Baltimore Orioles: 2023 Season Preview

The Baltimore Orioles are wheels up front Sarasota this evening on their way to Boston. They open the season on Thursday at Fenway Park. So what exactly does this season have in store for the Birds and their fans, you ask?

End of the day, I have no clue. I don’t own a crystal ball! But I think it’s safe to say there’ll be no year-over-year 30+ game improvement over last season – like what we saw in 2022. That’s obviously not possible. But don’t write this season off just yet….

…because it’s going to be an exciting one! The Orioles really like the makeup of their roster this year. The likes of Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and Adley Rutschman will give Orioles’ fans a taste of the very near starting this year.

As with any other season, it begins and ends with starting pitching. And the Orioles will get a boost when John Means returns from Tommy John’s during the season. However the hope is that the likes of Kyle Gibson, Dean Kremer, and Kyle Irvin can hold the Birds over until then.

Then of course you have the bullpen, which was one of the strengths of the team last year. And there’s nothing that indicates it shouldn’t be again. You have to remember that the bullpen is much more important in today’s game than in previous era’s. Starters don’t go as deep into games as they used to. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with that, but it’s a fact.

Offensively, one question is whether or not Austin Hays has a rebound year. He wasn’t awful last season, but he was better in 2021. Time will tell. And how does a full year of Adley Rutschman behind the plate affect the season? Again, time will tell.

The thing that set the 2022 Birds apart was their resilience. They almost made a run into the postseason last year. Could not having to play as many division games play to their advantage this year? I think the obvious answer is yes. But again, it begins and ends with starting pitching.

So where will the 2023 Orioles finish the season? Fact is you never know. Injuries will play a role. And yes, so will luck. You don’t play 162 games and not have luck figure in just a little bit. But you want a prediction I’m assuming? Ha! Fair enough. It’ll go down to the wire, but the O’s will see the postseason this coming October.


Baltimore Orioles: Kyle Bradish cruises in final spring start

For one of the final times in 2023, wins and losses don’t matter for the Baltimore Orioles. Starting Thursday that won’t be the case any longer, but for today it remains the case. What’s important is how crisp the play on the field is, and today it could definitely be described as “crisp,” beginning with starter Kyle Bradish. He set the O’s up for success with a solid outing. Bradish’s line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

That’s about as solid a stat line as you’re going to see – in Grapefruit League play, or in the regular season. Obviously in a regular season game you’d hope that your starter goes deeper into the ballgame than just five innings, however the fact remains that he qualified for the win. And as I said, solid (or “crisp”) outings by your starting pitcher set you up for success in ballgames.

The Orioles were in the driver’s seat from the very beginning in this game. The Birds put runners on second and third in the last of the first, and Cedric Mullins scored on a balk that was called on Philadelphia’s starter, Matt Strahm. This with Gunnar Henderson at bat – Henderson of course was credited with an RBI on the play.

Two innings later Anthony Santander smacked a two-run home run, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead. Philadelphia would get on the board in the fourth on Cave’s RBI-double, but the O’s marched on. They scored on a throwing error by Philadelphia in the field in the sixth inning, running the lead to 4-1. Philadelphia would get a run back in the eighth on a solo home run by Cave, however on this sunny afternoon in Sarasota, the Orioles were too much.

Bradish of course had to be removed twice during innings in his last outing (also against Philadelphia) in Clearwater, but was back in form this afternoon. And bad outings are going to happen. That’s just how baseball ebbs and flows. Bradish on today’s game versus his last start (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Just felt more comfortable on the mound. The last outing was a weird day for me, mentally. I was actually checked in today. Like I said last week, it wasn’t really an indicator of anything. It was just a weird outing, but finishing strong going into the season. Mixed a lot well today, got ahead of guys. Couldn’t put them away, but not too worried about that.

End of the day you want to see improvement. The Orioles most definitely saw that out of Bradish this afternoon. And end of the day, they aren’t overly concerned about him. As I said, that’s just how baseball ebbs and flows.

The O’s will close out the spring slate of games tomorrow afternoon against St. Louis at Ed Smith Stadium. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by St. Louis’ Steven Matz. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Four-run seventh propels Birds to victory

The Baltimore Orioles traveled north to Bradenton this evening to take on Pittsburgh in their final spring training road game. Good effort all around by the guys in the game, beginning with starter Tyler Wells, who gave the O’s a great starting outing. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The teams played to a scoreless tie through the first three innings. Pittsburgh put a run across on Wells in the last of the fourth on a sac fly-RBI by Hayes. Jordan Westburg tacked on a sac fly of his own in the fifth, tying the game at one. Wells exited the game not in line for the win only because the game was tied.

The O’s busted the game open in the seventh. With two runners on base, Jordan Westburg’s two-RBI double gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead. Westburg would score when Anthony Bemboom smacked a two-run homer, extending the lead to 5-1. Ryan O’Hearn would add a solo homer in the eighth, and the Birds took a 6-1 lead into the end of the game in Bradenton.

