, Attorney Ben Neil was a guest on Bruce Cunningham’s show on the Orioles’ flagship radio station, 105.7 “the fan” WJZ-FM. He mentioned that he’s heard on good authority that the league wants the Orioles to move, preferably to Las Vegas. Neil didn’t say how he had heard this information, or who his source was. He simply said that these were MLB’s wishes. He also said that a $3 million dollar offer either was or had been on the table to move the team to Vegas when the current lease at Camden Yards expires after 2021.

To be frank, this is heresy at this point. The Program Director of WJZ, Chuck Sapienza, tweeted a disclaimer of sorts yesterday in that these were unsubstantiated rumors and should be taken as such. But…should Orioles fans take this with a grain of salt?

Baltimore fans remember all too well that teams can move – often in the dead of the night. It’s easy to say the team will never move, or that MLB would never want to leave Camden Yards vacant. But certainly after the Colts left, you can forgive people for being skeptical.

Furthermore connect the dots of what I said above. The league office has multiple axes to grind with Peter Angelos and thus by extension the Angelos family – justified or not. Would taking the team away from him or his family and then moving them out of the city that they all love not grind that ax?

The league itself can’t just up and move a team. However if Mr. Neil’s comments are in fact true, it sounds like they’re trying to make that happen – again, IF Mr. Neil’s comments are true. The league could either be trying to pay their way out of Baltimore, or force a sale. And the league could then very easily make a condition of the sale being that the team has to move to Vegas.

How likely is any of this to happen? Probably not very likely, even given the political stuff I mentioned above. However Orioles fans should know that regardless of what they think of the current ownership, the Angelos family is the biggest proponent that they have in terms of the team staying in Baltimore long term.

My personal opinion is that while relocation is probably unlikely, I doubt Mr. Neil made up that story. It was intended as a call to arms to Orioles fans. On a civic level, it’s up to you to do your part to ensure that the team stays here. I can’t tell you what “doing your part” means, because I’m trying to figure that out myself. But ultimately fan empathy, or simply dismissing the idea as ridiculous plays right into the hands of forces who might seek to move the team.

What I can tell you is that while I have a small voice in the grand scheme of people who cover the Orioles, I do have a voice with this column. And I’m going to put the full force of that voice behind keeping the Orioles in Baltimore forevermore.

Baltimore Orioles washed away for today

The Baltimore Orioles looked unstoppable last night against Tampa. That wasn’t the case this afternoon, as something did stop them: the weather. The series finale against Tampa at Camden Yards was rained out.

The game will be made up as part of a split admission day/night doubleheader on July 13th. Fans with tickets to today’s game can use them for the first game of the doubleheader, at 1 PM. Otherwise they can be exchanged on a dollar-for-dollar basis for any other game this season. The exchange must be done before July 13th.

The Orioles tomorrow will open a three-game set with Boston at Camden Yards. John Means (who was set to start today) gets the start for the Birds, and Boston is yet to name a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Dylan Bundy turn the tables on Tampa

Dylan Bundy pitched the Baltimore Orioles to a quality start this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. More importantly however, he pitched the O’s to a victory, in one of the best outings by an Orioles’ starter this season. Bundy’s line: 7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

The Orioles and Bundy literally turned the tables on the Tampa Rays tonight. All of the bounces and breaks went the Orioles’ way. Jonathan Villar set that tone in the Birds’ opening at-bat when he split the outfielders and sent a double all the way to the wall in the left field power alley. Tampa’s supposed to have the angle on hitting ’em where they ain’t – but not tonight.

That lead off double in the first inning led to a 1-0 lead. Following a Mancini single which left Villar at third, Dwight Smith Jr grounded into a double-play, scoring Villar. It’s perhaps the most unexciting way to score in baseball. But all of the runs count.

And again, the Birds really played Tampa’s game all night. Tampa’s the type of team who’s attitude is that if we score one run, that means you have to score two to beat us. And it’s true, however as I said that style can be anti-climactic at times. But all the runs count.

In the third Jonathan Villar would ground into a force out, allowing a second run to score. And again, that was fairly anti-climactic. It it counted, and it meant that Tampa needed to score three to beat the O’s.

However Dwight Smith Jr. would also provide the Orioles’ faithful with a third run. However this one came in more of a traditional Oriole method. Smith’s solo home run in the fourth extended the Oriole lead to 3-0.

Tampa tried to battle back into it in their typical fashion, however. In the eighth inning Adames grounded back to the pitcher, who’s errant throw to Davis at first allowed a run to score. There it was; Tampa was tired of losing at their own game and they were skipping their way back to victory. But there was one problem…

…Adames ran down the first base line WAY inside the line. As in it wasn’t even close. Home plate umpire Lance Barrett correctly called Adames out, as his positioning inside the line impeded the Orioles’ pitcher’s ability to throw him out. The runner was sent back to second, and Adames was called out. Again, those are breaks that usually go Tampa’s way. For at least one game, it was the Orioles who got those breaks.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the Birds, and Tampa is yet to make a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Opponents get fat on your negligence

The Baltimore Orioles dropped the nightcap of a twin bill last night in Chicago in walk off fashion. Andrew Cashner got the start, and became only the most recent Orioles’ starter to not go deep in a game. Cashner’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (earned), 2 BB, 8 K.

The O’s had the lead at various points in this game, including early on. Dwight Smith Jr’s RBI-single in the first gave the Birds a 1-0 lead. One inning later however, Chicago would tie the game thanks in part to Oriole negligence. Catcher Austin Wynns threw to second base after a strikeout with two outs (when all he had to do was make the play at first base), allowing a base runner to go to third. Wynns apparently forgot how many outs there were. That led to an RBI-single by Engel, tying the game at two.

Abreu’s solo homer one inning later gave Chicago a 2-1 lead. However the O’s would take the lead right back in the fourth inning on Stevie Wilkerson‘s three-run homer. That should have been kind of a big blow in the game, however the O’s gave the lead right back in the bottom of the inning. Chicago loaded the bases with two outs following a triple and two walks. That brought Chicago’s heavy hitter (Abreu) to the plate, and he sent a bases-clearing single into center.

In reality, the game only should have been tied. However Joey Rickard seemingly took his time in getting the ball back in from center field. In fact, Stevie Wilkerson did the same in getting the ball over to first base on Engel’s second inning infield RBI-single. He took his time getting the ball to first base, and Engel best the throw out. Keep that in mind.

A sixth inning homer by Anthony Santander and a seventh inning fielder’s choice-RBI by Chris Davis however gave the Orioles the lead back at 6-5. However one-run leads are tough to protect in the ninth inning. Especially in the last of the ninth, when you lead off the inning with a walk. Alonso’s two-RBI single with the bases loaded lifted Chicago to victory.

It’s always easy to point to one or two things and say “all things being the same, things would have been different if not for this.” But that’s an unfair thing to say given that you can’t simply assume that all things would be the same. Furthermore it’s always a team effort – win or lose.

That aside, we saw Stevie Wilkerson taking his time getting the ball to first base in the second, resulting in a run. Later in the game we saw Joey Rickard doing the same in getting the ball back in from centerfield. That allowed a third run to score (from first), giving Chicago the lead.

