Baltimore Orioles win a pitcher’s duel

The Baltimore Orioles came into last night’s game against Texas having lost two consecutive pitcher’s duels in Philadelphia. As a staff, Oriole pitching has been really good – this week. And that continued last night behind starter Zac Lowther. And finally, the O’s were able to get one back in a sense and win a pitcher’s duel. Lowther’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Lowther may have turned in his best outing as an Oriole last night. I suspect that a lot of guys know that they’re playing for a roster spot in Sarasota next spring. And they’re turning it up right now. And that’s to their credit.

The Birds had runners at the corners in the fourth, and Richie Martin’s squeeze bunt brought a run in and gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Ryan Mountcastle also smacked a solo homer in the 5th, extending the lead to 2-0. And Austin Hays’ solo shot in the eighth made it 3-0. Which also became the final.

And the Orioles’ bullpen took care of the rest. Which is key, because in the last few weeks the O’s have had leads in lots of games. This only to blow the lead later in the game. The fact that they held the lead last night is a good sign.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Alexander Wells gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Spencer Howard. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in Philly finale

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves in another pitcher’s duel in the series finale in Philadelphia last night. The Birds played Philadelphia tough in all three games; sometimes two teams are just great matches for one another. Keegan Akin got the start last night at Citizens Bank Park, and he rebounded nicely after last week’s start in Boston. Akin’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

The game was a scoreless tie through five innings. Austin Hays’ RBI-double in the sixth gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Hays would take third on the relay throw home, however that was the only run the O’s would net in that sequence.

And the Orioles leading the game didn’t last long. McCutchen smacked a two-run homer in the last of the sixth. And Philadelphia held a 2-1 lead. But the Orioles would tie it back up an inning later, on Trey Mancini’s RBI-groundout. And on we went tied at two.

However Philadelphia would put two across in the last of the seventh. And while the Birds did threaten in the eighth when Pedro Severino smacked an RBI-double, that was too large a lead for the O’s to overcome. Philadelphia took the finale 4-3, and the series two games to one.

Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde credited the team after the game with going toe-to-toe with a playoff contender:

I’d like to give our guys credit for playing a postseason contender in kind of the situation we’re in roster-wise and how beat up we are and we’re playing a lot of guys that haven’t played in the big leagues hardly at all. I thought we pitched well. We made a couple mistakes out of the bullpen tonight, but for the most part for three days we pitched pretty much the best we pitched since the beginning of the year. So, I’m taking that as a positive and we hung in there with a good team over here with a big payroll. And we’re scraping right now, we’re limping in.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Speaking of Hyde, the team announced that he would be returning as manager next year. His original contract was through this season, so in theory he could have entered this season as a lame duck. But over last off season his contract was amended to go through 2022. It’s unclear if the two parties will negotiate a new deal this off season, or if Hyde will enter 2022 as a lame duck. Time will tell.

The Orioles now return home for the finale home stand of the season at Camden Yards, starting tonight against Texas. Zac Lowther gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Glenn Otto. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: No need for replay if it does no good

The Baltimore Orioles utilized a bullpen game model last night in Philadelphia. Connor Greene got the start, but in effect was an opener. It was almost like a spring training game. Greene’s line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Ironically this was a pitcher’s duel. And all pitchers who rotated in and out for the O’s seemed to hold up their end of the bargain. They Birds took the lead in the fourth on an RBI-single by Ramon Urias.

Two innings later however Philadelphia tied the game up at one on an RBI-double by McCutchen. And regulation ended with the score tied at one. and the O’s got the lead back thanks to the ghost runner on second base rule in extra innings. Austin Hays’ RBI-double in the tenth put the Orioles ahead 2-1.

But both teams get to utilize the ghost runner rule. Philadelphia also put a runner on the old fashioned way in their half of the tenth. That combined with the ghost runner meant that Realmuto’s triple in the last of the tenth scored two runs, winning it 3-2 for Philadelphia.

Backing up a bit, Cedric Mullins hit a foul ball in the top of the third, which was close to a home run down the right field line. Replays seemed to show the ball hitting off the foul pole. Or at worst, showing the ball passing by the foul pole and changing it’a direction and rotation after doing so – indicating contact with the pole. Meaning that it rightfully should be ruled a home run.

The Orioles challenged the play, but the umpire in New York upheld the call on the field. Now I’ll grant you that it was close. And I have no issue with the umpires on the field missing the call, because the contact with the foul pole occurred far away from them. But…to not reverse it on replay?

I suppose I would ask what exactly is clear and convincing evidence? Because it appeared to me that the ball made contact with the foul pole, making it a home run. Is it really worth stopping the game and reviewing something if you’re ultimately going to still blow the call?

And we’ve been left flabbergasted several times this year on replay reviews. and not just the Orioles; we’ve seen this across the league. Incidentally, that home run would have made Mullins a 30-30 man. And all things being the same, the O’s would have won the game 3-1. So getting that call right would have made a HUGE difference.

