Baltimore Orioles fall on errant throw, tag

The Baltimore Orioles actually performed fairly well in their first game out west last night in Oakland. Starter Andrew Cashner gave the Birds a quality start, both statistically and in reality. More importantly, he put the team in a spot to win. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

The O’s gave up an RBI-double in the last of the first to Olson, which gave Oakland a 1-0 lead. However in the second the Orioles would tie the game. Rio Ruiz attempted to move a runner into scoring position with a sac bunt. However Oakland’s errant throw up the first base line allowed the runner to score from first, tying the game.

As we’ve said so many times, if you put the ball in play good things can happen. All it takes is one mistake, and a routine play like that can turn into a run-scoring opportunity. And in that instance it allowed the O’s to tie the game.

And in fact, that error also allowed the O’s to take the lead. With Ruiz at third, the Orioles put on a squeeze play and Hanser Alberto Laos down a sac bunt, which scored Ruiz. Ironically, Alberto’s path and progress to the bag at first was impeded by the first baseman, who was out of position on the play. The two literally collided on the base path. Despite Oriole protests, no interference was called on the play.

However in the end, it was an error and a mistake which did the Orioles in. With the bases loaded in the third, Olson grounded to short. The O’s completed the force out at the plate, and Chance Sisco went to throw the runner out at first. However he threw errantly, and a run was allowed to score, tying the game.

The O’s would throw the ball home where Sisco applied the tag and seemed to prevent Oakland from taking the lead. However Oakland challenged the play, and the replay appeared to show that Sisco applied the tag high, allowing the runner’s leg to touch home plate before the tag. The call was overturned, and Oakland took a 3-2 lead.

And unfortunately, the Orioles were unable to challenge further in the game, and fell 3-2. Now on the bright side, Oriole pitching was very good for the remainder of the game. They didn’t allow Oakland to push anything else across, which is more than can be said for other games to this point. They just couldn’t muster anything themselves.

The series continues tonight at the Oakland Coliseum. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Brett Anderson. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Should Trey Mancini be in the trade block?

The Baltimore Orioles won’t be taking an ice pick to their 25-man roster this year at the trade deadline. That happened last year. However people are starting to talk about what moves (if any) the Orioles might potentially make. According to some people, nobody should be off limits – even the likes of Trey Mancini.

Unequivocally, let me state that I personally believe it would be a huge mistake for the Orioles to trade Mancini. He’s not only going to be the Birds’ lone all-star representative, but he actually deserves the honor. In saying that I mean that he’s going to earn his way onto the roster as opposed to being included to satisfy the Orioles having a representative.

However Mancini’s also become a team leader. And he wasn’t tabbed as being that guy – if anything, Cedric Mullins was. (And he’s been back in the minors for some time.) With Mancini it happened organically. He appeared to kind of tell himself that he was going to be considered the veteran on the roster, and he had to help the younger guys along. Most of whom I might add aren’t that much younger than Mancini himself.

You need someone like that in the clubhouse. Let’s not act like guys with leadership skill are dime a dozen. They aren’t. Losing Mancini wouldn’t only hurt the team in terms of statistics and so forth, but it would probably hurt morale. Again, unequivocally I think it would be a mistake to trade Mancini. He’s someone around whom the Orioles should build.

The reason that some people say that he should be traded is because he would probably bring the Orioles the biggest haul in terms of prospects. Mancini’s under team control until 2023. So he would have to fetch one heck of a return. And I’m talking potentially more than they got last year for Machado.

However I think that when you start trading guys like Mancini (at this stage at least) you’re almost committing yourself to rebuilding in perpetuity. Mancini’s still what one would consider a young player. So again, it behooves the Orioles to build around him. If you start trading your young talent away, You’re kind of extending the process.

So keep Mancini. That would be my advice to GM Mike Elias. Keep him and build the franchise with him as the centerpiece. Because he’s proven on and off the field that he’s worthy of playing that role.

Baltimore Orioles: Two outs away from a win

The Baltimore Orioles were in line to win today. It was the ninth inning and they had the lead against Boston. But ultimately, despite a decent outing from John Means, the Birds ended up back in the loss column – for varying circumstances, some of which were out of their control. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single in the last of the third gave the O’s the lead at 1-0. Boston however would smack back-to-back RBI-doubles in the fourth, giving them a 2-1 lead. But the O’s would tie it at two in the bottom of the inning on Keon Broxton‘s bunt-RBI single…

…or did they? After the play the umpires huddled up, and came to the decision that Broxton had run out of the baseline, a decision that ultimately led to the ejection of manager Brandon Hyde. Here’s the thing; Broxton did run out of the baselines; that part isn’t disputable according to the replay. However the issue is that’s a call that needs to be made on the spot. It’s poor form for umpires to huddle up like that and talk one another into making a judgement call (that should have been made on the spot).

Hyde said after the game that he wasn’t happy with how it was handled. Negating the hit took a run off the board for the O’s. But Hyde’s point was just what I said above; make the call. Don’t sit back and think about it and then make it.

With the Birds still trailing 2-1 in the last of the eighth, Jonathan Villar drew a walk. He then proceeded to steal second and third base, and scored to tie the game at two on a wild pitch.ater in the inning Hanser Alberto’s RBI-single gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead.

The Birds got to within two outs of the win. But then Boston’s Hernandez picked that moment to hit his first homer of the season – off of Mychal Givens. That tied the game in three, and sent it to extra innings. Boston would put up no less than five runs in the tenth, to take an 8-3 lead.

And it’s a shame that Oriole pitching let it get to that point, because Oriole bats did everything they could in the last of the tenth to bring them back. They were able to put three runs on the board and get to within 8-6. But it was too little too late.

The strike zone was incredibly small this afternoon. Boston pitchers pitched to the strike zone. Oriole pitchers pitched to where they assumed pitches should be called strikes. And they got no leeway whatsoever. That combined with the out of the lines play in the fourth inning had the Orioles’ dugout seething at the umpiring crew.

