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Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander caps New York in the last of the ninth

The Baltimore Orioles were hoping to get another quality start in this afternoon’s series final with New York, this time out of Bruce Zimmermann. That didn’t happen, as Zimmermann didn’t really have his great stuff this afternoon. Now it’s important to note that he wasn’t by any means awful. It was just a slow slog type of outing. Zimmermann’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Zimmermann allowed two runs right off the bat on a two-RBI single by Stanton. However the O’s bounced back in the second when Robinson Chirinos smacked a two-run homer, tying the game. That would kind of be a theme in the game today; whenever New York would take the lead, the O’s would always find a way to bounce back.

And in fact, Jorge Mateo would give them a 3-2 lead in the third with an RBI-single, only to have New York tie the game back up with Stanton’s solo homer in the fourth. Zimmermann would load the bases in the sixth before exiting the game, and the Orioles’ bullpen almost got him out of it – almost. With two outs Kiner-Falefa’s two-RBI single gave New York a 5-3 lead.

But the O’s made their final move in the last of the sixth. Tyler Nevin’s RBI-single brought them to within 5-4. Cedric Mullins would later come up as a pinch hitter, and his sac fly-RBI would tie the game at five. Another pinch hitter, in the form of Rougned Odor, would give the O’s a 6-5 lead.

Attention to detail in games is important. Jorge Mateo was called out in the beginning of the sixth inning on a foul tip. First off, New York almost argued their way into that being the call, as the umpires had to think about it. But manager Brandon Hyde challenged the call, asking for a review for a potential catcher’s interference call. And the challenge was successful, and Mateo was awarded first base. He would later come into score the game-tying run.

Small things like that in games can resonate and become bigger things. That’s why you have to pay such close attention to detail in a sport like baseball. Would you think that something as small as a replay review would impact a game? No. But did something as small as a replay review impact this game? Yes.

Only problem was the game wasn’t over. With two outs in the ninth, LeMahieu blooped an RBI-single to right field, tying the game at six. The Orioles were on the verge of snapping a six-game losing streak, the chances of which took a hit in that moment. Even more so when they loaded the bases for Stanton. But the O’s pitched out of it, and we went to the last of the ninth.

And we weren’t in the last of the ninth for the full frame. The Orioles put two runners on with Anthony Santander coming to the plate. And he smacked a three-run homer to left field to win it 9-6 for the homestanding Orioles, and sending the crowd home happy. This snaps a six-game losing streak for the O’s.

The Orioles will now welcome in Tampa tomorrow night for the first of a three-game series at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jalen Beeks. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Mistakes adding up in games

The Baltimore Orioles sent Jordan Lyles to the mound tonight, hoping to snap a five-game losing streak. Lyle pitched to a quality start, both on paper and in reality. In doing so he not only put the team in a position to win, but he also saved bullpen arms. Lyles’ line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 8 K.

Lyles ran into issues after retiring the first two hitters of the ballgame. Following a couple of base hits, Torres’ RBI-double gave New York a 1-0 lead. Donaldson would later score on a Wild Pitch, and a throwing error by Anthony Bemboom allowed Torres to score. And the Orioles trailed 3-0.

But after that hiccup, Lyles settled in and New York hitters were mowed down left and right. Neither team could really get anything together offensively. At least through much of the middle innings portion of the game.

The Birds finally snapped out of their funk in the last of the sixth when Austin Hays smacked an RBI-double. Hays would later score on a Fielder’s Choice by Trey Mancini, with a Mancini also being safe at first. However that’s all the Orioles could muster, and they fell 3-2 to New York.

The silver lining to this game is that Oriole pitching (mostly Lyles) held New York off the board after the first inning. However that unearned run came back and bit the Orioles. Granted it happened early in the game and so forth. But those plays count as much as they plays which occur in the ninth inning.

When you surrender two early runs on a Wild Pitch and an E2 respectively, and proceed to lose by one…let’s just say that stings. That was a game the O’s easily could have won, all things being the same, but they really paid a price for those mistakes. You always have to overcome mistakes, in all areas of life. But the Birds are really being held accountable for ALL of them as games go on.

The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards as the Orioles try to salvage a game. Bruce Zimmermann gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 12:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Nothing good happens after a walk – or a hit batsman

Spencer Watkins set the Baltimore Orioles up to win this evening against New York. While he only pitched four innings, he put the team in a position to win the game. And as I’ve said many times, that’s all you can ask of a starting pitcher. Watkins line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 K.

Watkins gave up an RBI-double to Judge in the first. But one inning later Ramon Urias’ solo homer tied it up at one. However Judge would come up again in the third, and smack a solo homer of his own, giving New York a 2-1 lead.

Urias would reach on an error in the last of the fourth, and Trey Mancini would score which tied the game back up at two. Not that it matters too much, but it’s worth mentioning the scoring on this play. Mancini was going to score from third on the ground out as it was. Urias only reached because of an error. But since the run technically was earned, Urias does get credited with an RBI.

The Birds would take a brief lead later in that fourth inning on Tyler Nevin’s sac fly-RBI. But that lead was short lived – Judge would tie it up in the fifth with a solo homer. LeMahieu would drive in a run with a ground out in the sixth, giving New York a 4-3 lead. Torres would reach on an error an inning later, scoring a run and extending New York’s lead to 5-3.

The Birds would threaten in the ninth after Ryan McKenna’s RBI-double, putting the winning run in scoring position. But Cedric Mullins popped out to end the game. And NY took game two, 5-4.

The go-ahead run driven in by LeMahieu? It came with the bases loaded. And they were loaded due in part to both a walk and a hit batsman. We’ve always heard that nothing good happens after a walk. The same can be true of a hit batsman. Both acts give the offensive team a free base runner. And New York took full advantage.

And given that the Birds ended up losing by one, those aspects of the game did the O’s in. If not for those base runners, all things being equal we’re in extra’s. You have to limit those sorts of mistakes in games. Especially against a team like New York.

One positive for the O’s was that they called up pitcher Logan Gillespie before the game. He made his major league debut, pitching both the eighth and ninth innings. And he looked pretty good. He gave up three hits abs struck a batter out – his first major league strikeout. Unfortunately for the O’s however, New York’s bullpen was better down the stretch. But still a very good debut for Gillaspie.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Gerrit Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall to New York in series opener

Kyle Bradish got the start for the Baltimore Orioles as they returned home to open a series with the New York Yankees. Unfortunately for Bradish, Oriole bars remained as cold as they were in Detroit over the weekend. In effect, Bradish made one bad pitch, which was combined with some bad luck. Bradish’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

With a runner on base in the top of the third, Stanton smacked an RBI-double for New York. But Bradish and the Birds would have taken that all day at the time. There were two outs, and Stanton got greedy and tried to advance to third. And he was throwing out in doing so, ending the inning.

However one inning later Bradish surrendered a three-run homer to Trevino. But Trevino got a little bit lucky in that sequence. The ball appeared to be drifting foul, and it hit odd the edge of the right field foul pole. New York would net two insurance runs in the ninth, off solo homers by Donaldson and Rizzo respectively.

Anthony Santander smacked solo homers in the last of the fourth and in the last of the ninth, accounting for the Orioles’ only runs. But keep in mind that this team is being ravaged by injuries right now. Yes, you’d like to get more than one run in a game. In fact, for the most part you have to get more than one run. But this is a team with depleted power and skill right now. At some point, that will change.

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

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Baltimore Orioles swept in Detroit as injuries pile up

Tyler Wells got the start for the Baltimore Orioles in this afternoon’s series finale in the Motor City. Wells was nickel and dined to death in a sense, but didn’t give up anything big per se. Wells’ line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Wells was pitching to contact in effect. He gave up a solo homer to Cabrera, and an RBI-single to Castro in the last of the second. Cabrera came up again an inning later, and knotted a sac fly-RBI.

That was all that Cabrera surrendered, but Detroit kept the pressure on. Barnhart abs Castro added RBI-singles in the seventh and eighth respectively. The Orioles at the very least got on the board in the ninth when Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer. But when the opponent puts up five, you can’t settle for one. End of the day, the O’s ended up getting swept away in the Motor City.

This was a tough weekend series for the Orioles in more than one way. The Birds had to put Ryan Mountcastle on the 10-day IL with a left forearm strain. This on Friday. This afternoon Jorge Mateo collided with the Detroit pitcher running out a bunt. At first he stayed in the game, but was later lifted.

Manager Brandon Hyde said after the game that Mateo has a left shoulder and chest contusion. X-rays we’re negative. In the immediate future Mateo will be listed as day-to-day, with no apparent roster move pending for the time being.

The O’s were also without Austin Hays in Detroit, as his hand was stepped on in St. Louis. Hays and Mountcastle are huge absences in the lineup. So the Birds’ offensive output (three runs in three games) in Detroit isn’t totally shocking. But all teams have injuries, and you have to overcome them. For the record, Mountcastle was put on the Il retroactive to this past Wednesday, and his hope is to return in the latter part of the upcoming home stand.

