Baltimore Orioles: Dean Kremer strong in loss

Dean Kremer was outstanding in his start for the Baltimore Orioles last night in Seattle. Unfortunately, the Birds themselves were hard-luck losers. But Kremer didn’t deserve to lose, and he didn’t (he was non-decisioned). Kremer’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

We all know how hot the Orioles have been of late. This month (June, 2022) is their first winning month since 2017. That almost more than anything shows how they’re turning the corner. In last night’s game however, they were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. That makes a difference.

But the pitching was strong, as it’s been all month. Sometimes you’re going to have games like this. In the end, it was Winker’s two-RBI double in the last of the eighth that won it for Seattle.

What’s important is going forward and not making this game a trend. As I’ve written many times, you can’t win if you don’t score. But if the O’s get back on it today, this game won’t be a trend. It’ll be a blip in the radar.

The series in Seattle concludes this afternoon at T Mobile Park. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Chris Flexen. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman shines in return to Pacific NW

Tyler Wells took to the mound in Seattle last night for the Baltimore Orioles in Seattle. And as I’ve said many times, a starting pitcher’s job is to put his team in a position to win the game. Wells, along with the bullpen behind him, did that. And in fact, Wells qualified for the win by virtue of pitching five innings. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

This was a big game for catcher Adley Rutschman, who returned to the Pacific Northwest for the first time as a major leaguer. Rutschman of course attended Oregon St. University, and Seattle was the closest major league team. So he had numerous family and friends in the stands last night, and they saw him deliver early and often. Rutschman set the tone for the game early on with an RBI-single in the top of the first, giving the O’s a 1-0 lead.

Following Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double in the second, Rutschman would come up again in the third inning. And he smacked a solo home run, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead. And that obviously lit a fire under Oriole bats; Ryan Mountcastle went back-to-back with Rutschman by hitting a solo home run of his own just a moment later. And the O’s would go back-to-back again in the fourth, with Anthony Santander hitting a two-run shot, and Austin Hays a solo.

When the smoke cleared, the O’s cruised to a 9-2 victory in Seattle. Many people would argue that the Orioles are cleaning up against teams with worse records than they have. And that’s true. But the fact is that the plan in place seems to be working. How many one-run games have they won this year? How many comebacks have we seen? This franchise is turning a corner, and it’s good to see.

The series continues this evening at T Mobile Park. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Robbie Ray. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles rally late, but fall in Chicagoland finale

The Baltimore Orioles got another quality start out of Jordan Lyles this afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. Well, technically not a true “quality start” given that he gave up four runs. But you get the point; he put the team in a position to win the game. Lyles’ line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a second inning two-run homer by Sheets. And for the record, that’s Gavin Sheets – Baltimore-area native, and son of former Oriole, Larry Sheets. You always like to see local kids making it in the big leagues. Not to mention the son of a former Oriole.

The O’s cut that lead in half in the top of the third on a solo homer by Jonathan Arauz. The O’s of course picked up Arauz off waivers from Boston this weekend, promoting him immediately to the big leagues. And he made an almost immediate contribution.

But Chicago came right back. Vaughn added a sac fly-RBI, also in the third. And one inning later Zavala’s RBI-single extended the lead to 4-1.

It appeared that the ChiSox would just coast to a 4-1 lead. But the O’s loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth. Arauz smacked an RBI-single to center, cutting the lead to 4-2. Cedric Mullins would add a run-scoring sac fly, but the Birds could only make it to 4-3, and fell in the series finale. Obviously however, this weekend series in Chicago was a grandiose success.

On the aforementioned RBI-single by Arauz, there was a chance that the Birds could have plated two runs. However Adley Rutschman was held up at third. He would later score on Mullins’ sacrifice fly.

This is where situational baseball comes into play. In the second or third inning, maybe you send Rutschman (while he’s a catcher, he doesn’t “run like a catcher” – yet). But with nobody out in the ninth inning and the Birds within striking range, you don’t want a runner thrown out at home plate.

