Orioles look to end losing streak in weekend series against Cleveland

In the span of three weeks the Orioles fan base has gone from cautiously optimistic to crisis mode. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a good reason though. The O’s enter this weekend with a six game losing streak and a 2-8 record in their last ten games.

The Birds have quickly sunk to the bottom of the AL East while the Red Sox continue to dominate and build a comfortable lead early in the season. As of today, the Orioles are nine games below .500 and 11.5 games out of first place with no signs of erasing that deficit anytime soon.

So what are we to blame for this terrible start? Surprisingly, the starting rotation is not the go to answer. Instead, the offense has continued to be the let down so far this season. Through the first 19 games, only four O’s players are batting above .250 and two of them, Pedro Alvarez and Chance Sisco, are not even playing everyday.

Of course this has resulted in some league lows in almost every offensive category. The Orioles currently hold the second worst batting average and slugging percentage in the league. The run production has suffered as well. In their last six games, the Orioles have been outscored 43-22 and have currently rank in the bottom five for RBI.

So where are these runs coming from? In years past it would be easy to point to some of the unreliable starters that made up the rotation but in a surprising turn of events, the bullpen has been the main liability so far in April. Only Brad Brach and Richard Bleier have an ERA below 3.50 while the other four to five regular members of the bullpen have traded awful relief efforts, costing the O’s and their anemic offense a few potential win opportunities late in the game.

Lets not let the starting five completely off the hook though. Sure, Dylan Bundy has shown signs of becoming a true ace in his first four starts and Andrew Cashner has proven to be consistent, but there are still some big issues present. Alex Cobb has clearly proved that he was not ready for the regular season after giving up 12 earned runs in two starts that lasted less than four innings.

Cobb could have benefited greatly from more time in extended spring training but with Chris Tillman and Mike Wright both struggling to go at least five innings in most of their starts, the Orioles were forced to roll the dice and bring their newly acquired starter up a little early.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Friday, April 20, 7:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (0-2, 1.40 ERA) vs Trevor Bauer (1-1, 2.25 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, April 21, 4:05 pm – Chris Tillman (0-3, 11.91 ERA) vs Mike Clevinger (1-0, 2.70 ERA) – FS1, MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, April 22, 1:05 pm – Andrew Cashner (1-2, 3.00 ERA) vs Corey Kluber (2-1, 1.52 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Monday, April 23, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57 ERA) vs Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 2.60 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Image credit: NBC Sports

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Series Recap: Things only get worse for Orioles in Detroit

DETROIT — After getting swept by the Boston Red Sox to open up a two-series road trip, the Baltimore Orioles went into Detroit looking to at least take two of three against the struggling Tigers.

Well, that certainly didn’t happen. The Tigers made easy work of The Birds, sweeping them in three games at Comerica Park to extend Baltimore’s losing streak to six games, the second-longest losing skid in the majors aside from Kansas City’s eight-game tumble.

Game 1 (4-2 DET): Bad mistakes led to Baltimore falling behind in the series. Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, the Orioles had runners on first and second base with two outs. Adam Jones singled on a sharply-hit ground ball to right field, which scored the leading runner, Craig Gentry. However, Manny Machado, who’s been the culprit of several base-running blunders in recent memory, got caught in a rundown trying to advance to third base. Machado tried to dive out of the way of third baseman Jeimer Candelario, but was tagged for the final out of the inning with the game tied at 2.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, now trailing 3-2, the Orioles allowed the Tigers to score their final run of the game on a wild pitch from Mychal Givens. With a 1-1 count and two outs, Givens’ next pitch bounced underneath the legs of Caleb Joseph and made its way to the backstop, allowing Victor Reyes to score. Although the play only extended Detroit’s lead to two runs, these defensive breakdowns have been a problem for the Orioles all season long.

Andrew Cashner gave the Orioles a respectable start, going six innings and allowing three runs on seven hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer off Cashner in the second inning, and Candelario tripled in the fifth inning to score Leonys Martin. Francisco Liriano earned the win for Detroit, striking out seven Baltimore batters, who finished the game with 12 K’s.

