Little did the Baltimore Orioles know that all it was going to take to get back on track after Tuesday’s loss was a little thunder and lightning…off the bat of Mark Trumbo, that is. Of course I sprinkled a little bit of Shakespearean double-entendre in there, as the O’s had to wait out a rain delay in Washington last night. And a long one at that, of well over two hours.
Andrew Cashner came off the DL to make the start last night, and was outstanding. Cashner’s line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Cashner would have been outstanding I suppose is probably the better line. When the rain delay hit he had a 2-0 lead after four. The crew chief tried to get the teams through five to make it an official game, but between the fourth and fifth innings the rain and the ominous forecast became too much. When play resumed, both teams switched pitchers; and while Cashner had the lead, technically he didn’t make it through the necessary five innings to qualify for the win.
Jonathan Schoop led off the second with a rare thing indeed: a bunt. He dragged one down the third base line that was incredibly well-placed. Washington never saw that coming, and Schoop was safe at first. Bunting for a base hit – a new trend, perhaps?
That brought Trumbo to the plate, and on an 0-1 count suddenly the Orioles had a 2-0 lead on a two-run homer. And that right there illustrates one thing of many that the Birds’ offense has lacked this year. Get one or two guys on base, and then have someone hit one out. It worked to perfection in that inning, and it gave the Orioles the lead.
Going back to Cashner for a moment, I do believe that the five inning rule is something that should be looked at. Maybe not overall, but just in some circumstances. Cashner obviously would have continued in the game if not for the rain delay. We obviously don’t know how things would have played out, however it doesn’t seem right tha Miguel Castro gets credited for the win. Nothing against him, as he was great in the game also, but perhaps that’s a rule that should be amended to say that in a scenario like we saw last night the starter gets credited with the win.
That said, it’s something that’s technically possible now. The official scorer can credit anyone he wants with the win if he thinks they should get it. This would have been a textbook case of a scorer doing the right thing and giving Cashner the win, however that didn’t happen (it could still be changed). And rarely if ever does a scorer take it upon himself to do something like that.
When play resumed just prior to 11 PM with most of the fans long gone, it was just a matter of pitching for the Orioles. Adam Jones smacked a double in the sixth, and was later plated on a Valencia sac fly-RBI. But the Orioles’ bullpen held the line. Washington was able to load the bases in the last of the ninth, but the Birds made it through to the end and took the win for theirs.
Buck Showalter echoed the sentiments I just made on Cashner getting the win after the game, while not seeming too thrilled about waiting out a long delay and then continuing the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
There was that infamous window that was coming out of New York. It’s supposed to rain here in a little while. But it’s another rule that should be changed. Cashner should get the win. … Obviously, I thought Castro was key, too.
The league has been asking teams to put a focus on completing games on the day that they begin this year if at all possible. Technically however that didn’t happen, as the game ended well after midnight! But it was in fact completed, and it goes down as an Orioles’ win.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve said that when the Baltimore Orioles don’t take what’s theirs, other teams have no problem doing it. The Birds led 4-1 in the fifth last night in D.C. And it wasn’t the four-run fifth off of starter David Hess which cost them the game. Hess’ line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 2 K.
Granted Hess gave it all back at once, and that didn’t help. However the Orioles had the bases loaded and nobody out in the top of the fifth. They were facing a pitcher just up from the minor leagues who appeared on the ropes. Yes they had a three-run lead, which is fairly sizable. However a big inning would have effectively ended the game. Instead, the Orioles settled for one run. And that one run came on a double-play ball. THAT’S what lost them last night’s game. They left the door open just a bit, and sure enough they had an opponent in Washington who managed to wiggle through.
Now there were some very good points to this game for the O’s, namely that the bats really churned out some big hits and some runs – even with the inability to get the clutch hit there in the fifth. With Washington leading 1-0 after a Turner solo homer, Jace Peterson gave the Orioles the lead at 2-1 with a two-run homer. Peterson’s bat has started to heat up of late, which could do wonders for the batting order overall from the top of the lineup.
