Baltimore Orioles: Keegan Akin and Ramon Urias save the day

Keegan Akin has quietly pitched a couple of good outings for the Baltimore Orioles. This including tonight at Rogers Centre in Toronto, where he dominated one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Akin’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Amin’s some bad pitch ended up in the seats. Jansen smacked a solo homer in the third. However Oriole bats are first didn’t appear to be complimenting the effort Akin was putting forth. It took until the sixth for the O’s to score their first base hit of the game.

And that was on a Mountcastle double. He would later score on an RBI-single by Austin Hays. That tied the game at one, but the O’s weren’t done. Ramon Urias’ two-RBI double layer in the inning would give the O’s a 3-1 lead.

That lead was briefly cut to 3-2 on Guerrero’s solo homer, but the O’s quickly got that run back. Jahmai Jones’ RBI-single in the seventh gave the O’s a 4-2 lead. Which is how the game ended.

Akin and Urias turned in perhaps their best performances as Orioles tonight. But the biggest factor was the the O’s hit with RISP this evening. They only had four hits, but they were 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position. That’s how you win games.

The series at Rogers Centre concludes tomorrow night. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Steven Matz. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Are analytics doing in Brandon Hyde?

Chris Ellis did his job tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. He put the team in a position to win. However he was lifted in the fifth inning by manager Brandon Hyde, presumably due to analytics telling him that Ellis was no longer the right guy in the game. And the bullpen proceeded to blow it. Ellis’ line: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Ryan Mountcastle smacked a solo homer in the first to give Ellis the lead before he even took the mound. And Ellis was strong tonight against Toronto. Guerrero’s fourth inning solo homer is the only run he gave up. And it tied the game at 1.

Mountcastle would give the Orioles the lead back briefly with an RBI-single in the sixth. But Bichette would follow suit in the last of the sixth with an RBI-single to tie the game back up. Hernandez’s two-RBI double later in the sixth would give Toronto a 4-2 lead.

Guerrero would break the game wide open in the seventh with a three-run homer. And the O’s dropped game one of the series at Rogers Centre, despite Pedro Severino’s RBI/m-single in the ninth. But the question remains; are the Orioles overusing analytics?

There’s a place for analytics in baseball. And really in all sports. But you still have to have a feel for the game. Major league managers (including Brandon Hyde) have forgotten more baseball than I’ll ever know. BUT…

…I feel like it’s misguided to lift a starter who’s pitching a great game (in the middle innings) because a computer suggests the match up isn’t ideal. Wouldn’t you rather trust your gut than a computer or a book in a game like baseball?

Again, there’s a place for analytics in the game. But games should be called primarily based on the feel for the game. And if you overlook that, you deserve to lose.

The series continues tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto‘s Hyundai Jin Ryu. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles swept away again by Tampa

The Baltimore Orioles continued their mark of only beating Tampa once this season, as Tampa swept the three-game set at Camden Yards. Starter Spenser Watkins went five innings, but couldn’t really put the Orioles in a position to win the game. That’s what you ask of your starter. Watkins’ line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Tampa hasn’t missed one pitch that the Orioles have thrown up there this year. Today was no exception. They took a 1-0 lead in the first on Arozarena’s RBI-single. Wendle would add one of his own and the Birds trailer 2-0.

However something else we’ve seen is that the Orioles fight back. They may not make it all the way, but they try. Austin Hays cut the lead in half with an RBI-single in the last of the first. Tampa and the Orioles would swap homers in the second and third respectively, with the Orioles’ coming off the bat of Ryan Mountcastle.

However Tampa got a two-run homer by Meadows, and a solo shot by Wendle in the sixth. And the O’s seemingly woke Wendle’s bat up – he hadn’t hit a home run since June. BUT…Jorge Mateo’s two run homer in the last of the sixth cut the lead back to 6-4.

