Results tagged ‘ Manny Machado ’

Baltimore Orioles: Did Manny Machado hoodwink the Birds?

There’ll never come a time when I won’t believe that the beginnings of this year’s problems with the Baltimore Orioles didn’t come when they caved to Manny Machado‘s demands to play shortstop. This occurred during the winter meetings last year; Machado basically told Buck Showalter and company that he didn’t want to guard the hot corner any longer. And for one reason or another, the Orioles acquiesced to his demand.

I said at the time that was misguided, and I stand by that. I’m not sure what went into the decision to allow Manny to choose his position or who had the final say, but that’s what happened. If that was a message to Manny that the Orioles wanted to play ball and keep him, it certainly didn’t work – although the way the season has played out had a role in that also.

Now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Machado is…playing third base regularly. Uh, excuse me?! Los Angeles’ regular third baseman, Justin Turner, is out with an injury. So in essence Machado’s just temporarily filling the role. However manager Dave Roberts made it clear that Manny kind of jumped at the chance to help (quote courtesy of Andy McCullough, L.A. Times):

He was traded here to be a shortstop, and we understand that. But the conversation that I’ve had with Manny last night was easy, and one that I anticipated, where he wanted to do whatever it was to help the ballclub, and help us win. I know he sees himself as a shortstop, as do we. But in this time, where Justin’s on the DL, it makes a lot of sense to have him play third.

In my view, that hardly sounds like the Manny Machado who informed the Orioles that he wanted to play shortstop instead of third. Granted when your team’s in a bind you try to do what you can to fill in. But here’s the flip side; Tim Beckham was injured for much of the first half, and he’s who replaced Machado at third base. Was there ever talk of Machado filling in at third with the Orioles?

It’s possible that Buck Showalter never approached him about it. It’s also possible that if he didn’t approach him about it, that was done because Buck had given Manny his word about playing shortstop. However all of that is provided that you aren’t needed elsewhere.

I’m not suggesting that Machado lollygagged through his time in Baltimore, or that he treated the Orioles overall like they didn’t matter. I’m just saying that he seemed to have no problem making the switch in L.A. now that he’s there. But literally given the exact same circumstances, that didn’t happen in Baltimore – for one reason or the other.

Baltimore Orioles have to move on from Manny Machado

The Manny Machado-less Baltimore Orioles are in Toronto this evening to open up the second half of the season with a three-game set on the road against their AL East rivals. I do find it interesting that we still call the post-All Star break the second half. The Birds have already played 97 games, which is 16 more than halfway through the season. But I digress.

This has been a tough week for the Orioles, and I’m not talking personally per se. Machado had a lot of friends in the clubhouse, all of whom are sad to see him go. But the very public departure and the lead up to said departure of a player wears on a team. The trade discussions were already hot as it was, but the fire really got hot when Machado was lifted from Sunday’s game against Texas. While the official reason was a wet field in the wake of a rain delay (which in theory was true), we obviously knew something was up.

However all of that needs to be in the past now. It goes without saying that the Orioles aren’t in contention, nor could they potentially play their way back into contention. But the season’s still on. There in fact does appear to be a new direction in which the franchise is heading, and that has to begin tonight. Granted, the roster might well look different in a week. However the players that remain now, tomorrow, and onward need to put this out of their minds and just play ball.

In effect, I’m saying that the term I used in the first sentence (the Manny Machado-less Orioles) isn’t one that should really be used. They aren’t the Machado-less Orioles, nor will they be the Britton-less Orioles or the Jones-less Orioles. They’re the Orioles. If players keep in their minds that this player or that one is now gone and question how they’re going to go on as a team (in the manner that some fans do), things will go from bad to worse.

The Orioles will have to make a roster move prior to this evening’s game, for the mere reason that they’ll need to fill Machado’s slot on the roster. It’s unclear who will be coming up, but the Orioles will announce something before the game. Incidentally, while the Birds do open the second half on the road, it’s really just a one-series trip. Monday they’ll be back at Camden Yards for a homestand that includes Boston and Tampa.

