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 Recap: Orioles swept by Yankees after embarrassing pitching display

Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for the Orioles pitching staff, they go out and surrender 38 runs in three games. That’s not a typo, the O’s actually gave up 38 runs against the Yankees this weekend.

Coming into the series we knew it was going to be difficult to take two out of three from the AL East leaders, but what ended up happening is just embarrassing. Yankee batters went 44/110 with 12 home runs as a collective in the series.

The Orioles actually looked ready to play on Friday when the game started. Jonathan Schoop put the O’s up early with a two run homer in the second inning. However, that would end up being the only offensive production for the Orioles. The Yankees, on the other hand, lit up the scoreboard with eight runs.

Dylan Bundy was able to hold the dangerous New York lineup to just three runs through his six innings of work, exiting the game with a one run deficit. The Bullpen was not as effective. Edwin Jackson made his second appearance of the season and surrendered three unearned runs while Stefan Crichton continued to struggle, giving up two more runs.

The Bronx bombers picked up where they left off at the beginning of Saturday nights game. The first inning struggles continued for Chris Tillman as he gave up six runs to start the game. Aaron Judge got things started with a solo shot, followed by a two RBI single from Gary Sanchez and a two run homer by Didi Gregorius. Chris Carter capped off the inning with a RBI single. To make things even more demoralizing, all six runs were scored with two outs on the board.

Due to a lack of off days, injuries, and general overuse in the past few weeks, the Orioles bullpen has not been as deep as manager Buck Showalter would like. The Orioles just cannot afford to have their bullpen pitch more than four innings a game at this point. However, three more Yankee runs in the second inning forced Tillman out of the game after just 1.1 innings.

Once again the bullpen failed to be effective in any way, giving up a collective seven runs in their 6+ innings of work. After their dominate game two win, the Yankees had already secured a series win but a sweep looked inevitable.

Sunday afternoon’s game started almost exactly like Saturday nights game.  The Yankees scored five runs off of Kevin Gausman in the first inning. A two RBI single by Castro got things started and Gary Sanchez followed with a three run homer to take the early lead.

Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees on Sunday. With Masahiro Tanaka struggling in recent outings, the Yankees decided to move his start to Monday. Despite getting an ample amount of run support, Green was on a short leash and had to exit the game after just two innings. It appears that Joe Girardi had set a strict pitch count limit for Green and he reached it faster than they anticipated.

This early call to the bullpen helped the Orioles crawl back into the game. Four straight doubles by Hardy, Tejada, Smith, and Schoop put the Orioles on the board and cut the Yankees lead to two. Just when things started to turn in the Birds favor, the pitching disappointed once again. Gausman was forced out of the game in the fourth inning after giving up another two runs.

The bullpen gave up another seven runs in relief as the Yankees picked up an easy 14-3 win and a sweep. New York now holds a three and a half game lead in the division. The Orioles are sitting six and a half games back and have sunk all the way into fourth place.

The O’s will hit the road tonight as they prepare to take on the Chicago White Sox in a four game series this coming week.  The last time the Orioles faced the White Sox they were able to pick up a sweep.  Their going to need a similar performance this week if they want to turn their season around by the all star break.

Series Preview: Orioles prepare for another battle with division leading Yankees

It seams like the Orioles are just treading water at this point in the season. They have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games, preventing them from moving up or down in the division standings. That could change this weekend as the O’s prepare to take on the AL East leading Yankees in New York.

The Yankees are coming off of a series win against the Red Sox, helping them maintain a spot at the top of the division. They are currently up by three games but are certainly aiming to make that lead a little more comfortable in the coming days.

Last Meeting: The Orioles and Yankees have already played three series against each other this season. In these games the O’s hold a 5-4 advantage despite being outscored 60-52 by New York. After their fourth meeting this weekend, the teams will not meet again until September.