The Birds extended their lead to 4-1 two innings later on Mark Trumbo‘s two-run shot, his second homer in as many games. And yes the O’s took it one step further an inning later as Manny Machado grounded into a run-scoring double-play in the aforementioned scenario. But again, with things going the way they have this year, that’s a situation in which the Orioles absolutely have to bust the game open. In fact, by scoring that one run in perhaps the most meager of fashions, the Orioles actually allowed Washington to take momentum by pitching out of that situation.
And in fact, Washington got to Hess in the bottom of that fifth inning. They managed to load the bases, granted on a couple of softly hit balls and walks. And in their bases loaded nobody out situation, they predictably weren’t as charitable as the Orioles. Eaton’s softly hit bloop two-RBI single cut the lead to 5-3, and Rendon’s sac fly-RBI cut it to 5-4. Washington would tie it at five on Harper’s RBI-double.
But again, the bats did come alive in this game. The O’s fought back, which in the long run is good to see. Corban Joseph plated a run in the sixth on a force play, but one inning later Rendon’s two-RBI double did the Orioles in for good. Washington would put four runs across in the last of the seventh, and when the smoke cleared they led the Orioles 9-6. Joey Rickard would add a solo homer in the ninth to cut the final to 9-7.
Again, your opponents get fat and happy on what you leave behind. As soon as the Orioles only got one run in that top of the fifth, I made a mental note in saying that their inability to get a clutch hit could come back and haunt them. And it did. On Sunday they rose up and forcibly took what was theirs (against Miami). Last night they aw shucks’d their way out of it, and Washington took it from them.
Buck Showalter did mention after the game how it seemed that few if any of Washington’s hits in that fifth inning were squared up, and one of the things to which he attributed it to was the fact that Hess had to swing the bat. They all count, but it hurts just a bit more when someone’s bleeding you to death (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I’m not taking credit (away), but I think there was eight hits that weren’t hit hard at all that kind of trickled through. It’s just one of those things where everything that if they did get hits, they seemed to have found holes. They hit some balls hard, too. I thought he (Hess) was the victim of a lot of that, too. The game’s not always fair.
You are looking for reasons why, we always do. He was on the bases twice on a sticky night. Stuff-wise, he’s one of our best-conditioned guys. I don’t think that was it. It just got away from him. Some of the good pitches he made ended up going for base hits. Some things are just not fair sometimes.
The series continues this evening from Nationals Park. Andrew Cashner will be called up off the DL to make the start, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles open up a six-game road swing through the National League East with three games in Washington D.C., starting tonight. It’s the return of the Battle of the Beltways, this time D.C.-style. Whereas Washington fans enjoyed their helping of crab cakes and National Boh last month, this week Orioles fans will get to sample half smokes and DC Brau!
The Birds will take on a Washington team that’s struggling a bit of late, or at least much more so than they were the last time the teams saw one another. Their bats have seemingly gone to sleep. Sound familiar? It probably shouldn’t as they haven’t gone to sleep as much as the Orioles’ have. Although the O’s are of course coming off of a nice win on Sunday against Miami in which the bats were ever-present.
However that aside, Washington’s strength has always been pitching. Starting pitching to be specific. But one thing that perhaps could favor the Orioles a bit is the fact that this evening’s Washington starter, Jefry Rodriguez, is coming up from the minors to make the start – his first in the big leagues (despite a relief appearance). Now Washington’s minor league system is fairly stacked, so it may not be the advantage it sounds like. But it’s better than facing any one of their other starters.
This has had to happen because Washington had a bizarre day yesterday in which they completed a suspended game with New York (which they won), and then played a previously rain-out game against the same New York Yankees (which they lost) – in what resembled a doubleheader but really wasn’t. Technically the stats for the completed game count towards May 15th when the game started. That means the win counts for that day as well, meaning that Washington brings a four-game losing streak into this game tonight.
I think baseball is one of the only sports that could produce statistical oddities such as suspended games. Washington’s Juan Soto made his big league debut five days after that May 15th date. However he played in the resumed game yesterday, with those stats counting torwards May 15th. So is May 15th now his big league debut?! In fact, he gave Washington the lead with a moon shot of a two-run homer. So…does that count as his first big league hit, which in turn was a home run?!
