Baltimore Orioles: Glad to be in D.C.

In my humble opinion, the Baltimore Orioles got the best start of Dean Kremer’s career out of him tonight at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. He was economical, and swift & sure. He came close to giving the O’s seven innings. But either way, he pitched the game of his life tonight. Kremer’s line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

Ironically, there was a moment early on where the game could have gone the other way. Following a leadoff single in the last of the third, Gunnar Henderson committed a two-bag error, giving Washington two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Kremer sent the next two hitters down, 1-2-3.

It’s moments like those which register in ballgames. Things could have easily gotten away from the Orioles (and Kremer) in that moment. But he reigned himself back in, buckled down, and did what he had to do. Veteran-type look from Dean Kremer there.

And Kremer was rewarded for that show of leadership. Ryan Mountcastle led off the fourth with a single, and went to second following an Adam Frazier walk. Austin Hays’ RBI-single would score Mountcastle, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead.

In a sport that’s far too in love with the home run ball and high-scoring games, this one had to give the commissioner and the people on the league office heart burn. Because aside from that little blurb in the fourth inning, both sides’ pitching shut down the others’ bats. Washington had the tying run at second against Felix Hernandez in the last of the ninth, but he recorded the final out and sent the Orioles onto victory.

Good night in D.C. for the Birds. And as I said, that might have been the best start of Dean Kremer’s career. The Orioles certainly hope that trend continues.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Nationals Park. The O’s are yet to announce a starter, but the thought that Keegan Akin will be activated off the IL to make the start – whomever the starter is however, he’ll be opposed by Washington’s MacKenzie Gore. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Friendly neighborhood baseball game

The Baltimore Orioles head down I-95 this evening to open the Battle of the Beltways in Washington D.C. against the Washington Nationals. Well, maybe more like down the B/W Pkwy – but you get the idea. The O’s will be in D.C. tonight and tomorrow, and Washington makes a return visit to Camden Yards in September.

Perhaps more so in the stands than on the field, the line between home white and road gray can be a bit blurred in these games. You’ll hear Orioles fans cheering when the Birds score the next two games, many of them having traveled less distance to see their team at Nationals Park than they would at Camden Yards. But either way, it’s the best of the Mid-Atlantic Region on display for all of baseball to see the next two nights. That’s something that should register with pride for both fan bases.

Baltimore and Washington are two very different places, but with many similarities. Some fans on both sides hate the other. But many root for the other city (for the most part, that is). It’s just how things shake down.

And almost everyone in this region has ties in the other city. My grandfather, Dr. Anthony Launi, was a semi-pro catcher in the Washington Senators’ farm system. (In those days semi-pro was akin to today’s minor leagues.) He had a tryout with the big league club, but didn’t make it. So he remained a Washington DC area dentist for years. He certainly did okay for himself, rearing seven kids into adulthood, including my mother! But again, it’s that sort of story which typifies the idea of a “friendly neighborhood baseball game.” For the record, I have one of of my grandfather’s bats at my parents’ house somewhere. I should dig it out sometime soon.

I think it’s a “rivalry” unlike any other in baseball. The Subway Series makes people very bitter – NY fans, that is. Chicago’s games between the Cubs and Sox are similar. But again, those are the same city. Baltimore and Washington are different, yet the same. They don’t intersect but for two series’ a year. However when they do, it’s fun for the fans.

The O’s head to Nationals Park this evening for the series in Washington. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Josiah Gray. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: A rain delay, a comeback, and a win in ChiTown

The Baltimore Orioles and starter Grayson Rodriguez had to wait two plus additional hours to get today’s series finale started on the south side of Chicago. And once the game did start following that lengthy rain delay, Orioles fans wished it had been rained out – at first. Rodriguez struggled…but quickly stabilized. Rodriguez’s line: 5.0 IL, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 8 K.

Rodriguez seemed like he wanted to stay in the clubhouse at first. He put two runners on and then gave up a three-run homer to Sheets (a Maryland native) – this before recording an out. He then surrendered a solo homer to Burger, and the O’s trailed, 4-0.