Trey Mancini hit his second home run of the season in the third inning. Mancini and Jones both led the Orioles with two hits in four at-bats.

Game 2 (6-5 DET): Despite coming from behind multiple times in the late innings, the Orioles still found a way to lose in heartbreaking fashion. Leading 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Darren O’Day imploded. After Miguel Cabrera struck out to open up the frame, Nicholas Castellanos doubled and Martinez singled. Then, John Hicks hit a three-run home run to left field to give Detroit the 5-4 lead.

With Joseph (0.81 average) set to leadoff the ninth inning, Buck Showalter sent recent call-up Luis Sardinas to the plate. Sardines answered the call, hitting his first home run of the season to right field to tie the game at 5. The Orioles then went 1-2-3 to send the game to the bottom of the 9th, where leadoff hitter Dixon Machado immediately hit his first home run of the season off Pedro Araujo to walk it off for Detroit.

With an adjusted delivery, Kevin Gausman delivered his best start of the 2018 season. In six innings, Gausman allowed two runs off nine hits and four strikeouts. The Orioles struck first in the second inning off Danny Valencia‘s second home run of the season. Machado and Chris Davis drove in one run each on singles, and Jones collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly-out.

Game 3 (13-8 DET): After not having a full spring training to prepare for the regular season, Alex Cobb struggled mightily again in his second start with the Orioles. Cobb threw 72 pitches over 3.1 innings on Thursday, allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits, a walk, and four strikeouts. Through two starts, his ERA is up to 15.43.

When Cobb came out of the game, Mike Wright Jr. came on in relief and didn’t fare any better. Wright Jr. also tossed 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits, a walk, and one strikeout.

Araujo came in after Wright and pitched the final 1.1 innings in relief, allowing a run on a Jose Iglesias double that scored Reyes.

Offensively, Davis hit his second home run of the year in the second inning that scored Jones and gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. Machado had a solid day at the plate, going three-for-five with two solo home runs, a double, and a ground-out that gave him four RBI on the afternoon. Along with Machado, Jones also went three-for-five with three doubles and two RBI.

Up next: The Orioles return home for their longest home-stand of the 2018 season, a 10-game stretch against the Indians, Rays, and Tigers. The first four games on that slate are against the Indians.

Image Credit: ABC News

Series Recap: Orioles’ problems further exposed as Red Sox sweep Birds at Fenway

BOSTON — 16 games into the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season, the Baltimore Orioles are off to their worst start since the 2010 season. That year, the Birds went 2-16 through their first 18 games. After getting swept by the American League East-leading Red Sox this weekend, the Birds own a 5-11 record with the worst run differential in the AL (-35).

Game 1 (7-3 BOS): Chris Tillman struggled mightily, again in his third start of the season. Tillman lasted just two innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks. He allowed four runs in the first inning, three coming off a three-run home run by Eduardo Nunez. Mookie Betts hit an RBI double in the second inning. After two consecutive singles in the third inning, Tillman hit Jackie Bradley Jr., and Buck Showalter had seen enough. Tillman got pulled after throwing 57 pitches, 31 for strikes.

Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo picked up the slack for Tillman, pitching two innings of relief and allowing one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Manny Machado hit a double in the seventh inning that scored two runs.

Game 2 (10-3 BOS): Saturday was supposed to be a positive day for the Orioles, as Alex Cobb made his debut in a Baltimore uniform. However, Saturday was anything but positive for the Birds.

In the hours leading up to Saturday’s game, the Orioles announced that second baseman Jonathan Schoop would be placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. Schoop apparently suffered the injury while taking a swing during Friday’s game. The ensuing roster move was Cobb’s activation.