In both instances the O’s overcame the Chicago lead. However the defense needs to tighten up in those situations. Chicago was literally gifted two runs on those two plays. Other teams aren’t letting the Orioles off the hook – they just aren’t. In fact, they’re getting fat on the Orioles’ negligence at times.

The Birds now come home after an off day today to open up a three-game set with Tampa starting tomorrow at Camden Yards. Dan Straily gets the fall for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for 7 PM tomorrow night.

Baltimore Orioles, Richie Martin Livin’ La Vida Loca

On the south side of Chicago, the baddest part of town, the Baltimore Orioles used every manner possible to pull out the stops and win the first half of a twin bill. Rookie Richie Martin atoned for himself very well, as it was his triple that helped to propel the Birds to victory. Things started out rough for starter David Hess however, through very little fault however of his own. Hess’ line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (1 earned), 2 BB, 4 K.

Abreu’s run-scoring double in the first inning gave the ChiSox a 1-0 lead. That run came on the heels of an E4 on Alberto, so it was unearned. Due to various errors committed by the Oriole infield, the Birds were trailing 4-0 after three innings. When a young team’s lost four straight and they have that happen in the first game of a doubleheader, it all but makes sense to pack it in and start looking towards the next game. That didn’t happen.

Dwight Smith Jr. scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to get the O’s on the board. Later in the inning Stevie Wilkerson would ground into a fielder’s choice-RBI. And the O’s has started to chip away. Incidentally, Smith was on third base earlier because he stole third – all part of the aggressiveness that the Orioles are trying to show on the base paths.

Richie Martin would later plate Wilkerson with an RBI-double. That put the Birds right back in the game, as they trailed 4-3. They had several opportunities to tie or take the lead, but those were squandered. They went 3-for-17 in the game with RISP, including leaving the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

Dwight Smith however would smack an RBI-double in the seventh following a lead off walk, and the game was tied at four. Richie Martin would lead off the next inning with a triple. Keep in mind that the Rule 5 pick has played great defense to date, but he really excelled at the plate in this afternoon’s ballgame. He set the table to put the Birds in a spot to win.

With Martin on third and nobody out in the top of the eighth, Jonathan Villar would get him home with a sac fly-RBI. Make no mistake that while the RBI goes to Villar, it was Martin’s prowess at the plate and then his speed which manufactured that run. Not only was it the go-ahead run, but it was the winning run as the O’s broke a four-game skid with a 5-4 victory in game one of a twin bill.

The nightcap of the doubleheader and the series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field is coming up this evening. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Ivan Nova. Game time is…in just a few moments from when this is being written!

Baltimore Orioles: Chicagoland weather washes out the Birds

The Baltimore Orioles now have an impromptu night off in Chicago. This evening’s game against the ChiSox has been rained out. This, due to very poor weather in the greater Chicagoland area.

The game will be made up tomorrow as part of a straight (traditional) doubleheader. Not that it matters to fans in Baltimore, but that’s one admission, two games. For the record, this means that both teams will get the benefit of a 26th roster spot for the second game.

Game one will begin at 4:10 PM (EST) at Guaranteed Rate Field, with game two beginning 25-30 minutes after the completion of the first game. David Hess gets the start for the O’s in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Ivan Nova.

Baltimore Orioles: Long ball bombs Birds away again

John Means pitches a halfway decent game last night for the Baltimore Orioles. He didn’t pitch a quality start, but he put the O’s in a position to win. However it was once again the long ball which doomed the Orioles. Although not necessarily in abundance last night, the Birds surrendered homers once again. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

The ChiSox took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run homer by Alonso. However Pedro Severino cut that lead in half one inning later with a solo shot. But the big blow came in the bottom of that third inning, when Anderson smacked Chicago another two-run homer, giving them a 4-1 lead.

The Birds got to within 4-2 on Chris Davis‘ RBI-single. However Davis was thrown out on the base paths, which made it tough to start a real rally. The O’s would walk in a run in the seventh, and Davis would add an additional RBI-single in the eighth. And the O’s never made it closer than that, and they dropped a 5-3 decision on the south side of Chicago.

Obviously the homers continue to be a problem. Heck, Anderson’s two-run homer was literally the difference. But the Orioles also left a decent number of runners in scoring position as well. They were 2-for-9 in the game when hitting with runners in scoring position. They also left the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

You can’t do those types of things if you consistently want to win games at the big league level. You have to take advantage of the opportunities with which you are presented , and limit the opportunities that you give to the other team. The Orioles are doing neither.

In effect, the O’s are letting other teams off the hook by leaving the bases loaded so often. And as we saw last year, opposing teams aren’t returning the favor per se. And why would they? When opportunities as such arise, you have to take advantage.

The series continues tonight at Guaranteed Rate Field. Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Ivan Nova. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles swept in Minnesota

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves not only swept in Minnesota this weekend, but they were swept by Minnesota in the season series. It’s interesting how it seems that no matter what the O’s did, Minnesota wasn’t going to be stopped. Dylan Bundy got the start for the Orioles, and while he gave up all four of the Birds’ runs he also in theory put the O’s in a spot to win. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 8 K.

Bundy gave up a solo homer to Kepler in the first – because of course he did. The Orioles continue to give up homers, especially to Minnesota. He gave up another one to Buxton’s in the third, and the Orioles trailed 2-0.

Later in that third inning Gonzalez blooped a single into shallow center. That scored an additional two runs, giving Minnesota a 4-0 lead. In that case it’s either a homer of a softly hit ball that drops. Either way the Orioles lose out.

Chris Davis smacked a solo homer in the seventh for the Orioles, cutting the lead and the final score to 4-1. Again however, the issue continues to be the number of home runs Oriole pitching is giving up. I’m not sure what to say, as opposing teams are just feasting on Oriole pitching. How that stops is beyond me.

The Oriole bullpen did pitch four scoreless innings yesterday, which was a big bright spot. Again, the O’s were swept in the season series with Minnesota, 6-0. So they aren’t upset that they won’t see Minnesota again until spring training next year.

The Orioles now head to Chicago to open a three-game set with the ChiSox at Guaranteed Rate Field. John Means gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Manny Banuelos. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles dodge a bullet on Trey Mancini

The big news for the Baltimore Orioles yesterday wasn’t the 9-2 loss – although that’s a problem in and of itself. Dan Straily got the start in the game, and lasted only four innings. Straily’s line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

More on that in a moment, however. Seven pitches into the game a pitch ran inside on Trey Mancini, clipping his finger. The home plate umpire didn’t call a HBP, and Mancini ended up getting on board with a bloop single.

When he arrived he got to first base, Mancini called for the trainer. He was in visible pain, and eventually came out of the game. This could have symbolized a big problem for the O’s, as Mancini’s been one of their lone bright spots. Consistently, at least. A DL trip for Mancini would really represent a big problem for the Birds.

Luckily however, X-Rays came back negative after the game. Mancini was diagnosed with a contusion, and is listed as day-to-day. I wouldn’t expect to see Mancini in today’s lineup, but the Orioles really dodged a bullet.

With Minnesota already leading 1-0, Rio Ruiz‘s RBI-single in the fourth inning tied the game at one. One inning later the O’s took the lead on Handed Alberto‘s RBI-single. Was this game to be different against Minnesota?

