Baltimore Orioles fall to Houston as 1989 team looks on

The Baltimore Orioles were their 1989 throwback jerseys this evening in honor of the 30th anniversary of the 1989 why not Orioles. Houston, the evening’s opponent, followed suit and wore their uniforms from 1989 as well. Dylan Bundy got the start for the Birds, and put the team in a spot to win. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

For a split second, you could pinch yourself and say you were in 1989 with the uniforms being what they were. However if that were true, this game would have been played at the long since razed Memorial Stadium. You would also be reading this game recap in tomorrow morning’s Baltimore Sun as opposed to this evening online. (“Online” didn’t exist back then!) And for the record, I wouldn’t be the one writing it; I was eight years old in 1989!

But with the 1989 team looking on, the Birds went toe-to-toe with Houston, one of the best teams in baseball. Houston put two runs on the board in the first, on Bregman’s RB-double and Albarez’s RBI-single. However Bundy settled in nicely after that, turning in a quality start and putting the O’s in a spot to win the ballgame. That’s all you can ask of a starter.

Jace Peterson would keep the Orioles in it with a two-run homer in the fifth. However Altuve would extend Houston’s lead with an RBI-triple in the seventh. This game ultimately ended up just another case of the Birds battling, but not being to quite making it over the hump.

Houston hitters are notorious for working your pitching to the ninth degree. Which makes it all the more impressive that Bundy turned in a quality start. It was the Orioles’ first quality start in eleven games. The last one occurred in Anaheim.

Stevie Wilkerson would smack a solo homer in the last of the seventh, but that wasn’t enough. Ultimately it was too little too late. But again, Houston is one of the best teams in the league. They’re running away with their division. The fact that the Orioles were competitive in this game after the most recent NY series is a good sign.

The series continues tomorrow night from Camden Yards. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the Birds, and he”‘m be opposed by Houston’s Aaron Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Return of the ‘Why Not’ Orioles

Baltimore Orioles fans are in for a treat this weekend, as it’s the 30-year reunion of the “Why Not” Orioles. As so many fans of my generation and older recall, the O’s were horrible in 1988. They started the season 0-21. The outlook wasn’t much better for 1989, either.

But a funny thing happened; the slightly re-tooled 1989 roster jumped out of the gate. They were in the race until the bitter end, falling out on the last day of the season. However their moniker became why not? A popular music video was also recorded (link here) and played throughout the season. But in the ballpark and on the radio.

That was refreshing to see after the horrors of 1988. Nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles, and this is a great opportunity for fans to get to see some of those old players return. Some of them we still know day in and day out. Obviously Cal Ripken Jr. is always around town. And Dave Johnson, Gregg Olson, and Ben McDonald are all a part of the Orioles’ broadcast teams. However when’s the last time Orioles fans saw the likes of Mike Devereaux, Bob Milacki, and others?

That’s part of what these types of celebrations are about. And obviously there’ll be a semi-pall hanging over the event, as the 1989 team’s skipper, Frank Robinson, passed away before the season started. But in the end, it’s the memories that counts. And as I said, nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. And we’ll see it this whole weekend.

The Houston Astros will be the opponent this weekend during the festivities. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Birds tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Wade Miley (himself a former Oriole). Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Update on Hyde and Davis

Everyone saw or knows about what happened between Chris Davis and manager Brandon Hyde of the Baltimore Orioles last night. MASN cameras caught Davis going at Hyde in the dugout, and Hyde walking away. Just this afternoon via twitter, MASN’s Roch Kubatko offered an update via twitter on what this was about…

…in essence, Davis threw something in the dugout after recording an out. Apparently it hit Hyde, who said something to Davis. And of course Davis didn’t appreciate it, the results of which we saw on camera.

I would suspect that’s the gist of what we’re going to hear about this situation. There’s a very vocal group of fans on social media, on radio call-in shows, etc., who want Davis DFA’d. Let me assure you, if Davis is DFA’d it won’t be for anything to do with this. And I wouldn’t hold my breath on a DFA coming down the pike for Davis anytime soon.