Over the years there have been odder things than that which have occurred. There have been suspended games that were resumed a month or two later in which players on both sides have been traded for one another. So you have games where the same player has appeared on both sides of the box score. All of this aside, Washington will be having to make a couple of roster moves before tonight’s game, including sending their 26th man back down. The Orioles of course will call Caleb Joseph back up before the game as well.
So the series at Nationals Park in D.C. opens this evening. David Hess gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by the aforementioned Jefry Rodriguez of Washington. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles are bringing catcher Caleb Joseph back to the major leagues. He’ll take the roster spot of Chance Sisco, who was sent back down after yesterday’s game. Sisco was originally in the starting lineup, but was scratched just before first pitch due to an illness. Manager Buck Showalter indicated that he thought Sisco was coming down with the bug that had afflicted much of the clubhouse (including Showalter, who’s still suffering from the remnants of bronchitis). That may well be true, but none the less Sisco was optioned almost immediately after the game ended.
This will mean that the Orioles will once again have a pair of brothers on the team with Caleb and his brother Corban. Obviously not as high profile as the Ripken brothers, but I digress. It’s unknown if Joseph or Austin Wynns will be “the starting catcher,” or if they’ll platoon. Personally I’m still of the mindset that Joseph has upside in the organization. Only one way to find out.
The O’s will have to make a roster move prior to Wednesday’s game in Washington as Andrew Cashner will be activated off the DL to make the start. So who’s the corresponding move? Here’s a prediction; in my opinion David Hess has made it near impossible for the Orioles to send him down. Granted he’s starting tomorrow night and a really poor outing might not help him, but overall I think he belongs here. Might it be time for the O’s to at least risk parting ways with Mike Wright?
I say risk parting ways because the Orioles would have to designate him for assignment, which would mean he might sign elsewhere – on the Orioles’ dime. Wright hasn’t been used in games much of late, and in reality he’s taking up a roster spot. Now it could also work out to where he stays in the organization and accepts a minor league spot. But that’s unclear as to whether it’s feasible or would happen.Time will tell, but one thing is certain and that’s the Cashner will be returning on Wednesday.
For the first time in however long, the Baltimore Orioles and Dylan Bundy got a lead and got some breathing room this afternoon against Miami. While Miami took the first two games of this series and for a brief moment appeared poised to make a comeback attempt in this one as well, the Birds were able to both add on and shut the door. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
Make no mistake about the fact that Bundy pitched better than his stat line indicates. He started to struggle in the sixth inning, allowing a few runs on a homer. However prior to that he dominated a Miami lineup that was quickly heating up. Not only that, but the Orioles put runs on the board behind him.
The O’s had two runners in scoring position in the second, and Jace Peterson‘s two-RBI double gave them a 2-0 lead. Make no mistake that was one of the big plays of the day. When you’re scuffling as a team and nothing’s going right for you, if you allow an opportunity like that early in the game to go by the wayside the here we go again mentality starts to creep in. And that’s not conducive to winning. Instead, the Orioles were able to get that clutch hit with RISP that had evaded them most of the season this afternoon.
One inning later Mark Trumbo added on a run with an RBI-double, on a ball that was equal parts almost caught, and almost a homer. Trey Mancini would follow up later in the inning with an RBI-single, and the Birds were off to a 4-0 lead against the Fish. For once, the clutch hits just kept on coming for the Birds this afternoon.
But as I said, there was a brief period where Miami seemed curious to know if they could make a comeback attempt. That started with Bour’s home run in the top of the fourth. It was only a solo shot, but it was a homer none the less – and it got Miami on the scoreboard. However the Orioles would come back and then some, as Adam Jones‘ RBI-double ran the Birds’ lead to 6-1. And that was only in the fourth inning; the fans cheered when for the first time in a long time, the Orioles flashed on the scoreboard that fans could get half price Papa Johns pizza tomorrow since they scored more than five runs!