Game times & pitching matchups:

Game 1: Friday, June 9, 7:35 pm – Jordan Montgomery (3-4, 3.67 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (6-4, 2.93 ERA)

Game 2: Saturday, June 10, 7:15 pm – Luis Severino (4-2, 2.90 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (1-3, 5.59 ERA)

Game 3: Sunday, June 11, 1:05 pm – Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.55 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.86 ERA)

Notes on the Yankees:

  • Brett Gardner can thank the Orioles pitching staff for getting his offensive production going in 2017. The Yankees veteran is hitting .317 with four home runs and seven RBI’s against the O’s this season.
  • Yankees starter, Masahiro Tanaka has been struggling as of late. In his last five starts Tanaka has given up a combined 35 hits and 27 runs.
  • Its no longer a secret that Aaron Judge is one of the best young players in the game. Judge has been a big threat for opposing pitching all season. With a .330 batting average, 18 home runs, and 41 RBI’s, the Orioles pitching staff will be paying extra attention to Judge.

 Notes on the Orioles:

  • Chris Tillman is in desperate need of a quality start.  After making his season debut in early May, Tillman has struggled immensely. His first start  was a five inning shutout performance that earned him a win.  However, Tillman has given up at least three runs in every start since that season debut.
  • Kevin Gausman has found success against New York so far in his career, going 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 20 games against the Yankees.
  • After taking an MRI on Wednesday, Manny Machado has suffered a sprained left wrist. The third baseman was taken out of Wednesday nights game against Pittsburgh with the wrist / hand injury. Machado missed Thursdays game against the Nationals but is considered day-to-day going forward.

Following their trip to New York, the O’s will head to the south side of Chicago to take on the White Sox in a four game series.

Orioles offense stifled by Ross in 6-1 loss to Nationals

The Orioles would have liked to have an off day on Thursday, especially after playing two extra inning games against the Pirates on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Instead, the O’s traveled down the beltway for a makeup game against the Nationals.

After winning the first two games of the home-and-home series back in May, the Orioles were playing their best baseball and had racked up a six game win streak. That all ended in game three as Matt Wieters walked off his former team for the comeback win. Game four was postponed due to rain and rescheduled for June 8.

The final game of the season series started out rough for the O’s and never got better. Alec Asher surrendered five runs in the first two innings and finished his night after just four innings. The offense was even worse, getting just one hit off of Joe Ross through the first five innings.

Ubaldo Jimenez replaced Asher out of the pen and quickly gave up a solo home run to Stephen Drew making it a 6-0 game. After the solo shot, Jimenez was able to settle in and pitch through the seventh inning with five strikeouts.

The Orioles finally got themselves on the board in the seventh inning. Mark Trumbo led off with a double and Joey Rickard brought him home with an RBI single a few batters later. Ross would finish his night after 7.1 innings of work. The lone run ended up being the only blemish on his line as he finished with a career high 12 strikeouts.

Oliver Perez and Blake Treinen were able to finish off the eighth and ninth innings as the Nationals picked up the 6-1 win. After a long delay, the beltway season series has concluded with a 2-2 split.

The Orioles will be heading to New York this weekend for their fourth series against the Yankees this season.  With the Yankees win over the Red Sox on Thursday, the Orioles are now 3.5 games behind the AL East leaders.

Ravens add more secondary depth with Brandon Boykin signing

The Raves didn’t waste any time finding a replacement for the recently injured Tavon Young.  On Monday afternoon it was announced that Baltimore had signed two new corner backs, Brandon Boykin and Al-Hajj Shabazz.

Boykin entered the league in 2012 after being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He would end up playing just three seasons there before traveling across Pennsylvania and joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. During training camp in 2016, Boykin suffered a torn pectoral muscle and was sidelined for the entire season.

The 26-year-old corner has racked up 118 tackles and eight interceptions in his career while proving himself useful in the slot. This is exactly where the Ravens would like to use Boykin after the loss of Tavon Young.

The Shabazz signing was more of a depth move as the young corner was an undrafted free agent in 2015. Since then he has bounced around multiple practice squads. While playing for the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers, Shabazz also found himself contributing on special teams but has only recorded one career tackle.

In addition to the signing of Boykin and Shabazz, the Ravens also announced that they had released corner back Kyle Arrington. The 30-year-old has had a rough time finding a role in the Ravens secondary since joining the team a few years back. After a tough 2015 campaign, Arrington suffered a concussion during a preseason game against Carolina and spent the entirety of 2016 on injured reserve. His release will create $2.1 million in cap space.