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Baltimore Orioles: Election Day

This isn’t about the Baltimore Orioles. At least in truth, it’s not. But today is Election Day in the United States. And this is my Public Service Announcement for people to get out and vote.

Millions of Americans, myself included, have already voted by way of early voting (and mail-in ballots). I always like voting early on Election Day, but for whatever reason I decided to go in two weeks ago and vote in my precinct. I always feel like I’m a part of something grander than just me and my life by casting a ballot.

And that means regardless of what’s on the ballot. The entire U.S House of Representatives, and one third of the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. I remember in my senior High School Civics class my teacher drilled into our minds that all politics is local. It doesn’t matter if your area’s race(‘s) are national or well followed. They all matter. As does your voice. So make it heard.

And look no further than Oriole Park at Camden Yards as evidence of that. Remember the 30-for-30 on the Baltimore Colts Marching Band – The Band That Wouldn’t Die? Remember the scene where the band went down to the statehouse in Annapolis and played the fight song when the General Assembly was voting on stadium funding? It sent a message, right? And a message well-received at that.

But while it’s hinted at in the documentary (which incidentally was incredibly well done), what’s often missed is that this involved the Orioles also. They wanted a new ballpark, and there was resistance in the statehouse to giving funding for new stadiums. This despite the wounds of the Colts leaving town still being fresh.

The image of the Colts band playing the now Ravens fight song put the vote over the top in the way of funding. There were rumors that the O’s would leave also if they didn’t get a new park. That vote may well have kept them in Baltimore.

So again, all politics is local. If you think your voice isn’t important or that your vote doesn’t matter, again look no further than Camden Yards or M & T Bank Stadium to realize that it does. All politics is local. So please folks, regardless of who you vote for or what your views are, make your voice heard. It’s important.

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Baltimore Orioles: Honor by virtue of Trey Mancini

The Baltimore Orioles traded Trey Mancini to Houston at the trade deadline. We all know the story, capped off by Mancini hitting a dramatic inside-the-park home run in his final plate appearance in the orange & black at Camden Yards. Trey will always be beloved on the Baltimore sports landscape. And I think that all Orioles fans are thrilled that he’s now a World Series champion.

I would also throw in that I would hope most Orioles fans are happy for Houston manager Dusty Baker. His style and his resume always reminded me of former Orioles manager Buck Showalter. And similarly, he’s one of the game’s good guys and is equally as deserving of being a World Series champion as Trey Mancini. I would also submit that by virtue of winning it all, he’s now a first ballot Hall of Fame manager.

However both Mancini and Baker are now part of a bigger discussion regarding the Houston Astros. Normally I try to stay above the fray in terms of my views on a lot of things. (You might be able to decipher my views if you read hard between the lines, but I digress.) Not in this instance.

The Houston Astros are cheaters. In my mind so long as a core group from their 2017 title run remains in place, there will always be a black mark next to that franchise. Some people will say that’s unfair, but I’m sorry – I don’t think it is.

There’s a certain honor amongst baseball players and within baseball circles. It’s a gentleman’s game. That means that yes, you do everything possible to win. The greatest honor you can show to the game is to win and be successful at playing it.

However the unspoken part of that is that you do everything possible to win…within the rules. It wasn’t just a player or two. It was the entire organization. From the top down. They wanted the glory, and they were willing to cheat the game and it’s fans to get it. That’s not okay.

I’ll grant you that lots of teams probably cheat. Houston just got caught. And yes I’m getting caught, they bear the brunt of the scorn for cheating in general. They’re the unfaithful spouse just wanted a moment of pleasure and stepped out of their marriage for a moment. They’re the sales guy who fudges his numbers to take his bonus home. In short, they reap the rewards but they don’t earn them.

I’m not calling the legitimacy of this year’s World Series title into question. But I’m just saying that this franchise will always raise ab eyebrow as a result of what happened in 2017. They’re the team nobody wanted to see win, because now both they and their fans feel the rest of the world should eat some crow for coming after them so viciously.

Well I have news for them; they SHOULD HAVE been gone after with that fervor. THEY CHEATED. They violated the honor that’s so precious in baseball. So no, they weren’t treated unfairly. It’s fine to celebrate this year’s title – I’m all for that, and they and their fans should do that. But don’t get into the you came after us and we STILL won – egg’s on YOUR face territory. Because the legitimacy of your franchise and the honor therein is still very much in question.

In the middle of this fracas remains Trey Mancini. Again, he’ll always be special to Baltimore fans. There’s nothing that I wrote above which applies to him. Same goes for Dusty Baker. In fact, the one thing they got right was bringing such a respected manager in on the heels of the cheating scandal.

Most fans probably were thrilled seeing Mancini get to win a World Series. He’ll always be an Oriole, and needless to say the Orioles had some representation in the winner’s circle last night. Trey Mancini perhaps helped to purify the Houston Astros – in the eyes of Orioles fans. And there’s no more deserving champion than he.

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Baltimore Orioles: Ramon Urias strikes GOLD

The surprises keep on coming for the 2022 Baltimore Orioles. Third baseman Ramon Urias has won the 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove award. The last Oriole to win a Gold Glove was also a third baseman, that being Manny Machado (2015).

Urias only started 98 games at third base this past year, but fielded at a .969 clip. He had 54put out’s and 197 assists. You can look at this as a measuring stick as to how far the organization has come. It means A LOT.

Incidentally, Urias not only joins the aforementioned Manny Machado, but also Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson in terms of royalty at the position. Robinson of course accumulated 16 straight Gold Glove awards for his proficiency at third base. And you can add Ramon Urias to that list now, as he’s won the 2022 Gold Glove award in the American League at third base.

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Baltimore Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde named Manager of the Year by The Sporting News

Baltimore Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde has been named The Sporting News’ Manager of the Year. American League Manager of the Year, that is. Ironically, the previous Oriole manager (that of course being New York Mets’ manager Buck Showalter) was named the National League Manager of the Year.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t “the big” Manager of the Year award. That’s voted upon by the writers, and the results of that vote will come out after the World Series. But given where the Orioles were expected to finish and where they did finish, the award was well-deserved for Brandon Hyde. The Birds thrilled the fans of Baltimore and baseball fans across the nation all summer long. And as a result, the future is bright in Birdland.

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Baltimore Orioles: Sometimes managing to the exception nets results

The Baltimore Orioles were one of the best stories in sports over the summer. However that title’s perhaps been taken over by the team a short drive up I-95. That being the Philadelphia Phillies.

Philadelphia fired Joe Girardi as the manager on June 3rd, with the season appearing to be in the tank. They then elevated bench coach Rob Thompson as the interim manager. (As of October 10th, the interim tag was removed, meaning Thompson is the new manager moving forward.) Had you asked me at the time, I would have said that they were throwing in the towel on their season. It sure seemed that way at the time.

I’ll be very honest; I generally take a very machinistic view of things. Common sense states that in sports when you fire your coach during the season you’re basically giving up. And this is true in every sport. Last season the University of Maryland parted ways with head basketball coach Mark Turgeon early in the year. (Technically it was a mutual separation, but the effect was the same.) I said at the time that the season was over. And I was right. That’s normally the way things go. Sometimes a team can rally slightly and win a few extra games, but you’re in essence admitting that you’re going to be an afterthought the rest of the way.

However what that common sense and yes machinistic view doesn’t take into account are the people and personalities involved. The Philadelphia players almost immediately bought into whatever it was that Rob Thompson was selling. They all but instantaneously gelled as a team, and begun winning games. And somehow they stumbled their way into representing the National League in the World Series.

I’m inclined not to like Philadelphia teams. (Not to mention the “phans.”) But you’re kidding yourself if you don’t recognize what an amazing story the Phillies are. They literally laughed in the face of common sense – which again, states that you’re punting the season when you fire your coach. They turned that on it’s head.

So in that regard this brings up an interesting question. Is changing managers/coaches mid-season actually a strategy for winning now? My answer is a resounding NO. Again, because I’m a simp to common sense and reason. You only get to a point to where you’re going to fire your manager when it’s too late (for that year). You do it only when you’ve crossed the threshold where you’d need a miracle to salvage a good season.

So the rule remains the same. I don’t think we’ll ever get to a spot in sports where changing coaches in the middle of the season is going to become a strategy for winning now. To me it signifies that you’re going to have to start over in some capacity. So then how do we justify in our minds what the Philadelphia Phillies are doing?

There are exceptions to every rule. And the Phillies are certainly one of them. The Orioles fired manager Dave Trembley in 2010, at roughly the same general time in the season that Philadelphia changed managers this year. That 2010 team wasn’t too different than the 2012 team which muscled into the playoffs under Buck Showalter. (There were a few guys added or subtracted in between, but the same general mix of players.) Could that 2010 Orioles team have made something of themselves also?