However as I said, the Orioles woke up Wendle’s bat. His seventh inning grand slam extended the lead to 10-4. But the O’s kept fighting none the less. Trey Mancini’s RBI-single and DJ Stewart’s RBI-groundout in the seventh cut it to 10-6.

But Tampa had to prove a point. Franco sent a soft blooper with two on and two out into center in the eighth. It fell, netting one more for Tampa. But the Orioles were lackadaisical in getting the ball back in, allowing another run to score for Tampa.

That really illustrates how you have to be on your game when you play Tampa. They pay attention to every detail, and they gladly accept every little opening they get in a game. If you stumble, they’re right there to hold you accountable for it.

The O’s would put up two more on Cedric Mullins’ two-run homer in the eighth, but that would be it. The Birds fell 12-8, and were swept in the series.

The Orioles now head to Rogers Centre in Toronto for the first time since 2019. Chris Ellis gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Robbie Ray. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Harvey pitches to a quality start in loss

Matt Harvey did his job for the Baltimore Orioles tonight. Certainly he had some issues in the first inning, but he did his job. He put the O’s in a position to win the game. Harvey’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

I’ve written a lot about how the Orioles needed to get men on base over the course of the losing streak. And in fact, that’s how they broke the streak eventually. Luckily for Tampa, getting people on base isn’t a problem. Neither is clearing the bases.

Diaz’s RBI-single in the first gave Tampa a 1-0 lead. Margot followed later in the inning with a two-RBI single. After one, Tampa held a 3-0 lead.

However Austin Hays’ two-run home run in the last of the fourth cut the Tampa lead to one at 3-2. But the mark of this game was pitching. Tampa bent but they didn’t break. They allowed the Orioles base runners, but prevented them from crossing the plate.

Tampa’s Zunino would smack a three-run homer in the seventh which doubled their run total at 6-2. But again, their pitching shut the Orioles down. Save for at the end when Cedric Mullins hit a solo homer. But there were already two out in the ninth, and the game was already going Tampa’s way.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in this loss. First off the O’s just lost – this as opposed to looking inept against Tampa, which was the case the last time they were in town. Plus the O’s were still getting guys on base. That’s key to stopping another losing streak.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Michael Wacha. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: From the depths of despair to a series win

The Baltimore Orioles entered this series with Los Angeles on an 18-game losing streak. After the streak was snapped (following it reaching 19), the Birds turned their attention to winning today, and thus winning the series. Keegan Akin got the cheery assignment of providing a decent start in the wake of last night’s exciting win. And he pitched to a quality start, putting the Birds in a spot to win. Akin’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

It didn’t start well; Ohtani smacked a solo homer in the first inning, giving Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. But that was the only highlight for LA. Kelvin Gutierrez‘s RBI-single in the last of the third tied the game at three. Only downside there was that Gutierrez was thrown out trying to extend it to a double. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that you have to have base runners to be competitve.

Two innings later the O’s had the lead for good, thanks to Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single. And they never looked back. In fact, they kept pushing.

The O’s also got an RBI-double from DJ Stewart in that fifth inning. However it was only 3-1, which meant that the Los Angeles Angels were still technically “in the game.” But Pedro Severino kind of ended that sentiment. His grand slam blew the game wide open, giving the Birds a 7-1 lead. What was that about getting guys on base again?!

The O’s got an RBI-single from Ramon Urias in the seventh, this in advance of another big inning in the eighth. I think that Los Angeles had already waved the white flag, but the hit parade continued. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a two-RBI single, Ramon Urias an RBI-double, and Pedro Severino two-RBI single. When the smoke cleared, the previously hapless O’s had a 13-1 victory, and a series win.

It should go noted that fans, opposing teams, and even national writers had piled onto this Orioles team. But those people are now having to look and see that the O’s not only broke their skid, but they won a series. And go figure, they now find themselves on a two-game WINNING STREAK.

The O’s will open up a three-game series with Tampa tomorrow at Camden Yards. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Shane McClanahan. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Let the good times roll!