Almost predictably, Pittsburgh made a run. They played three runs in the last of the eighth, but never got closer to 6-4. And the Orioles headed back to Sarasota with a victory in their final road tuneup this spring.

The Orioles will close out the Grapefruit League schedule at home in Sarasota. Philadelphia comes in tomorrow, and St. Louis on Monday afternoon. The Birds will then formally break camp, and be in Boston on Thursday for Opening Day at Fenway Park.

The aforementioned game against Philadelphia is tomorrow at Ed Smith Stadium. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Matt Strahm. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Heston Kjerstad, Kyle Gibson, leaving their marks in Sarasota

There’s a decent chance that Kyle Gibson will be the Baltimore Orioles’ opening day starter on March 30th in Boston. And fans got somewhat of an extended look at him this afternoon against Pittsburgh at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. And they had to have been impressed. In leaving Gibson in for five innings, it appears that we’re reaching the point in the spring where guys are being stretched out a bit so as to mimic a real game. Gibson’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

The seven strikeouts is noteworthy. Especially given that today’s opponent featured several regulars in the lineup. Or presumed regulars, that is. Point being that Gibson, a bona fide big leaguer, was facing other big league hitters. And he ruled the day.

With a runner on base in the last of the first, Adley Rutschman hit the first pitch he saw out of the ballpark, giving the Birds a 2-0 lead. An inning later Nomar Mazara would smack an RBI-single, which was followed by a two-run homer by Heston Kjerstad. This opened up a 5-0 lead for the Orioles early on.

And they never looked back. Mazara would smack a two-RBI double in the last of the fifth, and McKenna an RBI-single. When the smoke cleared, the Oriole bullpen took care of the rest, propelling the Birds to an 8-0 victory.

Gibson was oustanding in his five innings of work. And he’s had a very strong spring in general. And Heston Kjerstand has been a dazzling star for fans thus far this spring. He’s currently hitting .389, with four homers and eight RBI. The O’s now head into the final week of spring training, or the final full week, that is. They’ll break camp one week from tomorrow, and be in Boston for Opening Day that corresponding Thursday.

The O’s head to Clearwater tomorrow to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at BayCare Ballpark. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and Philadelphia is yet to name a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Boston tacks on extras late

Grayson Rodriguez has some struggles this afternoon against Boston from Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers. This on the stat sheet, that is. Boston was able to square some pitches up; he also committed a throwing error and threw a wild pitch, which scored a run. Rodriguez’s line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 3 K.

DuVall smacked a two-run homer in the last of the third, to give Boston a 2-0 lead. In the last of the fourth Grayson Rodriguez uncorked a Wild Pitch, scoring a run. Arroyo would add a run-scoring double, with the runner having been on thanks to a Rodriguez throwing error. Devers would add a run-scoring single later in the inning, extending the lead to 5-0.

However the O’s did have a rally in them. Heston Kjerstad would get the Birds’ scoring started for them in the eighth with an RBI-groundout. Shayne Fontana, Franchy Cordero, and Mark Kolozsary would add RBI-singles, and the Orioles were within one. However the bottom of the inning brought four more Boston runs, putting the lead back at five.

Maverick Handley would put a run across in the ninth with a sac fly-RBI, and Colton Cowser would tack on one due to an RBI-single. The Boston bullpen would close things out, and the O’s fell, 9-6.

The Orioles return home to Sarasota tomorrow as Pittsburgh comes into Ed Smith Stadium. Kyle Gibson gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Extra-base hits lead to Birds’ victory

Cole Irvin got the start this evening for the Baltimore Orioles against Toronto at Ed Smith Stadium. This is the first game in the “second half” (if you will) for the O’s in Spring Training. Yesterday was the lone off day for the Orioles, and now they make the slow trek closer to Opening Day. Irvin’s line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Irvin gave up RBI-singles to Barger and Lukes in the top of the first inning. But that was the low point of the game for the Orioles. They turned it around very quickly.

The O’s put a couple of runners on in the last of the second, and Nomar Mazara’s two-RBI single promptly tied the game at two. One inning later they got the lead for good. Austin Hays’ two-run homer gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead.

Kyle Stowers smacked an RBI-triple in the fifth. Austin Hays and Franchy Cordero followed with RBI-doubles. This gave the Orioles a 7-2 lead. Toronto would tack on a couple in the ninth, giving the Birds a 7-4 victory.

A big deal in this game was the Orioles’ success in getting last first base on hits. They won this game due to the extra base hits. That’s a huge plus going into the season. If you can get extra base hits in games, you can tack on runs quickly. And that’s what the Orioles did tonight.