Obviously we don’t know the answer to that, other than the fact that it just didn’t happen. But I think that in Philadelphia you probably had the talent and the mindset within the players to make a run. And the results indicate that they simply needed a fresh message. Or messenger. Sometimes you just catch lightning in a bottle. (And on a much lower scale, the 2012 O’s did just that.) And yes, it’s the exeption to the rule, and it goes against the grain of common sense. But if you’re a Philadelphia fan, all you can really do is enjoy the ride while it lasts.

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Baltimore Orioles: “Big Mo” means something in the postseason

The Baltimore Orioles made a serious bid to earn a wild card spot in the 2022 postseason. That much we know. But what would have happened had they made it? Could a clue or two lie in how the playoffs have unfolded thus far?

The answer is NO. We can’t give a real response to that question. But what we can say is that the teams who received a bye in the wild card round, didn’t faire too well. Los Angeles, St. Louis, and the New York Mets were all eliminated. The New York Yankees had to go to an elimination game (today) in order to advance, and they at times looked lackadaisical in having to do so. (Houston advanced in a series sweep.)

Instead, Philadelphia and San Diego went from the regular season to the wild card round, and are now in the NLCS. Cleveland did the same thing but lost out after taking New York to the brink. There’s something to this.

The regular season ended on a Wednesday, and the postseason didn’t start for many of these teams until the following Tuesday. Save for the all-star break, that amount of time off is unheard of for a baseball team. The real question is did it affect momentum?

The results, at least for this year, indicate that they did. And IF that’s true…the fact is that momentum means A LOT. In any sport. How often do we hear about NFL coaches like Bill Belichek say they don’t like to take their foot off the gas? The argument FOR running up the score in essence is because it’s tough to turn it back on once it’s been turned off. In other words, MOMENTUM is key.

I’m in favor of the new playoff format. I think it allows good teams to make the postseason, while offering what appears to be a clear benefit to teams who win their divisions with better records. The question however is how clear an advantage is it? I don’t see MLB tinkering with the format to make the lower seeds get a bye – or anything like that. But the early stages of the 2022 postseason would indicate that it might be better to just keep on playing coming out of the regular season. However for all we know, next year might yield different results.

So how would the O’s have faired had they made the playoffs? I tend to think they would have gone to an elimination game in the wild card round and now out. Basically dropping two-of-three. They would have lost with dignity without a doubt, and there would have been no shame in that. Heck, there was no shame in how the season ended in the true reality. However the success of teams like Cleveland, Seattle, and Philadelphia should make Orioles fans yearn for 2023. And it should be a stark reminder that while “big mo” matters, hope always springs eternal.

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Baltimore Orioles 2022 season recap

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of Major League Baseball began the 2022 season late, due of course to the lockout over the winter. It was what it was. The Birds unceremoniously began the season getting swept by the Tampa Rays before their home opener against Milwaukee. But that series sweep was far from a harbinger of how the season was about to go.

Opening Day at Camden Yards dawned bright and full of sunshine. And the finally homestanding Orioles didn’t disappoint, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, 2-0. However April wasn’t easy for the Birds. Several close losses, and an offense that wasn’t clicking. They also lost ace John Means for the season to Tommy John’s surgery. But one month a season doesn’t make.

But once things started clicking, they really clicked. And they clicked incredibly well. This was a team that was predicted to lose 100 games. Suddenly they were getting seven inning outings from no-name starters such as Dean Kremer. Stellar bullpen outings, and contributions at the plate from the likes of Autin Hays, Anthony Santander, and many more. At a certain point, we had a season on our hands.

And I’m not sure when that point was. Just before the All-Star Break they went on a 10-game winning streak. That’s probably what this season will be remembered for. It was during that winning streak that they somehow transformed from a would-be 100 loss team, to a nice story, to a contender. Various national outlets called the O’s the best sports story of the year. The players, and manager Brandon Hyde, ate it up as best as they could. But the fact is that they just kept winning.

At the beginning of August, they traded Trey Mancini, which was a tough moment. It wasn’t as if Mancini wasn’t already cemented into the hearts and minds of Birdland forever. But the fact that he smacked an inside-the-park home run in his final at-bat as an Oriole at Camden Yards didn’t hurt. And it’ll be remembered forever.

There was a brief moment in August where the Orioles were in the final Wild Card spot. For a team that was supposed to lose 100 games, that was an amazing feat. However as the season wound down it was evident that they just didn’t have the horses. And that’s okay. The Orioles finished the season 83-79, and in fourth place in the AL East.

Critics will highlight the fourth place finish. But you have to look at the expectations before passing judgement. They were supposed to lose 100 games. they finished with a winning record for the first time since 2016. THAT’S why Brandon Hyde’s a serious contender to be Manager of the Year. And in my view he should win the honor hands-down.

You also have to look at the division. The top four teams (including the Orioles) in the AL East had records above .500. The lone exception is the Boston Red Sox. In the face of swift competition, the Orioles thrived. I suspect they knocked off 1.5-2 years of their rebuild. And as a result, they’re currently in the hunt for a postseason spot in 2023.

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Baltimore Orioles: Stay on course and do things right

We made it through the 2022 regular season, Baltimore Orioles fans! Yes folks, take a step back and pat yourselves on the back! This season was NOTHING like any of us thought it would be. That goes without saying.

And that’s obviously a good thing. Speaking for myself, I always feel like a groundhog peeking his head out of a hole in the ground once the season ends. It’s almost as if I’ve been blind to all of the other things going on in the world since the beginning of Spring Training. And that grind begins again in just a few short months!

But for now, we sit back and take a breath. In the interim, if something newsworthy happens with the O’s, it will be reported here. But again…let’s catch our breaths just a bit! Sometime presumably early next week I’ll provide a formal season recap. And then we’ll go on from there. But the fact is that there’s NOBODY in Birdland who should be complaining today. None of this well they would have made the postseason had they not traded Mancini, or they would have made the postseason had Brandon Hyde done this or that. Let’s not go down that road, folks.

This season was a rousing success. If you want to point at things in games, why are you looking only at things late in the season? The games in April counted just as much as the ones in August and September. Point being, it’s never just one game or one managerial decision in a game. It’s the sum of the parts.

People should also be advised that down the line they’ll thank the likes of Hyde and Mike Elias for sticking to the plan this year. The O’s could have seen that they had a real shot at going somewhere, and traded a litter of prospects to strengthen their lineup. Sure, that would have given them a better shot at the playoffs – this year. But what happens down the line?

I tend to agree with many of the moves made by the Oriole teams of 2012-2016. They were aimed at winning now and competing now. But what none of us understood was that the championship window was very short-lived. The Washington Nationals are in the same boat, only difference being that they actually won a title in the tail end of their window. Once things started busting up (2017-2018), they didn’t have the necessary prospects to bring up and continue the party. Heck, they didn’t even have the prospects to trade for other players to continue the party.

So the roster sort of rotted from within. That’s nobody’s fault per se, but that’s what happened. The philosophy now is different; the current regime has never been about winning now. It’s been about stockpiling prospects and holding onto them. Sure they could have used some of them to get a heavy hitter or a pitcher this year. But for what? To back into the postseason and bow out after one round? I think they can do better. And starting in 2023, they will.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in game 162 despite a lifetime of memories

Spencer Watkins got the start for the Baltimore Orioles in game 162 this afternoon, the final game of the season. It was also the second game of a twin bill against Toronto, in which the Orioles won the first game. Watkins’ line: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Toronto took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jansen grounded into a force out with the bases loaded. But the Birds tied things up in the sixth on back-to-back doubles, with Kyle Stowers’ RBI-double. Once again reminding the fans of this team’s penchant to come back.

But Toronto wanted to leave their mark on this season finale also. Lopez’s two-run single in the seventh gave Toronto a 3-1 lead. Dinner would add a two-RBI single in the ninth. And the Birds fell, 5-1 in the series finale.

The O’s finished the season with 83 wins. It’s their first winning season since 2016. 31 wins more than last year. After the game ended the fans in attendance gave the team a standing ovation as they spilled out of the dugout. It was a sight to see for sure, as we enter the off season.

On that note, the O’s return to action on Saturday, February 25th vs. Minnesota at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota for the first game of Grapefruit League play. The Orioles have yet to announce a starter, but whomever he is will be opposed by Minnesota’s starter, who’s also yet to be announced. Game time is TBA.

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Baltimore Orioles: Terrin Vavra brings the Birds back from behind

The Baltimore Orioles entered today with two games left in the regular season, and a doubleheader to top it off. Kind of fitting in a way, given that games had to be squeezed in and rescheduled all year due to the lockout. But yet here we are. Mike Baumann got the start for the O’s in game one this afternoon, the penultimate game of the season (Game 161). Baumann’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Baumann pitched a good game, in short, staying in for one pitch too many. Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI-single by Lopez. However Baumann mowed down Toronto hitters after that, albeit pitching out of a couple of jams. With reliever Keegan Akin warming in the bullpen, Baumann put two runners on in the sixth. Unfortunately, that almost cost the O’s.

