Results tagged ‘ John Means ’

Baltimore Orioles: Today would have been Opening Day

Today should have been Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles. John Means should be on the bump this afternoon for the Birds against New York. The Inner Harbor should be buzzing, crowds should be gathering at Pickles & Sliders across the street, and people should be raring to get into Oriole Park at Camden Yards for batting practice.

But as we all know, none of that is happening today. First and foremost, I feel badly for the players and fans. Today should be a holiday with a carnival atmosphere. Instead it’s the reality with which we’ve all been living the past couple of weeks. It’s just – nothing. (Now in all honesty, just sitting here penning this column does give me a certain twinge of normalcy.)

However I feel very badly for the businesses around the ballpark who rely on the Orioles to be vibrant. Pickles and Sliders across the street are just the two most prominent examples. However there are countless street vendors, store owners, restaurant owners, hoteliers, etc., who rely on a boon from people attending Orioles games everyday. Heck, Opening Day on it’s own is a huge amount of revenue. It will be back; this much we know. But in the immediate interim that doesn’t help the business owners, all of whom are hurting.

However MLB’s indicated that perhaps there’s some light at the end of the tunnel in this. Please note the word perhaps. If the Coronavirus is still ravaging our shores, baseball obviously won’t be played. There have been a lot of scenarios discussed, including a “doomsday scenario” which has no games being played. Meaning that the season would be canceled.

However the one scenario that seems to be gaining steam (according to multiple reports yesterday) is starting the season in early June. The regular season would then go into October, and the post-season in November. That would probably include neutral site post-season games in warm weather cities or domes.

What’s unclear is whether or not 162 games would be played. The Player’s Association has indicated that they’d be willing to accept scenario’s where it’s members played up to two doubleheaders a week to beef up the number of games. That isn’t to say that it would still get teams to 162 games, however.

What’s also unclear is if they’re just going to keep the schedule as it is and move the dates back. However my own personal twist on this would be for the league to suspend interleague play for this season, which would trim several games off the schedule. Games which theoretically would have been unnecessary anyways – because when was the last time interleague play figured into who made the playoffs and who did not?

Either way, I think they’ll need to reshuffle the schedule. I think that’s a given. Especially if doubleheaders are going to be scheduled. And on that note I would submit that they should agree that perhaps Saturdays and one other floating day be deemed the doubleheader days. Perhaps make it so that Fridays and Sundays are never doubleheader days to avoid guys doing it on back-to-back days, however ultimately the more games that can be played the better.

All of that remains in limbo, however. If the Coronavirus remains in play as a factor in our society, baseball won’t start in June. On the flip side however, we might see it before then. Teams will have to resume spring training in some capacity. It’s unclear if that will include exhibition games or just workouts, but it’s possible May could bring us a truncated slate of exhibition games. Time will tell.

In the mean time there’s something that Orioles fans can do today to remind themselves of what should be taking place. First pitch was scheduled for just after 3 PM this afternoon. At that time, go on Facebook (assuming you have a Facebook feed) and check into Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Just as a reminder that today was to be Opening Day. And in hopes that it isn’t too far down the road.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means business for three innings

John Means pitched the deepest into a game as any starter test this spring for the Baltimore Orioles. Which that.’s only three innings, it signifies that pitchers are starting to be stretched out. In other words, the spring is progressing. Means’ line: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Means termed his outing “okay” after coming out of the game. He said that he felt he fell behind a lot, but his changeup saved him (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

Not too bad. It was all right. My fastball command wasn’t there that well. My changeup was kind of my get out of jail free card. It was one of those outings where I fell behind a lot, but the changeup was an eqaulizer. Just need to make sure everything was sharp and everything kind of got better as the game went on. Felt the curveball was better shaped later on, felt like the changeup was there and the heater got better, especially on inside pitches.

Dilson Herrera‘s RBI-single in the second inning put the Orioles in the lead at 1-0. Two innings later in the fourth Rio Ruiz doubled the lead. His solo homer gave the Birds a 2-0 lead.

