Series Recap: Orioles win first road series since mid April with Sunday’s comeback victory

The past few weeks have provided very little highlights for the Orioles as they continued to fall farther down in the standings. Despite winning a series against the Cardinals, the pitching staff found themselves on the verge of a historically bad record. Luckily, the O’s were not only able to prevent this terrible record from happening but also picked up a big road series win.

On Friday the Orioles kicked off the series with a 15-5 loss. The blowout marked the 20th straight game in which the O’s had given up at least five runs.  In case you’re wondering the all time record is 20 games and the Orioles are now tied for that not so prestigious honor.

The opening game appeared out of reach after the fourth when Tampa Bay led 9-4 but the fifth inning really put the nail in the coffin. The Rays managed to score five runs in the inning while only getting one hit. A collection of walks, errors, and sacrifice plays broke the game wide open as Tampa Bay secured an easy win.

Game two was much better for the Birds. With one of the ugliest records staring them in the face, the O’s pitching staff was able to put together a great outing and hold the Rays to just three runs, Dylan Bundy led the effort as he tossed seven strong innings, giving up three runs while striking out eight.

Home runs from Welington Castillo and Adam Jones gave the O’s a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the third. However, the Rays were able to respond with two homers of their own as Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson erased the O’s brief lead.

The score remained tied until the seventh inning when the Orioles broke out and put four runs on the board.  With two outs and two on base, Mark Trumbo stepped into the box and smoked a double into the left center gap. Trey Mancini followed with a home run in the next at bat to make it a 7-3 game.

Donnie Hart and Mychal Givens closed out the final innings, surrendering just one hit each while a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado capped off a 9-3 win for the Orioles.

Sundays rubber match played out to be a closer contest than the first two games. The Orioles got on the board first when Paul Janish hit a two RBI single in the second inning to score Caleb Joseph and Craig Gentry.  The Rays answered with one run in the bottom half of the inning.

Caleb Joseph launched a solo shot in the fourth inning, giving Chris Tillman a little more breathing room. However, the Rays attacked Tillman once again in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 3-2 game. Tillman clearly didn’t have his best stuff but managed to work his way through four innings with the lead intact. The fifth inning is where he really ran into trouble though.

After getting two men on base to start the inning, Evan Longoria came through with a three run homer to give the Rays their first lead of the afternoon. This costly mistake drove Tillman out of the game and forced Buck Showalter to go to the bullpen early yet again.

Trey Mancini stayed hot at the plate in the sixth when he hit his 14th home run of the season to cut the Rays lead to one. The rookie first baseman has been a consistent force on offense all month and this series was no exception. Mancini went 5/11 at the plate against the Rays this weekend with five RBI’s.

The bullpen was able to hold the Rays to just five runs as the offense made their comeback. Crichton, Bleier, and O’Day gave up a collective three hits in 2.2 innings of relief allowing Jonathan Schoop to tie the game in the eighth with a leadoff homer.

The O’s offense didn’t quit after tying the game and scrapped their way to another three runs in the ninth. Joey Rickard started by hitting a ground rule double into left to score Caleb Joseph and Manny Machado was intentionally walked in the next at bat to load the bases. This set up the second run as Jonathan Schoop was hit by a pitch for the second time in Sundays game. The third and final run came via a sacrifice fly from Adam Jones and the Orioles won 8-5.

The Orioles will stay on the road in the coming days as they travel to Toronto for another AL East matchup. The Blue Jays have improved since their early season woes but still fins themselves in the basement of the division standings. The O;s will look to stay hot and hopefully pick up more road wins.

Image Credit: Baltimore Sun

Series Preview: Orioles head to Tropicana Field for first time this season

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — With a disappointing series loss to the Indians at home fresh in their minds, the Orioles will head south for a three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are surprisingly in contention this season. Tampa Bay is on a two-game winning streak after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds at the Trop.

Standings Update: The Rays (39-36) man the third place slot in the American League East, and are 2.5 games behind both the Yankees (39-31) and the Red Sox (40-32), who are tied for first place. The Orioles and Blue Jays are tied for last place in the division with a shared 35-37 record.

