Examining the Orioles 2018 Season to Date: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Baltimore Orioles came into the season with expectations to challenge for at minimum the second Wildcard spot in the American League.  The team had brought back most of its notable offensive firepower from last season and had bolstered their rotation through the free agent signings of Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner.

However, as the Orioles and their fans are enjoying the 2018 All-Star break, the team is sitting at 28-69 overall, a whopping 39.5 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. Only the Kansas City Royals at 27-68 have a worse record than the Orioles on the season.

Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the 2018 season to date.

The Good

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Manny Machado at the 2018 All Star Game. Image Credit: Getty Images

At 28-69 it is extremely difficult to locate any positives with this ball club, but the one player who stands out is soon to be ex-Oriole Manny Machado.  Machado is having yet another monster season hitting .315 with 24 homers and 65 RBI as we hit the All-Star break.  Not surprisingly, Machado is also the only Orioles representative at the 2018 Mid-Summer Classic.

It is expected that the club is nearing a trade for Machado prior to the end of the All-Star break which means that we may have seen the last of Machado in an Orioles uniform. Machado will hit free agency this summer and many Orioles fans will be hoping he doesnt sign in the Bronx with the New York Yankees.

Honorable Mentions for the good would include center fielder Adam Jones  (.275, 10 homers and 36 RBI) and outfielder/DH Mark Trumbo (.251, 12 homers and 28 RBI) who have put together decent seasons in what otherwise has been a year to forget for Orioles fans up to this point.

The Bad

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Image Credit: MassLive

The bad could go on and on but some points have to be slotted into the ugly category so to start off the bad lets look at Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini.  Mancini was a lightning rod for the Orioles offense last season finishing the year with a .293AVG while belting 24 homers and adding 78RBI. Mancini, 26 was late in arriving to the majors but many Orioles fans were expecting more of the same from “Boom Boom” in 2018.

Mancini has struggled throughout the year and is hitting just .216 with 12 homers and 26 RBI at the All-Star break.  Mancini has not been the same player since he crashed into the wall at Camden Yards on April 20 against the Cleveland Indians. Prior to the injury that saw him miss two games, Mancini was hitting .284 but has seen his average drop consistently ever since.

Also lumped in with the bad are the struggles of second basemen Jonathan Schoop. After a career year in 2017, Schoop is hitting .229 with 10 homers and 25 RBI to this point in the year.  Schoop missed 20 games with a right oblique strain from April 14- May 8 but was hitting just .230 prior to the injury. With Machado on the way out the contract talks (or lack there of) with Schoop could garner headlines this summer.

The Ugly

Where to start? Let’s start with the absolute abyss that is Chris Davis and the Orioles financial obligations to the first baseman.  Davis is enjoying what could be the worst season in MLB  history hitting .158 with nine homers and 28 RBI through the first “half” of the season. The Orioles owe the 32 year old over $90 million over the next four seasons and Davis has been so poor that he has been benched at multiple points throughout the year.

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Alex Cobb has had a miserable first season in Baltimore. Image Credit: USA Today

 

Davis is not alone in the ugly category to say the least. Free agent signing Alex Cobb is the second most disappointing Oriole to date. Cobb, who arrived in Baltimore after Spring Training had begun on a four year $57M contract, has yet to find his footing with the Birds. Cobb is 2-12 on the season with a 6.41ERA. Cobb had been a consistently reliable starter throughout his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays but he has been Ubaldo Jimenez bad this year for the O’s.

For the rest of the ugly let’s consider the plethora of other reasons that this team is a dumpster fire. Colby Rasmus is not an MLB player and walked away from the club. Chris Tillman is barely a Single-A caliber pitcher at this point but is still being considered an option for starts in the second half of the season.

Tim Beckham is not an MLB third basemen. Trumbo cannot play the outfield. Danny Valencia, Craig Gentry, and Jace Peterson shouldn’t rank in the top ten on your team in games played if you have any aspirations for the playoffs. Furthermore Valencia, Gentry, and Peterson are taking at bats from younger players who should be getting the call up from the minors.