Did the umpires factor into the final score? Well, unequivocally they didn’t give up the homers and the runs in the tenth inning. But could the game have gone differently? You never know.

Brandon Hyde was happy that the team battled back. He seemed very impressed with that. But still, it’s tough to get to within two outs of a win and blow it. But you have to dust yourself off and move onto the next game.

The O’s now hear out west to open up a three-game series with Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Mike Fiers. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ aggressiveness used against them

The Baltimore Orioles got a halfway decent start out of Dylan Bundy this afternoon. He was done in after only five innings due to a high pitch count, which cam as a result of some extended at-bats. In saying that I mean guys fouling off multiple pitches. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 8 K.

This game was a pitcher’s duel at first, as it was scoreless through five innings. However in the top of the sixth Bogaerts smacked an RBI-double, and Holt an RBI-single, to give Boston a 2-0 lead. Holt would later score on an E6, and the Birds trailed 3-0.

The O’s would come back however in the bottom of that inning. Renato Nunez smacked an RBI-double, and Jonathan Villar added a sac fly-RBI. However that’s as close as the O’s were able to get. Martinez would add a solo homer in the seventh, and Boston would also add three runs in the top of the ninth to take the game 7-2.

The worst part about playing Boston is that as good as they are, they’re also smart. They know that the Orioles are scrapping, and doing everything in their power to win games. That can often lead to pushing too hard. Boston knows that.

They know that the Orioles are going to play shifts on their players. They had also seen earlier in the game and on tape that sometimes Jonathan Villar sometimes leaves his spot at second slightly early when the ball’s in play. So Boston puts on a hit-and-run, and hits the ball right where Villar would have been.

Coincidentally, this other example also involves Jonathan Villar – not to beat up too much on him. Late in the game Boston had him at a 1-2 count. Normally that’s a count in which a pitcher’s going to bury a pitch in the dirt hoping that the hitter will chase. Instead of the slider in the dirt or something along those lines, Villar got a high fastball.

Now to his credit, Villar didn’t bite. However that’s a pitcher and a pitching staff who knows that they’re playing a team that’s pushing. And the Orioles can’t allow teams to see that, as it can and will be used against them.

Part of why Boston was able to tack on three late runs was because they put pressure on the Orioles. The Orioles already had enough self-inflicted pressure on them. And they eventually folded.

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

Baltimore Orioles helping teams to get well

When Toronto came in to play the Baltimore Orioles this week at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, their offense was struggling. They were of the worst offenses in the league. Then last night Toronto lays it on the Orioles very thick, after a 30 minute rain delay to start the game. Orioles’ fans had to be thinking, “…uh, really?!”

Gabriel Ynoa got the start and took the loss, but in no way did he figure into the route that this game ended up being. Ynoa’s line: 5.0 IP, 7H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K. If anything, Ynoa was getting too much of the plate. However he put the Birds in a spot to win the game. Although that sounds strange to say in a game that eventually became a blowout.

Ynoa gave up a solo homer to Biggio in the second, and an RBI-single to Gurriel in the third. The O’s would fight back however, scoring on an RBI-single by Anthony Santander in the last of the third inning. Santander’s really come along since his promotion to the majors, and he’s making the most of the opportunity he’s being given. That’s to his credit.

Santander would tie the game two innings later with another RBI-single. At that point you kind of liked the Orioles’ chances. Things were looking up – for awhile. However in the top of the sixth Gurriel would smack a solo homer, and Toronto would take a 3-2 lead.

And that top of the sixth effectively ended the game. Toronto first chased Ynoa, and then ended up putting seven runs on the board in the inning. As I said, that effectively ended the game. They would tack on three in the seventh, and Chance Sisco would get one back for the Birds in the eighth with a solo homer. But when the smoke cleared, the Orioles fell 12-3.

As I said, Toronto’s offense was struggling when they came into this series. But like many other teams, they seemingly found their stroke against the O’s. Are teams simply figuring out the Orioles’ pitch sequences? (Basically, are Oriole pitchers too predictable?)

It’s really tough to say. There are a lot of factors as to why even the worst offenses seem to succeed against the Birds. But one way or the other, it’s something that the Hyde’s and Elias’ of the world need to figure out. That is if the O’s are going to improve on last year’s win total.

The O’s will now open a three-game series with Boston at Camden Yards. The Birds are yet to name a starter, but whomever he is will be opposed by Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ comeback falls short

David Hess pitched a good game for the Baltimore Orioles – through four innings. Hess started to lose it a bit in the fifth, mainly due to a high pitch count. And that short spell is ultimately what did the Birds in last night. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the fourth when Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer. However Toronto’s big push came in the fifth, as I said above. Hess loaded the bases with nobody out. To Hess’ credit, he induced a ground ball with Gurriel at the plate. While with nobody out that would have yielded a run, it also should have given the Orioles two outs – something they would have taken in theory…

…but that’s not what happened. Gurriel hit the ball just perfectly so that while they only got one run because the Orioles kept it in the infield, it went as an infield hit. So Toronto pushed a run across and kept the bases loaded with nobody out.

After Hess exited the game Miguel Castro uncorked a wild pitch, allowing a run to score and giving Toronto a 2-1 lead. Toronto would re-load the bases, and Tellez’s grand slam would break the game wide open. The Orioles trailed 6-1.

Toronto would also put two additional runs on the board, this while the Orioles were trying to come back. The Birds also netted a run on a wild pitch, however they pulled themselves closer in the last of the eighth on Chance Sisco‘s two-RBI double.

The Birds would later push across two additional runs, but the comeback attempt stalled. To their credit, the Orioles didn’t quit. It would have been easy to go into auto-pilot being down big after the grand slam. But they kept fighting, which shows their character as a team.z

Character isn’t winning the Orioles any games – for now. However it shows that this team has some spunk. And once they get stronger, down the road, that quality will help them to win games. Play until the last out…it’s something we’ve heard before.

