Archive for the ‘ Game Recaps ’ Category

Baltimore Orioles: Is Manny Machado as good as gone?

Manny Machado will be the starting shortstop for the American League in tonight’s All-Star game, representing the Baltimore Orioles. However as everyone knows, that’s far from the big story line right now involving Machado. It appears that come Friday night, Manny Machado will be wearing a different uniform than the orange and black.

It was reported yesterday that the Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies had a “handshake deal” to send Machado to Philadelphia. Some reporters (mainly Philadelphia reporters) even said that the deal would become official on Wednesday. The Orioles have refuted that claim, saying that they were close to a deal (not naming any team specifically with whom they were close), but that nothing had been agreed upon.

I’m willing to believe that there probably is a handshake agreement in place. I’m also willing to believe that someone on the Philadelphia side leaked it out. And if that’s true, it’s probably to the detriment of that team. Because it would stand to reason that other suitors would then have the option of upping their offer. Are we to believe that the Orioles wouldn’t go back on said handshake agreement if they could better their team even more?

But ultimately this is just posturing. Many fans are frustrated because of the risk for injury and so forth. It goes without saying that if Machado were to rip up his ACL in the all-star game tonight, any potential deal would be off. Would that be the Orioles’ luck? Probably. But think about it…how many players sustain serious injuries in the all-star game?

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado finish lackluster first half strong

The usual question hung over the Baltimore Orioles going into yesterday afternoon’s game; was it Manny Machado‘s last game with the team? Ultimately we have no way of knowing. But one of these days it actually will be.

This series finale with Texas was a bullpen game for the Orioles. While Miguel Castro got the start, the plan was never for him to pitch long enough to qualify for the win. Especially seeing that he loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with nobody out, and then gave up a grand slam to Guzman. Castro’s line: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

But the O’s began the battle to come back almost immediately. Machado smacked a solo homer in the last of the first to cut the lead to 4-1. It’s tough to come back from a first inning grand slam, but the Orioles found a way. They cut the lead to 4-2 two innings later on Caleb Joseph‘s RBI-double.

But that third inning was the key one for the Orioles. Perhaps it’ll go on to represent the moment when things changed for the team this year for all we know. Probably not in terms of being in contention, however more so for respectability. The O’s have picked up one run here and there over the course of the season throughout games. Finally, it seems they found a way to achieve a big inning.

In the wake of that Joseph RBI-double, the O’s loaded the bases  for Adam Jones. And he delivered as he has for most of his career with the Birds, swinging at the first pitch and smacking a bases-clearing double down the left field line. That gave the Orioles a 5-4 lead, and it was extended to 6-4 when Jones scored later in the inning due to a throwing error.

Texas’ Choo would hit a solo homer in the eighth, cutting the lead to 6-5. They would also have the tying run on first base in the ninth inning, when Andrus hit a double into the right field corner. It was the type of thing that’s happened to the O’s all season long; an opponent placed the ball just perfectly on the field whereby the tying run was going to be able to come into score with two outs in the ninth inning. It was about to be yet another disappointment for the Orioles late in the game…

…before it wasn’t. Schoop relayed the ball home after Trumbo dug it out of the corner, and nailed the runner at the plate. And it wasn’t even close. And the Orioles won the game, closing out a disappointing first half with a two-game winning streak and by taking two-of-three from Texas.

The real interesting part of the day however came in the middle of the fourth inning when the game was halted by a passing rain shower. The teams sat through a short 26-minute rain delay. When play resumed, Jace Peterson was in the on-deck circle to bat for Manny Machado. While there were no shots of Machado bidding farewell to his teammates or anything along those lines (he sat in the dugout wearing an Orioles sweatshirt), questions circulated around the ballpark.

To their credit, the Orioles dispelled rumors almost immediately by alerting the media that Machado had been lifted as a precautionary measure due to a messy infield. They also said that he would be representing the Orioles at Tuesday’s all-star game in Washington D.C. So he won’t be traded before then, in other words.

I tweeted at the time that it’s pointless to speculate, as the Orioles will release a statement whenever he’s traded. However I will say this; I see it as very possible that the finishing touches on a deal are being made with a suitor. Now that’s only my personal opinion, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s playing elsewhere on Friday when the season resumes. And his own comments after the game sounded somewhat like a guy who knew he was on his way out (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):

Just looking back at everything that’s happened this year, trade rumors, everything, just overall playing with this team has always been incredible. Whether we’ve had our ups and downs this year, it is what it is. Me putting up the numbers I did at shortstop, where people didn’t think I should have made the move in my walk year, but I did. I’m going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It’s just always a blessing. I thank God, I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization, I mean, it’s just been very incredible.