Moreno smacked a three-run home run with one down, extending Toronto’s lead to 4-0. Baumann was pulled immediately afterwards, but it was a shame to see him have the game blown open on him after such a good outing. And after a strong showing in the majors for part of this season.

But the game wasn’t “blown open” for long. Austin Hays smacked a two-RBI double to left in the last of the sixth, cutting the Toronto lead to 4-2. However that was only an appetizer. There was still some Orioles Magic left in Game 161.

The O’s put two runners on in the last of the eighth, bringing Terrin Vavra to the plate. And Vavra delivered big time. His first major league home run was a three-run homer, and it gave the Orioles the lead. And ultimately the win.

Someone’s first major league home run is always a big deal. But Vavra’s came at a key moment in the game, and it literally lifted the Birds onto victory. Does that make it more memorable? In my view it does.

It also reminded the fans, perhaps for the last time, what these 2022 Orioles were about. They always did their best work after the seventh inning. Game one this afternoon was no exception. That will be the mark of this year’s team, and it’ll be a great thing to remember.

The series and the season conclude in just a few moments at Camden Yards as we enter the final game of the regular season. Spenser Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and Toronto is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just a few moments from now, but the official time has not yet been announced as this is being written.

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Baltimore Orioles fall to Toronto

The Baltimore Orioles entered last night’s final series of the season against Toronto with nothing more than pride on the line. They can’t make the postseason, but they have nothing for which to be ashamed in this season. NOTHING. Dean Kremer made his final start of 2022, and pitched okay against one of the best lineups in the league. Kremer’s line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Kremer gave up an RBI-single to Merrifield in the top of the second, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. One inning later that extended to a 3-0 lead when Guerrero smacked a two-run homer. The Birds netted their lone run in the last of that same third inning when Anthony Santander sent a deep shot to right, which was caught by Hernandez. However with a runner on third, it went as a sac fly-RBI.

Kremer would uncork a wild pitch in the fifth with a runner on third, running the lead to 4-1. The teams sat through a rain delay late in the game of just under an hour, and Toronto added one more run on Chapman’s eighth inning RBI-single once play resumed. And the O’s fell, 5-1.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Mike Baumann gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Mitch White. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: DL Hall notches first career save in Birds’ win

The Baltimore Orioles opened a three-game set at Yankee Stadium this evening, their playoff chances hanging by a thread. The Birds’ elimination number was five, with six games to go. Talk about a must win, and in a tough spot (against New York) at that. Jordan Lyles got the start, and was outstanding. Lyles’ line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K.

Lyles was dealing early, and in turn the Orioles got on the board early. Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-single in the first inning gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. This before Lyles even took the field.

But when he did take the field, he didn’t disappoint. NY’s Aaron Judge of course was looking to hit his 62nd homer of the season – an American League record. It wasn’t going to happen on this night. Oriole pitching held Judge to a base hit.

New York’s Cabrera however would even there score at one in the fifth. His solo homer got New York on the board, and evened the score. However Lyles pitched out of it, limiting the damage to one run.

And one inning later, the Orioles got the lead back. Adley Rutschman would score on a wild pitch (by former Oriole Zach Britton, no less), and they suddenly had the lead back at 2-1. The O’s turned to Felix Bautista for a six-out save. However Bautista seemed to injure his leg in the last of the eighth…

…promoting Brandon Hyde to turn to DL Hall to close out the ninth inning. And close New York out here did, sending them down 1-2-3. And snapping a modest losing streak in the process.

The series continues tomorrow at Yankee Stadium. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Nestor Cortes. Game time is set for just after 7 PM,

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Baltimore Orioles: Post season hopes slipping away

The Baltimore Orioles realistically needed to at least win three-of-four in Boston to have better than an outside shot to make the postseason. Unfortunately with today’s loss at Fenway Park, they dropped three-of-four, and now stand five games out of the final wild card spot. Mike Baumann got the start this afternoon, and was non-decisioned. Baumann’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

To be clear, the Birds are mathematically still alive. So they aren’t quite at the point of guys such as Baumann auditioning for roles next season as of yet. This isn’t quite Spring Training, 2023. But things are trending in the wrong direction, needless to say.

The O’s took the lead in the third inning with Adley Rutschman’s RBI-groundout. Anthony Santander would later reach on a fielding error by Boston first baseman, Casas. And things were looking upwards for the Birds.

But keep in mind that even though they’ve already been eliminated from postseason contention, Fenway Park is Boston’s home yard. Casas redeemed himself in the last of the third with an RBI-double, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. Hernandez would add an RBI-single, and the game was suddenly tied at two.

Boston would take the lead in the sixth with an RBI-groundout, but the O’s did still have a faint heartbeat. Kyle Stowers would tie the game at three with a solo home run in the seventh. However Boston kept the pressure on, and one inning later they took a 5-3 lead on a two-run homer by Hernandez. And that 5-3 tally ended up being the final.

As I said, the O’s now stand five games back. That could go down to 4.5 games, or up to 5.5, depending on what Seattle does this evening. They play at Texas this evening.

The O’s now head to Yankee Stadium for the final road series of the year, against New York tomorrow night. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Domingo German. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds fall in Bean Town

Dean Kremer started for the Baltimore Orioles this evening at Boston’s Fenway Park. He pitched well, falling one inning short of a quality start. Kremer’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

After two consecutive games with big offense, Oriole bats found it tough to get anything going tonight. And sometimes that happens. It did so at an inopportune time for the team given the playoff scenarios, but it does happen.

Boston took a 1-0 lead in the last of the first on an RBI-single by Verdugo, Almonte added a solo homer in the third. Verdugo would come back up again in the last of the sixth, snacking a solo homer of his own. And Boston took a 3-0 lead into the later innings.

The O’s did net a run in the eighth. This off a solo homer by Robinson Chirinos. However the fell at “the Fens,” 3-1. At the time this article is being written, they’re four games out of the wild card spot. That could bounce up to 4.5, or go back to 3.5 games – depending on what Seattle does later. This with seven games to play in the regular season.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Fenway Park. Mike Baumann gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles outlast the rain and Boston

A rain delay in the third inning simply delayed the inevitable for the Baltimore Orioles last night at Fenway Park. Jordan Lyles got the start, but only lasted two innings. Understandable given the rain delay. Lyles’ line: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K.

This game and this series of course was expected to be meaningful. However most people saw it as being meaningful from Boston’s perspective. Boston was eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday. However the game was meaningful. It was just the Orioles who had a shot at the playoffs.

And the Birds didn’t disappoint. Cedric Mullins’ solo homer in the first gave them a 1-0 lead. Jorge Mateo’s RBI-double extended that to 2-0 in the second. Mullins came back to the plate later in the inning, and smacked a two-RBI triple. Mullins would later score on a throwing error, and the Birds led 5-0.

Prior to the rain delay Boston would narrow that lead to 5-2. But once play resumed the O’s kept the pressure on. Kyle Stowers’ RBI-triple in the third ran the lead to 6-2, although Boston would put two on the board and narrow it to 6-5. A Roughned Odor RBI-single would extend the lead to 7-5 in the fifth.

When the smoked cleared in this game, the Orioles has outlasted the BoSox, 14-8. They kept putting the pressure on, and kept putting runs home. They now sit 3.5 games behind Seattle for the final playoff spot.

The series continues tonight at Fenway Park. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Michael Wacha. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall late to Houston

The Baltimore Orioles sent Mike Baumann to the mound this evening against Houston in an attempt to win the series. Baumann didn’t stick around long enough to qualify for the win, but he definitely set the tone. Set the tone for a bit of a wild game, that is. Baumann’s line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Baumann gave up a two-run homer to Altuve in the third inning. However one inning later the O’s had tied things up with Rougned Odor’s two-RBI single. But they weren’t done. Jorge Mateo gave the Orioles the lead on a run-scoring groundout. Cedric Mullins proceeded to smack a two-run homer, giving the O’s a 5-2 lead.

However Houston would put four runs on the board in the fifth to take the lead back at 6-5. Keep in mind folks, they’re one of the best and most complete teams in the American League. Them fighting back was to be expected.

But the O’s have made a career out of fighting back this season. Anthony Santander’s solo homer in the last of the fifth tied the game back up at six. One inning later they had the lead back at 7-6 on an RBI-single by Ryan Mountcastle. However that lead was short-lived also.

Gurriel’s RBI-double in the seventh tied the game back up. This time at seven. Neither team seemed to want to go away. The O’s put a runner on in the last of the eighth, with Anthony Santander coming back to the plate. And Santander sent a shot DEEP into the Baltimore night, landing on the flag court in right field.

That gave the Birds a 9-7 lead. But they had brought closer Felix Bautista in to pitch the eighth, hoping to get a six-out close of the game. (I’d say a six-out save, but Bautista was in line to get the win.) Bautista unfortunately loaded the bases in the ninth, and Bregman grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. But the O’s still led 9-8.