As a result of Schoop’s injury, the Orioles shifted Tim Beckham over to second base, and started Danny Valencia at third base. With a new team and unfamiliar infield behind him, Cobb got rocked. In the first inning, Andrew Benintendi got the rally started with an RBI double that scored Betts, who had to leave the game after scoring due to a foot contusion. After that, Hanley Ramirez hit his third home run of the season to give Boston the quick 3-0 advantage. In the third inning, J.D. Martinez hit his third homer of the season to extend Boston’s lead to four.

In the fourth inning, things only got worse for Cobb. Benintendi hit a single that scored two runs, and then Ramirez doubled to score Benintendi. It was here that Showalter decided to pull Cobb after 79 pitches, 49 for strikes. His first stat line as an Oriole read 3.2 innings, with eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and one walk.

Miguel Castro tossed two innings of relief, allowing one earned run on three hits, one walk, and one strikeout. Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

Game 3 (3-1 BOS): The Orioles struck out 14 times in what was their fifth game scoring one run or less this season. That lone run came in the first inning on a double by Machado. Two of Baltimore’s three hits on Sunday came in the first inning.

Once again, the Orioles failed to get Dylan Bundy any run support. Bundy dazzled again in his fourth start this season, going 5.2 innings and allowing three runs (one earned) off seven hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. In the fifth inning, Benintendi hit a triple that scored Bradley Jr. A wild pitch would score another Boston run in the sixth inning, with the last run coming on a ground-rule double by Tzu-Wei Lin.

After Bundy’s exit, Richard Bleier threw the final 2.1 innings, allowing three hits with two strikeouts.

Following the conclusion of Sunday’s game, it was announced that Monday’s Patriot Day series finale would be postponed due to inclement weather. The O’s and Red Sox will make up the game on May 17, which will stretch a three-game weekend series to four games at Fenway Park.

Up next: The Orioles now have an off-day on Monday before heading to Detroit to face the Tigers in a three-game series at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers own a 4-9 record so far this season, good for fourth place in the AL Central. The Tigers were supposed to play three games against the Yankees this weekend, but only played one due to weather. That game occurred on Friday, where the Yankees topped the Tigers 8-6.

Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games will begin at 6:40 pm, with the Thursday series finale starting at 1:10 pm.

Image Credit: InfoGlitz

Orioles prepare for battle with AL East leading Red Sox

In 2017 the Orioles and Red Sox engaged in a season long battle that saw many ugly games and a lot of tension. This weekend, the two AL East teams will meet for the first time in the 2018 season. The only question is, will the tension spill over?

Orioles fans will certainly remember the ongoing antics between the Red Sox pitching staff and Manny Machado after the O’s third baseman injured Dustin Pedroia on a slide into second base early last season. They will also remember the racial slurs that were directed at Adam Jones when the O’s traveled to Boston the following week. There is no question that these were two of the lowest points of 2017 for both teams. Even though the extra circulars faded as the season progressed, the games remained intense and highly entertaining with the Orioles barely taking the season series 10-9.

As these two teams prepare to meet for the first time this season, many wonder if the nonsense of last year will carry over to 2018. I don’t have the answers to that question, but what I do know is that this series will be very important for both teams despite it only being April.

The Red Sox are off to a hot start. They will enter this weekend’s series sitting at the top of the AL East with a 10-2 record. The Orioles, on the other hand, will enter this four game set seeking yet another bounce back performance as they continue to try to get some momentum going in the first month of the season.

It should also be noted that the Orioles are coming off of their only scheduled off day this month while the Red Sox are coming into the weekend fresh off a heated series with the New York Yankees.