The Orioles head to Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers tomorrow to take on the Minnesota Twins. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Tyler Mahle. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman slugs Birds to victory

The Baltimore Orioles started Grayson Rodriguez this afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium against Boston. Or at least against a roster that had Boston across their chests. Boston sent their “B Team” to Sarasota today, as it was a split squad day. Rodriguez’s line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

Rodriguez retired all but one batter in order in the first three innings. He only began to struggle in the fourth, with the second turn through the lineup. The Birds took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI-single by Jorge Mateo. However Rodrigue loaded the bases in the fourth, and Boston tied the game at one on an RBI-single by Goodrum.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Rodriguez departed the game. Obviously pitchers are on a pitch count in the spring, and one way or the other he has reached that limit. It wasn’t the way he wanted to end the outing, but again, he did pitch three outstanding innings.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez and the O’s however, those other three runners came around to score. Boston would get an RBI-single, a walk (once again with the bases loaded), and an RBI-groundout. After four the O’s trailed, 4-1.

But the game wasn’t over, despite the aggressive nature of that fourth inning. Jorge Mateo had a productive day at the plate, with the aforementioned RBI early on. However he also got the Birds back on the board in the last of the fourth with an RBI-single. The inning kind of snowballed from that point, this time in the Orioles’ favor.

The Birds promptly loaded the bases with two outs. Adley Rutschman strode to the plate, hoping to make an impact. And he most certainly did, sending a “no-doubter” out of Ed Smith Stadium for a grand slam.

This gave the O’s a 6-4 lead, and the bullpen took it the rest of the way. The Orioles can brag Jorge Mateo and Adley Rutschman as their offensive showmen in today’s game. But end of the day both wins and losses are team efforts. And today the O’s won as a team.

The Orioles will stay at home tomorrow and welcome Detroit into Ed Smith Stadium. Kyle Gibson gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Zach Logue. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Inconsistent outing against Toronto

The Baltimore Orioles sent Austin Voth to the bump this afternoon in Dunedin against Toronto. Much like the rest of the team, starter Austin Voth was inconsistent. File this as a start that would have been “in between stellar and awful” – had he stayed in the game longer, that is. Voth’s line: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

The O’s took an early 1-0 lean on Daz Cameron’s RBI-double. Springer would get Toronto on the board in the bottom of the inning with an RBI-groundout, tying the game. But the O’s rallied in the third, with Franchy Cordero’s two-RBI double giving them a 3-1 lead.

But again, inconsistent seemed to be the word of the day. Voth would put a few runners on in the last of the third, allowing a sac fly-RBI to Varsho. And the Orioles carried that lead of 3-2 into the sixth, where Cameron added on an RBI-groundout, extending the lead to 4-2.

But Toronto did some damage against reliever Mike Baumann in the sixth. Following an RBI-triple by Espinal, Kiermaier added an RBI-single which tied the game at four. Springer would then come to the plate and smack a two-run homer, giving Toronto a 6-4 lead.

It’s worth mentioning that very few presumed Oriole starters made the trip to Dunedin this afternoon. Most stayed back in Sarasota. On top of that, Toronto not only played what appeared to be their Opening Day lineup, but they played them well into the sixth and seventh innings. Nevertheless, the Birds did have a tough time getting anything going in the game today.

The outing got worse for Baumann, who in general has looked good this spring. He allowed a two-run homer to Martinez in the last of the seventh, running the Toronto lead to 8-5. Connor Norby would add an RBI-single and Heston Kjerstad an RBI-double for the O’s in the top of the ninth, but the Birds fell to an 8-6 loss in Dunedin.

The O’s return home to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow as the Boston Red Sox come to town for the first time this spring. Grayson Rodriguez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Kutter Crawford. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle makes Pittsburgh pay in grand fashion

Kyle Gibson was on the bump this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota against Pittsburgh. Once again, we saw a strong outing, albeit for a limited number of innings, by a presumed Oriole starter. As far as spring games go, that is. Gibson’s line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, ) BB, 2 K.

Pittsburgh got on the board after Gibson had been sent to the showers with an RBI-single by Joe. However come the bottom of the inning, the Birds took the lead and never looked back. Austin Hays smacked a three-run homer, and the O’s led, 3-1. You can file that under that escalated quickly.

One inning later, the game was busted wide open. Ryan Mountcastle came up with the bases juiced, and prompted hit a ball a long way over the walls at Ed Smith Stadium. As they say, that’s one way to clear the bases. That gave the O’s a 7-1 lead. Pittsburgh would tack on three additional runs late, and the Birds went home 7-4 winners.

Going back to that fifth inning grand slam by Mountcastle for a moment; I talk a lot about attention to detail. In this case, the opponent’s lack of attention to detail benefited the O’s. The Birds had two runners on, and a runner was allowed to reach base (to load them up) on a fielding error. In general, an error doesn’t have to be fatal. Guys pitch or work out of jams all the time – right?

They obviously do. However the fact remains that guys making mistakes like that can extend innings at worst, and just add base runners at best. In this case it loaded the bases. And Ryan Mountcastle made Pittsburgh pay for it. Nothing’s more costly than a grand slam.

