Results tagged ‘ Dylan Bundy ’

Baltimore Orioles’ Dylan Bundy struggles and Minnesota squashes all rallies

Dylan Bundy struggled in his return to the Baltimore Orioles from the DL last night in Minnesota. Bundy’s line: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R (5 earned), 1 BB, 2 K. Bundy had command issues all night, in his first start in nearly two weeks since injuring himself running the bases in Atlanta. He left some pitches elevated, and Minnesota hitters took advantage of it.

The fact that Minnesota put a damper on almost every rally the Orioles attempted didn’t help matters. And it started literally on the first pitch, which Tim Beckham sent deep to center field – the deepest part of the park. It was a home run…until Minnesota’s Cave climbed the wall and brought it back in. That really set the tone for the game.

And as I’ve said before, your opponents always seem to get fat on what you leave behind. Or more specifically, they don’t let you off the hook. Minnesota put two runners on in the last of the first, and Dozier’s RBI-single scored a run. However Beckham couldn’t handle the throw from the outfield at third base, and the ball kicked into the dugout. This allowed another run to score, and Dozier to get to third base. He would later score on a Polanco RBI-single – which was hit against the shift.

And that’s another underlying theme for the Orioles defensively this year. They have to lead the league in having guys produce against the shift against them. These infield shifts are used because the spray charts on players league-wide indicate that they hit the ball to certain areas of the field more so than other places. But when they play the Orioles, somehow they’re able to work against those numbers and hit ’em where they ain’t.

Bundy would give up a two-run homer to Kepler and an RBI-single to Mauer in the fourth. However just prior to that the Birds had loaded the bases in the top of the inning, and Minnesota found a way out of the jam. And once again the Orioles paid for what they left behind. They would get an RBI-single from Chris Davis in the sixth, and another run on an error in the seventh.

However later in that seventh inning Tim Beckham was thrown out at home plate after being sent by Bobby Dickerson at third. It was a questionable decision by Dickerson, as it came on a medium-depth grounder to left field. But nevertheless, it was another example of Minnesota being able to stop an Oriole rally. The Birds would still find a way to get a couple of runners on base in the ninth, but again the rally fell short.

The Orioles are past the point where they were only getting two or three hits a game. They’re putting men on base, which is obviously a good thing. However they’re continually unable to get them home, save for the home run ball. And somehow opposing teams have all found a way to prevent that from happening so frequently. Again however, the fact that they appeared to have a home run on the first pitch and were robbed didn’t help matters.

The series continues this afternoon at Target Field. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles put Miami to sleep with the fishes

For the first time in however long, the Baltimore Orioles and Dylan Bundy got a lead and got some breathing room this afternoon against Miami. While Miami took the first two games of this series and for a brief moment appeared poised to make a comeback attempt in this one as well, the Birds were able to both add on and shut the door. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Make no mistake about the fact that Bundy pitched better than his stat line indicates. He started to struggle in the sixth inning, allowing a few runs on a homer. However prior to that he dominated a Miami lineup that was quickly heating up. Not only that, but the Orioles put runs on the board behind him.

The O’s had two runners in scoring position in the second, and Jace Peterson‘s two-RBI double gave them a 2-0 lead. Make no mistake that was one of the big plays of the day. When you’re scuffling as a team and nothing’s going right for you, if you allow an opportunity like that early in the game to go by the wayside the here we go again mentality starts to creep in. And that’s not conducive to winning. Instead, the Orioles were able to get that clutch hit with RISP that had evaded them most of the season this afternoon.

One inning later Mark Trumbo added on a run with an RBI-double, on a ball that was equal parts almost caught, and almost a homerTrey Mancini would follow up later in the inning with an RBI-single, and the Birds were off to a 4-0 lead against the Fish. For once, the clutch hits just kept on coming for the Birds this afternoon.

But as I said, there was a brief period where Miami seemed curious to know if they could make a comeback attempt. That started with Bour’s home run in the top of the fourth. It was only a solo shot, but it was a homer none the less – and it got Miami on the scoreboard. However the Orioles would come back and then some, as Adam Jones‘ RBI-double ran the Birds’ lead to 6-1. And that was only in the fourth inning; the fans cheered when for the first time in a long time, the Orioles flashed on the scoreboard that fans could get half price Papa Johns pizza tomorrow since they scored more than five runs!

