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.

Series Recap: Orioles end losing streak but drop series against White Sox

The atrocious Yankees series is finally behind them, but the disappointing pitching and injury bug continued to linger into the Orioles’ series against the White Sox.  The offense continued to face uphill battles and only managed to come back from one of the major deficits.

The series started on Monday as Wade Miley took the mound and proceeded to do his best Chris Tillman impression, giving up six runs on six hits in just 2.1 innings. Unlike the games against New York, the offense was able to put up a surplus of runs but it wasn’t enough to bail out the pitching. The Orioles scored seven runs but the bullpen was still too overworked and incompetent to hold a struggling White Sox team down.

Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs in his 3+ innings of relief and Miguel Castro added another run, giving the White Sox a 10-7 victory.  Chris Davis was forced to exit Monday’s game with a right oblique strain. After sitting out on Tuesday, Davis was placed on the 10-day DL.

Tuesday’s game didn’t go any better. Alec Asher was able to pitch through the fifth inning, but he also gave up six runs along the way. Richard Bleier and Jimmy Yacabonis combined to pitch three innings of scoreless relief but the damage had already been done.

A grand slam by Matt Davidson in the sixth inning blew Chicago’s lead wide open. The O’s offense was shut down through the final eight innings after getting on the board in the first with an RBI single from Manny Machado. The White Sox never looked back after the grand slam and picked up a 6-1 win.

Wednesday’s game was delayed for about an hour and a half prior to the first pitch due to rain. Perhaps a cancelled game would have done the Orioles a favor considering how overworked the bullpen has been in the past few weeks. The game was able to begin around 9:40 pm and it started as bad as you would expect.

The White Sox had a 5-1 lead by the second inning and the frustration was setting in once again. Dylan Bundy was able to battle through five innings despite giving up the surplus of runs early on.

The Orioles comeback effort started in the fourth when Welington Castillo picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice. Hyun Soo Kim kept things going, batting in two runs later in the fourth, bringing the O’s to within one run of Chicago.

In the fifth inning, Castillo came through once again. This time he did a lot more than ground into a fielder’s choice. With Mark Trumbo, Trey Mancini, and Jonathan Schoop on base, Castillo launched the first grand slam of his career and gave the Orioles a 8-5 lead.

The Birds added two more runs in the sixth inning while the bullpen performed surprisingly well, giving up just one run in the final four innings. Needless to say, this 10-6 win was huge for a team that has looked completely lost and uninspired for the past week.

With Wednesday’s game being delayed, Thursday afternoon’s series finale was played on short rest. Chris Tillman was on the mound for the Orioles and, to many fans surprise, turned in the best start of the past week. The struggling veteran made his way through 5.1 innings while giving up three runs.

Tillman finished the fifth with a pitch count of 100 and had only given up one run at the time. Buck Showalter allowed him to come out for the sixth, but that was likely too high of an order for a pitcher trying to get his season back on track.

Jimmy Yacabonis took over and quickly gave up two runs that would end up being attributed to Tillman in the box score. Miguel Castro pitched the final 2.1 innings and did not allow the White Sox to score again.

Down 5-1 in the ninth, the Orioles managed to score one run on a Castillo solo home run but fell way short of a comeback. The 5-2 win capped off an impressive series for the White Sox as they took advantage of a struggling Orioles team.

The Birds will return home to host the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend. There is no denying that the Orioles are much better at Camden Yards, so this home stand could be exactly what the O’s need to rebound.

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin signs two-year deal with Ravens

If you’re a Baltimore sports fan, this past weekend was not the most enjoyable.  The Orioles were swept by the Yankees and the Ravens were waiting on the edge of their seat to hear if they had landed a deal with Jeremy Maclin.

Some good news finally came on Monday as Maclin announced he had signed a two-year deal with the Ravens. Maclin received interest from multiple teams, but only the Ravens and the Buffalo Bills made serious efforts to sign him over the past few weeks.

Early last week, the receiver visited the Buffalo Bills organization before heading to Owings Mills to visit the Ravens. Many fans became worried that Maclin was more interested in Buffalo since he spent an extra day with them, and he has former teammates in the organization. Despite all of that, Maclin made his visit to Baltimore and multiple sources reported that the meeting went very well.

If there was one thing keeping fans’ hopes alive, it’s the Ravens track record with free agents. Baltimore’s free agency recruiting has become notorious in the past few seasons after landing deals with players like Steve Smith, Eric Weddle, Mike Wallace, and Tony Jefferson. It came as no surprise that all of these players helped recruit Maclin just as much as Ozzie Newsome and the front office.

Baltimore had many needs coming into this offseason and were able to address a handful of them in the early stages of free agency as well as the draft. However, the wide receiver position remained neglected. With Dennis Pitta going down with another hip injury last week, the Ravens were even more desperate for a reliable receiver as the season approaches.

