Results tagged ‘ Rio Ruiz ’

Baltimore Orioles fall, split with NYM

The Baltimore Orioles stayed hot at the plate last night against the NY Mets. Unfortunately New York’s bats got hot as well, however. And that happened slowly as the game went on. Jorge Lopez didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, but was victimized by the long ball. Lopez’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Renato Nunez and Ryan Mountcastle smacked RBI-singles in the first inning, and the Birds took an early 2-0 lead. New York would get a run back in the last of the second on an RBI-single flew by McNeil. But the good news was that the O’s were getting guys on base, which puts pressure on opposing pitching.

But the O’s were able to open up a bigger lead later on. Rio Ruiz‘s two-RBI double in the third have the O’s a 4-1 lead. Hanser Alberto would add an RBI-single later in the inning. And the Birds held a 5-1 lead.

But even with a decent lead, New York was only a couple of big homers out of the game. McNeil’s two-run home run in the fourth cut the lead to 5-3. Now the Orioles did tack on one more run an inning later. DJ Stewart‘s bar stayed hot, and he hit a solo homer. Stewart is really coming along and of late has really been clicking against big league pitching. That bodes well for the Orioles’ lineup.

But the last of the sixth saw the Orioles’ lead evaporate. Conforto smacked a solo homer, Cano an RBI-single, and Giminez a solo homer of his own. That tied the game at six.

Two innings later Alonzo added a solo homer of his own, giving New York a 7-6 lead, which turned into a 7-6 victory. The O’s had chances in the later innings, but couldn’t bring anyone in. They also should have had at least three additional runs. With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, Rio Ruiz hit what rightfully hooks have been a bases-clearing double…

…but Conforto made an amazing over-the-shoulder catch. That obviously ended the inning as well. That’s to Conforto’s credit, incidentally. At the time the O’s held a slim one-run lead. But it’s a moment on which you look back as a big one in the game. If that ball falls, the Birds sweep the series. Instead they split it.

The O’s now head to the Bronx for a four game set with the New York Yankees. Keegan Akin gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Gerrit Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles defeat Boston, split series

Baltimore Orioles’ starter Wade LeBlanc couldn’t make it out of the first inning yesterday. He surrendered a solo homer to Pillar on the second pitch, but with two outs he called for the trainer. LeBlanc left with what was later deemed elbow soreness, and Thomas Eshelman abruptly took over, pitching very well. Eshelman’s line: 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

The O’s loaded the bases in the last of the first but let Boston off the hook. They also loaded the bases in the last of the third, but weren’t quite as charitable. Rio Ruiz‘s two-RBI single gave the Birds a 2-1 lead. Almost immediately following Ruiz’s single, Andrew Velazquez pushed a bunt down the third base line, scoring a third run for the O’s.

Not a lot of guys are going to bunt with two strikes. And that might be part of the reason why Velazquez did it. Call it the element of surprise, perhaps. Either way it worked, and the O’s ended up with a two-run lead.

Boston however would rally in the fifth. Bogaerts’ RBI-double off the right field scoreboard would get them to within 3-2. However Miguel Castro recorded a strikeout with two outs, ending the threat with the O’s in the lead.

However the O’s got some insurance back in the seventh. Rio Ruiz’s two-RBI double gave them a 5-2 lead. And that turned into a 5-4 victory following Bradley’s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Another example of why insurance runs are important.

As sloppy as the first two games of the series were, the O’s earned a series split with Boston. That makes a world of difference in terms of momentum as they now hit the road. The Wade LeBlanc injury is a concern, and we’ll have to see where he stands moving forward. But tomorrow being an off day, the Orioles could also skip him in the rotation this week and not be too bad off. The Birds will head to Tampa for a series beginning Tuesday night following an off day tomorrow.

Baltimore Orioles: Tough loss on Opening Day

Baltimore Orioles’ starting pitcherTommy Milone dominated Boston in his first ever Opening Day outing. You read that right; he dominated Boston – for about two innings. Milone’s line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

During the first two innings Milone Moses Boston hitters down. He changed speeds very effectively, and seemed to be ready for prime time. However in the third inning once the Boston hitters got a second look at him, he began to struggle.

Milone surrendered four doubles in the third inning, which gave Boston a 4-0 lead. I did find it interesting that manager Brandon Hyde opted to lift Milone. On a normal Opening Day I don’t think that would have happened given the same circumstances. But each game counts approximately 2.5 – 3 times as much as a game in a 162-game schedule. The urgency of today is much greater than it normally would be.

Boston would load the bases in the last of the fourth, and six runs later they led 10-0. They busted the game wide open. And while the O’s burned two different bullpen relievers in that fourth inning, Boston bats were still strong. Often when you wake a team up they find ways to stay hot. And Boston certainly did that tonight.