These sorts of things happen all the time. I’m not defending it, I’m just saying that it happens all the time. Brandon Hyde said in his press conference after the game that in general he has a good relationship with Davis. When you spend as much time with people as these players and coaches do, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sometimes things like this occur.

Both Hyde and Davis are in general very professional guys. I suspect that they’ll clear the air tomorrow afternoon when they come in after today’s off day, and that’ll be the end of it. I would submit that the media, both local and national, is making this into more of a story than it needs to be. Yes, it was unfortunate and it shouldn’t have happened. Yes it’s semi-noteworthy because it involved a guy hitting under the Mendoza Line who’s sitting on a pile of cash. But let’s not act like this was the first time in the history of baseball (or any sport for that matter) that there was a squabble between a player and coach. It happens, and it’s unfortunate. But it happens.

Baltimore Orioles: Trouble in paradise?

I suppose one could argue that John Means set the tone for the Baltimore Orioles last night. However Means exited the game in the fourth inning due to a high pitch count after coming off the DL. After the game manager Brandon Hyde did say that he felt Means pitched well and ran into some hard luck, however he gave up the first run in what turned into a deluge. Means’ line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

When you lose 14-2, you can’t put blame on a guy who exited the game in the fourth inning. However the O’s gave up another five homers to NY last night,any of which were surrendered to the replacements of replacements. In short, no matter what the Orioles threw up there, NY hitters hit. And a long way at that. It didn’t matter who the players were.

However more poignant than the game itsel was what went on in the Orioles’ dugout in the fifth inning. MASN cameras caught first baseman Chris Davis having a verbal confrontation with manager Brandon Hyde. At one point Davis had to be restrained from going after Hyde, who went down the tunnel towards the clubhouse. Davis was removed from the game.

After the game Hyde neglected to address the catalyst for the altercation, but said that they would keep it private (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports:

We haven’t talked about it since. It was just a disagreement that we had in the dugout. I’m not going to get into it. We’re going to keep it in-house. It’s private. It’s just something that happens sometimes. Frustration boils over a little bit when we’re not playing our best baseball the last couple of games.

I think it’s important to note that these things do happen. They happen on winning teams and losing teams. Granted the fact that a player went after the manager (and in public at that) can’t be overlooked, however these sort of things do occur.

Hyde said that he had already taken Davis out of the game, so there was something that happened in the game which didn’t sit right with Hyde. There was speculation that perhaps Davis didn’t hustle on chasing a foul ball (which ultimately ended up in the stands), or that he booted a throw to first. But one way or the other the manager removed him from the game, and that didn’t sit well with him.

Hyde, along with other players also said that the relationship between the two was very good. And anyone who’s followed Chris Davis should know that those actions are very out-of-character for him. He isn’t the type of guy to pull a stunt like that. Maybe he wasn’t happy about being lifted from the game, but frustration also had to play a role.

Baltimore Orioles: Can’t compete with lightning in a bottle

The Baltimore Orioles had to endure an hour and fifteen minute rain delay before getting last night’s game against New York going. That means that starter Asher Wojchiekowski was sitting on ice during that time as the team waited out the rain delay. Wojciechowski’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Wojciechowski wasn’t horrible by any means. In fact, my personal opinion is that he pitched better than his numbers indicate. The Birds as a whole are catching New York at the wrong time. In winning last night, they’ve won six straight games.

To that point, they also seem to know that they’ve caught lightning in a bottle. No matter who they’ve brought up from the minors or plugged into their lineup to replace injured players, it seems that they’ve all magically worked out.

New York smacked back-to-back homers in the third, between Tacuhman and LeMahieu. Gregorious would add an additional homer later in the inning, and New York led 3-0. As if Tauchman (who to be honest I’ve never even heard of until he came to town with New York this week) hasn’t caused the Orioles enough trouble, he robbed the Birds of a homer later in the game. Flat out robbed them by climbing the wall. Again, lightning in a bottle.