The answer is no, as the homer parade continued off of Oriole pitchers. Cron smacked a two-run homer in the sixth to give Minnesota the lead back at 3-2. One inning later Kepler added a three-run shot. Ultimately when the smoke cleared, Minnesota had themselves a 9-3 victory over the O’s. This due to multiple home runs. In a game that almost cost the O’s their best player.

The concern with Mancini is how this injury affects his play. Soon enough he’ll be back in the lineup, but does he play at the same level? You’ll recall last season he was playing at a similar clip in the first week of the season, before crashing feet-first into the left field wall trying to catch a foul pop. He was never really the same, that is until spring training this season. Hopefully he’s able to remain at the same level of play for the remainder of the season.

The series concludes this afternoon at Target Field. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Sometimes solo home runs do actually beat you

The Baltimore Orioles were once again the exception to the rule last night. The common saying is that solo home runs don’t beat you. In general, I’m going to believe that 100%. However Minnesota smacked five solo homers last night, four of which came off of starter Alex Cobb. Cobb’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

Minnesota hammered Oriole pitching last weekend at Camden Yards. Part of that was a start by Cobb, but they smacked around pretty much all Oriole pitchers that they saw. And the home runs went a long way. We also saw that continue last night – lots of homers, and they went a long way. How is that explained?

I’m not sure it can be, other than saying just that Minnesota’s really kicked in on the Orioles. Heck, they’re so locked in it seems that everyone’s hitting home runs. They aren’t bothering with singles or doubles, meaning that all the homers are coming with nobody on base. Which turns that long-standing rule (solo homers don’t beat you) on it’s side.

Cruz, Rosario, and Cron homered back-to-back-to-back in the first inning. That in essence put the Orioles on notice that this game was in essence going to be a continuation of last weekend’s series. And Minnesota was off to the races.

Cobb settled down in the second, however Minnesota struck again in the third with a solo homer by Kepler. One inning later (after Cobb had exited the game) Cruz smacked a second homer. Go figure, also a solo shot. They would put up a fifth run off of a Rickard error later in the inning. The only run they scored on the night which wasn’t a solo homer.

Dwight Smith Jr. would get the Birds on the board with an RBI-single in the sixth. But it would only be a token run, as Minnesota wasn’t relenting. Part of the issue offensively is that the O’s were 1-for-9 with RISP. That was also a big issue last weekend, as the Orioles left a small army on base.

Ironically, Minnesota’s numbers with RISP were worse – 0-for-6. But when you’re hitting all of those solo homers, you don’t have to have to worry about hitting with runners in scoring position. And again as I said, Minnesota managed to find the exception to a long-standing rule.

The series continues this afternoon at Target Field. Dan Straily gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Jose Berrios. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: How healthy is Alex Cobb?

The Baltimore Orioles will start Alex Cobb in tonight’s series opener in Minnesota. Cobb you might remember came off the Injured List last weekend just in time to get run out of the ballpark by the same Minnesota team he’s facing tonight. So the question is how healthy is Cobb?

Perhaps the bigger question should be how much rehabbing has he done, and how effectively at that? When Cobb came off the IL (due to a lumbar strain) he didn’t spend any time in the minors on a rehab assignment. He said he felt good, but his rehab was pitching simulated games. Again, this as opposed to a rehab assignment.

Just as spring training games are important to get guys ready for the season, I really feel that rehab assignments are important for injured players. Even if the player’s been out of commission for a short period, it still helps you to get your timing back a bit, and to see live game action. Simulated games are fine, but they aren’t live bullets. There’s a big difference.

Cobb could have taken that type of beating in a minor league game, and then perhaps been ready to come back to the Orioles when he was right. At the end of the day, they opted to do a simulated game – certainly their choice. But the question is whether or not that was the right choice. Tough to say.

The series in Minnesota begins tonight at Target Field. The aforementioned Alex Cobb will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

On a personal note, you can still follow the Birds here on http://www.birdlandcrush.com, and via my Twitter feed. However you might notice some oddities regarding the timing of the columns and in-game tweets. Unfortunately for you, the Orioles aren’t my first priority this weekend – I’ll be attending my sister’s wedding over the weekend. So again, you can expect game recaps as normal, just well after the games have ended. Sorry folks, this is kind of a big deal!

Baltimore Orioles deal Mike Wright to Seattle

Prior to last night’s 4-3 victory over Chicago the Baltimore Orioles announced that they had consummated a trade of pitcher Mike Wright to Seattle. Wright of course had been DFA’d on Monday, and had been in limbo ever since. Manager Brandon Hyde had hoped that Wright would have cleared waivers and remained in the organization, but it was not to be.

In return for Wright, the Birds acquired infield prospect Ryne Ogren, who was immediately assigned to single-A Delmarva. In his first year of pro ball last year, the 22-year old Ogren hit .250 with an OPS of .700. He saw time at second, short, and third.

The Orioles got to a point with Wright where they couldn’t sustain him in the rotation. Given that he was out of options, they had no choice but to DFA him. So given those things, they got a good return for him. Wright now becomes a candidate to be a “change of air” type of guy. For his sake, I hope that Orioles fans join me in wishing him well.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means business, Birds take series from ChiSox

The Baltimore Orioles came into tonight’s game with a shot at taking the series with the Chicago White Sox. And that they did, behind the birthday boy, starter John Means. You really have to hand it to Means; he worked hard and made this team out of spring training, and he’s been superb in the games in which he’s appeared – especially as a starter. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

I’ve said so many times that the main job of a starting pitcher is to put the team in a spot to win the game. Means did that tonight. Means put Chicago out of their comfort zone from the get go, which again put the O’s in a spot to win.

The O’s got on the board right away on an RBI-single by Renato Nunez in the first inning. Rio Ruiz would single Nunez home later in the inning, and the Birds led 2-0. Hanser Alberto‘s sac fly-RBI in the second ran the lead to 3-0.

Chicago would fight back, however. Abreu would smack an RBI-double in the third, but msolo homer off the bat of Stevie Wilkerson in the fourth have the Orioles a 4-1 lead. However as I said, Chicago battled back. They threatened a few times, but most poignantly in the sixth. They loaded the bases with nobody out, but the Orioles managed to minimize the damage. Cordell got hit by a pitch, cutting the lead to 4-2. But other than that, the O’s minimized the damaged (whatever that means).

Chicago threatened again in the ninety, but the Orioles’ pen shut them down after Abreu accounted for one run on a RBI- double. They clamped down, for the final outs, and headed home for the night.

This was the first series win for the O’s at home in 2019. And that’s noteworthy because there has to be chemistry in an organization. If everyone’s not on the same page, things won’t mesh properly. And in order to win series’ things have to be meshing. This was a good team win for the Orioles, and as I said it marked their first series victory at home this year. They’re certainly hoping for many more.

Baltimore Orioles to ChiSox: Turnabout is fair play

Andrew Cashner turned in one of the better starts for the Baltimore Orioles this far in 2019. However the O’s could have gotten away with “just an okay” start this evening, as their bats finally came alive. But nevertheless, Cashner pitched a good game. Cashner’s line:

The ChiSox, you’ll remember, took the Orioles to the woodshed last night. However the O’s has a certain look in their eye out of the gate tonight. You felt that they were ready to break out, and ready to make someone lay for their struggles of late. That “someone” was the Chicago White Sox.