Part of the issue is that Oriole pitching allowed Boston hitters to get ahead in the count from the get-go. When you get behind in the count you’re pitching from a position of weakness. Thus you end up forced to throw a strike, and the pressure ends up on you. Especially when the bases are loaded. Allowing a Boston hitters to get ahead in the third and fourth innings tonight allowed Boston to run away with the game.

Renato Nunez would smack an RBI-double in the sixth to at least get the Orioles on the board. However Boston came right back with two more runs in the last of the sixth. And they did so once again by smacking doubles – this time off the green monster in left field.

Rio Ruiz brought the Birds to within 13-2 in the seventh as he smacked the Orioles’ first homer of the year. This one of the solo variety. It means little for the sake of this game, because you aren’t coming back from being down 13-2. But Ruiz started to hit for more power in the latter half of last season. And that appears to have continued.

The series continues tomorrow at Fenway Park. Alex Cobb gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Rio Ruiz the answer at third?

Rio Ruiz provided the Baltimore Orioles and their fans with the most memorable moment of the 2019 season, hitting a walk off homer to defeat the Houston Astros in August. (Evidently Houston didn’t have some elaborate cheating scheme going that day at Camden Yards. But I digress.) the big question facing him now is whether or not he’ll be the starting third baseman in 2020.

And the answer to that appears to be yes. If for no other reason, by default. He’s the main third base candidate on the roster right now. Granted that could change, but for now it’s the case. Last year Ruiz started 114 games at the hot corner. Now before people say that whatever the O’s did last year didn’t work, keep in mind that they’re a rebuilding team. They’re trying to find their way.

Incidentally, Ruiz also fielded at a 9.69 clip at third last year. There’s room for improvement, but that means that almost 97% of the time Ruiz wasn’t committing an error. Most teams will take that.

Offense is Ruiz’s bugaboo in a sense. He only hit .232 last year. And he’s struggled at the plate for much of his short career. The Orioles would like to see more production out of that spot in the lineup.

However again, I suspect that Ruiz will be the starting third baseman in Sarasota, and on Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This barring a free agent signing or a trade.

Baltimore Orioles: What was the highlight of 2019?

Baltimore Orioles’ fans knew that the season was going to be void of too many highlights going in. And sure enough, the prognosticators were right. At times the O’s struggled to stay out of elongated losing streaks, much less make highlights to remember. But again, we knew that going in.

But out of the few that we did see, is there one that stands above the rest? Is there one that we can tap as the highlight of the season? That’s a very relative question, the answer to which is certainly up for debate.

However if I had to pick one, it would be Rio Ruiz hitting the walk off home run against the eventual American League Champion Houston Astros on August 11th. It was an emotionally draining game, that saw the O’s chase Houston starter Verlander earlier than Houston would have liked. It was a game in which the Birds had the lead in the ninth, and then lost it in the ninth.

This after the Birds had surrendered 23 runs the night before. Fans at Camden Yards appeared ready to go home after yet another loss, and this one in dramatic fashion. But it wasn’t to be – for Houston, that is. Ruiz came to bat with two on and the O’s trailing by two in the last of the ninth…

…and he smacked a 2-2 changeup onto the flag court in right field. GAME. OVER.

To me, it’s the sum of the parts which makes that the highlight of the season. The 23 runs the night before, losing the lead late in the game that day, and then – redemption! I’m open to other suggestions, but in my opinion that was the highlight of the season.

Baltimore Orioles battle but fall is in Toronto

Gabriel Ynoa made his penultimate start of the year for the Baltimore Orioles last night in Toronto. It was a short outing and far from perfect, but it’ll serve as our last look this year at Ynoa, a pitcher who had his struggles but also surprised a bit this year. Ynoa’s line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Ynoa will finish the year at 1-10, but didn’t pitch horribly in all of those ten losses. Last night he gave up a solo homer to McKinney in the first inning, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. He also gave up a solo homer to Tellez in the fourth. He was lifted after four.

Tellez would homer again in the sixth, extending the Toronto lead to 3-0. But the Orioles battled back in the eighth inning. One thing led to another, and suddenly the bases were loaded…

…and the O’s tried to take advantage. Rio Ruiz grounded for into a fielder’s choice-RBI. That cut the Toronto lead to 3-1. It also left a base open with two outs. That is until Toronto hit a batter, re-loading the bases.

And with the bases loaded again, DJ Stewart walked. That cut the Toronto lead to 3-2. Unfortunately however, that was the furthest the Orioles would get. They ended up falling 3-2 and dropping two-of-three in Toronto.