However to his credit, Rodriguez stabilized. That’s also to the credit of Brandon Hyde, who allowed the rookie to stay in the ballgame. The weather was raw, Rodriguez had looked shaky, and he was a rookie. Nobody would have blamed Brandon Hyde for pulling him.

But he stuck with Rodriguez, who slowly transformed before our eyes. He went from a pitcher on the ropes to mowing Chicago hitters down. Again, this in less-than-favorable conditions. Rodriguez ended up being non-decisions on the afternoon, because Oriole bats also seemed to get untracked as we went along.

The Orioles started their rally from behind with a simple sac fly-RBI in the fourth inning by Jorge Mateo. With two on, Cedric Mullins smacked a triple later in the inning, and suddenly we had a game. And the O’s were down one, 4-3.

The O’s would tie the game at four in the sixth when Gunnar Henderson scored on a wild pitch by Chicago’s starter, Cease. And on that note, it was interesting that Cease was still in the game. Chicago’s bullpen was taxed, but personally I felt that they left Cease in the game longer than they should have.

The Birds officially took over the game in the eighth inning. Cedric Mullins’ RBI-single have them a 5-4 lead. Ryan Mountcastle would line into a force out, which scored an additional run. And Anthony Santander closed out the inning with an RBI-single, giving the Orioles a 7-4 lead.

Mullins would tack on an RBI-single in the ninth for good measure, and the O’s took the game, 8-4. And they took two-of -three from Chicago.

It was about as unlikely a win as you’re going to see. After that first inning things looked pretty bleak. But end of the day, it was the Orioles going through the hand shake line in celebration. The road trip in theory continues after an off day tomorrow, as the O’s head to Washington on Tuesday night.

Baltimore Orioles fall in back-and-forth game

The Baltimore Orioles dropped a wild game this afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Park in Chicago. Kyle Gibson got the start, and while he didn’t pitch to a quality start, he did put the O’s in a spot to win the ballgame. Gibson’s line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

The Birds took an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer in the second inning by Jorge Mateo. However Burger’s sac fly-RBI tied the game in the last of the fourth. And that set the tone for the rest of the game.

One inning later in the fifth Chicago took the lead at 2-1 with Benintendi’s RBI-double. However the Orioles tied it up and then took the lead in the sixth. Anthony Santander smacked a solo homer to tie the game, and Jorge Mateo’s RBI-single gave them a 3-2 lead. Cedric Mullins would later walk with the bases loaded, giving the Birds a 4-2 lead.

But Chicago came back – again. And not for the last time. Burger smacked a two-run homer in the sixth to tie it at four. One inning later however, Ramon Urias was hit in the head with two runners on – loading the bases. Urias would leave the game and later enter concussion protocol. His status going forward is unclear. However that brought Ryan O’Hearn to the plate, who drew a walk. Giving the Orioles the lead back at 5-4.

But Vaughn’s RBI-double in the last of the seventh tied the game back up at five. And tied it remained, and we went to extra innings for the first time in 2023. Remember, the rules now dictate that teams begin every inning after nine with a runner on second. The Birds immediately moved that runner to third, and Adley Rutschman later proceeded to ground into what could have been a double-play. But he hustled down the line, and beat the throw to first base, scoring a run. However a run/m-scoring double and an RBI-single won it for Chicago in the bottom of the inning.

Tough loss for the O’s. However Adley Rutschman’s worth mentioning once again. Understand folks, he’s a CATCHER. That inherently means he runs like the Queen Mary. He hustled down that line in the tenth inning and basically willed that run home. It shows his character, as well as his will to win. That’s the guy that you want on your team.

The series concludes tomorrow at Guaranteed Rate Field. Grayson Rodriguez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Dylan Cease. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman feeling a trend

The Baltimore Orioles sent Tyler Wells to the mound last night on the south side of Chicago. He put the Birds in a spot to win the game, although he got next-to-no run support. In truth, he was two outs away from a quality start. Wells’ line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Wells gave up a solo homer to Burger in the second inning. He then proceeded to shut Chicago down until the last of the sixth, where he gave up two RBI-singles. The Orioles trailed 3-0 when he left the game.