Chris Davis singled up the middle in the on second inning with Joey Rickard already on first base. Rickard was able to score on an errant throw, and the O’s took a 1-0 lead. For what it’s worth, while that’s a run-scoring single it isn’t an RBI for Davis – if you’re keeping score at home.

Little did we know at that moment that the Orioles were off to the races. Renato Nunez would smack a two-run homer in the third to extend the lead to 4-0. Later in the inning none other than Chris Davis would smack his first Camden Yards home run of the year – this of the two-run variety.

But the O’s wanted more. After all, tonight was all about purging the memory of the past few games, and showing the ChiSox that turnabout was in fact fair play. They weren’t the only team who could pile runs on against a hapless opponent. And Dwight Smith Jr. drove that point home with a three-rum homer in the fourth. As did Joey Rickard, who smacked a two-run shot later in the inning.

Chicago would net a token run on a sixth inning RBI-single by Anderson. But this was the Orioles’ night. The Birds has really taken it on the chin the past few games – especially last night and Saturday night (game two of the doubleheader). But tonight they flipped the script and really took it to Chicago.

And for a group of young guys, that’s good to see. This isn’t to say that they won this game and it’s going to be smooth sailing the rest of the way. It may be for all I know. But the Birds served notice this evening that they’ll only take so much.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Ervin Santana. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Are robot umps the solution?

Lots of people were talking about the strike one call in the ninth inning of yesterday’s Baltimore Orioles loss to Minnesota. I wrote about it myself, in fact. Needless to say, it was a horrible call. That should have been ball four, and the game should have been tied.

I think the most frustrating part was that the Orioles had been trying to get that exact pitch location called a strike all day. And Oriole pitchers had been hitting that spot consistently – and it was consistently called a ball. But then Minnesota hits that spot, and it’s a called strike. With the game on the line.

A lot of people tweeted me saying that robot umpires would take care of this problem. And I couldn’t disagree more. Granted you’d still need a home plate ump to operate the machine, and to call things such as safe/out. However I’m squarely in the camp which says robots calling games aren’t the answer. And quite frankly, my reasons are cliche.

People who are all in favor of this method say they want to hear why there shouldn’t be robot umpires, and they don’t want to hear because that’s not how it’s always been. Well…humans umpiring games is just how things have always been. And that is in fact as good a reason as any. Do folks really want to change the game THAT much?

But you’re asking for a better reason than that – I get it. So here’s one; could those robots not be hacked? In the age of computers and technology, everyone’s account for anything could be hacked. So does MLB really want to run the risk that someone could hack a robot and perhaps influence game outcomes? As big as gambling is becoming, do we think someone might not try to do that?

My personal opinion is that umpires just need to buckle down and be more consistent. Maybe longevity of service should be looked at more stringently. This in the sense that perhaps some younger umpires should be calling more games. Furthermore, what happens if a manager for instance were to prove that even a machine isn’t calling the game properly? Where do we turn then?

Part of my point is that not everything has to change. I recognize that MLB wants to do what it’s audience thinks it wants to see. But…does the game have to fundamentally change in order to do that?

Baltimore Orioles: An error and two unearned runs doom Dylan Bundy

No matter how you spin things, the Baltimore Orioles got a decent start this afternoon out of Dylan Bundy. He put the Orioles in a spot to win the game, and as I’ve said many times that’s all you can ask of a starter. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (two earned), 1 BB, 4 K.

The Orioles in theory should have sent Minnesota down 1-2-3 in the first. Polanco led off the game, and a few seconds later had induced a pop up to left field. Routine play, right? Not so much.

Dwight Smith Jr dropped the ball. Just a lazy routine pop up, and he dropped it. Mistakes do happen, and while Smith has given the team a shot in the arm since getting here, that error allowed a runner to get to third base. Astudillo proceeded to turn in an RBI-double, and Cron an RBI-single.

Those two runs while charged to Bundy, were unearned. It’s tough for a starting pitcher to know he did almost everything right, but still got charged with two runs. It’s usually more than just one thing which tells the overall game story, but that one blip on the radar loomed large all afternoon.

Cave would smack an RBI-single in the third to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead. However the Birds has a run in them. Dwight Smith would take those two unearned runs back with a two-RBI single. That cut the Minnesota lead to 3-2 l, however they tacked on an additional run of n the fourth on a sac fly-RBI by Astudillo.

Again, it’s more than just one moment which tells the story of a game. The Orioles would load the bases in the last of the eighth, attempting to make a run at taking the lead or tying. But Minnesota pitched their way out of that jam, not allowing the Orioles to score even one additional run that inning.

However the Orioles did mount a rally in the last of the ninth. With runners at the corners and two outs, Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-double cut the lead to 4-3. Following an intentional walk, the Orioles has the bases loaded, and bought up Pedro Severino as a pinch hitter.

Severino worked the count to 3-0. He then got a fastball on the fourth pitch, and took a slight step towards first base. Ironically, Oriole pitchers had been trying to get that pitch location called a strike all day long – and with no luck at that. However Minnesota got the call, and Severino would later pop out to end the game.

Again, one thing doesn’t make or break the ballgame. But the Dwight Smith Jr error, and that ball call on the 3-0 pitch in the ninth sticks out. The pitch was a good inch-and-a-half off the plate. It has to be frustrating from the Orioles’ perspective however, as they had been throwing to that location all afternoon. And the only time it was called a strike was that final time with the Orioles at the plate. Dwight Smith Jr had to leave the game after coming up lame on the base paths, and the Orioles will update his status as soon as they are able.

The Orioles will open up a series with the Chicago White Sox tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Manny Banuelos. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Winning is tough when you leave a team on base

The Baltimore Orioles fell just short against Minnesota today in game one of a doubleheader. Dan Straily got the start, and did exactly what you want a starter to do: put the team in a position to win. Straily’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Rosario had a big day for Minnesota; astute readers won’t be surprised by that, as he had a few big games against the O’s during spring training as well. However he smacked a solo homer in the second, which was followed by a solo homer by Astudillo. Minnesota went back-to-back, and took a 2-0 lead.

However the Orioles battled back, which was good to see. They went back-to-back themselves in the third with Dwight Smith Jr, and Renato Nunez smacking homers. Smith’s was a two-run shot, and the O’s led 3-2. But Rosario struck again, smacking a solo homer in the fifth tying things back up at three.

Minnesota would put three more runs on the board in the sixth, on Buxton’s two-RBI double, and Cruz’s RBI-single. But even still, the Birds weren’t going to be held down. Pedro Severino‘s solo homer in the bottom of the inning brought the O’s back to within two at 6-4. Backing up for just a moment however, Rosario wasn’t kidding around in having a good game. Chris Davis flat out hit an apparent opposite-field home run to left to lead off the sixth – and Rosario brought it back, saving a run.

The O’s would put runners back on again in the eighth, and Trey Mancini‘s RBI-double got them to within 6-5. However they also stranded two runners in scoring position to end the inning. And that’s a microcosm of the entire game.

The O’s stranded left ten men on base over the course of the entire game. That has to improve if this team is going to win consistently. This was a one-run win for Minnesota; if even one of those ten men had been able to score, all things being the same (which is always a tough sell) it’s a totally different ballgame.