But there was more; Peterson smacked a two-run homer over the scoreboard in right field in the last of the fifth, and the route appeared to be on. But as I said above, one inning later Bundy started to struggle a bit. It always starts innocently enough, with a lead off base hit. A walk later, and Bundy had two runners on and nobody out. That brought Bour to the plate again, and he smacked his second home run of the game – this obviously of the three-run variety.

The O’s still held a four-run lead, but momentum briefly seemed to question which side it was on. I wouldn’t say it was ever with Miami, but as I said it questioned if it really belonged with the Orioles. But it did; Bundy got out of the inning, and left the game with a lead. Unfortunately however, the bullpen would immediately load the bases in the seventh with nobody out. Again, suspense hung in the air – but Mychal Givens pitched the Orioles out of that jam without surrendering a run, preserving the lead.

The O’s would plate two more runs before all was said and done; Trumbo on a solo homer, and Manny Machado with an RBI-single in the last of the eighth. End of the day, the final was 10-4. Just the type of win for which the Orioles had been looking for some time.

The Birds are off tomorrow before they head down the pike to Washington for a return engagement with the Washington Nationals. The hope is that this game wasn’t an anomaly. But time will tell. At least for now however, the Birds can at least relax this evening and tomorrow knowing that the got a win.

Baltimore Orioles squeezed in twelve by Boston

It would be easy to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles wasted yet another quality start, this time by Dylan Bundy. And in fact they probably did. However they matched one of the best teams in the league point-for-point through nine innings plus. They held a very potent offense down for some time, and in fact this game was the longest that Boston had gone without scoring a run. Bundy’s line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.

This is one of those games whereby it’s a shame that someone had to lose. Manager Buck Showalter hesitated to refer to Bundy as “elite,” but needless to say he was as good as he could be against a world class lineup (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I think we’ve all felt like that he could. I think he kind of sticks out sometimes as one of those guys who can do that. And much of it’s got to do with his mindset and just his presentation. That’s why you pitch guys like that on opening day.

A lot of people, ‘OK, the club is struggling and you’re facing the Red Sox.’ He wants that challenge, he doesn’t back off from it. He’s always had that kind of elite mindset that you look for in all players, especially guys you want to be taking the ball every fifth day in a meaningful situation. But regardless of what’s going on, he’s so self-driven. He’s a baseball player that’s a pitcher. That’s as big a compliment that I can give him.

Bundy never really found himself in any trouble out of which he had to pitch in this game. He was as elite as elite can be. He just didn’t get any run support. But again in fairness to the Orioles, neither did Boston.

The game quickly moved along and went into extra innings. Mychal Givens allowed a single and a double in the top of the twelfth, and then hit a batter. Two sac fly-RBI gave Boston two outs but also a 2-0 lead. Many fans were upset at Adam Jones throwing home on the first sac fly as opposed to hitting the cutoff man. In fact, it allowed another runner to get to third and to eventually score.

However while that’s a mistake that Jones has made on a semi-regular basis throughout his career, it also is one made out of a yearn to win. Furthermore that ball was only medium-depth in the outfield. If you have an outside shot at cutting down a runner in a game like that, I think you take it.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles sweep New York away behind Dylan Bundy’s outstanding outing

The Baltimore Orioles are still having trouble scoring runs – both for Dylan Bundy as well as for other pitchers. However last night and this afternoon they played a team in the New York Mets who have been having similar difficulties. And just as the did last night, the Orioles took advantage this afternoon. But it begins and ends with starting pitching; Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

The game was a scoreless tie until the eighth inning. After putting a couple of runners on base, Manny Machado‘s sac fly-RBI gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. And the bullpen took care of the rest.

Again, the concern is that the O’s are still struggling to score runs. However I would point out that in what ended up being the final game with New York last Saturday they put five runs on the board. It’s easy enough to call out Oriole bats, and that’s certainly part of it. But the opponent has something to say about it also. And the Birds ran into some good pitching in Queens this week.

