Series Recap: Orioles lose two of three in D.C. to open up six-game road trip

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 3-0 win on Wednesday gave the Orioles their second victory in three days, but it was not enough to win them another series as the Birds dropped two of three at Nationals Park, leaving D.C. 21-52 overall.

Game 1 (9-7 WSH): Check out Nolan McGraw’s full recap of game 1 here.

Game 2 (3-0 BAL): The Orioles registered their fourth shutout win of the season, limiting the Nationals to five hits. Making his return off the 10-day disabled list from a back injury, Andrew Cashner cruised through the first four innings, allowing just three hits and striking out two. In the second inning, Jonathan Schoop singled to lead off the inning, and then Mark Trumbo crushed his fifth home run of the season to left field to give the Birds a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately after the fourth inning, some rain/inclement weather conditions delayed the game for two hours and 43 minutes, which actually eclipsed the total duration of the game, which was two hours and 34 minutes. When the fifth inning finally began around 10:50 pm, the Orioles were retired 1-2-3. But in the sixth, Adam Jones hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on a Manny Machado fly-out to Bryce Harper. Harper also caught Danny Valencia‘s ensuing fly-out, but Jones scored the third and final run of the ballgame, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead they would not lose.

The Nationals threatened twice in the final four innings, but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine on-base. Against Miguel Castro in the sixth, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon walked with one out, but Harper popped out to Machado and Daniel Murphy grounded out back to Castro for the final two outs. In the ninth following a line-out by Harper, Michael A. Taylor and Trea Turner singled off Brad Brach, who came into the inning after Zach Britton retired Harper. Wilmer Difo lined out to Schoop for the second out, but then Brach loaded the bases by walking Brian Goodwin. Mark Reynolds represented the potential winning run for Washington, but struck out looking on a 94-mph Brach fastball to give the O’s their second win in three games.

Game 3 (4-2 WSH): Hours after being activated off the 60-day disabled list (left hip flexor strain), Colby Rasmus, batting sixth and playing right field, hit a solo home run off Max Scherzer to put the Orioles up 1-0 in the top of the second inning. It was Rasmus’s first home run since May 27, 2017, when Rasmus was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

In Washington’s half of the third inning, Difo led off with a single, and then Pedro Severino doubled to advance Difo to third. Scherzer followed that by striking out, and then Harper got Difo home on a fly ball to Jace Peterson in left field, tying the game at one.

The Orioles did not take long to get their lead back. In the top of the fourth, Mark Trumbo added his sixth home run of 2018, this one to centerfield. This marks Trumbo’s first career homer versus Scherzer in 16 at-bats.

In the Nationals’ portion of the sixth inning, Rendon hit the third home run of the game, and the first for Washington with a solo shot to centerfield, again with Gausman pitching. Gausman ended up exiting after the sixth inning, allowing two runs on four hits, four walks, and three strikeouts in his 15th start of the season.

After Gausman’s exit, Mychal Givens entered to pitch the seventh inning. Givens allowed Difo to hit a leadoff triple, but got Severino to ground out and Murphy to hit into an inning-ending 9-2 double play. Murphy hit a line-out to Rasmus in right field. Rasmus hurled the ball to Caleb Joseph at the plate, who applied the tag on Difo to get Givens out of it.

An inning later, Givens would not find similar success. The first hitter of the inning, Harper, doubled to get the newest Washington threat going. Harper shifted over to third when Turner singled to Jones in centerfield. After Givens struck out Rendon, Soto doubled to Peterson, scoring both Harper and Turner. Closer Sean Doolittle retired the side in the ninth, recording his 20th save of the season.

Up next: The Orioles continue their road trip in Atlanta against the Braves in what marks the O’s first time playing at Suntrust Park since the stadium’s inception in 2017. The Orioles will see a familiar face in Atlanta, Nick Markakis, who as of Jun. 19 led All-Star Game voting for National League outfielders. Markakis has never been named to an All-Star Game in his now 13-year career.

The Orioles have not played the Braves since 2015 when the Birds swept Atlanta in a three-game July series at Camden Yards. Friday’s game begins at 7:35, Saturday’s start time is 4:10, and first pitch for Sunday is slated for 1:35.

Image Credit: Carolyn Kaster, Baltimore Sun


Series Preview: Orioles welcome Marlins to Baltimore for first time in eight years

BALTIMORE — The Orioles (19-48) have hit rock-bottom. They own the worst record in the Major Leagues and currently find themselves on a seven-game losing streak, tying a season-high. Dating back to their 9-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on May 24, the Orioles have scored three runs or less in 14 of 20 contests. Through 67 games the Orioles are averaging 3.49 runs-per-game, but getting to three runs has been a real challenge for this ball-club.

