Baltimore Orioles: Don’t fault Brandon Hyde for pitching to Aaron Judge

Dean Kremer went to the mound this afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the series finale against New York. His numbers are worse than he actually looked, but he gave the O’s some decent innings. That of course kept the bullpen fresh, as we head into the dog days. Kremer’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Kremer was perfect through two innings. However in the second time through the order New York seemed to figure him out. LeMahieu’s RBI-double in the third gave New York a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning g Judge came to the plate, smacking a two-run homer that may not have landed yet.

Judge came up with a runner on, hence the aforementioned two-run homer. A lot of fans seem to think that Brandon Hyde should have walked him, given his power and how he hits against the O’s. So…what day you?

My attitude is no, you pitch to him (unless the situation in the game warrants putting him on). Walking a guy simply because he hits you well shows a certain amount of gutlessness in my view. Furthermore in my opinion it cheats the game. I can’t beat this guy so I just won’t play with him isn’t the greatest look in sports.

You find a way to beat him, or you deal with the fallout. This isn’t to say that you can’t maybe try to pitch around him a bit, but you don’t outright walk him because you don’t want to pitch to him. As I said, that’s a bad look. There may be “man law” involved in that as well. But that decision didn’t win or lose the game for the O’s – keep that in mind.

Kiner-Falefa’s RBI-single in the sixth extended NY’s lead to 4-0. Trevino’s RBI-double ran things to 5-0, blowing the game wide open. New York would finish things off with an RBI-single by Hicks, and the O’s fell 6-0.

Going back to the issue at hand above however, the O’s were beaten in this game from the first run in the third inning. This because they didn’t score any runs. If you can’t score, everything else is secondary.

The Orioles had guys on base in this game. And they left them there. Again, you can’t fault Judge “beating you” when you don’t put any runs on the board. However again, I agree with the idea of pitching to him.

The O’s open a three-game set tomorrow night against Tampa at Camden Yards. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Corey Kluber. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles defeat New York on heels of Jorge Mateo’s speed

Jordan Lyles struggled this evening for the Baltimore Orioles against New York. But as I said after last night’s game, their lineup has humbled many a pitching staff. But needless to say, Lyles did keep the O’s in the game, despite giving up three runs. Lyles’ line: 5.0 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K.

Lopez allowed New York onto the board early by surrendering an RBI-double in the first to Judge. Carpenter smacked a two-run homer in the second, and Judge an RBI-single in the fourth. And the Birds fell behind by three runs.

Three runs is far from an insurmountable lead. But against New York it’s a bit harder. So the Birds chipped away. Jorge Mateo for on in the fifth, and promptly stole second base. Cedric Mullins’ subsequent sac fly-RBI got the O’s on the board.

Mullins would later score on a run-scoring double by Adley Rutschman. Two innings later Mateo’s RBI-single scored Urias and tied the ballgame. Later in that seventh inning Mateo would reach third base on a throwing error and a steal, and he would score on an RBI-single by Mullins.

For good measure, Ramon Urias would give the Orioles two insurance runs with a two-run homer in the eighth. And the O’s went into win, 6-3. The O’s won it with six unanswered runs in the later innings.

Make no mistake that Jorge Mateo’s speed got the O’s the win this evening. His stolen base helped attest for the first run, and his base running caused ab errrant throw, and he ended up getting him to third base in the eighth. Speed can make a huge difference – in any sport. And we saw it with the O’s tonight.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Nestor Cortes. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Not ready for prime time?

The Baltimore Orioles sent Tyler Wells to the mound for the second half opener last night against New York at Camden Yards. And given the competition, the results were almost predictable. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Wells wasn’t “awful” per se. But he had his struggles against perhaps the most potent lineup in baseball. Judge smacked a three-run homer in the third, and the Birds trailed 3-0. But…they battled back. Remember, these Orioles don’t give up.

Jorge Mateo smacked an RBI-double in the last of the third to cut the lead to 3-1. Cedric Mullins’ RBI-double later in the inning cut it to 3-2. However one inning later New York would add to their lead on an RBI-double by Trevino, and took a 4-2 lead.

Judge would smack a solo homer in the fifth, his second home run of the game. New York would also tack on two more, including a seventh inning home run by Gallo. But again, these Orioles don’t quit…

Ramon Urias added an RBI-groundout in the sixth. But in the last of the seventh with the O’s trailing 7-3, Anthony Santander hit a three-run homer that may not have landed yet. That cut the lead to 7-6, but end of the day the Orioles just couldn’t make it over the hump, falling to New York by one.

After the game manager Brandon Hyde addressed the fight that he sees in this team:

I feel like the majority of our losses are like this. I’m just proud of our guys. I think that we continue to fight and scrap and claw our way back into games. Sometimes it would get away from us in the past. Our dugout stays into it, and we’re right there.