Perhaps there is some irony in the fact that the Orioles had to surrender their DH for these two games, and while the offensive output wasn’t the greatest, they won. Mind you, that wasn’t due to the fact that they didn’t have a DH, and their pitchers didn’t add anything offensively. But it’s just a strange fact. For what it’s worth, the O’s will have to surrender their DH again starting June 19th for six games – three in Washington, and three in Atlanta.

The Orioles’ rotation has steadily improved over the past few weeks. Unfortunately that hasn’t translated into wins per se, but we’ve seen quite a few quality starts. Including in today’s game. That does and should stand for something, according to manager Buck Showalter (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It’s like I said earlier, pitching every fifth day and being the same pitcher every time out is really, really hard to do. Just the sum of the parts as far as the rotation, we’re starting to get a little depth in it now. Not only here, but down below, so down the road I still think this year and next year and years to come it’s got a chance to be strength of ours. And from within.

The O’s now head north of the border for the first time this season to open up a four-game set in Toronto. David Hess gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Jaime Garcia. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Baltimore a black hole for players?

The Baltimore Orioles once again wasted a quality start by a starting pitcher, this time Dylan Bundy. Now with that said, Bundy would be the first to tell you that this start had mixed reviews. Granted he only surrendered three runs, but he also allowed 11 hits. But statistically he pitched a quality start, and it went by the wayside. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 11 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

Bundy threw a home run to Harper on the first pitch of the second at-bat of the game, and the O’s trailed early. However Manny Machado wasn’t about to be outdone by Harper, and he smacked a first inning homer of his own to tie the game. But Washington would come right back and take the lead in the second inning on a Difo bloop RBI-single. And believe me folks, it wasn’t anything to write home about. It was one of those very softly hit balls that barely made it over the second baseman’s head.

Washington would also get a solo homer from Reynolds in the fourth, running the lead to 3-1. Adam Jones‘ RBI-single in the fifth brought the O’s to within 3-2, and in fact they had a shot to get more. Third base coach Bobby Dickerson sent Jace Peterson behind Jones in an attempt to tie the game, and Peterson was thrown out at home plate.

In general, I think that Dickerson can be overly aggressive and in essence can run the Orioles out of outs. In that instance, he should have known that Machado was coming up and thus would have had a runner on third. Now with that said, Machado probably would have been intentionally walked – and odds are Dickerson knew that. With all of that said, it took a near perfect throw to get Peterson at home plate. And Washington did just that.

The Orioles had their chances, but were incapable of putting anything else across over the course of the rest of the game, dropping this one 3-2. Interestingly enough, the winning pitcher for Washington was Jeremy Hellickson, for whom the O’s traded last year. Many Orioles fans will remember how much he struggled when he got here. With Philadelphia (prior to the trade), he was 5-6 with a 4.73 ERA. Not great, but I digress. With the Orioles he was 2-6 with a 6.97 ERA.

You also have former Oriole Mark Reynolds with Washington. Reynolds of course did hit home runs when he was with the O’s in 2011 and ’12 – 37 and 23 respectively. He also hit .221 both years, and struck out 196 and 159 times respectively. Thus far with Washington, he’s hitting .406 and he’s struck out five times (in only 35 plate appearances).

It’s just very disheartening for Orioles fans to see things like this, as it makes one wonder why it happens. Reynolds has always been a home run threat, but also one who strikes out a lot. He’s only on the active roster due to injuries elsewhere, so he may or may not be with the team the entire season. But Hellickson really is a mystery. Granted when the Orioles traded for him last year he wasn’t having a career year by any means. But the wheels came off with the O’s. Now he’s seemingly found the fountain of youth.

Let’s take this a step further; look at Jake Arrieta. His struggles in Baltimore were well-documented. And when the O’s traded him I wrote that I thought it was a smart thing to do because he had gone as far as he was going to go with the Orioles – words I stand by to this day. At the time of the trade, he had a 5.46 career ERA, and a win percentage of .444. That’s what Chicago traded to get…

…and in what was left of that season (2013), Arrieta went 4-2 and achieved an ERA with 3.66 with Chicago. When he left Baltimore in 2013 his ERA was 7.23 on the season. And we know what he’s done since then. It’s really uncanny. I think it’s so easy to put this squarely on coaching, and yes the proof could very well be in the pudding. However Arrieta was “good” literally as soon as he set foot in Wrigley Field. Chicago’s coaches wouldn’t have had time to work with him and free him of whatever bad habits he could have formed from whatever bad coaching he was getting here.