In this case it was the Orioles benefitting off of an opponent’s mistake. However that should serve as a lesson to the Orioles as well – you have to tidy up your defense. If you don’t make mistakes like that in games, the other team can’t take advantage. The Orioles might well have still scored a bunch of runs that inning, mind you. But you can’t give the opponent extra outs and extra base runners.

Tomorrow the O’s head to BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater to take on Philadelphia. Tyler Wells gets the start for the Birds, and Philadelphia’s yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles fall late on three wild pitches

The Baltimore Orioles dropped a hard-fought ballgame this afternoon at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers against Minnesota. Grayson Rodriguez provided the Birds with another strong outing. If it was a regular season game, we’d say that he set the table. Rodriguez’s line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Anthony Bemboon was on third base in the top of the second when Minnesota pitcher Maeda was called for a balk. That allowed Benboom to score, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Minnesota would tie the game at one in the bottom of the inning on Miranda’s solo homer, the lone run surrendered by Rodriguez.

Minnesota would take a 2-1 lead in the last of the fourth on Jeffers’ RBI-double. However the O’s battled back. With two runners on in the sixth, Josh Lester smacked a two-RBI double, giving the Birds the lead back at 3-2.

One inning later Jackson Holliday continued his hot spring with an RBI-single, extending the Orioles’ lead to 4-2. Minnesota would add a run in the seventh, but the Birds appeared to break the game wide open in the eighth. Robert Neustrom added a sac fly-RBI, and Shane Fontana reached on an error, scoring another run and extending the lead to 6-3.

At this point all the Orioles needed to do was shut Minnesota down. Or to record three outs in the last of the ninth before Minnesota scored three runs. This after Holland’s RBI-double cut the lead to 6-4.

Brandon Hyde tapped Olfreidy Gomez to pitch the ninth inning. The first problem was he allowed two runners into scoring position. This with less than two outs. However he allowed both runners to score on wild pitches. He uncorked a third one to drive in the winning run, and the Birds headed back to Sarasota with a 7-6 loss.

Grayson Rodriguez was strong today, save for the solo homer. But solo home runs won’t kill you. But the lesson in this game lies in attention to detail. Wild pitches will often hurt you. This afternoon several in the same inning cost them the game. Granted it’s spring training, but you play like you practice.

The O’s return to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kyle Gibson gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles top Philadelphia on Ryan O’Hearn’s walk off homer

Cole Irvin got the start for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon under the sun in Sarasota. Another strong outing by a presumed Oriole starter; Irvin did his work and got the heck out of dodge. Irvin’s line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Philadelphia drew first blood in the third inning when Bohm smacked an RBI/l-double. This of course being the lone run Cole Irvin surrendered. However one inning later the Orioles countered with an “Earl Weaver special.” Austin Hays came up with two runners on, and smacked a three-run homer.

That gave the Birds a 3-1 lead, however it didn’t last. Bohm came back up in the top of the sixth, and smacked a solo homer. He was followed by Hall, who also smacked a solo home run, taking Philadelphia back-to-back. Later in the inning Cave smacked a two-run homer, giving Philadelphia a 5-3 lead. Martinez and Machin would add RBI-singles in the eighth to tack on two additional runs for Philadelphia, who then led 7-3.

However keep in mind that this was a spring game. This meaning that the guys playing late in the ballgame are guys trying to make the roster. An extended job interview, if you will. In short, hungry players.

Coby Mayo smacked an RBI-single in the last of the eighth, cutting the lead to 7-4. Mayo would later score on Connor Norby’s RBI-groundout. Add a two-run homer by Colton Cowser, and before you knew it the game was tied after eight innings.

Eduardo Bazardo sent Philadelphia down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. And the Orioles put two runners on in the last of the inning. That brought Ryan O’Hearn to the plate. Who only smacked a three-run walk off homer to win the game for the O’s.

It’s a spring game. But that‘s the sort of win that rallies a team. It’s the type of win that this Orioles’ team was noted for last year. And they’re starting early in 2023.

The Orioles head to Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers tomorrow to take on the Minnesota Twins. Grayson Rodriguez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Kenya Maeda. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Mike Baumann sparks the Birds to victory

Kyle Bradish got the start this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field against Tampa. It was a rare Grapefruit League game in a major league park, as Tampa’s facility was damaged in last year’s hurricane. They’re playing all of their home games for the remainder of the spring. Bradish’s line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

The Birds got on the board early. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a two-RBI triple in the first inning, giving the O’s a 2-0 lead. Tampa would cut into that lead in the second on a solo homer by Siri. Two innings later in the fourth Arozarena would smack a solo shot of his own, tying the game at two.

Arozarena was a thorn in the Orioles’ side for much of last year. And today was just more of that. He tied the game, and he ran down numerous Oriole line drives in the outfield. It is what it is. But he’s a guy who’s tormented the O’s for some time.

The key moment in the game was in the last of the sixth. By way of a double-steal and a walk, Tampa quickly loaded the bases and threatened to break the tie. Not only that, but had they cleared the bases, it would have potentially busted the game wide open. This against reliever Mike Baumann.