The series concludes tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Keegan Akin gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Busy isn’t necessarily bad

The Baltimore Orioles entered tonight’s game almost as the golden boys in a sense. 2-0 appeared to suffie, according to starter John Means. And by that I mean as a final score as an adult. Means’ line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Pedro Severino and Ryan Mountcastle both had RBI-singles in the first inning. But that didn’t seem to matter. Surely two runs scored in the first weren’t my going to stand up for the Orioles in the end…right?!

But in the end, they did! Philadelphia never really offered a threat in this game, and the two runs stood up as the game winners. Means also became the first pitcher in over ten years to smack an extra-base hit. It was that kind of night for the O’s.

The series continues tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. Starters for both teams are still TBD. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles battle but fall in Fenway finale

Alexander Wells got the start for the Baltimore Orioles in their final game in Boston this year at Fenway Park. This of course where the Birds opened the season on Opening Day. Wells’ line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

The results of course were the same as the previous two games in this series. However make no mistake that the O’s battled in this game. And even while playing out a string, that makes a difference. To fans at least it does.

Boston was at it early today, however. They loaded the bases in the first, and Dalbec was hit by a pitch, walking in a run and giving Boston a 1-0 lead. Plawecki would later add a two-RBI single, giving Boston a 3-0 lead. (Plawecki was also thrown out trying to advance.) Hernandez’s RBI-single in the second would run their lead to 4-0.

But in the third the Orioles started battling back. Anthony Santander’s RBI-double got them on the board and cut Boston’s lead to 4-1. Austin Hays would add a two-RBI single, cutting it to 4-3. However Martinez’s homer in the bottom of that third inning would run it back to 5-3.

Trey Mancini would come up with the bases loaded in the seventh, with the Orioles still trailing by two. And he did more than bring them closer or tie the game. His bases-clearing double have the Orioles a 6-5 lead. Now Mancini was thrown out at third trying to extend, but he made a big impact.

Unfortunately however, it wasn’t enough. Three RBI-singles in the last of the seventh gave Boston the lead back at 8-6. And that was the final score, dropping the O’s to defeat once again.

As I said, this team battled hard today, which is a good sign. They just came up short, which is actually to be expected given how young they are, and how they’re playing out a string. But their attitude is strong, and will serve them well going into next year.

The O’s now head to Philadelphia for a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle hits 30 homers in loss

Zac Lowther got the start for the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. If anything, the O’s may even be evaluating pitchers for next year, although against a contending team at Fenway may not be the fairest spot to do it. Lowther’s line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Ryan Mountcastle gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run homer. It was Mountcastle’s 30th homer of the season – and counting. However Devers’ RBI-single in the last of the first cut the lead to 2-1. Dalbec followed with a two-RBI double, and Boston led 3-2 after one.

Austin Wynns actually tied it back up with a solo homer in the second inning. However Boston would get the lead back in the fifth with Bogaerts’ RBI-single. And Boston would then continue their assault on Orioles’ pitching. When the smoke cleared, the Birds fell 9-3.

Ryan Mountcastle of course broke Cal Ripken Jr.’s franchise record of 29 home runs as a rookie earlier in the week. With his homer yesterday, he has 30 on the season. And as I said, “…and counting.”

Mountcastle’s making his case for Rookie of the Year. 30 homers is a pretty good season as it is – much less for a rookie. And to be able to say you broke one of Cal Ripken’s records is pretty solid. The Orioles are in good shape with Mountcastle in the lineup in future years.

The series concludes this afternoon against Boston at Fenway Park. Alexander Wells gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in Beantown

Keegan Akin got the start for the Baltimore Orioles last night in game one of a three-game set at Fenway Park. And the results were probably what you would have expected. Boston has a high-powered offense and they’re in the thick of the playoff race. The Orioles are playing out a string on the season. Akin’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 0 K.

Let me rephrase that; in many cases the Orioles are playing hard as they play out a string. They did play hard last night. They just wound up on the short end. Boston’s a good team – some things can’t be helped.

The Orioles did have a lead in the game for a short period of tine. Austin Hays smacked a solo homer in the second inning, and the Birds led 1-0. However Boston would tie the game and then take the lead in the bottom of that second inning. Iglesias’ RBI-double and Hernandez’s sac fly-RBI would give them a 2-1 lead.

Two innings later Dalbec would add a solo homer, and Martinez an RBI-double. And Renfroe would come to the plate with the bases loaded in the last of the sixth. And he’d clear the bases with a double, running the final score to 7-1.

This was the Orioles’ 100th loss of the year. Keegan Akin addressed this point after the game, explaining the team’s attitude regarding this:

I don’t think it’s really on the top of our minds right now. We get here every day and take care of business and go out and play. No one’s really talking about it. I didn’t find out until after I came out of the game that it could have been the 100th loss when I was in the clubhouse. Everybody comes here and it’s not really the priority. Just try to finish strong.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

That’s probably the best attitude that they could take. “Just finish strong,” is the goal. They may be playing out a string, but they’re still trying to win games.

The series continues this afternoon at Fenway Park. Zac Lowther gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Did Umpire Tim Timmons “punk” the Birds?