Consequently, Hellickson started trending poorly as soon as he got to Camden Yards. Whatever poor coaching the Orioles would be giving him (if you buy into that argument) wouldn’t have had the chance to take effect yet. At the end of the day, apparently playing poorly here (or in Reynolds’ case playing to your career averages) and then playing off the charts afterwards is a thing. (Again, in Reynolds’ case it’s simply playing above your career averages with another team).

As I said, it’s easy to blame coaching, and that may well be a part of it. But as I said, we’re talking about things changing on a dime as soon as a guy walks in or out of the door. For whatever the reason, there just appears to be a pall over this franchise that makes guys not only underachieve, but also makes them overachieve once they’re gone. All I can say is that there’s no reasonable answer as to why any of that should happen. In essence, it defies logic. But then again, the splits of Bundy vs. Washington and Hellickson vs. the Orioles severely favored the Birds last night. And that stat got turned on it’s head, making people like me look fairly inept.

The series with Washington concludes this evening at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Max Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall on a rainy night at Fenway

No folks, that wasn’t the Preakness you watched last night, it was the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway. I do question how the game was allowed to start and go on, and I suspect that starter Dylan Bundy might have as well. It was a sloppy night, which at various points including what was just shy of driving rain. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 8 K.

The O’s did hold the lead in this game for a short while, on a third inning sac fly-RBI by Jonathan Schoop. However that came with the bases loaded, and that was the only run the Birds were able to score in that sequence. Did the rain possibly have a role in that?

Ultimately the conditions do play into how the Orioles’ offense looks. They don’t like cold or rain. Boston likes to come off as much more of a man for all seasons type of team. Now I’m not suggesting that this game was played to give Boston an advantage. Starts, rain delays, etc. are up to the home team until the game starts. Once the umpire says PLAY BALL! the decision to delay or cancel lies with them – and thus the league.

Boston would tie the game at one an inning after the O’s took the lead on a Devers solo homer. However Bundy pitched out of that inning without any further problems. It wasn’t until the fifth that the weather started to take it’s toll. Betts smacked a two-run homer that gave Boston a 3-1 lead. Benintendi would follow with a solo shot of his own, and the O’s trailed 4-1.

However the Orioles did try to battle back. Pedro Alvarez smacked a two-run home run in the sixth that brought them to within one. But an inning later Benintendi came to bat again and responded with a two-RBI single, prompting Boston to a 6-3 victory. After the game Buck Showalter made a good point regarding reading stats and scores vs. watching the games. Statistics don’t always tell you the bottom line as you think it might Bundy actually pitched fairly well, although the stats might indicate otherwise (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

You watch his outing, you’ll pull up a box score tomorrow and somebody will think he didn’t pitch particularly well and that’s why you go to the games. I thought he pitched Betts well and just made one mistake on him. It’s just the execution of the pitches. They’re hitting mistakes that we’re throwing and it’s been a challenge for us keeping it in the park.

The O’s will attempt to split the series at Fenway in this afternoon’s series finale. David Hess will be called back up to get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Reports of the Birds’ and Dylan Bundy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

It began with Dylan Bundy today for the Baltimore Orioles. That is, it begins and ends with starting pitching. Well, maybe it didn’t end there per se. Bundy was strong, and the makings of a win certainly began with him. But it ended with Oriole bats. Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K.

This game was never destined to be close, and it was the perfect response to the Birds losing 17-1 this past week to Kansas City. For the sake of the team, you have to hope that they’ve exorcised the demons of their disastrous start and can still make a run of things. If today’s results mean anything, they can play with anyone.

The Orioles hit three solo homers in the second to get things going, off the bats of Danny ValenciaJoey Rickard (who was just brought back from triple-A before the game), and Trey Mancini. And in Mancini’s case it had to feel especially good to homer on Mother’s Day at Camden Yards. His Mom’s a native Marylander.