The O’s now head home to open a four-game set with the New York Yankees at Camden Yards. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Luis Severino. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Runs tough to come by in the Motor City

The Baltimore Orioles got a quality start out of Bruce Zimmermann in Detroit this afternoon. The problem of course was that they couldn’t put anything on the board in their column. Which makes it impossible to win. Zimmermann’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the last of the first on Castro’s sac fly-RBI. That was an unearned run, as Schoop led off the inning with a double an led took third on an error. For what it’s worth, had Castro gotten a base hit instead of a sac fly, the run would have been earned.

Hasse would smack a solo homer in the last of the fifth, and Castro in the seventh. Again, when you can’t put any runs on the board, it’s impossible to win. The O’s did have the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning, but a double-play ended that threat. And as I’ve written before, you have to take advantage of your opponents’ mistakes. Detroit did today; and the Orioles didn’t.

Zimmermann did his job, however. In throwing a quality start, he put the team in a spot to win the ballgame. That’s all you can ask of a starting pitcher.

Oriole starters in general are going a little deeper into games over the past two weeks or so. Another good sign. As good as the bullpen’s been, the starters have to help them out in a sense and keep them spry. Quality starts are a great way to do that.

The series in Detroit ends tomorrow afternoon at Comerica Park. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Tarik Skubal. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles rally late but fall

The Baltimore Orioles were unable to continue the momentum of their St. Louis visit last night in Detroit. At least in the immediacy of last night – there are still two more games in the series. Jordan Lyles took the loss, but despite his numbers he did keep the Orioles in the ballgame. Lyle’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

Lyles held Detroit scoreless through two, but they got on the board in the third. Cabrera’s RBI-double gave Detroit a 1-0 lead. Cabrera would come up again in the sixth, and smack a solo homer to extend the lead to 2-0. Later in the inning Torkelson would reach on an error, scoring two more.

Trailing 4-0 into the later innings, the Birds did try to rally. Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander would both smack solo homer runs to cut the Detroit lead to 4-2. The Orioles would also load the bases in the ninth, however two straight strikeouts ended the game, and the Birds fell 4-2 in the Motor City.

Before the game the Orioles put Ryan Mountcastle on the 10-day IL with left wrist/forearm discomfort. Mountcastle missed the last two games in St. Louis, and the team felt he wasn’t healing quickly enough. The hope is that he’s able to return as soon as he comes off the IL.

The series continues this afternoon at Comerica Park. Bruce Zimmerman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Michael Pineda. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Rylan Bannon debuts as Birds take series from St. Louis

The Baltimore Orioles had to go with a dreaded “bullpen game” this afternoon in the series finale in St. Louis. Bryan Baker made his first start since 2017 today, and in effect acted as an “opener” for the O’s. (Incidentally, the aforementioned start by Bryan Baker was in single-A.) Baker’s line: 2.1 IP, 1 H 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Baker was announced as the starter this morning. We knew that today’s game was going to be a bullpen game, but we didn’t know who was actually going to be starting. And for the record, he did an admirable job. The Orioles also called Rylan Bannon up from triple-A Norfolk for the game, and he made his big league debut.

The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a Jorge Mateo solo homer. Immediately following Mateo in the lineup was Bannon, who immediately got on base with a single – his first big league hit on his first big league at-bat. A moment that Bannon will never forget. If his career ended tomorrow, he still would have gotten a hit in a major league ballgame.

That 1-0 lead stood up for quite awhile. The O’s scored again in the top of the seventh when Anthony Bemboom hit a solo homer of his own. It was the first home run by an Orioles’ catcher this season. And it came on a day when the Orioles needed every run they could get.

Later in that seventh inning Cedric Mullins would tack on an RBI-single, and the Orioles led 3-0. St. Louis would also get a homer by Carlson, and a sac fly-RBI by Arenado in the seventh and eighth innings respectively. They would also threaten to score more, but the Orioles’ pen held firm and the Birds will go to Detroit on the heels of a 3-2 victory.

With today’s win, the Orioles took two-of-three from a very good St. Louis Cardinals team. And in doing so they seemed to come together as a team. Keep in mind that the O’s lost big last night, this while knowing that today was going to be a challenge being a bullpen game. Not to mention that it was a day game. But they came together as a team and made a victory happen to win the series.

The O’s now head to Detroit to open a three-game set at Comerica Park. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: String of quality starts comes to an end

The Baltimore Orioles weren’t going to see quality starts for the rest of time. Eventually things were going to get tougher, and that eventuality happened tonight. Spencer Watkins got the start, abs struggled throughout his outing. Watkins’ line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Watkins surrendered three runs in the last of the second. A solo homer by Yepez, and a two-RBI double by Donovan got things started for St. Louis. And that set the tone in essence for the entire game.

Edman’s RBI-double in the last of the fourth ran the score to 4-0. St. Louis would keep the pressure on, tacking on six more runs over the course of the rest of the game. The O’s would also get on the board in the last of the fifth on Robinson Chirinos’ RBI-double.

It begins and ends with starting pitching. I’ve said that for years. Or written it, I should say. Watkins was off tonight. But as I said, the string of quality starts wasn’t going to last forever. Someone was going to trip up at some point.

The series in St. Louis concludes tomorrow afternoon at Busch Stadium. The O’s are yet to announce a starter, but whomever he is will be opposed by St. Louis’ Jordan Hicks. Game time is set for 1:15 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Kyle Bradish strikes out 11 as O’s defeat Redbirds

The Baltimore Orioles taxed Kyle Bradish with going to the mound and starting in St. Louis tonight. And all Bradish did was produce the Birds’ fourth straight quality start in as many games. Bradish’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 11 K.

This is an interesting series for a couple of reasons. First off, the Orioles came to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954. Previously they had been the St. Louis Browns. They also hadn’t played in St. Louis since the early 2000’s. This meaning it was their first visit to the new Busch Stadium.

Bradish keeping the Redbirds at bay can’t be under-stressed. He put forth an all-star like effort tonight in keeping that lineup down. And in doing so, also helped save the Oriole bullpen a bit for later in the road trip.

The Orioles took the lead in the third inning on a two-run homer by Cedric Mullins. Tyler Nevin smacked one of his own (this one a solo shot) an inning later, running the score to 3-0. Obviously you’re going to be in good shape of you can get an outing like what Bradish produced tonight, combined with a few runs.

Come the fifth inning the O’s ran their lead to 4-0 on Anthony Santander’s RBI-double. Trey Mancini added an RBI-single in the sixth, and the O’s took a 5-0 lead. The O’s were cruising.

St. Louis’ first two runs came in a strange manner. Bader smacked a two-run homer – an inside-the-park home run, to be exact. Not only that, but it was the first inside-the-parker in the history of Busch Stadium. (The park opened in 2006.) Donovan would smack a solo homer in the last of the ninth as well, cutting the Birds’ margin of victory to 5-3.

But the rested Oriole bullpen held once Bradish left the game after the seventh, save for the solo homer. The O’s closed the door, and took the first game of the series 5-3. Talk about making a first impression in a ballpark where your franchise has never played before!

The series continues tomorrow night at Busch Stadium. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by St. Louis’ Miles Mikolas. Game time is set for 7:45 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles propelled to victory by six-run fifth inning

The Baltimore Orioles ended up having a very successful, albeit disjointed, weekend series with the Kansas City Royals. It culminated this afternoon in a makeup of Saturday’s game that was rained out. Tyler Wells got the start, and became the third Oriole starter to have a successful outing against Kansas City. Wells’ line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

The game started well for Kansas City, with O’Hearn’s RBI-single giving them a 1-0 lead in the first inning. But that moment was the pinnacle of the day for the visiting Kansas City Royals. Wells, the bullpen, and the defense behind them shut down Kansas City bats for the rest of the game. But Oriole bats were quiet as well…

…until the fifth inning, that is. Jorge Mateo tied the game at one with an RBI-single early in the inning. Mateo would later steal second base, causing an errant throw from the Kansas City catcher, Melendez. This allowed Anthony Bemboom to score from third, giving the Orioles the lead at 2-1.

And the inning snowballed from there. Trey Mancini scored on a wild pitch, running it to 3-1. And Ryan Mountcastle’s two-RBI single ran it to 6-1. Which stood up as the final score of the game. For once it was an opposing pitcher who fell apart against the Orioles, prompting a big inning. While you’d prefer to spread out your run output in a game, you take runs however you can take them. Especially in a victory.

The Birds took two-of-three from Kansas City this weekend, which bodes well for them as they hit the road for St. Louis and then Detroit. And if not for a few errors, they were in line to win the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader as well. And the starting pitching was strong all weekend. All of these aspects combined work in the Orioles’ favor moving forward.

The O’s now head to St. Louis for three games, starting tomorrow night. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the Orioles, and St. Louis is yet to name a starter. Game time is set for 7:45 PM tomorrow night.

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Baltimore Orioles lifted by a big first inning

The Baltimore Orioles won the second game of a twin bill against Kansas City this afternoon, splitting the doubleheader. Baltimore area native Bruce Zimmermann got the start, and managed to deliver another quality start. Zimmermann’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

For the second time today, the O’s had a starter who went deep into the ballgame. Jordan Lyles went 7.1 innings in game one earlier today, and Bruce Zimmermann pitched six. So the Oriole bullpen comes out of this doubleheader in fairly good shape. This with a makeup game tomorrow afternoon against these same Kansas City Royals tomorrow, and a road trip through St. Louis and Detroit looming this coming week.