The Orioles now head to Seattle for a three-game set at Safeco Field. Tyler Wells starts in tomorrow night’s series opener for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s George Kirby. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Spencer Watkins, Oriole bats strong as Birds light up ChiSox

Spencer Watkins made his return to the majors this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles. He was taxed with keeping a fairly powerful, but struggling ChiSox team at bay, on the South Side of Chicago. You know, the “baddest part of town” – this according to the late Jim Croce. Nevertheless, Watkins delivered for his team and it’s fans this afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. Watkins’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

At first glance, one might argue that five innings pitched is far from outstanding. But Watkins was placing the ball wherever he wanted, at will. Nothing seemed to phase him, yet the Chicago bats he was facing never seemed to figure him out. And that bodes well for the O’s. For what it’s worth, the game started in a 90 minute rain delay.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jorge Mateo smacked a solo home run. While that set the table for the game, Chicago would tie it up later in that third inning on Robert’s run-scoring single, aided by a Mateo error. And on we went in a tie.

But the game only remained tied until the fifth. Mateo would cross home plate again when Cedric Mullins reached base on an E5. Two innings later the O’s would load the bases (in the seventh). Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch, scoring another run and giving the O’s a 3-1 lead.

Mancini would later have X-rays on his hand (after the game), which came back negative. He appeared to be fine. So did Austin Hays, who later in that seventh inning would smack a bases-clearing double, blowing the game wide open at 6-1.

Chicago would score once more on an RBI-groundout in the last of the ninth. But the O’s would take the game, 6-2, and with that have won the first three games of this series in a Chicago. They’ve guaranteed themselves a series win, and have the opportunity to sweep tomorrow. With one more win before the end of the month, they’ll also clinch a winning month for the first time since 2017.

The aforementioned series conclusion is tomorrow at Guaranteed Rate Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Dylan Cease. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: ChiSox come undone at the hands of the Birds

With Kyle Bradish on the IL, the Baltimore Orioles once again turned to Austin Voss to spearhead a bullpen game last night. Manager Brandon Hyde only needed a few innings out of Voss, as was the case last weekend against Tampa. And Voss delivered; Voss’ line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Voss in essence has acted as a “long opener” in his two starts this past week. And he’s been effective in doing it. I’m not a fan of “bullpen games,” but to his credit Hyde’s making it work.

The O’s led almost the entire way in this game. Cedric Mullins scored on a wild pitch in the first inning, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead. Ritchie Martin’s RBI-single in the second extended that lead to 2-0. However Chicago would cut that lead in half in the bottom of the inning on Burger’s RBI-double. But that would be the highlight of the game from the ChiSox’s perspective.

With Adley Rutschman at the plate in the fourth, a balk was called on Chicago starter Kopech. This allowed Jorge Mateo to score from third, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead. That hall was controversial, as the Chicago dugout was unclear as to what Kopech did. Having said that, most balks are controversial. The O’s would tack on an insurance run in the eighth on Austin Hays’ RBI-double, going home with a 4-1 victory on the South Side of Chicago.

We did have the benches clear in this game. Kopech hit Jorge Mateo in the top of the second inning. Mateo took exception to it, and the benches cleared when he started shouting at Kopech. Both benches were warned.

At first glance I didn’t think it was intentional. Mateo is fast as heck; why would you hit someone who can steal a base very easily? (In fact, Mateo would steal second and be driven in by Rutschman.) However while we can’t be in a position to judge intent, let’s just say that it did look suspect.

That seemed to ruffle Chicago more than it did the Orioles. Mateo was able to steal second and score, and Kopech balked in a run later in the game. In the Birds’ minds it appeared to be over right away, and Brandon Hyde said as much after the game:

He gets hit in the back after squaring to bunt and didn’t like it. I don’t know the exchange, honestly. I need to look at the replay, what Jorgie did. But it’s one of those competitive things that happens and we moved on pretty quickly. I thought it was over at that point. We’re trying to win the game and they are, too. It’s one of those things that happen and you move on.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Chicago’s had a couple of other dust-ups already this year. Yet it was the Orioles who moved on. This while the Chi Sox flailed in the wind a bit. Let’s leave it at the fact that they didn’t do themselves any favors.