On paper this has all the makings of a great series. The Patriots Day festivities will draw a lot of attention on Monday but the first three games should be just as entertaining with a handful of good pitching matchups throughout the series. Sunday’s stands out with both teams top starters, Dylan Bundy and Chris Sale, squaring off.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Friday, April 13, 7:10 pm – Chris Tillman (0-2, 8.68 ERA) vs Eduardo Rodriguez (0-0, 7.36 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, April 14, 1:05 pm – Alex Cobb (2017: 12-10, 3.66 ERA) vs Hector Velazquez (1-0, 3.12 ERA) – MLB Network, MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, April 15, 1:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (0-1, 1.35 ERA) vs Chris Sale (1-0, 1.06 ERA) – MLB Network, MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Monday, April  16, 11:05 am Andrew Cashner (1-1, 2.50 ERA) vs David Price (1-1, 2.40 ERA) – MLB Network, MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Red Sox:

  • This weekends series in Boston will conclude with the annual Patriots Day game on Monday. The game will start at 11:05 am to coincide with the Boston Marathon and will mark the seventh meeting between the Orioles and Red Sox on the holiday. Boston holds a 4-2 advantage in those games and have also won 12 of their last 17 games on Patriots Day.
  • The Red Sox have started the 2018 season with more than their fair share of divisional matchups. Facing so many familiar opponents in such a short span of time is difficult for any team but Boston has already won eight of their ten games against other AL East teams.
  • Over the past four seasons Mookie Betts has played 63 games against the Baltimore Orioles. He holds a .278 batting average with 12 home runs and 36 RBI’s in his career against the O’s, making him the top threat every time these teams square off.

Notes on Orioles:

  • Chris Tillman will get the start in game one and will be looking for his first win in quite some time. After signing a one-year deal to return to Baltimore this season, Tillman had a lot to prove if he was going to get another chance at the major league level. So far that process has not gone well for the veteran starter. Tillman has not been credited with a win since May 7 of last year and holds a 7.93 ERA since then.
  • Fans will get their first look at Alex Cobb as an Orioles starter this weekend. The Red Sox are a tough lineup to face in your first start of the year but Cobb has seen some good success at Fenway Park in his six major league seasons. The former Tampa Bay Ray holds a 5-1 record with a 3.15 ERA in seven career starts in Boston. Cobb has also only surrendered one home run in 40 career innings at Fenway.

Image credit: Sports Illustrated

Orioles get back on track with three wins against Yankees in New York

Coming into this weekends series against their division rival, the Orioles had lost five games in a row and were desperate for a win. The O’s would break their streak with a win on Friday before picking up a pair of extra inning wins to take the series 3-1.

Game 1 (5-2 BAL): The Orioles started this weekend’s marathon series with their best overall performance of the season. More importantly, they picked up a win to end a five game losing streak. Andrew Cashner got the start for the O’s and turned in a great performance to get his season back on track. The newly acquired starter struggled in his Orioles debut last week but found a great deal of success against the Yankees, giving up just two hits and one run in six innings of work.

Despite having such an exceptional night on the mound, Cashner was close to earning a no decision as the O’s offense had failed to score through the first six innings. Luckily for Cashner, the Birds bats came to life in the top of the seventh to make him the pitcher of record.

Yankees starter, Masahiro Tanaka had handled the Orioles very well but started to fall apart when the Baltimore lineup came around for their third round of at bats. Johnathan Schoop got the inning started with a single in an eight pitch at bat. After losing that battle to Schoop, Tanaka quickly gave up a two run homer to Adam Jones. Just like that, the Orioles had taken the lead but they were not done yet.

Another single by Tim Beckham chased Tanaka out of the game but Chad Green did not fare any better in relief. An RBI double by Anthony Santander and two RBI single by Trey Mancini capped off the five run inning for the O’s.

Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach closed out the game, allowing just five base runners and one run in their combined three innings of work. After blowing an opportunity on opening day, Brach earned his first save of the season.

Game 2 (7-3 BAL): After getting things back on track in Thursday’s series opener, the Orioles needed to build on it and keep the momentum going. It wouldn’t be easy and it certainly wouldn’t be quick but after 14 innings of high intensity baseball, the Orioles picked up a win in an instant classic.

Both starters were not spectacular but handled their business in their time on the mound. Kevin Gausman followed in Cashner’s footsteps to give himself a rebound outing while CC Sabathia’s night was cut short due to a hip injury. The Yankees veteran pitcher had given up three runs through his first four innings but had only thrown 58 pitches. It’s safe to say that the Yankees would have liked to get a few more innings out of their starter considering the length of the game.