However remember last year when the Birds were so good in the later innings? That repeated itself last night. The Orioles loaded the bases in the seventh, and Cedric Mullins drew a walk. That got the O’s on the board, cutting the Chicago lead to 3-1. However later in the inning the game got flipped squarely on it’s side.

When the O’s drafted Adley Rutschman they knew he was special. He was obviously the first overall pick – the second in franchise history. And since he’s come to the majors he hasn’t disappointed. That’s never been more evident than in the last two games.

Remember, Adley Rutschman sent the Orioles onto this road trip with a walk off homer to win the final game of the previous home stand – against Oakland. And he came in similarly clutch last night. With Mullins having walked in a run and the bases still loaded in the top of the seventh, the Orioles trailed 3-1…

…and Rutschman proved once again that he has that clutch gene. He nailed a bases-clearing double to left center, giving the Birds a 4-3 lead. Just another day at the office, right?!

Jorge Mateo and Ryan O’Hearn would add two-RBI doubles in the eighth to close out the scoring. And the Orioles went home (or back to the team hotel at least) with a 6-3 victory in the first of three in Chicago. But what Rutschman means to this franchise can’t be downplayed. He’s a franchise player, and one who has the capability to strike fear into the hearts of opponents for years. And he’s proved it over the past two games.

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

Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman launches the Birds back in the win column

The Baltimore Orioles played a wild one this afternoon, this in the series finale with Oakland. And the home stand finale. Cole Irvin, the former Oakland A, found out early that today wasn’t going to be a day for pitchers. Irvin’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Irvin gave up an early run on a sac fly-RBI by Rooker – who had a great series for Oakland. However the Orioles came right back, Ryan O’Hearn, who was called up just prior to the game, smacked a two-RBI single in the last of the first. Jorge Mateo added on a sac fly-RBI, and the O’s appeared to be in business with a 3-1 lead.

But that was short-lived. Rooker came up again in the second and answered with a three-run homer. And back-and-forth we went from there. Ryan Mountcastle’s solo shot tied the game at four in the third. The Birds then took the lead back on Adam Frazier’s RBI-single, and O’Hearn and Mateo’s sac fly-RBI. After three, the Orioles led 7-4.

As I said, it wasn’t a day for pitchers. Unfortunately for the Orioles, Ruiz’s two-RBI single in the fourth and Rooker’s solo homer in the fifth tied the game back up at seven. As I said, Rooker had a dynamite series for Oakland. Needless to say, he was much of their offense today alone.

The two bullpens held through much of the rest of the game. Neither side could put anything across. Notice I said “much” of the rest of the game. Not the entirety of the rest of the game.

We went to the last of the ninth with the game tied at seven. Adley Rutschman led off the inning, and sent a high fly ball deep to center on the second pitch he saw. This was a no-doubter, folks – it wound up towards the upper rows of the grandstand. It was a walk off home run, the first not only of his professional career, but of his life.

The O’s took three-of-four from Oakland, which is about what one would have expected. Obviously you’d love to have swept the series. But you have to be okay with just winning the series. And the Orioles did just that.

The Birds now head to the south side of Chicago, the meanest part of town…to open up a series against the ChiSox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Type Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Mike Clevinger. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle leads the way with nine RBI

Any other member of the Baltimore Orioles was going to have to try really hard to eclipse Grayson Rodriguez tonight. He made his first ever start at Camden Yards on the same night the Orioles gave away his t-shirt. Rodriguez however may have been the reason the fans showed up, but he won’t be the reason they remember this game. Rodriguez’s line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 6 K.

I would say that Rodriguez was right about where you would expect a guy to be making his second career start in the big leagues. He gave up an RBI-single in the first to Rooker to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. However the good news for Rodriguez there was that he limited the damage and got out of the inning.

However the Orioles didn’t trail for long. Ryan Mountcastle started what became a trend for this game, sending a solo homer over the fence in the last of the first. After Oakland took the lead back in the second, we next heard from Mountcastle in the third. He sent an RBI-single into centerfield, tying the game again – this time at two.

James McCann would give the Birds the lead in the fourth with an RBI-double, however Oakland would equal that in the fifth with Smith’s RBI-single. They would proceed to take the lead on an RBI-groundout. However later in the inning Langeliers would smack a three-run homer, giving Oakland a 7-3 lead.