Aside from Zimmermann’s shutdown performance (incidentally at one point he retired nine straight Kansas City hitters), the story of this game was written in the first inning. The O’s loaded the bases with nobody out, which seemed to bode well for the rest of the ballgame…

…and it boded well for that moment also. Cedric Mullins scored from third on a passed ball, giving the O’s a 1-0 lead. Ryan Mountcastle followed with an RBI-single, and Ramon Urias a sac fly-RBI. After one inning, the Birds held a 3-0 lead.

And that probably emboldened Bruce Zimmermann. He’s been the Orioles’ best pitcher thus far, but getting early runs makes a huge difference. In this specific case it also shows improvement from game one of the doubleheader where the O’s left quite a few runners on base.

Kansas City would push one across in the second on Merrifield’s sac fly-RBI. The Birds would grab an insurance run however in the fifth when Tyler Nevin smacked an RBI-single. Kansas City would attempt to rally in the sixth, but they could only muster a run on Dozier’s RBI-single. And the O’s went on to a 4-2 win.

A lot of players and coaches don’t like doubleheaders for various reasons (paramount of which has to do with the way it taxes players), but one of them is because most doubleheaders end up being split. Obviously that’s what we saw today. And that was due in large part to the effort from Bruce Zimmermann in the second game. And again, a solid outing by a starter in a doubleheader situation really helps a team out. So as I said above, the Oriole bullpen is in good shape going forward.

The series with Kansas City concludes tomorrow with a makeup game at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Carlos Hernandez. Game time is set for just after 12 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Errors in the field costs the Birds

Jordan Lyles did the Baltimore Orioles a “solid” this afternoon. This based on pure longevity and staying in the ballgame. He pitched a strong start for the Birds, into the eighth inning. Lyles’ line: 7.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 earned), 1 BB, 5 K.

When you’re playing a doubleheader and your starter goes into the eighth in game one, you’re in really decent shape. Win or lose. It helps save your bullpen.

Cedric Mullins gave the Orioles the lead in the second with a ground run RBI-double. Olivares’ RBI-single an inning later for Kansas City would tie the game at one. Kansas City would take the lead in the fifth when Lopez reached on a fielder’s choice, combined with Ryan Mountcastle’s throwing error. 

Benintendi would add a sac fly-RBI in the fifth to extend the lead to 3-1. Ryan Mountcastle appeared to potentially smack a two-run homer in the last of the fifth, however it was ruled a double. The Birds asked for a review, but the call was upheld. However the O’s did cut the lead to 3-2.

But two innings later the Birds would however get the lead back. Rougned Odor would smack a two-RBI double, giving the O’s a 4-3 lead. However that was short-lived. O’Hearn’s sac fly-RBI in the eighth would tie the game at four.

Kansas City would push two runs across in the top of the ninth as well, both the result of errors. A runner would get on base when Odor bobbled a routine grounder at second, and he would advance to third on a throwing error by Jorge Lopez. Two run-scoring singles later, Kansas City had a 6-4 victory in game one of a twin bill.

On the positive side, the O’s only used two relievers. In a doubleheader that’s important. However errors are killing this team right now. Only three of Kansas City’s six runs were earned. And the two in the ninth inning really stick out. You have to shore that up, as opponents are going to take advantage.

The series with Kansas City continues in a few moments from Camden Yards in the second game of the doubleheader. Bruce Zimmermann gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Daniel Lynch. Game time is set for about 20-25 from now.

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Baltimore Orioles smack five homers to defeat Minnesota

Offense has been tough to come by for the Baltimore Orioles thus far in 2022. However if this past week’s series with Minnesota is any indication, that might be changing. In last night’s series finale the Birds sent Spencer Watkins to the mound, and while he didn’t stick around long enough to get the win, he put the team in a spot to be successful. Watkins’ line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

The Orioles hit five solo homers in the game last night. When you’ve been struggling to put runs on the board, that makes a difference. Ryan Mountcastle gave the O’s a 1-0 lead in the last of the second with the first of those five solo shots. One inning later it appeared that Minnesota had taken a 2-1 lead when Buxton grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored two runs. However the O’s challenged the second run, and the call was overturned. And we played on in a 1-1 tie.

But in the bottom of that same third inning the O’s took the lead back as Cedric Mullins smacked a solo homer. Minnesota briefly held the lead on Buxton’s two-run shot in the fifth, but it was short-lived. Jorge Mateo’s solo homer in the bottom of the inning tied the game back up at three.

Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle would add solo homers in the last of the eighth, and the O’s took the game 5-3. This also means that they split a four-game series with a very good Minnesota team. Mind you, Minnesota’s in first place in their division. They’re no slouch.

But more importantly, Oriole bats are coming alive. It was only a matter of time. If they can keep that momentum going, they’ll be in really good shape. This of course assuming that the pitching remains fairly solid – both starting and relief pitching.

Weather permitting, the O’s welcome the Kansas City Royals into Camden Yards this evening for the first game of three this weekend. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Carlos Hernandez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Did the Birds win the Dylan Bundy trade?

Fans have been waiting for the Baltimore Orioles to break out offensively for most of the year. They finally got their wish tonight, as the Birds put up nine runs for starter Kyle Brandish (and the bullpen). Brandish’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Interestingly enough, Brandish was pitching against former Oriole Dylan Bundy. Brandish was the centerpiece of the trade that went Bundy packing from Baltimore. Interesting juxtaposition.

The game was scoreless through 2.5 innings, until Cedric Mullins smacked a two-run homer in the last of the third. Austin Hays and Rougned Odor would follow later in the afternoon inning with RBI-singles. And the Orioles were off to the races.

Four runs would have been a very healthy inning for any team. But the O’s were gunning for more against Minnesota and against their former starting pitcher. Ramon Urias would smack a two-run homer of his own later on in the inning, running the score to 6-0.

And it’s a good thing they tacked on some extra rubs. Because Correa’s two-run homer in the fourth cut the lead to 6-2. Minnesota had a very tough team, and they aren’t about to go down looking in a sense. Before the end of the inning, they had run the score to 6-4 – well within striking distance.

But Oriole bars were having none of that. The Birds would put three more runs on the board in that fourth inning. A run scoring-single by Anthony Santander, a sac fly from Hays, and an RBI-double by Ryan Mountcastle would round things out, both in the fourth inning as well as in the game.

So if this game was any indication, it appears that the Orioles won the Dylan Bundy trade. Again, that’s based on TONIGHT’S RESULT. But in truth I think it temains to be seen. I don’t think you can make a decision on that point based on one game. Needless to say however, the O’s wanted Brandish in return for a reason.

The series with Minnesota concludes tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Chris Archer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Do starters have too short a leash?

The Baltimore Orioles sent Bruce Zimmermann to the mound this evening against Minnesota. Despite being removed after five innings, I personally thought that he pitched a solid outing. Zimmermann’s line: 5.0 IP. 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Zimmermannn was scoreless through three innings, and gave up an RBI-single to Miranda in the fourth. (Miranda’s first big league hit – for what that’s worth.) However Zimmermann would pitch out of the inning, and remain unscathed save for that.

Tyler Nevin reached on an error in the fourth, allowing the first Oriole run of the night to score. However Minnesota would strike back in the fifth with an RBI-single. Mancini would tie the game later in the inning with an RBI-single of his own.

After Zimmerman had departed, Minnesota did some real damage. Polanco’s three-run homer in the top of the sixth gave Minnesota a 5-2 lead. This off of Joey Kreyhbiel. Kreyhbiel has been strong, just not on this night. Minnesota would add an additional two runs in the ninth, which rounded out the scoring.

As I said, Zimmermann was pitching well. So if you’re Brandon Hyde, why pull him out. To be fair, in many cases pitchers aren’t pitching well enough to justify leaving them in early on. But that’s not always the case, including tonight.

Granted, the Orioles’ rotation seems to be in a constant state of flux given injuries. But when a guy’s sent out as a starting pitcher, the goal should be to pitch between 7-9 innings. Because what happens is eventually an otherwise strong bullpen will show cracks. And then people start to talk about the ‘pen being inconsistent.

This isn’t to say that Hyde doesn’t know what he’s doing. He wouldn’t be a manager if he didn’t. But the last thing he wants is for a reliever’s arm to fall off.

The series continues tomorrow night with Minnesota at Camden Yards. Kyle Bradish gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Dylan Bundy. GMe time is just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in a pitcher’s duel

The Baltimore Orioles have played their share of pitcher’s duels thus far in 2022. Tonight was no exception at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as Minnesota came to town. Tyler Wells got the start, and put his team in a spot to win. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Neither team scored until the fifth mining, when Jefffers’ RBI-single gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead. At first however it appeared that woke a Oriole hats up, as Urias was able to score on a sac fly-RBI. However t that was the only run the Birds would muster.

Correa’s RBI-single in the sixth would give the Orioles the lead back. And while they would threaten, they wouldn’t be able to tie the game or take the lead. And Minnesota would take the game, 2-1.

