Archive for the ‘ Game Recaps ’ Category

Baltimore Orioles: Sloppy defense grants the lead, and takes it back

The Baltimore Orioles couldn’t hold on last night against Toronto. They had the game in essence won behind starter Dylan Bundy, but the bottom fell out and it turned into a loss. And a record-setting loss at that; no other Orioles’ team has lost 108 games. Bundy’s line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 6 K.

The O’s led early, as Cedric Mullins led off the game with a solo homer. In the fourth Mancini appeared out at home plate on a Valera sac fly attempt. However the play was overturned on replay, as the Toronto catcher blocked the plate and Mancini never had a shot at crossing. That gave the O’s a 2-0 victory.

Later in that fourth inning DJ Stewart got his first big league hit on a single to right field. It’ll go down as one of the most bizarre first hits in Orioles’ history, and one about which Stewart will probably jokingly tell his grandchildren one day. Two errors on the play later, not only had Chris Davis scored, but Stewart scored as well. Due to Toronto’s shoddy defense, the Orioles held a 4-0 lead.

But Toronto chipped away. Smith’s RBI-double in the fifth cut the lead to 4-1. One inning later Smoak’s RBI-groundout cut the lead to 4-2. Bundy started to tire in the seventh, almost out of nowhere. Unfortunately however, the Orioles couldn’t get him out of the game early enough. He loaded the bases, and was lifted.

However the base runners were still his responsibility. And a Steve Wilkerson throwing error allowed two runs to score, tying the game at four. Shoddy defense gave the Orioles part of their lead, and it also took it back. Gurriel’s subsequent two-RBI single gave Toronto a 6-4 lead, which turned into a 6-4 victory.

As I said above, this sets a record of the wrong kind for the Orioles. It was only a matter of time I suppose, however no Oriole team has ever lost 108 games plus. Now if there’s a silver lining anywhere, it probably forced their hand in rebuilding the way that they are. Had they ended up a run-of-the-mill 70-loss team, would they have been forced to do a total rebuild of this nature?

The O’s will try to salvage one game in this series this evening at Camden Yards. Jimmy Yacabonis gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marco Estrada. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Listless against Toronto

In a season where the Baltimore Orioles have struggled seemingly against everyone, it seems that’s been especially true against Toronto. And that’s been the case for a couple of years – really, since 2015 in a sense. The Birds defeated Toronto in September of 2014 to win the AL East, but since then it’s really been downhill.

And the ironic part is that it doesn’t seem to matter who the personnel is on each side. Both rosters have undergone massive changes since 2014. Yet the results seem to be the same. It’s a bit uncanny.

The Orioles turned to the Tampa and Oakland methodology last night in terms of starting pitching. Evan Phillips got the start, but in reality he was used as an “opener.” Phillips’ line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Phillips gave up an RBI-single to Tellez in the second which gave Toronto a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning Jansen smacked a two-run home run, and suddenly it was 3-0. Toronto also got solo homers from Pillar in the seventh, and Diaz in the ninth to round out their 5-0 victory over the Orioles, who only mustered three hits on the night. The Orioles are 4-13 this year against Toronto, with two games left to go (tonight and Wednesday).

The Orioles used the “opener” concept last night most probably out of necessity given the number of injuries in their starting rotation. When Tampa started the concept of the opener earlier this year, I thought it was nuts. I still think it’s nuts – and that’s not going to change.

You might ask why I think it’s a crazy idea. You might sit there and say, why not? It’s a valid question. And one I intend to tackle in the off season a bit. But for now, needless to say it’s a little too against the grain, outside-the-box, and against tradition for the ultimate sport steeped in tradition.

With the loss, the Orioles tied a club record for losses in a season at 107. That’s not the type of history you want to make, and after the game Buck Showalter was asked to wrap his head around that fact (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I’ve got too many things and people depending on me to do certain things between now and the end of the season. I think because it’s unpleasant to wrap around, probably I’m as guilty as anybody of staying tunnel vision about what we’re doing every day trying to do what’s best. So, if that’s an answer to your question.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones goes yard as Birds avoid sweep

Adam Jones smacked home run number 15 on the season this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles, as they avoided a sweep at the hands of the ChiSox. David Hess got the start, but was unable to go long enough into the game to qualify for the win. Hess’ line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 earned), 1 BB, 7 K.