The O’s are off today before they open up a three-game set in Boston tomorrow night. That will be the final series of the year. The Orioles are also guaranteed not to finish with the worst record in baseball, as Detroit has clinched that dubious honor. So the Birds will pick second in next year’s draft.

Baltimore Orioles: Rio Ruiz walks off a part of Orioles Magic

Every game has a different star, as the Orioles Magic song says, and this afternoon it was Rio Ruiz for the Baltimore Orioles. More on that later. But remember folks, it begins and ends with starting pitching. Asher Wojchiekowski put the O’s in a spot to win today’s game, and with a quality start at that. In fact, he left the game in line to be the winner. Wojchiekowski’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Wojchiekowski retired one of the best lineups in baseball 1-2-3 in the top of the first, throwing only nine pitches in the inning. Houston started perennial all-star Verlander, who was forced to throw 20 pitches in the first. And that included an RBI-double by Jace Peterson, which gave the O’s a 1-0 lead.

Verlander didn’t pitch poorly, just not as good as he normally does. And the Orioles took advantage. Wojchiekowski on the other hand set the tone for the Birds – save for one pitch. He allowed a three-run homer to Correa in the second inning which gave Verlander and Houston a 3-1 lead.

However Trey Mancini would foreshadow the Orioles’ coming heroics with an immediate RBI-single in the last of the second which cut the Houston lead to 3-2. Fans has to be thinking that after seeing the team lose in epic fashion last night, at least they were battling and putting up a fight this afternoon. Little did they know that the Orioles had only begun to fight.

Peterson would smack an RBI-triple in the last of the fifth which tied the game at three. Hanser Alberto would add a sac fly, and before you knew it the O’s had the lead back at 4-3. The O’s would later trade runs in the sixth and seventh with Mancini’s RBI-single, and Altuve’s RBI-groundout. But the Birds took a one-run lead to the last of the ninth.

Mychal Givens has been tapped in the eighth to complete a four-out save. Unfortunately, he began the ninth by putting the first two runners on base. Brantley then smacked one into the right field corner, which Santander bobbled in right. That allowed not only two runs to score, but it gave Brantley the chance to come around and score as well (ruled a triple and an error). Suddenly the O’s trailed 7-5.

As if it wasn’t enough that the O’s had been embarrassed at home by their division rivals all week, or that they had been embarrassed 23-2 the night before, now this. The O’s had a lead and basically at that point were going to lose the game in about as savage a manner as possible. Houston’s one of the best teams in baseball. If there were ever a coup de grace, it was going to be that moment.

But hold on a moment; surely…all was not lost yet, was it?! The O’s still had to come to bat in the last of the ninth. Was it possible that they could do what Houston did and put up three runs? Or would this beleaguered team with it’s beleaguered players and manager just fold up and head to New York for tomorrow’s games?

After putting a runner on base, the Birds came to within 7-6 on Chris Davis‘ sac fly-RBI. But that had to be it, right? They couldn’t come back further to win…not even after Chance Sisco was hit by a pitch and brought the winning run to the plate, could they?

That HBP brought Rio Ruiz to the plate with two outs. He ran the count to two strikes, bringing the O’s to the brink. And at that moment I’m sure that somewhere in this favored town, babies cry and children shout. And somewhere out there a cloud casts a pall; but Baltimore hearts were happy then, for Rio hit the ball.

And he hit it a long way at that – onto the flag court in right field. With that, the Orioles defeated Houston, one of the best teams in baseball, on a walk off home run. Winning the game (and in that manner at that) doesn’t erase the past week or it’s hardships. Heck, it doesn’t erase last night’s angst. But it’s nice to end all of that on a high note. A win counts as one win, margin of victory is unimportant.

With all of that said, Rio Ruiz has put his name in the record books as being a steward of Orioles Magic. He joins the Dempsey’s Ripken’s, Murray’s, Robinson’s, and DeCinces’ of the world in that. And wow did he ever do it with a bang.

The O’s now head to New York for the first game of a doubleheader with New York tomorrow afternoon. Gabriel Ynoa gets the fall for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s James Paxton. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles turn tables on Tampa and create a donnybrook win

John Means showed the world why he was the Baltimore Orioles’ All-Star representative this evening. Means pitched the Birds to a quality start, and quite frankly should have been the winner. Means’ line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 earned), 0 BB, 5 K.

Tampa took a 1-0 lead as they netted a run in the third on a Rio Ruiz error. If you’re an Orioles fan you had to be thinking here we go. However the O’s came back and immediately got the lead. None other than Rio Ruiz smacked a fourth inning three-run homer, and the Birds led 3-1.