Both bullpens, on the other hand, were exceptional. The five relievers that pitched for the O’s combined to give up just one run on two hits. That lone run came via a solo homer by Didi Gregorius in the eighth inning. Pitching wasn’t the only thing the O’s relievers did to save the game though. Mychal Givens came through with a huge defensive play to keep the game alive in the bottom of the eleventh.

With two outs and runners on second and third, Givens lost control of a pitch and sent one bouncing toward the backstop. With Gregorius barreling toward home plate for the winning run, Caleb Joseph was able to gather the ball quickly and flip it to Givens who ran off the mound to cover the plate. Givens extended his leg as if he was stealing a base, blocking Gregorius’ path in the process. Everything about the play was perfect, except for the wild pitch that caused it, and took place in a matter of seconds.

The Yankees would come back with a potential game saving play of their own in the thirteenth inning. In another two out situation, Caleb Joseph was at the plate for the O’s and he would end up getting a great pitch to hit when Jonathan Holder let a fastball sail high in the zone. Joseph sent the ball deep to right field but Aaron Judge was able to get a good read and follow it all the way to the wall before making a swift leap to rob the O’s of a go-ahead homer.

With the game already lasting well over five hours, the Orioles finally had enough in the fourteenth inning. After getting bailed out by Judge, Holder returned to the mound looking to keep the game tied. This time he would not be as lucky. The Orioles quickly loaded the bases with a Trey Mancini walk, a Manny Machado single and a perfect bunt by Jonathan Schoop. Adam Jones came to the plate next and battled with Holder for a six pitch at bat. Holder would end up retiring Jones on a controversial strikeout call that left the O’s captain furious.

Pedro Alvarez was up to bat next and before Jones could even calm himself in the dugout, the Orioles designated hitter sent a rocket to right field on the very first pitch he saw. The grand slam gave the O’s a huge 7-3 lead which they would hold through the bottom half of the inning for a thrilling game two win.

Lost in the madness of extra innings was a spectacular night for Manny Machado. The Orioles shortstop saw seven at bats on Friday and reached base in six of them with two home runs.

Game 3 (8-3 NYY): Friday nights game didn’t end until well past midnight which isn’t the biggest deal in the world, especially since the Orioles took home a win, but both teams were asked to make a quick turnaround as game three was slated for an early afternoon start.

It was a close game through the first five innings. Chris Tillman was once again far from dominate but put the Orioles in a position to win. With the game tied at three, the Yankees were able to take a lead by jumping on Tillman as he came back out for the sixth inning. Gregorius got the rally started with a four pitch walk and it was all down hill from there for Tillman as he faced four more batters and only retired one.

The Yankees kept that momentum going in the seventh inning, scoring three more runs off of Jimmy Yacabonis who had been called up earlier in the day. On the other hand, the New York bullpen was stellar after getting taxed heavily the night before. Adam Warren, David Robertson, and Luis Cessa combined to give up just two hits while closing out the final three innings.

Game 4 (8-7 BAL) : After three tough games it was only fitting that Sunday’s series finale followed suit. The O’s started the game by digging themselves into a hole when Mike Wright gave up five runs and recorded just two outs before being yanked from the game by Buck Showalter. It’s difficult to pull a starter extremely early, especially when you have had to use your bullpen a lot in recent games.

That decision by Showalter would pay off though. The Orioles went on to slowly chip away at the Yankees five run lead over the next four innings. RBI singles by Beckham and Santander got the O’s back on track before Danny Valencia made it a one run game with a two run homer in the fifth inning.

The orioles bullpen did a great job at coming in and keeping the Yankees under control while the offense made their comeback effort. Pedro Araujo finished off the first inning and worked through the third before turning it over to Miguel Castro and Tanner Scott who both gave up a run a piece.