Quote courtesy of Zachary Sliver, MLB.com

To answer the titular question, I don’t think you can point at this loss and say that the O’s aren’t ready for prime time. They lost a tough game in a close manner – to a World Series contender. And make no mistake, New York was nervous as the ninth inning began. They know this Oriole team’s ability to come back. It didn’t happen last night, but they know who the Orioles are.

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

Baltimore Orioles open second half against New York

The Baltimore Orioles open the second half of the season tonight against the New York Yankees at home. Ironically, they do so in the same position that they opened the first half (and the season): at the .500 mark. Raise your hand if you saw that coming…!

Obviously the O’s begin play once again against perhaps the best team in baseball, that being New York. So this weekend’s series is certainly a “measuring stick” in a sense. Will the starting pitching be as strong as it was down the stretch for the last two months or so? Will the bullpen be as strong as it’s been almost since day one of the season? Will Oriole bats remain hot?

These are all questions that will be answered in due course. Another question that will be answered is what will the Orioles do at the trade deadline? The MLB trade deadline was pushed back to August 2nd this year, and of course there’s only one deadline now. (This as opposed to in the past when they had a waiver trade deadline at the end of August.) Will the O’s but or sell?

My personal opinion is that it’s not quite time to buy yet (this year). Now if they come shooting out the gate in the second half and are in playoff position, maybe that opinion changes. So the real question is whether Trey Mancini gets traded. Needless to say, that’s a really tough call.

Mike Elias needs to do his homework on Mancini – and I have no doubt that he is. If it appears that there’s a genuine interest in hitting the free agent market, he should probably be traded. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. I think the O’s should try to keep him and lock him up to a long term deal, but if his agent isn’t amenable to that, they should consider trading him. So long as they get fair value in return.

The O’s also have a deal in place for their first round pick yesterday. Jackson Holliday’s deal is for a reported $8.19 million. It’s unclear where Holliday will be assigned, but I would think the Gulf Coast League Orioles would at least be an option.

The aforementioned series with New York begins tonight at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Jameson Taillon. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Jorge Lopez reps the Birds well in the ASG

The Baltimore Orioles’ lone all-star representative, Jorge Lopez did the Birds proud in the game last night. The American League won the game, 3-2, thanks to homers by Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton. But Jorge Lopez’s name appeared in the box score as well.

Lopez entered the game with one out in the last of the seventh at Chavez Ravine. And he closed out the inning inducing two groundouts – one by Kyle Schwarber and one by Jake Croneworth. Lopez was credited with a hold.

End of the day, I’m happy that Lopez got in the game. The all-star game is meant to be a fun exhibition for the fans. And I’ve always believed that while it should look as much like a regular game as possible, every fan at least has the right to see someone from their team playing in the game. Needless to say, nice showing by Jorge Lopez last night!

Baltimore Orioles: Now, we pause

The Baltimore Orioles were one of the hottest teams in baseball down the stretch in the first half. Despite losing to Tampa, that continued yesterday when they drafted SS Jackson Holliday first overall in MLB’s first-year players draft. Needless to say, he was drafted into an organization that’s most definitely on the rise.

After yesterday’s loss to Tampa, the Orioles dispersed. At least one guy, however, does still have to work this week. That being closer Jorge Lopez, the Birds’ lone all-star representative. My personal opinion is that they should have had more than one guy chosen, but I digress.

I’m always interested to see how teams reshuffle things coming out of the break. The O’s take on the NYY at Camden Yards Friday night, the first game back from the break. It’s a unique opportunity for a team to reset their starting rotation. So if you’re Brandon Hyde, choose well!

And with THAT, I’m off to Ocean City until Friday – I’ll be on “Holliday.” Enjoy your all-star break, all!

Baltimore Orioles select Jackson Holliday first in MLB Draft

The pick is in, and the Baltimore Orioles have selected SS Jackson Holliday with the first pick in the MLB draft. Holliday is out of Stillwater High School (in Stillwater, OK). He’s also the son of former big leaguer Matt Holliday, and the nephew of Oklahoma State University baseball coach Josh Holliday.

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Holliday to get through the minor league system. Middle infield is a position where the Birds are currently a bit soft. They’ve been using stop gaps for most of the rebuild. So now they’ve seemingly got their guy.

Holliday’s father, Matt, was a 15-year amalgam veteran. He was a career .299 hitter. Jackson Holliday is represented by super agent Scott Boras. The next step of course, is signing him.

Baltimore Orioles fall in first half finale

Today wasn’t Jordan Lyles’ day for the Baltimore Orioles. The Birds’ starter seemed to flail in the wind this afternoon in the first half finale at Tropicana Field. And that happens, incidentally, with the best of starting pitchers. So it’s nothing about which to fret. Lyles’ line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

The O’s trailed from the beginning in this one, as Tampa’s Arozarena smacked a two-run homer in the last of the first right off the bat. Lowe’s RBI-double in the second added to the lead, and Tampa blew it open in the last of the third on a three-run homer by Phillips.

But these are still the Orioles. And they fight until the end. Adley Rutschman’s RBI-single in the fourth cut the lead to 6-1. A moment later it was 6-2 on an RBI-single by Ramon Urias.