It appears that they have gotten just that and possibly much more with Maclin. In seven seasons in the NFL, Maclin has accumulated 46 touchdowns and 6395 yards while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. The 29-year-old veteran has played with a handful of quarterbacks in his career, but it should be safe to say that Joe Flacco will be the one with the strongest arm and definitely the one with the most postseason success.

Maclin joins a receiving core with very few notable names. Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are the only two standouts, so Maclin’s presence is very exciting for fans.  In addition to reporting the Maclin signing, a few writers noted that the Ravens could still be interested in pursuing a trade with the New York Jets for Eric Decker. Former Raven Anquan Boldin has also had his name thrown around in the free agency conversation.

One thing that needs to be said is that this receiving core is still average at best. Maclin does not do anything to fix the lack of depth and there is still a level of uncertainty when it comes to the tight ends. This is definitely great news, but the Ravens would be wise to keep their eyes on the wide receiver market.

Series Preview: Orioles look for signs of life in Chicago against White Sox

CHICAGO, IL — Coming off an embarrassing series in the Bronx in which they were outscored 38-8, the Orioles will conclude their current road trip with a four-game set in Chicago against the White Sox.

The Orioles (31-30), losers of four straight, come into the series now in fourth place in the American League East. They are six and a half games behind the New York Yankees (37-23). Over the weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays (34-32) overtook the O’s for third place in the division.

The White Sox (26-35) are in fifth place in the AL Central. The Minnesota Twins (32-27) man the top of the division with the defending American League Champion Cleveland Indians (31-29) hot on their tails. Chicago is coming off a nine-game road trip that had them in Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland. The White Sox went 2-7 on the trip, which included getting swept by the Tigers.

Road Woes: Dating back to May 17, the Orioles have lost nine straight games on the road. The Birds are 10-20 on the road this season, opposed to their stellar 21-10 mark at Camden Yards.

Last Meeting: From May 5-7 the White Sox visited Camden Yards for a three-game weekend series. The Orioles swept the series, by scores of 4-2, 6-5, and 4-0. The Friday night game was the contest in which Wade Miley was struck by two line drives in the first inning and had to leave the game. Gabriel Ynoa made his Orioles debut in relief of Miley, and pitched six shutout innings. In the Sunday afternoon game, Chris Tillman made his season debut, pitching five shutout innings. Not much positive has happened since then for Tillman.

From August 5-7 2016, the Orioles played a three-game weekend series at Guaranteed Date Field. The O’s took two of three from Chicago in that meeting.

Game times & pitching matchups:

Game 1Monday, June 12, 8:10 pm – Wade Miley (2-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (2-5, 3.80 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Tuesday, June 13, 8:10 pm – Alec Asher (2-4, 4.35 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (4-6, 3.99 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Wednesday, June 14, 8:10 pm – Dylan Bundy (6-5, 3.05 ERA) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (4-7, 4.89 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 4Thursday, June 15, 2:10 pm – Chris Tillman (1-4, 8.01 ERA) vs. David Holmberg (1-0, 2.74 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Over the weekend against the Yankees, Orioles starters combined to give up 19 earned runs. On Friday, Bundy allowed three runs over six innings, and then the tandem of Edwin Jackson and Stefan Crichton combined to allow five runs in the last three innings. Tillman allowed nine earned runs in his start on Saturday, the most he has ever allowed in a game. On Sunday, Kevin Gausman’s season struggles continued as he lasted just 3.1 innings after allowing seven runs.
  • The depleted bullpen’s problems only got worse over the weekend, as Darren O’Day was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday with a right shoulder strain. It is the third time that O’Day has been placed on the DL since signing a four-year, $31 million deal before the 2016 season, and the second time in that span that his stint to the DL has been a throwing-shoulder-related injury.
  • Manny Machado continues to nurse a strained left wrist that was sustained during Wednesday night’s 9-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Machado has missed four straight games and is still listed as “day-to-day.”
  • Chris Davis has a career .293 batting average against the White Sox, with 51 hits and 11 home runs in 174 at-bats against Chicago.

Notes on the White Sox: 

  • Former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez has a 3.55 ERA in two starts against his former ballclub, allowing five earned runs on 16 hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.
  • Three Chicago hitters have batting averages at .300 or above this season – outfielder Avasial Garcia (.332 in 226 at-bats), infielder Yolmer Sanchez (.302/162), and outfielder Leury Garcia (.300/180).
  • Four White Sox are tied for the team lead in home runs with 10 apiece – A. Garcia, infielder Jose Abreu, designated-hitter Matt Davidson, and infielder Todd Frazier.
  • Abreu has a career .356 average against the Orioles, with 31 hits and seven home runs in 87 at-bats against Baltimore.