That almost felt like a death blow. Needless to say, Oakland had broken the game wide open. Then the last of the fifth rolled around. Ryan z Mountcastle had already had a great game, with two RBI to that point (one on a solo shot). However he came up in the last of the fifth with two runners on, and launched a deep shot into the Baltimore night. That cut the Oakland lead to 7-6, and breathed new life back into the Birds’ sails.

One inning later the game was tied. This off a solo homer by Austin Hays, who had a great game in his own right – 4-for-4 with two RBI. Hays would also smack an RBI-single an inning later in the seventh to give the O’s the lead at 8-7. But they weren’t done.

Hays would still need to touch home plate. And he did later in that seventh inning, when Ryan Mountcastle came up again, Mountcastle came up with the bases loaded – because Oakland didn’t want to pitch to Adley Rutschman with first base open. So they walked him to get to Mountcastle…

…and history will show that was a mistake. Mountcastle sent a high fly ball deep into the left field grandstand, giving the Birds a 12-7 lead. Oakland would shove one across in the ninth, however the Orioles won their second consecutive game over Oakland, this one 13-8.

Ryan Mountcastle had one of the more historic night’s in franchise history. Nevermind that he hit in the clutch about as well as one could when his team needed him tonight, but he joined Jim Gentile and Eddie Murray as the only players in franchise history to have nine RBI in a game. Ironically, all three guys to do that were first basemen.

Keep in mind, Mountcastle broke Cal Ripken Jr’s mark for the most HR’s in franchise history for a rookie, this in 2021. Now he’s equaled a mark shared by Eddie Murray. His name is up there with two hall of famer’s. That’s about as select of company as you’re going to find.

The series continues tomorrow evening from Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Ken Waldichuck. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles win, but left wondering about robot ump’s

Kyle Gibson had a rough first inning this evening for the Baltimore Orioles. He threw in excess of 30 pitches, and seemed to suffer from control issues. However Gibson got things together quickly, pitching the Birds to a solid victory. Gibson’s line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Gibson surrendered his lone run on an RBI-triple by Laureano in the first inning. A triple that was aided by Ryan McKenna bobbling the ball in right field. But a triple none the less. The good news is that the O’s didn’t trail for long. Ryan Mountcastle’s two-run homer in the last of the first gave the Birds the lead at 2-1.

Austin Hays had an outstanding game. He scalded several balls in his at-bats, making great contact. He sent a solo homer into the stands on the sixth, giving the Birds a 4-1 lead. Ramon Urias would get Hays home after a double in the eighth with an RBI-single. This closed out a 5-1 Orioles’ victory.

However, a pall hung over the end of the game. Cedric Mullins was rung up on a pitch that appeared to be outside in the seventh inning. (A strike three that ended the inning.) He voice what appeared to be some very mild displeasure. As he walked back to the dugout, he was ejected by home plate umpire Malachi Moore.

Manager Brandon Hyde immediately came out to defend his center fielder, and after a heated argument HE was ejected. Also by Moore.

To be clear, Cedric Mullins never says anything to umpires. And while he was obviously displeased with the call, he didn’t appear to say much this time around also. If you haven’t seen the replay, quite frankly it’s UGLY. Mullins said nothing. And he was tossed. As was Hyde for protecting his player.

This sort of thing is the poster child for robot umpires. Moore’s strike zone was atrocious the entire game. That doesn’t mean it was bad. But instead it was more “inconsistent” than anything else. And that’s what ticks players off; when you called said pitch a strike last inning but you call it a ball now. You have to be uniform, and Moore was far from it tonight.

Robotic umpires would fox that issue. But at what cost? The human element – that’s the “cost.” I’m of the mindset that it’s not worth losing that in games. This doesn’t mean that umpires don’t need to work on their consistency. Because they do. But I wouldn’t want to get further and further away from the human element.