The beleaguered Baumann proceeded to strike out the next three hitters, getting the Orioles out of the inning unscathed. Many people will harp on the fact that Baumann loaded the bases to begin with. However I’ve said before than the nature of the position (pitcher) is that they’re going to get into trouble at some point. That’s just how it ends up going.

The good ones will pitch their way OUT of that trouble. And that‘a what we saw out of Mike Baumann in that moment. He zero’d in and delivered the least likely scenario, that being not yielding a run.

And that seemed to spark Oriole bats. At the least the bars of the Oriole reserves in the later innings, that is. Nonar Mazara put the Orioles back in the lead in the top of the seventh with an RBI-single. One inning later they would pad that lead with a run-scoring single by Lewin Diaz, and an RBI-groundout by Cesar Prieto. The Birds would close Tampa down in the ninth, notching themselves a win at Tropicana Field.

The O’s return to Sarasota tomorrow to take on Philadelphia at Ed Smith Stadium. Cole Irving gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Michael Plassmeyer. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Dean Kremer sharp in Birds’ tie with Pittsburgh

Kyle Gibson got the start for the Baltimore Orioles tonight at Ed Smith Stadium against Pittsburgh. Gibson gave up one run, but was sharp in the outing. Gibson’s line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The lone run Gibson (and every other Oriole pitcher for that matter) surrendered was on an RBI-single in the first inning by Suwinski. One thing that’s worth mentioning however is that it came on the heels of a stolen base. Especially with the new rules in place, you can expect to see at the very least more steal attempts. Last thing you want is a runner getting into scoring position.

Incidentally, two of the first three Pittsburgh hitters to reach base did so on softly-hit singles. Now granted, you don’t always have to tear the cover off the ball in order to get on base. People like me feel better if you do, but I digress. Point being that hitters weren’t ssquaring Gibson up in his outing.

The Orioles countered in the last of the first inning with an RBI-double by Ryan Mountcastle. This tied the game at one. However, little did we know that would be the end of the scoring for the game. Both teams threatened, but no further runs came across, ending the game in a 1-1 tie.

Dean Kremer pitched three innings in tonight’s game, giving up one hit and striking out three. He was outstanding, and became the first Oriole pitcher to go for more than two innings in a game this spring. Just as a reminder, it’s not necessarily a matter of starting or coming into the game in relief. It’s about putting your work in and being in the game. Thus getting ready for the regular season. This of course squarely in spring training, that is.

The Orioles will stay in Sarasota tomorrow when the Atlanta Braves come into Ed Smith Stadium. Tyler Wells gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Spencer Strider. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles stumble but Grayson Rodriguez shines

The Baltimore Orioles took another one on the chin this afternoon, this time in Lakeland against Detroit. However that shouldn’t make anyone forget Grayson Rodriguez’s starting today. Rodriguez’s line: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Rodriguez is MLB’s #2 rated pitching prospect. So this game was certainly of interest to a lot of people. It also featured Adley Rutschman behind the plate for the O’s, in perhaps a battery preview of the coming years. and Rutschman got the scoring started in the game with a solo homer in the first inning. Kyle Stowers would add an RBI-single in the fourth, and the Birds led, 2-0.

However the game changed quickly for the O’s. Tyler Nevin smacked a three-run homer for Detroit in the last of the fifth that gave them a 3-2 lead. Lipcius would follow with a solo shot, taking Detroit back-to-back.

Detroit would go on to bat around twice in the game. They put up five runs in the fifth, and another five in the seventh. The O’s would get an RBI-double fron Ryan O’Hearn in the last of the sixth, but that wasn’t nearly enough.

However Rodriguez was the story of the day. He performed like one would expect one of the top prospects in baseball to perform. Granted you do have to throw in that it was only over two innings. But he had a certain zip and finish on his pitches. In short, he looked “crisp.”

Rodriguez said after his outing that he felt good, and that he felt that he had made progress over the offseason:

We worked on some things this offseason and so far into spring training, so right now my stuff’s better than it was last year.

Courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Rutschman caught today, and homered. This is the future of Orioles baseball on display in the Florida Grapefruit League as we speak. And the rest of the league would do well to take note. Despite the final score, which as we know is irrelevant in these spring games.

The Orioles will return home to Sarasota tomorrow evening as the Pittsburgh Pirates come to Ed Smith Stadium. Kyle Gibson gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.


Baltimore Orioles almost no-hit against Toronto

The Baltimore Orioles sent Cole Irving to the mound this afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium against Toronto. Irving, and just about every other pitcher who appeared in the game (for both teams), was solid. Irving’s line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

This was your classic pitcher’s duel, although the Birds didn’t even scratch a hit on the board until the ninth inning. Toronto led 1-0 from the first inning on on an RBI-double in the fourth by Brantley. It’s worth mentioning that this came as a result of Austin Voth (who was tagged with the loss) hitting a batsman. That’s something of which the Orioles should be wary moving forward as we look towards the regular season. Hit batsmen give the opponent free base runners, who could eventually come around to score.