Now 27 games out of first place in the American League East, the time for a fresh start is long overdue. Most teams in this situation would have already gotten the ball rolling on this process, but Orioles continue to stand pat. No press conference with ownership or management has taken place, no trades have been made, and no one’s been fired. There’s already an alarming amount of empty seats at Camden Yards every night. The longer the front office waits on rebuilding, the longer fans will stay away.

After suffering consecutive divisional series losses to the Blue Jays and Red Sox, the Orioles shift their attention to the National League for the second time second time this month, with the Miami Marlins (26,43, fifth place in National League East) on-deck for three games at Camden Yards beginning on Friday. The good news for the Orioles is that the Marlins rank right at the bottom of the majors in total offense – Miami currently sits 29th overall with 239 runs scored, and the Orioles rank last with 234.

This marks the Marlins’ first trip to Camden Yards since Jun. 22-24, 2010, when the team was still named the “Florida Marlins.” The Marlins took the first two games of that series, 10-4 and 7-5, but the Orioles avoided the sweep with an 11-5 win in game 3.

Here’s the Orioles’ lineup from that 2010 Marlins series opener on Jun. 22.

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Latest on Bleier: During his most recent relief appearance in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to Boston, Richard Bleier was seen grimacing in pain and holding his left arm after throwing an 89-mph pitch to Eduardo Nunez that resulted in a groundout.

After the injury, Bleier underwent an X-ray and an MRI, but the severity of the injury isn’t known yet. Buck Showalter said after the game that Bleier ‘has all of the characteristics of a lat’ injury, which won’t bode well for him. Lat injuries, especially for pitchers, take months to recover from.

This is a really tough blow for the Orioles’ bullpen. Belier leads the team in appearances this season (31). Out of the relievers that have been with the big league Orioles club all season, Bleier owns the lowest ERA – 1.93 – of the group. He’s only allowed seven earned runs this season on 36 hits, four walks and 15 strikeouts.

When Bleier officially lands on the disabled list, Tanner Scott will likely get recalled and rejoin the Orioles bullpen after being sent down on Jun. 9. Scott was not seen in Triple-A Norfolk’s clubhouse on Thursday.

Last Meeting / All-Time Series: From May 22-24, 2015 at Marlins Park, Miami took two of three from Baltimore. It was the Orioles’ first series played at Marlins Park after the team moved out of Hard Rock Stadium (then Sun Life Stadium) and into their new ballpark prior to the 2012 season. The Birds took the opener 8-5. Manny Machado finished with three RBI on a groundout and a double. Mike Wright tossed seven shutout innings in game 2, allowing three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Orioles got shutout 1-0. Miami took game 3, 5-2 behind 6.1 innings from Tom Koehler, who allowed one run in his start.

The Marlins lead their all-time series with the Orioles, 20-7. The Orioles are 5-7 at Camden Yards versus the Marlins all-time.

Game times and pitching matchups 

Game 1Friday, Jun. 15, 7:05 pm – José Ureña (1-8, 4.59 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.58 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, Jun. 16, 4:05 pm – Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 6.13 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (2-8, 7.23 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Sunday, Jun. 17, 1:05 pm – Trevor Richards (1-3, 4.41 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (4-7, 3.66 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Marlins:

  • Miami comes into this series winners in six of their last 10 games. The Marlins just wrapped up a 4-3 homestead that included a 3-1 series win over the San Fransisco Giants from Monday to Thursday (6-3 Thursday loss went 16 innings). Like the Orioles, then Marlins are really struggling to pull fans into the ballpark for games. The combined attendance for the four-game Giants series was 27,752. The all-time worst attendance mark at AT&T Stadium, home of the Giants, was 23,934 in May 2009.
  • On Saturday, former Oriole Wei-Yin Chen will pitch against his old team for the first time since leaving in free agency following the 2015 season. Chen spent four seasons with the Orioles, making 117 starts and pitching to a 3.72 ERA. Chen’s ERA since joining the Marlins has gone up to 5.01. Chen made at least 23 starts in all four of his seasons with the Orioles, but since he’s dealt with multiple injuries to his throwing arm that still gave him trouble at the beginning of the season.
  • The Marlins promoted reliever Kyle Barraclough to closer at the end of May. The right-hander is up to 15 consecutive scoreless appearances with four saves in his new role.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • On Jun. 15 in 2010 (O’s began the year 2-16), the Orioles were 18-47 and finished the year 66-96. In 1988 the O’s began the year 0-21, held a 16-47 record on this date, and ended the season 54-107. The current projections have the Orioles losing 116 games, which could land among the worst records in MLB history.
  • Lifetime against the Marlins, Pedro Alvarez is .284 with 33 hits, seven home runs, and 24 RBI in 116 at-bats. Alvarez spent six seasons in the NL with the Pirates and has more exposure to NL pitchers than perhaps anyone in the Orioles’ lineup.
  • Outfielder Cedric Mullins is currently slashing .313 with 63 hits, 12 doubles, six home runs, and 28 RBI in 201 at-bats with Double-A Bowie. How much more Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard do we need to watch?

