Three takeaways from Orioles series win over Rays

BALTIMORE — This weekend the Orioles picked up their first series win since the All-Star break by taking three of four from Tampa Bay. After dropping Thursday’s series opener 4-3, the offense exploded and scored 37 runs over the course of the next three games.

We all know wins have been hard to come by all year, so it’s not surprising to hear that this is just the second time that the O’s have won three games in a row this season. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but the Birds longest winning streak is four games and they will have a chance to match that as they head to New York on Tuesday. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the wins while they last. Here are some highlights from the Orioles big weekend.

1. Four quality starts:

The lineup stole the spotlight this weekend with a barrage of home runs and RBI’s but the starting rotation was locked in as well. Four of the five O’s starters got the chance to pitch in this series and each one turned in a quality outing. Alex Cobb got it started on Thursday with six innings of work. The veteran starter surrendered three earned runs and was served his 14th loss of the year but the performance was still a step in the right direction. Cobb finished June with a 6.75 ERA and has been able to slowly lower it down to 6.08 over the course of July. His 2-14 record on the year remains ugly but some of the recent losses can certainly be chalked up to a lack of run support.

Andrew Cashner kept the ball rolling in his start on Friday by going six innings and giving up just a pair of runs. Cashner continues to be one of the more consistent members of the rotation and has given up three runs or less in seven of his last eight starts.

The run support kept coming on Saturday but Kevin Gausman didn’t even need it as he turned in a great bounce-back performance to help the Orioles win 11-2. Gausman tossed seven innings and gave up just two runs which was a much-needed rebound from his previous three starts in which he struggled to go five innings and gave up over four runs per outing.

Dylan Bundy rounded out the weekend by picking up his seventh win of the season. After suffering an injury against Atlanta, Bundy hit the disabled list and lost the momentum he had built in the month of June. His return from the disabled list was very lackluster and consisted of three short outings where he gave up five runs each time. July has not been kind to Bundy throughout his three major league seasons but hopefully Sunday’s rebound start is a sign of a strong finish that is to come.

2. Curtain call for Jones:

The drama of the trade deadline has already hit the Orioles hard this year as Manny Machado was dealt to the Dodgers and then Zach Britton was shipped off to New York. Both trades saw good returns but the departure of those two players was hard to swallow for O’s fans.

As the deadline approaches on Tuesday, Adam Jones is the next name in the trade block. The 13-year veteran is in the final year of his contract which holds a no-trade clause that he must waive if the Orioles are going to deal him. Essentially Jones is in full control of his immediate future. The center-fielder has not been shy about giving his thoughts on the trade speculation and even presented a scenario earlier this month in which the Orioles trade him to a contender but he re-signs with Baltimore in the offseason.

This past weekend Jones reportedly met with the front office to discuss these potential trades. The Phillies, Giants and Indians have all reached out to the O’s and made offers but according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, Jones has not shown any interest in waiving the no-trade clause and leaving the Orioles.

Things could change before Tuesday’s deadline, but for now it sounds like Jones will still be an Oriole on Wednesday. If things do in fact change, Sunday could mark Jones’ final home game as an Oriole. If that does end up being the case, the longtime Oriole will have left on a high note. Jones went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI to help lift the O’s to an 11-5 win over the Rays.

3. Schoop’s streak:

Jonathan Schoop has been on fire all month. Coming into July he was batting just .197 and could not find his groove for any extended period of time. This led Buck Showalter to sit Schoop on the bench for a couple of games in an attempt to clear the second baseman’s head.

As the end of July approaches, Schoop has successfully raised his average to .244 by picking up a hit in 22 of his last 23 starts. The O’s second baseman came into Sunday afternoon with an 11-game hit streak but found himself in danger of losing it after going 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts early in the game. Schoop saw his final at-bat of the afternoon in the seventh inning and he made it count. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Schoop got ahold of a slider and sent it over the center-field wall into the Orioles bullpen to give the O’s a 9-3 lead and extend his hit streak to 12 games.

Image credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images

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Orioles return home to host AL East leading Red Sox

BALTIMORE — The post Manny Machado era is officially here and for a split second the Orioles managed to fool us into thinking they could compete without their best player. Anyone that watched this weekend’s series against Toronto knows that trickery was short lived though.

On Friday the Birds resumed their 2018 campaign by taking on the Blue Jays and even staged a late game comeback to force extra innings. However, the Orioles would end up losing after Tim Beckham misplayed a ground ball in the bottom of the tenth. Say what you will about Machado playing shortstop this season but if was on the field Friday night, that game doesn’t end in the tenth.

After dropping Saturday’s game 4-1, the Orioles found themselves in a position to win late in Sunday’s finale. An RBI double by Renato Nunez and a defensive error by Toronto allowed the O’s to score two in the top of the eighth and extend their lead to 4-1. Brad Brach entered the game out of the pen in the bottom half of the inning and proceeded to surrender a two RBI homer, cutting the lead to just one run. Tanner Scott followed Brach in an attempt to close out the inning but gave up a two run shot of his own, leading Toronto to their ninth victory over the Orioles this season.

To make things worse, the road ahead does not look encouraging for Buck Showalter’s team. The Orioles will play three more AL East opponents before the end of July rolls around, starting with this home stand against Boston.