Obviously, the would-be homer that Chris Davis has robbed from him factors big also. However Rosario wasn’t letting anyone steal the limelight from him in this game. But the Orioles as a team need to work on their situational hitting, as every runner on base could in theory become a run. And when you lose a one-run game and realize you left ten men on base, it gives you a sickening feeling.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards with game two of this traditional twin-bill. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Martin Perez. Game time is set for 8 PM this evening, which is about 10 minutes from the time this is being written!

Baltimore Orioles rained out

I probably didn’t need to tell you that the Baltimore Orioles weren’t going to play tonight. All you probably had to do was look out the window and see what the weather is bringing us in the mid-Atlantic region. In short, not good.

So the first game of the Birds’ series with the Minnesota Twins will not be played tonight. It will however be played tomorrow. Along with tomorrow night’s regularly scheduled game.

The Orioles and Minnesota will play a traditional doubleheader tomorrow at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That means you get to see two games for the price of one – good deal, right?! Game one will begin at 4 PM, with the second game starting approximately 20-25 minutes after the completion of the first one.

Fans with tickets for tonight’s game can exchange them for a later date – including the doubleheader. (Tickets for Friday night will not be automatically honored for Saturday.) If you have tickets for the scheduled Saturday game, you’re in luck – you now get to see two! Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Jose Berrios.

Baltimore Orioles: A character win

Baltimore Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde called this evening’s 6-5 win in Tampa a heart attack type of game. He also called it a character win. It didn’t need to go to Extra Innings, as Andrew Cashner pitched well enough to win. The Birds just couldn’t get the job done in nine. Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

One of those runs came in the first inning ON AN RBI-single by Pham. However Renato Nunez got the Orioles on the board in the third with an RBI-single of his own. Later in the inning Joey Rickard would leg out an infield hit, allowing another run to score and giving the Orioles the lead.

However Tampa would immediately tie the game back up in the last of the third on a solo homer by Phan. That said, last night belonged to the O’s. It may have taken extra time, but it belonged to the Orioles. The O’s took the lead back in the fourth on Pedro Severino‘s solo home run.

And the Birds extended their lead from there. Richie Martin‘s RBI-single in the seventh Gabe them a 4-2 lead (Martin was tagged out on the base paths). Dwight Smith Jr.’s sac fly-RBI in the eighth gave the Birds a 5-2 lead, which one would have thought was safe.

But Tampa put two runs on the board in the last of the eighth on Zunino’s two-RBI double. One-run leads in the last of the ninth are the worst types of leads to have. Especially against a team like Tampa that utterly refuses to quit. Sure enough, Garcia smacked a solo homer in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.

Chris Davis smacked a two-out single in the 11th. However the key play of the game was Davis going from first-to-third on Ruiz’s subsequent single. As beleaguered as Davis has been, he’s starting to find ways to contribute. That bit of good base running all but won the game for the O’s.

Especially seeing that Joey Rickard would later double Rickard home, giving the Birds a 6-5 lead – which turned into a 6-5 victory. It’s often things that don’t show up on the line score that can be the difference between winning and losing. Chris Davis’ clutch base running in the eleventh inning last night is a prime example.

The O’s now head home to open up a three game series with Minnesota tomorrow night at Camden Yards (weather permitting). Alex Cobb will come off the DL and makes the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Jose Berrios. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles have to limit the homers

Manager Brandon Hyde‘s said it on numerous occasions: the Baltimore Orioles need to keep the ball in the ballpark if they’re going to win games. This evening against Tampa, they gave up several solo shots (and a multi-run homer as well). Starter David Hess probably figured those solo homers wouldn’t hurt him – but obviously if you give up several, that’s a different story. Hess’ line: 2.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

Lowe smacked a three-rum homer in the first inning, and Tampa was off to the races. Zuni o would add an RBI-single in the second, and Tampa led 4-0. The Orioles hung a lot of pitches in this game, and when they weren’t hanging pitches Tampa was guessing right. That said, the Orioles probably aided them a bit in guessing what was coming.

The O’s went down 1-2-3 in the top of the third, and all three were strikeouts and called strike three’s by home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor. All three pitches were low and inside – well out of the strike zone, and well beyond the point where a hitter should swing with two strikes. The Oriole bench was beyond livid.

Tampa’s a team who uses just about every piece of analytical data that they can to win games. Every team uses analytics now, but their usage is almost shameless. So they saw that the Orioles were overly jazzed up about the strike zone. And they used that piece of “data” to their advantage.

It didn’t take a genius to think ahead and figure that Hess was going to try to pitch low and in. Hess and the Orioles figured that since Tampa got those calls, so why shouldn’t they? And sure enough, the Orioles pitched down and in – resulting in back-to-back solo homers by Choi and Diaz.

To add insult to injury, Bucknor ejected Brandon Hyde in the last of the third. But it wasn’t Hyde who was complaining – once the smoke cleared it was Tim Cossins who was ejected. Bucknor has such a bad night that he couldn’t even eject the correct guy.

Tampa would add two additional runs on RBI-doubles, and Rio Ruiz would get the O’s on the board with a solo homer. So message to the Orioles; keep the ball in the ballpark, and try to contain your anger even when an outburst is justified. Sometimes that can telegraph your eventual intentions.

The series concludes tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa is yet to name a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis spoil Patriot’s Day in Boston

Today is Patriot’s Day throughout New England, and the Baltimore Orioles were simply the opponent. The Boston Red Sox always play a special 11 AM home game on this holiday, and again the Orioles were supposed to just be the opponent. Dan Straily got the start, and effectively dominated Boston – on their day, no less. Straily’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

This was the second year in a row that the Orioles were scheduled to be the opponent on Patriot’s Day in Boston, although last year’s game was rained out and rescheduled. I suspect that Boston is wishing that the same had happened today. On their holiday and in front of their fans, they were taken to task by the Birds.

The Orioles got on the board early on an RBI-single by Renato Nunez in the second inning. And in reality, they never looked back. The fifth inning was where the big damage was done however, as the O’s put up three runs and busted the game wide open. Jonathan Villar smacked an RBI-single of his own, and Dwight Smith Jr.’s two-run homer gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead.

Boston’s lone run on the morning/afternoon came in the last of the fifth on a controversial play in which Pearce grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing a run to score. However Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde challenged the play, claiming that a Boston runner had overshot the base. While replays were inconclusive, Hyde had a decent argument. The problem was that he continued to argue after the play was upheld by instant replay – earning him his first ejection as a big league manager.

So on a very early day, Hyde was sent for his first early shower. But it didn’t make the Orioles fold by any means. If anything, it emboldened them. In the finale of a series in which Chris Davis got his first hit of the season, he also recorded his first homer of the year. This of the two-run variety in the top of the eighth. One inning later Dwight Smith would add a two-RBI double, giving the O’s an 8-1 victory.

Make no mistake that while this goes down as a series split, it might as well be a series win for the Orioles. There are very few circumstances in which a rebuilding team would expect to do anything less than lose or get swept in a series by the defending World Series champions. Especially at their place, and with the series finale being on a special holiday (to the home team).

Perhaps more importantly, Chris Davis broke out this weekend in Boston. Granted Boston’s pitching hasn’t been the greatest, and this weekend was no exception. But if Davis can somehow use this series as a launching point to becoming some sort of force on offense once again, the Orioles will be in great shape.