The series continues this afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. Spencer Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Lance Lynn. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman homers, and Kremer strong in win

The Baltimore Orioles called on Dean Kremer to tame the Chicago White Sox lineup in the first of four games on the south side of Chicago. And similar to his other starts this year, Kremer delivered. He kept Chicago at bay, while Oriole bats did their thing. Kremer’s line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

The O’s almost got on the board in the third, but umpires ruled Cedric Mullins out at home plate when he tried to score from first on Trey Mancini’s double. The Birds challenged the call, but it was upheld. My personal opinion was that he was tagged out before sweeping his hand over home plate. Now whether the catcher blocked the plate before the ball arrived…that might be a different story.

But one inning later the O’s were on the board and in the lead. Following a Ryan Mountcastle double, Adley Rutschman sent a two-run homer deep into the Chicago evening. And if you didn’t see it folks, it was A SHOT. But it set the table nicely for the Orioles.

And the Orioles also got some “revenge” for Mullins being thrown out at home plate earlier in the game. In the bottom of that fourth inning it appeared that Chicago walks going to cut the lead in half on Garcia’s single. However Sheets was thrown out at home plate when he dared to run on Austin Hays in right field. Hays gunned him down at home plate, and it wasn’t even close. I’ve said this before, but as close as some of these games can be, plays like that make a huge difference.

Rutschman would smack an RBI-double again in the sixth, and the Birds would add an insurance run on Mullins’ RBI-single in th le ninth. And while they did ultimately have to use closer Jorge Lopez for the final two outs, little things like that make a difference also. Insurance runs can be the difference between a tense or relaxed ninth inning. And again, little things like that do make a difference.

The series continues this evening at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field. Austin Voth gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Michael Kopech. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Austin Hays hits for the cycle in Birds’ win

Tyler Wells got the start for the Baltimore Orioles tonight in the series finale against Washington. Wells didn’t have his “good stuff,” but he was good enough. They say a pitcher will have ten good starts, ten poor, and ten in between. And it’s those in between starts where the success or failure of your season lies. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K.

The O’s took an early 1-0 lead in the last of the first on Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-double. Two innings later Austin Hays would smack a solo homer, extending the lead to 2-0. And the O’s went back-to-back with homers, with Anthony Santander following after Hays.

So the O’s led 3-0. Just prior to the last of the fifth, the skies opened up. And it appeared that the rain wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. But the game had just gone over the threshold of being official, with the home team (the Orioles) leading after 4.5 innings.

But they did resume the game for awhile, at approximately 9:45 PM. Austin Hays came up in the last of the sixth with two runners on. And his two-RBI double gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead.

Hays probably could have legged out a triple on that play. But it’s excusable; precious to that at-bat, Hays had hit a single, a triple, and a home run. So by virtue of hitting a double, Hays hit for the cycle.

Hays became the first Oriole since Jonathan Villar to hit for the cycle. And make no mistake, it means something to both Hays and the franchise that this happened. Obviously it’s an amazing individual achievement. But it also shows that the rebuild is working. The home-grown talent that the Orioles have fostered is starting to shine, and at the big league level.

Trey Mancini would add a two-run homer in that sixth inning, and the O’s led 7-0. The skies would open up again, which effectively ended the game. It was a rain-shortened win for the O’s, but a notable win at that given Hays’ feat. And again, it’s note-worthy and it means something.

The O’s now head to Guaranteed Rate Field to open a four-game set with the ChiSox. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Johnny Cueto. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in Battle of the Beltways

Jordan Lyles was able to return and make tonight’s start for the Baltimore Orioles. Lyles you’ll remember was supposed to start on Sunday afternoon against Tampa. But he showed up at the ballpark with a stomach virus, and was pushed back. Lyles’ line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Regardless of anything else, Lyles pitched for a quality start. The issue for much of the game were Oriole bats. If you can’t score any runs you can’t win the ballgame. That’s a fact, and it pertained to the Orioles tonight.

