Baltimore Orioles: Looking at free agent pitchers

Yesterday I asked whether or not the Baltimore Orioles should consider signing a free agent pitcher. My deduction was that it was something they should consider. And here’s another point to that ends; the Orioles played musical pitchers all season last year. Wouldn’t it suit them better to have at least one or two guys who they know will be mainstays in the rotation?

So today I wanted to throw some names out there. While it’s attractive to look towards the Strasburg’s and Odorizzi’s of the world, do we really think that’s feasible? Those are pitchers who will look for big money deals with longevity. The Orioles probably aren’t in a position to hand out a contract of that nature to a pitcher right now.

But there are more veteran pitchers out there who might come cheaper and for shorter contracts. The Orioles obviously traded Andrew Cashner to Boston last year – might both sides consider a reunion? Whether or not the Orioles would want that is another story. Cashner’s ERA ballooned when he went to Boston last year. Whereas with the Orioles he had a .383 ERA, with Boston that went up to .620. But he would be an option if he were willing to sign a team-friendly contract.

And there are other guys out there, such as perhaps Marco Estrada, or Gio Gonzalez. Ultimately the goal wouldn’t be to sign a pitcher who would be a big name so as to put people in the seats. While that would be a great addition, it isn’t the idea behind getting someone on the free agent market.

The goal would be to get an innings eater, and someone who could anchor the Orioles’ rotation and help some of the younger guys along. They did this in 2010 when they signed veteran Kevin Millwood to the staff. And he served his purpose very well. That’s the type of move the Orioles might consider making in the form of a Gio Gonzalez (among others).

And there are other names out there as well. Clay Buchholz, who could be an option. Again, the idea isn’t to get someone who might be an automatic ace. The Orioles are trying to grow their own ace in a sense. But someone to eat innings and to help show some of the younger guys the ways and means of being a big league pitcher. Someone who can perhaps be an extension of the manager and pitching coach on the field. Guys who are willing to do that are the types of guys you need when you’re building a team from the ground up as the Orioles are.

Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner traded before O’s fall

The Baltimore Orioles completed game one of the doubleheader yesterday afternoon, and then GM Mike Elias got to work. He opted to trade starter Andrew Cashner to the Boston Red Sox. In exchange the O’s got two 17-year old prospects, who were assigned to the Dominican Summer League. The Orioles also sent cash to Boston as part of the deal.

Personally I thought they could have gotten more. Specifically, two guys who had perhaps gotten past puberty. However if this was the best deal they could get it was the best deal they could get. Cashner’s contract was up, and at least they got something for him. The idea of trading him was in fact a good one. Trust the process.

That leaves John Means as the lone bona fide starter on the roster. And for the first time in his career last night, Means gave up three home runs. Means didn’t pitch a poor outing – heck, he didn’t even really throw three bad pitches. He threw three pitches that Tampa correctly anticipated as fastballs, and over the fence they went. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

Tampa’s Brosseau and Diaz smacked a two-run homer and a solo shot in the second and fourth respectively, giving Tampa a 3-0 lead. However Stevie Wilkerson continued his prowess at the plate following his game one heroics. His two-RBI single in the last of the fourth cut the lead to 3-2. For the time being, the O’s were competitive in the game.

Tampa would pop back into the driver’s seat in the sixth with Garcia’s RBI-single and Lowe’s two-run homer. Hanser Alberto would add a solo homer in the last of the seventh, and Jonathan Villar an RBI-single in the last of the ninth. But in between Oriole pitching kind of let things get away. When the smoke cleared, the Birds had fallen 12-4.

Most doubleheader’s end up being split, so the fact that the Orioles were able to take the first game at least made it a good day for them. However the story of the day was Cashner being traded. As I said, I felt they could have gotten something more for him. But at least they got something.

One pressing issue however is that Cashner was to start today’s game. The Birds now have to scramble to figure out who’s going to be pitching. I suspect they have a plan, but it would have certainly been easier to have Cashner make the start.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. The O’s are yet to name a starter, and Tampa will start Ryne Stanek. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles back in the series WIN COLUMN!

