Series Preview: Orioles look to finish road trip with a series win

SEATTLE — The Orioles annual west coast trip is about to come to a close. This is great news for fans since we can finally go back to watching games at a reasonable hour, but it is also good news for the team. So far the Orioles have not won a series on their west coast trip, and they are falling slightly behind in the wildcard race. It’s no secret that the Orioles play better at home. They need to get back to Camden Yards with a wildcard spot still in reach.

Seattle finds themselves in almost the exact same position as the Orioles. While the Mariners currently sit a little higher up in the standings, they are preparing to go on a lengthy road trip of their own in the coming days. After these three games against the O’s, the Mariners will not play another home game until the beginning of September. The time spent away from Safeco Field could end up detrimental to a team looking to make a playoff push.

Last Meeting: This marks the first series between the Mariners and Orioles in 2017. When these teams faced off at the beginning of July last year, the Mariners swept the Orioles in four games. It was a devastating stretch for the O’s, especially since they entered the series with a seven-game win streak.

Standings Update: The Orioles (58-60) enter the final series of their west coast trip two games below .500 and a half game behind their opponent, Seattle (59-60). Dropping two games against the Angels, and then splitting their series against Oakland is not exactly the end of the world, but the O’s certainly don’t want to lose any more ground.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Monday, August 14, 10:10 pm – Kevin Gausman (8-8, 5.21 ERA) vs Yovani Gallardo (5-7, 5.38 ERA)

Game 2: Tuesday, August 15, 10:10 pm – Wade Miley (6-9, 5.19 ERA) vs Andrew Moore (1-3, 6.34 ERA)

Game 3: Wednesday, August 16, 3:40 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-7, 6.25 ERA) vs Marco Gonzales (0-0, 8.49 ERA)

Notes on the Mariners:

  • Gallardo will face his former team for the first time since being traded this past off-season. This spring, the Orioles traded a struggling Gallardo to Seattle for outfielder Seth Smith. Gallardo is in the middle of his tenth career season, so he has made two starts against the O’s before. In those appearances, Gallardo is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA.
  • Nelson Cruz represents another former Oriole that has seen success when playing against Baltimore. In 53 games against the O’s, Cruz holds a .356 average with ten home runs and 44 RBI’s.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • If you’ve been watching the Orioles the past few weeks, you’re aware that the offense has been playing very well. However, you might be surprised to know that the Orioles lead the American league in a handful of offensive categories since the All-Star break including home runs, batting average, doubles, and OPS.
  • Shortstop Tim Beckham still hasn’t lost a step since joining the Orioles. In 13 games with the O’s Beckham has a .491 batting average with seven doubles and nine RBI’s.

Up Next: The Orioles will have Thursday off as they return from their lengthy road trip. After the off-day, the O’s prepare to face off against the Angels and A’s for the second time this month. The Birds will definitely be looking to get some revenge against both teams as they failed to win either series this past week.

Image Credit: Associated Press

Podcast: Baltimore Ravens Staff Writer Ryan Mink

Welcome to the latest edition of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast! On Today’s episode, Baltimore Ravens staff writer Ryan Mink joins Jake McDonnell to talk about the Ravens.

Following Baltimore’s 23-3 preseason-opening win against the Redskins, what impressed Mink? Are key offensive players like Joe Flacco and Breshad Perriman close to returning to practice?

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Ravens is the offensive line. With James Hurst in line for a starting job, hear Mink passionately defend Hurst, who has been heavily scrutinized during his time with the Ravens. Mink also gives his take on if the Ravens will make another move on the offensive line before the regular season.

On Thursday, the Ravens face the Miami Dolphins in their second preseason game. Mink will be there, and tells us what to expect on Thursday.

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on either Soundcloud or iTunes. Rate us 5 stars on iTunes and leave us a review. Thanks for listening!

Orioles stand pat after disappointing split with Athletics

OAKLAND, CA — After losing a series to the Angels 2-1, the Orioles needed to make up some ground this weekend against the second-to-worst team in the American League. That did not happen, and Baltimore comes out of the weekend in the same situation they went into Oakland with: two games below .500 (58-60), and in the back seat of the AL Wild Card Race.