But the bottom of the fourth brought Tampa a bit closer on a Brosseau home run. Two innings later they tied the game at three on Garcia’s RBI-single. That’s generally how Tampa does the Orioles; they sit back and look for the smallest glint of daylight whereby they can get a run across, and they go for it.

And it usually works. As an example, after Means had exited and Mychal Givens had entered the game in the eighth, Diaz hit what could have been a fielder’s choice-RBI on a swinging bunt (with a runner on third). Generally that would net a run for Tampa – especially against the Orioles. But Givens was able to tag the runner out from third, preserving the tie. That was one indication that perhaps the tides were turning.

Pedro Severino came up in a similar situation in the top of the ninth. (For the record, the runner was in scoring position due to a Rio Ruiz sac bunt. Ruiz was a huge player in tonight’s game.) However on his swinging bunt (to short) the runner was able to slide in under the tag. Things don’t normally work out that way for the Orioles against Tampa. But there they were, leading 4-3.

Jonathan Villar would extend that lead to 5-3 on an RBI-triple that made it all the way to the wall. Again, usually it’s a Tampa hit just making it under the fielder’s mitt and going all the way to the wall. But tonight it was an Oriole who did it against Tampa.

Trey Mancini would later hit you into what would have been an fielder’s choice and an out. However another run was able to score on an errant throw home, giving the O’s a 6-3 lead. But they weren’t done.

Renato Nunez would come to bat with two runners on, and smack a three-run homer, giving the O’s a 9-3 lead. Now Tampa would come to bat in the last of the ninth and put three runs across, and bring the tying run to the plate. But the O’s escaped with a 9-6 victory. And it happened in a fairly savage manner as well.

Usually it’s Tampa who gets every little bounce, or finds small manners by which to score runs. But tonight that was accomplished by the Orioles. Still however, there was a moment in the end where you almost expected Tampa to walk the Orioles off. The Birds were able to record the final out before things got any closer, however where Tampa would even get the confidence to think they could come from six down in the ninth to win is beyond me. However end of the day, it was the O’s who were victorious on this night at the Trop.

Baltimore Orioles: Did a lack of situational hitting doom the Birds?

The Baltimore Orioles fell 7-2 to Anaheim this afternoon in the middle game of a three-game set. Dylan Bundy got the start, with mixed results. One could argue that Bundy out the Birds in a spot to win early, at least before the game blew up on them in the sixth inning (after Bundy had departed). Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

The O’s found themselves down early, as Pujols smacked a two-run homer in the first inning. However the Orioles tied the game back up at two almost immediately, as Dwight Smith Jr. hit a two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the inning. And Bundy settled down a bit after that, incidentally with a nice shut down inning in the second following the Smith homer.

If you watched the game or if you look at the line score, it appears that the sixth inning won the game for Anaheim. And in fact, that was certainly the big inning. But make no mistake that the seeds of this loss for the Orioles were lain in the last of the third. Yes, while the O’s were at bat.

The Birds led the inning off with two singles, giving them two on and nobody out. Rio Ruiz came to the plate, in a situation that screamed for a bunt. Ruiz, being a lefty, could have easily dragged one down the first base line, possibly even for a base hit. But more importantly that would have put two runners in scoring position, giving the O’s a shot at taking the lead, and perhaps even at a big inning. Instead, Ruiz swung away, and ended up striking out. Anaheim would later pitch out of the inning.

The O’s let them off the hook in a sense, due to either an unwillingness or a lack of an ability to bunt. Ruiz works on his bunting everyday. It was intriguing to me to watch, because Anaheim seemed to know that the situational hitting was poor for the Orioles – the first baseman played back. Basically had Ruiz gotten a bunt down, he had a golden chance to actually reach base safely.

This is part of learning and thus part of the rebuilding process. However you have to play to the scoreboard, and the Orioles didn’t really do that in that moment. A bunt and a base hit would have given them a two-run lead. Heck, a bunt and a sac fly would have given them a one-run lead. So…why swing away?

Without fail, Anaheim held the Orioles accountable almost immediately for the O’s not holding them (Anaheim) accountable. Pujols smacked a second homer, this one a solo shot. That gave them the lead, which they never surrendered. They went onto put up three in the sixth, and one more in the ninth.

You have to hold teams accountable for their mistakes. Because other teams are certainly holding the Orioles accountable. There’s no guarantee that runs would have scored back in the third had Rio Ruiz bunted. The ends could have very well been the same. But you have to think ahead in the game and ask yourself if you’ll ever have this opportunity again in the game. And for the Orioles at least, that generally isn’t happening. If they utilized situational hitting better, they’d have a better record than they do.

The series with Anaheim and the home stand conclude tomorrow at Camden Yards. John Means gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Griffin Canning Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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