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Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun

Which brings me to the ugliest of the ugly.  The Orioles organization as a whole is a complete and utter failure. No one seems to know who is in charge although according to sources it is not pending free agent GM Dan Duquette. If Brady Anderson is in charge now or in the future should we be optimistic about the guy who lobbied to bring in Cobb and other free agent bust Cashner?

Why at 28-69 has not a soul been fired including pending free agent Buck Showalter? I’m betting at this point that no one is going to be. There will be trades of fan favorites and some of the younger players folks have been pining for will be called up from the minors, but will we see any accountability from a coaching/front office perspective? If so when?

It has been a “first half” to forget in Charm City. There is plenty of intrigue regarding the Orioles and how their team and organization will look when they arrive at the end of the season and into the future.

Unfortunately it won’t be the on the field intrigue that many had hoped for in March.

Image Credit: MLB.com

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Orioles Fall 5-4 to Phillies as Comeback Attempt Comes up Short

BALTIMORE– The Baltimore Orioles took the field on Thursday night attempting to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time all season.  Unfortunately, the Orioles couldn’t complete a rally from 5-0 down and ultimately fell 5-4 to the Phillies in the four-game series finale between the two clubs.

Kevin Gausman got the start for the Birds and struggled mightily after back-to-back scoreless innings to start the game. In the third frame, Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro started off what would be a big night for himself with a single. Cesar Hernandez followed that with a single of his own to give the Phillies two runners on with nobody out.

After a Rhys Hoskins pop out, Odubel Herrera reached on an infield single to load the bases for Carlos Santana. Santana delivered a single, scoring Alfaro to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Nick Williams then provided a fielder’s choice, scoring Hernandez to extend the Phillies’ lead to 2-0.

The Phillies (52-40) got back to work in the fourth when Scott Kingery led off the inning with a single. Aaron Altherr was hit by a pitch to give the Phillies two on and nobody out once again. A wild pitch from Gausman moved the runners to second and third for Alfaro, who doubled to deep right, extending the Phillies lead to 4-0.

As the Orioles offense has done so often this season, it remained dormant through five innings. The Phillies struck again in the top of the sixth inning when Alfaro homered to center to make it 5-0 Philadelphia. After back-to-back singles, Gausman’s night was finished after giving up the aforementioned five runs, going only 5.0 innings and giving up a career-high 12 hits.

Paul Fry, Miguel Castro, Tanner Scott, and Brad Brach pitched four innings of scoreless relief out of the Orioles bullpen to keep the Phillies at-bay while the Orioles attempted to mount a comeback.

The Orioles offense picked up their first run of the night in the bottom half of the sixth inning when Manny Machado picked up his 64th RBI of the season with an infield single, scoring Tim Beckham who led off the inning with a double.

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Manny Machado was 2-4 last night for the Orioles. Image Credit: The Runner Sports

The Orioles cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh when Trey Mancini connected for his 12th homer of the season. That chased Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who was strong again for the Phillies. In 6.2 innings, he allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

The Phillies brought in former Orioles closer Tommy Hunter who was greeted by a solo shot from Jace Peterson on his first pitch to cut the Phillies lead to 5-4. Hunter induced a Beckham ground-out to end the inning.

The Orioles wouldn’t threaten again despite a one-out Machado single in the eighth as Adam Jones flew out and Chris Davis struck out looking to end the inning. The Orioles went quietly in the ninth and took the 5-4 loss.

Gausman (4-7, 4.33 ERA) took the loss for Orioles with Pivetta (6-7, 4.58 ERA) picking up the win for the Phillies. Seranthony Dominguez picked up the save for Phillies as well, his ninth of the season.