Valencia would score one inning later as well on a throwing error, but it was the fourth inning where things really popped. The O’s got an an RBI-double from Manny Machado, RBI-singles from Valencia and Jonathan Schoop, and a three-run homer from Rickard. When the smoke cleared after the fourth, the Orioles had spotted Bundy an 11-0 lead.

And here’s the other positive aspect of this game, although a bit more hidden; Bundy pitched well with that lead. Some pitchers will ease up just a bit when they have a lead of that magnitude. Bundy didn’t do that, and he was able to complete seven very solid innings of two-hit baseball.

The Birds’ offense would take a couple of innings off, only to resume activity in the seventh inning. Mancini grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. Machado and Gentry smacked RBI-doubles, with Gentry’s being a two-RBI double. Valencia and Rickard added RBI-singles as well. Span would smack an RBI-single in the eighth to shave one run off of the Orioles’ margin of victory. However up 17-0 to that point, I don’t think the Orioles were that concerned.

You also have to give some credit to Joey Rickard, who smacked two homers on the very day he was recalled from triple-A Norfolk. Buck Showalter said after the game that in fact it almost didn’t happen. Rickard and Donnie Hart‘s (who was also recalled) flight to Baltimore was at 8 AM, but it was delayed by four hours. Somehow the Orioles were able to get them on another flight, and into the starting lineup Rickard went.

It’s tough to decide whether “the story” is about pitching or hitting when a team wins by 16 runs. But ultimately it’s about the team. This was a total team victory. Perhaps it begins (and ends) with Bundy, but Rickard obviously played a huge role, as did Machado, Schoop, et al.

So let the record show that the second week of May was a good one for the Birds, who are off tomorrow before Philadelphia comes to town for a short two-game set on Tuesday. Does that mean that moving forward the season will be smooth sailing? Does it mean that this team could actually make a run at something? I’m not saying that, first off because they dug a massive hole. But also because I can’t predict the future. However reports of their demise might have been exaggerated.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Dylan Bundy injured?

Dylan Bundy gave the Baltimore Orioles perhaps the most lackluster start of his career this evening. Bundy’s line: 0.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 0 K. You didn’t read that incorrectly, and I didn’t make a mistake in writing it. Bundy was credited with no part of an inning. He departed after giving up seven runs on four homers.

So to review, the Birds trailed 7-0 before they even recorded an out in the game. The first out was recorded by reliever Mike Wright, who was brought in with nobody out. And if there’s one silver lining on this game, it’s Wright’s performance. He gave up a few runs, however he stablized things just a bit for the O’s. Well, that might be a bit strong of a term. Let’s say he settled things just a bit. Wright’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

Chris Davis provided for the Orioles’ lone run of the game until the end, on a solo homer in the second inning. Danny Valencia and Caleb Joseph would add solo shots in the last of the eighth, Schoop a two-RBI double along with a few other runs in the ninth as well. However this was also the third consecutive poor start for Bundy. Now I always say that pitchers will have about ten poor starts a year. However the fact that he’s seemingly fallen so far so fast is something that makes one raised an eyebrow.

Bundy was topping out on his fastball this evening in the high 80’s. Bundy isn’t a flame thrower by any means, however he usually has a bit more velocity than that. In general, Bundy’s what one might call a finesse pitcher, who either pitches-to-contact or fools hitters with late movement and deception. That obviously didn’t happen tonight, and it hasn’t happened for a few weeks.

So my question is whether or not Bundy’s 100% healthy. The consecutive poor starts you can almost overlook – those things are going to happen. But the down tick in velocity combined with the poor starts kind of jumps out at you. Keep in mind that this is a guy who’s already had Tommy John surgery. Not that it should mean anything, but he’s already had it.

My point would be that it might do the Orioles well to have Bundy examined in some manner, because it wouldn’t hurt to ensure that he’s pitching with a full deck. Because the other issue could then become that it’s a mechanical issue. So pick your poison. Ultimately there’s something going on, because Bundy this evening became the first pitcher in the live ball era (1920-present) to give up four homers and not record an out in the first inning of a game.