Game one: 7-2 Orioles

The entire series went up and down for both teams. Thursday began with Baltimore slamming four home runs off Oakland starter Chris Smith. Those home runs featured two back-to-back sequences that both involved Trey Mancini. In the fourth inning, Mancini followed Adam Jones, and in the sixth inning the 25-year-old infielder was shadowed by Mark Trumbo.

Mancini finished the game with three hits. Jones completed the game with three RBI; one on the solo homer and two on a seventh-inning double.

Wade Miley tossed seven innings, allowing one run on three hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. The last time Miley lasted seven innings came on June 1 against the Red Sox. Zach Britton racked up his 10’th save of the season in the win.

Game two: 5-4 Athletics

After not allowing a run in his three prior appearances, Brad Brach struggled on Friday night. The Orioles held a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning, but things would unravel quickly. Left-fielder Matt Joyce, batting leadoff, got the inning started with a double off Brach. Shortstop Marcus Semien singled to left, advancing Joyce to third. Joyce scored and tied the game when second baseman Jed Lowrie hit a ground-rule double. After Brach earned the first out on a strikeout, Chris Davis dropped a pop-up in foul territory. Oakland got the winning run in on a sacrifice fly by Chad Pinder.

The loss yielded Brach a record of .500 at 3-3. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs over 5.1 innings. He tallied 11 strikeouts on Friday night, which beat his previous season-high of nine on July 26 against Tampa Bay.

Jones hit a solo home run and scored Manny Machado on a double-play RBI. Machado scored again on a double by Jonathan Schoop.

Game three: 12-5 Orioles 

The Birds scored seven runs in the first inning off A’s starter Sean Manaea, who recorded just one out before being pulled from the game. The O’s sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning. Saturday became the first time since May 20, 2008 that the Orioles scored seven or more runs in the first inning, according to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com.

The Orioles pounced on the A’s on Saturday, finishing with 20 hits and eight doubles. Eight doubles goes down as a season-high for Baltimore. Amazingly, the Orioles accomplished all of the offensive production without a home run. Tim Beckham went 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI on two doubles. Both Jones and Joey Rickard tallied three hits, with Jones notching three RBI on a double and a single. Machado and Davis contributed by both finishing with two RBI – Machado on a double and a single, and Davis on two singles.

Despite the offensive onslaught, the Orioles did not play a perfect game. Starter Dylan Bundy gave up three home runs in the first two innings on home runs by Khris Davis and Matt Olson. However, Oakland never truly threatened in the game. The Orioles kept the A’s at bay, and Oakland did not get on the board again until they eighth inning.

Saturday indicates the second time Baltimore scored 12 runs in August. The Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 12-3, on Aug. 6 at Camden Yards.

Game four: 9-3 Athletics

The Orioles scored one run apiece in the first two innings on RBI singles by Schoop and Davis. Baltimore controlled early, but a five-run fourth inning put the game in Oakland’s favor. After making his way through three innings unscathed, Jeremy Hellickson imploded in the fourth.

The A’s played small ball to get their first two runs on the board, but infielder Matt Chapman‘s three-run home run awarded Oakland the lead. Semien and Joyce homered later in the game, and eventually Baltimore found themselves down by six. Machado added a solo home run in the eighth inning, that came when the O’s trailed by six.

Sunday represents Hellickosn’s worst outing since coming to Baltimore in late July. Chris Tillman made his first career relief appearance on Sunday, registering two strikeouts. He threw 20 pitches, 11 strikes.

Notes:

  • Beckham played all four of these games from the leadoff position in Baltimore’s lineup. That did not impact his play. Beckham did not record a hit on Sunday, but in this series he notched eight hits, four doubles, a triple, and three RBI.
  • Also at the plate in Oakland, Jones went 7-for-17 with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.
  • J.J. Hardy, the Orioles’ starting shortstop prior to Beckham’s arrival, will not return from the 60-day disabled list on Friday, Aug. 18. Hardy suffered a fractured wrist against the Cardinals on June 18 when he got hit by a pitch. Even if Hardy returns with a decent amount of time left in the season, its hard to envision manager Buck Showalter putting him back in the lineup on a regular basis. Hardy turns 35 on Saturday, owns a .211 batting average in 2017, and his contract expires after the season.