The Orioles (26-68) will welcome the Texas Rangers to town for a three-game series prior to the All-Star Break. On Friday, Alex Cobb (2-11, 6.67ERA) will get the start for the Orioles and oppose Cole Hamels (4-8, 4.28 ERA), who will take the ball for the Rangers.

First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and can be seen on MASN 2 and heard on 105.7 The Fan.

Image Credit: Camden Chat

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 extend losing streak to nine before salvaging a win over Marlins in series finale

Game 1 (2-0 MIA): The Orioles came into this weekend’s series with an eight game losing streak, their longest of the season. They were, and still are, extremely down on their luck, but with the struggling Marlins in town there might have been some room cautious optimism.

I know that sounds crazy but consider the fact that just last week the Orioles rallied for a pair of interleague wins over the Mets. Miami isn’t too far off from the Mets in terms of competition. In addition to that, the Orioles would be playing in their home stadium this time, meaning the much needed DH position could be used.

However, this brief moment of optimism was erased pretty quickly in Friday’s series opener. Kevin Gausman was decent enough in his 5.2 innings of work. The O’s starter gave up just two runs on five hits and struck out seven. Completing the sixth inning would have been nice but you can’t complain about that kind of start.

As you should expect at this point, that quality start was completely wasted as the Orioles offense mustered just three hits and never crossed home plate. Jose Urena got the start for the Marlins and ended up turning in his best performance of the season. The 26-year-old starter shut down the O’s with eight strong innings to earn just his second win of the season. The great start not only marks Urena’s deepest of the year, but also the first start this season where he kept the opposing lineup scoreless.

If there was a bright spot for the O’s, it was the bullpen. Four relievers entered the game after Gausman and they combined to give up just two hits in a little over three innings of work. Zach Britton made his second appearance of the season and looked much better than he did earlier this week. While Britton escaped that inning of relief on Tuesday without giving up any runs, he did allow three walks to put himself in a jam. On Friday Britton made quick work of the Marlins to retire the side in order with a pair of strikeouts.

Game 2 (5-4 MIA): The Orioles played another close game on Saturday but came up short once again. The Marlins looked like they might run away with it early after scoring four runs in the first three innings, but the Orioles would eventually make it a close contest. J.T. Realmuto led the scoring effort for Miami with an RBI single in the first and then a two run homer in the third.

In the bottom of the third, Manny Machado cut the Marlins lead in half with a two RBI single. The score remained 4-2 through the fifth but then Realmuto came around and got the best of Alex Cobb once again by launching a solo homer to make it three run game.

The Orioles offense was able to respond once again with a Jonathan Schoop solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. Danny Valencia followed that up with an RBI single in the seventh to cut the Marlins lead to one run, but the comeback would end there for the Orioles.

Brad Ziegler and Drew Steckenrider provided some much needed composure for the Marlins out of the pen. The duo combined to shut down the eighth and ninth innings while securing a win for Miami.

Game 3 (10-4 BAL): After playing from behind in the first two games, the Orioles didn’t waste any time taking the upper hand in Sunday’s series finale. Just like the Marlins did the day before, the O’s lineup was able to take an early 4-0 lead by the end of the third inning.

Jace Peterson got it started in the second inning by sending a ball deep to center field. It sailed over the outfielders heads and landed on the warning track before bouncing over the wall. Luckily for the O’s, this ground rule double didn’t have a negative impact since Mark Trumbo and Jonathan Schoop were both in scoring position to start the at bat.

In the third inning the Orioles added two more runs thanks to an RBI double by Trumbo and an RBI single by Trey Mancini. The two runs would end up being huge considering the O’s started the third with two quick outs. Despite this, the heart of the order managed to pick up three hits, including the two RBI’s, and a walk before ending the inning.

By the end of the fifth the Orioles had captured an impressive 8-1 lead. Adam Jones knocked in two with a double in the fourth and Peterson added another two with a home run in the fifth.

Dylan Bundy was on the mound for the Orioles and looked like he was on pace for a great afternoon. Through five innings Bundy had already received more than enough run support, but also held the Marlins lineup to just one run, which came via a home run by Justin Bour.