However the O’s battled back. Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-triple in the last of the third cut the lead to 3-1. Villar would later score on Trey Mancini‘s RBI-groundout. However in the first two games of this series the Birds have gotten to within one before NY stopped the rally on numerous occasions. And then NY would pile on again – in this case, Romine smacked a two-RBI double in the fourth to give them a two-run lead once again.

But the O’s came back again. Anthony Santander‘s two-run homer in the fifth brought the O’s back to within one. But again, New York wasn’t in the mood to let them get over the hump. They would go onto tally four more runs, and their bullpen closed the door on the Orioles. The Birds ended up falling 9-4.

The silver lining is that the O’s are hanging with New York – for awhile. You can clearly see their yearn to win based on how often they come back. But again, NY is playing on a totally different level. The injuries they’ve had this year could have been considered catastrophic based on who they lost and who they’ve had to plug in. However what they’re doing is somewhat of a freak of nature. As I said, lightning in a bottle.

The series concludes tonight at Camden Yards. John Means comes off the IL to make the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s James Paxton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: When common sense fails

The Baltimore Orioles got a decent start so to speak out of Gabriel Ynoa this evening. The numbers don’t indicate that, but Ynoa was also the victim of some hard luck. Ynoa’s line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 earned), 2 BB, 1 K.

The O’s started the season with six of their first nine games against New York. At the time, New York had their share of the injuries – as they do now. I suggested that the Orioles were lucky to be seeing their AL East rival while they had some injury problems.

What I couldn’t have known is that no matter who New York plugged into their lineup was going to succeed. Guys would be coming up from the minors and smacking home runs at will. It’s one thing to have a next man up philosophy and have guys play well. But whomever put on the pinstripes ended up being flat out dominant. Much to the chagrin of nearly every other team.

New York took a 1-0 lead on a second inning homer by Romine. However Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single in the third tied the game at one. However one inning later the O’s has two runners on, one of which (in the form of Jace Peterson) was at third. The O’s attempted a double-steal, and Peterson was called out at home plate.

However the Orioles challenged the call. In my personal view it wasn’t even close – replays clearly seemed to show that Peterson slid across home plate well before the tag was put on. However the call was upheld on review, ending the inning.

That was a key turning point in the game. It definitely put the Orioles a bit off-center for a spell. Trey Mancini was so angry that he had to be restrained from going on the field and saying something he would regret. In seeing the replay, it seems to be common sense that the runner was safe. Peterson clearly beat the tag. But the Orioles would argue that common sense failed them this evening.

As I said and as I tweeted during the game, that was a major turning point. Or perhaps a launching point. Because New York took full advantage of the opportunity they were given, and took the lead in the fifth. By the end of the sixth, they had extended it to 6-1.

In full, New York smacked five home runs in this game. That’s something that’s plagued Orioles’ pitching all year. But all five of those homers came from the bottom of the order. And the majority of them came on the bats of guys who in essence are fill-in’s. It’s one thing to fill in admirably for a regular player. These guys are flat out playing like world beaters.

However the Orioles battle back. Jace Peterson smacked a two-run homer in the sixth – and this time the league office allowed the run he represented to cross home plate (if you can believe that). Chris Davis would add a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, which was followed by a two-run homer by Jonathan Villar which tied the game at six.

The Orioles has battled back against the pinstripes and tied the game. Brandon Hyde correctly saw that a lefty hitter in Ford would lead the seventh off for New York. So he correctly brought in southpaw Paul Fry to face Ford. Again, common sense. And good sound baseball rationale.

But common sense once again bit the Orioles. Ford would homer against Fry, as would Tauchman. Those homers gave New York a 9-6 lead, which turned into a 9-6 victory.

Again, that foul call at the plate set the tone for the rest of the game. While the Orioles came back, they were off-center for the remainder of the evening. And while you have to admire some of these guys from New York who are tearing it up when they have no business doing so, from the opponent’s perspective it.’a frustrating to see. Regardless of what the Orioles did, New York was ready for them.