The Orioles put five runs on the board in the first inning, their best output in the first this year. Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-single got things going, which was followed by a subsequent RBI-single from the aforementioned Adam Jones. The O’s also got runs on a fielder’s choice, and error, and a sac fly-RBI.

But Chicago made an effort to fight back. Palka’s solo homer got them on the board in the second. But the O’s were having none of that. Jonathan Villar also smacked a solo homer of his own in the fourth, running the score to 6-1. But Sanchez’s RBI-single in the fifth cut the lead in half at 6-3. A second Palka homer later in the inning made the Orioles even more uncomfortable as the lead was cut to 6-4.

However it was Adam Jones’ aforementioned home run that put them over the top. It was only a solo shot, but “the captain” wasn’t letting the team lose on this day. That swung the momentum back to the Birds, and put Chicago on notice that they wouldn’t be sweeping on this day at Camden Yards. Cedric Mullins would add an RBI-single in the eighth, and the Orioles closed out a 7-4 victory.

This game ended up being Mullins’ first career four-hit game, which he addressed following the game in the clubhouse (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

It was exciting and a great team win. For me to contribute in a big way today – had a solid defensive play, was able to tag on a big RBI so our closers could come on and finish the deal. It’s a day-to-day process. I come and take a look at the pitcher, see what they have. Just a matter of sticking with my approach, trusting myself and putting good wood on the ball.

So you had Jones’ solo homer acting as an insurance run of sorts for the O’s, and you also got a look at the future in Mullins’ first career four-hit game. That’s the type of production that the Orioles are hoping to see for years to come from their center fielder.

The Orioles will tomorrow open up a three-game set with Toronto at Camden Yards. They haven’t announced a starter as of yet, but they’ll face Toronto’s Ryan Borucki. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Yefry Ramirez shines in close loss

Admitedly, Yefry Ramirez deserved a better fate last night than to be pulled short of six innings. Ramirez pitched about as solidly as he could have last night, doing more than just putting the O’s in a spot to win the game. Ramirez’s line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K.

Ramirez mowed Chicago hitters down all night. And again, he deserved a better fate. But as can generally be the case with these Orioles, it was another rally started with two outs which did Ramirez in. A two-out double in the sixth put a runner in scoring position. Sanchez proceeded to smack an RBI-double…

…well, that might be a bit of a stretch. Another thing that’s plagued the O’s for a long time (in the Buck Showalter era) is teams seemingly doing less and getting more. Sanchez sent a soft pop up cutting towards the left field line. It fell fair, and ended up being a double. The Orioles try to hit the cover off the ball, but are seemingly defeated by teams who try to hit it softer. Garcia would smack a solo homer in the ninth to cap off Chicago’s 2-0 win.

However the story of the game from my perspective was still Yefry Ramirez. The Orioles are going back to being unable to put it all together on the same night. Friday night they put up six runs. Last night if they had put up just half of that they would have gotten the win. (All things being equal, which I recognize is always a stretch.)

After the game Buck Showalter spoke glowingly about Ramirez (all quotes courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

Really good, really good. That’s probably his best outing of the year. A good night to pitch on, crisp. I thought [his] best fastball, best slider. His slider’s come a long way. Changeup, threw about 10 or 15 of those. Good times to the plate with runners on base. Just another night where he deserved a better fate as far as W and L. He was outstanding. That was fun to watch. He was fun to catch. That was as good as you want to see a young pitcher pitch.

Showalter was also asked if Ramirez was going to stay in the rotation moving forward:

Don’t feel good about the way Andrew’s (Cashner) knee is responding. He’s not going to pitch Monday, which is his normal start, so we’re going to need a starter there. (Josh) Rogers is at a point where we’re probably looking, really, not to pitch him much. Cash, there’s no real day he’s scheduled to start right now unless we get some real positive movement with his knee, we’re not going to pitch him. Just hasn’t responded to the treatment and the cortisone as we’d hoped. Structurally, he’s in good shape, just the wear and tear of the season, I guess. Alex (Cobb) probably going to play a little catch in the next day or two, but I’m not expecting that to be imminent for him to start, either. So, that’s my way of answering. Yefry’s going to pitch.