Up Next: Baltimore wraps up their 10-game road trip with a three-game series in Seattle against the Mariners. Going into the weekend, Seattle held the second Wild Card spot in the AL. After getting swept by the Angels in four games at home, the Mariners (59-60) now find themselves on the outside looking in, with the Angels, Twins and Royals all overtaking them in the race.

Seattle sits two games back in the Wild Card standings, with Baltimore right behind them at 2.5 games.

Image Credit: Mercury News 

Alex Lewis and Tim White to miss 2017 season with injuries

The Ravens kicked off their season last night with a 23-3 win over the Washington Redskins but the game did not come without an injury tax.

The offensive line took yet another hit when Alex Lewis aggravated a lingering shoulder injury. There was no word on the injury last night but the Ravens are reporting today that the lineman’s shoulder is not responding well to treatment

Ravens beat writer, Jeff Zrebiec says that Lewis suffered a torn labrum and has been dealing with it throughout camp. The injury has reached a point where Lewis cannot play through it and he will require season ending surgery.

Undrafted rookie Tim White is also expected to miss the entire 2017 season after injuring his thumb during Thursdays game. It’s unclear when White suffered the injury but it appears to be serious as he will require surgery.

Fans started to take notice of White during the teams first open practice in late July and he even got a shoutout from Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace during their interview with NFL Network. The 23-year-old receiver only had one reception in Thursdays game but he made it a big one. White caught a 33 yard touchdown pass from Josh Woodrum at the end of the third quarter to put the Ravens up 20-3.

The Ravens also provided an update on Joe Flacco’s back injury. The 10 year veteran will not play in any preseason games but is expected to return to the practice field soon. The team also made sure to mention that Flacco will be ready to go for the season opener on September 10.

Image Credit: Baltimore Sun

Defense shines as Ravens defeat Redskins 23-3 in preseason opener

BALTIMORE — On Thursday night, the Baltimore Ravens opened the 2017 preseason with a 23-3 win over the Washington Redskins thanks to some impressive play on defense.

With most of the offense either injured or resting, all eyes were on the defense and they did not disappoint. The Ravens defense started the game with three straight three-and-outs, completely stifling Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and the rest of the Redskins offense. By the end of the first quarter, the Redskins only gained 27 total yards of offense.

The Ravens offensive unit did not fair much better in the early goings. Ryan Mallett struggled to find his open receivers and the offensive line wasn't opening many gaps for the run game. If it were not for a timely Redskins penalty, the Ravens would not have scored their first touchdown of the night.

Mallet finished the first quarter with an abysmal stat line. The backup quarterback went 1/4 on pass attempts and owned a negative passing yard total until the 11-minute mark in the second quarter. Things didn't get much better for Mallett as the half progressed. The quarterback finished his night with nine completions for 58 yards.

Despite Mallett's performance, the Ravens took advantage of some key mistakes by the Redskins. Baltimore held a 13-0 lead at the half. Following Terrance West's two-yard touchdown run, Justin Tucker nailed two field goals, including one from 59 yards, to round out the first half scoring.

Dustin Vaughan and Josh Woodrum took over the Ravens quarterback duties in the second half. Both QB's received a limited amount of pass attempts, but Woodrum was still able to make an impact. Following an excellent punt return by Kennan Reynolds, Woodrum connected with rookie receiver Tim white for a 33-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 20-3. He finished his night with just four pass attempts but completed all of them for 85 yards.

The offensive game plan was definitely more run heavy in the second half. Four running backs got the chance to carry the ball. Two of them performed well. West averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored the first touchdown of the game. Taquan Mizzell racked up 51 yards on 15 carries.

Some of the biggest individual performances of the night came from the defense. Rookie corner back Jaylen Hill made a big impression with a couple strong open field tackles and an interception at the end of the first half. Brent Urban had a solid game, picking up four tackles and one of the Ravens three sacks.

The Ravens get back to work in the coming days as they prepare for their next preseason game down in Miami. Before they make the trip, fans will have a chance to see the Ravens in action at the teams' third open practice this Saturday morning. That practice begins at 10 am at M&T Bank Stadium, and you can bring your dogs!

Image Credit: Baltimore Sun

Series Preview: Orioles continue west coast trip in Oakland

OAKLAND — Going into a 10-game road trip out west featuring match-ups against two teams in the American League Wild Card Race, the Orioles knew they needed to come out strong against the Angels. Well, that did not happen. Baltimore started off the trip out west losing two of three to Los Angeles. The Angels held Baltimore to three runs in the final two games, ending an offensive onslaught that began with the signing of Tim Beckham.