Part of why Minnesota’s in first place in their division is due to how they’ve pitched. Tonight was no exception. The Birds should be used to these pitching duels by now, however this time around they came up short. And that happens.

The series continues tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. Bruce Zimmerman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Joe Ryan. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles bombardier BoSox out of town

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves in what appeared to be a familiar spot in the series finale against Boston. This in that it appeared to be a pitcher’s duel at first. Jordan Lyles did his part, although he had a couple of shaky innings early on. Lyles’ line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

Lyles lived on the edge for awhile, allowing Boston base runners into scoring position left and right. But while he was generally able to escape unscathed, eventually his luck ran out in the fifth when Boston scored on Cordero’s sac fly-RBI. To be clear, Lyles’ outing had it’s deficiencies. But there was more good than bad. He ended up with a quality start.

The Birds eventually got to Boston starter Pivetta in the last of the fifth. While he had struggled through the first few starts of the season, Pivetta kept the O’s at bay for four innings today. But I’m the fifth, things started to come together for the hometown nine.

Tyler Nevin came up with two runners in scoring position, and his two-RBI single promptly gave the Orioles the lead at 2-1. Anthony Santander would add a sac fly-RBI, giving the O’s a 3-1 lead. And one inning later Rougned Odor smacked his first homer as an Oriole, running the lead to 4-1.

Then the skies opened up. It had drizzled lightly for a few innings, but the game was halted for two hours in the last of the sixth. And we waited – until play resumed.

And when play resumed two hours later, the assault by Oriole bats continued. Jorge Mateo’s two-RBI double extended the lead to 6-1. Santander would add a two-RBI single later in the inning, and Mountcastle an RBI-single to close the inning out.

In many instances lengthy rain delays can change the course of games. Not only did the O’s not allow that to happen, but they extended their lead. They broke the game wide open after the rain ceased. That’s a good sign.

That said, Boston would tack on a grand slam by Martinez in garbage time. In the ninth inning. Running the final to 9-5. But a win’s a win, and the O’s took two-of-three this weekend from Boston.

The Minnesota Twins come to town tomorrow night for a four-game set at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Chris Paddack. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles take advantage of Boston’s mistake

The Baltimore Orioles sent Spencer Watkins to the mound last night in the second game of the three-game set with Boston. And Watkins did his job, which was to put the team in a position to win. Which incidentally is the job of any starting pitcher. Watkins’ line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Watkins allowed an RBI-single in the first to Bogaerts, and that was it. Unfortunately however, the O’s couldn’t even muster a hit until the last of the sixth when Cedric Mullins doubled down the left field line. Needless to say, it was a pitcher’s duel.

The Orioles tied the game at one in the last of the eighth inning on Anthony Santander’s RBI-single. The game was still tied after nine, so we went to extra innings. Which in a pitcher’s duel is fitting.

You might remember on Friday night I wrote about how Boston simply took advantage of the Orioles’ mistakes. New York did exactly the same a day before in the Bronx. In short, that’s simply another way of saying that they took advantage of the opportunities they were given.

That’s an important aspect of any baseball game. The game’s based on failure in a sense. If the pitcher misses his spot just barely, the ball might leave the park. If the hitter’s timing is slightly off, he might strikeout. So when your opponent gives you an opportunity, you have to take it. If you want to win, that is.

In the last of the tenth Robinson Chirinos reached on a fielder’s choice. Boston pitcher Sawamura tried to nail Jorge Mateo at third, but threw the ball away. Mateo scored, ending the game in a 2-1 walk off Orioles’ win.

The opportunity presented itself, and the O’s didn’t let the opponent off the hook. That’s part of winning big league games. Heck, it’s part of just about everything. And for once, the Birds took advantage.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall despite Kyle Bradish’s successful debut

The Baltimore Orioles called Kyle Bradish up from Triple-A Norfolk to make the start tonight against Boston at Camden Yards. Bradish of course was the centerpiece in the Dylan Bundy trade; he made his way to the bigs this evening. and he didn’t look awful. Bradish’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

If you’re keeping track at home, that’s a quality start. I’m his major league debut. You just can’t ask for much more than that.

I think the aspect of Bradish’s outing that stands out the most to me is how he closed it out. Bradish retired the last ten batters he faced. That’s impressive for any pitcher, much less a guy making his major league debut. And again, a quality start is pretty darned impressive also.

Bradish had some trouble in the second inning. Arroyo’s two-run homer gave Boston a 2-0 lead. Vasquez would follow with a single later in the inning, however Trey Mancini misplayed the ball in right field, allowing a third (unearned) run to score.

And Mancini’s a guy who’s played various positions in the field this year. And when you have a guy rotating around like that, sometimes you see things as such occur. Even someone as talented as Mancini.

However those were the only runs Boston would score. The O’s threatened, however. They loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but were unable to push anything across. Their lone run of the evening came off of a solo homer by Ryan Mountcastle in the last of the ninth, and they fell 3-1.

And that’s been part of the early season story of this Baltimore Orioles team – leaving guys on base, that is. You can’t squander opportunities like that and consistently win games at the major league level. Oriole pitching was strong this evening, and that includes Keegan Akin (who followed Bradish and pitched 2.2 innings of shutout ball). But Boston simply took advantage of the opportunities they were given. That’s part of winning games in the big leagues.

The series with Boston continues tomorrow from Camden Yards. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles’ coverage resumes tomorrow

The Baltimore Orioles are already well into their season. But as you may be aware, I haven’t covered the team to this point, as I’ve been rehabilitating from some major health issues – including being a newly diagnosed diabetic. I’m happy to report that I’m doing a lot better, and I so much appreciate anyone who may have thought about me or said a prayer on my behalf the last month-and-a-half or so. Things were hit-or-miss for awhile, but I’m making a full recovery. And I’m excited about resuming what the “new normal” is going to be in my life.

Part of that “new normal” is the “old normal,” meaning covering the Orioles on Birdland Crush. Starting tomorrow, I’ll resume those duties as the O’s welcome the Boston Red Sox into Camden Yards to begin a long homestand. And I’m looking forward to it. I’m still not 100%, but I’m certainly good enough to do “my thing!” I look forward to engaging with folks on twitter and in the comment fields again.

Just a reminder, fans can follow me on twitter for in-game updates, @DomenicVadala. During most games I’ll take you through it all from soup to nuts! And I say it that way because now as a diabetic both soup and nuts are things I’m able to eat!

As I said, tomorrow the O’s open a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Birds’ starter is TBD, and Boston’s throwing Rich Hill. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: My absence

For the record, I’ve been following the Baltimore Orioles. Both in spring training and in the regular season. But I haven’t been covering them. This as I’m dealing with some health issues.

For the record, I miss covering the team. But between having my energy zapped, doctor’s appointments, etc, sometimes I don’t see or hear every game. But I’m getting stronger, and closer to returning to this column.

I went to the hospital a few weeks ago with an infection in my foot. It turned out I’m also a diabetic. Two hospital stays and a foot surgery later, I’m recovering. And as I said, getting stronger each day. Here’s a PSA folks: take care of yourself. I didn’t, and it almost cost me my leg, or worse. Let’s say it’s been a huge wake up call. I feel that I’m being given a second chance at life.

For the record, I’m somewhat encouraged from an Orioles’ perspective after two games. Both losses, yes. But overall the pitching has been decent. And the bullpen looks solid thus far. That’s a good sign. Unfortunately they’ve had to start off against Tampa’s pitching. But again, there’s been a lot in these games about which to be encouraged.

I’ll be back eventually. Sooner rather than later. I just want to gather my strength, and then I’ll be back and better than ever!

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Baltimore Orioles: Camp opens with free agent signings

The Baltimore Orioles officially report to Spring Training today. Many players are already in Sarasota, but today is the report date. Exhibition games start Friday with the Birds hosting the Toronto Blue Jays at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles also jumped into free agency yesterday, signing RHP Jordan Lyles to a one-year deal. Lyles is an 11-year veteran who averages 878 strikeouts a game. He’s expected to be an innings eater in a sense.

The Birds also came to terms with veteran catcher Robinson Chirinos. Another one-year deal, but Chrinos is the veteran for whom the organization looked to help being along Adley Rutschman. Which makes us believe that Rutschman will probably be on the Opening Day roster.

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Baltimore Orioles: THEY’RE COMING BACK!!!

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB have reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the MLBPA. In other words, BASEBALL IS COMING BACK!!! THE ORIOLES ARE COMING BACK!!!

The deal has to still be ratified, which is merely a formality. The deal’s getting done. The league does intend to play a full 162-game schedule. The six games that were canceled will be rescheduled across the schedule, generally by way of nine-inning doubleheaders. The league will open on April 7th, and teams will report to camp this coming Sunday. Buckle Up!

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Baltimore Orioles: No Deal

As of a couple of minutes ago, Baltimore Orioles’ Opening Day appears to be off. In the MLB Lockout, the players veto’d the owners’ final proposal, meaning that there’s no collective bargaining agreement. Meaning that the players remain locked out.

