Orioles pick up pair of comeback wins over visiting Yankees

Game 1 (5-4 BAL): The Orioles kicked off their four-game series against the Yankees with a doubleheader. To the surprise of many, the O’s got the best of their American League East rival and snapped six-game losing streak with a 5-4 win.

Jimmy Yacabonis was called upon to make his second start of the year after turning in a decent outing in his first career start a few weeks ago. The Yankees jumped on the rookie pitcher early and picked up three runs in the first three innings. Yacabonis settled in after this and worked his way through five innings.

Mark Trumbo helped inch the Birds back into the game with a two-run blast in the fourth. It marked Trumbo’s 12th homer of the year and fourth this month. The Yankees got a run back in the sixth but the Orioles offense was not done yet. Trumbo led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and Jonathan Schoop followed with a double, bringing Danny Valencia to the plate. CC Sabathia was approaching 100 pitches on the hill but remained in the game to face Valencia. This ended up being a somewhat questionable call as the right fielder sent a three-run shot to deep center, giving the O’s a 5-4 lead.

Mike Wright, Mychal Givens and Zach Britton closed out the last three innings with ease to secure the win. The victory marked the Orioles’ first in game one of a series since June 22 when they defeated the Braves in extra innings.

Game 2 (10-2 NYY): The Orioles could not keep their good fortunes going when game two rolled around. Yefry Ramirez got the start but failed to work at the fast pace he had displayed in his last two outings. Didi Gregorius put the Yankees on the board in the first inning with an RBI double. The lineup continued to threaten later in the inning by loading the bases but Ramirez escaped with a timely strikeout.

A two-run homer by Brett Gardner extended New York’s lead in the fourth. Ramirez’s pitch count was inflated but the rookie pitcher managed to finish off the inning. However, the Yankees finally forced Ramirez out of the game in the next inning after Greg Bird picked up an RBI single.

The score remained 4-0 in New York’s favor for the next three innings as Ryan Meisinger entered the game for the Orioles out of the pen. The 24-year-old made his MLB debut late last month and has seen a decent amount of appearances since then. Monday night’s outing stands as his best so far. Meisinger struck out three while tossing three perfect innings.

After Meisinger’s exit the bullpen completely fell apart. Brad Brach came in for the eighth and picked up two quick outs but failed to close the door. Four Yankees batters picked up two-out hits, including a home run by Austin Romine and an RBI double by Gardner. By the time Brach was yanked, the Yankees had picked up an insurmountable 7-0 lead.

Tanner Scott came in next but couldn’t get the third out fast enough. The Yankees loaded the bases and picked up an eighth run via a throwing error by Schoop. The Orioles finally got on the board in the bottom half of the inning when Tim Beckham hit his first home run since returning from the disabled list in late June. New York would go on to get those two runs back in the ninth as they wrapped up a dominant 10-2 win in game two of Monday’s double header.

Game 3 (6-5 BAL): On Tuesday afternoon it was reported that the New York Yankees had entered the trade conversations for Manny Machado. In a year filled with misery for O’s fans this felt like just another jab to the gut. However, those same fans were able to sleep well on Tuesday night knowing that Machado still remained on the O’s long enough to help lift his team to their fifth win over the Yankees this season.

The All-Star shortstop went 3-for-4 at the plate with two game-tying home runs. The first came off of Masahiro Tanaka on the very first pitch of the fifth inning. The New York starter had just come off the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game but it was not a smooth transition back to the rotation for him. Tanaka only lasted 4.1 innings with Machado’s leadoff homer, marking the third and final run surrendered for the Yankees starter.

Machado’s second homer came in the seventh off of Chad Green. Adam Jones helped set the table by getting on base with a single and Machado followed with a deep shot to right field. Aaron Judge gave chase all the way back to the wall but the ball landed just out of reach for the 6’7″ right fielder as he leaped up in an attempt to rob Machado. The umpires needed to review the play despite the ball landing on the grounds crew roof but the correct call was ultimately made after a brief delay.