The O’s now head south to Tampa for a three-game set at Tropicana Field starting tomorrow. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for just after 7 PM tomorrow night.

Baltimore Orioles blanked by Boston

The Baltimore Orioles can’t win many games if they don’t put any runs on the board. It really doesn’t matter who the starter is, or how good he looks. And this on a day where starter John Means looked pretty good. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

On the flip side however, games such as these will happen to young teams. And the Orioles are certainly a young team. Furthermore, they’re a young team playing against the defending champions. At Fenway Park. Just for context.

Bogaerts would put Boston ahead in the last of the fourth with a sac fly-RBI. That would be the lone run the aforementioned John Means would surrender. Speaking for myself, I’m fairly impressed with Means and the two starts he’s made thus far. They both came in losing efforts and they both were shorter outings, however Means showed promise in both.

They key today was that he attacked the zone. Boston hitters almost looked as if they were expecting him to nibble. (Maybe because they’ve seen Oriole pitchers nibble at Fenway for years.) But Means attacked the zone, potentially providing for some shocked gazes from the BoSox and their fans when their players would strike out.

However in the end, it would be Bogaerts who would put the game out of reach as well. His eighth inning three-run homer against the Orioles’ bullpen gave Boston a 4-0 lead. That would end up being the final, as Boston blanked the Orioles on this Sunday afternoon at Fenway Pahk.

The Orioles originally had Dwight Smith Jr. in today’s starting lineup, however he was scratched about 90 minutes before game time with a sore leg. However manager Brandon Hyde said that he would be available to play if needed.

Hyde also said that the team is eyeing next weekend as a potential return for starter Alex Cobb. Cobb of course has been on the Injured List with back issues. The O’s want to be as cautious as they can, given the sensitivity of back problems. However the aim is next weekend’s home series with Minnesota.

The weekend series with Boston of course culminates tomorrow at Fenway Park for the annual Patriot’s Day morning game. Dan Straily gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Hector Velasquez. Game time is set for just after 11 AM. (Yes you read that correctly – 11:00 AM!)

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis back with a vengeance as Birds defeat Boston

Chris Davis‘ struggles for the Baltimore Orioles have been well-documented. That seemed to end this afternoon as Davis finally got himself on the board with a base hit. And not just any base hit, a two-RBI single. In total, Davis drove in four runs and recorded three hits this afternoon, much to the delight of starter Andrew Cashner. Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

That aforementioned two-RBI single came right off the bat in the first inning. The Birds had two on and one out, and Davis clubbed the second pitch he saw into right field, scoring two. The Orioles’ bench flooded onto the field and applauded, and Davis appeared to be trying not to laugh. To their credit, the Fenway crowd applauded for Davis.

But they applauded more in the third inning when Vasquez smacked a two-run homer, tying the game at two. And that moment represented a crossroads for the Orioles. It would have been easy to fold up and assume that the defending champions would make quick meat of them from then on out. Granted Boston’s spotty play didn’t allow that to happen, but neither did the Orioles’ mindset. And that mindset was a winning one today.

The O’s would take the lead back two innings later, once again off the bat of Chris Davis. He smacked an RBI-double, and the O’s held a 3-2 lead. They would extend that lead to 4-2 one inning later in the sixth on Renato Nunez‘s RBI-single. Rio Ruiz would add an RBI-single, and the O’s led 7-2.

And the interesting thing about that is that the ball hit off of several Boston players. That happened several times this afternoon, putting Orioles on base on what should have been outs. It looked like the way games have spiraled out of control for the Orioles at times. Except today it worked in their favor.

Boston put a couple on in the last of the sixth, however the Birds induced a run-scoring double-play, which cut the lead to 7-3. However that’s a win for the defense in a sense. When you’re up by five you’ll trade one run for two outs. The O’s would add an additional run on an error in the seventh, and Nunez would ground into a force out which scored a run. The O’s took a 9-3 lead, and appeared to be cruising.

Boston would threaten once more, however. Vasquez’s two-RBI double cut the lead to 9-5. But this was the Orioles’ day, as well as that of Chris Davis. No Boston rally was going to spoil that.

And as I said above, this was a very sloppy game by the Boston Red Sox. Orioles fans know all too well how that feels, although the Orioles will take any advantages that are given to them. Opponents certainly don’t waste their time taking liberties with the O’s when they are able.

And the fact that Davis won’t have to be hounded and/or hound himself due to that hitless streak will hopefully smooth things out for the entire team. When you set a new MLB record for futility, in general it takes on a life of it’s own. This was no exception. And it’s not as if Davis got his hit and recorded outs the rest of the day. He had three hits and four RBI on the day!

The series continues tomorrow from Fenway Park. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s David Price. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: David Hess gets Fenway’d

David Hess pitched a halfway decent game for the Baltimore Orioles this evening. In fact, he pitched one out short of a quality start. The issue of course was that Hess and the Orioles were facing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Boston makes their home park work for them – and against you. Hess’ line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Those aren’t perfect numbers. But as I said, if you’re going by the letter of the law it’s one out shy of a quality start. The goal for any starter is to put your team in a position to win the game. Did Hess do that tonight at Fenway Park? My personal opinion is that he did.

Hess was cruising along until Benintendi smacked a solo homer in the third inning. It counts, but it barely cleared the Green Monster. Boston always takes advantage of every little bounce at Fenway, and those bounces normally go their way.

This isn’t to say that Boston has an advantage of any sort – per se. Both teams play on the same field with the same dimensions. They just naturally know the ballpark better, and everything that comes with it. That includes wind currents, bounces, etc.

As an example, Bogaerts smacked an RBI-double in the fourth. It came with Moreland on first base; Moreland ran from first base as soon as he saw the trajectory of the ball. He knew it was going to hit off the top of the wall, giving him plenty of time to score from first. Most other parks, you end up with runners and the corners in that situation. Not Fenway.

Nunez’s RBI-single (also off the green monster) later in the inning would run the score to 3-0. But this shows why pitching at Fenway can be so difficult. There are so many funny bounces and hops the ball can take. Heck, and if it gets into the corner and starts rattling around out there, you never know what’s going to happen.

But there is a silver lining to this. And that’s that the O’s fought back. Dwight Smith Jr. smacked a two-run homer in the seventh, cutting the Boston lead to 3-2. However Boston would tack on a few insurance runs in the later innings, running the score to 6-2 going into the ninth. Keep in mind who the opponent was/is; Boston has some big bats in it’s lineup. But while they hit the ball hard, they didn’t slug the Orioles out of the ballpark. Their runs came in drips as opposed to droves.

The O’s would mount a late rally in the ninth, getting to within 6-4 on a two-run homer by Eduardo Nunez. But while the rally fell short and the O’s ultimately fell by that score, that was a big deal. Following the homer Boston brought in it’s closer, Braiser. He had already warmed up and sat back down once Boston was no longer in a save situation. But he had to get ready again, and in a hurry at that. Something along those lines could affect the Boston ‘pen for the remainder of the series. Time will tell.