After getting a run back in the sixth the O’s took their first lead of the game in the seventh. Danny Valencia got on base with a walk and Anthony Santander followed with a two run shot to give the Birds a 7-6 lead. Domingo German fell behind 3-0, giving Santander the green light for the first home run of his career.

That lead would not last too long though. In the bottom half of the seventh the Yankees were able to tie the game up at seven with an RBI single by Austin Romine. The game would remain tied through regulation, sending the two AL east rivals to extra innings for the second time this weekend.

In the twelfth inning the Orioles dug in against Adam Warren. A walk by Pedro Alvarez and a single by Anthony Santander put two on for Craig Gentry with two outs. The utility outfielder battled Warren for an intense, ll pitch at bat that ended in an RBI single for Gentry.

Brad Brach came on to pitch the bottom half of the inning and quickly walked the first two batters. The Orioles closer followed that with an error while trying to field a bunt by Brett Gardner. The huge mistake loaded the bases with no outs and brought Aaron Judge to the plate.

The game looked all but over but Brach was able to get an unconventional double play by throwing out the lead runners at home and third on a short grounder by Judge. With one more out needed Brach settled in and got Giancarlo Stanton to strike out for the fifth time in the game, capping off another thrilling extra inning win.

Up next: The Orioles will return home early this week for a three game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. These early season AL East matchups are tough but could prove to be big as the season progresses.

Image credit: Julie Jacobson / AP

Series Preview: Orioles make pit stop at Camden Yards for tangle with Blue Jays

BALTIMORE — Despite enduring a freezing cold four-game series in New York that saw two contests go 12 innings or more, along with Mike Wright Jr.‘s complete flop on Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles found a way to take three games from the Yankees in the Bronx. After going 2-8 at Yankee Stadium in 2017 and beginning the 2018 campaign 1-5, this weekend lifted the spirits in the locker room and gave the O’s some much-needed confidence. The Yankees bolster one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. Even though the pitching struggled at times, the bats finally came alive. For the first time in a long time, we saw the Orioles display that “never-die” attitude which has been a key characteristic of many Buck Showalter ball clubs through the years.

The Orioles return to Baltimore with a 4-6 record as the 6-4 Toronto Blue Jays come to town for more American League East action. The O’s are 1-2 at home this season after losing their opening series to the Twins. Toronto opened up the 2018 season with seven games at home – splitting a four-game series with the Yankees and taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox. The Blue Jays, currently on their first road trip of the 2018 season, took two of three from the Texas Rangers over the weekend. Many baseball pundits projected both the Orioles and the Blue Jays to finish in the bottom of the AL East this season, but Toronto has impressed early on.

Bullpen support on the way? With Friday’s game going 14 innings and Sunday’s thriller reaching 12 frames, the Orioles’ bullpen worked over 25 innings against the Yankees. Five different relievers threw at least 49 pitches over the four-game stretch. Richard Bleier stepped up big time, throwing 4.4 combined innings over the final three games (72 pitches). Miguel Castro (61 pitches) and Pedro Araujo (60 pitches) both tossed 4.1 combined innings, with their most recent appearances falling on Sunday.

Jimmy Yacabonis and Tanner Scott also made their Orioles debuts this weekend. Yacabonis appeared in Saturday’s 8-3 loss, giving up three earned runs on two hits and two walks in the seventh inning (27 pitches). Scott appeared in Sunday’s 8-7 win, going 1.2 innings and allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with a strikeout (32 pitches).

Following his Saturday debut, the Orioles optioned Yacabonis back to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday. As of this writing, Scott remains on the roster, but ensuing roster moves could come later today to sure up a bullpen with several tired arms.

The Orioles will hope for Monday’s starter, Dylan Bundy, to eat up as many innings as possible. The good news for Baltimore is that Bundy has been by far the O’s best starter this season, as the right-hander has only allowed one earned run in 13 innings in his two starts.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Monday, Apr. 9, 7:05 pm – J.A. Happ (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (0-0, 0.69 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Tuesday, Apr. 10, 7:05 pm – Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (1-1, 4.09 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Wednesday, Apr. 11, 7:05 pm – Marco Estrada (1-0, 2.77 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-1, 8.00 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Up next: The Orioles pack their bags for another seven-game road trip. Following an off-day on Thursday (Apr. 12), The Birds will play four games in Boston and three games in Detroit.

