Podcast Episode 12: Dissecting the horrible mess that is the Maryland Football program

Welcome to Episode 12 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

Unfortunately, this week’s show kicks off with a lengthy discussion surrounding the horrible mess that is the Maryland Football program (0:52). Last week, ESPN released a detailed report siting several current University of Maryland football players and other people close to the organization calling it a “toxic culture” under head coach D.J. Durkin. On June 13, Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair passed away after the 19-year-old had passed out during an outdoor football workout on May 29.

Since the report became public, coach Durkin has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues. Both the University of Maryland’s athletic department and the university itself are being questioned about their lack of attention to McNair’s situation following the May 29 practice.

After the Maryland segment concludes, Jake and Ian go into a lengthy conversation about the Baltimore Ravens (17:50) Following the Ravens’ 33-7 win over the Rams on Thursday, the guys tell you who’s trending, either in a good or bad way (21:12). The crew also discusses the latest training camp nuggets (30:34) and tells you what to watch for next Monday night as the Ravens hit the road to take on the Indianapolis Colts in more preseason action (33:30).

Up next, Jake and Ian talk about the extremely early exit of the Orioles from the American League East division race (36:40). In fact, the Orioles officially being eliminated on August 10 is the earliest date in the divisional era that a team has been out of the race for their team’s division. But it’s not all bad, because this Orioles segment wraps up with some talk on the call-up of Cedric Mullins and Adam Jones moving to right field (41:11).

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Ravens & Orioles players to wear the number 12 (44:57).

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

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A look at Cedric Mullins’ Orioles debut following 19-12 loss to Red Sox

BALTIMORE — In the latest development in the rebuild of the Baltimore Orioles, the ball-club called up outfielder Cedric Mullins from Triple-A Norfolk prior to Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.

The move had been expected for awhile with Mullins carrying a .288 average and a .346 on-base percentage (OBP) between both Norfolk and Double-A Bowie this season. The arrival of Mullins saw a noticeable change in the Orioles’ outfield that’s been rumored for weeks. When the Baltimore lineup card was revealed a few hours before first pitch, Mullins’ name was penned batting ninth in the centerfield slot, with long-time centerfielder Adam Jones in right-field while still hitting from the #3 spot in the lineup.

“Adam’s playing right field today and that’s the direction we’re going tonight,” manager Buck Showalter said during Friday’s pre-game press conference. “Is he going to play right field the rest of the year? Yeah, as opposed to who? My plan is for Adam to play right field until he needs a day off and we’ve got some other options, without naming other guys down in Triple-A. But Adam’s playing right field.”

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The change in centerfield from Jones to Mullins marks a new era for the Orioles. Dating back to 2008, Jones has started 1,537 games manning centerfield for the Orioles. Tonight marked just the fourth career start for Jones in right-field, and the first in his Orioles career. The other three appearances for Jones in right took place with the Mariners before the infamous 2007 trade that sent Jones to Baltimore. The change to right field certainly isn’t easy for the 33-year-old Jones, but the O’s legend had no problem passing the torch.

As the Orioles got set to take the field, Jones refused to step out of the dugout before Mullins. Jones, who usually leads the team onto the field, deferred to the rookie. After a quick discussion (and getting bypassed out of the dugout by Tim Beckham), Mullins trotted onto the field, with Jones behind him.

The entire game did not see much effective pitching, and Mullins used that to his advantage. In his first major league at-bat in the second inning, Mullins smacked a 97-MPH Nathan Eovaldi fastball to the corner in right field for a double, plating Renato Nuñez. Mullins’s contribution became part of a four-run inning that gave the Orioles a 4-3 lead. The 23-year-old finished up his first offensive appearance by crossing home, appropriately scoring on a single by Jones.

The Orioles again plated four in the third inning, where Mullins delivered again in his second at-bat. This time, Mullins racked up his second RBI on a sharply-hit bouncer to second baseman Brock Holt. The Red Sox infield was drawn in, and Holt could not find the correct angle on the ball before it bounced off the ground and rolled into right field. Mullins scored again on a single, this one by Beckham.

In the fifth inning, Mullins reached base again by walking with two outs, but would not advance as Jonathan Villar lined out to Boston left-fielder Andrew Benintendi. Mullins hit a pop-up to Benintendi in the seventh. Finally in the ninth, Mullins came up again with two outs and delivered another double to right-center, capping off a hot night at the plate: 3-for-5 with two doubles, a single, and two RBI. Mullins crossed home for the third time when Villar singled to center for Baltimore’s 12th run, but Beckham followed that up with an infield groundout to end the game.

Defensively, Mullins looked like a natural in centerfield, but the night was not perfect. In the fourth inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a 91-MPH fastball by Dylan Bundy to deep left center that proved to be a tough test for Mullins. The ball was hit hard enough to send Mullins full speed to the warning track. Mullins extended his right arm out and the ball graced the edge of his glove, but dropped and bounced to the right of Mullins, leading to a triple and a run with Holt crossing.