In the case of this game, the runner did just that. It’s not such a big deal because it’s a spring game, but it’s still something. Especially in the American League East, where teams have so much power. That base runner at first base scored on a double.

Toronto extended their lead to 2-0 in the eighth on Clark’s solo homer. As I said, the O’s didn’t get their first hit of the ballgame until the ninth inning, when Lewin Diaz singled to right field. Similarly, Diaz would come around to score, this on Heston Kjerstad’s RBI-single. Guys on base can always equate to runs. But end of the day, Toronto headed back to Dunedin leaving the O’s with a 2-1 defeat.

Obviously getting no-hit into the ninth inning isn’t ideal, whether it’s spring training or any other time. However You can’t totally judge the season based on this one outing. Lineups aren’t what they will be, and guys are trying to get in shape. So no worries on that – they play again tomorrow.

The Orioles head to Joker Marchant Stadium tomorrow afternoon in Lakeland to take on Detroit. Grayson Rodriguez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Matthew Boyd. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Birds bat around in the fifth, win second spring game

The Baltimore Orioles traveled to Lakeland, Fl this afternoon to take on Detroit in Florida Grapefruit League game. Dean Kremer got the start, his maiden outing of 2023. Kremer’s line: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K.

Kremer gave up a solo homer in the first inning by Maton. Other than that, he was fairly solid. Kremer will be leaving camp in a few days to play for Team Israel in the WBC. He’s expected to make one more outing before departing.

But the Orioles, similar to yesterday’s game, got their runs in a spurt this afternoon. Kremer was long gone by the time they got on the board. But once they did, they didn’t look back.

Lewin Diaz got them on the board in the top of the fifth with an RBI-double. Later in the inning Terrin Vavra gave them the lead with a two-RBI double. Add on an RBI-single by Kyle Stowers and a walk by Jordan Westburg (with the bases loaded, and the O’s led 5-1.

But it didn’t end there. Franchy Cordero added a fielder’s choice-RBI. And Diaz came around again and smacked a three-run homer. That gave the Orioles a 9-1 lead. It also effectively ended the ballgame. If you care about win ls and losses at this point, that is.

Detroit would add four more runs, and Josh Lester would put the Birds ahead 10-5 with an RBI-single in the eighth. You can file this game under the “who didn’t look good” category, but for what it’s worth Terrin Vavra had another good game, going 2-for-3. However batting around will often give you an edge in a game.

The Birds would walk in a run in the last of the ninth. Detroit also had the tying run at the plate, however Brandon Hyde turned to minor leaguer Nolan Hoffman with two outs. Hoffman recorded the final out, and the O’s went back to Sarasota with a 10-6 win. For the record since he had the tying run at the plate in the ninth, Hoffman recorded a rare spring training save. For those who care about suck things.

The Orioles return home to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow to take on the Tampa Rays. Bruce Zimmerman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Elvin Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: Heston Kjerstad smacks two homers in Birds’ spring debut

It was 84 degrees at first pitch this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles’ first spring game at Ed Smith Stadium. This as opposed to some wintry weather pushing through at home. The Birds sent Drew Rom to the mound, and while he gave up an early run, he was fairly effective. Rom’s line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

It’s tough to gauge a guy in his first spring start. Especially when he only pitched two innings, which was the plan for Rom all along today. Rom’s sole run surrendered came in the first inning on a sac fly-RBI. This on the heels of a triple. Minnesota took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on Contreras’ two-run shot.

The Orioles got on the board in the last of the fourth when Joey Ortiz smacked an RBI-triple. One inning later, they took a 4-3 lead on a three-run homer by Curtis Terry. Later in the inning Heston Kjerstad came up with the bases clear. And he also delivered, smacking a solo homer.

Minnesota would get one back on an RBI-groundout in the sixth. But that seemed to open up the orange and black floodgates. Terrin Vavra’s two-run homer extended the Birds’ lead to 7-4, before Rosario smacked a solo homer for Minnesota in the top of the seventh. This would bring Kjerstad back to the plate in the last of the seventh with the Birds leading 7-5…

…and Kjerstad once again delivered. This time it was a solo homer, giving the O’s an 8-5 lead. Cesar Prieto’s two-RBI single later in the inning would wrap up the scoring. It would also wrap up the Orioles’ 10-5 victory.

Heston Kjerstad was obviously the star of the show today. Terrin Vavra also had a great day, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI. Remember folks, these spring games are meant to get guys in the spring of playing again, and they help for them to get their timing back. So on those notes, Vavra and Kjerstad’s performances were noteworthy. Last year’s first round pick, Jackson Holiday, also had a double in the seventh inning.

Incidentally, as I write a game recap for a 10-5 Orioles’ win, I was wrong earlier this week With regard to today’s game, that is. I mentioned how pitchers and catchers were ahead of position players at the plate, meaning that we might see some pitcher’s duels early on. That was obviously not the case this afternoon. The Birds busted out the bats today!