When the dust settled in this game Kansas City beat the Orioles 15-7. Now mind you, this isn’t scientific – I’m going squarely based on seeing the game and analyzing this team for quite a few years. However a vast majority of the Kansas City runs (or “big moments”) came on two-strike counts. Many of the homers and even the base hits that came before the homers carried two-strike counts.

This has been a problem for the Orioles for some time. It dates back at least to 2016 – again based on my perception of the games. It’s something we saw at times in Spring Training as well. In fact, I wrote about it in Spring Training. The Orioles just can’t seem to get guys out with two strikes.

I can’t tell you what the issue is. Are the Orioles just very predictable in terms of their pitch selections and locations? Is someone stealing signs? Or is it simply a grand coincidence? Any one of those scenarios is possible – as are others. But perhaps it’s something that should be looked into. Surely if there’s a pattern and/or if something’s happening that’s tipping pitches, if opponents are able to pick up on it the Orioles’ coaches would be also.

The series continues tomorrow evening at Camden Yards as the O’s try to get even. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Eric Skoglund. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy struggles but small stones knock Birds from the sky

Dylan Bundy actually had a better start for the Baltimore Orioles last night in Anaheim – as opposed to his previous start. Bundy’s line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R (5 earned), 1 BB, 4 K. Bundy was pitching-to-contact all night. And the issue of course was that Anaheim hitters were making contact. Starting with first inning solo homers by Trout and Pujols. This on the heels of a Manny Machado sac fly-RBI which gave the O’s a 1-0 lead in the first.

The job of a starter is to put his team in a position to win. Bundy didn’t necessarily do that last night, however even his three homers surrendered aren’t what killed the O’s last night. It was small mistakes here and there. If you look at the final stat line I posted for Bundy above, you’ll notice that includes two unearned runs. Those made a difference.

Ohtani reached in the fourth on a fielding error by Chris Davis. (Who for the record, later atoned for his mistake with a diving stop of a grounder bound for the right field corner.) Ohtani was doubled home by Simmons, who went to third base on a Machado throwing error. Simmons would later score on the aforementioned grounder that was stopped by Davis – it yielded a run, but it saved the Orioles a further base runner. (Point being that even when he looks fallible, Davis is still an asset in the field.)

Those were two runs that didn’t help matters. Meanwhile the Orioles couldn’t seem to convert any opportunities (such as walks or base hits) into runs. In the fifth they had runners at the corners, and ended up with a strikeout and a GIDP. It’s moments like that which matter in games. If you take away the unearned runs presuming the errors don’t occur and the O’s plate even one run in that fifth inning sequence, that’s two runs saved and one gained – for a total of three runs.

Later in that fifth inning Upton’s two-run homer would chase Bundy from the game, but Anaheim would keep the pressure on. When the smoke cleared, they had totaled ten runs. Add on a Machado RBI-ground out in the eighth, and you have the Birds trailing 10-2 going to the ninth inning.

But keep in mind what I said above. If the O’s can plate a run in a golden opportunity in the fifth and the aforementioned errors don’t happen, it’s 8-3. Oriole bats came alive in the ninth inning, and actually made a run of things. Not a true run because of how far behind they were, but they put up a very respectable inning.

Chris Davis’ RBI-single cut the lead to 10-3, leaving the bases loaded and nobody out. Jace Peterson‘s bases-clearing triple cranked up the heat a bit, cutting the Anaheim lead to 10-6. Trey Mancini would add a sac fly-RBI before it was said and done, leaving the Birds with a 10-7 loss. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you lose by three or eight – you still lose.

But again think back to the opportunities squandered and the run-yielding errors. Removing those things, all things being equal the game is tied at eight and it goes to extra innings. Heck, if the O’s are able to score both runners in that fifth inning sequence, they’d have the lead going to the last of the ninth.

The Orioles have always been a big picture type of team. They’ve always looked at it from the perspective that little things can be let go if you’re able to overcome them later. But at this point in time, the Birds aren’t able to overcome them. That’s why Simmons’ run-scoring double mentioned above didn’t find Trey Mancini’s glove despite his best efforts. And that’s why similarly hit balls find the gloves of opposing players. They’re looking to make those small plays that don’t show up in the box score…

…and perhaps the Orioles aren’t. You can excuse an error because you have a shot at getting the guy out a moment later with a ground ball double-play. But that’s not happening – instead either the next hitter is reaching on a base hit, or he blows down the line and is called safe at first base (staying out of the double-play).