The Baltimore Orioles got a quality start from a starting pitcher for the second time in as many games in Toronto. This time it was Andrew Cashner, who turned in a superb effort in his final outing before the all-star break. Cashner’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Renato Nunez got the Orioles on the board in the fourth inning with a two-run homer. The ironic thing is that of late (even during the Showalter era), Rogers Centre has been a house of horrors for the Orioles. No matter what happened, it seemed that Toronto would hammer them there, but there were times where the O’s has trouble mustering even one hit. The first two games of this series stand in stark contrast to that tradition.

That fourth inning was the key time period for the Birds. Later in the inning they got an RBI-single and double from Anthony Santander and Keon Broxton respectively. Richie Martin would also ground into a fielder’s choice-RBI. When the smoke cleared, the O’s held a 5-0 lead.

Toronto would get one back in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homer by Biggio. However while they didn’t need it, they added runs on. And that’s also something we saw earlier this week in Tampa (while as opposed to today in that case they actually needed the add-on runs). In the past we’ve seen the Orioles cling to one or two-run leads, only to see the opposition strike late and win the game. That hasn’t been happening – for this week, at least.

Stevie Wilkerson and Anthony Santander would drive in a runs with RBI-singles in the sixth and eighth respectively. Wilkerson would also add on an additional solo homer in the ninth, to give the Orioles an 8-1 victory. And with that, the Orioles have won their second series out of three. While winning multiple series’ are baby steps, that’s where you have to start.

Winning the final series of the first half will hopefully give the O’s some confidence moving forward. They hit the deck immediately in the second half next weekend when Tampa comes to town. Not only that, but they have a doubleheader on Saturday due to an earlier rainout. Again, this series victory and the fact that the team seems to be playing better will hopefully give them some confidence.

The O’s will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon as they close the first half at Rogers Center. Asher Wojeckowski gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Trent Thornton. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: 13’s the number once again as O’s win a series

Following just over an hour rain delay before the game could begin, the Baltimore Orioles defeated Cleveland behind a stellar outing from Andrew Cashner. Ironically, Cashner was originally scratched from the lineup – with no reason given. It turned out that the Orioles didn’t want to lose Cashner during a lengthy rain delay. So when the delay came before the game could even start, they reinstated Cashner as the starter. Cashner’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the second on Hanser Alberto‘s RBI-single. Two innings later in the fourth, Anthony Santander‘s solo homer extended the lead to 2-0. Incidentally, it wasn’t just any home run; it made it onto Eutaw St. And in doing so, Anthony Santander now has the distinction of hitting the 100th home run onto Eutaw St in the history of Camden Yards.

That fear was a harbinger for the rest of the game. Later in that fourth inning Jonathan Villar and Trey Mancini each smacked RBI-doubles (Villar’s was actually a two-RBI double). Renato Nunez would also add a solo homer, and the Orioles led 7-0.

When the smoke cleared by the end of the game, the Orioles had put 13 runs on the board – for the second consecutive game. And also for the second consecutive game, a starter and the bullpen had combined to keep Cleveland off the scoreboard. So consider that for just a moment; in back-to-back games, the O’s best Cleveland 13-0. That’s 26-0 through the first two games of the series.

Turnabout can be fair play. To this point it’s been the Orioles on the business end of games like these past two. But the hunted became the hunters this weekend thus far. End of the day, an outstanding two-game stretch for the O’s.

Incidentally, the Orioles have now won their first series since April by beating Cleveland in the first two games (of three). And obviously they’ve done so in very convincing fashion, putting up a 13-spot on a very good team two games in a row. As I’ve said many times, sometimes you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug. The Birds have been the bug quite often this year. But the last two days they’ve reversed course and been the windshield.

The series concludes tomorrow as the O’s go for the sweep at Camden Yards. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Shane Bieber. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Orange and black party downtown

The Baltimore Orioles will take on the San Francisco Giants this weekend in an interleague series beginning this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Birds thus far are 1-2 in interleague games, as they dropped two-of-three against Colorado last weekend.