If you’re inclined to suggest that the play at the plate could and should have been overcame, you’re right to say that. However keep in mind that the Orioles would have left 2-1 had that call been reversed as it should have been. Not to mention that the inning would have continued. You just never know what would have happened. For the record, Jonathan Villar managed to hit for the cycle tonight, becoming the fifth Oriole in history to do so.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Birds, and New York is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

UPDATE: Brandon Hyde said after the game that he felt the non-overturned call at home plate was “pathetic.”

Baltimore Orioles hold Toronto accountable for mistakes yet again

The Baltimore Orioles used Jimmy Yacabonis this afternoon as an opener in the series finale against Toronto. Yacabonis didn’t particularly have the greatest outing as an opener, but he didn’t surrender a run. And he was helped in the same manner that the Birds were helped last night: Toronto got overzealous and took a stupid risk. Yacabonis’ line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K.

Yacabonis loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning. He then induced a grounder to Chris Davis at first, who gunned the runner out at home plate. With the bases still loaded, Smoak flew out to Anthony Santander in left field. That should have given Toronto a 1-0 lead – on a sac fly. However they made an unforced error on the base paths when Guriel decided to tag up and take third. Santander threw him out, and home plate umpire Brian O’Nora ruled that the out was recorded before the runner crossed the plate. That nullified the run.

The teams traded RBI-singles in the last of the first and top of the second. However that missed run by Toronto loomed large. And their mistakes continued. The Orioles got the lead in the last of the second when Jonathan Villar reached on a fielding error, allowing a run to score and giving the O’s a 2-1 lead.

Later in that second inning the O’s got a two-RBI double from Trey Mancini, extending their lead to 4-1. Toronto would get one back in the fifth, however the last of the fifth saw the O’s net two runs on walks. Sisco and Davis both walked with the bases loaded, giving the Birds a 6-2 lead.

Toronto would make things interesting however. They would smack back-to-back homers in the seventh, along with an RBI-double. But the Orioles bullpen preserved the lead, and the Birds closed out a one-run victory.

So if you think back to that base-running blunder by Toronto in the first inning, it made a huge difference. It’s never fair to say all things being the same, however if that game played out the same way with Toronto having scored that run, it would have gone to extra innings. This is two games in a row that the Orioles got fat on Toronto taking dumb risks in games, and losing out.

This isn’t to say that the O’s can only win when their opponent makes mistakes. Because you still have to hold them accountable for their errors. The Orioles are starting to do that, and it’s a good sign.

Tomorrow the Orioles open a three-game set at Camden Yards against the New York Yankees. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the Al’s, and NY is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Toronto gambles – and loses

The Baltimore Orioles entered last night’s game trying to snap a two-game losing streak. Unfortunately they were playing an upstart Toronto team that was telling the Orioles and the rest of baseball that they belong. They had taken it to the Orioles in two consecutive games, and won five straight overall. Dylan Bundywas taxed with trying to stop them last night. Bundy’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K.

Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI-double by Guerrero. They extended their lead to 2-0 on a third inning solo homer by Galvis. However unlike the first two games of this series, the Orioles overcame that.

The O’s were actually held hitless until the fifth, and that first hit was a solo home run by Jonathan Villar. After a couple of runners got on base following that home run, Trey Mancini strode to the plate. And Mancini smacked a three-run homer which put the Orioles in the lead at 4-2. It was Mancini’s 26th homer of the season. Wherever his home run total stands at the end of the year, it’ll be a new single-season career high.

However Toronto would tie the game in the seventh on a two-run homer by McGuire. Following the homer Bichette would get on base with a single. That brought Galvis to the plate. He smacked a double into the left field corner. However Toronto decided to gamble and send the runner home from first. Anthony Santander dug the ball out of the corner, and threw it to Richie Martin. And Martin related it home to Pedro Severino, who apparently tagged the runner Bichette after he had crossed the plate.

Toronto has gambled on these young Orioles fielder’s not being able to get the ball back in to nail the runner, and it worked. They had a 5-4 lead. However that lead was incredibly short-lived. The Orioles saw something on the replay, and challenged the call. The umpires agreed with the Orioles – Severino had actually tagged the runner out before he crossed home plate. So the game remained tied.