Again, not a horrible outing by David Hess tonight. It’s tough to limit Boston to anything at Fenway. (Or anywhere for that matter.) he did a pretty decent job of it, as Boston runs trickled in. This as opposed to coming in an avalanche. Pitching at Fenway however isn’t for the faint of heart. Opposing pitchers often get the bounces that Hess did tonight. It’s part of what makes the AL East so tough.

The series continues tomorrow at Fenway Park – with an immediate quick turnaround in the form of an early day game after a night game. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Rick Porcello. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Second time through order haunts Dylan Bundy

Dylan Bundy‘s outing this afternoon typified what we’ve seen from Baltimore Orioles pitching since late 2017. First time through the order Bundy dominated. However once Oakland hitters saw him once, they adapted. Bundy did not, and the Orioles suffered as a result. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 8 K.

If you remove the run total, Bundy actually had a decent outing. Zero walks and eight strikeouts is a decent outing. However Bundy gave up the long ball, which of course has haunted the Orioles all year to date. Manager Brandon Hyde said after the game that he thought this was Bundy’s best outing to date this year. In truth, he’s right. But the home runs have to stop if the O’s are going to win games this year.

The O’s actually held the lead in this game early on. Dwight Smith Jr. smacked a solo homer in the first, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead. For the record, the ball was projected to travel 440 feet, the longest Oriole homer to date this year. Ultimately however it doesn’t matter how far it travels, only that it goes over the fence.

And that was a motif that Oakland followed again today, starting in the fourth. Davis’ two-run homer gave them a 2-1 lead. One inning later Phegley smacked a two-run shot of his own, extending the lead to 4-1. Unfortunately however, Davis wasn’t done. He came up again in the sixth and smacked a solo homer – his second home run of the day.

Later in the inning Oakland would add another solo homer and a sac fly-RBI. And before you knew it, the Orioles trail. And trailed big; 7-1.

But the silver lining in this game was that the Orioles rallied. They managed to load the bases with nobody out in the seventh, a sequence that included a Chris Davis walk. (If you can’t get a hit, at least you can get aboard with a walk, which helped perpetuate a rally.) The Birds would cut the Oakland lead to 7-2 when catcher Pedro Severino was hit by a pitch.

For the record, Severino was hit in the head; the crack of the ball hitting the helmet rang out throughout Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Severino ran for himself, but was replaced in the eighth inning as a precaution. Brandon Hyde said that by all accounts Severino is going to be fine – no sign of concussion or any other serious injury.

The Orioles would net two more runs on a wild pitch, and an RBI-groundout. Dwight Smith would also add an RBI-double, cutting the lead to 7-5. And for a moment, it appeared as if the Birds night have a shot to come back. But a late eighth inning homer by Semien and the Oakland bullpen put a stop to that idea, and Oakland took this game 8-5 (winning the series three games to one).

Life doesn’t get easier for the O’s, as they now head out on the road. First stop: Fenway Park. Not exactly conducive to keeping the ball in the ballpark. But nobody said this was easy. The toughness of it is part of what makes baseball special.

While Brandon Hyde said that he thought Bundy’s pitch location was unpredictable, the results of the past few games might say otherwise (regarding all pitchers). The fact that Oakland got going after going through the order once could be evidence of that as well. It might be worth looking into whether or not pitches are either being tipped, or if they’re getting too predictable in terms of pitch calls.

The Birds open up the aforementioned four-game series on Boston tomorrow at Fenway Park. David Hess gets the fall for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles victimizing themselves by giving up homers

Baltimore Orioles’ fans got their first dose of starting pitcher Dan Straily this evening. And I suspect that many of them came always wondering why the organization signed him. However keep in mind that he was thrust into this starting role this evening due to injuries, and only signed with the O’s last week. Straily’s line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

Straily pitched to contact – and it showed. Oakland hitters didn’t miss much. And much of what they didn’t miss ended up in the seats.

Ponder smacked a solo homer in the second inning, which was followed up by an RBI-double in the third by Chapman. Later in the inning Davis would single Chapman home, giving Oakland a 3-0 lead.

Those were the only two Oakland runs of the game which didn’t come off the long ball. Profar would smack a two-run home run in the fourth, and Chapman another two-run shot in the fifth. The runs seemed to come in two’s, in the form of two-run homers tonight for Oakland.

The Orioles did get a brief respite in a sense come the last of the fifth. The Birds’ first hit of the game came in the form of a Trey Mancini home run – of the solo variety. Later in the inning Rio Ruiz would hit a two-run homer of his own, cutting the Oakland lead to 7-2.

Chapman and Davis would however homer for the second time in the seventh inning. Chapman with a two-run shot, and Davis with a solo shot.

The Orioles cannot continue to give up the number of home runs they’re surrendering. People can talk all they want about how the Orioles aren’t “trying to win” this year and so forth. I don’t believe for one moment that the players and coaches are buying into that mentality. They’re trying to win every time they’re putting their uniforms on.

Which is why something has to be done about the homers. This Oriole offense can get guys on base and get them home. But if they’re already too far behind to have a few runs make a difference, there’s not much we can say or do. If you continually give up the long ball, especially with guys on base, that makes it all the more difficult to function as a team with the goal of winning games.

One bright spot for the Orioles was reliever Mike Wright, who pitched the eighth and ninth innings. He gave up one hit in that period, closing out the game for the O’s. Critics will point out that coming in with the team already trailing by seven certainly isn’t a high-yield situation. However the fact is that the guy looked good, and he probably saved the O’s from having to use an additional reliever in the ninth inning.

The series with Oakland (and the home stand) concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Aaron Brooks. Game time is set for just after 12:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Using position players as pitchers could afford to cease

The Baltimore Orioles used infielder Hanser Alberto as a relief pitcher yesterday. It’s understandable why; the game was out of control, and manager Brandon Hyde wanted to save his bullpen. However whether or not that’s a good idea in general is another story.

Again, I understand the reasoning behind the move. In fact, Hyde indicated after the game that Alberto might have saved the team from having to make a roster move when asked if that was a possibility:


I definitely was thinking that during the game. But then Hanser picked us up, so it’s something we’re going to discuss after this.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

There’s something to be said for that. It’s also a trend that we’re seeing across the big leagues. Heck, Tampa sometimes uses their pitchers in the field and then swaps them onto the mound. And I’m submitting that perhaps some of these practices need to stop.

Nobody uses a position player as a pitcher in a close game. It’s generally done in the manner that Brandon Hyde did it yes

terday; an out-of-control game so as to save a reliever. But are we really doing a service to the game itself when pulling a stunt like that? Are we really giving people what they paid good money to see?

As bad as it was seeing the Oriole bullpen get lit up time after time yesterday, that beat seeing Alberto messing himself on the mound. And I say that in the sense that Alberto isn’t a pitcher. He doesn’t have the training and practice that pitchers usually have. Never mind the fact that someone could get hurt.

I just feel that there’s a better way to do things than using a position player. However it’s not something that I think should be against the rules. I would submit that the manner in which the Orioles used Chris Davis as a pitcher is a totally different story. If a team’s in extra innings and they’re out of pitchers, obviously someone has to come in. But I’d like to see managers stay away from that in a game such as a blowout.