The series concludes this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Gabriel Ynoa gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Six-game home stand opens tonight

After a day off yesterday the Baltimore Orioles open a six-game home stand this evening as they welcome in Toronto. One thing I do find curious is the fact that the O’s had a day off yesterday following their flight home from Houston. Following this home stand they won’t get a day off between series’ and they’ll go from Baltimore to Oakland on Sunday night.

The home stand ends on Sunday afternoon with the series finale against Boston, after which the O’s will get on their team charter and head to Oakland. They’ll be on the west coast for seven games – three in Oakland and four in Seattle. With no days off, even one for traveling.

The Orioles will however get a day off following that road swing before starting another home stand with the San Diego Padres. Making a major league schedule for every team in the league is no easy task. But that’s something that the league needs to take into account – days off when you’re going cross-country, that is.

The series with Toronto begins tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Trent Thornton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles trade for triple-A pitcher Tom Eshelman

The Baltimore Orioles completed a trade this morning a the triple-A level. They sent international bonus slot money to Philadelphia in exchange for pitcher Tom Eshelman. The Norfolk Tides may be in some need of additional pitching if and when guys start getting promoted to the big leagues.

Over five years in the minors at various levels, Eshelman has a win percentage of .576 and a 3.06 ERA. I suppose my question is whether or not this is a fore shock of sorts for other moves. I might be wrong (and Lord knows I have been before), however Eshelman doesn’t seem to be a candidate to come to the big leagues anytime soon. It seems like more of a move for depth at the minor league level.

Eshelman was actually drafted by the Houston Astros organization, of which GM Mike Elias was also a member as the Asst. GM. So the Front Office is familiar with Eshelman and what he brings to the table. I’m not sure this is a move that will impact the Orioles directly anytime soon, but nevertheless Tom Eshelman is now a member of the Orioles organization.

Baltimore Orioles: Letting your opponent off the hook makes for losses

There are exceptions to every rule, however playing the Baltimore Orioles can often mean you won’t be held accountable for your mistakes. Even a contender like Houston will err in a game, but this afternoon that was allowed to slide. And it’s been allowed to slide for many Oriole opponents this year. Starter Dylan Bundy put the Birds in a position to win by throwing a quality start, however it was for naught. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

Bundy kept Houston off the board for three innings. So you figure that as can happen it was the second time through the order and onward that they figured out Bundy. And as has been the case for the Orioles often this year, the rally started innocently enough – with a two-out single.

That brought Houston’s Alvarez to the plate, in what was his second big league at-bat (in his first big league game). And true to form in terms of how things have gone for the Orioles this year, Alvarez smacked his first big league hit and homer all in one fatal swoop. That gave Houston a 2-0 lead…which in theory would have been all they would have needed.

Two innings later in the last of the third Reddick poked an RBI-single that extended Houston’s lead to 3-0. But that was also indicative of what has to be frustrating the Orioles this year. Opponents are literally finding ways to score – no questions asked. That Reddick RBI-single was a softly hit bloop – very softly hit. The Oriole outfield happened to be back, which is why that softly-hit ball fell in for a hit.

And here’s the thing folks; you can’t control your hitting to that degree. By that, I mean you can’t really do anything to induce a bloop. You can’t swing lighter or anything along those lines. It has to hit the bat at just the right angle and in just the right manner – in short, it just happens. And it happens a lot to the Orioles.

The big part of this game however was the top of the seventh. The Orioles had the bases loaded with nobody out. Granted Houston had to change pitchers, but they allowed them off the hook. You have to recognize that they aren’t taking pity on teams when that happens. They’re trying to hold teams accountable for their mistakes. But for the most part it just isn’t happening.

And that’s one of the big contrasts between this Orioles team right now and their opponents. Other teams are getting far off of bloop singles, dropped balls, errors, etc. (Some of that the Orioles can control, but not all of it – such as the bloop singles.) One way or the other, teams are holding the Orioles accountable both for their in-game mistakes and for the things which go on in games over which they have no control – but are still to their detriment.

Yet the O’s aren’t doing the same. As I said above, they aren’t letting teams off the hook out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re trying to win games. This is all part of rebuilding, which is a process about which the Orioles have been very up front in that it’s painful to watch. But if they’re going to move on in that process, they’re going to have to learn how to hold teams accountable regularly.

Houston would tack on an insurance run in the eighth before closing the Birds out. The Orioles now head back to Baltimore for a day off tomorrow before welcoming Toronto in on Tuesday night.

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander’s catch May have saved a win

Andrew Cashner got to return to his home state this afternoon as a starting pitcher, and helped the Baltimore Orioles to make Houston pay. Cashner was fortunate enough to get himself a lead, and then allowed the team to put that lead on his shoulders. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

The Orioles and Houston played to a 0-0 tie through five innings. After an extra-innings game last night, things seemed to be going towards that same direction today – again, through five innings. However in the 6th Renato Nunez put the Birds on the board with a solo homer.

However Cashner had some help in preserving the lead. And some big time help at that. With one out in the last of the sixth Gurriel sent a deep shot to right field. Houston already had two runners on base, and it appeared that the ball was headed for the right field grandstand (which would have given Houston a 3-1 lead). However Orioles’ right fielder Anthony Santander climbed the wall in right to bring the ball back in play. Santander then proceeded to double the runner off of first (while the runner from third tagged up and scored, tying the game).

While Houston was able to tie the game, that’s all they were able to do. Santander flat out saved a home run in that instance, and he ended the inning. And he may have saved the game. It’s also worth mentioning…Santander is only on the roster right now because of the Orioles’ injuries. Interesting twist.

The Birds would then re-take the lead in the 8th on an E6. For good measure, Richie Martin would smack a two-run homer in the ninth, giving the O’s a 4-1 lead and a 4-1 victory. There are a lot of aspects of any win or loss – it’s rarely because of one person or one play. However that Santander catch was as good a play as you’re going to see. While the O’s still had to go out and win the game by re-taking the lead, that play just stands out. It was as good and as clutch of a play as you’re going to see.