However in the bottom of that seventh inning Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single put the Birds back in the lead. Mancini would add an RBI-groundout, and the O’s went home with a 7-4 victory. This snapped the aforementioned two game losing streak.

Make no mistake that the challenged play at the plate played a huge role. Toronto took what I would have deemed a stupid risk. At first it appeared that they got away with it. But that ultimately wasn’t the case. And that moment changed the momentum of the game, propelling the Orioles to victory.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Jimmy Yacabonis gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Sean Reid-Foley. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles finding bugaboo in fundamentals

Aaron Brooks got the start for the Baltimore Orioles last night, and with mixed results at that. He wasn’t good, but certainly not horrible. But the Birds fins themselves in a situation where they want guys to step up and take a spot in the rotation. I wouldn’t say Brooks did that last night, or since he’s been here – to this point. Brooks’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Brooks threw 30 pitches in the first inning, but rebounded in the second and threw only ten. Guerrero’s RBI-single have Toronto a 1-0 lead. Jace Peterson tried to throw the runner out at home plate from left field. There was never going to be a play at the plate, yet he threw home anyways, allowing Guerrero to go to second base. He would later score on Galvis’ RBI-single.

It’s small fundamentals as such which have plagued the O’s for some time. This isn’t to say that they should immediately surrender runs when hits come with runners on base. But fielder’s have to evaluate the situation; in that particular case, Peterson had no chance to throw the runner out. So by trying to do so and allowing another runner to get into scoring position, he assisted in netting the opponent an additional run. Good intentions for sure, but those are things that you have to get right in games.

Toronto would net fourth and sixth inning solo homers by Galvis and Drury respectively. However in the seventh Chris Davis brought the O’s to within two with a two-run homer. However that’s as close as they got. Fisher added an RBI-single in the ninth for Toronto, who went into win the game 5-2.

If you remove that second first inning run (which came on the heels of Peterson trying to nail the runner at home plate), the Orioles still lose by two – all things being the same. But as I said above, small fundamentals like that do make a difference in games. Maybe it this game per se. However had this been a one-run game…you get the point. And opposing teams have seemingly never been in the mood to let the Orioles off the hook when they make lapses like that.

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

Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini hits career high in homers in loss

The Baltimore Orioles returned home last night following a long west coast swing. In doing so, they ran into a buzz saw called the Toronto Blue Jays. As it turned out, Asher Wojchiekowski was plagued by a sore hip throughout his outing. The O’s said after the game that he’s expected to be fine. Wojciechowski’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Wojchiekowski gave up a two-run homer to Guerrero in the third, an RBI-single to Bichette in the fourth, and a solo homer to Grichuk in the fifth. Wojchiekowski wasn’t on point last night (with the sore hip being duly noted), however Toronto also ended the night with five home runs and eleven runs total. Regardless of who the Orioles trotted out there, Toronto hitters were smacking around.

Jonathan Villar got the Orioles on the board in the last of the fifth with a fielder’s choice-RBI. But the aforementioned Bichette and Guerrero hit the Orioles hard all night. Something about the sons of famous Dad’s that wasn’t sitting right with the Orioles last night. Guerrero also homered in the eighth, giving him two on the night.

Trey Mancini also smacked a solo homer in the last of the eighth for the Birds, giving him 25 on the season. That’s a new career high for Mancini, who’s progression as a hitter has been upwards since making his debut. And that’s good news for the Orioles.

Mancini of course was the subject of a few muted trade rumors as the deadline approached, but he’s still an Oriole. And he’s said that he’s happy about that. So are the Orioles.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that trading Mancini would be a huge mistake for the Orioles. He’s the type of player around whom you want to build. Now on the flip side he would probably net the most return in terms of players. But you have to look past that.

It’s short-sighted to suggest that simply because Mancini’s been a part of two consecutive last place finishes (assuming that’s the eventual case this year) the O’s should ship him out. His numbers speak for themselves. You want to keep a guy like him. On top of that, he seems to like playing in Baltimore and he seems to like the organization. He’s a keeper.

The series with Toronto continues tonight at Camden Yards. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the O’s, and Toronto is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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