The bit about shortstop was interesting there as well. Almost as if he was reminding his future team that he’s a shortstop. Nevertheless, this was a good team win for the Orioles, and exactly what they needed going into the break. So that’s that – until Friday night.

Baltimore Orioles: Brooks Robinson returns in advisory role, Birds win

The Baltimore Orioles will take wins anyway they can get them. Whether it’s 1-0 or 10-0, a win’s still a win. And yes, it all starts with starting pitching, in this case Yefry Ramirez, who was strong in last night’s game. Ramirez’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

Ramirez of course has been with the Orioles for a few weeks, and has in fact shown some promise. He pitched five shutout innings last night for the Birds, who are looking at a possible bullpen game today. Any trouble that Ramirez and others got into, they were able to get out of.

On a side note for this game, it came with some good news for Orioles fans. It was revealed that the great Brooks Robinson was going to be returning to the organization in a “Special Advisor” role. It’s unclear what exactly that’s going to mean, but Robinson was very clear in that he won’t be participating in any baseball decisions. It sounds more like a community outreach type of deal than anything else (quote courtesy of Dan Connolly, balitmorebaseball.com):

I’ll be trying to be out in the community maybe and doing some things to try to promote this club and get people to the stadium. I mean, it’s a beautiful ballpark and the Orioles have always been trying to bring people in and been in the community.

And perhaps it was the news of Robinson’s return to the organization which pushed the Orioles to victory last night. A pre-recorded statement from Robinson announcing his new position was played for the Camden faithful during the sixth inning last night. The Birds then proceeded to put runners at the corners in the last of the sixth with nobody out. They would take a 1-0 lead on Jonathan Schoop‘s sac fly-RBI.

It may not be the most graceful way of gaining a run, but it still counts. And when you only put up one run, you have to ensure that defensively you’re covering your bases. Adam Jones made a diving catch of a line drive in the top of the seventh to keep a Texas runner off base. That would have only been one base runner, however in a one-run game that could have made a big difference.

However the big defensive play came in the top of the eighth. The Orioles put two runners on base with nobody out. Reliever Mychal Givens managed to pick the runner off of second base, That was followed by a ground out and a pop out to end the inning. Again, when you’re playing in a one-run game there’s no margin for error. For once this season, the Orioles shut things down when they needed to.

The Orioles were planning to start Jimmy Yacabonis in this afternoon’s series finale. However Yacabonis has taken ill with strep throat, and is unavailable. Buck Showalter said that he would announce his starter this morning, but it’s expected to be someone in the bullpen. Just a prediction with no prior knowledge, but I’m going with Mike WrightMike Wright.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. The aforementioned TBD is starting for the Orioles, with Texas throwing Mike Minor. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall to Texas in series opener

Another quality start by a Baltimore Orioles’ starter, and another loss. Last night it was to the Texas Rangers, in game one of a three-game set. And Alex Cobb seems to be the willing victim almost every time. Cobb’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Cobb wasn’t perfect, but he put the Orioles in a position to win the game. That’s all you can ask of a starter.

Cobb gave up a solo homer to Gallo in the fifth, and Texas took a 1-0 lead. However the Orioles did move to battle back, putting a runner on second in the bottom of the inning, getting him over to third, and then to home plate on Danny Valencia‘s sac fly-RBI. The O’s were very much in this game as it went along.

However the story of the season for the Birds has been clutch hitting. And no, I’m not even talking about their lack thereof. I’m talking about clutch hitting by the opponent. Oriole opponents have seemingly always just found a way to do whatever they need to do in order to win the game. And at times it’s happened in fairly uncanny manners.

This time it was a three-run homer in the seventh inning by Rua. Namely, a pinch-hit home run. Whatever the button that the Orioles have pushed this year, the opponent’s ended up pushing a seemingly better one. To make matters worse, Mazara’s RBI-double later in the inning ran the score to 5-1.

Now I will say that the Orioles did get some clutch hitting in the last of the seventh from Caleb Joseph. He put the Birds back in the game with a bases-clearing double that cut the lead to 5-4. He saw the pitch and he just went with it, which was good to see. But the O’s couldn’t get any closer than that, and they fell 5-4 in the opener with Texas.

The Orioles are also swapping out catchers again, deciding to option Chance Sisco to triple-A Norfolk after the game. The plan is to formally recall Austin Wynns sometime before tonight’s game. And speaking for myself I think that’s a smart move. Sisco has potential but in my view needs some additional seasoning. Wynns was a shot in the arm when he was here before.