The series concludes tomorrow at Minute Maid Park. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Wade Miley (former Orioles). Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Gabriel Ynoa tosses a quality start in loss

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Gabriel Ynoa there a quality start last night in Houston. Of course the problem is that the Birds dropped the game to the Houston Astros. However that’s keep in mind that Houston’s an established winner, and the Orioles are trying to become that. The O’s are also at limited strength with the injuries they sustained this past week in Dallas. Ynoa’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

The Orioles gave Ynoa a lead before he even stepped on the field. They loaded the bases in the top of the first, and netted two runs on Rio Ruiz‘s two-RBI single. Two innings later in the third Chance Sisco‘s solo homer ran the lead to 3-0.

It was shaping up to be a good night for the Birds with Ynoa dealing and a three-run lead. However in the fifth Ynoa made two bad pitches. One came to Reddick, resulting in a solo homer. The other came to Kemp, resulting in a two-run shot.

Other than that, Ynoa pitches a great game. He certainly did his job as a starter, which is to put the team in a spot to win the game. He’s also been a pleasant surprise since coming up from the minors. We saw Ynoa a bit last year, and with lackluster results. But he’s put in a lot of work since then, and he’s spent a lot of time with the new Orioles’ regime’s coaches. He looks like a totally different pitcher.

The game went into extra innings, and Houston won on a walk off RBI-double by Chirinos in the 11th. There was a close play at the plate, and the runner was called safe at the plate. The call was also upheld on review. The play itself set off a wild celebration by the Houston players, and the upholding of the play meant another wild celebration – almost as if they won the game twice. Interesting reaction for a team that’s won a World Series very recently, and who had to go to extra innings to beat a team with the record that the Orioles have.

The series continues this afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Framber Valdez. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Dwight Smith Jr joins walking wounded in loss

The Baltimore Orioles left Texas last night with a roster full of injured players. It’s almost unbelievable how many players were injured in this series. Short of the players not hustling, nothing could be done to prevent the injuries. As for the game David Hess did all he could to put the Orioles on a spot to win the game. But with so many players out, it was tough. Hess’ line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

Trey Mancini gave the O’s the lead early with a solo homer in the first inning. However one inning later Pence tied it with a solo shot of his own. Guzman’s RBI-single later in the inning gave Texas a 2-1 lead. Then in the middle of the fourth, we had a 13-minute rain delay. For what amounted to a cloud burst over the ballpark. That happens in Texas.

Stevie Wilkerson‘s RBI-single in the fifth would briefly tie the game at two. However Texas took the lead right back in the sixth. They got an RBI-single from DeShields, who took third on a Chris Davis error in right field. He would later score on Santana’s sac fly-RBI.

Davis of course was playing right field because Trey Mancini was DHing…because he was also nic’d up a bit. And it goes on. Davis would get a run back for the O’s with a sixth-inning RBI-double, however it was too little too late to salvage the game and the O’s dropped the series finale 4-3.

The Orioles also lost Dwight Smith Jr. for awhile as he crashed into the wall in left field running down a ball. He did make the out (the final out in the fourth inning), but he hit hard. If there’s one thing the O’s didn’t need in this game it was someone else sustaining an injury. Smith is in concussion protocol, and he also banged up his shoulder. It’s unclear if he’ll have to go to the IL, however odds are we won’t see him for awhile.

So that’s four players who were injured in this series. Five if you count Mancini, who was still able to act as the DH. The Orioles May end up having to send Smith or others to the IL just to open up roster spots to guys who could actually play. So today could be a busy day for the Orioles on the roster front.

The Birds now head to Houston for a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Gerrit Cole. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in extras as injuries mount

If it was possible to play a game starkly opposite to the previous one, the Baltimore Orioles found a way to do it in Texas last night. Whereas Tuesday’s game was a shootout, the Birds last night found themselves in a pitcher’s duel behind starter John Means, who pitched a great game. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Means gave up an RBI-double to Andrus in the first inning – and that was it. Both sides has multiple shots at scoring more runs. The Orioles left a small army on base. They didn’t have any problems getting guys on. It was getting them in where they struggled.

The Birds appeared poised to drop this game 1-0. However Richie Martin smacked a solo homer in the ninth inning to tie the game. For once it was the O’s hunting someone in the waning seconds of a game and coming back on someone late. The game stretched to the 12th inning, where Texas won it on DeShields’ was off RBI-single. Someone had to win, and it wasn’t the Orioles’ day.

But that last line is intended in more than one manner. The Orioles sustained multiple injuries in this game, exhausting their bench and making one wonder what will happen going into tonight’s game and beyond. Things could get dicey.

Catcher Pedro Severino left the game in the first inning after being clunked on the head with a foul ball. Home plate umpire Brian O’Nora noticed something was off with Severino, and called for the Orioles’ trainers. Later on we received word that Severino didn’t have a concussion.

DJ Stewart left the game with what was later called a sprained knee after crashing into the brick facade at Globe Life Park. It’s a shame because Stewart had finally gotten a hit after being in a mini-slump since coming up. The last thing he needs is to be on the IL. Jonathan Villar also left the game after apparently straining his left thumb.

All three of these players could well avoid the IL. However where does that leave the Orioles tonight and heading into the weekend in Houston? They completed the game without a bench player left to spare. It wouldn’t shock me to see at least one guy on the IL today, just because the Orioles need a bench going into these games.

The series in Dallas concludes this evening at Globe Life Park. David Hess gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Ariel Jurado. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles hold on to win Texas two-step

The Baltimore Orioles has several big leads last night in Texas, but held on to win at the end despite a furious comeback attempt by Texas. Dylan Bundy has a four-run lead before even stepping onto the field. End of the day, it was just one of those nights in Texas where the ball really flew. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

The O’s got a three-run homer from Dwight Smith Jr, and a solo shot from Pedro Severino in the top of the first to take a 4-0 lead. (Severino would end up having a career night.) However as I said, the ball really flew last night in Texas – for both teams. Texas got one back in the last of the first on a solo homer by Choo.