Image Credit: Boston Herald

Podcast Episode 3: Nothing can JUSTIFY how bad the Orioles are

Welcome to Episode 3 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and editor Nolan McGraw.

The guys kick off the show today talking about two monumental events in the Baltimore/D.C. sports community – the Washington Capitals winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, and Justify becoming the 13’th Triple Crown winner.

Ravens mandatory minicamp is underway this week, with the team holding three mandatory practices through Thursday. What did Nolan and Jake take away from the first day of camp?

Not much changes through the weeks when it comes to the Baltimore Orioles. The team now holds a 19-47 record, but no changes have been made as of now. The Charm City Bird Watch gang discusses Buck Showalter’s questionable managing decisions and the returns of both Zach Britton and Darren O’Day.

Last but not least, the return of one of our many new segments, Don’t Be A Jerk! Which sports figure will Jake call out this week for being a jerk? Listen and find out!

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode!

Series Preview: Orioles welcome Red Sox to Baltimore for first time in 2018

BALTIMORE — It seems that with every series preview we write here at Charm City Bird Watch, the same misfortunes keep popping up for the Orioles (19-45). The one-dimensional offense can’t produce enough runs, the bullpen can’t hold a lead, and the defense isn’t what it used to be. The starting pitching has actually been decent, with the Orioles ranking fourth in the American League in quality starts with 31. But, with so little run support, it’s been almost impossible for Orioles starting pitchers to record a win, even with a quality start.

After suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles return to Baltimore for a six-game homestead divided into two three-game series. The first team the Orioles will welcome to Camden Yards this week is the Boston Red Sox (44-22), who just suffered a 2-1 weekend series loss at the hands of the Chicago White Sox. Boston has lost three of their last four.

This marks the first time this season that these two teams meet at Camden Yards. In 2017, the Red Sox went 6-4 in Baltimore, including a 3-0 sweep from Sept. 18-20.

Standings Update: Looking at the current AL East standings, the Yankees (42-19) lead Boston by half a game. The Blue Jays (30-35) and the Rays (29-35) both trail by a large margin, but the Orioles are so far behind the rest of the bunch. Fourth-place Tampa finds themselves 14.5 games out of first place, while the Orioles sit 25.5 games back.

Last meeting: From May 17-20, the Red Sox took three of four from the Orioles in a weekend series at Fenway Park. In the opener, a 6-2 win for Boston, David Price pitched a complete game and came one pitch away from a shutout before Manny Machado smacked a two-run home run. Alex Cobb won his first game as an Oriole in Baltimore’s 7-4 win on Friday the 18th. In game 3 the O’s hung with Boston, trailing 4-3 until the seventh inning when Andrew Benintendi‘s two-run single made it a 6-3 game and eventual final score. The Red Sox shutout the Birds 5-0 in the Sunday finale. Baltimore out-hit Boston 13-12, but left 14 runners on-base.

Boston leads the season series over Baltimore, 6-1.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1Monday, Jun. 11, 7:05 pm — Steven Wright (2-0, 1.57 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (4-7, 4.04 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Tuesday, Jun. 12, 7:05 pm – Eduardo Rodriguez (7-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. David Hess (2-2, 3.07 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Wednesday, Jun. 13, 3:05 pm – Chris Sale (5-4, 2.83 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.98 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Red Sox:

  • Without Mookie Betts, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Jun. 1 with an abdominal strain, the Boston offense averages 4.5 runs-per-game, down nearly a run from when they had him in the lineup. Betts was officially activated from the DL this afternoon (Jun. 11). Red Sox legend Dustin Pedroia remains on the DL for the second time this season with inflammation in his left knee. Pedroia has only played in three games so far this season but is expected back by the end of the month.
  • J.D. Martinez has hit a home run against 12 of the 13 teams the Red Sox have played so far this season (Miami being the exception).  Martinez currently leads MLB in both home runs (21) and RBI (54).
  • In their weekend series against the White Sox, the Red Sox went 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position. Orioles fans can certainly relate to what that feels like.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • Zach Britton will likely be activated off the 60-day disabled list ahead of Monday’s opener. Britton will make his 2018 debut after tearing his right Achilles tendon in December. It will likely take some time for Britton to return to form, but he reportedly looked like himself during his rehab assignment. Nevertheless, Britton and Darren O’Day‘s returns to the bullpen will be welcomed given how much the relief unit has struggled this season.
  • Want a perfect example of the Orioles’ inability to play small ball? Their last 15 home runs have all been solo shots. Simply put, the Orioles aren’t getting nearly enough runners on-base to pose a legitimate offensive threat.
  • Chris Davis is on-pace to possibly turn in the worst offensive season in the history of Major League Baseball. David Schoenfield of ESPNdetailed Davis’s completely inept season.

Image Credit: WJLA

Series Recap: Orioles end 11-day win drought with sweep over Mets

QUEENS, NY — The Baltimore Orioles earned a two-game sweep over the New York Mets on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon. Baltimore’s record moves to 19-41, 22.5 games back in the American League East. The Mets fall to 27-32, extending their losing streak to six games. They now trail the National League East-leading Braves (36-25) by eight games.

Game 1 (2-1 BAL): The Orioles plated two runs in the first inning, and that ended up being all they needed to win for the first time in 11 days, ending a seven-game losing streak.

Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, and Manny Machado got it going right away with three straight singles to begin the game. Mancini scored on Machado’s single, which simultaneously moved Jones over to third. Then, Danny Valencia flew out to left field, but Jones scored and awarded Valencia an RBI.

Machado stole second base after his single, but Mark Trumbo struck out and Jonathan Schoop flew out to end the top of the first inning.

Alex Cobb breezed through his first four innings, as catcher Kevin Plawecki drawing a walk in the second inning wound up being the Mets’ only baserunner in the first four frames. The Mets cut Baltimore’s lead in half in the fifth inning when rightfielder Jay Bruce scored on a flyout by former American League East-foe José Bautista. Bruce singled to begin the inning, and moved to third on a Plawecki double. But, Cobb pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning, and left the game after throwing 99 pitches, 61 for strikes. His effort earned him his second win of the season, lifting his overall record to 2-7.

Mychal Givens pitched the seventh inning and one third of the eighth inning. He walked one and struck out two. Richard Bleier got the final two outs of the eighth inning, and Brad Brach earned his ninth save of the season despite walking Bruce with two outs.

New York starter Jason Vargas lost his fourth game of the season after winning two straight games, dropping his record to 2-4.

Game 2 (1-0 BAL): Both starters – Zack Wheeler and Dylan Bundy – cruised through seven shutout innings. Each allowed just three hits and stuck out five. Bundy led in walks over Wheeler 3-1. Bundy threw 96 pitches (62 strikes), and Wheeler tossed 93 (60 strikes).

The Orioles scored their lone and winning run in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez, batting leadoff, singled on a ground ball thrown by relief pitcher Jeurys Familia. Craig Gentry came into the game to run for Alvarez. Mancini lined out to Bruce, but then Jones singled to left field, advancing Gentry to third base. Machado drove Gentry home on another single, this one to centerfield. The score led to Baltimore’s sweep and gave Familia his third loss of the season, lowering his record to 2-3.

Once again in the ninth inning, Brach earned his second save in 24 hours. Leadoff hitter Todd Frazier singled to begin the inning, but Brach regrouped and retired the side to end the game. Bundy received the win, raising his record to 4-7.

Up Next: The Orioles head to Toronto for their first series at the Rogers Centre of the 2018 season. The four-game series versus the Blue Jays features 7:07 pm starts on Thursday and Friday, and 1:07 pm starts on Saturday and Sunday.

Image Credit: NY Daily News

Series Preview: Orioles make quick stop in Long Island for tangle with Mets

QUEENS, NY — Sitting at 17-41, the Orioles continue to limp through the 2018 season with the worst record in the Major Leagues and currently a seven-game losing streak on the minds of both the players and the franchise’s fans. Those fans finally got some semblance of a rebuild late on Sunday when Jon Meoli‘s article from the Baltimore Sunrevealed recent comments from Orioles’ General Manager Dan Duquette.