However that series was on the road. This one will be in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That means that San Francisco will get the benefit of a DH. However the flip side of that is that the Orioles won’t have to surrender the use of their DH and have their pitchers hit. Context, folks!

However this weekend’s series is noteworthy because the league’s two teams which take the colors orange and black will be playing one another. Given the fact that San Francisco is having a lackluster season as well, I can’t imagine that too many Giants’ fans will show up at the yard this weekend. (Although who could really blame anyone for wanting to see their favorite team play in The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball?!) However those who do will be tough to decipher from Orioles’ fans!

The series begins this evening as I said at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by San Francsisco’s Drew Pomeranz. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Andrew Cashner fall in pitcher’s duel

Andrew Cashner did exactly what he was supposed to do tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. He put the Birds in a great position to win, and to split a doubleheader with New York. Only problem was that New York’s starter German pitched an equally good start. And Oriole bates just couldn’t get what they needed in the way of a clutch hit. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

Cashner of course is credited with a quality start. However both he and the Orioles would trade that for a victory. However to the victors go the spoils.

Voit’s RBI-double in the third inning gave New York a 1-0 lead. One inning later the Orioles’ bugaboo reared it’s ugly head: the home run ball. And after hitting two homers in the first game this afternoon, it was once again Torres (with a solo shot).

The Orioles did threaten in the fifth, and got on the board on a sac fly-RBI by Hanser Alberto. That fifth inning was shaping up nicely for the Birds, and it could have been even bigger. However Pedro Severino took a called third strike that should have been ball four.

That didn’t end the inning, but it changed the momentum of the inning. Replays backed up the fact that the ball was way outside. However that one blown call turned the inning, and allowed New York to reign itself in. Voit would add an additional RBI-single in the last of the seventh, and New York took the night cap as well from the Orioles by the score of 3-1.

The O’s will be happy to get out of NYC, where they sat through a lengthy rain delay on Monday, had another rainout on Tuesday, and then dropped both ends of a doubleheader today. They probably feel that it’s time to move on. Next stop: Cleveland.

The Birds will open a four-game set with the Tribe tomorrow evening at Progressive Field. Dan Straily gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in series finale

The Baltimore Orioles took The defending world champion Boston Red Sox to the brink last night. Boston eventually defeated the Orioles, but it took them twelve innings. The Birds matched Boston point-for-point, beginning with starter Andrew Cashner. It begins and ends with starting pitching, right? Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Cashner set the tone early in the game when the first hitter reached on a two-base error. Cashner in essence started the game with a runner in scoring position. But Cashner pitches out of it, not allowing a runner to cross. All in all, this was one of the best starts of the season for any Oriole starting pitcher.

Boston would take a 1-0 lead in the third on a solo homer by Betts. That was in essence the only mistake that Cashner made. He was able to labor through the sixth inning (giving him a quality start), and left to a standing ovation for his effort.

However he was rewarded for his effort – in a certain sense at least. With the decision already made to lift Cashner, Trey Mancini smacked an RBI-double in the last of the sixth which tied the game. So while Cashner deserved to win this game, at the very least he wasn’t the loser and ended up with a no decision.

The score remained tied and we went to extra innings. The O’s thought they had won it in the eleventh. And for all intents and purposes, they did. Trey Mancini smacked what would have been a walk off home run. The ball cleared the fence in center field, and would have landed on the other side…

…the only problem was that Boston center fielder Bradley Jr. climbed the wall and brought the ball back in. It was one of the better plays you’re going to see this year in the outfield, and it foiled the Orioles’ best shot to win throughout the extra innings. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

Unfortunately for the O’s, that propelled Boston to take the lead in the twelfth on a solo homer by Benintendi. That’s why they’re the defending champions – they rise to the occasion. However the Orioles took Boston to the brink in this game. That’s not something that should go unnoticed. It goes as a loss in the standings, however it’s fair for a team like the Orioles ( a rebuilding team) to take a moral victory out of that. Their reward? A day off today at home.