The teams exchanged sac flies in the second and third innings, but in the fourth Keon Broxton picked up the homer parade again with a solo homer. Later in the inning Dwight Smith Jr. appeared to break the game wide open. He came up with the bases loaded and smacked a bases-clearing double. The O’s led 9-3 then after the fourth and a Texas RBI-single.

And with that, Severino smacked another homer (this one of the two-run variety) in the seventh), giving the O’s an 11-3 lead. Texas would put runs on the board in the last of the seventh and last of the eighth. That left the Birds with an 11-5 lead. Seems safe, right? In general and for the most part.

Before Texas could even think about coming back, Pedro Severino smacked his third homer (a solo shot) of the game in the top of the ninth. The O’s led 12-5. However Texas tried to come all the way back, and they almost succeeded. Cabrera’s two-RBI double cut the lead to 12-7. Odor added an RBI-single, and Forsythe a two-RBI double. Choo’s RBI-single cut the lead all the way down to one at 12-11.

Luckily for the Orioles, Andrus struck out with two outs in the ninth to end the game. It was a valiant comeback attempt by the Texas Rangers, but ultimately this one went in the Orioles’ column. As I said above, Pedro Severino had a career game. Of the Orioles’ five homers, he hit three.

The series continues tonight in Texas. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Mike Minor. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: More on Adley Rutschman and the draft

Baltimore Orioles’ General Manager Mike Elias seemingly got rave reviews in his selection of Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick last night. Said by Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo:

He has a strong arm, impressive receiving and blocking ability and excellent footwork on throws to second base, with a quick exchange from his glove to his release. Some scouts would like to have seen Rutschman throw more frequently this spring, but teams have run against him infrequently – and for good reason. Like most catchers, speed is Rutschman’s weakest tool and the only tool that doesn’t project as plus, but that’s hardly a concern moving forward.
Most scouts believe Rutschman has a chance to be an All-Star-level player in the majors as an impact bat in the middle of the order while also bringing plenty of defensive value. With excellent makeup and plenty of natural leadership traits, Rutschman has all the intangibles teams like to see from their backstops. He is the best catching prospect since Buster Posey in 2008 and Matt Wieters in 2007.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Many Orioles fans on twitter told me that one drawback to Rutschman might be that Wieters didn’t pan out the way that the Orioles had initially thought. Wieters also had to undergo Tommy John’s surgery, which is certainly not part of the initial outlook on any player. However I would caution fans from saying that the O’s should have gone in a different direction based squarely on that.

The O’s also had the first pick in the second round of last night’s draft, and they picked shortstop Gunnar Henderson out of John T. Morgan Academy in Selma, AL. He’s a southpaw fielder who scouts expect to get better as he progresses through the minors. Overall, it was a successful first day of the draft for the Birds.

The Orioles are in Arlington, TX this evening to open up a three-game set with the Texas Rangers. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Drew Smyly. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles draft Adley Rutschman first overall

For the first time since 1989, the Baltimore Orioles has the first pick in this year’s first year MLB player draft. GM Mike Elias wasted no time, and selected Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. One way or the other, those two will now forever be linked.

Rutschman’s a switch hitter, who appears to have a tremendous upside. He’s hit .411, with ten doubles, a triple, and 17 homers at this plate this year thus far in 2019. He also has 58 RBI. In the past few days most scouts were agreeing that Rutschman would be the top pick in the draft.

I would remind fans that they won’t see Rutschman at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for some time. He has to progress through the minor league system. However as the number one overall pick, he MUST be a can’t miss prospect. In other words, they’d better hit on him. Presumably however, his rise through the minors will be well-documented as time goes on.

Baltimore Orioles: Walks, balks, and shifts don’t equal wins

In what’s become a theme this year, the Baltimore Orioles were held to account for every mistake they made this afternoon in the series finale with San Francisco. When you give teams extra outs and/or extra bases, you can expect them to take advantage. Starter Gabriel Ynoa in effect was the victim, although he himself wasn’t immune to mistakes in this game. Ynoa’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 4 K.

The game started on a positive note, as Trey Mancini‘s first inning solo homer gave the Birds a 1-0 lead. And that held up for a few innings, as we appeared destined for a Sunday matinee pitcher’s duel. But how quickly things change.

San Francisco tied the game at 1 in the fourth inning on a solo homer by Longoria. Later in the inning Belt drew a walk and was on first. However in a move that rarely happens in the big leagues, Belt took off for second in a steal attempt while Ynoa was still in his stretch. There’s no rule (written or otherwise) against that, however it’s just not something that’s usually seen in the major leagues.

Ynoa seemed confused, and threw to second…committing a balk in the process. Belt, who has the Orioles to thank for getting him out of a slump of sorts, stopped on the base paths and pointed at Ynoa, calling for a balk call. Keep in mind that the definition of a balk is the pitcher trying to deceive the runner. While by the book what Ynoa did was a balk, in reality the runner in that instance tried to and was successful in deceiving the pitcher.

A few moments later Belt scored on Pillar’s RBI-double, giving San Francisco a 2-1 lead. Ynoa then gave up a walk to start the fifth, and a second runner reached on an error. The sad thing about the error was that it was set up to be a tailor-made 4-6-3 double-play. Wilkerson bobbled the ball, and things escalated further.

With both of those runners eventually ending up in scoring position, they would later score on Longoria’s ground rule RBI-double. Crawford would add a solo homer in the sixth, and Sandoval a sac fly-RBI in the seventh. Crawford would also add a second solo homer in the eighth inning, and Panik an RBI-single in the eighth.

Obviously San Francisco added on numerous runs at the end, however had the Birds limited the mistakes earlier perhaps things could have been different. To add insult to injury, the Orioles left the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Would it have mattered had they put a couple across? Probably not. However when you’re held to account for all of your mistakes and you can’t do the same to your opponent, you’re really in trouble.