Well folks it finally happened again – the Baltimore Orioles won a game! They snapped a 19-game losing streak, avoiding team history and league history. For futility. Chris Ellis, who was recently claimed off of waivers from Tampa, got the start, but didn’t really figure into the final decision. Ellis’ line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander smacked solo homers in the first to give the Birds the lead early. However Ellis hit a batter in the second, and Marsh’s two-RBI single tied the game. Walsh’s solo homer in the fourth gave Los Angeles the lead at 3-2. Marsh would subsequently smack a three-run homer, and LA led 6-2. The O’s and the fans had to be thinking well, maybe tomorrow.

However as I’ve said before, losing streaks don’t go quietly into the night. They tend to go away kicking and screaming. But needless to say, the Orioles seemed to finally get the message about getting guys on base, and how it correlates to winning.

With a runner on in the fourth, DJ Stewart cut the lead to 6-4 with a two-run homer. Mullins would tack on a run in the seventh with an RBI-groundout. The Birds were within one at 6-5. Then the eighth inning happened.

Again, guys getting on base is often the key to winning. And the fact is that when you put ducks on the pond, anything is liable to happen. The O’s loaded the bases in the eighth, and Ramon Urias drew a walk, tying the game at six. Kelvin Gutierrez would also walk, giving the O’s the lead back.

However the truly fatal blow would come from Austin Hays, who smacked a two-RBI double. Cedric Mullins would add a sac fly-RBI for good measure, and the O’s went home with a 10-6 victory. Again, snapping a 19-game losing streak.

You could almost see this coming on Tuesday when Los Angeles had a massive lead and the O’s still battled back. This lifts a huge weight off the team’s shoulders, as now they can come to the ballpark everyday and focus on just playing baseball. This as opposed to that streak. Let the good times roll!

The series with Los Angeles concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by LA’s Jaime Barria. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles drop their 19th straight

The Baltimore Orioles’ losing streak reached 19 straight games last night. That’s two shy of the franchise record. Spenser Watkins was beaten around early and often. Watkins’ line: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

The Los Angeles Angels aren’t exactly a great team. Yet what they did last night was get people on base early on. And that’s what’s plagued the Birds in August; they’ve hit some home runs in games, but they’ve mainly been solo shots – including some last night. Opponents have smacked homers with people on base.

Ryan Mountcastle smacked a solo homer (true to form based on what I said above) in the first to give the Birds the lead. And that’s another thing this losing streak has seen – the O’s held leads in a lot of these games. However Los Angeles put five across in the top of the second, giving them a 5-1 lead.

And as has been the case throughout this streak, the opponents’ rally started on a fluky play – a batter reaching base on a wild pitch. The margin of error for the Orioles is so thin right now. It isn’t even funny.

LA would put up three in the third and another five in the fifth. But then suddenly, the O’s somehow snapped out of it. Anthony Santander’s RBI-double in the last of the fifth cut the Los Angeles lead to 13-3. Ramon Urias would follow later in the inning with a two-RBI single.

One inning later Mountcastle would homer again (a solo shot), and Santander would send a two-run shot into the Baltimore night. Los Angeles would tack on an additional run in the eighth, running the final to 14-8. Needless to say, in yet another loss the Birds never stopped battling.

As I said, opposing teams are putting guys on base and finding a way to get them in. Usually by way of home runs. And the O’s started doing that in the second half of the game. One has to hope that’s the beginning of a trend, and they can snap this loss streak starting tonight.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. The Orioles are yet to name a starter, but Los Angeles will start Shohei Ohtani. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: #RIPFlanny

Today’s a tough day in Baltimore Orioles history. And honestly, I can’t believe it’s been ten years…ten years since the late Mike Flanagan passed away. That was one of the toughest game nights I’ve ever been through, and one I’d just as soon as never experience again.