Previously the league had stated that the deadline to reach a deal was February 28th. When it appeared that the sides were close, Commissioner Rob Manfred extended that to 5 PM this afternoon. But now we have no deal. Which means that regular season games are going to be canceled.

All we can do is hope that the sides continue to talk, and at some point in the very near future reach a deal. This is incredibly disappointing news, especially after the pandemic-induced 60-game season in 2020. But hopefully the sides come together to form some sort semblance of a regular 162-game season.

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Baltimore Orioles: Executive pitch in the park

I wish I could be writing about the Baltimore Orioles and their progress in spring training right now. But due to the lockout I can’t do that. I’ll say this; PLEASE come to an agreement soon. This is America’s Pastime of which we’re speaking. Baseball can’t afford this.

However it is President’s Day, and I pen a column of this nature every year. 2022 is no exception. Baseball has a unique relationship with the American Presidency, dating back to 1912. That’s the year that President William Howard Taft journeyed to Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. and threw out the first pitch on Washington Senators’ Opening Day.

Someone throws out a first pitch at nearly every game. Depending on the team, it’s usually someone affiliated with a big sponsor or something like that. But that all piggybacks on the tradition of the President of the United States throwing out the first ball on Opening Day. And most Presidents since Taft have done the honors. Opening Day used to be a must, but Presidents have also done the honors at the MLB All-Star game, and at the World Series.

President Ronald Reagan showed up at Wrigley Field a few times during regular season games and threw out first pitches. Once he did it twice – once with each arm. Most people of course remember President Reagan as an actor (prior to politics), but even before that he worked at a radio station in Iowa and broadcasted play-by-play of Cubs games. He’d read the action coming off the wire, and while sitting in the studio would relay it to listeners – who had no idea he was in a studio.

One story I always like to throw into this column is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt doing the honors in 1940 (in Washington) and having hit pitch hit a Washington Post camera before falling to the turf. I can’t tell you why I think that’s an entertaining tidbit, but I just do! Five years later in 1945, President Harry Truman became the first President to throw out a left-handed first pitch – this also in Washington, but in the World Series.

Baltimore has hosted a Presidential first pitch on occasion also. President Jimmy Carter came to Memorial Stadium and threw out the first ball in the 1979 World Series, marking Baltimore’s first Presidential first pitch. Memorial Stadium hosted President Reagan on Opening Day in 1984, but it’s worth noting that was a surprise visit. Fans at the game that day got a bit more than they were bargaining for!

Reagan would return to Memorial Stadium on Opening Day of 1986 to toss out the first ball, and in 1989 newly sworn-in President George H.W. Bush showed up (also for Opening Day). President Bush would return to Baltimore in 1992 to throw out the first ball on the first Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I remember the day well, and if I recall he was very complimentary of the new park. (As a side note, Vice-President Dan Quayle threw out the first ball in 1991 on the final Opening Day at Memorial Stadium.)

President Bill Clinton visited the Orioles a few times also. 1993, 1994, and 1996 were all years where he came to Baltimore and threw out a Presidential first pitch at Camden Yards. He’s the last sitting President to do the honors in Baltimore. However, then Vice-President and current President Joe Biden threw out the first pitch in 2009 in Baltimore.

Speaking of President Biden, I hope he’s reading this (hey, you never know!). I say this every year, but I think that the President of the United States should throw out the first ball on Opening Day in Washington, D.C. every year. This regardless of party, political beliefs, or political climate. Opening Day in MLB is a celebration of the return of baseball, but also of everything that’s good and decent about America.

However this year that may not be possible – who knows when Opening Day will be? Heck, I’d settle for President Biden to step in and help break up the lockout! But perhaps if it persists he could put a special spin in the tradition. There are quite a few minor league teams in the DC area (many of them Orioles’ teams). Since the minors aren’t affected by the lockout and will start their seasons on time, why not do the honors at one of those parks?! That aside, I’ll say it again; the President of the United States should throw out the first ball on Opening Day in Washington, D.C. every year.

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Baltimore Orioles: A Knight in Birdland

Whether or not any Baltimore Orioles’ games are played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this year remains to be seen. Commissioner Rob Manfred informed teams yesterday that a new CBA must be agreed upon no later than February 28th in order for the season to start on time. But we do know for a fact that there’s at least one date that Camden Yards will be packed.

It was announced this morning that Sir Paul McCartney will be playing a live concert at Oriole Park on June 12th as part of his “Got Back” tour:

Tickets will go on sale next Saturday, February 25th at 10 AM.

McCartney’s played in Baltimore on two other occasions, but not as a soloist. As a member of the Beatles he played two different concerts on back-to-back nights at the Baltimore Civic Center (now Royal Farms Arena) in 1964. This at the height of Beatlemania. And now he’s coming back to play at the BALLPARK THAT FOREVER CHANGED BASEBALL.

For the record, June 12th is a Sunday, and the O’s will be in Kansas City for a 2 PM game. If the season starts late and the league shuffles the schedule around, that weekend will have to remain an away weekend. Because Paul McCartney’s coming…so “Let it Be!”

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Baltimore Orioles: Super Sunday

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB are still hammering out a solution to the current lockout. Commissioner Rob Manfred still thinks there’s a shot that the season starts on time. We wait, with baited breath.

But today is Super Bowl Sunday. One of my favorite days of the year! Baseball is my favorite sport (obviously, as I cover it), but football’s a close 1A. And today is the NFL’s day to shine.

Baltimore has a rich history on Super Sunday. Obviously the Colts fell to the NY Jets in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history in Super Bowl III. They would go on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V, two years later. Jim O’Brien, a rookie kicker, kicked the winning field goal as time expired.

However the Colts left in the middle of the night in 1984. But Baltimore returned to Super Sunday lore in Super Bowl XXXV, boat racing the New York Giants. And that in and of itself was kind of noteworthy, as it once again pitted Baltimore against the New York Football Giants, similar to the greatest game ever played – the 1958 NFL Title Game. But this Super Bowl wasn’t close; Jonny U drawing plays in the dirt like on a sandlot wasn’t necessary!

Which brings us to Super Bowl XLVII, when the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers. Obviously the storyline in that game was that Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh was coaching against his brother Jim – the coach of the 49ers. It had to be a very unique experience. But the better side won, and that was Baltimore.

My hope for everyone reading this is that you enjoy tonight’s game with family, friends, and good food and drinks. Getting to attend a Super Bowl game is on my bucket list for sure – but it won’t be this year. If you’re asking, I’m pulling for the Rams. But I think the Bengals have momentum going right now. I’ll take the Bengals and give four. Enjoy the game!

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Baltimore Orioles: Ch-ch-ch-changes in left field

In my personal opinion, the Baltimore Orioles ply in the premier venue for sports in America. That being Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And this being the park’s 30th anniversary season, some changes are coming.

The Orioles’ Operations and Analytics Department has come to the conclusion that the left field dimensions and the left field wall itself are doing more harm than anything else to the team. So in time for the start of the 2022 season they’re going to push the wall back, in some places by as much as thirty feet. And the wall itself will be raised by as much as five feet.

The Orioles were very quick to say that Camden Yards will still be a hitter’s park. And I feel that’s important. Despite the inaugural game being a 2-0 shutout (of Cleveland), Camden Yards has always been a hitter’s park. And I would submit that especially in the 30th anniversary season, it’s important to keep up the integrity of what the park has always been.

This isn’t the first time that the dimensions of the park will have changed. There was a season 15-20 years ago where they pushed the entire outfield wall back seven feet. But eventually that was corrected back because it made little to no difference.

I think you have to remember that Camden Yards was molded to fit the hitting style of Cal Ripken Jr. However at the time the Orioles also had other guys who were great hitters. And their lineup got better still in the years after the park opened. So for a good number of years, the O’s took full advantage of the dimensions of their home yard.

But in recent years it’s been opposing teams who’ve gotten the upper hand. How often have we seen Boston or New York hitters slide balls into the first or second row? Balls that would have been caught in other ballparks? That won’t happen as often now. The wall will be further back, and it’ll be higher.

The one question is how will this affect guys like Trey Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle, and Cedric Mullins? Maybe it does cut down on their homer totals just a bit. However I suspect that the analytics department took all of that into account when they made these recommendations. They probably arrived at those numbers because they maximized helping Oriole pitching, while minimizing the affect on Oriole bats.

It also serves to mention that this sort of thing could help the Orioles attract free agent pitching. If a pitcher knows he may not be giving up cheap homers, he might be more inclined to come to Baltimore. It’ll be interesting to see how the season plays out given these adjustments. Also, will they be adjusting the fields in Sarasota, so as to get their pitchers (and hitters) ready for the new dimensions? Time will tell.

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Baltimore Orioles: Welcome to 2022, Birdland!

2022 is now “this year” for the Baltimore Orioles. Happy New Year, Birdland! We made it!

In my case, I kind of struggled across the finish line. Here I am, minding my own business, and then a week before Christmas I tested positive for COVID-19. From my standpoint it was a bad cold. And I started feeling progressively better after about 24-36 hours of being miserable. But I did the FaceTime Christmas with my family during my isolation – so our “formal” Christmas gathering is today. On New Year’s Day.