Houston would later tie it on Tucker’s RBI-double. The sad thing? Tucker was down to his final Rougned Odor would smack a solo homer in the last of the ninth, but it was too little too late

The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Christian Javier. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Five-run seventh seals the win for the Birds

Dean Kremer got the start for the Baltimore Orioles this evening in game two of a four-game set at Camden Yards. Kremer didn’t disappoint, this on the heels of Kyle Bradish’s effort last night. Kremer’s line: 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

This was a pitcher’s duel – for the most part. Houston starter, Uriguidy matched Kremer for most of the way. The O’s finally got on the board in the last of the fourth. Adley Rutschman smacked a solo homer, and the O’s led, 1-0

The O’s took that lead into the later innings. As it turned out, they didn’t need any additional runs. Kremer was that good tonight. But they did get their share of insurance runs, sealing the deal.

Terrin Vavra smacked an RBI-single in the seventh, extending the lead to 2-0. The Birds would load the bases later in the inning, and Cedric Mullins’ two-run double busted the game wide open. And the Birds led 4-0.

In a game like this, that feels like an insurmountable lead. And in fact, it was. But the Orioles kept the pressure on, which is a promising sign.

Adley Rutschman would add an RBI-double later in the seventh inning. And Ryan Mountcastle an RBI-single, which closed out the Orioles’ 6-0 victory. This ensures the Orioles a split in this series,

Kremer was outstanding. He pitched a complete game, this after Bradish pitched all but the final put last night. It was simply an outstanding night for Oriole pitching, as well as hitting.

The series continues tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. Mike Baumann gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Framber Valdez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds win as Kyle Bradish pitches a gem

It goes without saying that the return of Trey Mancini with Houston was the storyline of tonight’s game at Camden Yards. But starter Kyle Bradish overwrote the main storyline, and turned in perhaps the best start of his career. Bradish worked the corners of the plate the entire game, and pitched a two-hit shutout. Bradish’s line: 8.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K.

That stat line speaks for itself. Bradish threw his first complete game of his big league career tonight. He was pitching-to-contact, and Houston was swinging away. But Bradish was overpowering them all night.

As I said above, the main storyline of tonight’s game was always going to be Trey Mancini. The Orioles honored him on the scoreboard with a video before the game, and the fans gave him a standing ovation when he was announced before his first at-bat. And deservedly so. But needless to say, it wasn’t the last time Orioles fans would be standing and applauding.

The O’s put two runners in scoring position in the last of the second. Rougned Odor came to the plate, and his two-RBI single gave the O’s a 2-0 lead. And that’s all they would need.

Bradish, as I said, pitched the game of his life. He took a perfect game into the sixth before giving up a base hit. And he made it to two outs in the ninth before allowing a second hit with two outs in the ninth. At that point Brandon Hyde went to the bullpen.

The O’s are still battling, which is a good sign. Whether they make it over the hump and into the postseason remains to be seen. However this was their 78th win of the season, three shy of a .500 record. Four shy of a winning record. This season is already a rousing success.

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

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Baltimore Orioles: Jordan Lyles goes the distance

The question at hand is whether or not tonight’s win is too little too late for the Baltimore Orioles. Regarding the postseason, that is. But one way or the other, the effort was perfect for tonight in the series finale against Detroit, started by Jordan Lyles. Lyles’ line: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

Lyles became the first Oriole pitcher this season to pitch a complete game. Which I find somewhat surprising, as good as this season’s been for the Orioles. However as you’ll remember, this pitching staff did struggle early in the season. But needless to say, he was the first pitcher on the staff to pitch a complete game this year. Also Lyles’ first complete game in a decade.

The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the third on Adley Rutschman’s fielder’s choice-RBI. Gunnar Henderson followed with an RBI-single, and Ryan Mountcastle with a sac fly-RBI. The O’s led 3-0 after three.

Kyle Stowers added a two-run home run in the sixth. This also highlights how the young guns of this organization have really grabbed the bill by the horns down the stretch this year. It bodes well for the future.

Lyles gave up his lone run in the seventh on a solo homer by Carpenter. But the Orioles didn’t lay off the pressure. Robinson Chirinos and Adley Rutschman added RBI-singles in the last of the eighth, closing out an 8-1 victory for the Birds.

For the record, the Orioles are 77-71 with this win. If they can win four more games, they’ll finish with a .500 record. Five or more, and they’ll finish 2022 with a WINNING record. What a feat that would be.

The O’s now turn their attention to the Houston Astros (and former Oriole Trey Mancini), as the teams open up a four-game set tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Justin Verlander. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles battle in loss

Detroit is coming off as a buzz saw for the Baltimore Orioles. Austin Voth got the start for the Birds this evening. While he only lasted five innings, he kept the Orioles in the ballgame. Voth’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Voth’s two runs surrendered came on a two-run homer in the third by Baddoo. After Voth left the game Carpenter surrendered a solo shot in the seventh. And the Birds trailed, 3-0.

But they did fight back. In a game that was somewhat blasé in terms of offense, the O’s got to within one. Gunnar Henderson smacked his first Camden Yards home run in the last of the eighth – a two-run shot.

But the O’s couldn’t quite make it over the hump, falling 3-2. They need to get their offensive woes figured out, and soon. Or they risk falling out of the race.

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

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Baltimore Orioles narrowly avoid no-no

Tyler Wells got the start tonight for the Baltimore Orioles, and got knocked around. But the entire Orioles team in effect got knocked around. They ran into a buzz saw that was Detroit this evening at Camden Yards. Wells’ line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a run-scoring single by Cabrera. That lead would hold until the fourth when Wells would walk in a run, uncork a wild pitch to net a second, and then give up an RBI-single and an RBI-double. When the smoke cleared the Birds trailed 6-0 after four.

But it got worse for the O’s. Green’s two-RBI single in the sixth would extend the lead to 8-0. Detroit would tag on a run in the seventh, and two more in the ninth. And sent the O’s home with a 9-0 loss.

The story of the game however was Detroit starter, Tyler Alexander. He pitched seven innings, and gave up two hits. The O’s were being no-hit until the seventh inning.

Luckily however, they managed to get a hit. Actually, two. However it’s just a matter of pride to say you at least got a hit, or didn’t get no-no’d. It doesn’t help the O’s in terms of winning the game, or in the post-season chase.

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

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Baltimore Orioles fall in the Gunnar Henderson show

Kyle Bradish got the start and took the loss for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon at Rogers Centre. However Gunnar Henderson proved once again (and for the second straight game) that he’s going to be one of the guys to lead this team moving onward. Bradish’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, (3 earned), 1 BB, 3 K.

The O’s surrendered a run in the first on a sac fly-RBI. Springer added a two-RBI single in the second, and the O’s trailed 3-0. However the O’s tried to make a game of it. They put two runners on in the third, and Gunnar Henderson’s two-RBI double cut the lead to 3-2.

But the O’s found the game out of reach in the fifth. Tapia’s bases-clearing double gave them a 6-2 lead. Two of those runs were unearned due to an error, but obviously they all counted.

Terrin Vavra would add an RBI-single in the eighth, but the O’s fell, 6-3. Gunnar Henderson was the runner who scored there late. Since coming up, he’s put the rest of the league on notice that he’s going to be a force for years to come. Even though Toronto’s taken the first two games of this series, they’ve certainly gotten the message that Henderson’s the future of Orioles’ baseball.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Rogers Centre. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alek Manoah. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Gunnar Henderson homers late in Birds’ loss

Jordan Lyles got the start for the Baltimore Orioles last night in Toronto. Almost predictably, Lyles and the Birds struggled against a Toronto offense that’s all but hellbent on making the Orioles’ lives miserable. Lyles’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Toronto used last night as a “bullpen game,” which is always risky. But the fact is that it worked. The O’s didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning.

The O’s fell behind early on a solo homer by Chapman in the second. However once they got that aforementioned first hit, they had the lead for awhile. Adley Rutschman smacked a solo homer in the fourth, giving the O’s a 2-1 lead.

But that only lasted for an inning. Springer’s three-run homer in the fifth put Toronto ahead, 4-2. Chapman would haunt the Birds again in the sixth with a two-run shot, and suddenly the O’s trailed 6-2.

The sad thing about that go-ahead three-run homer by Springer was that Jordan Lyles was a strike away from getting out of the inning. That’s almost been a theme this year, with opposing hitters doing massive damage with two outs, or on two-strike counts. Brandon Hyde on the Springer homer:

“I think he just hung a curveball there 3-2. But you know that made it a 4-2 game there in the fifth inning and we just didn’t score enough runs. We have to be able to outscore these guys. They have a great offense and Chapman took us deep twice. We just didn’t score many runs tonight.”

Quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports

However the O’s also pulled a stunt like that. It was garbage time, but down to their final strike of the game, Gunnar Henderson smacked a solo homer in the ninth. That’s a very good sign for the future, needless to say.