The Orioles head to Lakeland, Florida tomorrow to take on Detroit at Joker Marchant Stadium. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles open Grapefruit League play

Here it is folks – the moment for which Baltimore Orioles fans have waited for some time! Well, maybe not; but needless to say, it’s something. This afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota we’re going to play the biggest baseball game in the history of western civilization – well, for this year anyways! It’s the Orioles against the Minnesota Twins in the opener of the Florida Grapefruit League.

I wrote on Thursday that Drew Rom will get the start this afternoon. And again folks, that means relatively little more than the face value of the statement. Again as I’ve said, managers have a rotation of pitchers for each spring game. It’s just Rom’s turn to start things off.

I would expect the Orioles “starters” to play a few innings. Maybe two or three at-bats. I say this every year, but it’s worth nothing again that these games are played partially to help players get their timing back at the plate. Pitchers and catchers are about a week ahead of position players. So even the most seasoned veteran hitter may struggle at the plate early in the spring due to his timing being off. So if you see a few goose eggs on stat lines today, don’t fret!

Once guys get into the grind of playing however, all of that evens out. And the first week of spring games gives the Orioles a decent turn through the gulf coast. They’ll see Tampa, Toronto, and Pittsburgh and Detroit twice (including tomorrow in Lakeland).

But it all starts this afternoon against the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium. The aforementioned Drew Rom gets the start for the homestanding Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Louie Varland. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.


Baltimore Orioles: CD-ROM in Grapefruit League opener

The Baltimore Orioles announced a starter today for Saturday’s Florida Grapefruit League “Opening Day.” That starter is (drumroll please)…Drew Rom. Not exactly the name you expected to see? Yeah, most people would say the same thing.

Obviously you see I’m already up to my old tricks early on this year! Yes folks, the title’s a play on words. And one that you’re going to have to have been born in the 20th century to understand at that. But nevertheless, Drew Rom to the mound it is.

Rom, a southpaw, appeared in 26 ballgames last year between double-A Bowie and triple-A Norfolk. He posted a 4.43 ERA over 120 innings. Manager Brandon Hyde was quick to say that this WAS NOT necessarily a preview of things to come in terms of the starting rotation. He quipped that it’s just sort of how things lined up.

For his part in all this, Rom appeared to be thrilled with the decision (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Especially this being my first year in camp. I think that’s kind of a big, almost confidence boost for me, especially coming into my first season when I have the potential to be in the big leagues and having that confidence from the front office. Definitely helps that they trust me to go in and set the tone for the first game.

Rom was drafted in 2018 out of high school in Kentucky. So he’s been in the organization for some time, and has been waiting for his chance at the big leagues. But for now, he’ll settle for a Spring Training Opening Day start on Saturday. (Or any spring game at all for that matter.)

I would also remind fans as we get going with these spring games that the pitching rotation is set in advance. Guys come to the ballpark everyday knowing when, if, and for how long they’ll be appearing in that day’s game. Sometimes they’re even aware of it well before game day. So Rom may only be in the game on Saturday for one or two innings. And Brandon Hyde will have a pre-set list of pitchers who will be scheduled to come in for limited appearances after that.

However it all starts with Drew Rom. For all we know this could be the highlight of his career – starting in a big league spring training game. The hope is that he throws well and has a good camp – and that we see him in Baltimore at some point this year. But it’s tough to say. The only thing we can say for sure is that he’s starting on Saturday afternoon for the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium against the Minnesota Twins.


Baltimore Orioles: A President’s Day tradition

The Baltimore Orioles and every other team are currently in Spring Training. Games start next weekend. But the rest of the country takes today off in honor of President’s Day.

I write this column every year. One of my passions in life is civics. And the American Presidency is an institution that has a relationship with Major League Baseball unlike any other sport.

President William Howard Taft unknowingly began an important tradition in 1910; he went to Griffith Stadium in Washington DC and threw out the first pitch at the Washington Senators’ game on Opening Day. It wasn’t something that was covered in great fanfare, but it’s noteworthy from a historical perspective. Since then Presidents have been an indelible part of the landscape of the game of baseball. And of sports.

President Taft and nearly every one of his predecessors threw out first pitches. Usually in DC. Also it happened from time to time in the World Series. And even in the All-Star Game. At times, the Vice-President would stand in for the President on Opening Day – this actually happened for the first time in 1912, when Vice-President James Sherman filled in for President Taft. Other “Veep’s” to do the honors over the years were Nixon, Humphrey, Agnew, Bush, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, and Biden.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of course was a quadriplegic – which for the most part was unbeknownst to the general public. (On a side note, that’s most definitely NOT something that could be concealed today.) Luckily for FDR however, back then the President threw the first pitch from the stands. In 1940 at Griffith Stadium his pitch hit a Washington Post camera. Five years later President Harry Truman did the honors at the World Series (in DC), becoming the first President to throw the first pitch as a southpaw.