So add COVID survivor to my litany of titles! Nevertheless, here we are, with “this year” being 2022. But is it really?

Major League Baseball remains in a lockout. That means until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, the owners aren’t allowing the players to play. And the real victims of this are the fans.

Nothing happens until that’s fixed. At what point does Spring Training become at risk? Or even the regular season. My recommendation to both sides would be to get this wrapped up – and quick. Because missing even one spring game could do irreparable harm to the game. You’ll have fans who won’t come back.

Today’s a holiday; so it’s not getting fixed today. But they need to get it worked out. Because if fans suffer, so will the game. And that’s a huge problem.

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Baltimore Orioles: MLB officially in a lockout

Baltimore Orioles’ players and their counterparts across the league were officially locked out as of midnight this morning. The previous collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 PM last night. So now we enter an abyss of sorts.

In short, the owners are “locking the players out” of the facilities. Meaning that no work can be done. This means that free agency, trades, winter meetings, and the Rule 5 Draft are all canceled or postponed.

Most of this affects league operations more than anything else – for now. Previous lockouts have not affected regular season games being played, although the start of the 1990 season was deferred a bit. If this goes on to the point that regular season games are affected, that’s when it becomes critical. That’s when baseball the business could be doing irreparable harm to baseball the game.

The good news is that the negotiations will continue. They could come to a deal at any time – or not. Hopefully they’re able to come together for the good and the love of the game. Because the alternative would be UGLY.

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Baltimore Orioles sign Rougned Odor

The Baltimore Orioles finalized a one-year contract with free agent utilityman Rougned Odor last night. An eight-year major league veteran, Odor has played most of his career for the Texas Rangers. He was a New York Yankee last year. He’s a career .234 hitter.

This doesn’t sound like the splashiest move on paper. However Odor’s a veteran, and he’s been on winning teams. He’s expected to compete for the starting job at second base.

It’s also a very astute move in terms of cost-effectiveness. This past April Odor was traded to New York, but were still paying his salary of $12 million (for 2022). So the Orioles signed Odor for the league minimum, and Texas will be kicking in the remainder of his salary up to $12 million.

The MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at 11:59 PM this evening. Assuming that the league and the MLBPA don’t reach an agreement before then (and the two sides don’t appear to be anywhere close), that means an official leaguewide lockout will begin at midnight tonight (tomorrow). This isn’t anything good for the game for sure, however it won’t truly affect anything unless games are missed – even spring training games. Hopefully the two sides get their act together before then.

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Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini voted Comeback Player of the Year

Trey Mancini basically won Comeback Player of the Year by virtue of the fact that he stepped on the field with the Baltimore Orioles this year. But last night it became official, as he was voted to that honor by the Baseball Writers Association of America. You might remember he was given a similar award a few weeks ago. That was voted by the players. This one comes from the writers.

Mancini of course came back after being treated for stage three colon cancer in 2020. His story was about as uplifting as uplifting can be. Not only did he come back, but he had a great season in doing so. However neither playing this year, nor winning this award is the highlight of Trey Mancini’s FY2021. He also got engaged to his fiance, former MASN reporter Sara Pearlman. Congrats to the happy couple, and to the 2021 Comeback Player of the Year, Trey Mancini!

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Baltimore Orioles: Former Bird Julio Lugo passes away

In a time of year all but void of Baltimore Orioles’ news, unfortunately this qualifies. Former Oriole Julio Lugo‘s family has announced that he has passed away. It’s believed that Lugo died of a heart attack.

Lugo was acquired by the Orioles via a low level trade towards the end of spring training in 2010. He appeared in 93 games for the Birds that year, hitting .249. At the time he was a journeyman utility guy just looking to extend his career. However that was a transitional year for the organization. He was one of the guys I always semi-credited with showing the eventual team leaders of the 2010’s the way, and how things should be done on a big league roster.

However whatever he was to the organization during his short tenure, he’s now gone from this world. Deepest of condolences to all who knew and loved him, especially his children. Julio Lugo was 45 years old.

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Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins wins Silver Slugger

The accolades keep rolling in for the Baltimore Orioles’ Cedric Mullins. Tonight he was awarded his first ever Silver Slugger award. It couldn’t have gone to a better player, nor a more humble man.

Mullins hit .291 in 2021, with 30 homers and 59 RBI. He also had 175 hits on the year. This as the Orioles’ starting center fielder.

Perhaps the most inspiring part of Mullins’ story is the fact that he was sent back to the minors in 2019. In doing so, Mullins proved not only his talent, but his work ethic. His on-base percentage in 2019 (at the big league level) was .181. In 2021 it was .360. This also after improving to .315 last year (over 60 games). That’s a heck of an improvement.

End of the day, this award is indicative that the Orioles’ rebuild is working. The organization has depth now, and the “young guys in the minors” are starting to become the next generation of great Orioles. Stay tuned, good things are happening!

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Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle honored

By virtue of the fact that Trey Mancini set foot on the field on Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles, he was always going to be the comeback player of the year. That isn’t to say that there weren’t other great candidates out there, because there were. But nothing trumps beating cancer (during a global pandemic, no less) and coming back to play.

That came true this evening, as Mancini was voted the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year, as voted by the players. In short, these are player’s choice awards, so Mancini’s being recognized by his peers. Mancini on the honor:

It means the world. I’m so honored and humbled to receive this award. Especially when I got my diagnosis, I wasn’t totally sure that I’d be playing baseball again. So to be able to come back and play an entire season and receive this award just means everything to me.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

I don’t need to run down Mancini’s stats or accomplishments this year for Orioles fans. Everyone knows he deserves the honor based on the cancer diagnosis, and for his performance on the field. Everyone expected and knew that Mancini was the guy.

But what we didn’t know is that we’d be talking about another Oriole in a similar light this evening. Ryan Mountcastle was also chosen as the American League’s Most Outstanding Rookie. Again, this by his peers. Mountcastle on the award:

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this first full season. I had never hit that many before in the minor leagues or anything, but coming into this year and hitting 33 homers, it’s pretty cool. After the first month, I probably wouldn’t say I expected that, but I turned it back around and it feels good to be where I’m at.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Again, these are players choice awards. But it speaks volumes about both Mancini and Mountcastle that they were recognized by their peers. The BBWAA awards in the same categories will be announced in early November.

But wait…THERE’S MORE! Former Oriole great, SS Mark Belanger (“The Blade”), was named the Curt Flood Award winner. The Flood Award goes to a former player (alive or deceased) who remained dedicated to the MLBPA, and the advancement of player’s rights. Belanger worked in the MLBPA offices after retiring, up until his untimely death from cancer in 1998.

Needless to say, the Orioles cleaned up on this round of awards!

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Baltimore Orioles: American League Cheaters Series?

The Baltimore Orioles can take solace in the fact that they swept both ALCS participants (Houston and Boston) at their respective parks. At different points of the season, that is. That did happen.

That aside, Major League Baseball has a problem. I suspect that after the cheating scandals of 2017 and 2018, the last two teams MLB wanted squaring off in the ALCS are Boston and Houston. Yet, that’s what we have.

Mind you, both franchises received discipline for their transgressions prior to last season. I personally thought that the punishments were fair. What I didn’t expect was that these two teams would be meeting in 2021 for the right to play in the Fall Classic.

There’s no evidence of anyone having cheated this year. But the optics of this are poor for the league no matter how you spin it. This despite both teams being very good.

At the time (and we’re talking immediately prior to the pandemic), many fans thought the teams should receive postseason bans. I personally did not agree with that. This isn’t a college sport where you’re chosen by a committee for postseason play. You earn your way there by having a better record than anyone else.

So I’m not saying these teams shouldn’t be at this stage. Unless evidence of further cheating is brought forward, they earned it. I’m just saying the optics are bad. And given how much gambling has come into sports of late, that makes it even worse. But can it be helped? Not in the least.

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Baltimore Orioles: Calls for mercy on a day of infamy

Today is a day most Baltimore Orioles’ fans won’t forget. It’s the anniversary of the famous “Jeffrey Maier home run” against the Birds in the 1996 MLB playoffs. It vaulted the New York Yankees to victory over the O’s, and an eventual victory in the series.

I’ve always said that if not for that botched home run/fan interference call, the Orioles would have won the World Series that year. The ‘96 team was that good, and they had that sort of synergy. Furthermore, I’ve always said that Orioles’ manager Davey Johnson should have played the game under protest. Let the league handle the matter – you just never know what would have happened.

I remember watching the game with my Dad and my sister that day. It was a late afternoon game, and my Dad came home to watch it with us; I was in high school. When Maier reached over the wall and gave Derek Jeter a home run, my Dad jumped off the sofa screaming right along with Orioles’ outfielder Tony Tarasco. I did something similar. It was a terrible call and it should have never been allowed to stand. But it did, and it cost the Orioles a World Series (in my view).

However the next day something happened which softened my view of umpire Al Garcia, who made the call: he apologized. He flat out admitted that he botched it. He said that if he could do it over again, he would have ruled fan interference.

Umpires don’t do that – for the most part. They didn’t do it then, and they don’t do it now. I’m sure that the stakes in the game played a role as to why Garcia came out and said that, but he said it. And that’s to his undying credit.