Stevie Wilkerson‘s RBI-single later in the inning ran the score to 3-0. Philadelphia would get on the board in the sixth with a solo homer by Harrison. Philadelphia would challenge a few times, including loading the bases and allowing a run by a walk in the ninth. But the Orioles’ bullpen got them out of it, securing a 3-2 victory.

The O’s have now won five straight games, and stand at 6-4 on the spring. Now mind you, those five games all came with different lineups, and were in controlled environments. This meaning that both teams scheduled when players would go in and out of the game. But a five-game winning steak is a five game winning streak. It’s good for young players to experience this.

The Orioles return to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow afternoon to take on the Tampa Rays. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Charlie Morton. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ John Means finishes second for AL Rookie of the Year

John Means of the Baltimore Orioles finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. Means had an impressive resume of course, but it wasn’t enough to get him past Houston’s Yordan Alvarez. The Orioles’ Rodrigo Lopez was also the runner up in 2002. The last Oriole to win the award was Greg Olson in 1989.

However just being one of the top three finishers is a feat for Means. And for the Orioles. The fact that an Oriole finished that high should tell us something about the direction of the rebuild. When you combine that with the fact that the Orioles’ minor league system went from being ranked in the 20’s to being top ten in one year, needless to say it bodes well for the future.

I’m sure that both Means and the organization would have loved to have gotten the award. Means certainly had the pedigree in terms of his numbers to win it. But again, even being in the running was pretty special. And combining that with his ASG selection says that the Orioles have a budding star on their hands.

Baltimore Orioles: Should the Birds go after a free agent pitcher?

There are lots of pitchers who will be on the open market in 2019, in theory all pitchers that could be available for the Baltimore Orioles. The question is whether or not the Birds would be in a position to sign a free agent pitcher. Would it make sense?

Tough to say. This isn’t so much about who they might look to sign or who might be available and in play. It’s more about whether or not they should delve into signing one.

First off we need to look at who the Orioles already have that might be penciled into the rotation. I would say that Dylan Bundy, John Means, and Alex Cobb are in line to be starters going into spring training. That’s right, Alex Cobb…remember him? He’s still under contract with the Orioles until 2022. Unless he retires or is traded, expect him to be in the starting rotation. (Although keep in mind that he’s also coming off of season-ending surgery in 2019.)

I think there’s also a legitimate chance that Asher Wojciechowski will get a shot to compete for a starting job also. If his second half from this year continues into spring training, he’ll be in line as a starter. But is there anyone else on the roster who jumps out as a potential starter?

To me, the closest other person on the roster now might be David Hess. He’s started before, obviously. But it’ll take a great spring for him to earn his way onto the roster. So with all of this in mind, there could very well be space for the Orioles to get themselves a free agent pitcher going into the season…

…but who? That’s another discussion for another day.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means closes his season in fashion

John Means was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season for the Baltimore Orioles. Not that it matters, but he probably goes into spring training next year as the staff ace. That aside, he closed his 2019 season this afternoon with a decent outing against Boston at Fenway Park. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

The Birds took an almost immediate lead in this one. Jonathan Villar got aboard almost right away with a base hit, and he scored a moment later in a two-run homer by DJ Stewart. And the O’s appeared off to the races…

…save for the fact that Means surrendered a two1run homer to Bogaerts in the last of the first. Immediately following that homer Martinez would give them the lead at 3-2 with a solo shot of his own. But this day belonged to Means and the Orioles, and that brief blip on the radar wasn’t about to stop them.

Sure enough, Richie Martin‘s solo homer in the second tied the game back up at three. One inning later Renato Nunez‘s solo homer gave them the lead back. Incidentally, Richie Martin is another success story of this season. Of course the Orioles got him in last year’s Rule 5 draft. He had to be on the roster all season, and now moving forward he’s a member of the Orioles in full, meaning they can move him up and down the organization. Whether he’s a major leaguer next year or not remains to be seen. But I think he has a bright future at this level.

The O’s blew the lead open in the sixth. Austin Wynns‘ RBI-single extended the lead to 5-3. Martin would smack an RBI-double, making it 6-3. Jonathan Villar and Trey Mancini would each add RBI-singles as well, giving the Birds an 8-3 lead.