Last meeting: The Orioles hosted Boston back in mid June and the visiting Red Sox came out on top with a three game sweep by outscoring the O’s 13-5. Looking back the sweep comes as no surprise as the Orioles were in the middle of a season high nine game losing streak.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Monday, July 23, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (4-7, 4.33 ERA) vs Rick Porcello (11-4, 4.13 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Tuesday, July 24, 7:05 pm – Yefry Ramirez (0-3, 3.09 ERA) vs Drew Pomeranz (1-3, 6.81 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Wednesday, July 25, 7:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (6-9, 4.57 ERA) vs David Price (11-6, 4.17 ERA) – MASN, ESPN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Red Sox:

  • Mookie Betts is always a player to fear if you’re an Orioles fan. The Red Sox right fielder holds a batting average of .286 with 42 RBI’s in 71 career games against the O’s and so far in 2018 Betts has shown no signs of slowing down against Baltimore pitching. In the eight games between Boston and Baltimore so far this season, Betts has gone 11-31 at the plate with three home runs and six RBI’s.
  • Drew Pomeranz will be making his first start since May 31 on Tuesday. The Boston starter landed on the disabled list earlier this season with biceps tendentious, halting his season before he could get some momentum going. In the eight starts prior to the injury Pomeranz accumulated an ERA of 6.83 and only made it past the fifth inning on two occasions. Pomeranz holds a 2-4 record with a 4.01 ERA in nine career appearances against the Orioles.

Notes on Orioles:

  • Mychal Givens has had a roller coaster season in the Orioles bullpen. The inconsistencies have resulted in a 4.56 ERA but if there is a team that you can trust Givens to perform well against, it’s the Red Sox. Givens holds a 1.71 ERA against Boston, which is the lowest ERA against any team he has thrown at least 20 innings against.
  • With Manny Machado out of the lineup, the Orioles are in desperate need of a consistent leader at the plate. Jonathan Schoop may be having a down year but so far in July, the second baseman has been producing in his at bats. The O’s second baseman has recorded a hit in 16 of his last 17 games to help give himself a .352 batting average in the month of July.

Image credit: Patrick McDermott / USA Today Sports

Orioles Head to Toronto to Open Post All-Star Break Play

TORONTO- The Baltimore Orioles will head across the border to start post All-Star break play with a three game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.

It will mark the first game for the club without former All-Star shortstop Manny Machado who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five prospects on Wednesday night.

The Orioles enter the three-game series with a record of 28-69 which lands them in last place in the AL East, 39.5 games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox (68-30). The Blue Jays first “half” of the season was a struggle as well and they will enter the series with a record of 43-52 which is good for fourth place in the division. They sit 23.5 games behind Boston.

Last meeting: The last time that these two clubs met was a series to forget for the Orioles as the Blue Jays swept the four-game set at Rogers Centre from June 7-10. The Orioles are 1-6 against Toronto this season and are just 2-8 over their last ten in Toronto dating back to last season.

In that four-game sweep, the Orioles dropped two extra inning games including a 5-4 decision in the opener that saw Brad Brach squander a 4-1 ninth inning lead to get the game into extras where the Blue Jays would win on a Aledmys Diaz single off Miguel Castro.

The Birds dropped a 5-1 decision in game two of the series with the Jays. This loss accounted for one of their 26 games so far this season in which they have scored 1 or less runs.  Toronto took the third game 4-3 in 10 innings and finished the sweep with a 13-3 drubbing in which Alex Cobb was beaten like a drum to the tune of nine runs on 11 hits over just 3.2 innings.

Toronto leads the all time series 334-293.

dylan-bundy-orioles

Dylan Bundy will look to bounce back in the series opener. Image Credit: CBS Sports

Game times and pitching matchups: 

Game 1: Friday, July 20, 7:07 pm- Dylan Bundy (6-9, 4.35ERA) vs. Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 4.58ERA)- MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, July 21, 1:07pm- TBD vs. Marcus Stroman (2-7, 5.86ERA)- MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, July 22, 1:07pm- TBD vs. J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29ERA)- MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Blue Jays:

  • Happ, who will take the ball in game three for Toronto, is currently the subject of trade rumors with the Phillies and the Yankees reportedly interested. The 35-year-old lefty is likely to find a new home before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
  • Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson has struggled mightily this year for Toronto.  He has played in just 36 games due to various injuries and is hitting only .234 with five homers and 16 RBI on the year.
  • The 2018 Blue Jays offense has been paced by Yangervis Solarte who is hitting .241 with 16 home rubs and 48 RBI in his first year with the club.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Bundy will be looking for his first win since June 23. He will be making his third start since coming off of the disabled list with an ankle injury. In his last two starts since returning from the DL Bundy has given up 10 earned runs over 7.1 innings pitched.
  • The Orioles will be looking for someone to step up at the plate with the trade of Machado. Machado played a part in 113 of the Orioles 345 runs on the season. The team is 29th in the MLB and runs scored and just lost roughly 33% of that already meager production.
  • It remains to be seen who else will be traded before the trade deadline, but the Orioles are expected to be active in trying to move closer Zach Britton, reliever Brad Brach, and the longest-tenured Oriole, Adam Jones.

Image Credit: Associated Press