According to Meoli’s post, Duquette acknowledged that the team is “not up to the competitive standards of previous Orioles clubs or the top clubs in the [American League East]”, and that the Orioles need to “put a little bit sharper focus on the future.” Given the non-existing message from Orioles’ ownership detailing the team’s plans for a rebuild, these particular comments from Duquette are a step in the right direction.

As the front office begins to supposedly prepare for the future, the present ice-cold Orioles embark on a six-game road trip, with the first two games of that stretch in New York against the Mets. Like the Orioles, the Mets (27-30) come into Tuesday on a four-game losing streak of their own featuring a troubled offense. The Mets are losers of four straight with four or fewer runs scored in five straight games. The Mets left May with a 17-9 record, but have since played 10-21 baseball and now rank fourth in the National League East while the Braves (35-24), Nationals (33-25) and Phillies (31-26) duke it out in the top of the division.

Last Meeting: This marks the first time in three years that the Mets and Orioles face off. In 2015, the teams played two games at Citi Field and two games at Camden Yards. The same goes for this season as the teams will reconvene on Aug. 14-15 for a two-game set in Baltimore.

In 2015, the Mets won the season series 3-1, including a 2-0 sweep at Citi Field, 3-2 and 5-1. Bud Norris and Ubaldo Jimenez started those games for the birds, and Kevin Gausman was still pitching out of the bullpen. Machado and Chris Davis both homered in the first game of the series, with Jimmy Paredes driving in the lone Baltimore run in the second game on an RBI single that scored Travis Snider.

READ: Orioles must change offensive approach to end losing ways 

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Tuesday, Jun. 5, 7:10 pm – Alex Cobb (1-7, 6.80 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (2-3, 8.53 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan  

Game 2Wednesday, Jun. 6, 1:10 pm – Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.46 ERA) vs. Zach Wheeler (2-4, 5.14 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • The Orioles promoted catcher Austin Wynns from Triple-A Norfolk to replace Andrew Susac, who hit .115 with three hits in 26 plate appearances. With the Tides this season, Wynns hit .265 with three home runs and 14 RBI. Wynns, a 10’th round draft selection by Baltimore in 2010, will make his major league debut in his first Orioles appearance. With Wynns, the Orioles now have two rookie catchers on the major league roster.
  • Manny Machado has more home runs (18) than the Orioles have wins (17). Machado is on pace to hit about 54 home runs this season, which is more than the amount of games the Orioles currently project to win this season (51).
  • Zach Britton will continue his rehab assignment tonight for Triple-A Norfolk in Columbus. The tentative return date for Britton is Jun. 15 during the Orioles’ next homestead against the Marlins, but that’s subject to change.

Notes on the Mets: 

  • The two pitchers the Orioles will face in this series – Jason Vargas and Zach Wheeler – carry an interesting backstory. In the early stages of spring training, the Mets inked Vargas to a two-year deal, despite the fact that the Mets carried nine pitchers in camp with starting potential. At the time, Wheeler was competing for a spot in the rotation, and he took exception to his team’s decision to sign Vargas. Both pitchers have struggled this season with Vargas also dealing with an injury. To put it lightly, the Orioles are lucky they are missing Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.49 ERA, 12 starts), and Noah Syndergaard (4-1, 3.06 ERA, 11 starts) this week.
  • Against left-handed pitching this season, the Mets are last in the major leagues with a .203 average and nine home runs.

Image Credit: Heavy

Podcast Episode 2: Yes, we talked about hockey

Welcome to Episode 2 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and editor Nolan McGraw.

We don’t normally talk hockey here on the podcast, but we would be remiss if we didn’t kick off the show by discussing the Washington Capitals 3-1 (2-1 during recording of podcast) lead in the Stanley Cup Finals over the Vegas Golden Knights. After years of coming up short, will Alex Ovechkin and the Caps finally bring the cup home to D.C.? Nolan and Jake discuss.

The Orioles are now 17-41 and on a seven-game losing streak. Over the weekend, Dan Duquette said that the team needs to “put a sharper focus on the future.” Will the ownership actually go for it, even with Duquette and Buck Showalter’s contracts expiring after the season? The CCBW crew dive into this ever-important debate.

There’s not much new to report on the Ravens front this week, but Nolan and Jake spent some time digging into OTA nuggets and contemplating the potential starting offensive line combinations. Hear who the guys see winning the spots at left guard, center, and right tackle.

Last but not least, we debut our second newest segment in as many weeks, What an idiot! And guess what? There are multiple culprits this week!

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