The play is certainly one that Mullins would like to have back, but these things can happen in unfamiliar ballparks with new teammates. Mullins will get more comfortable with the dimensions of Camden Yards in due time. Having Jones there to offer support and advice will pay huge dividends.

Bradley Jr.’s triple made it 8-4 Baltimore. Although the Red Sox mustered that lone run in the fourth, they would plate six in the sixth inning, largely in-part to five walks by the Orioles. The Red Sox put together a five-run eighth inning, giving them four big innings in the contest. After the Red Sox made it a 19-12 final, the Orioles finished the game with 10 walks charged to their pitching staff. Red Sox pitchers walked four for a total of 14 walks own the evening.

According to Rob Daniels on Twitter, this loss marks the third time in team history in which the Orioles allowed 19 or more runs along with 10 or more walks. The Red Sox pitching staff walked four Orioles batters on their side.

After the fact…

Image Credit: Baltimore Sun

Orioles Split Two Games Against the Division Leading Red Sox

BALTIMORE- Amid the aftermath of the Manny Machado trade and the execution of a trade of closer Zach Britton, the Orioles were able to notch a series split against the AL- East leading Boston Red Sox in Baltimore.

Britton was shipped to the New York Yankees for three prospects during game two on Tuesday night and learned of the trade during a rain delay in the contest. Britton spoke fondly of his time in Baltimore.

Rain played a prominent role in this series with two rain delays in game one of the series and another in game two. Game three was postponed to close out the rain filled set.

Game 1 (5-3 BOS): The series opener followed a familiar pattern for the 2018 Orioles as starter Kevin Gausman, who took the loss to fall to 4-8 on the year, was unable to make it out of the fifth inning and the offense provided no runs until the 8th inning.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

Image Credit: NESN

Gausman’s trouble started in the second inning when Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland slugged his 12th home run of the season to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. It was the 20th homer allowed by Gausman this season which ranks him in a three way tie for 6th most in the MLB.

Gausman settled down until the fifth inning which proved to be his last.  Xander Bogaerts doubled to right to start the frame. After a Brock Holt ground out Gausman issued three straight walks to Rafael Devers, Sandy Leon, and Jackie Bradley Jr. The third of these walks extended the Red Sox lead to 2-0.

After a Mookie Betts strikeout, Andrew Benintendi delivered the knock-out punch for Gausman when he hit a ground rule double scoring Devers and Leon to extend the lead to 4-0. Miguel Castro relieved Gausman and J.D. Martinez reached on an infield single scoring Bradley Jr. and making it a 5-0 deficit. Moreland grounded out to end the innning, but the damage was done.

Red hot Jonathan Schoop got the offense going with a two-run shot in the bottom of the 8th to cut the lead to 5-2. Caleb Joseph cut the lead to two with a one out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth scoring Renato Nunez. Jace Peterson grounded into a double play to end the game giving the Orioles their fourth straight loss.

Game 2 (7-6 BAL): As the trade rumors swirled regarding Britton, the Orioles were able to grind out a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox. Yefry Ramirez got the start for the Orioles and pitched well, going five innings while giving up three earned runs and striking out six. Ramirez did surrender three solo shots to Martinez, Blake Swihart, and Betts.

The Orioles offense received a spark from Schoop again as he delivered a two-run shot to left in the bottom of the third inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Tim Beckham continued his own run of strong play as he deposited a two-run shot of his own to left center in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.

Beckham struck again in the bottom of the sixth with a sac fly extending the Orioles lead to 5-3. Schoop and Adam Jones delivered back-to-back RBI singles to push the lead to 7-3.

Orioles pitching was able to stave off the Red Sox until the top of the 8th when Betts led off with a single off Orioles reliever Paul Fry. Mychal Givens took over for Fry after a Benintendi fielder’s choice and was greeted by Martinez’s second homer of the game to cut the lead to 7-5.

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With Zach Britton gone, the Orioles will turn to Brad Brach in the late innings. Image Credit: USA Today

With the Britton deal all but official, the Orioles could not turn to the often reliable closer in the ninth. Brad Brach came in and made it interesting giving up an infield single to Bradley Jr. to lead off the ninth. Bradley Jr. finished the play at second base due to a throwing error from Beckham. A Holt ground out moved Bradley Jr. to third and he scored on a Devers infield single to make the lead 7-6.

Brach was able to induce a double play off the bat of Betts to end the game and give the Orioles their 29th victory of the season. Brach picked up his 11th save in the process and Ramirez picked up his first major league win.

The Orioles prepare to host the Tampa Rays for a four-game set in Baltimore starting Thursday evening. Alex Cobb will be on the bump looking for his third win of the season.

Image Credit: NBC Sports