You also want to ask yourself at times if some of these shifts aren’t becoming a bit much. I get it – part of the game nowadays is analytics, and those analytics suggest that you have a better shot at winning if you position fielder’s in a certain manner. However specific to this game as well as all year, the shifts have failed the Orioles. And I’m not saying in the sense of errors being committed and guys getting on anyways.

Today’s game was a microcosm of the season in the sense that plenty of opposing hitters reached either by flat out hitting against the shift, or by hitting into the shift and having the ball find daylight. Again it happened several times today and it’s happened many times over the course of the season. The Orioles may well be positioning their fielder’s in accordance with how the statistics say hitters will hit. But the hitters are taking that shift and raising the Orioles a base hit in one manner or the other.

The 2019 MLB first year players’ draft of course is tomorrow night – while the Orioles are off. We’ll have full coverage of the Orioles’ pick, which of course will be first overall. You can expect a recap here on Birdland Crush, but you can also follow me on Twitter (@DomenicVadala) for full coverage.

Baltimore Orioles: Renato Nunez homers in Birds’ loss

Last night the Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco combined for 14 runs in an Oriole victory. However someone told the Birds that the trend was supposed to continue this afternoon, as San Francisco jumped on the Orioles and starter David Hess early on. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Walks plagued Hess this afternoon. He walked two in the first inning, which led to Belt’s two-RBI single. And low and behold, that RBI-single came with two outs. Opponents’ propensity to get to Oriole pitching with two outs is uncanny. But them’s the breaks.

Hess would also surrender a solo homer to Posey in the third, which ran the lead to 3-0. The Orioles looked like they may have been making a run in the fourth when Renato Nunez smacked a solo homer of his own. But at the end it was a mirage…

…San Francisco came right back. The fifth inning was the back-breaker for the Birds this afternoon. Panic smacked an RBI-single, Belt a two-RBI double, and Longoria added a sac fly-RBI. Austin Wynns would add an RBI-single in the Orioles’ column in the last of the fifth, but that was too little too late. San Francisco added on an insurance run at the end just for good measure.

A lot of folks like to bring up the fact that David Hess has struggled since he was lifted while throwing a no-hitter in Toronto. That of course was in the first week of the season. Let it go said that it’s impossible for that to have had any affect mechanically on Hess. Hyde did the right thing for Hess and his career by pulling him. It was hard to see, but it was the right thing.

Many well-intentioned fans say that there’s a psychological aspect to it as well – in other words, it’s more than just mechanical. That might be semi-true. However if Hess was that bothered by that in a psychological manner, he doesn’t have the gumption to pitch at the big league level. In other words, he was never going to make it anyways. Point here being: that had no effect on Hess’ performance as time’s gone on.

The series and the home stand concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by San Francisco’s Jeff Samardzija. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Crooked numbers in a Caddywampus game

There was a moment where Baltimore Orioles’ fans questioned whether starter Andrew Cashner would even make it out of the first inning. Cashner surrendered five runs to San Francisco in the top of the first, causing many fans (and writers) to assume the game was over. But if you had Cashner overcoming that 5-0 deficit and qualifying for the win, you’d probably be a rich man right now! Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 0 K.

I say all the time that pitchers will have bad starts. But when you throw a clunker and you still get the win, you can consider it a bonus. Luckily for Cashner, he got some help from Oriole bats. And early on after surrendering five runs in the first, he needed it.

The Birds immediately put runners on base, and got on the board in the last of the first on an RBI-single by Renato Nunez. Pedro Severino would follow suit with an RBI-single of his own. So at that point at least the O’s had trimmed the lead and fought themselves back into the game. Needless to say, they were sending the message that they weren’t going quietly into the night.

Later in the inning Dwight Smith Jr. came up with the bases loaded. And Smith forced the O’s into the lead with a grand slam. Cashner left the field with a five-run deficit, and returned with the lead.

However he did allow SF to tie it up. Yastrzemski’s solo home run (the same Yaz whom the O’s traded a few weeks ago) ties the game back up at six in the second. However that shouldn’t have been surprising to anyone, as this game had already established itself as caddywampus or off the rails. Both teams had already put up crooked numbers. So why not let the fun continue?!

And continue it did – in the last of the second, for the Birds. Trey Mancini smacked a two-run homer to give the Orioles the lead back at 8-6. And Cashner along with the Orioles’ bullpen kept it right there. Renato Nunez would add a solo shot in the last of the seventh, and the O’s took game one of this inter league series by the score of 9-6.

The Orioles’ bullpen was also strong tonight in relief of Cashner. Incidentally, Cashner threw 109 pitches over five innings. The fact that he got the win is to his credit for toughing it out. It’s also to the credit of manager Brandon Hyde (who will miss tomorrow’s game to attend his step-daughter’s graduation in Chicago) for sticking with Cashner. Whether there are crooked numbers or not, at the end of the day a W’s a W.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by San Francisco’s Shaun Anderson. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Orange and black party downtown

The Baltimore Orioles will take on the San Francisco Giants this weekend in an interleague series beginning this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Birds thus far are 1-2 in interleague games, as they dropped two-of-three against Colorado last weekend.

However that series was on the road. This one will be in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That means that San Francisco will get the benefit of a DH. However the flip side of that is that the Orioles won’t have to surrender the use of their DH and have their pitchers hit. Context, folks!

However this weekend’s series is noteworthy because the league’s two teams which take the colors orange and black will be playing one another. Given the fact that San Francisco is having a lackluster season as well, I can’t imagine that too many Giants’ fans will show up at the yard this weekend. (Although who could really blame anyone for wanting to see their favorite team play in The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball?!) However those who do will be tough to decipher from Orioles’ fans!

The series begins this evening as I said at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by San Francsisco’s Drew Pomeranz. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: The issue of bandwagon fans

The Baltimore Orioles have very few bandwagon fans. That’s consistent with a rebuilding team, however it’s always been the case for the most part. The Orioles have always kind of belonged to it’s core group of fans – in essence, Baltimoreans.