The Oakland Athletics face a plethora of struggles too. They currently represent the second-to-worst record in the AL, and just got swept by division rival Seattle over two games.

Now, the Orioles and Athletics will lock arms in a four-game weekend series at the Oakland Coliseum.

Last Meeting: In 2016, the Orioles played 3-4 baseball against the A’s. Baltimore took two of three from Oakland at Camden Yards. One of those wins featured an 11-3 offensive explosion. Manny Machado finished that game with six RBI on a grand slam and another two-run homer. Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Joey Rickard also found the long ball in that game.

In Oakland, the Orioles struggled, going 1-3. All losses were by one run, 0-1, 1-2, and 2-3. Despite great performances by Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley, and Yovani Gallardo, Oakland limited the O’s to three runs in as many games. The O’s went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners on-base. The O’s did pick up a 9-6 win at the Coliseum, but the offensive struggles in the other three games overshadowed that win.

Standings Update: The Orioles (56-58) come into Oakland 2.5 games back in the AL Wild Card Race. The Red Sox (64-49) currently man the first place slot in the AL East. The A’s (50-64) sit in the cellar of the AL West, 22 games behind the Astros (71-41).

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1Thursday, Aug. 10, 10:05 pm – Wade Miley (5-9, 5.51 ERA) vs. Chris Smith (0-1, 4.82 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Friday, Aug. 11, 10:05 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-7, 6.31 ERA) vs. Paul Blackburn (3-1, 2.60 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Saturday, Aug. 12, 9:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (11-8, 4.15 ERA) vs. Sean Manaea (8-6, 4.15 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4Sunday, Aug. 13, 4:05 pm – Jeremy Hellickson (7-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. Kendall Graveman (2-3, 4.97 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Key Orioles stats in Oakland:

  • Three of Baltimore’s starters sport ERA’s below 4 at the Oakland Coliseum: Miley (1.42, two starts), Jimenez (2.31, two starts), and Hellickson (3.44, three starts). Bundy will start his first game in Oakland on Saturday.
  • Chris Davis owns a career .307 average at the Coliseum. In 127 at-bats, the 31-year-old infielder looks to add on to his 39 hits, eight doubles, nine home runs, and 30 RBI.

A’s against the Orioles: 

  • Khris with a K Davis is a lifetime .290 hitter against Baltimore, with 19 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and six RBI in 31 at-bats against the O’s.
  • Oakland’s leading hitter, infielder Jed Lowrie, clocks in with a .270 average. Against Baltimore, however, Lowrie quietly hits just .213.

Up Next: The Orioles play the last of three series of the 10-game west coast trip in Seattle against the Mariners. Seattle (59-56) owns the second place mark in the AL West. If the season ended today, the second Wild Card slot in the AL belongs to the Mariners, with the first going to the Yankees (59-52).

Note: All standings and stats in this post are as of Aug. 9. 

Image Credit: SFBay

Podcast: Purple Painted Roundtable Episode 2

Welcome to the second episode of Purple-Painted Roundtable, a Baltimore Ravens podcast brought to you by Ebony Bird and Fansided. This episode airs on the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast Network.

On this episode, site experts Chris Schisler and Joe Schiller, and contributor Jake McDonnell, are back to go over the top stories surrounding the Ravens. At the time of recording this episode, 24 hours separate the Ravens from their first preseason game against the Washington Redskins. What are the top storylines going into the game? What should fans expect on Thursday? Who are some players to watch?

Of course, not all of the news concerns the game. It is no secret that the Ravens endured a rough start to training camp, particularly with injuries. Yesterday, head coach John Harbaugh lashed out at a reporter for asking about Marlon Humphrey, who has missed a string of practices with an undisclosed injury. Hear the guys’ response to this, and their thoughts on if Harbaugh’s answer was appropriate.

Twitter handles:

@Ebony_Bird

Chris: @footballman58

Joe: @joeschillerr

Jake: @JMcDonnell95

Check out articles from all three of these guys on Ebony Bird.

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on either iTunes or Soundcloud. Leave us a review on iTunes, and rate 5 stars. Follow Charm City Bird Watch on Twitter as well. Thank you!