The Orioles aren’t looking for that base hit with a runner on third, or even for a walk. They’re looking for the big blow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but opposing teams are taking advantage of their aggressiveness. Whereas the O’s are sitting on fastballs, pitchers are throwing pitches that look like fastballs – and which eventually sweep low-and-away, or have the bottoms fall out from underneath them. These things need to change if the Orioles are going to improve this season.

The series in Anaheim concludes this evening from Angels stadium. Chris Tillman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Jamie Barria – who’s going to be called up from triple-A to make the start. (What could go wrong there?) Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: If the Birds sell who is possibly in play?

With the manner in which the season has started, many fans are screaming for the Baltimore Orioles to sell. Before I go any further, let me remind you that it’s only the end of April. Granted things have started out as poorly as they could for this team (regarding things that are both controllable and non-controllable), however it’s only April. Even teams that ultimately sell aren’t about to do it now, because it sends a horrible message to you the fans.

But let’s say that the Orioles go ahead and break up the band at some point closer to the deadline. It would be a given that the likes of Manny Machado would be in play. In fact, he’d probably be the guy on whom the Birds would be most focused in terms of moving. You might even move someone like Adam Jones, who’s contract is up at the end of the season. (That sounds tough to hear for sure; but mind you that the O’s could re-acquire Jones as a free agent if there was a mutual interest. And I think there would be.) Anyone else?

How about Dylan Bundy? Or Kevin Gausman? Not to mention Jonathan Schoop…?) Those names might sound more surprising than throwing Jones’ name out there. Of the “youngish” players the Orioles have, those are the most promising for sure. One would think that it would behoove the Orioles to keep them if in fact they decide to sell. Keep them and build around them, right?

In a perfect world, yes. But in the ever-changing landscape of sports and the world, sometimes apparently we have to think outside the box. As I said, those three names are probably the guys who have the most value to the Orioles moving forward. So…would they not have value also on the trade block?

Point being, I suspect that they’d give the Orioles the most bang for their buck in terms of a return haul. Machado or Jones are potentially half-season rentals for a team. Now they’ll still probably bring big league-ready talent in the form of a young minor leaguer. You aren’t going to trade one or both of them for a single-A prospect, which is a step away from a bag of balls.

But the likes of Gausman, Schoop, or Bundy are under team control going into the 2019 season. That makes them more than a half-season rental. And when it comes to trades, that makes one heck of a difference.

I’m not advocating that this takes place. It would leave one heck of a hole in the franchise, and in the immediacy of today it would leave one heck of a hole in the starting rotation and lineup. Furthermore, teams generally like to get pitching in return for a superstar player. So would it make that much sense to sell pitching and get pitching in return?

Again, the point is that selling off some or even all of the aforementioned players would probably bring lots of major league-ready talent in return. And potentially re-stock the Orioles’ farm system as well. But I maintain that all of these decisions come back to one man: Buck Showalter.

Regardless of what we’re seeing on the field now, next year’s managing job is Buck’s if he wants it. I think that John and Lou Angelos (and Peter) would re-sign him now to some sort of extension if he said he wanted to remain in the dugout. And if that were to be the case, he would have a significant say in how the roster shapes up.

In saying that, he’ll probably want some sort of continuity. Now on the flip side, if Buck decides to hang ’em up (or move to the front office, which is also an option I think the Angelos’ would offer him), then I see the Orioles going with a much younger manager next season. Probably a guy who’s been a bench coach for awhile and who the industry feels is ready to take the plunge and become a manager.

And if that ends up being the case, then perhaps they do in fact decide to sell off more pieces – so as to allow that guy (whomever he ends up being) to start from scratch. Young team, young manager. And here’s the other thing folks; I say that as someone who doesn’t put much faith in youth. I’d just as soon as not deal with the brashness and inexperience of youth, as opposed to the steady hand of experience – such as Buck, such as Adam Jones, et al. But going the youth route makes sense, if Buck isn’t the manager next year. Time will tell.

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