The series continues this afternoon at Rogers Centre. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Jose Berrios. Game time is set for just after 3 PM. K

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Baltimore Orioles: Gunnar Henderson spearheads four-run seventh in DC sweep

Tyler Wells got the start this evening for the Baltimore Orioles this evening in the series finale against Washington at Nationals Park. Wells was once again in a pitch count, similar to his last outing against Boston; as we know, he just came off the IL last week. He threw 50 pitches total, 33 for strikes. Wells’ line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

The O’s had a golden opportunity in the second inning to do some damage, but they came away with only one run. They had the bases loaded with nobody out. However Ryan McKenna grounded into a force out at home plate for the first out. Gunnar Henderson would plate a run with an RBI-groundout, but that’s all the Birds could muster. I’ve said many times that the one benefit for the team in the field with the bases loaded is that you have a force at every base. And Washington took full advantage.

Wells gave up two solo homers, one to Adams in the third, and one to Voit in the fourth. This before leaving the game due to the aforementioned pitch count. It appeared however that he might be on the hook for the loss. Then the seventh inning happened.

With Washington’s starter Corbin (who pitched an outstanding game) out in the top of the seventh, the Birds put the first two runners on base, still trailing 2-1. However Gunnar Henderson sent a tight grounder down the left field line and into the corner. It was a given that the O’s were going to take the lead given the placement of the ball. Both runners on base scored…

…however Washington’s left fielder (Hernandez) misplayed the ball. That allowed Henderson to round third and cruise into home plate. The play was ruled a two-RBI triple and an E7. However it was the same effect as an inside-the-park home run, and the Orioles led 4-2.

Jorge Mateo came up next, and smacked a no-doubter out of the park and deep into the Federal evening sky. Gunnar Henderson would add an RBI-double in the eighth. And the Birds took this game 6-2, swept the series in DC, and won the season series with Washington.

While the O’s did squander an opportunity early with the bases loaded, they made up for it late. And as well all know, they do their best work in the later innings. Tonight was no exception. They did what they had to do, and in the process netted themselves a big win in terms of the playoff picture.

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Baltimore Orioles: Seven games from .500 in DC

The Baltimore Orioles opened a short two-game set against Washington this evening at Nationals Park. Technically two road games, but still certainly within the Birds’ home region. And that was reflected in the stands, with several LET’S GO O’s chants breaking out. Dean Kremer got the start for the Birds this evening in DC. Kremer’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

The O’s gave Kremer the lead before he even took the field. Gunnar Henderson’s RBI-single got the O’s on the board with a 1-0 lead. However Washington tied the score in the bottom half of the inning with Garcia’s RBI-double. A soft blooper that fell in fair territory in left field.

Two innings later Washington took a 3-1 lead in the third. Voit’s RBI-single put them one ahead, and Garcia grounded into a force out which yielded a run. And the O’s trailed – but for only a brief moment.

Cedric Mullins came up with runners on in the fourth, and grounded into a double-play. This forced in a run, cutting the Washington lead to 3-2. However that tally didn’t last long either. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a solo homer in the fifth, tying the score at three. Austin Hays added an RBI-double, giving the Orioles a 4-3 lead.

Following Kremer’s departure the bullpen shut Washington down. And as we all know, that’s been a huge part of the reason this season has unfolded the way it has. Good starting pitching, timely hitting, and a strong bullpen to shut things down late.

This win put the Orioles at 74-67 on the year. Seven more wins and they’ll be at 81, which of course guarantees them a non-losing season. The postseason race is what it is. Whatever happens, is going to happen. But few would have predicted the O’s to win 81 plus games. Brandon Hyde has a rightful claim to be the Manager of the Year.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Nationals Park. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Patrick Corbin. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Gunnar Henderson puts Birds back on track

Last night we saw rookie Gunnar Henderson step up in the clutch for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s only the most recent new face to make an impact in a big moment, which also includes Austin Voth, last night’s starter. Voth’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

It’s obvious that Brandon Hyde’s managing the games differently than he has to this point. Voth was removed after only four innings. Granted, Hyde would do that earlier in the season, and at times I was critical of it. But the situation in which the Orioles find themselves now, posturing for a playoff spot, is vastly different. You have to manage games differently, and that means matching up earlier in big games if need be.

Voth gave up a two-run homer to Bogaerts in the third inning. Other than that, Oriole pitching was strong, the bullpen was strong, and they mowed down Boston hitters as the game wore on.

The Birds loaded the bases on the sixth, as Boston starter Bello started to wear down. After they brought in reliever Kaleb Ort, Cedric Mullins scored from third in a passed ball. That cut the Boston lead in half at 2-1.

Gunnar Henderson strode to the plate later in the inning with the bases once again loaded. And the rookie came through in the clutch when the team needed him most. His two-RBI double gave the O’s the lead at 3-2. Which due to the strength of the Oriole bullpen, turned into a 3-2 win.

And a big win at that. Seattle fell to Atlanta last night, and the Orioles is stand four games out of the final wild card spot. And they placed Boston at 10.5 games out. For those who thought that the season was over after the Toronto series, remember that they say if you’re within five games at Labor Day, you have a fighting chance.

The series continues late this evening at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Michael Wacha. Game time is set for just after 5 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in series finale

The Baltimore Orioles called Tyler Wells up from the IL last night, and are expecting him to be in the starting rotation for the rest of the season. He wasn’t in the game for long against Toronto last night, but he did start. Wells’ line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

Wells was obviously on a pitch count, as he was told late Tuesday night that he was coming back up off the IL:

Obviously, very excited to kind of come back and be a part of it and try to help the push. It is going to be a tough month. Obviously, we face these guys quite a bit. I believe that we have quite a few more in-division games as well, so it’s going to be a competitive month, but I think at the same time, too, it’s also going to be worth it in the end. I’m hoping that we continue to push and we continue to battle, and if we continue to play the way we’ve been playing as of late, hopefully we can push and surprise a lot of people.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Ryan Mountcastle smacked an RBI-double in the last of the first to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. He scored Anthony Santander, who went from first to home on the play. The Orioles have been getting great base running the past couple of months, which I suspect is a huge part of their success.

Unfortunately however, that was the only time an Oriole would cross the plate. Dean Kremer followed Wells to the mound, and was the victim of some bad luck in the fifth inning. Toronto had tied the score in the second on a fielder’s choice. They did it again in the fifth, taking a 2-1 lead.

Kirk added an RBI-single later in the inning. Again, there’s some luck involved in this. It was an infield single to Rougned Odor. However the angle wasn’t such that Mateo had enough time to turn a double-play and end the inning. So instead, it pushed a run across.

Further compounding Kremer’s and the Orioles’ misfortune was that Adley Rutschman tried to throw behind a runner at first later in the inning. But it was an errant throw, allowing another run to score. And the Birds ended up falling, 4-1. They dropped three-of-four to Toronto, and sit 4.5 games out of a playoff spot.

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Baltimore Orioles: Bruce Zimmermann takes one for the team in Birds’ loss

Jordan Lyles was supposed to start game two of today’s doubleheader against Toronto for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. However he woke up “under the weather” this morning, and Brandon Hyde moved him back to starting the night cap. However he was unable to go even for the second game, and reliever Keegan Akin was told he’d be starting about ten minutes before first pitch. Akin’s line: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Given the timeframe of when he found out he was starting, Akin was really good. He had the lead early when Roughned Odor smacked a solo homer in the last of the second. However Bichette smacked a three-run homer in the third, giving Toronto a 3-1 lead. Two of those runs were charged to Akin, putting him in line for the loss.

However the biggest takeaway from this game was Bruce Zimmermann, who was activated between games. He came in to pitch the fourth, and despite giving up five runs, pitched the duration of the game. He lobbied to come back out and pitch the ninth, as he knew he’d be doing the team a favor by saving a reliever. Despite dropping this doubleheader, there are still two games to play in this series (tomorrow and Wednesday). And basically a whole month’s worth of games to play, which will decide this Orioles’ team’s fate for 2022. Zimmermann’s effort means a lot. And it shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Toronto got solo home runs in the sixth by Bichette and Biggio. They also got a two-RBI double by Bradley (JR), extending their lead to 7-1. The O’s would attempt a small rally, although it’s tough to come from six down in just a few innings. They loaded the bases in the seventh, and Roughned Odor was awarded home plate on catcher’s interference. Adley Rutschman grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI later in the inning as well.

Prior to that however, Toronto’s Bichette smacked his third solo homer of the ballgame, and the O’s finished the seventh inning down 8-3. Bichette would finally record an out in the ninth, leaving him at 3-for-4 on day, with three homers.

Rutschman would add a solo home run in the last of the ninth, but the O’s fell 8-3. They’re now 4.5 games back of Toronto for a wild card spot. You hate to get swept in a doubleheader, especially at this stage of the season, and in the position in which the O’s find themselves. And at home on top of that. But there’s still a lot of baseball left to play. And a lot of baseball against Toronto at that.