Boston would put up an additional run, and they threatened in the eighth. They had the bases loaded and one out, but the O’s turned a double-play to end the inning. Trey Mancini would also hit his 35th homer of the season to cap off the Birds’ 9-4 victory.

And that brings us to tomorrow – the end of the line. It’s kind of hard to believe that we’ve been doing this since spring games began – back on February 23rd. But the Orioles have now played 161 regular season games. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for following along to this point…

…and beyond. And yes folks, there is a beyond – Birdland Crush covers the Birds 365 days a year! The world certainly doesn’t end tomorrow. Just the season. The Orioles are already closing 2019 in a positive manner by taking a series from Boston at Fenway Park. Tomorrow they’ll try to make it a sweep.

So for the last time this season…the O’s will close the year tomorrow at Fenway Park. It’ll be a bullpen game for the Orioles and they’re yet to announce a starter, however whomever he is will be opposed by Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means a hard-luck loser

The Baltimore Orioles got another great start out of John Means last night against Texas. However the bats were quiet, making Means a hard-luck loser. It’s unfortunately part of being a starting pitcher sometimes in baseball. All Means can do is his job and handle the things he can control. He did that last night, it just didn’t work out. Means’ line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Means is going through a bit of a situation in his personal life, as his father was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. You may remember awhile back when he was placed on the family emergency list – he had traveled home to the Kansas City area to be with his Dad and his family. The Orioles then arrived in Kansas City, where Means turned in one of the best starts of his career in his hometown surrounded by his family. Needless to say, baseball’s a nice distraction for him right now.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the sixth, after playing to a 0-0 tie to that point. Renato Nunez pushed a run across on a sac fly-RBI. However one inning later Solak smacked a two-run homer for Texas, giving them a 2-1 lead. Forsythe’s ninth inning RBI-single in the ninth gave them an insurance run, and Texas beat the O’s 3-1 in game one of four.

Manager Brandon Hyde on Means’ outing (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I didn’t think he was especially sharp in the first, but he really settled down and had a really good changeup going. He was just cruising into the seventh inning. He was throwing the ball really well and just left a changeup out over for the two-run homer. But that really wasn’t the story. He did a great job, but we just didn’t hit with runners in scoring position. We didn’t do a very good job with situational hitting tonight. We had our opportunities. He definitely deserved better, but we just didn’t get it done offensively tonight.

The O’s were 0-for-13 with RISP last night. While it begins and ends with starting pitching, that right there was the game. Had even one of those runners scored, the game unfolds differently.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Brock Burke. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means business in return to his hometown

John Means of the Baltimore Orioles got to watch a dream play out last night in Kansas City. Means’ hometown is about 30 minutes from there, and he grew up a huge Kansas City Royals fan. Athletes dream of playing in their hometown against their hometown team; not only did Means get to do it, but he pitched a gem in doing so. Means’ line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Means was welcomed home in a semi-inauspicious manner, as Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the first on a solo home run by Soler. However Means had some help in this game; that help of course in the form of Oriole bats. Pedro Severino‘s RBI-single in the second tied the game at one. Kansas City never had the lead or even got close again.

Anthony Santander smacked a three-run homer in the third, and the O’s were off to the races. Severino would add another RBI-single later in the inning, and Richie Martin a sac fly-RBI. Kansas City’s other lone run came on an RBI-single by Cuthbert in the last of the fourth. Other than that, Means kept them off the board.

And for their part the Orioles couldn’t stay off the board. Hanser Alberto‘s two-RBI single in the fifth opened the game up wide. Jonathan Villar would later steal home in the seventh to give the O’s a 9-2 lead. When all was said and done and the smoke cleared, the Orioles had defeated Kansas City 14-2.

Oriole bats were huge in winning this game – that goes without saying. But you have to feel good for John Means, who was able to provide such a dominant performance in his hometown in front of his parents and other family and friends. Means on the outing (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports:

It almost felt like my debut. I had so many friends and family here. The first inning, a little butterflies, you know in my home ballpark. But it was a cool experience. I didn’t think I would ever make it here, to be honest with you. It was always my dream, but I was a realist as a kid; I’ll probably have to get another job. But it was really cool. The big crown in center field. I grew up (and) probably came to 200 games here in my lifetime. I’m definitely familiar with the park.