Jimmy Yacabonis is scheduled to start tomorrow’s series finale, however he’s been taken ill and that start is now in jeopardy. There’s a chance that Yacabonis has strep throat, which (knock on wood!) I’m not exactly sure how you get during the summer. So that might leave the Orioles scrambling for a starter come tomorrow.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Martin Perez. Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Death by 1,000 paper cuts

Tonight was supposed to be an off night for the Baltimore Orioles. However Philadelphia trekked into town for a one-shot makeup game for a previously rained out affair. Kevin Gausman got the start, and he labored through five rough innings. Gausman’s line: 5.0 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Of the five runs that were charged to Gausman and the five runs they scored overall in the game, I’m not sure that any of them (save perhaps for a solo homer) didn’t come off of or after a ball that was squared up. The Orioles were dipped and dunked to death, bled by 1,000 paper cuts, and chiseled to death. One the flip side, the Birds consistently square balls up and hit them into the outfield – only to find fielders.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead on a soft bloop RBI-single by Santana in the third inning. Later in the inning Williams would ground into a force out which scored a run, and the O’s trailed 2-0. And Alfaro’s two-RBI double in the fourth would give Philadelphia a 4-0 lead. Toss in a solo homer two innings later the next time Alfaro came up to bat, and the Birds had dug themselves a 5-0 hole.

However the O’s got their bats going in the sixth. Manny Machado‘s RBI-single got them on the board, cutting the Philadelphia lead to to 5-1. Trey Mancini would cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh with a two-run homer, followed by a solo shot by Jace Peterson. However while a valiant effort to come back, the Birds wouldn’t get any closer and fell 5-4. For what it’s worth, Philadelphia also swept the season series with the Birds with this win. The two teams won’t face each other again until the 2021 season – unless of course you count Grapefruit League play next spring.

I’ve had fans tweet and comment on the site how I always throw in that opposing teams score on softly hit balls. The fact is that a hit’s a hit, no matter how you get it. And whether you get aboard with a hit, a hit batsman, a walk, or an error, a base runner’s a base runner. One way or the other, teams are getting them on and getting them in against the Orioles.

The Orioles as I said square up a lot of balls. They’re just hit right to outfielders. Opposing teams seem to have this knack of hitting the ball so softly that it ends up as a hit against the Orioles. And from the Birds’ perspective, it has to be frustrating to see and experience. You’re in position and placed perfectly in accordance with the spray charts, and the guy eases up on the bat just enough to dump it right in front of you. There’s no rhyme or reason to how or why it happens. It just does. And it happens a lot to the Orioles.

The Birds will welcome the Texas Rangers into Camden Yards tomorrow night for a weekend series – the final set before the all-star break. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Cole Hamels. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Play one team right off another in the Manny Machado sweeepstakes

Dylan Bundy only lasted four innings last night as the Baltimore Orioles fell hard to New York, 9-0. It’s impossible to win when you don’t score any runs, which was the Orioles’ plight last night. Bundy’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

The big blast came in the third with New York already leading 1-0, as Bird smacked a grand slam off the right field foul pole. Obviously New York added to the lead the rest of the night, but that all but ended the competitive portion of the ballgame. And it’s really indicative of the Orioles’ season in a way. Opponents are always able to dig just deep enough to get what they need to beat them. In this case, the ball appeared to be going foul, but stayed just fair enough to smack off the foul pole.

The big story around Camden Yards has been Manny Machado, and where he’s going – and when. New York threw their hat into the ring seeing as they were in Baltimore the first part of this week, and the assumption’s been since then that he was going there. I’ll once again caution against trading a player of his caliber within the division. Even if you get a great haul in return, the fact is that there’s probably another team out there willing to give you just as good a haul. And that has Machado signing a new contract with New York (perhaps even before the current one expires) and living happily ever after for years and years written all over it.

But in the interim, New York is all but doing the Orioles a favor by even being involved. If New York wants him, that means Boston wants him. We also know that the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested. That also means that Arizona has to consider trading for him. And it goes on and on.

If you listen to the national media, many of them point out that the Orioles don’t have nary any leverage in this scenario because Machado would really end up being a rental. (Obviously whichever team trades for him would have his rights until the end of the season – so they could wow him with their culture and find a way to re-sign him.) However with so many teams interested, how exactly do the Orioles not have leverage?