It doesn’t change what happened. And Garcia knew that. But for a guy to do that in a field of work whereby it’s expected that you don’t have to address your mistakes, I always felt that spoke volumes about Al Garcia as a person. And as an umpire.

Quite frankly, it’s that sort of integrity that Orioles fans should expect out of today’s umpires. I use the word integrity because Garcia proved he was fair by calling himself out like that. And that’s all anyone wants in officiating: FAIRNESS.

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Baltimore Orioles: 2021 Season Recap

The Baltimore Orioles were forced to wait an extra day to open the 2021 season at Fenway Park due to early spring weather in Boston. But it was worth the wait; John Means pitched what was at the time his best outing as a pro, and the Orioles defeated Boston. They would go on to sweep the series. Unfortunately, that was probably the pinnacle of the season. In terms of a team effort, that is.

Not much was expected of this 2021 Orioles team. However their valleys were probably far deeper than anyone expected. Yet, their peaks were often pretty high as well. That’s often the trade-off you get when you rebuild. One week after that opening series they’d be swept by that same Boston team in their home-opening series.

This season was always going to be strange. The O’s were only allowed to sell 11K seats per game due to social distancing regulations at first. That changed on June 1st. But the Orioles struggled along to that point. They often looked somewhat respectable against some teams, but within their division, they struggled. They were swept by Boston twice in the first two months. They also struggled against New York and Tampa. They lost 15 straight games to close out May – a harbinger of things to come.

But May provided one unbelievable moment, that will be cherished by Orioles fans for generations. The Birds were in Seattle for a Wednesday afternoon matinee on May 5th, closing out a west coast road trip. John Means was on the mound, and low and behold…we saw the first Orioles’ no-hitter since the 1960’s. Throngs of Orioles fans had seen fanbase after fanbase celebrate their guys throwing no-no’s. Finally it was Birdland’s turn!

There were never too many wins built into this team. Pitching was shaky at best, be it starting or in relief. But the Orioles never gave up in games. And that speaks to their character. And at times, they seemed to learn from their mistakes. After being swept by Washington in late May, the Birds returned the favor in late July. Then they turned around and lost 21 consecutive games, two shy of the franchise record. But end of the day, they may have been bad, but they never quit.

One would think that in finishing the season 52-110, it would be tough to find bright spots (aside from the aforementioned John Means no-hitter). But the year was full of outstanding individual performances. Orioles fans got a good look at the future, starting with Cedric Mullins becoming the first 30-30 guy in Orioles’ history. That’s incredibly meaningful.

There’s also a lot of hope instilled in the likes of Ryan Mountcastle, who set a franchise record with 33 home runs as a rookie. When you look back at the players this franchise has had and you think that Mullins is the only 30-30 guy among them, and Mountcastle set a franchise record for a rookie, it would appear that there are some special guys in this current mix of Orioles. And let’s not forget Trey Mancini, who’s all but a shoo-in to be Comeback Player of the Year after returning from cancer last year.

However now the 2021 season fades to black. It’s all but a mere memory, as we watch the 2021 Postseason unfold before us. This while the Birds build towards Sarasota and spring training next February. And remember, hope ALWAYS springs eternal every season!

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Baltimore Orioles: So what now?

Today is the first day of the 2021-22 off season for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s kind of amazing if you think about it; seems like yesterday we were excited about five thousand fans at Fenway Park on Opening Day with John Means pitching. Last year was by far the strangest season ever, but this season had it’s peculiarities also. Teams having to limit attendance was odd for sure.

So what comes next for the Orioles? The answer is, “nothing much.” Teams not involved in the postseason generally lay very low during October. And speaking for myself, I’m almost thankful for that. The MLB postseason is so compelling, and so fun to watch. Especially the Wild Card games, which this year feature New York and Boston on the American League side. You can just add this to the litany of moments between those two in the playoffs.

Speaking for myself, I stand firmly behind Dodger Blue in this postseason. They’ll of course take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday night. Should be fun.

But back to the Orioles; certainly they’ll do some internal things, such as evaluate their coaching staff here and there. Perhaps even some player evaluations. Speaking of players, they’ll be taking their “exit physicals” this week as they all disperse for the off season. But don’t expect anything big to be announced regarding anything until after the World Series. That’s just how things work!

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Baltimore Orioles: End of the line for 2021

Bruce Zimmerman got the start in Toronto this afternoon, but the Baltimore Orioles seemed intent on using everyone today. And given that it was the last day of the season, maybe that’s okay. Zimmerman’s line: .2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

In a fashion that seemed typical against Toronto this year, the O’s fell 12-4. If it wasn’t Springer getting Toronto on the board, it was Springer with a grand slam. Not that it mattered. For this year, anyways.

Tyler Nevin did hit his first major league home run for the O’s today, a solo shot in the third inning. The O’s rallied late to make it 12-4, however this series was all Toronto. And today was no exception.

And with that, we enter the off season. The O’s finished with a record of 52-110, which earned them the number one pick in next year’s draft. Not exactly an “honor” you want, however it should help the organization at the end of the day.

And that’s the end – for now. So what comes next? Later this week I’ll publish a season recap. And we’ll enter the off season in earnest. It should be an active one, pending the league’s labor situation. This season was tough on everyone, but we made it through. And remember folks, hope always springs anew next year.

Here’s a parody of sorts for you! The Orioles’ next game is set for February 26, 2022 against the New York Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fl. Both teams are yet to announce a starting pitcher. Game time is TBD.

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Baltimore Orioles: John Means hampered by common cold in final start

John Means made his final start of the year for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon in Toronto. We didn’t find out until after the game, but Means was hampered by a cold in today’s game. Many would say that’s an excuse for his performance today. However I would submit that there’s a difference between an excuse and the truth. Means’ line: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 7 R (6 earned), 0 BB, 2 K.

I’ve heard a lot of current and former athletes talk on this topic. Many say common illnesses never bothered them. Former Washington quarterback Sonny Jurgensen once said that he always played better when he was a little bit sick. Because he had to concentrate harder, and that would make a difference.

Others can’t pull that off. It would appear that Means is in that category. And for the record, if I were an athlete I would be in the same boat. I’m the most miserable patient known to man when I’m sick! Brandon Hyde addressed Means’ outing after the game:

He gave us everything he had today, really gave us everything he had this year. And this is a small blip on Meansie’s season. Happy with his year. He’s still early on in his career. Looking forward to the adjustments he’s going to make going into next spring training. Even though he didn’t have a good one today, he had a really nice year.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Toronto got on Means and the Orioles from the beginning. Guerrero smacked a two-run homer in the first inning. Hernandez added a solo shot later in the inning. Ryan McKenna would cut the lead to 3-1 in the second with an RBI-groundout.

But that was as close as the O’s would get. Springer’s three-run homer in the second broke the game wide open at 6-1. Toronto would also get homers from Bichette and Jansen. When the smoke cleared, they had defeated the O’s, 10-1.

The series and the season conclude tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Bruce Zimmerman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Hyun Jin Ryu. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: These colors don’t run

A lot has been said about the 2021 Baltimore Orioles. But nobody’s ever said that they were quitters. Behind an outstanding effort from Alexander Wells this evening in their final home game of the series, the O’s proudly reminded the field that they were leaving their stamp on the playoff race. Wells’ line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Wells surrendered a solo homer in the first to Hernandez. And that was the lone run that Boston scored off of the Birds’ starter. The Birds’ starter, who’s all but earned his way onto this team next season. At least earned his way to spring training.

The O’s took the lead in the last of the third when Ryan Mountcastle smacked a three-run homer. Mountcastle continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year, as that was his 33rd homer of the season. It could be said in fact, that Ryan Mountcastle’s had the best rookie season in Orioles’ history.

Tyler Nevin’s two-run single in the sixth extended the lead to 5-1. Later in the inning Pay Valaika would add a sac fly-RBI, and the O’s led 6-1. The final ended up 6-2, as Boston put a second run across on a wild pitch.

The Orioles took two-of-three from a Boston team who was looking for them to roll over. But it was important to these Birds to show the world that they had heart. They played hard in all three games of this series. And THAT’S what the orange & black stands for, across all era’s.

The O’s will head to Toronto tomorrow to open their final series of the season at Rogers Centre. The O’s are yet to name a starter, but whomever he is he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Steven Matz. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles blanked by Boston in penultimate home game

The Baltimore Orioles sent Zac Lowther to the mound in their penultimate game at Camden Yards this season. Lowther was tagged with the loss, but he showed more promise. And he’s been showing promise here during the past few weeks. Oriole pitching as a whole has done so. Lowther’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R (1 earned), 0 BB, 4 K.

Many Oriole pitcher’s, including Lowther, are in effect auditioning for a spot on the roster in Spring Training next year. And I think it’s good that these competitions are already occurring. Because it gives the coaches a chance to see who’s willing to compete for a job. And the better the completion before the regular season, the better the pitching will be in the regular season.

Lowther gave up a solo homer to Martinez in the second inning. Martinez would double home two additional runs in the sixth. Only one of those was earned, as a runner was allowed to get into scoring position by way of an error. Boston would add insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings, closing out their 6-0 victory.