Means seems like he understands what a cool moment he was afforded last night. And in saying that I mean the opportunity to get to play in his hometown, albeit as a visitor. Not every athlete gets to do that. Not only was he afforded that opportunity, but he seized it and ran with it. Pitching a gem like that in what amounts to his home ballpark is probably something that neither he nor his parents will ever forget.

The series continues tonight at Kauffman Stadium. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the I’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Jorge Lopez. Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: What’s the goal for the second half?

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB remain on the all-star break – for today. With the exception of Texas and Houston, who play tonight. But I digress. The second half opens in earnest tomorrow.

I would still question why John Means didn’t get into the All-Star game Tuesday night. It’s not just Means who deserves an explanations to why he didn’t get into the game. Orioles’ fans deserve to know why not one of their players appeared in the game. Yes, they have the worst record in baseball. But Means deserved to be on the roster, and has better numbers than some of the guys who did pitch.

That aside, Tampa comes to town tomorrow to open the unofficial second half of the season. What should the Orioles’ goal be for that second half? It’s too simplistic to say win as many games as they can. That should go without saying. It what goals should they have?

I’ll throw out a few. First off, they need to figure out what they’re doing at the trade deadline at the end of the month. If one or more guys end up getting traded, then the organization needs to figure out who takes their place on the roster. Basically, which prospects will get to come up. If that happens, the organization needs to ensure that they get it right.

Another goal should be to button up defensive miscues. Over the course of the first half several miscues haunted the Orioles in games. In some instances these miscues did cost the Orioles games. In others they piled onto a score that ended up getting out of control. Either way, it needs to stop.

And I stand by what I said at the beginning of the season. The goal is to win more than 47 games (last year’s total). They’re currently at 27; if they can win more than 20 games for the remainder of the season, it’ll have been a success on some level.

Anything on top of that is gravy, folks. Enjoy the last day of the break!

Baltimore Orioles: John Means stays in the pen

The Baltimore Orioles had one all-star in John Means. And in last night’s All-Star game in Cleveland, he didn’t get into the game. The American League defeated the National League 4-3 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of this. Especially now that there’s nothing at stake in the game – as in it’s an exhibition again – I think that every player on the roster should somehow get into the game. That isn’t a rule, however it’s just how I see things.

As I’ve said before, I think that fans of all teams should have the right to watch the All-Star game and have a member of their team in the game. That means he should play in the game. But ultimately, Means didn’t play. However he was still an all-star. Nothing can take that away from him.

Baltimore Orioles’ John Means to represent Birdland in Cleveland

The Baltimore Orioles will be represented by pitcher John Means at tonight’s MLB All-Star game. Means was selected last week as the Orioles’ representative, and will be eligible to pitch in the game. He’ll be out in the bullpen, at least for the beginning.

There are some who decry the rule, however I support the idea that every team has to have a representative on the All-Star team. MLB and the NFL both have this rule, however the NBA and NHL do not. I’ve always believed that fans in every town should have the right to sit down and watch the All-Star game, and have a member of his or her home team on the roster.

Not only that, but each team should be represented in the game. It’s not enough to just have someone on the roster as a token representative. Managers and coaches should find a way to get that guy into the game as well. If that means using a starting pitcher as a match-up reliever, do it. If it means using someone merely as a pinch-runner late in the game, go for it. Fans want to see their players in the game. Find a way to get them in.

Again, there are plenty of folks who disagree with me. Many prefer how the NBA and NHL do things. If you like watching 13-12 hockey games and 180-170 basketball games, be my guest. Furthermore you have to give people a reason to tune in. Sure people want to see the stars, and for sure the stars are there. But the quickest way to get people not to tune in is to not have a member of their team in the game.

The good news is that the game is once again an exhibition. The era of the game deciding home field advantage in the World Series is over. So enjoy the game tonight, Birdland, and riot on John Means!

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