The series at Rogers Center opens this evening. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Sam Gaviglio. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado heads off into the sunset

As I was heading into a movie theater yesterday evening official word came that the Baltimore Orioles had traded Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’ll be their starting shortstop tomorrow evening when they resume their season with a three-game set in Milwaukee. For what it’s worth, Los Angeles will then head to the east coast for a three-game set starting Monday in Philadelphia. So Orioles fans could make the trek up there if they wanted to see Manny one final time. Somehow I suspect that the reception from the phans up there won’t be quite as rosy as it was when he visited as an Oriole and they thought he might be traded there.

However that aside, I do think that Orioles fans have a reason for some optimism on a day where one might feel apt to feel sorrowful. First off, everyone wishes that they could have kept Machado. Speaking for myself, I feel that I grew up as a writer during the time when he was with the Orioles. And certainly there’s a connection with fans, seeing that Baltimore tends to embrace it’s athletes as it’s own.

But my hope is that fans won’t look so much as the not running out ground balls, the infamous bat toss against Oakland, or the act of forcing the team to move him to shortstop. Consequently, I also hope that fans don’t remember his departure simply because he couldn’t re-sign here and the team needed to deconstruct and rebuild. My hope is that fans never forget the fact that his time in an Orioles’ uniform coincided with a surprise return to glory for the Birds. It’s the same as ending any other relationship in life, be it due to breakup, divorce, or death; remember the good times.

The real reason however that fans should be optimistic is due to the fact that the Orioles got five prospects in return for Machado: Yusniel Diaz (OF), Breyvic Valera (IF), Rylan Bannon (IF), Dean Kremer (RHP), and Zach Pop (RHP). As I wrote yesterday, Diaz is the centerpiece of the trade from the Orioles’ perspective, and he very well could slide into the right field role in the future. He was assigned to double-A Bowie, along with Bannon, Kremer, and Pop. Valera was optioned to triple-A Norfolk. There was no money or international signing bonus slots that changed hands. It was a straight up 5-for-1 swap.

Keep in mind folks, these guys are all prospects. It’s tough to say how any of them turns out. It sounds like Diaz, who hit two homers in the future’s game on Sunday, could very well end up in the big leagues at some point in the future. He’s been called “a stud” by several scouts. But if one or two of the other guys ends up in the big leagues somehow, at the end of the day it’ll look like a good trade. Needless to say however, the Orioles got great value for Machado. At one point fans were writing into this site and tweeting at me saying that if all they could get was a low A prospect, they should take that. They got a lot more than that.

Dan Duquette also addressed the local media yesterday after the trade became official, saying all of the pertinent things such as it was hard to part with Manny and so forth. However he also committed the franchise to a rebuild in a sense (all quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

We’re going to take a look at trading the veteran players. Our veteran players have done a nice job for us, but the ones that are nearing free agency, I think we need to evaluate our club going forward and at this time of year, the competitors are looking for the veteran players who have been seasoned in pennant races, as have our players. And we’re going to look to maximize that opportunity on the market and try to find as many good, young players as we can to deepen our farm system.

In conjunction with that, we’re also going to be making significant investments this offseason in technology and analytics. We’re going to become more active on the international market and invest in our facilities and strengthen our overall baseball operation. That’s part of a plan that we have to have to get the Orioles back to competitiveness. But this is just the first step in a new direction.

Duquette was also asked if there was a chance that the rebuilding process might get shorter based on the moves the Orioles could potentially make in the coming weeks:

Well, we hope so. It’s a growing process, but the clubs that have done it recently have given us an instructive road map in what to follow and I think we have a good idea of what it takes to be consistently good. The thing about the American League East is it identifies your strength and it also identifies your weakness. We have identified a number of weaknesses we need to shore up as we move forward to have a competitive club. Certainly to compete against the really strong clubs in the American League East.

Duquette also talks like a guy who’s going to be around longer than just this year. That’s very much up in the air, as is the Orioles’ ownership situation. But Duquette went on to say that he wants to remain here:

Well, I think everybody understands the changes that we need to make and Orioles fans should know how deeply committed we are to that plan of making these important adjustments. And like I said before, my heart is in Baltimore and I’d like to make the Orioles into a top contending organization again. Like I said, today’s a new direction for the organization. I’m glad to be helping the club go in that direction.