But end of the day, that’s all Boston needed. Their pitching shut the Orioles down at the plate, and those three runs stood up and gave them the victory. End of the day however, the O’s are in evaluate mode. And evaluate they’re doing.

The series (and the Orioles’ home schedule for 2021) concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Alexander Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles having their day in the Wild Card race

The Baltimore Orioles recalled starting pitcher Bruce Zimmermann before tonight’s series opener against Boston at Camden Yards. And Zimmerman set the trend for the game, which the Orioles won. Zimmermann’s line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

The lone run Zimmermann surrendered was a solo homer by Schwarber in the second inning. After Zimmermann had departed Renfroe smacked a solo shot in the sixth inning. From Boston’s standpoint, they were off to the races.

But the Orioles had other ideas. Ryan Mountcastle continued his all out assault on the Orioles’ record books by tying the game in the last of the sixth with a two-run homer. It’s going to be tough for Mountcastle to win AL Rookie of the Year given that he plays for a losing team. But make no mistake that he’s made a strong case, and absolutely should be in the running.

Later in that sixth inning Pedro Severino gave the Orioles the lead at 3-2 with an RBI-single. And Ryan McKenna supplied an RBI-single in the last of the eighth, giving the Orioles an insurance run. And eventually a 4-2 victory.

Boston entered the night in possession of the second wild card spot, one game behind New York for the top spot. They were also a game ahead of Toronto, who’s currently out of the playoff picture. So the Orioles are going to leave their mark on the AL playoff race one way or the other.

They have two more this week against Boston of course, and then they close the season this weekend in Toronto. So the Birds will be heard. They’ll have their say on the final standings.

The series continues tomorrow night at a Camden Yards. Zac Lowther gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: When’s the next series at Camden Yards?

The Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to open up their final home series of the season tonight against the Boston Red Sox. Ironically, the Birds not only began their home schedule against Boston, but a week prior opened the season against them at Fenway. That seems like a lifetime ago. Yet here we are at the end of the year.

The schedule says that the Orioles will open 2022 at home, back at Camden Yards against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 31st. This of course after a month’s worth of games in the Florida Grapefruit League. But the question is whether or not that’ll be the circumstance or whether it’ll be another circumstance in which the Birds will next play at Camden Yards.

This is sort of a preview of something that I’m afraid may be a big issue this off season. There’s labor unrest on the horizon, in the very near future. The collective bargaining agreement expires this year, which in theory puts next season in question. That’s not set in stone – the sides could reach a deal. But the reaching of a deal isn’t set in stone either.

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of it now while there are still games going on. But once the post-season has ended this is something that’s going to start popping up in the news. And I will say this; a labor stoppage in baseball would be CRIPPLING to the league and it’s product. There’s already mistrust amongst the players and owners given the 60-game season that was forced on teams by the league last year due to the pandemic. And I suspect that the MLBPA won’t soon be forgetting that fact when the negotiations kick into high gear.

Nevertheless, the Boston series is set to open up tonight at Camden Yards. Bruce Zimmermann 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.

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Baltimore Orioles evaluating talent in win

The Baltimore Orioles sent starter Chris Ellis to the mound this evening. It would stand to reason to me that Brandon Hyde (and Mike Elias) knows what Ellis is capable of doing. Furthermore it would stand to reason that Ellis probably is included in the Birds’ 2022 Spring Trainng plans – because Ellis pitched well tonight, but was lifted after three innings. Ellis’ line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Brandon Hyde managed this game in short like a Spring Training game. He mixed and matched pitchers and hitters, and all but had a schedule of who was going to pitch tonight. It’s amazing how sometimes the end of the season can resemble Spring Training.

And the good news is that to a man, every Oriole pitcher used recorded outs. Nobody “blew it,” per se, and they all held up the integrity of a pitcher’s duel.

But Texas seemed to hold up it’s end of the bargain as well. They held the Orioles off the board for the most part. For most of the game, at least.

But that ended in the seventh inning. With a runner at first Pat Valaika sent a double all the way to the wall in left field. And it went down as an RBI-double, as Mancini scored from first. And the Birds had a 1-0 lead.

Later in the inning Kelvin Gutierrez smacked a two-run homer, and the O’s led 3-0. And those two runs ended up being insurance runs. Because Texas would smack solo homers in the eighth and ninth innings, but the O’s held on for a 3-2 lead.

The O’s have pitched very well the last couple of weeks, but their late-game pitching has been somewhat suspect. Last night Texas put five runs across late to win. Toronto’s caused the O’s some horrific ninth innings. And for a split second, it could have happened again tonight. Something to work on next year in Sarasota.

The series with Texas concludes tomorrow. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Dane Dunning. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins hits 30-30 in Birds’ loss

Alexander Wells put the Baltimore Orioles in a spot to win tonight in his start. Granted he only pitched the minimum five innings to get the win, he still got it. This despite Texas taking the lead early on. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R.

Wells surrendered a two-run homer in the first inning to Lowe. And that was the worst pitch he made. He was outstanding for the rest of his outing.

Richie Martin would ground into a force out with a runner on third in the last of the second, getting the Orioles on the board. Later in the inning Cedric Mullins came to the plate. And Mullins delivered, smacking a three run home run, and giving the Orioles the lead at 4-2. Texas would tack on an additional run, and Ryan McKenna’s eighth inning RBI-single would give the Birds an insurance run. However Texas would put up five in the ninth to go home with an 98-5 victory.

This wasn’t just any game. Cedric Mullins didn’t hit just any old home run to put the O’s in the lead for good. That was Mullins’ 30th homer on the season, inducting him into to 30-30 club.

30 homers and 30 stolen bases – that’s absolutely one of the most incredible offensive single season feat. Furthermore, Mullins is the first Oriole to join this exclusive club. So both the Orioles and Cedric Mullins are now in the famed “30-30 Club!”

Fans should view Mullins’ accomplishment with pride. In an otherwise forgettable season, they had a no-hitter, and someone else break a Ripken record. And now Mullins in the 30-30 club. That’s quite a dear.

The series continues this evening at Oriole Park. Chris Ellis gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Jordan Lyles. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles win a pitcher’s duel

The Baltimore Orioles came into last night’s game against Texas having lost two consecutive pitcher’s duels in Philadelphia. As a staff, Oriole pitching has been really good – this week. And that continued last night behind starter Zac Lowther. And finally, the O’s were able to get one back in a sense and win a pitcher’s duel. Lowther’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Lowther may have turned in his best outing as an Oriole last night. I suspect that a lot of guys know that they’re playing for a roster spot in Sarasota next spring. And they’re turning it up right now. And that’s to their credit.

The Birds had runners at the corners in the fourth, and Richie Martin’s squeeze bunt brought a run in and gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Ryan Mountcastle also smacked a solo homer in the 5th, extending the lead to 2-0. And Austin Hays’ solo shot in the eighth made it 3-0. Which also became the final.

And the Orioles’ bullpen took care of the rest. Which is key, because in the last few weeks the O’s have had leads in lots of games. This only to blow the lead later in the game. The fact that they held the lead last night is a good sign.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Alexander Wells gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Spencer Howard. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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Baltimore Orioles fall in Philly finale

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves in another pitcher’s duel in the series finale in Philadelphia last night. The Birds played Philadelphia tough in all three games; sometimes two teams are just great matches for one another. Keegan Akin got the start last night at Citizens Bank Park, and he rebounded nicely after last week’s start in Boston. Akin’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

The game was a scoreless tie through five innings. Austin Hays’ RBI-double in the sixth gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Hays would take third on the relay throw home, however that was the only run the O’s would net in that sequence.

And the Orioles leading the game didn’t last long. McCutchen smacked a two-run homer in the last of the sixth. And Philadelphia held a 2-1 lead. But the Orioles would tie it back up an inning later, on Trey Mancini’s RBI-groundout. And on we went tied at two.

However Philadelphia would put two across in the last of the seventh. And while the Birds did threaten in the eighth when Pedro Severino smacked an RBI-double, that was too large a lead for the O’s to overcome. Philadelphia took the finale 4-3, and the series two games to one.

Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde credited the team after the game with going toe-to-toe with a playoff contender:

I’d like to give our guys credit for playing a postseason contender in kind of the situation we’re in roster-wise and how beat up we are and we’re playing a lot of guys that haven’t played in the big leagues hardly at all. I thought we pitched well. We made a couple mistakes out of the bullpen tonight, but for the most part for three days we pitched pretty much the best we pitched since the beginning of the year. So, I’m taking that as a positive and we hung in there with a good team over here with a big payroll. And we’re scraping right now, we’re limping in.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Speaking of Hyde, the team announced that he would be returning as manager next year. His original contract was through this season, so in theory he could have entered this season as a lame duck. But over last off season his contract was amended to go through 2022. It’s unclear if the two parties will negotiate a new deal this off season, or if Hyde will enter 2022 as a lame duck. Time will tell.

The Orioles now return home for the finale home stand of the season at Camden Yards, starting tonight against Texas. Zac Lowther gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Glenn Otto. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.