John Means got the start for the Baltimore Orioles this evening at Camden Yards against the New York Yankees. And as is usually the case, he did his job, in putting the O’s in a position to win. As I’ve said many times, that’s all you can ask of a starter. Means’ line: 5.2 IP, 4 H. 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Means made one bad pitch. And it came in the third inning with a runner already on base. Urshela smacked a two-run homer, giving New York a 2-0 lead. It appeared that New York was picking up right where they left off last night.

Backing up for just a second, Sanchez made an attempt at a homer in the second inning. He sent a ball deep to the deepest part of the park, and in fact it was over the wall. I’ll say that again; it was over the wall. But Cedric Mullins tracked the ball the entire way, climbed the wall, and reached out and brought the ball back into play. With ann NA gold glove caliber play, Cedric Mullins saved two runs.

However Austin Hays wasn’t about to let this get away without a fight. He smacked a solo homer in the sixth, cutting the lead to 2-1. Then two innings later in the eighth he smacked a two-run homer, giving the Birds a 3-2 lead.

As we went to the ninth, the Orioles’ award-winning grounds crew stood poised behind the tarp as there was rain in the area. And in fact, as New York put two runners on base, the rain was about to hit. However with one out, crew chief Tim Timmons did something never before seen. He walked towards the tarp down the right field line and EMPHATICALLY ordered the grounds crew to leave the field. And I mean EMPHATICALLY.

It came across like Timmons was refusing to call for a rain delay in that moment. Approximately 30 seconds after the grounds crew left the field, the skies opened up. That left the Orioles to play defense in a driving rain storm. And sure enough, we started seeing how the ball was becoming slippery. Routine plays were botched, primarily due to rain. Ultimately Gardener’s bloop two-RBI single gave New York a 4-3 lead, and a 4-3 win.

First and foremost, as I said the O’s were in essence forced to play defense in a driving rain storm. Obviously it’s up to Timmons as the crew chief whether or not to call for the tarp. So there’s no guarantee that he would have done that. You don’t want to see a delay that late in the game. But if conditions become dangerous or one team is at a disadvantage…you get the idea. And by the time New York was in the field, go figure, the storm was over.

But there’s another side to this also. The Orioles’ grounds crew, led by head groundskeeper Nicole Sherry, has won awards. They’re the best in the business. They were treated in a very unprofessional manner by Tim Timmons. This for doing their jobs.

The series concludes tomorrow from Camden Yards. Chris Ellis gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 5 PM.

Baltimore Orioles done in by New York homers

Alexander Wells got the fun task of starting against the New York Yankees last night at a Camden Yards. The good news is that he didn’t give up any manufactured runs. The bad news is that the Bronx Bombers lived up to their nickname last night. Wells’ line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Wells allowed a two-run homer to Judge almost right off the bat in the game. This came in the first inning. Two innings later in the third, Stanton added a two-run shot of his own. This putting the O’s behind, 4-0.

Voit joined the homer parade later in that third inning with a solo shot. However the O’s tried to rally two innings later in the fifth. Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI-double cut the lead to 5-1. But New York would smack two additional homers, both of the solo variety. Gallo in the eighth, and LeMahieu in the ninth.

The O’s attempted to rally a bit in the ninth, putting some runners on base. They got an RBI-single from Kelvin Gutierrez, making the final score 7-2. But they also forced New York to utilize their closer (Chapman) to get the final out, something they just as soon as would not have done.

Manager Brandon Hyde lifted catcher Pedro Severino with leg soreness during the game. It’s a nagging injury that’s bothered Severino for about a week. Hyde on the injury:

Kind of aggravated it early in the game. After that second at-bat, running out of the box, it looked like it grabbed him a little bit, so took him out of the game for that. These things happen. For the most part, we’ve been pretty fortunate throughout the year and now we’ve got almost three weeks left and we do have a lot of nagging things going on. That just gives other guys opportunities and we hope that some of these guys can get on the mend quick and be OK. But you just never know.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Nestor Cortes Jr. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in a heartbreaking and bizarre manner

Keegan Akin was the star for the Baltimore Orioles in game two of a twin bill last night. In a seven inning game, he took a no-hitter into the seventh. Now it’s important to note that MLB isn’t recognizing no-hitters in these seven innings doubleheader games as no-hitters. But the fact is that Akin had one going last night. Akin’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Cedric Mullins’ solo homer in the third inning gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. And that one run stood up for almost the entire game. As I said, Akin didn’t allow a base hit – until the seventh inning.

He gave up the hit right away as the inning began. However that brought Bichette to the plate, and he immediately gave Toronto the lead with a two-run homer. That in and of itself is a tough pill to swallow, especially given that Toronto took the lead in almost the same manner late in the first game of the twin bill.

However this ended up being very different. First off as well as he pitched, Akin ended up with the loss. But when the smoke cleared…Toronto put up eleven runs in the seventh inning. Guys just kept getting on base and driven in by other guys by way of home runs.

You have to take into account that the O’s won a game earlier in this homestsnd with an eight-run inning. So these sorts of games happen. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Zac Lowther gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Steven Matz. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.