Season Series vs. Rays: The Orioles have only played the Rays three times this season; a three game series at Camden Yards from April 24-26. The Birds won the series 2-1, winning game one, 6-3, and game three, 5-4. Tampa Bay won game two, 2-0. It was the second time the O’s have been shut out this season, and the second time in six games.

Serious Road Woes: To say that the O’s have struggled on the road this season would be an understatement. The Birds are 11-23 away from Camden Yards, and the pitching staff has been a nightmare, with a 6.14 road ERA. That mark is the worst in the majors, with the San Francisco Giants being the 29th ranked road ERA at 5.71. The Orioles actually have a slightly better batting average on the road (.256) than at home (.255), but clearly the struggling pitching outweigh that feat.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups: 

Game 1Friday, June 23, 7:10 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 6.25 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (5-4, 3.75 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Saturday, June 24, 4:10 pm – Dylan Bundy (7-6, 3.72 ERA) vs. Jacob Faria (3-0, 1.37 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Sunday, June 25, 1:10 pm – Chris Tillman (1-5, 8.39 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.78 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Bundy has not pitched well at the Trop so far in his career. In two starts, he has pitched a combined seven innings, allowing nine earned runs on 12 hits, five walks, and 11 strikeouts.
  • The Orioles held Adam Jones out of the lineup on Thursday to rest his legs, as the next six games the Orioles are playing will take place on artificial turf.
  • Closer Zach Britton, currently on the 60-day disabled list, pitched in Aberdeen on Tuesday. He started, pitching a scoreless inning on 12 pitches. Britton is not eligible to come off the DL until July 5, and the expectation is that he will be back immediately after the All-Star Break (July 10-13), if not before.
  • Darren O’Day is expected to come off of the disabled list on Friday. Immediately after Thursday night’s 6-3 loss, reliever Gabriel Ynoa was optioned to Triple-A.
  • The Orioles pitching staff has allowed five or more runs in 19 straight games. That’s an American League Record, and the MLB record is 20 games, set by the Phillies in 1920.
  • Manager Buck Showalter missed Thursday night’s game to be in Dallas for the birth of his first grandchild. Bench Coach John Russell managed the team in Showalter’s place. Buck will meet the team in St. Petersburg on Friday.

Notes on the Rays: 

  • Left fielder Corey Dickerson is Tampa Bay’s top offensive performer this season, with a .326 average in 288 at-bats. He has 94 hits, 20 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, and 37 RBI.
  • In his one start against the O’s this season, Archer allowed five runs over 6.2 innings (6H/5BB/5SO) in a 6-3 Rays loss.
  • Longtime Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has a lifetime .265 average against the Orioles, but he has hit more home runs against the Birds (35) than any other team he has faced in his career.

Up Next: Following an off-day on Monday (their first off day in 20 days), the Orioles will play the second half of this six-game road trip in Toronto for a three-game set with the Blue Jays. All three games, Tuesday through Thursday, have a 7:07 pm start time.

Image credit: Sports Chat Place

 

Series Recap: Orioles remain in last place following series loss to Cleveland

The Orioles finally put together a series win last week when they took 2/3 from the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The home stand continued into this week with the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians coming to town for a four game series.

Unfortunately the Orioles were not able to compensate for their poor pitching in this series like they did against the Cardinals. The O’s scrapped their way to a comeback victory on Tuesday but couldn’t find similar success as the series continued.

The O’s looked completely outmatched in the series opener on Monday. Cleveland’s offense was able to cross the plate for 12 runs while Cory Kluber gave up just three hits in a complete game shutout.

Dylan Bundy took the mound and the loss, giving up six runs over 4.1 innings. After starting the season as the Orioles clear number one pitcher, Bundy has fallen into the same slump that plagues the rest of the rotation. Following his excellent start against New York in late May, Bundy held an ERA of 2.89. In the four starts since, his ERA has climbed to 3.72.

Game two was much more exciting than the first and featured an Orioles comeback victory. Manny Machado led the way by going 4/4 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI’s. In the fifth inning Machado hit his second homer of the night to tie the game at 5-5.