So based on that, it would stand to reason that Ramirez’s name might be penciled in as a starter going into Spring Training next year. Of course that also could be contingent on who the manager is. If it’s Buck Showalter, I would expect Ramirez to get a great shot at making the team as a starter out of the spring.

The series with Chicago concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Lucas Giolito. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles could be struggling for starters

Here’s an interesting question: who’s going to be starting games for the Baltimore Orioles moving forward? Any team in the Orioles’ situation should be looking at the future; and the O’s are trying to do just that. But it didn’t help matters when Luis Ortiz had to leave in the second inning with a tweaked hamstring. Ortiz’s line: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 earned), 1 BB, 0 K.

Ortiz gave up three RBI-singles in that span giving Chicago a 3-0 lead. The second RBI-single was of the infield variety, and came because Ortiz didn’t break to cover first base in time. Those are the mistakes that young teams make. But they’re still tough to watch.

And it may have been in that sequence when Ortiz injured himself. He broke too late off the mound to cover first base, and had to hurry over. Replays showed him wincing in pain. Starters Cobb and Cashner are both potentially injured as well. So again…exactly who are the Orioles going to use to start games the rest of the way? Injuries happen all the time, this much we know. But somehow it doesn’t seem fair that a team would readily admit that they’re not going to make it, sell their pieces off, and then have the prospects they get back in return start getting hurt.

Trey Mancini did all he could in this game to bring the Orioles back. He smacked a solo homer in the second, which unfortunately for the Birds was followed by a two-run shot by Narvaez to give Chicago a 5-1 lead. But Mancini smacked a second homer in the fourth, cutting the lead to 4-2. Yet, no team apparently is going to be outdone by the O’s this year. Garcia’s two-run shot in the fifth ran the lead to 7-2.

The O’s did however make a push in the seventh. Corban Joseph‘s two-RBI single brought them to within 7-4, and Mullins would later reach on an error that netted another run. The Birds would close to within one at 7-6 on a sac fly-RBI by Adam Jones, only to have Chicago tack on an insurance run on Cordell’s solo homer in the eighth.

Ortiz is going to potentially undergo an MRI on his hamstring. Again, injuries do happen. But there’s a hint of unfairness seeing the Orioles now have to deal with injuries occuring to some of the pieces that they received in trades. Them’s the breaks though.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy’s quality start snaps losing streak

The Baltimore Orioles snapped yet another long losing streak last night, this time behind a quality start from Dylan Bundy. It was a welcome sight for the Birds to find themselves on top of a score after nine innings (or eight-and-a-half, needless to say), but also for Bundy to see himself in the win column. It was his first win since July. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K.

The O’s appeared on a mission from the get go in this game, hoping not to get swept – this time at home. Tim Beckham‘s two-RBI single in the first gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Of course Beckham was also thrown out at second base trying to extend it into a double, but he did give the O’s the lead early. And it’s a good thing he did, because Piscotty’s solo homer in the second cut that lead to 2-1.

The O’s ran the lead to 3-1 in the fourth on an RBI-single by John Andreoli, followed by an RBI-single from Breyvic Valera. Oakland would plate two more runs over different innings, although most poignantly they cut the lead to 4-3 in the eighth when Olson walked with the bases loaded. That was the moment where you felt everything would come crashing down. And in fact, it almost did. However the O’s pitched out of the jam, leaving the lead at one.

And in fact, Jace Peterson would give them an insurance run with an RBI-double in the last of the eighth. That gave the O’s some breathing room, and they cruised to a 5-3 win. However the story of the game was Bundy, who was praised profusely by manager Buck Showalter after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

That was fun to watch. He had a really good feel for his breaking ball. He just had the one pitch, I thought that he was trying to go down and away off the plate and he let it leak back enough over the plate. He’d like to have that one back. But I thought he had just a good feel for pitching.