Maybe he has a handshake agreement with John and Lou Angelos to stay with the club. Maybe he’s just being coy or saying the right thing. Who knows? All we can say for sure is that regardless of who manages the team and/or acts as the GM after this year, the organization appears committed to a rebuild along with a commitment to analytics among other things. This is a good start, and it sounds like more changes are coming down the pike. And again, that should give fans a reason for optimism.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado potentially to head west today

Let the official record show that Manny Machado started and played in last night’s MLB All-Star Game as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. This of course amid speculation that Machado is on his way out of Baltimore, the suitor du jour being the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yesterday I wrote that he appeared earmarked for Philadelphia – because that’s what the tea leaves were saying at the time. But when people have asked me since the beginning of the season, I’ve always said I thought he’d end up in Dodger Blue. Call it a hunch.

Machado went 0-for-2 in the game at the plate before being lifted. The American League ended up winning 8-6, in an All-Star Game that set a record with ten homers. There were also 25 strikeouts in the game. Both of those numbers are largely indicative of where the game is and where it’s continually going right now. Incidentally, the game also went extra innings, finishing just before midnight after ten innings.

It’s been reported that Los Angeles Dodger prospects Yusniel DiazErrol Robinson, and possibly others are in play to be coming back to the Orioles. Diaz specifically has been referred to as an absolute stud by numerous people. He was in D.C. on Sunday playing in the future’s game, and he smacked two home runs.

Diaz is also a right fielder, which is a position that the Orioles have struggled to fill since Markakis departed. Robinson is an infielder who’s currently in single-A, but is showing some promise. Not that it matters, but he’s also a Maryland native. Maybe that vouches for something.

The fan reaction on twitter among other media is one of sorrow. And I suppose I understand that to a certain degree. Nobody wants to part with a talent like Manny Machado. But fans should also keep in mind that it sounds like the Orioles are having the opportunity to hand-pick from Los Angeles’ farm system. This trade could very easily work out well for the Orioles down the road.

I think that the way you have to look at it is that Baltimore (perhaps more so than any other city) really embraces it’s athletes. That’s why it’s so tough to see Machado go, because he has rapport with the fans and the city. But he’s not “walking,” per se. The Birds are getting something – a lot, actually – back for him. The next generation of Baltimore stars to be embraced may well come in this deal.

Diaz appears to be the centerpiece of the deal from the Orioles’ perspective, but I’ve heard that as many as five prospects total may head to the Orioles. If that’s true, they will have all but gutted Los Angeles’ farm system. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

What’s also unclear is whether or not any of the players would make an impact at the big league level right away. Diaz might have a shot at being brought up immediately, but odds are the rest of the players will need more seasoning – perhaps even Diaz. But ultimately time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Manny Machado as good as gone?

Manny Machado will be the starting shortstop for the American League in tonight’s All-Star game, representing the Baltimore Orioles. However as everyone knows, that’s far from the big story line right now involving Machado. It appears that come Friday night, Manny Machado will be wearing a different uniform than the orange and black.

It was reported yesterday that the Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies had a “handshake deal” to send Machado to Philadelphia. Some reporters (mainly Philadelphia reporters) even said that the deal would become official on Wednesday. The Orioles have refuted that claim, saying that they were close to a deal (not naming any team specifically with whom they were close), but that nothing had been agreed upon.

I’m willing to believe that there probably is a handshake agreement in place. I’m also willing to believe that someone on the Philadelphia side leaked it out. And if that’s true, it’s probably to the detriment of that team. Because it would stand to reason that other suitors would then have the option of upping their offer. Are we to believe that the Orioles wouldn’t go back on said handshake agreement if they could better their team even more?

But ultimately this is just posturing. Many fans are frustrated because of the risk for injury and so forth. It goes without saying that if Machado were to rip up his ACL in the all-star game tonight, any potential deal would be off. Would that be the Orioles’ luck? Probably. But think about it…how many players sustain serious injuries in the all-star game?

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado finish lackluster first half strong

The usual question hung over the Baltimore Orioles going into yesterday afternoon’s game; was it Manny Machado‘s last game with the team? Ultimately we have no way of knowing. But one of these days it actually will be.

This series finale with Texas was a bullpen game for the Orioles. While Miguel Castro got the start, the plan was never for him to pitch long enough to qualify for the win. Especially seeing that he loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with nobody out, and then gave up a grand slam to Guzman. Castro’s line: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

But the O’s began the battle to come back almost immediately. Machado smacked a solo homer in the last of the first to cut the lead to 4-1. It’s tough to come back from a first inning grand slam, but the Orioles found a way. They cut the lead to 4-2 two innings later on Caleb Joseph‘s RBI-double.