So let’s put it this way; it should be legal. There should be no reason as per the rules of the game why a position player should be barred from pitching. But it’s something from which I wish managers would stay away unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Baltimore Orioles’ pitching knocked around in series finale

David Hess‘ outing for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon looked and felt vastly different than his previous outing. Hess, as you’ll remember, was lifted in the seventh inning on Tuesday evening while throwing a no-hitter. While I do feel that Hess was squeezed a bit from the beginning by the home plate umpire, this outing most certainly doesn’t compare. Hess’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

However we also need to be fair to Hess. New York starter German refused to allow the Orioles to do anything offensively. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before it was broken up. He pitched an outstanding game. The Orioles were unable to provide an answer for what he was throwing.

New York got on the board in the second inning on solo homers by Torres and Frazier. Before his big homer last night, Frazier’s last major leaguer homer cam in 2017. Hit hit two this series.

Sanchez would smack a two-run home run in the third, doubling New York’s lead. Frazier would come back up again in the sixth, and added insult to injury. As if his homer wasn’t enough, he provided an RBI-single in the sixth. When the smoke cleared in the sixth and seventh innings; New York held a 9-0 lead.

While the Orioles couldn’t put anything scores against German, they did chase him in the seventh inning. And that allowed them to at least put a few runners on. And just like that, they were able to load the bases in the last of the seventh. If nothing else, this game tells you that good pitching will generally win out, regardless of how good or bad the hitting is.

Jonathan Villar was able to score from third (with the bases loaded in the last of the seventh) on a pass ball to get the Birds on the board. Trey Mancini would score on a subsequent wild pitch. So while in a big time losing effort today, the O’s put two runs across without a hit to drive the runs in.

Later in that seventh inning Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single would cut the lead to 9-3. But apparently New York wasn’t done yet. Sanchez smacked a two-run homer in the eighth, to run things to 11-3. It wasn’t just Sanchez’s third homer of the game, it was his third two-run homer of the game.

Frazier decided to add a two-run shot of his own in the ninth inning, which prompted the Orioles to use Hanser Alberto as a pitcher. Not ideal under any circumstances. After Alberto hit the first batter, Romine followed up with yet another two-run homer.

I wouldn’t have used Alberto as a pitcher. In fairness to Brandon Hyde, it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. But would a real reliever have surrendered another homer in that situation? We don.’the know. But losing 15-3 only hurts the team’s confidence: again however, it’s only one of 162.

New York smacked seven homers in this game. All but one of their runs came off the long ball. So on one hand you could argue that the O’s forced NY to become one dimensional and use the long ball exclusively to beat them. The bad news is that NY did just that.

For a young rebuilding team, games like this are going to happen. So are series’ like this. You never want to get swept, but getting swept at home by a division rival is really no fun. But keep in mind that if the Orioles’ top brass does it’s job in the coming years during the rebuild, one day the numbers in this series might be flipped.

The Orioles open up a four-game series with Oakland tomorrow night. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Marco Estrada. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: 2019 Season Preview

2019 will be a different type of season for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans. For starters, Brandon Hyde will be manning the Orioles’ dugout instead of the venerable figure of Buck Showalter. You can also substitute Mullins for Jones in center, Villar for Schoop at second, and Nunez for Machado at third.

But it’s more than just different players. The Orioles started over, in essence smack in the middle of the season last year. 2019 is all about youth and finding new talent to plug into various positions. It’s about trusting that process as headed by new GM Mike Elias, and seeing it through.

Whereas in past season previews I’ve said the Orioles will go as far as their pitching takes them, this year the slogan will be trust the process. And seriously, I’m not sure how often in the past I said that but about pitching, but it was often. As I said, 2019 will be a different type of year in Birdland.

However that should also excite Orioles’ fans. Odds are, this won’t be the year where the Birds will come out of nowhere to contend. Granted, you never know – this world is capable of some pretty strange things. However these aren’t the 2012 O’s. I wouldn’t bet on it.

But what will happen is that the foundation will begin to be laid for whatever happens in the future. IF the Orioles are contending in 2022 for instance, fans might point back to this year and realize that this is kind of where it began. As I said, the foundation will begin now.

Ironically one area in which the Orioles do resemble last year’s team is the starting rotation. Alex Cobb of course will start the year on the injured list, however many of the faces we saw last year (the Cashner’s, Bundy’s, Wright’s, and Hess’ of the world) in fact remain. One thing that is different is that the Birds are expected to go with using Nate Karns (who signed as a free agent) in the role of an “opener.”

Offensively the Orioles don’t have the horses that they’ve had in the past. Again folks, this is the foundation for what’s to come. However also keep in mind that last year when they did have the horses things weren’t exactly smooth. It’s also worth noting that Brandon Hyde’s philosophy seems to be to be more aggressive on the base paths. So…could they perhaps be better offensively?

I’m not sure if better’s the term for which we’re looking. But if the spring slate of games is any indication, we’ll see more team speed, more guys in motion, etc. Yes, that means that mistakes will be made on the base paths. However when you put guys on base and put pressure on the defense, mistakes can happen. And if nothing else, advancing a runner into scoring position or staying out of a double-play could represent the fine line between winning and losing.

All of that said, it’s going to be a tough year in Birdland in terms of wins and losses. Keep in mind that last year’s team won 47 games. Will this year be easy? Not in the least. Will the improvement in terms of wins and losses be exponential? Doubtful. But will the O’s win more than 47 games? I believe so.

Baltimore Orioles let down by their pitching in Cleveland finale

The Baltimore Orioles and starter Yefry Ramirez were on the ropes early this afternoon. Literally from the first pitch onward. The Birds looked like a team that was looking forward to their flight home more so than they were playing the game that preceded it. And Cleveland looked like a team keen on winning this game before going onto tomorrow. Ramirez’s line: 3.1 IP, 6 H 5 R (4 earned), 4 BB, 3 K.

Ramirez came out of the bullpen to make this start, however what’s unclear is whether or not Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde was inserting Ramirez into the rotation or if this was simply a bullpen game. My personal opinion is that it’a the latter. Either way, Ramirez set the tone for a tough day all-around for the team. Santana’s RBI-single in the first gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead, which ran to 2-0 on Gonzales’s sac fly-RBI.

The game could have ended right at that point and the end result would have been the same. You can’t win if you can’t score runs. And the O’s got nothing off of Cleveland’s starter Bieber – who was outstanding. Bieber struck out 15 Oriole batters overall in the game. But having said that, at a certain point blowout games like these make guys kind of go into auto-drive just to finish the game.

Cleveland would score on a pass ball in the second, and then a solo homer by Perez and an RBI-groundout in the third. At that point Cleveland was well on it’s way to a blowout victory over the Birds in this series finale.

Gabriel Ynoa was tapped to eat a few innings l, and in essence to take one for the team. With the game out of control, Hyde and his coaching staff have to look forward to tomorrow’s game (and the next series). However Ynoa was unable to finish the game, and the O’s had to turn to Miguel Castro to pitch the eighth. And given that he sent Cleveland down 1-2-3, that eighth inning might have been the highlight of the game for the Orioles.

Going back to Ynoa for a moment, he had an out and runners at first and second in the sixth. He induced a comebacker, giving the O’s a golden shot at nailing the lead runner at third base. However Ynoa air mailed the throw, netting Cleveland yet another run. That was the tale of this game for the Orioles.

The O’s will now head home for a short four-game home stand against New York at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start tomorrow night for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s J.A. Happ. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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