Here’s the other thing; you still would need a home plate ump. Someone would have to operate the machine. Furthermore, you’d still need an umpire to call out and safe at home plate. So you may as well have the guy calling balls and strikes. However antics like what Moore pulled tonight don’t make it easy to push to keep umpires calling balls and strikes.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Grayson Rodriguez gets the start for the O’s (his first at home), and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Kyle Muller. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Birds can’t get over the hump

Tyler Wells made his first start of the season for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon in the series finale against New York. This of course after pitching five innings in spot relief this past week in Texas. However the Orioles couldn’t get the same results out of Wells today, although he didn’t look awful. Wells’ line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

And here’s the thing; keep in mind that last week in Texas, Wells came into the game in the second inning due to an injury to Kyle Bradish. And he kept Texas off-kilter for his entire outing. Texas prepared for Bradish that day, and it was an abrupt surprise that the Birds needed someone in as extended relief as they used Wells that night.

In this case, Wells was always the listed starter leading up to this game. So his presence was no surprise to New York. We see this in the NFL a lot also. If the starting quarterback gets injured, the backup comes in and wins the game – leaving people flabbergasted. But that can throw off the gameplan of the opponent in the short term as well.

Stanton got New York on the board early with an RBI-single in the first inning. New York continued to threaten, however Wells induced a ground ball double-play to end the inning. He limited the damage, which was good to see.

However New York kept the pressure on. Judge’s solo homer in the third extended the lead. Two innings later Cordero smacked a two-run homer to right, digging the O’s in a 4-0 hole. But the Orioles tried to chip away also. Anthony Santander’s two-RBI double in the last of the sixth got them on the board and cut the lead in half at 4-2.

However New York also added an insurance run in the eighth, by way of Judge again. His solo home run upped New York’s lead to 5-2. And that was a big moment, because Adley Rutschman’s solo shot in the last of the eighth cut it to 5-3. However the New York bullpen closed things out, and the Birds fell on this Easter Sunday, 5-3.

It’s easy to look at Tyler Wells and others and mention that Oriole pitchers surrendered five runs today. However New York’s starter Nestor Cortes shut Oriole bats down for the most part. Cortes of course is a former Oriole who was acquired in the Rule 5 draft, however had to be returned to New York. And he’s made the most of his opportunity. The New York lineup also featured Franchy Cordero, who made an impact on the Birds all weekend. Cordero of course had a great spring – with the O’s. He was cut after camp, and caught on in pinstripes.

The Oakland A’s come into Oriole Park at Camden Yards tomorrow evening for the first of a four-game set. Kyle Gibson gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s JP Sears. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles juice up Charm City in home opener

It wasn’t the true Opening Day, but it was Opening Day Camden Yards for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s always an electrifying moment when the Birds take the field at home for the first time. And with Dean Kremer on the mound this afternoon against New York, today was no exception. Kremer’s line: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

There was a lot of angles on today. First off, the likes of Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson ran down the orange carpet for the first time. Hopefully the first of many times. New Maryland Governor Wes Moore and his kids threw out the first pitch this afternoon. And the hated New York Yankees were in town hoping to spoil the party. Luckily for the home standing Orioles, that’s not exactly the way things went.

Adam Frazier’s RBI-single gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the last of the second. Austin Hays would push one across on a Fielder’s Choice, and Ryan Mountcastle would follow suit an inning later with a sac fly-RBI. Also in the third, Gunnar Henderson would smack an RBI-double, and the O’s appeared to be off to the races.

However New York made a game of it. Cordero would smack a three-run homer in the fourth. The killer is that it came with two outs, which is something that’s plagued the O’s for years. Situations with two outs and two strikes have been the ones that have hurt them in games. And we saw it again today.

Cabrera’s two-RBI double in the sixth would put New York in the lead. But today was the Orioles’ day. “Root, root, root for the home team,” right?! And it was Rutschman who got things going again from a scoring standpoint. His RBI-single in the last of the sixth would tie the game back up at five.

Ramon Urias also figured big into things. His RBI-double in the seventh would give the Birds the lead back. Urias would later score, giving the Orioles an insurance run. And it’s a good thing he did, because New York would score once more in the eighth. But the O’s would close things out in the ninth, and went home with a 7-6 win on Opening Day at Camden Yards.

Everyone went home happy. That’s the goal for every home game. But especially the home opener. The crowd was in it from the beginning, and the O’s happily obliged. Whatever happens for the rest of the season remains to be seen. But today was a good day.

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