But that third inning was the key one for the Orioles. Perhaps it’ll go on to represent the moment when things changed for the team this year for all we know. Probably not in terms of being in contention, however more so for respectability. The O’s have picked up one run here and there over the course of the season throughout games. Finally, it seems they found a way to achieve a big inning.

In the wake of that Joseph RBI-double, the O’s loaded the bases  for Adam Jones. And he delivered as he has for most of his career with the Birds, swinging at the first pitch and smacking a bases-clearing double down the left field line. That gave the Orioles a 5-4 lead, and it was extended to 6-4 when Jones scored later in the inning due to a throwing error.

Texas’ Choo would hit a solo homer in the eighth, cutting the lead to 6-5. They would also have the tying run on first base in the ninth inning, when Andrus hit a double into the right field corner. It was the type of thing that’s happened to the O’s all season long; an opponent placed the ball just perfectly on the field whereby the tying run was going to be able to come into score with two outs in the ninth inning. It was about to be yet another disappointment for the Orioles late in the game…

…before it wasn’t. Schoop relayed the ball home after Trumbo dug it out of the corner, and nailed the runner at the plate. And it wasn’t even close. And the Orioles won the game, closing out a disappointing first half with a two-game winning streak and by taking two-of-three from Texas.

The real interesting part of the day however came in the middle of the fourth inning when the game was halted by a passing rain shower. The teams sat through a short 26-minute rain delay. When play resumed, Jace Peterson was in the on-deck circle to bat for Manny Machado. While there were no shots of Machado bidding farewell to his teammates or anything along those lines (he sat in the dugout wearing an Orioles sweatshirt), questions circulated around the ballpark.

To their credit, the Orioles dispelled rumors almost immediately by alerting the media that Machado had been lifted as a precautionary measure due to a messy infield. They also said that he would be representing the Orioles at Tuesday’s all-star game in Washington D.C. So he won’t be traded before then, in other words.

I tweeted at the time that it’s pointless to speculate, as the Orioles will release a statement whenever he’s traded. However I will say this; I see it as very possible that the finishing touches on a deal are being made with a suitor. Now that’s only my personal opinion, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s playing elsewhere on Friday when the season resumes. And his own comments after the game sounded somewhat like a guy who knew he was on his way out (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):

Just looking back at everything that’s happened this year, trade rumors, everything, just overall playing with this team has always been incredible. Whether we’ve had our ups and downs this year, it is what it is. Me putting up the numbers I did at shortstop, where people didn’t think I should have made the move in my walk year, but I did. I’m going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It’s just always a blessing. I thank God, I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization, I mean, it’s just been very incredible.

The bit about shortstop was interesting there as well. Almost as if he was reminding his future team that he’s a shortstop. Nevertheless, this was a good team win for the Orioles, and exactly what they needed going into the break. So that’s that – until Friday night.

Baltimore Orioles: Play one team right off another in the Manny Machado sweeepstakes

Dylan Bundy only lasted four innings last night as the Baltimore Orioles fell hard to New York, 9-0. It’s impossible to win when you don’t score any runs, which was the Orioles’ plight last night. Bundy’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

The big blast came in the third with New York already leading 1-0, as Bird smacked a grand slam off the right field foul pole. Obviously New York added to the lead the rest of the night, but that all but ended the competitive portion of the ballgame. And it’s really indicative of the Orioles’ season in a way. Opponents are always able to dig just deep enough to get what they need to beat them. In this case, the ball appeared to be going foul, but stayed just fair enough to smack off the foul pole.

The big story around Camden Yards has been Manny Machado, and where he’s going – and when. New York threw their hat into the ring seeing as they were in Baltimore the first part of this week, and the assumption’s been since then that he was going there. I’ll once again caution against trading a player of his caliber within the division. Even if you get a great haul in return, the fact is that there’s probably another team out there willing to give you just as good a haul. And that has Machado signing a new contract with New York (perhaps even before the current one expires) and living happily ever after for years and years written all over it.

But in the interim, New York is all but doing the Orioles a favor by even being involved. If New York wants him, that means Boston wants him. We also know that the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested. That also means that Arizona has to consider trading for him. And it goes on and on.