The game would remain tied going into the ninth inning. The Orioles bullpen had tossed 2.2 clean innings of relief and the offense responded with one more rally. With Dellin Betances on the mound it seemed almost certain that the game would be going into extra innings but the Orioles caught a break when Caleb Joseph got hit by a pitch in the first at-bat of the inning. Jones kept the momentum going with a double down the right-field line that somehow managed to stay fair. The big hit allowed Joseph to go to third for a sac fly opportunity.

Trumbo came to the plate and turned in a terrible four-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout. Trumbo appeared to be thrown off right from start and couldn’t find a pitch to drive to the outfield. After this, the weight of the game fell onto Schoop’s shoulders and the second baseman did not disappoint. After watching the first two pitches, Schoop found one he liked down and away in the zone. Schoop extended his arms down and poked the ball past the reach of Greg Bird at first base for the game-winning RBI.

Game 4 (9-0 NYY): After an exciting walk-off win on Tuesday the Orioles had stumbled into the opportunity for their second series win over the Yankees this year. However, New York’s offense jumped all over the Orioles pitching staff and forced a split with their second blowout victory of the series.

Dylan Bundy was on the mound for the O’s and struggled again in his second start since returning from a brief stint on the disabled list. Bundy had a clean start in the first two innings but quickly unraveled in the third. After putting runners on the corners with two outs, Bundy surrendered an RBI single to Giancarlo Stanton. The damage didn’t stop there. The Yankees loaded the bases and Bird came up big with a grand slam down the right-field line. The ball was hooking to the right but bounced off the foul pole before drifting too far.

Bundy worked one more inning before being replaced by the bullpen. Wright, Jhan Marinez and Donnie Hart all entered the game for the O’s but none of them could keep the Yankees off the board. New York picked up four more runs over the course of the rest of the game to eventually rack up a 9-0 lead.

Tyler Wade put the fifth run on the board in the sixth with his first career home run. Romine launched a solo home run as well and Stanton rounded out the scoring with another RBI single. The Yankees have outscored the Orioles 60-42 this year but the season series is tied up 5-5.

Up next: The Orioles were originally scheduled to have Thursday off but will now be playing a make-up game against Philadelphia. The Orioles and Phillies were meant to play a brief two-game series back in May but the first game had to be postponed due to rain. The O’s will finish off the week by hosting the Texas Rangers before getting a four-day break next week for the All-Star game.

Image credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images

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Orioles return to Camden Yards for eight game home stand before All-Star break

BALTIMORE — The All-Star break is almost upon us. The teams have been announced and as many expected, Manny Machado is the lone Orioles player to be selected. While there is still a week of baseball to play before we reach the mid summer classic, fans are already looking forward to the break away from Orioles baseball and the potential trades that could possibly follow.

How can you blame them? The O’s have lost 13 of their last 14 and have dropped to 41 games below .500 but this past series against the Twins produced even more depressing stats. Chris Davis finally broke the Orioles all time strikeout record in under eight seasons and the offense failed to score more than one run for the 24th time this season. There is plenty more to dig into when it comes to the Orioles abysmal season but you’ve probably already heard most of it because nothing has changed with this team since April.

So what is there to look forward to on the field? I could give you the easy answer and say, “nothing,” but that’s not entirely true. The New York Yankees are in town and that carries more weight than the average matchup. I understand Camden Yards will be full of pinstripes this week and the cheers of Yankees fans will drown out any noise made by the Orioles faithful, but a division matchup is always worth watching in my opinion.

After all, one of the few bright spots in this season came back in April when the O’s took three of four against the Yankees in New York. The series included a couple extra inning games and more than enough excitement for the first month of a 162 game season. However, when the season series came to Baltimore in June, the Yankees got the best of the Birds by taking two in a rain shortened series.