Before last night’s game word circulated that New York had made a “good” offer to the Orioles. So then the Orioles probably went back to Boston and Los Angeles and said this is what’s on the table right now, but I wanted to give you a chance to make a counter-offer. And I suspect that charade has been going on for some time. That ensures the Orioles are going to get a haul in return. This as opposed to the low-A prospect that many people felt they’d get at one point.

Many people tell me that the longer they wait the harder it’ll get to find a deal. It seems to me that it’s quite to the contrary. The deal could get better as they let this drag on. Because in reality the Orioles have until the end of the month. Now I don’t think they’ll wait that long, and in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s traded before the all-star break. But the more they wheel and deal, the more they’re able to play one team off of another. And the better the return gets.

The Orioles were scheduled to be off today, but they’ll take on Philadelphia at home in a makeup game from earlier in the season. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Plunk heard ’round the world leads to Jonathan Schoop’s walk off

For one game at least, the Baltimore Orioles seemed to be the Baltimore Orioles again. The Birds showed a lot of grit in tonight’s game against New York, and it’s games like these which is what we’ve come to expect from this core group of players. Andrew Cashner‘s numbers look worse than he actually pitched, but he put the team in a spot to win. Cashner’s line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 7 K.

The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the last of the fourth when Joey Rickard sent a tight grounder inside of third, which scored two runs. But new York came back an inning later on a three-run homer by Bird, giving them a lead at 3-2. However as I alluded above, what we saw was the Orioles never allowing their heartbeat to be silenced. Manny Machado sent a deep shot to left on the first pitch of the last of the fifth, immediately tying the game back up at three.

However New York would take a two-run lead in the seventh on a sac fly-RBI by Bird, and an RBI-single by Walker. This game had valiant effort written all over it for the Orioles. However the team wasn’t going to stand for that – not on this night. With Jones already on base in the last of that seventh inning, Machado came back up to bat. And he sent a shot deep into the Baltimore night towards right center…

…it appeared to kareem off the grandstand and remained in play. However the O’s asked for a review, and the call was reversed into a two-run homer. And we found ourselves tied one again, this time at five. New York threatened in the top of the ninth, however the Birds picked up a key out when Caleb Joseph threw out a runner trying to steal second. The call on the field was out, and in my view the runner was out. But there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove that the call was wrong, and it was upheld.

And Caleb Joseph led off the last of the ninth – and was able to get on base by getting hit. Call it the plunk heard ’round the world if you will A Jones double and an intentional walk to Machado later, and the Orioles had the bases loaded. And Jonathan Schoop was striding to the plate.

And Schoop didn’t disappoint. He sent a screaming grounder into right field for a base hit, scoring Joseph from third. And winning the game for the Birds at 6-5. It was the Orioles’ first walk off win since Opening Day.

For perhaps the first time in 2018, we saw the Fighting Showalters that we’ve come to know over time. It seems that so often this year things such as the Bird homer or Walker sac fly would befall the Orioles, and things would snowball from there. Not this time. The O’s stuck in there and fought back. And having the last at-bat helps also!

The Orioles will complete the series with New York tomorrow at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Sonny Gray. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: New York has interest in Manny Machado

It was reported yesterday during the Baltimore Orioles’ doubleheader with New York that the Yankees have contacted the O’s about trading for Manny Machado. The Orioles are listening to offers from plenty of other clubs, however New York certainly is interested. They’re also interested in Zach BrittonBrad Brach, and perhaps a couple of starters.

I’ve said before that I think it’s an incredibly risky move to trade a player of Machado’s caliber within the division. He may well find his way to the Bronx one way or the other (via free agency), but the fact is that teams make trades to better themselves – either now or in the future. The Orioles shouldn’t be in the business of helping New York better themselves.

Now having said that, if some of the above-mentioned players were packaged together to get a nice return, perhaps the Orioles consider it. But even still, there’s a caveat. If the O’s are going to trade with New York, they should get a higher return than they would if they were going to trade with Los Angeles, Chicago, or Milwaukee. In essence, New York should expect to get squeezed as opposed to just making “a nice deal.”

So if Los Angeles was going to offer two prospects, the Orioles would ask for three from New York. Some would say that’s unfair, and a lousy way to do business. That’s up to the beholder, however when it comes to trading a player like Machado to a division rival you don’t want to just win the trade. You want to win the trade running away.

My personal opinion is that he won’t go to New York. Although it certainly would be easy in the sense that he could just switch clubhouses. However keep in mind that New York seems to buy low and sell high. They obtained the likes of Judge for fairly cheap. That can’t be allowed to happen if they’re going to do business with the Orioles.