In 1958 President Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first to throw out a first pitch in Baltimore. He did so at the All-Star game, which that year was held at Memorial Stadium. President Jimmy Carter returned the Presidency to Memorial Stadium in 1979 for the World Series. Presidents Reagan, Bush (41), and Clinton would also visit Baltimore to do these honors, as did Vice-President Dan Quayle. President Lyndon B. Johnson also set a still-standing Presidential record on 1964 in Washington DC. He ate the most hot dogs (4) of any President ever on Opening Day.

Numerous former Presidents have also thrown out first pitches. However President Barrack Obama was the last sitting President to appear in person – this in 2010, at Nationals Park. In commemoration of 100 years since President Taft began the tradition.

And with that said, yes this is an Orioles column. But I would submit that President Biden might consider rekindling the tradition this April at Nationals Park. America’s pastime is baseball. That will always be the case. And again, baseball has a unique relationship with the White House. And I think that the President of the United States should throw out the first ball on Opening Day every year in Washington DC.


Baltimore Orioles: Pitchers & Catchers report today

It begins today for the Baltimore Orioles. For 2023, that is. Pitchers & Catchers are to report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota no later than today, marking the beginning of Spring Training.

It’ll be interesting to see how camp unforlds for the Birds. What will be the big storyline(s)? How does the starting rotation shake down? Which young players will step up? These and others are all stories that we’ll discuss moving forward.

However for today, the big storyline is that pitchers and catchers are reporting to camp. That’s music to the ears of so many Orioles fans, and baseball fans across the board. It begins today – no turning back!


Baltimore Orioles trade for two pitchers

The Baltimore Orioles finalized a trade this afternoon. The Birds are sending infield prospect Darell Hernaiz to the Oakland Athletics. In return, they’re getting LHP Cole Irvin, and RHP Kyle Virbitsky.

End of the day, these are low-level moves by the Orioles. Hernaiz was the 16th ranked prospect in the Orioles’ farm system. Irvin led the AL in loses with 15 last year, but also started 30 games and pitched to a 3.98 ERA. He pitched to a career-high 128 strikeouts. Virbitsky was drafted in the 17th round in 2021, and is yet to make his big league debut.

It’s unclear how any of this fits into the Orioles’ plans for 2023. However it always helps to have additional pitching in the farm system. More as we hear it.


Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini to the North Side

Former Baltimore Orioles’ star, Trey Mancini, is headed to the North Side of Chicago. Wrigleyville, to be exact. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand is reporting that Mancini signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, pending a physical.

The Cubs haven’t yet confirmed the deal, however Feinsand is also reporting that it includes an opt-out after 2023. If Mancini wasn’t coming back to Birdland (which was all but guaranteed), this is absolutely a best-case scenario for Orioles fans. Everyone loves the Cubs! It allows O’s fans to pull for Mancini, while for the most part not rooting against the Birds’ interests. The O’s do visit Wrigley Field over the weekend of June 16-18th.

The O’s have also reached deals with all but one arbitration-eligible player. Pitcher’s and catcher’s are due to report to Sarasota on February 15th. So there’s exactly one month left in the current “phase” of the offseason. However workouts and eventually games beginning won’t stop the O’s from signing a free agent in which they’re interested. They’ve always been a force in free agency – late in the hot stove period.


Baltimore Orioles trade for James McCann

The Baltimore Orioles completed a trade late last night with the New York Mets. The Birds will receive veteran catcher James McCann, in exchange for a Player to be named later. New York will also reportedly be paying $19 million of McCann’s guaranteed $24 million salary for the next two years.

McCann’s production in New York wasn’t exactly what they thought they were signing up for. However he was signed to be the starting catcher, and in Baltimore he most certainly will not be. Barring injury, Adley Rutschman is the Birds’ starting catcher for the foreseeable future. So McCann will be a backup catcher for the most part. He’ll also provide a veteran voice in the clubhouse, and a good example for Rutschman going forward.

In short, the Birds are going to be paying $5 million over two years for a backup catcher. That’s not bad. Tyler Nevin was designated for assignment to make space on the roster for McCann.


Baltimore Orioles sign IF/OF Adam Frazier

The Baltimore Orioles have signed IF/OF Adam Frazier to a one-year contract for the 2023 season. The deal is for a reported $8 million – this accoring to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Frazier, 31, is a career .273 hitter. This give the Birds an additional veteran presence on the roster.

Frazier’s primarily a middle infielder, but he’s played in the outfield as well. I suspect that many fans will chide this as just the team being cheap and not wanting to sign top-tier talent. However keep in mind that the current regime has a great track record of plugging average players into the mix and seeing success.

Furthermore, Frazier’s a guy who will bring an aforementioned veteran presence to the team. That means something. The Orioles are still a young team, and that sort of leadership in the clubhouse can be important. Especially considering that the Birds have a young buck named Gunnar Henderson in the pipeline as a future big league middle infielder.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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,


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.