Image Credit: Toronto Star 

Series Preview: Ice cold Orioles appropriately head to snowy New York to battle Yankees

NEW YORK — The first week of the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season could not have gone much worse for the Baltimore Orioles. The Birds currently hold a 1-5 record with the worst run differential in baseball (-20). Their starting pitching ERA is 6.00 (27’th in MLB), and their team batting average is .185 (28’th in MLB). It’s hard to even find something good to say about the one win the O’s do have, because it took them 11 innings to accomplish with just five hits.

The Orioles’ April slate of games would be a challenge for any team. However, the only starting pitcher to last more than five innings so far is Dylan Bundy. In addition, Baltimore has averaged just above six hits-per-game through the first six contests. That’s not nearly good enough to compete with the powerhouses of the American Leaue.

Perhaps the most frustrating part about the Orioles’ struggles so far is that they cannot get both the pitching and the hitting on the same page. On Tuesday, the bats finally got going, producing eight hits and six runs. Mike Wright Jr. surprisingly held the Houston lineup in check, giving up three earned runs in five frames. However, the bullpen imploded, highlighted by Nestor Cortes Jr. giving up a grand slam to Josh Reddick in the seventh inning. Then on Wednesday afternoon, Bundy threw six innings of one-run ball, but the Orioles could only produce two runs, and Miguel Castro fell victim to an Alex Bregman single that ended up being the difference in Baltimore’s 3-2 loss.

As if getting swept by the defending world champions wasn’t depleting enough, The Birds now head to the Bronx to battle the 2017 American League East runner-ups, the New York Yankees. The Yanks, currently 4-2, hold the second-best run differential (+14) in the American League. The O’s went 2-8 at Yankee Stadium in 2017, and will now face a lineup that includes four-time All-Star Giancarlo Stanton.

Winter weather expected: The Yankees’ were forced to cancel their original Monday home opener due to snow, and more snow is on the way to the Bronx this weekend. As of this writing, Friday’s forecast shows a 60% chance of rain/snow showers, with a 50% chance of rain in the evening. Saturday’s original forecast projected 3-5 inches of snow, but has since been reduced to a 10% chance of precipitation.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, Apr. 5, 6:35 pm – Andrew Cashner (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 1.50 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Friday, Apr. 6, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 1.80 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Saturday, Apr. 7, 1:05 pm – Chris Tillman (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (0-0- 2.25 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Sunday, Apr. 8, 1:05 pm – Mike Wright Jr. (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 1.80 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Recently acquired starting pitcher Alex Cobb threw a simulated game in Sarasota on Wednesday. He threw 74 pitches, allowing one run on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts. According to reports, Cobb could make his Orioles debut as soon as Monday.
  • In 35 career road games against AL East opponents, Trey Mancini owns a .331 average in 127 at-bats.
  • Thursday will mark Cashner’s first time pitching at Yankee Stadium. Against the Yankees, Cashner is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings pitched.

Notes on the Yankees:

  • While Yankees starters this season have only given up six earned runs in 33 innings, their bullpen has struggled, bringing a 6.63 ERA (19 innings) into Thursday.
  • With the Marlins, Stanton only played six games against the Orioles. In 24 at-bats, the O’s limited him to three hits and nine strikeouts, but Stanton walked four times.
  • On Wednesday, New York’s new three-headed monster, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Stanton, all homered in the same game for the first time this season as the Yankees topped the Rays 7-2.

Up Next: The Orioles return home for a quick three-game homestead at Camden Yards against the Toronto Blue Jays, beginning on Monday and ending on Wednesday. All three contests are nightcaps beginning at 7:05 pm. The Orioles will have their first off day of the 2018 season on Thursday.

Image Credit: NewsOk