Last meeting: The Yankees visited Camden Yards at the beginning of June but only two of the four scheduled games could be completed due to bad weather throughout the weekend. New York managed to win the two games that were played but make up dates had to be scheduled for the other two. The first will take place on Monday as the O’s and Yankees prepare to play a double header, but the second will have to wait until the Yankees return to Baltimore in late August

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Monday, July 9, 4:05 pm – Jimmy Yacabonis (0-0, 8.53 ERA) vs CC Sabathia (6-3, 3.02 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Monday, July 9, 7:05 pm – Yefry Ramirez (0-2, 2.51 ERA) vs Luis Cessa (0-1, 5.00 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Tuesday, July 10, 7:05 pm – Andrew Cashner (2-9, 4.39 ERA) vs Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.58 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Wednesday, July 11, 7:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (6-8, 4.08 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (5-7, 5.85 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Yankees:

  • It’s no secret that the Yankees have one of the most high profile bullpens in the league. Dellin Betances is just one piece of that puzzle for New York and the 30-year-old reliever has been locked in since the end of May. Betances has not surrendered a run since May 23 and has now tossed 17.2 clean innings in a row with 30 strikeouts.
  • New York’s offense has been coming up big the past few weeks, scoring six runs or more in seven of their last thirteen games.
  • Aaron Judge isn’t making as many headlines in 2018 as he was in his rookie season but the New York slugger is still making opposing pitchers pay every chance he gets. Judge is hitting .300 with five home runs and six RBI’s in his last ten games. He has also drawn eight walks to help give himself a .416 on base percentage in that same span.

Notes on Orioles:

  • Dylan Bundy returned to the rotation last week after a brief stint on the disabled list but failed to pick up where he left off. Bundy was tagged for five earned runs in 3.1 innings of work on Friday. The rough outing was particularly disappointing since Bundy was so effective in June prior to his injury. While it is just one start, there may be room for concern with Bundy moving forward. Since becoming a starter for the O’s in 2016, Bundy has struggled in the month of July with a 2-5 record and a 6.98 ERA in eight starts.
  • Rookie pitcher Yefry Ramirez will get another opportunity to start this weekend after impressing in his last two outings. His numbers have looked pretty good on paper but he really deserves more credit for the efficiency he has displayed on the mound. It can be difficult for younger pitchers to get ahead in the count and maintain a low pitch count but Ramirez averaged just a little over 11 pitches per inning in his last two appearances.

Image credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

Orioles continue road trip with four game series against Twins

MINNESOTA — The Orioles wrap up their current six-game road trip with a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins this weekend. After breaking a seven-game losing streak with a win against Los Angeles on Sunday, the O’s continued to disappoint in interleague play by dropping two games against Philadelphia

It was more of the same for the O’s as the offense disappeared and left the pitching staff out to dry. With a little over a week left until the All Star break there isn’t an expectation for this to change, but at this point the team’s performance on the field isn’t the main concern for fans. The trade deadline is on the horizon and fans are thirsty for some hot stove rumors but so far all we have is a bunch of hearsay.

Last meeting: As far as the action on the field is concerned, the Orioles and Twins will square off for the second time this season. The two American league teams met on opening weekend with Minnesota coming out on top in games two and three. The O’s picked up an extra inning win on opening day thanks to a walk-off homer by Adam Jones but the rest of the series was not as closely contested.

You may also remember the infamous bunt by Chance Sisco in game three. The Twins held a comfortable 7-0 lead in the ninth but found an issue with Sisco laying down a bunt to beat the shift. The incident sparked a bunch of reactions from fans and players around the league but disappeared quickly after everyone realized how stupid of an argument it was. I would assume that this will not carry over into this weekend’s series, but maybe some tension would make watching the O’s more fun.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, July 5, 8:10 pm – Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.48 ERA) vs Aaron Slegers (0-0, 3.38 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Friday, July 6, 8:10 pm – Dylan Bundy (6-7, 3.75 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (5-7, 5.49 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Saturday, July 7, 2:10 pm – Kevin Gausman (4-6, 4.05 ERA) vs Kyle Gibson (2-6, 3.58 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Sunday, July 8, 2:10 pm – Alex Cobb (2-10, 6.53 ERA) vs Jake Odorizzi (3-6, 4.57 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Twins:

  • Veteran first baseman Joe Mauer is currently in the middle of his 15th major league season. Mauer has accomplished a lot in his career but his numbers against the Orioles are still quite impressive on their own. He holds a .342 batting average against the O’s, which is his second highest career total against American league opponents.
  • Slegers will make his first start of the 2018 season on Thursday. The 25-year-old’s only appearance of the year came on May 30 when Slegers tossed 5.1 innings of relief and surrendered two runs in the process. Since debuting in 2017 Slegers is 0-1 with a 5.70 ERA in three career starts.

Notes on Orioles:

  • The Orioles will get their best starter back in the rotation during this four game series. Bundy hit the 10-day disabled list after suffering an ankle sprain against the Braves. The injury prematurely ended a great month for the young pitcher. Bundy had picked up three wins with a 1.98 ERA in four starts last month.
  • Tim Beckham got off to a slow start in 2018 and things only got worse when he suffered a groin injury that sidelined him for two months. Since returning, Beckham has been raising his batting average at a consistent pace by picking up at least one hit in his last seven games. The O’s third baseman is batting .322 since returning to the lineup on June 25.

You can listen to this week’s episode of the Charm City Bird Watch podcast here:

Image credit: Greg Fiume / Getty Images

Orioles head to Philadelphia for two-game Set against the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA- The Baltimore Orioles look to build on Sunday’s 8-2 win against the Los Angeles Angels as they head to Philadelphia for a two-game set to open up what will be a six-game road trip.

The Orioles avoided a three-game sweep and received another quality start from starting pitcher Kevin Gausman on Sunday. Gausman ran his record to 4-6 on the season with Sunday’s eight-inning, two-run effort. This was Gausman’s tenth quality start, tying fellow right-handed starter Dylan Bundy for the team lead.

The Orioles did drop two of three to the Angels, but saw the bats wake up on Sunday when they clubbed four home runs. It was the Orioles’ first three-homer plus game since June 19 against the Nationals.

The Phillies come into Tuesday’s series opener after taking three of four against the Washington Nationals in Philadelphia.  They received a walk-off pinch hit homer by catcher Andrew Knapp in the finale of that series on Sunday to give them the 4-3 victory.

Standings Check-In: The Orioles are currently sitting at 24-59 which lands them in the cellar of the AL East, 31.5 games back of the first place Boston Red Sox (57-29).  The New York Yankees (54-28, 1GB) are in second place with the Tampa Bay Rays (42-42, 14 GB) and the Toronto Blue Jays (39-45, 17GB) rounding out the division.

The Phillies (45-37) enter this series with the Birds in second place in the NL East, 3.5 games back of the first place Atlanta Braves (49-34).

Last Meeting: The last meeting between the two clubs took place on May 16 when the Phillies downed the Orioles 4-1 in the only game of the series. The game on May 15 was postponed due to rain. In the May 16 affair, Andrew Cashner started for the Orioles and gave up three runs on five hits over 5.2 innings. Nick Pivetta was better for the Phillies going seven strong and scattering just two hits while striking out 11.

Baltimore leads the all-time series against Philadelphia 29-24.

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The Orioles will look for Alex Cobb to right the ship in the series opener. Image Credit: PressBox

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Tuesday, July 3, 7:05pm- Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.75 ERA) vs. Zach Eflin (6-2, 3.02 ERA)-MASN2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Wednesday, July 4, 4:05pm- TBD vs. Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48 ERA)- MASN2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Phillies:

  • Nola, who starts game two for the Phillies, is quietly putting together an All- Star caliber season.  He is tied for second in the NL in wins with Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
  • At the plate the Phillies are led by center-fielder Odubel Herrera. Herrera is hitting .283 on the season with 14 home runs and 47 RBI to help pace the Philadelphia offense.
  • The Phillies appear to be on their way to their first winning season since 2011 when they were 102-60.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • The Orioles continue to struggle at the plate. Despite their eight-run outburst on Sunday, they rank last in the MLB in batting average and on base percentage and are 29th in runs scored.
  • Cobb continues to be a free agent disappointment for the Birds. In four full and healthy seasons as a starter for the Tampa Bay Rays, Cobb averaged a 3.33 ERA. This dwarfs his current ERA of 6.75.
  • Since his eight-game hiatus from the lineup, first basemen Chris Davis has gone just 6-for-34. Three of those hits have been home runs and Davis has walked three times.