If you listen to the national media, many of them point out that the Orioles don’t have nary any leverage in this scenario because Machado would really end up being a rental. (Obviously whichever team trades for him would have his rights until the end of the season – so they could wow him with their culture and find a way to re-sign him.) However with so many teams interested, how exactly do the Orioles not have leverage?

Before last night’s game word circulated that New York had made a “good” offer to the Orioles. So then the Orioles probably went back to Boston and Los Angeles and said this is what’s on the table right now, but I wanted to give you a chance to make a counter-offer. And I suspect that charade has been going on for some time. That ensures the Orioles are going to get a haul in return. This as opposed to the low-A prospect that many people felt they’d get at one point.

Many people tell me that the longer they wait the harder it’ll get to find a deal. It seems to me that it’s quite to the contrary. The deal could get better as they let this drag on. Because in reality the Orioles have until the end of the month. Now I don’t think they’ll wait that long, and in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s traded before the all-star break. But the more they wheel and deal, the more they’re able to play one team off of another. And the better the return gets.

The Orioles were scheduled to be off today, but they’ll take on Philadelphia at home in a makeup game from earlier in the season. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: New York has interest in Manny Machado

It was reported yesterday during the Baltimore Orioles’ doubleheader with New York that the Yankees have contacted the O’s about trading for Manny Machado. The Orioles are listening to offers from plenty of other clubs, however New York certainly is interested. They’re also interested in Zach BrittonBrad Brach, and perhaps a couple of starters.

I’ve said before that I think it’s an incredibly risky move to trade a player of Machado’s caliber within the division. He may well find his way to the Bronx one way or the other (via free agency), but the fact is that teams make trades to better themselves – either now or in the future. The Orioles shouldn’t be in the business of helping New York better themselves.

Now having said that, if some of the above-mentioned players were packaged together to get a nice return, perhaps the Orioles consider it. But even still, there’s a caveat. If the O’s are going to trade with New York, they should get a higher return than they would if they were going to trade with Los Angeles, Chicago, or Milwaukee. In essence, New York should expect to get squeezed as opposed to just making “a nice deal.”

So if Los Angeles was going to offer two prospects, the Orioles would ask for three from New York. Some would say that’s unfair, and a lousy way to do business. That’s up to the beholder, however when it comes to trading a player like Machado to a division rival you don’t want to just win the trade. You want to win the trade running away.

My personal opinion is that he won’t go to New York. Although it certainly would be easy in the sense that he could just switch clubhouses. However keep in mind that New York seems to buy low and sell high. They obtained the likes of Judge for fairly cheap. That can’t be allowed to happen if they’re going to do business with the Orioles.

For now, the O’s should probably be thanking New York for getting into the fray. Because teams such as Los Angeles or Milwaukee now know that they may have to up the ante a bit. Whereas previously if the deal was two players and then went to three when New York got involved, they may need to offer four now. So the Orioles can in essence use New York to get a better deal, but if they’re going to ship Manny to the Bronx they’d better get much better return than they would have gotten from another team. Am I saying that different teams should get different rules? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Baltimore Orioles haunted by errors in extras

The good news for the Baltimore Orioles is that they were in all four games of this series against Seattle. The bad news is that they found ways to lose all four of them. And it was in different manners in each game. In the case of this afternoon, it was a Colby Rasmus error in center field. (Jones had the day off.) This game can play some nasty tricks on you if you allow it to.

The Orioles started Jimmy Yakabonis, who made his first big league start. And with semi-favorable results; Yakabonis’ line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. You might ask why Yakabonis only went four innings; keep in mind that this was in essence a bullpen game for the Orioles given that Bundy is on the DL. And the two runs Yakabonis gave up? A two-run homer by Cruz in the fourth. He’s done that to a lot of people.

But the O’s battled back Manny Machado smacked a solo homer in the fourth. Later in the inning Chris Davis followed with one of their own. And we played on, with a tie score. The Orioles brought in Yefry Ramirez in relief of Yakabonis, who was incredibly impressive. Ramirez pitched three innings and gave up three hits – striking out three hitters as well. Between him and Jakabonis, they put the O’s in a spot to win the game.