He made them beat his breaking ball. He had a good breaking ball, he had good command of it and they didn’t seem like they were seeing it or following it. And he had two of them. Really happy for Dylan. I almost took him out after the fifth inning, just to give him a positive note, but he seemed to get a little better as the game went on.

It’s interesting that Showalter said he almost lifted Bundy after the fifth. While that certainly would have qualified him for the win, it wouldn’t have gone down as a quality start. And pitchers take a lot of pride in that overall.

The Orioles will remain at home tonight to open up a three-game set with the Chicago White Sox. Luis Ortiz will get the call for the Birds (in his first major league start), and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s James Shields. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Are Orioles’ pitchers easy to figure out?

After Andrew Cashner departed tonight’s game, I tweeted about a concern I’ve had all year about Baltimore Orioles’ pitchers. And there have been several, mind you. Cashner’s line: 2.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Cashner pitched into the third inning, and was lifted after giving up eight runs. The Orioles’ bullpen would go onto give up two additional runs, making the score 10-0 after three innings. And that would end up being the final score.

All season I’ve noticed in several games that starters would start things off in a decent manner. Cashner certainly did tonight. He allowed a base runner in the first inning, and mowed Oakland down in the second. Then the third hit…and Cashner got hit.

That third inning wasn’t quite one turn through the order. However the Birds started getting hit left and right. No matter what Cashner threw up there, he either issued a walk or got hit. So…what gives?

I’ve said for some time that Oriole starters have been figured out after one or two turns through the order. And while it’s not out of the realm of possibility (although I’m sure it’s happened), I’m not even saying that opposing teams are stealing signs. I’m saying something along the lines of what the NY Jets did the other night in their NFL game against Detroit. They announced after the game that they knew Detroit’s plays before they were even called.

Now I’m not necessarily going to get into the smarts of announcing that you knew someone else’s plays before they were even called. (Because not all of your opponents will know that you’re trying to learn their playbooks.) But what I’m saying is that other teams are somehow figuring out what the Orioles are doing, possibly down to pitch selection and location – all before it happens. This can be achieved through scouting, and by watching game film – not necessarily by stealing signs.

On a similar note, the O’s have had problems with two strikes and/or two outs all season. Opposing hitters have in essence been emboldened in these situations, when in reality they should probably be on their heels. This is all stuff that we will discuss in the off season, as it has to change going into next year if the O’s are going to even improve their win total year-over-year.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Brett Anderson. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Alex Cobb’s season done?

Alex Cobb left this evening’s Baltimore Orioles’ game early – after two innings to be exact. Cobb’s line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. That’s a decent stat line, if this is spring training. However Cobb had to leave the game due to a recurring blister on his throwing hand.

Cobb was in obvious discomfort even while warming up in the bullpen before the game with Oakland this evening. Television camera’s caught him in a rarely honest moment for a pitcher when he realized he wouldn’t be able to go on in the game. He certainly wasn’t happy as he went down the tunnel to the clubhouse. And in reality, you can’t really blame him.

Cobb of course didn’t have nary any spring training or this year, as he signed very late in camp. He started the season in disappointing fashion, but eventually his numbers improved. Notice I said his numbers improved – not necessarily his record. While he churned out quality starts for much of the summer, the Orioles’ offense couldn’t put runs up for him.

And unfortunately for the O’s, they were playing a team in Oakland tonight who’s very much positioning for a playoff spot. These guys had something to play for. The Orioles in truth did not.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead on Chapman’s RBI-double in the third. They would net two more runs in that third inning on long reliever Mike Wright, both on RBI-singles. The Orioles would continue to allow base runners, and Oakland would get them in.

The Orioles did try to come back, and it was on the bat of Jonathan Villar. He smacked a solo homer in the sixth, and an RBI-single in the eighth. But that’s all that the Orioles could salvage on this night, and they fell to Oakland 3-2.

From my standpoint it would stand to reason that the Orioles just shut Alex Cobb down for the season. Depending on the severity of the blister (which still remains to be seen), he might have what? Perhaps one start left in him? Is it really worth the Orioles risking further injury to Cobb?