Baltimore Orioles: Chicagoland weather washes out the Birds

The Baltimore Orioles now have an impromptu night off in Chicago. This evening’s game against the ChiSox has been rained out. This, due to very poor weather in the greater Chicagoland area.

The game will be made up tomorrow as part of a straight (traditional) doubleheader. Not that it matters to fans in Baltimore, but that’s one admission, two games. For the record, this means that both teams will get the benefit of a 26th roster spot for the second game.

Game one will begin at 4:10 PM (EST) at Guaranteed Rate Field, with game two beginning 25-30 minutes after the completion of the first game. David Hess gets the start for the O’s in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Ivan Nova.

Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner outduels Toronto

Andrew Cashner atoned for his Opening Day outing very well this evening at Rogers Centre in Toronto for the Baltimore Orioles. Cashner dominated a Toronto lineup which is as young and inexperienced as that of the Orioles, yet appears to have more issues in figuring out who they are or will be. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

Cashner was masterful. He didn’t surrender a hit until the last of the fourth inning. That was the first hit off of an Orioles’ starter since Sunday afternoon in the Bronx. For a team that didn’t know what it’s starting rotation was going to look like two weeks ago, that’s pretty impressive.

This game was a pitcher’s duel for most of the evening. Toronto’s starter Stroman matched Cashner almost pitch-for-pitch. However as can be the case in many instances, one team caught the opposing pitcher right as he was running out of gas. Best time to score runs against a pitcher who’s on his game, as Stroman was!

Stroman started to run out of gas in the sixth inning. Unfortunately for Toronto, they couldn’t get him out quick enough. Or more realistically they couldn’t get the bullpen ready in time. And that was to the Orioles’ benefit tonight.

The O’s got on the board in the top of the sixth on Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-triple. And it was a tight grounder all the way down the right field line and into the corner. Rogers Centre has been a house of horrors for the Birds over the years. But for once it was the Orioles who took advantage of the dimensions and the turf at the ballpark in the great white north, yielding them a run.

Later in that sixth inning Trey Mancini would plate Villar with an RBI-single, giving the Birds a 2-0 lead. And that would end up being the insurance run in a sense. The O’s threatened in the ninth but were unable to put an additional run across. Toronto would smack a solo homer in the last of the ninth, but that was the only threat they posed. And it was an inconsequential threat at the end of the day.

MASN’s Gary Thorne asked manager Brandon Hyde how the O’s are grinding games out after the game. His response was defense. When you’re playing good defense you’re limiting your opponents’ opportunities to put runs on the board. That in essence makes your opponent’s success contingent on the long ball. Which as we know is what the Orioles were last year. That aside, if you can keep guys off base by racking up outs, your odds of winning games goes up exponentially.

The series at Rogers Centre concludes tomorrow afternoon. Nate Karns gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Matt Shoemaker. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Opening Day, 2019

The rosters are finalized, the equipment’s in the clubhouse, and the players are ready to go – the Baltimore Orioles are set to open the season this afternoon in the Bronx. For this year st least the O’s will open the season on the road, and jump right into division play at the same time. They get the task of opening with a three-game set against the mighty New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

It’s a new day in Baltimore, and it’s unfair to new manager Brandon Hyde (who makes his big league debut as a skipper today) to continually bring up Buck Showalter. However one thing of which Buck would constantly remind us is that today’s game is only one of 162. It counts just as much as Saturday or Sunday’s games. It counts as much as a random game on a Tuesday night in June. Opening Day is special for sure, but at the end of the day it’s one game. I suspect Hyde would agree.

There isn’t much in-depth analysis I can provide you at this point. That is until game time comes around. Just a reminder, fans can follow me on Twitter (@DomenicVadala) for game updates and analysis. That’s true today and for all games this year.

Again, the Birds will open the season this afternoon against New York at Yankee Stadium. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Masahiro Tanaka. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.