Down the pike in DC, Rob Woodfork of radio station WTOP yesterday published this article regarding bandwagon fans. In essence, in his view it’s acceptable to be a bandwagoner in his view. Part of his point is that perhaps the idea that hometown fans don’t necessarily root for the home team would force the home teams to be better.

That’s all well and good if we’re talking about Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, or Bud vs. Miller. Those are product wars in essence. One of the worst things that’s very happened to the sports industry is the fact that the term “on-field/court/ice product” has come about. Sports isn’t a product. It’s a game.

No, it’s not necessarily a given that hometown kids will grow up rooting for the hometown team. But regardless of where you grew up, if you picked one team from childhood and stuck with them, I see no issue with that. You’ve bled with them in bad years, and shined in good – just as Orioles fans are doing right now.

But if you grew up a fan of one team, I suppose what I’m saying is that you should stick with that team. Granted, some teams make it easier to do that than do others. But…are you that in need of gratification that you’d dump all of your memories of rooting for that team as a child and so forth, only to root for another team? Another team who conveniently potentially has a better shot at winning right here and right now?

To me it’s all just a part of the instant gratification culture that seemingly exists more and more. If the Orioles don’t satisfy me, why shouldn’t I drop them and root for the BoSox? End of the day, nothing’s stopping someone from doing that, for the record. It isn’t against the law. But it does say something about what’s important to you. It says that you’re fickle. If you’re okay with that, go for it.

Having said that, I’ll make an exception if perhaps another team moves or a league expands to a location closer to where you live. Many DC-area fans grew up rooting for the Orioles. Now many of them have also stuck with the Orioles, valuing the tradition in which they grew up and the memories of growing up supporting the Birds more than rooting for a new team that’s potentially closer to their home. However many fans also switched allegiances to the Washington Nationals. And in that instance I can understand it.

I suppose my point is that sports are an emotional attachment. Not necessarily a rational one. You can’t just replace your memories of rooting for that one team with memories of rooting for a new one. That’s just not how it works. Yes, I would hope that most kids growing up in Baltimore would root for the team that has BALTIMORE across it’s chest by default. But either way, don’t switch teams in mid-stream. It’s unbecoming of the sports industry.

Baltimore Orioles: Late pitching mistakes cost the Birds

First and foremost, the Baltimore Orioles ran into some good pitching tonight. John Means set the tone for a good game for the Birds, and as we know it all begins and ends with starting pitching. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

The Birds got the lead early on in the last of the first. Renato Nunez‘s RBI-single gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. Detroit would tie the game at one on Castallanos’ RBI-double.

Maybe the Orioles’ luck would have been different had they scored multiple runs in various innings. Instead, they piecemeal’d a lead together over the course of the game. And that cost them.

But the Orioles took the lead right back. Keon Broxton‘s solo homer put them back in the driver’s seat at 2-1. Broxton of course homered on the first pitch he saw as an Oriole last Friday night at Coors Field. This was his first homer at Camden Yards. I suspect the home fans like him so far.

However it was two home runs that set Detroit apart in this game. Hicks’ solo shot in the eighth tied the game at two, and Dixon’s two-run shot in the ninth gave them the lead at 4-2. A lead that would hold up as the final score.

Again, the O’s got good starting pitching tonight from John Means. However it wasn’t enough. It.’a supposed to be, but it wasn’t. But that can happen when you leave yourself no margin for error.

By that, I mean that the Birds couldn’t even extend their lead. When you have no margin for error and you ultimately make a mistake on the mound, it isn’t going to end well. That’s why add-on or insurance runs aren’t bad things. They leave you a margin for error, which the Orioles didn’t have tonight.

Baltimore Orioles blanked as Dylan Bundy throws a quality start

Baltimore Orioles’ bats did starting pitcher Dylan Bundy no favors tonight against Detroit. Bundy pitched to a quality start, which also means that he put the Orioles in a spot to win. That’s all you can ask of a starting pitcher. Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 8 K.

The zero walks and eight strikeouts are what sticks out to me. Bundy had fantastic control and was hitting his spots all game long. However the Oriole offense couldn’t muster anything in the way of runs. It’s hard enough to win when you only score one or two. It’s impossible when you score zero. And that’s a fact.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Cabrera’s RBI-single. However Bundy was able to get out of the inning without any further scathing, in what became a bit of a theme in the game. Bundy flawlessly limited the damage Detroit was able to do.

Jones’ RBI-double in the second would run the score to 2-0. Detroit would net a third run on a fifth inning solo homer off the bat of Goodrum. This put the O’s in a 3-0 hole.

But they had their opportunities. The Birds went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position over the course of the game. Perhaps most poignantly, the O’s had the tying run at the plate in the form of Pedro Severino in the eighth inning. After a lengthy at-bat, Severino struck out with two on.

One very bright spot for the Orioles was DJ Stewart, who was called up from Norfolk for this game. He had his first career three-hit game (after having a cup of coffee with the Orioles in the big leagues last September), showing the Orioles’ brass that he belongs. The hope certainly is that he’s up here for awhile.

The series with Detroit concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Ryan Carpenter

Baltimore Orioles capitalize on Detroit’s mistakes, win series opener

The Baltimore Orioles have had their share of games this year where they’ve had no room for error. In the sense that the opponent has gotten fat on Oriole mistakes. With Gabriel Ynoa getting the start out of the bullpen this afternoon on Memorial Day against Detroit, this was a game where the O’s couldn’t afford many mistakes. Ynoa’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

With a runner on base in the last of the first, Renato Nunez sent a deep fly ball towards left. The ball appeared to be hooking foul; it faded, but somehow straightened out just a bit in the end. It ended up taking a header into the foul pole, making it a two-run homer, and giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Detroit would get on the board in the second on an RBI-single by Greiner, who took second on the throw. However Nunez came back up in the third, once again with runners on base. Nunez grounder to short, but a run ended up scoring on an errant throw by the Detroit infield. That gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead. That would be extended to 4-1 later in the inning on Pedro Severino‘s sac fly-RBI.