By further injury, I don’t mean aggravating the blister. I mean anything else that could happen; a knee injury, a torn achilles, being hit by a comebacker, etc. The O’s would do the player and themselves a favor by just shutting Cobb down for the remainder of the season.

One way or the other, the Oakland series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and at this point Oakland has not named a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Your hometown forecast

Following a three-city road trip, the Baltimore Orioles are off today. And if you believe some of the forecasts, they may actually be off for awhile. Oakland, Chicago, and Toronto are scheduled to come into Camden Yards starting tomorrow – a nine-game home stand. But the weather will play a role in whether or not that home stand actually plays out.

They’re calling for rain – and lots of it. Then at the end of the week we see the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence, which may or may not impact our area. Somewhat similar to Mike Trout, I’m kind of interested in the weather and the patterns. And I know enough about it to know not to start making predictions on hurricanes.

The first part of the home stand against Oakland is probably the most important – from the league’s perspective, that is. Oakland is still in the play off race, and MLB is going to want all three of those games played to completion. Granted one of them, possibly two (if you throw in the potential of a doubleheader) might well get rescheduled. Perhaps even until after the season.

However the Chicago and Toronto series’ might be a different story. Neither of those teams, nor the Orioles, are in the play off chase. It would be interesting to see if the league would allow the cancellation of what amounts to two series’, giving the Orioles only 154 games. But in the same respect, what would be the point of playing them?

Forecasters are saying that if Florence stalls, it could bring a massive amount of rain to various areas over several days.That’s where things are uncertain right now. But one way or the other…we motor on.

Baltimore Orioles can’t recover after tough first inning in Tampa finale

The tale of this afternoon’s Baltimore Orioles series finale in Tampa was the first inning. Starter Josh Rogers gave up five runs in the inning, and six total. And that was the game. Rogers line: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K.

Cron got the scoring started with an RBI-double in that first inning. He would later score on an RBI-single by Adames, who would ultimately score on Lowe’s three-run home run. One inning later Smith stole home plate in a double-steal, and Tampa took a 6-0 lead. A run that was charged to Rogers.

Following Rogers’ departure things stablized just a bit for a few innings. Gomez would smack a solo homer in the sixth inning to run things to 7-0, before the O’s put a few on the board as well. Jace Peterson‘s two-RBI triple cut the lead to 7-2, and the O’s would garner a third run on Caleb Joseph‘s sac fly-RBI. Pham would double home one additional run in the eighth, and the Orioles were swept out of Tampa with an 8-2 loss.

After the game Buck Showalter announced that Josh Rogers would be shut down for the remainder of the season. Rogers on his season being done (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Yeah, it’s pretty unfortunate because I’ve had too pretty OK outings starting my career off and trying to build off those. This will sink in and it’ll be a long offseason thinking about this one, but just taking away the positives of the experience of being here so far. It’s a learning experience and it’s a great opportunity here and I’m excited about it.

I was supposed to be in Trenton in Double-A. I was going to be the fifth starter in Trenton and I just kind of got lucky. It kind of worked out. I was going to be in the bullpen in Triple-A and we had a guy go up and I made a start and did well and just kind of ran with it.

I pitched well and I’ve always been a starter and always wanted to be a starter. I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity with the Yankees and to have a couple months with them and then have the opportunities here it was really exciting. If this was my last one, I’ll work hard this offseason and I’ll come into spring ready to go.

Withstanding this, his final appearance of the season, Rogers is someone that the Orioles definitely want to continue looking at into next year. I would expect him to get a good look in spring training. Rogers obviously wants to start, however I would remind him to keep in mind once spring games start that when you pitch is irrelevant. The idea is to get your work in. And he will.

The Orioles looked every bit of a team that was playing out a string on the season this weekend. While Tampa’s still mathematically alive for the post season, the odds aren’t in their favor. But they played like there was no tomorrow. They refused to relent on pressure in games, whether it was double-steals, or their manager challenging calls to net them a run when they’re up ten.

You can talk about how that doesn’t bode well for the Orioles if you would like. But keep in mind that the team that’s on the field now probably isn’t going to be the team on the field on Opening Day next year. Many of these guys still have the deer in the headlights look going. Give them a chance.

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