I vowed on that night to never let an August 24th pass while writing this column without writing about “Flanny.” Ten years later, there’s not much left to say that hasn’t already been said regarding Mike Flanagan. He was an Oriole through and through. And he loved being an Oriole, along with being a part of this organization.

A year later the O’s made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. I thought a lot about Mike Flanagan that season, as the O’s returned to glory. He would have been so proud to have seen that season. Again, because he was proud to have been an Oriole.

Mike not only loved being an Oriole, but he loved Baltimore. He moved his family to the area, and his kids grew up here. He lived the “Baltimore life” everyday. So today, ten years after his untimely death, I send my thoughts and prayers to all who loved him. He’s certainly missed by everyone in the Orioles’ family.

The O’s begin a three-game set with The Los Angeles Angels tonight at Camden Yards. Spenser Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Los Angeles’ Dylan Bundy (also a former Oriole). Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means a hard-luck loser

The funny thing is that the Baltimore Orioles played well enough to win in all three games against Atlanta this weekend at Camden Yards. But they couldn’t make it over the hump. This isn’t to say that they aren’t trying or are purposely throwing games. They just can’t put it all together in games right now. John Means put them in a spot to win today, which is all you can ask. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Make no mistake that Means was good today. Remember that a minimum of six innings of three-runs or less ball goes down as a quality start. As I said in the title, Means is very much a hard-luck loser today.

Means gave up a solo homer to Soler in the fourth inning. And that will happen with him on occasion. He will give up a home run ball here and there. But a lot of them are solo shots, and odds are those won’t hurt you.

What hurt more than the home run was DuVall’s two-RBI double later in the inning. Ramon Urias would get the Orioles on board in the bottom of that fourth inning with an RBI-double. But that closed out the scoring for the day, and the Birds fell, 3-1.

One might draw a silver lining on the fact that the Birds were competitive against one of the best teams in baseball this weekend. But there are no moral victories in baseball. Or any sport for that matter.

The Birds will enjoy a much-needed day off tomorrow at home. The Anaheim Angels come in for three start long Tuesday.

Baltimore Orioles: Phantom hit-by-a-pitch

The Baltimore Orioles are finding out that when a losing streak reaches into the teens, it finds ways to taunt you. Matt Harvey pitched well tonight, and without a doubt put the O’s in a spot to win. They also fought tooth and nail against Atlanta to win this game, but to no ends. Because these losing streaks find ways to taunt you. Harvey’s line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Ryan Mountcastle’s solo homer in the first inning gave the O’s the lead early on. Mountcastle picked up where he left off when he went into concussion protocol. And that‘s a good sign for the future.

But it was in the third inning that the O’s began to see the relentlessness of the losing streak. With a runner already on, Freeman was hit by a Matt Harvey pitch. He gets first base, right? Pretty simple…but is it?

The rules specifically state that if they’re hitter doesn’t attempt to get out of the way of the pitch, the umpire can neglect to award him first base. (It’s rare, but I’ve actually seen it called.) Not only did Freeman not try to get out of the way, but he appeared to lean into the pitch. Freeman would later score on Swanson’s two-RBI double, and Atlanta led 2-1.

Is this petty? Tough to say. That very well could have been called, and Freeman prevented from taking first base. But those are the things that happen when you’ve lost 16 straight games. As I said, the losing streak begins to taunt you.

Atlanta would extend their lead in the fourth with a solo homer by Pederson. But the Birds would come back in the last of the fourth and tie it up at three. They got back-to-back homers from Anthony Santander and Ramon Urias.

But Atlanta would take the lead right back in the top of the fifth on Riley’s solo homer. They’d also get an insurance run in the ninth, and for their sake it’s a good thing they did. Because Santander smacked his second solo homer of the game, cutting the final score to 5-4.

But consider the fact that had that Freeman HBO been called as it could have been, the game’s at best a tie. The O’s had other opportunities for sure, but that’s a tough pill to swallow. But again, when losing streaks get out of hand, they begin to taunt you.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Touki Toussaint. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.