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

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Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander homers twice but Birds come up flat

The Baltimore Orioles looked to knock Toronto down a leg this afternoon in the first of two games today at Camden Yards. They called Mike Baumann up from triple-A to make the start. He was also the 29th man on the roster, as permitted under the rules governing doubleheaders. Baumann’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Baumann made his first big league start today, although he did spend some time technically in the big leagues earlier this year on the Birds’ taxi squad. He didn’t look “crisp but certainly not awful. He made some good pitches, and he has a few things upon which to build.

Anthony Santander gave the O’s the lead in the last of the first at 1-0. Toronto would tie it up in the second on an RBI-single by Biggio. And the game would be tied until the third when Kirk would ground into a fielder’s choice, scoring a run. Bichette would come up in the fifth, and ground into a fielder’s choice of his own, giving Toronto a 3-1 lead.

On both of the aforementioned fielder’s choice’s, Gunnar Henderson flubbed balls – leading to a run being scored. You can excuse that, given the fact that he’s fresh up last week from the minors for the first time. Also given how hot he’s started. However those are mistakes that can and will cost you games, even given the fact that Henderson’s a rookie. Incidentally neither play was scored an error, as you can’t assume a double-play; and the O’s did record outs on the plays.

The Birds did attempt to rally a couple of times, however. Ryan Mountcastle smacked an RBI-double in the sixth. However come the eighth Hernandez smacked a two-run home run, giving Toronto some insurance. And the O’s rallied AGAIN, with Anthony Santander smacking a solo homer in the last of the eighth. However Toronto put three across in the ninth, giving them a 7-3 lead in the first of a twin bill.

The Orioles’ dugout and manager Brandon Hyde were livid for most of the game (along with the crowd). Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez’s strike zone seemed inconsistent – at best. Numerous Oriole hitters were rung up on pitches that didn’t appear close to the zone. Yet when the O’s were in the field those same pitches were called balls. That certainly didn’t help matters.

The Orioles also surrendered hits late in the game on two-strike counts. Again, those types of things can’t happen – especially in a playoff push. When you get to two strikes, you need to put the hitter away. But the good news is that they’ll have another chance to do that, today!

The series (and the doubleheader) continues later this afternoon at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Jose Berrios. Game time is set for approximately 5:05 PM this afternoon.

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Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle breaks out in another Oriole win

Austin Voth took to the mound for the Baltimore Orioles against Oakland last night, as they looked to win their fifth consecutive series. He had a bit of a rough go in the first inning, but only gave up one run. He didn’t stick around long enough to qualify for the win, however. Voth’s line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Oakland loaded the bases in the first inning, and they took a 1-0 lead on a sac fly-RBI by Murphy. But that lead was short-lived. When you’re a team out of contention (and Oakland was eliminated from playoff contention about a week ago) and you’re playing a team IN contention. That’s how it can sometimes go. Nobody knows and understands that better than the O’s.

Ryan Mountcastle smacked a two-run homer in the last of the first, giving the Orioles the lead at 2-1. Mountcastle had been in a slump for the past few weeks, but in the past few games his bat had showed signs of coming to life. And it couldn’t come at a better moment in the season.

Just to show he wasn’t kissing Mountcastle did the same thing in his next at-bat. He came up again in the third with one man on, and smacked another two-run homer. One inning later in the fourth, it was Cedric Mullins’ and Anthony Santander’s turns respectively. Their solo home runs broke the game wide open at 6-1.

Adley Rutschman would add an RBI-single in that fourth inning as well. However the competitive part of the game was over. Oakland was spotted an early one-run lead, but quickly stepped aside. Rutschman would add a solo homer of his own in the eighth, and the Birds took this one, 8-1.

As I said, Mountcastle appearing to put his slump to bed is a great sign. And it couldn’t happen at a better time, as this is shaping up to be the biggest month of consequence for the Birds in years. They need all of their weapons to overcome the teams in front of them and get to the Promise Land.

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

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Baltimore Orioles overcome Cleveland with solo homers

The Baltimore Orioles set out to take this series with Cleveland this week, and they’ve done just that. Kyle Bradish went to the mound this evening in the series finale, and pitched a quality start. He put on a virtuoso performance, setting the Birds up for success in this game. And this series. Bradish’s line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

This may be the best start of Kyle Bradish’s career. It was definitely one of them, needless to say. He put the Orioles in a spot to win and then some. And in the big leagues, that’s the name of the game for starting pitchers.

The O’s led from the beginning in this one. Cedric Mullins hit the first pitch of the game out of the ballpark, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead. That was followed up a little later in the inning with another solo homer, this one by Anthony Santander.

Thus before Bradish even took the field, he led the game, 2-0. Ryan Mountcastle would add an additional solo shot in the fourth, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead. And that would in effect act as an insurance run.

The rest was all Kyle Bradish. And of course Gunnar Henderson, who made several dazzling plays at shortstop this evening. Overall, it’s another win, and another series win for the O’s. Which is exactly what they need now. And always.

It was also good to see Ryan Mountcastle homer tonight. Coming into the ballgame, he had 5 hits in 113 at-bats in the last 30 games. So seeing him break out tonight with a home run was good to see. And I know the O’s are hoping that it bodes well for September. And the final push for the Promise Land, that being the postseason.

The O’s now head for home to open a three-game set with Oakland at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s JP Sears. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Gunnar Henderson with a debut for all seasons

The Baltimore Orioles looked to even the series with Cleveland tonight at Progressive Field, and in doing so called up their top prospect in Gunnar Henderson. Luckily, he didn’t disappoint. Neither did starter Jordan Lyles, although it wasn’t always rosy so to speak. Lyles’ line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Lyles pitched out of a few situations over the course of his start, but never broke. He pitched out of a bases loaded situation in the fourth, and a few others. He never surrendered a run, and pitched to a quality start.

The Orioles also loaded the bases at one point, this in the top of the third. And Ramon Urias drew a walk, forcing in a run. And the O’s took a 1-0 lead.

Gunnar Henderson lined out in his first at-bat. This of course is a day he’ll always remember, his big league debut. His family was flown into Cleveland for the game to be there for him. But come his second at-bat, Henderson further stamped an unforgettable day with his personal insignia.

Henderson led off the fourth, and on a 2-2 pitch sent a deep shot to right center. The ball made it into the grandstand, giving Henderson his first major league hit, and his first major league home run – all in one package! He also gave the Birds a 2-0 lead.

If I were Henderson, I’d retire tonight. Heck, I might have retired after running the bases. As they said on Seinfeld, you always “end on a high!” But obviously the Orioles and Orioles fans are glad that isn’t happening. Henderson also followed that up with a hard base hit. A memorable evening for the Henderson family all around.

Ramon Urias added a two-run homer in the eighth, giving the O’s some insurance. And they cruised to a 4-0 victory. Which is huge for the playoff.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Progressive Field. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Shane Bieber. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in game one in Cleveland

Spencer Watkins got the start for the Baltimore Orioles this evening at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Watkins pitched three decent innings. But the second time through the order, Cleveland figured him out. Watkins line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

It’s tough to hang this loss squarely on Watkins. It’s always a team effort – win or lose. The lone Orioles’ run came in the top of the second when Ryan Mountcastle plated a run with a sac fly-RBI, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead.

Unless your pitching is just lights out on that particular night, it’s tough to win a game 1-0. And as I said, Cleveland figured Watkins out second time through the batting order. Naylor smacked a two-run homer in the last of the fourth. That got Cleveland on the board, and gave them a 2-1 lead.

One inning later they broke the game wide open. Kwan’s two-RBI double extended their lead to 4-1. Rosario added a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, and Cleveland led 5-1.

The good news is that the Orioles’ ‘pen didn’t give up a run. And they pitched about half the ballgame. But as we’ve said many times before, you aren’t going to win them all. Not even close. You come back tomorrow and try again.

The series continues tomorrow night at Progressive Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Starting pitching strong but Birds fall in Houston finale

You can’t get better starting pitching than the Baltimore Orioles got today and this weekend overall in Houston. Austin Voth got the start, pitching to a quality start in the series finale at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Voth’s line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

One might argue that the Orioles had a legitimate gripe or two in this game, starting with the home plate umpire. The strike zone seemed to revolve a bit over the course of the game. But the way that the fifth inning unfolded didn’t sit well with the Birds.

Jorge Mateo smacked a double to center, giving the O’s a runner in scoring position in a 0-0 tie. Mateo tried to extend the double into a triple, and was thrown out. Or was he?

The Orioles challenged the play. It was close, needless to say. Replays seemed to show that Mateo got his left arm into the bag before the tag came down. But according to the umpires, there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field. Needless to say, the Orioles’ dugout wasn’t thrilled.

Gurriel smacked a two-RBI single in the seventh, giving Houston a 2-0 lead. Bregman’s added a solo homer in the eighth. The O’s did rally, on an RBI-single in the ninth. They also had the tying run at the plate, but couldn’t convert.

The O’s fell today, but left Houston having taken two-of-three from the best team in the American League. That’s an amazing feat, and end of the day, they left town in better shape than when they arrived. Needless to say, these Orioles are for real.