Detroit would put an additional run on the board, as would the Orioles. But the Birds also put up an insurance run in the last of the seventh on a solo homer by Jonathan Villar. And it was probably a good thing thing that they did, as the Orioles’ pen put the tying run in scoring position in the ninth. But they were able to close it out, defeating Detroit 5-3.

Two of those runs were unearned for the Orioles. So for once it was the O’s taking advantage of another team’s mistakes. And as was the case in reverse on Sunday, the O’s committed two errors and lost by one. So these errors do add up. But again for once, it was the Orioles taking advantage of the mistakes made by an opponent.

Ynoa pitches a dominant four innings, as did Dan Straily out of the bullpen. Straily of course was demoted to the bullpen last week, and for at least one game it worked. Straily said after the game that he felt no pressure coming into the game, and he was able to bridge the gap between Ynoa and the back end of the ‘pen.

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

Today we the people of the United States join together and remember our war dead. There’s no amount of gratitude that could ever repay our fallen soldiers for putting their lives down for our freedom so that we can do things such as watch baseball. However we keep them always in our hearts and minds. May they Rest In Peace knowing that a grateful nation and people remember them today and always.

Baltimore Orioles haunted by unearned runs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles snap seven-game losing streak in Colorado

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles fall on walk off homer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: Hoodwinked Part II?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: New York goes bombs away at Camden Yards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles unable to get the bats on track in Cleveland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: Overcoming an error equals a win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles, Andrew Cashner fall in pitcher’s duel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles, David Hess bitten by the long ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles the victims of weather once again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: Fifth inning sinks the Birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: Anaheim comes to town amid more weather

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles fall in series finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: It begins and ends with starting pitching

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: The night Boston found out John Means business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles fans called to arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles washed away for today

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles, Dylan Bundy turn the tables on Tampa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles: Opponents get fat on your negligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles, Richie Martin Livin’ La Vida Loca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles being killed by the long ball

The Baltimore Orioles called up prospect Luis Ortiz to make a spot start against Boston last night. While Ortiz has never made an appearance in an Orioles’ uniform, he had appeared in two other big league games – with Texas. However while he was able to get some early pitches by for strikes, it didn’t exactly turn out the way the Orioles would have hoped. Ortiz’s line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 3 K.

The Orioles actually had a lead in this game. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning to give the Birds a 1-0 lead. However that was basically the highlight of the game for the O’s. While Ortiz was lifted when trailing 3-1 and the game not out of hand by any means, it went downhill from there.

The Orioles surrendered six home runs to Boston last night. When the smoke cleared, they trailed 13-1. Keon Broxton would add an RBI-single in the last of the ninth to cut the final to 13-2.

The O’s are surrendering home runs left and right. Now in fairness, Boston’s been hitting the ball out of the park at will the last few games. This was their second consecutive game in which they’ve hit five (or more) home runs. Boston hitters appear to be very zero’d in at the plate right now. And there was nothing that Oriole pitching was doing to calm the tide of homers.

Part of the issue with Oriole pitching right now is that pitchers either can’t stay healthy, or just can’t perform. The can’t perform part is especially tough to accept. That’s been going on for some time, going back to Ubaldo Jimenez. That was a signing that was lauded by most media analysts, myself included. The Orioles got him at a fair price and he was a solid starter.

But at the end of the day, he never measured up. Some would argue he did more harm than good. (I wouldn’t go that far, but some would. You also have to keep in mind that when the Orioles needed someone to step up in a big game, Jimenez usually rose to the occasion.) But obviously for whatever reason pitchers seem to come to Baltimore and suddenly not be able to find the strike zone. Or they get hurt – like Cashner and Cobb.

The issue last night in a sense was the nibbling. Oriole pitching all tried to nibble on the corners, and Boston hitters refuse to relent and swing at pitches out of the strike zone. Consequently, Oriole pitchers nary seemed to get the benefit of the doubt, as all of those borderline pitches were called as strikes.

Then ultimately with runners on base the Orioles were forced to throw strikes. And those strikes were hit. And a long way at that. The majority of those home runs were two-run shots.

The series continues this afternoon at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Chris Sale. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Resilient Birds hang on to beat Toronto

Baltimore Orioles fans seemed to almost be waiting for the shoe to drop in tonight’s gAme against Toronto. Starter John Means May have given up a first inning home run (to the game’s first hitter), but he ended up putting the O’s in a spot to win the game. And that’s the goal for any starting pitcher. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

Means had a semi-tough first inning, giving up a solo homer to Sogard, and ultimately throwing 30 pitches. However that merely affected Means’ ability to pitch deep into the game. The Orioles’ pen was fairly rested after limited use on Sunday, and a day off yesterday.

However the fact is that Means pitched out of it. And instead of hanging his head, he got stronger. As did the rest of the team.

The Birds evened things up in the last of the third on Trey Mancini‘s RBI-double. Later in the inning Chance Sisco‘s bloop RBI-double down the left field line gave the O’s the lead. One inning later they extended the lead to 3-1 on yet another RBI-double, this one by Anthony Santander.

The O’s couldn’t push any further runs across until later, however Toronto did make a push late in the game. Grichuk sent a bloop towards shallow right field with two outs and a runner on first. By virtue of the fact that there were two outs, the runner was able to score and cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-2.

That was a moment in the game when the O’s could have become unglued. But they didn’t. They stood pat and actually got stronger in a sense by extending their lead. Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-double extended the lead to 4-2.

And I think that’s important. Often times it’s been a small thing such as a late run that’s set the Orioles off, and the opponent has been able to come back. Not tonight. The Birds and their ‘pen closed the door, and the Orioles ended up with a win in game one of three against Toronto.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Edwin Jackson. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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