Image Credit: Washington Times

Orioles finish June with 6-2 loss to Angels

BALTIMORE — On Saturday afternoon the Baltimore Orioles dropped a late afternoon game against the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 and extended their losing streak to seven straight.

After almost getting shutout in Friday’s series opener, the Orioles offense struck early on Saturday with two runs in the first inning. Tim Beckham got it started in the leadoff spot with a single to set the table. Adam Jones immediately followed him with a single of his own, allowing Beckham to round second and safely head to third. Manny Machado came up to bat next and battled Tyler Skaggs in a lengthy plate appearance before bringing Beckham in with an RBI single to left field.

The offense slowed down from here but the O’s still managed to push another run across with a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia. That would end the offensive output for the O’s on Saturday evening. The lineup went ice cold, just like the night before, and only mustered three more hits through the next eight innings.

Andrew Cashner got the start for Baltimore and did his best to make those two runs count. Cashner surrendered just one run in the fourth and finished his night after six innings. This quality start rounds out Cashner’s best month of the season so far. The veteran starter will finish June with a 3.21 ERA in five starts.

Brad Brach picked up where Cashner left off by completing a clean 1-2-3 inning on 17 pitches. Going into the eighth the Orioles maintained their slim 2-1 lead but it was only a matter of time before the inconsistent bullpen broke down.

Mychal Givens got the first out of the eighth but then unraveled by giving up a pair of walks and an RBI double to Albert Pujols. Buck Showalter quickly replaced Givens with Tanner Scott but the rookie pitcher could not stop the bleeding. Scott issued a walk to Andrelton Simmons before Chris Young brought home the go-ahead run with a fielder’s choice. Two more runs were scored in the inning after Scott hit Martin Maldonado with the bases loaded and then gave up a two-RBI single to David Fletcher.

When it was all said and done the Angels had not only come back, but also picked up a comfortable 6-2 lead. As you might have guessed, this lead was very safe through the final two innings and Los Angeles picked up their fifth win against the O’s this season.

The Orioles will finish June with a 6-20 record, meaning their latest incredibly miserable feat is not winning a single game against an American league team all month. The Orioles have also dropped 17 of their last 18 home games as they limped through the half way point of the season with the worst record in the league, 23-59.

Image credit: Gail Burton / Associated Press 

Orioles’ Dylan Bundy placed on 10-day DL after rolling ankle while running bases in Atlanta

BALTIMORE — Not three weeks after Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka pulled both hamstrings while running the bases against the Mets, the Orioles have placed opening day starter Dylan Bundy on the 10-day disabled list after the pitcher rolled his ankle while running the bases on Saturday against the Braves. According to the Orioles’ Twitter page, Bundy suffered a left high ankle sprain.

It’s a frustrating development for the Orioles and Bundy, who was only put into that situation because the Orioles were playing in a National League ballpark when the injury took place. Bundy performed well in the month of June, working to a 1.98 ERA over four starts (27.1 innings), allowing six earned runs on 18 hits, nine walks, and 25 strikeouts. It was a reassuring month for Bundy, who struggled in May with a 6.12 ERA in six starts.

With Bundy landing on the DL, the Orioles once again recalled left-handed relief pitcher Donnie Hart from Triple-A Norfolk. Hart was just optioned on Monday with Tim Beckham‘s return from the 60-day DL (groin). It marks the sixth time this season that the Orioles have recalled Hart, according to Rich Dubroff of Pressbox.