But they couldn’t do that, because they couldn’t get a clutch hit. And they were playing against seemingly the most clutch group of guys of all time in Seattle. Segura’s single in the tenth shouldn’t have scored a run. It just shouldn’t have. However Rasmus bobbled the ball, allowing a run to score. Cruz would also send a run-scoring single into the outfield later in the inning, giving Seattle a 4-2 victory and a sweep.

The Orioles can’t seem to get anything right one way or the other. Adam Jones is their leader, he’s having a great season, and he got a well-deserved rest today. And it’s his replacement in the lineup who commits the error which loses the game for the O’s. However we also have to be fair to Rasmus. He certainly didn’t commit that error purposely.

Seattle had a few ducks on the pond in that inning, so the odds of them scoring were already pretty good. But the fact remains that the Orioles find different ways to lose. And again, they were playing a team that only needs a small opening in order to win. Give them a small window, and they find a way to jump through it, make a play, and win a game. And that’s pretty much what they did in all four games in Baltimore.

The Orioles will open a three-game set with Anaheim tomorrow at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Felix Pena. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Nothing says good morning like a Manny Machado game-winning homer

The Baltimore Orioles have had a way of having nearly everything go wrong that could go wrong thus far in 2018. Granted they’ve usually not helped their own cause by controlling what they could control, their luck has usually had a way of being poor. That trend in fact continued last night – it wasn’t technically until early this morning when things turned. And that occurred when Manny Machado stepped to the plate in the 15th inning.

Alex Cobb gave the Orioles yet another quality start, yet wasn’t rewarded with a win. Cobb’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Cobb’s had a rough first half, but he’s also looking like he’s turned a corner. And that’s why I think things could be slightly different for this team in the second half, because the starting pitching has really started to come together in the last month – win or lose. That’s not to say they can get back in the race, but I think things will improve.

We also saw the return of Chris Davis after eight games on the bench. Davis had reportedly been working on a few different approaches over that time. Whatever he was doing seemed to work, as he broke out of his drought and smacked a solo homer in the fifth to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Atlanta would tie it in the seventh on an RBI-double by Camargo, and then take a 2-1 lead on another RBI-double by Culberson in the eighth.

Atlanta had their closer on in the ninth, but keep in mind that the Orioles still had three outs with which to work. Danny Valencia‘s RBI-single tied the game at two, making it a new ballgame. And we thought the Orioles were ending the game as we spoke at that moment. The Birds took the lead later in the inning on Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-double. Chris Davis added a sac fly, followed by an RBI-double by Caleb JosephSteve Wilkerson‘s first big league hit and RBI came in the form of a double in that ninth inning, followed by an RBI-single by Craig Gentry.

When the smoke cleared, the Birds had a 7-3 lead. They appeared poised to win this game over the upstart Atlanta Braves. But then the last of the ninth hit. Atlanta took it all back, plating four runs in the inning to tie it at seven. And into extra’s we went.

Throwing the records and what’s at stake out, the Orioles were the definite underdog going into extra innings. They had just played a late game in Washington on Thursday, and had some travel issues which didn’t get them into Atlanta until about 4 AM on Friday. Yet they battled on into and through extra innings.

I always say that once a game gets past twelve innings it goes into the twilight zone. Strange things start happening. But seeing that as this conventional Orioles team has seen no sunshine yet this year and watched teams who don’t do things so conventionally find ways to beat them, perhaps they needed a few strange things to happen. And by strange, I mean that they somehow found the clutch gene once again.

With Gentry already on base, Machado came to bat and sent a deep shot to left in the top of the 15th. While Atlanta had to come to bat in the bottom of the inning, the game effectively ended at that moment. And just for good measure, Schoop added an RBI-single giving the O’s a 10-7 lead – and a 10-7 win.

Win or lose, the fact that this game went into the 15th inning and featured a 9th inning that saw the teams combine for ten runs made it the most wild game of the year thus far. And in many cases it’s games such as this one which is why people come to the ballpark in the first place. But after playing 15 innings, the Orioles quite simply stated, that’s it for now…on the twilight zone.

With everything else that happened in this game, I don’t want the fact that Steve Wilkerson had a great moment to get lost. Your first big league hit is a notable moment, but his came in the form of an RBI-double which was a part of a major ninth inning rally as well. Nice moment for a promising young player who looks to be aiming to stay at this level.

The series continues this afternoon in Atlanta. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Julio Teheran. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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