But there was more; Peterson smacked a two-run homer over the scoreboard in right field in the last of the fifth, and the route appeared to be on. But as I said above, one inning later Bundy started to struggle a bit. It always starts innocently enough, with a lead off base hit. A walk later, and Bundy had two runners on and nobody out. That brought Bour to the plate again, and he smacked his second home run of the game – this obviously of the three-run variety.
The O’s still held a four-run lead, but momentum briefly seemed to question which side it was on. I wouldn’t say it was ever with Miami, but as I said it questioned if it really belonged with the Orioles. But it did; Bundy got out of the inning, and left the game with a lead. Unfortunately however, the bullpen would immediately load the bases in the seventh with nobody out. Again, suspense hung in the air – but Mychal Givens pitched the Orioles out of that jam without surrendering a run, preserving the lead.
The O’s would plate two more runs before all was said and done; Trumbo on a solo homer, and Manny Machado with an RBI-single in the last of the eighth. End of the day, the final was 10-4. Just the type of win for which the Orioles had been looking for some time.
The Birds are off tomorrow before they head down the pike to Washington for a return engagement with the Washington Nationals. The hope is that this game wasn’t an anomaly. But time will tell. At least for now however, the Birds can at least relax this evening and tomorrow knowing that the got a win.
Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter is a proponent of instant replay. When it really got cranking a few seasons ago, he admitted it would need to be tweaked and so forth, but ultimately that it was good for the game (quote courtesy of Eduardo Encina, Baltimore Sun):
I know it’s not going to be perfect. I think we all need to be patient with it. I think when it’s all said and done, it will not slow the games down in its finished product. There are some unknowns there. I was for all they were willing to put in.
There’s one tweak I would make. As opposed to giving teams challenges as the system currently does, I’d make it more like College Football’s “eye in the sky” routine. If there’s a play that the umpire in the booth or in New York thinks should get looked at further, he buzzes down to the crew chief and they review it. In essence, every play is reviewed.
But one thing in which I’m not in favor is reviewing judgement calls. Between covering the Orioles and Team USA not being involved, I’m not paying much attention the the World Cup. However I did happen to glance at a game yesterday morning (France vs. Australia), and I noticed the referee stopping play to review whether or not a penalty kick should be awarded.
The play wasn’t even whistled as a foul, and the game went on. After awhile the ref I presume got word from someone to stop play, and they reviewed it. And the official ruled that in fact an infraction had taken place, and in the penalty area at that. France was awarded a penalty kick.
To me, that’s a judgement call. And quite honestly, that makes this proponent or replay question whether or not the system might be starting to go too far. I’ve never been in favor of reviewing judgement calls, which in baseball would be balls and strikes, check swings, etc. Not only would that slow the game down too much, but in my view it makes it so that the human element is further removed.
Again, to me it’s like reviewing balls and strikes. Or in football it would be like being able to review holding or pass interference. Or heck…could you imagine if basketball allowed for such reviews?! Yeah hey ref, I’d like to challenge on the basis that Player X was in the lane for longer than three seconds. That’s ludicrous. As would be reviewing balls and strikes in baseball, or even balks. Could you imagine that? – All balks are seemingly controversial; so every one of them would end up getting reviewed.
Again, I’m in favor of some form of instant replay. In a sport like soccer obviously you should be able to review potential goals to see if the ball crossed the line and so forth. But to stop play after the fact to determine if a penalty kick is necessary? That’s a bit over the line for me.
And my concern is that in some manner, this type of thing will catch on in other sports if it growingly becomes popular. All it might take would be for a game to have a roving strike zone, and baseball fans starting grousing about why that can’t be reviewed like they do things in the World Cup. Or a team loses a game on a controversial pass interference call (or non-call), and NFL fans say the same. Ultimately I’m in favor of instant replay – for non-judgement calls.
The Baltimore Orioles are the guy who leaves his wallet in his car and runs in to pick up his dry cleaning – only to be shocked when he returns and finds out someone stole his wallet. They’re the guy who drives a BMW convertible off the showroom flood, goes into a seedy neighborhood to the liquor store, and can’t believe his eyes when his car’s been vandalized. The Baltimore Orioles are the team that says aw shucks when it comes to accepting what’s rightfully theirs, and allows someone else to come in and take it.