Luckily for the Orioles, Andrew Cashner‘s recent return gives the team a cushion in figuring out a fifth starter. Bundy last pitched on Saturday, so the Orioles will need to find a replacement for his scheduled Thursday start against the Mariners. With an off-day coming on Jul. 2 for Baltimore, that Jul. 28 start versus Seattle could be the only start Bundy misses if all goes to plan.

Jimmy Yacabonis was scratched from Tuesday evening’s start for the Tides, making him the early favorite to receive this Thursday’s start. In two relief appearances this season at the major league level for Yacabonis, the 26-year-old right hander has allowed four runs on three hits, five walks, and 1 strikeout (2.1 innings). Yacabonis is 3-2 with a 3.14 ERA this season in 13 starts for Norfolk.

UPDATE:

Bundy becomes eligible to return from the DL on Jul. 4 on the road against the Phillies, but in an effort to protect his ankle, Buck Showalter will likely wait until Jul. 6 in Minnesota, an AL ballpark, to re-activate Bundy.

Image Credit: Birds Watcher 

Orioles fall 5-1 to the Blue Jays as bats remain dormant

TORONTO– After taking the first two games of their six-game road trip against the New York Mets, the Baltimore Orioles took their second straight loss to the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of  5-1 Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Andrew Cashner got the start for the Birds and performed admirably, going six innings and surrendering only three runs on nine hits while striking out four and walking two. Cashner (2-8, 4.98 ERA) continues to struggle with giving up the long ball as he was touched up for two more last night, bringing his season total to 13 which ranks him just outside of the top 10 in home runs allowed in Major League Baseball.

The Orioles’ offense managed to get Cashner an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. After a lead-off walk by Danny Valencia and a Jonathan Schoop flyout, Mark Trumbo walked to give the Orioles a scoring opportunity with runners at first and second and just one out.

Trey Mancini came to the plate and grounded into a fielders choice with Trumbo being forced out at second and Valencia scoring on a throwing error by Toronto second basemen Devon Travis. An Austin Wynns strikeout ended the inning for the Birds.

Cashner took the 1-0 lead to the hill in the bottom of the second inning and quickly picked up the first two outs, getting Justin Smoak to ground out and Kevin Pillar to strikeout. Russell Martin came to the plate for the Blue Jays and delivered a two-out homer to left field, his sixth, to tie the game 1-1.  A Randal Grichuk ground-out ended the inning.

After no runs in the third and fourth innings, the Blue Jays offense got back on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Grichuk homered to left to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. After the Orioles produced their fourth straight scoreless inning in the top of the sixth, the Blue Jays extended their lead to 3-1 on a Martin single, scoring Teoscar Hernandez. Cashner finished the inning but left trailing 3-1.

Tanner Scott pitched the seventh inning, yielding one run on two hits and Mike Wright Jr. took the eighth, also giving up a run on two hits.

J.A. Happ was the latest pitcher to silence the Orioles offense, going seven innings and scattering just one run on two hits, while striking out three and walking two. Happ (8-3, 3.71 ERA) picked up the 100th win of his MLB career in the victory.

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Orioles hitting Coach Scott Coolbaugh could be on the hot seat.

The Orioles are 19-43 on the season with the loss and have scored one or fewer runs in 29% of their games this season (18/62).  They are 28th in average, 29th in runs scored, and dead last in on-base percentage. It’s time to start wondering who will be the first to fall on the sword for the overall ineptitude of this ball club and it reasons to believe that Orioles hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh is currently the leader in the clubhouse.

Game three of the four-game set is Saturday afternoon and the Orioles will send Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.63 ERA) to the hill looking to end the brief two-game losing streak. Gausman will be looking to bounce back from an 8-5 loss to the Yankees last Saturday. The Blue Jays (28-35) will counter with Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez (3-5, 4.48 ERA) will be looking for his second-straight win fresh off the heels of an 8-4 decision over the Detroit Tigers.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:07pm on MASN 2.

Image Credit: CNN