Machado came through once again in the seventh with a double off the right field wall. The ball was smoked and almost found its way out of the park. Adam Jones was able to match Manny’s double in the very next at bat, bringing in the go-ahead run.

The bullpen was even more impressive, keeping the Indians off the board through the final five innings. Bleier, Castro, Givens, and Brach all had excellent performances to close out the 6-5 win. Castro showed great poise as he picked up the first win of his career. The young pitcher entered the game in the seventh with the bases loaded and was able to get the final two outs without surrendering run.

The Orioles had a shot at another comeback on Wednesday but ultimately came up short and lost 5-1. Down 3-0 in the seventh inning, the Orioles started a potential comeback by loading the bases with no outs. However, this brief outburst of offense was quickly shut down by Terry Francona. The manager wasted no time going to his bullpen and grabbing Andrew Miller in order to get out of the jam.

Joey Rickard pinch hit for Hyun Soo Kim and hit a grounder to third base. While Rickard was able to reach first base on the play, the lead runner was cut down at home plate and the O’s remained scoreless. Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejada struck out in the ensuing at bats to strand the game-tying runs.

The series finale started with a very rare Orioles lead. Seth Smith hit his fourth leadoff homer of the season to give the O’s a quick 1-0 advantage. That didn’t last long though as the Indians scored two runs in both the second and third innings to take a 4-2 lead. Cleveland added two more runs before the game ended as they cruised to a 6-3 win and series victory.

The Orioles will hit the road tomorrow for two series against the Rays and Blue Jays. With the Birds still sitting at the bottom of the AL East standings, they will take all the divisional matchups they can get as they look to climb back into contention.

Photo by Rob Carr – Getty Images

Podcast: WBAL’s Pete Gilbert breaks down the latest Orioles & Ravens tidbits

Welcome to the latest edition of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast! On today’s episode, WBAL TV & Radio Sportscaster Pete Gilbert joins Jake McDonnell for a mid-June discussion on the Orioles and Ravens.

The Orioles just took two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend, and are getting ready to face the defending American League Champions, the Cleveland Indians, in a four-game series this week at Camden Yards. What does the J.J. Hardy injury mean for the team? Will the pitching improve? What’s going on with the Yankees?

After some baseball talk, the conversation shifts over to football, as the Ravens wrapped up mandatory mini-camp last week. With training camp a month away, how will the Ravens address the offensive line? What needs to happen on offense for the team to compete in 2017? Who will win the middle linebacker and slot cornerback spots on defense? All of this and more on this episode.

Be sure to check out Pete’s work at WBAL, and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or SoundCloud. Thanks for listening!

Series Preview: Defending American League Champions coming to Camden Yards

BALTIMORE, MD — After taking two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend, the Orioles will conclude their seven-game home-stand with a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians, who are the defending American League champions.

Standings: The Orioles (34-34) enter the series in fourth place in the AL East. They are 4.5 games behind the Yankees (38-29) and the Red Sox (39-30), who are tied for first place. The Yankees have lost six straight games. 

With the Twins (34-33) going 3-7 in their last 10 games, the Indians (36-31) have overtaken first place in the AL Central. Minnesota is just two games behind the Tribe, with the other three teams in the division having losing records.

Last Meeting: The Orioles went 5-1 against the Indians in 2016, including a three-game sweep at Camden Yards in July. The O’s picked up 5-1, 5-2, and 5-3 wins, with Mark Trumbo hitting home runs in two of the three games. Kevin Gausman had a seven-inning, seven strikeout, scoreless start. Nolan Reimold hit a walk-off three-run home run in the third game.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups: 

Game 1Monday, June 19, 7:05 pm – Corey Kluber (5-2, 4.15 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (7-5, 3.29 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Tuesday, June 20, 7:05 pm – Josh Tomlin (4-8, 5.83 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (1-5, 8.07 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Wednesday, June 21, 7:05 pm – Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 3.21 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-6, 6.60 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 4Thursday, June 22, 7:05 pm – Pitching Matchup TBD – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Indians:

  • Tomlin has struggled at Camden Yards in his three career starts, allowing 14 runs on 20 hits, four walks, and 15 strikeouts, leading to a 7.41 ERA.
  • Carrasco’s road ERA (2.89) is better than his home ERA (3.58).
  • Third baseman Jose Ramirez is the only Indian to be hitting above .300, with his mark currently being .306. In his last five games, he has gone 13-for-23 with six doubles, three home runs, and seven RBI.
  • The Tribe’s bullpen ERA is 2.59, best in the MLB. Former Oriole Andrew Miller’s ERA is 1.56, and Baltimore would love to have his services in their ‘pen right now.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Over the weekend, Trey Mancini went 6-for-13 with a double, a triple, two home runs, and four RBI. Mancini is hitting .310, and if it was not for Aaron Judge, Mancini could very well be a candidate for MLB Rookie of the Year.
  • Wade Miley, Thursday’s probable starting pitcher, has not made it out of the third inning in two of his four June starts.
  • Manny Machado has a career .318 average against Cleveland, with 27 hits and five home runs in 85 at-bats.

Up Next: At the conclusion of this home-stand, the Orioles will hit the road for a six-game road trip – three games in Tampa Bay, followed by three games in Toronto. The Birds have an off-day on Monday, June 26, in-between these two series.

 

Orioles Wrap-Up: O’s have successful Father’s Day weekend with two wins over Cardinals

BALTIMORE, MD — Perhaps the Orioles should wear their blue Father’s Day uniforms more often.

That’s because the Orioles went 2-0 while wearing the holiday gear, picking up 15-7 and 8-5 wins over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday and Sunday. Following a stretch in which they lost eight of nine, the Orioles have now won two straight and are now back at .500 (34-34). They still have a long way to go, as they are fourth place in the division, and five games behind the Yankees (38-28). Nevertheless, the offensive outburst had been a long time coming, and it was nice to see after the horrible stretch the O’s were on coming into the series.

Game 1 recap: Despite the offensive fireworks the Orioles had in the last two games of the series, Friday night’s game is a different story. The Orioles dropped game one, 11-2, as the Orioles allowed five home runs. Kevin Gausman was shaky yet again, this time going 5.2 innings and allowing five runs on nine hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. Gabriel Ynoa did not fare much better, pitching just 1.1 innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits and two strikeouts.

The Cardinals’ pitching staff limited the Orioles to just five hits. Carlos Martinez earned his sixth win of the season with his six-inning, one run outing.

The only scoring the O’s could muster came on a third inning sacrifice fly by Manny Machado, and a ninth inning solo homer by Trey Mancini.

Game 2 recap: After getting blown out on Friday night, the Orioles returned the favor on Saturday. The Orioles offense came out of the gates early, scoring nine runs in the first two innings; seven in the second. Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo got things started with solo home runs in the first inning. Three outs later, J.J. Hardy and Mancini each hit two-RBI doubles, Manny Machado hit a two-run home run, and Jonathan Schoop singled to score Mancini.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, 35, did his best Orioles impression, lasting just 1.2 innings and allowing all nine of those runs on 47 pitches.

The Orioles did not take their foot off the gas, and went on to score six more runs, with three of those coming off two Schoop home runs. Mancini, Trumbo, and Schoop each finished with two home runs in the series. Schoop is tied for second on the team (Machado) in home runs with 13. Chris Davis, currently on the DL with an oblique strain, is in first with 14.

Even though the Orioles’ offense looked great, the pitching staff still had its fair share of struggles, really throughout the entire weekend. Wade Miley once again failed to get past the sixth inning. He lasted 5.2 frames, but allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits, four walks, and eight strikeouts. Walks continue to be a problem for Miley, and his pitch count climbs amazingly quick.

In the sixth inning, the Orioles made three pitching changes to record the final out of the inning. Miley came out of the game at 117 pitches (65 strikes) with runners on first and second. Alec Asher, after the announcement that Ubaldo Jimenez would start on Sunday, came on in relief and allowed a three-run home run by Dexter Fowler, and singles by Jose Martinez and Jedd Gyorko. Manager Buck Showalter trotted out of the dugout again, pulling Asher for Richard Bleier. Bleier proceeded to walk Greg Garcia, and Showalter angrily pulled Bleier for Mychal Givens, who recorded the final out and pitched the next two innings.