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Baltimore Orioles: Ramon Urias swings, Bradish deals, Birds win

Kyle Bradish became the first Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher to pitch against Trey Mancini last night in Houston. The Birds of course traded Mancini to Houston last month, and faced him as an opponent last night for the first time. And both Bradish and his teammates made the most of it. Bradish’s line: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

Before the game Mancini and his former Orioles coaches and teammates exchanged hugs and pleasantries. Mancini didn’t want to be traded away. And the Orioles didn’t really want to trade him. But as we all know, it’s a business. And trading Mancini was the right business move.

Mancini was actually one of the lone Houston Astros that got on base against Bradish. He drew a walk – one of two Bradish issued. Incidentally and as you can see from his stat line above, Bradish threw eight innings of two hit ball. He was really good, obviously. He did more than put the O’s in a spot to win.

Ramon Urias smacked a two-run homer in the sixth inning. To that point it had been a pitcher’s duel. And it remained a pitcher’s duel. Bradish wasn’t about to give up a run. And Dillon Tate closer Houston out in the ninth inning, sealing the win.

And what a win it was! Houston has the best record in the American League. This is certainly a measuring stick series for the O’s, in terms of whether they can compete with the creme de la crème of the American League. So far so good, is all you can really say. The O’s are 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.

The series continues this evening at Minute Maid Park. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Jose Urquidy. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Kyle Stowers’ first homer couldn’t come at a better time

The Baltimore Orioles sent Jordan Lyles to the mound last night in hopes of winning the series with the ChiSox. He started off in the most inauspicious manner possible – by giving up a solo homer on the first pitch. But he also set the tone in hopes that Oriole bars could pick him up. Lyles’ line: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R (1 earned), 0 BB, 2 K.

Vaughn hit the first pitch of the game out of the ballpark. So the O’s found themselves in an early hole. However Anthony Santander’s two-run homer in the last of the first gave the Orioles the lead at 2-1. This foreshadowed Chicago being reminded that no matter what, you NEVER count these Birds out so long as there’s game left to play.

The Orioles’ lead held until the seventh inning. Terrin Vavra’s errant throw on a routine play allowed a run to score, tying the game at two. I’ve said this a million times (both on runs the Orioles score and runs scored by the opponent), but when you get guys on base things can happen. One inning later in the eighth Chicago took the lead back at 3-2 on Abreu’s RBI-single.

We went to the last of the ninth with the Birds still trailing 3-2. This was a huge game given the playoff standings (the O’s entered the game three games out of a wild card spot behind Seattle). And with the O’s heading to Houston this weekend, you’d hate to have dropped two-of-three at home to Chicago. But it looked like things were trending in that direction.

Kyle Stowers came to the plate with two outs in the ninth. The rookie was just looking to get on base. But instead he added his name to a long list of Orioles who historically have left their mark on opponents by coming through in the clutch. This phenomenon is best known as Orioles Magic.

Stowers didn’t just “get on base” to extend the game. Instead he picked the most opportune moment possible to smack his first career home run, tying the game at three. A player’s first career home run is always exciting. But how often does it occur in such a clutch moment in such a huge game? That’s about as clutch as you’re going to get.

Adding to the legend of the story was the fact that the Birds won the thing on a run-scoring single by Anthony Santander in the 11th. And the O’s moved to within 2.5 games of the final wild card spot. Oh and they thrilled the fans once again. Big time.

Perhaps the most striking part of the Stowers home run was what happened two pitches earlier. Chicago had brought in Engel as a defensive replacement in left field. Stowers appeared to have ended the game by sending a foul pop down the left field line. It was a fairly routine play…but Engel dropped it. The game would have been over, but Engel dropped the ball. And Stowers went on to hit that home run, that few in Birdland will ever forget.

The O’s now head to Houston for the first of a three-game series tonight at Minute Maid Park. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Lance McCullers. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds drop one to ChiSox

Spencer Watkins got the start last night for the Baltimore Orioles against Chicago. He pitched to a quality start, but the fact is that Oriole bats couldn’t get untracked in time to deliver a win. Chicago took the lead against Watkins, and never surrendered it – tagging Watkins with the loss. Watkins’ line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-RBI single by Sheets. (This has been said ad hoc, but Sheets is a Baltimore area native, and is the son of former Oriole Larry Sheets.) But those were the only two runs Spencer Watkins gave up. Hence the fact that he pitched to a quality start.

The Orioles got on the board in the last of the fourth on an RBI-groundout by Ryan Mountcastle. The O’s also stranded a runner at third in the sixth, which is a no-no in one-run game. It usually comes back to haunt you.

And sure enough, it did. Sheets struck again in the seventh. His RBI-single gave Chicago a 3-1 lead. Chicago would bet an additional run on a wild pitch in the eighth, and a fifth run on an RBI-single. The Birds would offer a slight rally in the last of the ninth on Austin Hays’ two-run homer, but they wound up falling short.

The series concludes this evening at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Lance Lynn. Game time is set for just after 7 PN.

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Baltimore Orioles: #RIPFlanny

Baltimore Orioles fans won’t ever forget this day from 2011. It was August 24, 2011 that former Oriole great turned broadcaster, Mike Flanagan, passed away. I swore to myself on that day that so long as I penned a version of this column, I’d commemorate Flanagan’s death.

One year later in 2012, the Orioles were in the midst of a season much like they’re having here in 2022. They came out of nowhere, had a magical season, and thrust their way into the playoffs, and into the hearts and minds of a new generation of fans. For much of that season I remember thinking how proud Mike Flanagan would have been to have seen that.

And the same is still true. This franchise has truly risen from the ashes in a sense – the ashes of 2018-2021. And it’s happened much quicker than anyone would have otherwise thought. But again, my thoughts go back to Flanagan – especially on this day. He loved this franchise. He loved being an Oriole, and he loved Baltimore. He would have loved to have seen the rebirth of the franchise that’s occurring now.

However as Billy Joel sings in TWO THOUSAND YEARS, “time is relentless.” Death is a natural part of life. And nature dictates that Mike Flanagan isn’t here any longer. But we can never forget him, or the imprint that he left on the fans and the city. He’ll never be forgotten – not by a long shot. 11 years later, rest in peace, Mike Flanagan.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds continue to party

Following the Boston series and a day off, the Baltimore Orioles opened up a three-game set against the ChiSox this evening at Camden Yards. Austin Voth got the start, and did his job by putting the O’s in a spot to win the game. Voth’s line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

The Birds fell behind early in this one. Jimenez smacked a two-run homer in the first inning, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead. This before the crowd even settled in

But the O’s battled back. They put two runners on in the last of the first. And as a result, the Birds didn’t trail for long. Because Ryan Mountcastle smacked a three-run homer, giving the O’d a 3-2 lead.

They would add to their lead again in the sixth. Anthony Santander’s run-scoring single put the Orioles ahead 4-2. However an inning later, Vaughn’s RBI-single would bring Chicago to within two at 4-3.

But the last of the seventh brought an insurance run for the O’s. Jorge Mateo’s single brought home an insurance run for the O’s. And with the fickle nature of bullpens on 2022, that was a huge thing.

This team is loud, proud, and focused. I can think of no greater reward for them than to take the fans to the “promise land.” But even if they fall short, they’ve restored the team’s standing in Baltimore simply by playing meaningful games in August. And September.

The series continues tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Lucas Giolito. Game is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: All my rowdy friends were there on Sunday night!

The Baltimore Orioles appeared on Sunday Night Baseball last night for the first time in years. This in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, PA, where they completed their series against Boston. Dean Kremer got the start for the O’s, and he put the O’s in a spot to win. Kremer’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

The O’s got on the board early with two RBI-singles. One by Anthony Santander, and an infield single by Ramon Urias. Boston would get on the board in the second when Hernandez smacked an RBI-single of his own.

And Boston did rally, albeit late. Cordero’s solo homer in the eighth inning tied the game at two. But the O’s out a stop to Boston’s rally with one of their own. They loaded the bases in the last of the eighth, bringing Jorge Mateo to the plate. And Mateo cleared the bases with a double, giving the Birds a 5-2 lead.

Boston would get one back on a solo homer by Bogaerts in the ninth, but the Birds closed out a 5-3 win. By winning this game, they not only won the Little League Classic, but they won this three-game series against Boston. Which for the playoff chase, is a huge thing.

The O’s are 2.5 games out of a wild card spot. The league should be thanking them, because one of their annual showcase games had major playoff implications. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that the O’s/Boston game in Williamsport would have been important for the playoffs, however BECAUSE of the Orioles?!

And I think that this Little League Classic game is a great thing. It’s a little strenuous on the players because you force two teams to travel to Williamsport, PA during a series and play a game on Sunday Night. However I think it’s a great way of embracing the game at it’s core, and embracing youth. And make no mistake that a national audience got to see the showcasing of a franchise that’s turned a corner, and is going to be a huge part of the immediate future of baseball in terms of wins and losses.