Two innings later the O’s made it interesting. Roughned Odor smacked a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 6-4. However Tampa would add an insurance run in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer by Mejia. The O’s got back to within two in the eighth with a solo homer by Austin Hays. And that was your ballgame.

So the O’s head into the all-star break with a .500 record. 46 wins and 46 losses. Anyone would have gladly signed up for that before the season began. They did that primarily by winning 11 of their last 13 games to close the first half. Needless to say, nobody in playoff contention wants to play these Orioles. One way or the other, they’ll have their say in the playoff race in the second half.

Baltimore Orioles: Small wonders win ballgames, Birds back over .500

After having their 10-game winning streak snapped last night, the Baltimore Orioles looked to start a new one this afternoon. Dean Kremer got the start today at Tropicana Field, and while he had a struggle or two, he also set the tone for the Birds. In terms of pitching, that is. Kremer’s line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Tampa took an early lead in the last of the first, scoring on a wild pitch by Kremer. However the Orioles tied it quickly. Ramon Urias had another big game at the plate today, tying the game at one with an RBI-single in the top of the second.

But Tampa’s a tough team to keep down, especially at the Trop – where the O’s have lost ten straight. Kremer uncorked another wild pitch in the third, giving Tampa the lead back at 2-1. Arozarena would follow with a solo homer, and Tampa led 3-1. Suddenly we wondered if the O’s were about to start a losing streak – but the game was far from over. Not by a long shot.

Tyler Nevin’s RBI-single in the fifth got them Birds back to within one at 3-2. Brandon Hyde sent Adley Rutschman, who previously had the day off, up as a pitch hitter in the eighth. And Rutschman didn’t disappoint, smacking a solo home run and tying the game at three.

The game went to extra innings tied at three, and the O’s almost had it won due to good fundamentals. With Austin Hays at second as the ghost runner in the top of the tenth, Ramon Urias popped out in foul ground. Hays tagged up and went to third base. He would later score on Rutschman’s sac fly.

It appeared that Hyde was pushing all the right buttons – and he was. But the O’s would have to wait one more inning to snap that losing streak at Tropicana Field, as Choi’s RBI-single in the last of the tenth would tie the game back up at four. And we played on.

Rougned Odor was the ghost runner in the eleventh, but he was picked off trying to get to third base. Jorge Mateo followed with a triple (which would have given the Orioles the lead, if not for the pickoff), and Cedric Mullins walked. Mullins would later steal second base, on a play where Tampa appeared to neglect to even throw through. This gave the O’s two runners in scoring position…

…and they didn’t neglect the opportunity. Down to his last strike and with the Birds down to their last out in the inning, Ryan Mountcastle blooped a ball into shallow right field, scoring both Mateo and Mullins. This giving the O’s a 6-4 lead, which was eventually closed out by the bullpen. This snapped the Birds’ aforementioned ten-game losing streak in Tampa, and it guaranteed that they would have a record of at least .500 at the break. They’re currently one game above .500.

Small things win games such as this one. While it didn’t ultimately win the game, Austin Hays tagging up on that foul ball in the tenth and going to third certainly could have been a game-deciding play. It looked like it would be for awhile.

But make no mistake that one of the many plays that did decide the game was Mullins stealing second in the eleventh and getting into scoring position. That enabled a base hit to score two runs, and gave the Orioles the lead AND an insurance run. Those sorts of intangibles in games don’t show up on the stats sheet, but they make a huge difference. They certainly did for the O’s this afternoon.

The series (and the first half of the season) concludes tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Corey Kluber. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ winning streak halted at ten

The Baltimore Orioles were reminded this year that all good things must come to an end. With a 5-4 loss to Tampa, the Birds’ winning streak was halted at ten games. Starter Tyler Wells definitely pitched well enough to win the game, but it just wasn’t meant to happen tonight. Wells’ line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

The O’s did lead for part of the ballgame. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the top of the third inning. Ramon Urias added a second solo shot one inning later, and the Birds were off to a 2-0 lead.

But Tampa found a way to chip away. In the last of the fourth they smacked three doubles, including an RBI-double by Chang. He would come up again in the sixth, adding a second RBI-double – tying the game at two.

Mejia would add a second RBI-double later in the inning, and Bethancorp’s two-run homer gave Tampa the lead at 5-2. However the O’s did battle back. Urias would hit a second homer in the eighth, this one of the two- run variety.

But this wasn’t the Orioles’ night, and they fell in Tampa, 5-4. It’s important to note that they were going to drop a game and snap the winning streak at some point. That’s why you have to enjoy those highs so much, because they can end at the drop of a dime.

A lot of times when teams have epic win streaks they end in a blaze of glory. This meaning that multiple errors are committed, and the first loss is usually pretty ugly. That didn’t happen to the O’s tonight. They battled tough and just ended up with one less run. As I said, all good things must end.

The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Field. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa’s starter is TBD. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.