The combination of Givens and Brach did not allow a run in the final three innings, but going through four pitchers in the same inning just goes to show how bad the entire pitching staff has been recently.

Game 3 recap: Jimenez, who was put back into the rotation after a few “respectable” relief outings, gave the Orioles exactly what they needed on Sunday. The Orioles had not had a starting pitcher go seven innings since June 1, but Jimenez did just that on Sunday, allowing two runs on four hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.

The Orioles got a quick start again on offense, scoring one run apiece in the first three innings, including two on home runs by Seth Smith & Mancini. Trumbo hit a two-run bomb in the fifth inning, which was a four-run frame for the Birds. Wellington Castillo, who caught all three games, hit his seventh home run of the season in the fifth inning, giving the O’s four on the afternoon and 10 total in the series.

When Jimenez came out of the game, the O’s were up 5-2, but once again the bullpen was shaky. Vidal Nuno and Miguel Castro both allowed home runs, and Nuno failed to even record an out. Brach pitched for the second day in a row, striking out one.

Hardy injured: Hardy left Sunday’s game with a wrist injury after being hit by a pitch, thrown by Lance Lynn of the Cardinals. Hardy had an X-Ray on his right wrist (throwing hand), and the initial reports did not look promising.

“We took an X-Ray here, saw something that concerned us,” Showalter said after the game. “I know he has [an MRI] in the morning and we’ll have a little more definitive idea there.”

What’s next: The Orioles remain home this week as they host the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians for a four-game series. All four contests, starting Monday, begin at 7:05 pm. Check back for a series preview tomorrow.

Series Preview: Orioles return home looking to rebound against St. Louis

The Orioles may have broken there six game losing streak with a win on Wednesday night, but they still found themselves on the losing end of the series against the White Sox.

Starting pitching is still the main concern moving forward but the Orioles will look to improve drastically by returning to Camden Yards this weekend. The O’s (32-33) entered the White Sox series in fourth place and after losing 3/4 they now find themselves tied with the Blue Jays at the bottom of the AL East.

The Cardinals (30-35) have been experiencing a disappointing season of their own. St. Louis is currently five games under .500 but only 4.5 games back in the NL Central. After losing seven games in a row last week, the Cardinals have gone 4-2 since.

Last Meeting: With this being an interleague series, the Orioles and Cardinals have not played each other in a while. In fact, these teams haven’t met since August 2014 when the O’s took 2/3 from the Cardinals. Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez picked up wins in that series as Baltimore outscored St. Louis 25-13.

Game times & pitching matchups:

Game 1: Friday, June 16, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (3-5, 6.49 ERA) vs Carlos Martinez (5-5, 2.95 ERA)

Game 2: Saturday, June 17, 4:05 pm – Wade Miley (2-4, 3.97 ERA) vs Adam Wainwright (7-4, 4.73 ERA)

Game 3: Sunday, June 18, 1:35 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 6.71 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (5-3, 2.69 ERA)

Notes on the Cardinals:

  • Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright has never pitched against the Baltimore Orioles in his 12 year career. He has faced a few current Oriole players, like J.J. Hardy and Welington Castillo, when they played for other teams.
  • Matt Caprenter has been a leader for the Cardinals all season. Over the last 14 days Carpenter is hitting .304 with three home runs and nine RBI’s.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Since his late inning heroics against the Pirates, Trey Mancini has stayed productive at the plate. He is hitting .308 over the last 14 days with three home runs and 10 RBI’s.
  • It seems like every member of the Orioles pitching staff has been struggling over the past week. The good news is that the Orioles pitch far better at home then they do on the road. O’s pitchers have posted an ERA of 3.63 at home while their road ERA has skyrocketed to 6.16 on the season.
  • Seth Smith may be the next player heading to the DL as he is experiencing issues with his back. In other injury news, Zach Britton made progress on Thursday by throwing a simulation game. He is also scheduled to pitch in Aberdeen on Monday.