Washington took a 1-0 lead almost immediately on Cruz’s RBI-double. One inning later they’d score on Hernandez’s run scoring-fielder’s choice. And that 2-0 lead would stand up for quite awhile.

Thomas would add a solo homer in the ninth, which acted as an insurance run. End of the day, Washington kept the Orioles off the board. And as I said, you can’t win if you don’t score.

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

Baltimore Orioles: Never underestimate the importance of individual plays

Jordan Lyles was the Baltimore Orioles’ scheduled starter this afternoon in the rubber match of the weekend series with Tampa at Camden Yards. However when he came in this morning he had an apparent stomach virus, and was scratched as a result. Manager Brandon Hyde turned to reliever Austin Voth as a starter, in what ended up being a bullpen game. Voth’s line: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Brandon Hyde said that the hope is that Lyles is good to make the start Tuesday against Washington. Whether that happens remains to be seen. But what we do know is that Lyles wasn’t healthy enough to make the start this afternoon.

Anthony Santander hit a solo homer in the last of the first to get the O’s on the board with a 1-0 lead. Cedric Mullins would smack an RBI-double in the third, and the Birds led 2-0. Tampa would score their lone run in the fourth on an RBI-double by Walls.

And the rest of the game is the Orioles’ bullpen, which held Tampa at bay. And that’s not easy to do. While this was an impromptu “bullpen game,” at times I do wonder if Brandon Hyde doesn’t over-use his bullpen. But whatever he did today, it worked. And the fact is that the bullpen’s the strength of the team.

However make no mistake that the biggest play of the game came early – in the second inning to be exact. With two outs and a runner at first base, Brujan hit a double to right field. It appeared that Tampa was going to tie the game on the play, with the runner (Phillips) being sent home…

…but Right Fielder Ryan McKenna relayed the ball to Roughned Odor at second, who threw to Catcher Adley Rutschman at home. Both throws being spot on, plus a great tag by Rutschman, combined to nail the runner at home plate, ending the inning.

It was a big play, and it energized the crowd. But when you look back and see that this ended up being a one-run game, it looms much larger. That’s why I never criticize managers for being a nag about details. Because again while that play was big enough in the moment, you never know when a play’s going to play a big role in the final. So in paying close attention to detail, you ensure that ALL plays look large, making it easier for you to come out on top when things get tough.

Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen strong but comeback falls short

Kyle Bradish had a rough outing this afternoon against Tampa for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Bradish is struggling; he hasn’t pitched five innings or more in his last five starts. Bradish is certainly hoping that the Orioles will continue their patience with him. But time will tell. Bradish’s line: 4.1 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Robinson Chirinos’ two-RBI double gave the O’s an early 2-0 lead in the last of the second. But Tampa would follow suit an inning later when Margot smacked a two-RBI double of his own. One thing about Tampa; you’re better off not allowing anyone on base at all, because when they get runners on they find ways to get them in.

Later in the inning Ramirez would give Tampa the lead at 4-2 with a second two-RBI double. They would extend that lead to 6-2 on Choi’s two-run homer in the fifth. And the Birds found themselves in a hole.

But these are the 2022 Baltimore Orioles. Not the 2019 O’s! They always fight back no matter what. Ryan Mountcastle came up in the last of the fifth and got the Birds a run with an RBI-single. Chirinos came up again later in the inning, and he produced a two-RBI single. This all cutting the Tampa lead to 6-5.

And one inning later it was tied. Anthony Santander’s RBI-single in the sixth knotted things up at six. However as good as the comeback attempt was, the O’s couldn’t finish things off. Ramirez’s sac fly-RBI in the ninth have Tampa the lead back at 7-6. Which ultimately became a 7-6 win.

However this game shows once again that the O’s don’t give up. They keep fighting until the final out. And that’s really all you can ask.

As much as Kyle Bradish struggled today, the Oriole bullpen was stellar once again. They pitched a total of 4.2 innings this afternoon, and gave up one run. Now granted that one run lost the game for the O’s. But all in all it was another outstanding performance by what’s quickly turning into the biggest strength of this Oriole team.

The series with Tampa concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Corey Kluber. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.