For now, the O’s should probably be thanking New York for getting into the fray. Because teams such as Los Angeles or Milwaukee now know that they may have to up the ante a bit. Whereas previously if the deal was two players and then went to three when New York got involved, they may need to offer four now. So the Orioles can in essence use New York to get a better deal, but if they’re going to ship Manny to the Bronx they’d better get much better return than they would have gotten from another team. Am I saying that different teams should get different rules? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Baltimore Orioles drop nightcap

For the Baltimore Orioles’ sake it’s a good thing they won the first game of yesterday’s twin bill. New York seemed to be a team on a mission in game two. Although more often than not it seems that teams split doubleheaders, so perhaps the Birds were all but guaranteed a win yesterday.

Yefry Ramirez ended up getting knocked around a bit, and he took the loss. Ramirez’s line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Ramirez did show a bit of poise, as his change up was getting over for a strike. However New York was still able to get to him and touch him up for four runs. Ramirez of course came from New York’s system, and he addressed facing his former team after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

It felt good to face them, even though I wanted to have a really good game so I could show them that they lost a really good player. But things didn’t work out my way. I think I wasn’t able to command my fastball at all. I missed some sliders, as well. The combination of that didn’t lead to good results today. I will take this as a learning opportunity and growing experience. Get feedback from the veteran guys and hopefully I can have better success in the next starts.

Before the Orioles had even recorded an out in the first inning New York already had a lead on Gregorius’ RBI-double. Gardner’s two-run homer in the fourth extended that lead to 3-0. Incidentally, the Orioles hit several balls deep and all around the outfield, including one very late that appeared to be a home run. Gardner chased them all down.

Gardner’s always been a gamer and he’s always been consistent throughout his career. He doesn’t say much, but lets his playing speak for him, which is a great trait in baseball. It’s just frustrating from the Orioles’ perspective to see every hard-hit ball get chased down in spectacular form, but yet opponents reach base on softly hit bloopers. Is less really more?!

New York would extend their lead to 5-0 on Bird’s RBI-single in the fifth, and Romine would add a two-run homer in the eighth. By the time the smoke cleared and the game was over, New York put ten runs across on Oriole pitching. The Birds would get two back on an eighth inning two-run homer by Tim Beckham, his second home run of the season. (Keeping in mind of course that Beckham’s missed much of the first part of the year.)

Again, most doubleheaders end up being split. And that’s what happened yesterday in Baltimore. The Orioles following the game returned Jimmy Yacabonis to triple-A Norfolk. Yacabonis had been the Birds’ 26th man, as allowed by major league rules for doubleheaders.

The series with New York continues this evening at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Masahiro Tanaka. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Bingo, Bango, Bongo goes Danny Valencia!

The Baltimore Orioles needed a game in which they came back to win. In the first game of a twin bill late this afternoon against New York at home, they got exactly that. They Birds got a good start of of Jimmy Yacabonis, although he didn’t get a decision in the game. But it begins and ends with starting pitching, and the Birds got what they needed out of him this afternoon. Yacabonis’ line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

New York took an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer by Stanton in the second inning. One inning later RBI-singles by Judge and Gregorius gave New York a 3-0 lead. The O’s had their work cut out for them, however for once the long ball ended up being on their side.

Following a Machado double, Mark Trumbo came to the plate in the last of the fourth. And he slugged the Orioles right back into the ballgame, smacking a two-run homer which cut the New York lead to 3-2. That was a bit of a momentum swinger for the Orioles, and normally it’s the type of momentum swing that we see work against them. However for once it worked in their favor, giving them a fighting chance to win.

But they ended up having to work from further behind later on. Walker’s RBI-single in the sixth gave New York a 4-2 lead, and appeared to be an early insurance run. But these O’s weren’t done – not by a long shot, at least in this game. We know that nothing good happens after a walk. New York’s Sabathia walked the first hitter in the last of the sixth, bringing the tying run to the plate…

…and as we’ve seen happen to the O’s in the past, sometimes that one little thing snowballs an inning. I wouldn’t say that’s what happened per se, but it all did work in the Orioles’ favor. Schoop got aboard on a double, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Danny Valencia

…who didn’t disappoint. Valencia’s three-run homer gave the O’s a 5-4 lead, their first of the afternoon against New York. And that folks was a huge thing, both for the team, and for Valencia – who had been scuffling for a could of weeks. Zach Britton allowed the tying run to get to third base in the top of the ninth, but in the end he didn’t break. And the Orioles were victorious in game one thanks to Danny Valencia going yard.

Game two of the twin bill is this evening at Camden Yards. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Luis Cessa. Game time is set for…just a few moments from when this is being written!

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