And once someone takes what’s yours, it’s no longer yours – it’s theirs. There was a ballgame to be won this afternoon, but the O’s couldn’t muster the one big hit or one big base runner to have the bravado to tie or win it. Granted they didn’t get the quality outing from Alex Cobb that they hoped to get, but he was good enough to win. Cobb’s line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
Cobb literally allowed a base runner on the first pitch of the game – a double. And go figure, the shot off the bat of Dietrich split the outfielders. Talk about “hitting them where they ain’t.” He would later score on an RBI-single by Realmuto. The next inning saw more of the same – a double, and then a run scored, this time on an RBI-groundout. The Birds were once again being bled to death, that is until Realmuto smacked a two-run homer off of Cobb in the third giving Miami a 4-0 lead.
However if there’s a silver lining on this loss, it’s that Oriole bats did come alive a bit. And the Birds battled back in the game, which is good to see. They still allowed a gutted Miami team to walk in and have their way with whatever they wanted, but they did battle back. Manny Machado‘s two-RBI single in the last of the third cut the Miami lead in hald at 4-2. However Realmuto put the Birds further behind once again with a solo homer in the sixth.
The Orioles kept battling, however. Jonathan Schoop cut it to 5-3 with a solo homer in the last of the sixth, and Danny Valencia‘s RBI-single in the seventh cut it to 5-4. The O’s had a shot to win, and were very much in this game. But when you leave eight on base, you have to look at it from the perspective that if even one of those runners had scored the game would have been tied (all things being equal, which is always a tough sell).
Corban Joseph walked to lead off the last of the ninth, bringing the winning run to the plate in the form of Adam Jones. And Jones grounded into a double-play, followed by a Machado fly out to end the inning and the game. And that’s what I’m talking about in terms of allowing others to take what’s there. They had the pitcher in a bit of a bind, with the winning run at the plate. This isn’t to say that Jones and others aren’t trying – because that’s not the case. But the team as a whole is basically taking a rain check on success.
Buck Showalter‘s Baltimore Orioles once again couldn’t get anything going last night as they opened a three-game set with the Miami Marlins. Kevin Gausman almost gave the O’s a quality start – and once again came away with nothing to show for it. Gausman’s line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 K.
And once again, Gausman’s real issue was that Oriole bats couldn’t get going. Miami starter Urena pitched eight solid innings, keeping the Birds off the board. Urena threw a hard sinker that was nearly unhittable. But once again the Orioles decided to prove me wrong. How many times have I said if you put the ball in play good things will happen? The Orioles only struck out four times as a team last night. Urena’s sinker induced a lot of ground balls, which of course ended up being outs.
In saying that, Urena seemed to in effect disallow the Birds to hit the ball in the air. That’s a problem for a home run-hitting team. Miami’s Dietrich induced an RBI-groundout in the fifth to give them a 1-0 lead. In the sixth Brinson’s RBI-triple would run it to 2-0, and the rest was pitching that shut the Orioles down.
Reports have surfaced in the past couple of days that perhaps Showalter and GM Dan Duquette could be on the hot seat in Baltimore with the team struggling so badly. Mind you, both men’s contracts are up at the end of the year. And many, myself included, see it as a foregone conclusion that Duquette won’t be brought back. But…Buck?
I suppose it’s fair to question a manager who’s 19-49. However one can also argue what exactly is he supposed to do? Certainly he can only play the roster that he has, and the core of that roster isn’t changing anytime soon. And the fact is that the roster as it currently stands seems stubbornly unwilling to get on base.
There are a couple of things that are worth mentioning; first off, Duquette hasn’t been the same since the Toronto Blue Jays aggressively pursued him during the winter meetings in 2014. Toronto aimed to throw a monkey wrench into the Orioles’ camp, and the fact is that they succeeded. Duquette was hot on Toronto’s deal, and the Orioles weren’t about to let him go without compensation, to which Toronto didn’t agree.