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Baltimore Orioles: Birds fall to Boston

Kyle Bradish got the start this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles against Boston at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. While it was far from stellar, Bradish didn’t get much run support. It appeared that the Birds left all of their runs in Friday night’s game. Bradish’s line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

Bradish made it to the fifth inning without giving up a run. As can often be the case, third time through the order got him. Verdugo’s RBI-single gave Boston a 1-0 lead. One inning later Hernandez smacked a two-run homer, and they extended their lead to 3-0.

The Orioles did rally, however. As has been demonstrated, you never count this team out. The Birds put two runners on in the seventh, and Kyle Stovers’ RBI-groundout cut the Boston lead to 3-1. Jorge Mateo also scored on a pass ball, and the O’s were to within one at 3-2.

The teams would trade runs in the ninth, with Boston getting theirs on an RBI-double, the three Orioles’ run coming on another RBI-groundout by Stowers. But the Birds couldn’t push another runs across, and fell, 4-3.

This is a bit of a strange series, as it now shifts to Muncy Bank Ballpark in Williamsport, PA for the finale. Obviously that‘s the site of the Little League World Series, and the teams will play in the Little League Classic tomorrow on Sunday Night Baseball. The game remains technically an Orioles’ home game, and is the series finale.

So yes, tomorrow night the series concludes at the aforementioned Muncy Bank Ballpark. Dean Kremer gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall just short against Chicago

The Baltimore Orioles made up a previous rainout this afternoon at Camden Yards against the Chicago Cubs. Spencer Watkins got the start, and did his job. He put the O’s in a spot to win the ballgame. Watkins’ line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Chicago’s Contreras smacked a solo homer in the sixth inning. That was the first run of the game on either side. Contreras hit another one out in the eighth, followed up by a second solo homer by Contreras. Usually solo home runs don’t hurt you. But when you give up three, it makes a difference.

But the Orioles did battle. Ryan Mountcastle got them on the board with an RBI-single in the last of the eighth. Anthony Santander added a sac fly-RBI, and the Birds were within one. They also had the tying run on base in the ninth, but were unable to put anything more across, resulting in a 3-2 loss.

Austin Hays was thrown out at the plate in the fifth, and the O’s challenged the call. The call on the field was upheld, and the game went on. However it was questionable at best whether or not that was the correct call. Had they overturned it, all things being the same the game would have gone to extra innings.

Tomorrow the O’s open a three-game set with Boston at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Kutter Crawford. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles can’t stay out of the big inning

The Baltimore Orioles had an opportunity to sweep Toronto this afternoon at Rogers Center. And even though they didn’t, they still took two-of-three. And winning series’ should be, and is the goal. Austin Voth got the nod on the bump, and pitched to a quality start. Voth’s line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

The issue of course was that Oriole bats couldn’t put any runs on the board for Voth. He certainly did his part, pitching well and putting the team in a position to win. He just didn’t get the run support he should have today. And sometimes that happens.

For once however, it was the Orioles’ pen that couldn’t hold things. In this case they would have been holding things to a 0-0 tie, but I digress. Springer’s RBI-single in the seventh got Toronto on the board. Espinal followed with a two-RBI double, and Toronto led 3-0.

They would put three more on the board in that sixth inning, including Espinal walking home a run. One of the big keys to any ballgame is trying to stay out of the big inning when in the field. The O’s have been pretty decent at that this year. Today was just an exception to the rule.

Robinson Chirinos’ RBI-single in the eighth got the O’s on the board, but Toronto closed things out and went home with a 6-1 victory. Again folks, the Birds took two-of-three in this series. That’s a good sign. For what it’s worth, they have seven games left against Toronto. They’ll have other opportunities to make up ground.

The Birds now return home for a home stand, starting with a makeup tomorrow against the Chicago Cubs at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Adrian Sampson. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Boh bests LaBlatt Blue by way of Dean Kremer

Dean Kremer took to the mound this evening at Rogers Centre in Toronto, hoping to notch a series win for the Baltimore Orioles. First time through the order, Kremer struggled a bit. It he settled down quickly, and turned in perhaps the best start of his career. Kremer’s line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Kremer allowed a base runner in the last of the first, which was followed by a two-run homer by Guerrero. However as I said above, Kremer settled in very nicely. Following the home run, that is. Very few Toronto hitters even reached base, much less threatened to score.

Toronto’s starter Manoah started hanging pitches a bit in the fifth inning. His pitch count was slightly high, and his fastball started staying up in the zone. Speaking for myself, it seemed to me that it would have been an opportune moment to at least get someone working in the bullpen. But Manoah was allowed to pitch on.

Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman smacked back-to-back solo homers in that inning. That tied the game at two. Again, one might have thought that Toronto would have changed pitchers. But apparently not.

Ramon Urias’ bloop RBI-single in the sixth eventually sent Manoah to the showers. That gave the Orioles the lead, never to be surrendered. Ryan McKenna would add an additional RBI-single of his own, giving the O’s a 4-2 lead.

The Orioles turned to the bullpen after Kremer was lifted (after the seventh), and the pen was just as lights out. Dillon Tate and Felix Bautista were almost not hittable. The O’s have a good thing going in that they can turn it over to perhaps the best bullpen in baseball, and preserve the lead.

I would argue that Toronto manager John Schneider failed his starting pitcher. And by extension his team. Manoah was tiring in the fifth, and Schneider waited until the Orioles had the lead to lift him. You have to preserve the lead as a manager, and put your team in a spot to win. And the Birds took full advantage.

The series concludes tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Ross Stripling. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Speed wins ballgames

The Baltimore Orioles entered yet another important series this evening, this one at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Kyle Bradish got the start for the O’s against Toronto, and he set the tone for Brandon Hyde and company. Bradish’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

The Orioles took an almost immediate lead when Anthony Santander smacked an RBI-single in the first inning. Ryan Mountcastle would follow two innings later with a two-run homer, extending the Orioles’ lead. At that point the Birds found themselves up, 3-0.

However Toronto almost got even in the last of the third. They loaded the bases with nobody out, and Gurriel smacked a two-RBI single. However Bradish pitched out of it from there, preserving the Orioles’ lead.

That third inning was possibly the key to the game. The Orioles bent but didn’t break. That inning could have been a disaster in terms of winning or losing the game. But Bradish stayed solid, gave up the two runs, and got back into the dugout.

And from there the O’s kind of broke things open. Tyler Nevin reached on a fielder’s choice in the fourth, with Jorge Mateo at third. Mateo dashed home like a madman, and was safe – giving the O’s a 4-2 lead. Ryan McKenna added a two-RBI double, and Adley Rutschman a sac fly-RBI before the inning ended, giving the Birds a 6-2 advantage.

And that Nevin fielder’s choice-RBI was huge. It solidified the O’s in the driver’s seat. They had almost surrendered the lead the previous inning, and just that one run (along of course with the runs that followed) reaffirmed that this was their game to lose. And that ultimately didn’t happen – the O’s losing the game, that is.

The O’s would score again in the fifth on a Terrin Vavra double-play ball, and Guerrero would smack a solo homer in the last of the fifth. And the Oriole bullpen took care of the rest, as the Birds went home 7-3 winners in game one at Rogers Centre.

Don’t downplay the importance of speed. This is a totally different game if Jorge Mateo doesn’t run as hard as he can tagging from their. Speed can definitely win games. We’re seeing it first hand.

The series continues tomorrow night at Rogers Centre. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alek Manoah. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles hold off a perfecto

The Baltimore Orioles still have a long way to go in the regular season, but they dropped a big game today. In losing to Tampa, they dropped the season series; which is one of the playoff tie-breakers. All that means is that they have to finish with a better record than Tampa. Jordan Lyles got the start today, with mixed results. Lyles’ line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 9 K.

Lyles gave up a three-run homer to Arozarena in the last of the third. Peralta also smacked an RBI-single in the fifth, giving Tampa a 4-1 lead. Other than that, Oriole pitching was pretty strong in this game. Keegan Akin pitched two innings of two-hit ball in relief. But when both sides have decent pitching, it boils down to who can finagle a couple of runs across. In this case that was Tampa.

Jorge Mateo scored on a wild pitch in the ninth inning, and Tampa took home a 4-1 win. Of course, Mateo got on base with a first pitch double in the top of the ninth. He was the Orioles’ first base runner; he broke up a perfect game.

Tampa starter Drew Rasmussen pitched a gem. He kept the Birds off base until the ninth inning. Many will wonder if this dooms the rest of the season offensively. What does this say about Oriole bats?

What it says is that they had a bad game. Sometimes you have to tip your cap, as former manager Buck Showalter used to say. You keep grinding and move onto tomorrow.

The O’s now head to the great white north to open a three-game set with Toronto at Rogers Centre. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Yusei Kikuchi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles slug their way out of controversy and onto victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Baltimore Orioles fall in Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Baltimore Orioles’ game against Toronto postponed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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