At the time, I supported the Orioles standing their ground. However instead they were left with a GM who in a way didn’t want to be here. Perhaps that was predictable, but nevertheless I didn’t think it would have been fair to have a division rival strong arm someone away from a team. That’s why I thought they were right to stand their ground. But again, you end up with a GM who’s heart is elsewhere.
And people love to go back to the 2016 AL Wild Card game in which Showalter left Zach Britton in the bullpen in extra innings. There have been reports that several players lost some confidence in Buck after that. Personally I think that’s a weak argument, however apparently those sentiments were there. Are they still?
I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, although it seems likely that the Orioles’ roster is going to be vastly different very soon. However I’ll give you a prediction; either Duquette’s replacement is signed or chosen within the next month or so, or Showalter’s named as Duquette’s replacement. Odds are that means that Duquette gets the ax before the season’s end. It stands to reason that whomever’s going to oversee the future as the General Manager should get to be the one to pull the trigger.
Now the question given the second part of that scenario is whether or not Buck remains in the dugout while being the GM, or if he departs from those duties. Many coaches in sports also act as a General Manager, and many do it very successfully. It doesn’t normally happen in baseball, but why couldn’t it? It does take a special type of person to pull it off, but if there’s anyone who could do it I’d say it would be Showalter.
So I don’t foresee a situation where Buck Showalter leaves the organization overall. Mind you, that’s still very much in play, however. He himself might decide he’s done, or the Angelos family might decide to go in another direction. I just don’t see that being the case. But my predictions have a way of fizzling.
No need to visit the greater Miami area anytime soon, because the Miami Marlins are coming to town to play the Baltimore Orioles! Tonight’s game begins a nine-game stretch for the Orioles where they’ll play exclusively interleague games. However these first three won’t really be a departure from the norm, as the Birds will be at home.
That of course means that Miami’s starting pitchers won’t have to hit, and they’ll get the benefit of a DH. However after an off day on Monday, the Birds will head south to Washington on Tuesday night for three games. The onto Atlanta for three next weekend as well. Obviously in those cases Oriole pitchers will have/get to hit and the Birds will surrender their DH.
I’ve said this before ad hoc, and I’ll say it again; can we please get rid of the DH?! I’m the first one to tell you that the odds are the National League adopting the DH at some point is probably more realistic than the American League doing away with it. However if the game was supposed to be played with pitchers not having to wield the bat, that would have been put into the rules to begin with. The National League game provides for there to be so much more strategy and thinking ahead in games due to the pitcher being in the order. Just my take.
Miami comes in following a 16-inning loss yesterday afternoon to San Francisco at home. In terms of rest, that gives the Orioles a big advantage. they played a much longer game than they expected to play, and then had to fly to Baltimore. This while the Birds were idle yesterday.
One of the bright spots for the Baltimore Orioles this season has been reliever Richard Bleier. At various points he was spoken about as a potential all-star selection. Now his season might be over after leaving yesterday’s 5-1 loss to Boston with an arm injury.
Bleier threw one pitch, retiring a batter, and felt immediate discomfort in his throwing arm. Heunderwent an MRI at Camden Yards last night, which showed that his elbow was structurally fine. While that’s good news, the term lateral muscle has also been thrown around. Manager Buck Showalter is taking the “wait-and-see approach,” but even he didn’t sound overly promising (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Hope for the best. Obviously, he was in a lot of discomfort, so we’ll see. He never had anything like that before. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him for very long. He was pretty down as you can imagine
Odds are Bleier might want to start looking to next year. Assuming this is more than a 10-day DL stint, there’s no reason for him to rush his way back this year. And it’s a shame, because Bleier’s a reliever that was ready to go in any situation. And the Orioles seemed willing to insert him into the game in just about any situation.
Time will tell for Bleier. But I would expect him to be put on the DL at some point prior to tomorrow’s series opener with Miami, and perhaps the likes of Hart or Scott recalled. And I wouldn’t expect him to return anytime soon. Just a prediction.