Bundy was working at an impressive pace and had kept his pitch count down early on. The sixth inning would stop him in his tracks though. After putting two runners on base to start the inning, Bundy had to face Bour for a third time. Once again the Marlins designated hitter got the best of Bundy and sent a three run homer over the right field wall to make it a 8-4 game.

Bundy’s afternoon came to an end after it took him just shy of 30 pitches to finish off the sixth. With the Marlins threatening again in the seventh, Buck Showalter opted to use three different relievers to get through the inning. Miguel Castro got the inning started but quickly loaded the bases without recording an out. Mychal Givens came in and picked up two outs but was replaced by Tanner Scott with Bour coming up to the plate. The 23-year-old lefty handled the pressure very well and got Bour to strikeout looking.

The O’s offense had already done enough but they still managed to push two more runs across in the late innings. A Mark Trumbo solo homer and RBI single by Manny Machado helped cap off the ten run afternoon for the O’s. Brad Brach and Zach Britton closed out the last two innings with ease to break the Orioles nine game losing streak.

Up Next: The Orioles will take Monday off before making a short trip down the beltway to face the Nationals. When these two teams met at Camden Yards back in late May, Washington walked away with a sweep. These next three games will wrap up the season series between the Nationals and Orioles for 2018. The Nationals only need to win one game for their first season series win over the Orioles since 2007.

Image credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

Orioles swept by blue jays in four game weekend series

Game 1 (5-4 TOR): The Orioles opened up their series against the Blue Jays with a disappointing loss in extra innings. David Hess took the mound and once again gave his team a great chance to win by allowing just one run through six innings of work. Through his first five starts Hess is 2-2 with a 3.07 ERA. Thursday’s start also marked the third straight outing where he gave up one run or less.

Most pitchers would walk away from those three starts with a 3-0 record, but not Hess. Through his first four starts, Hess only received two runs of support per game and that’s obviously not a recipe for success. On Thursday the Orioles lineup actually showed up for their starter and scored four runs. It may have taken them a while to get the offense going but the support was there none the less.

Unfortunately, Brad Brach could not hold on to a 4-1 lead. Mychal Givens and Richard Bleier both worked an inning of relief and gave up just a hit each. When Brach came in for the save, he quickly ran into trouble. After getting the first out, Brach walked a batter and then gave up a double to put two runners in scoring position. Randal Grichuk brought them both home with double to make it a 4-3 game.

Buck Showalter opted to keep Brach in the game despite the shaky performance which ended up being a mistake. Brach failed to settle down and walked another batter before allowing a single to load the bases. An RBI single by Kevin Pillar tied the game and Showalter finally made a pitching change. Miguel Castro came in and worked out of the jam by inducing a double play to force extra innings

The pitching change kept the game alive for the O’s but certainly came too late. This is not the first time Brach has struggled this season in the closing role. With wins coming at a premium, Showalter’s decision is definitely confusing.

The controversial decisions continued as Showalter opted to let Castro come back out for the tenth inning. The reliever started the inning by putting two runners on but immediately followed it up with a pair of strikeouts. Castro would not finish off the inning and escape the jam this time though. Aledmys Diaz came up to the plate and delivered an RBI single to left field, completing the 5-4 walk off win.

Game 2 (5-1 TOR): Check out the full recap of Friday night’s game by Ian Schultz.

Game 3 (4-3 TOR): The Orioles played another extra inning game on Saturday and once again suffered the agony of a walk-off loss. It was a slow start for both offenses with only one run being scored in the first five innings. Kevin Gausman and Aaron Sanchez traded punches through their six-plus innings of work before turning it over to the bullpen.

Down 2-0 going into the seventh, the O’s offense finally came to life and pushed two runs across when an RBI double by Chance Sisco was followed by an RBI single by Adam Jones.

The Blue Jays responded with a solo home run by Grichuk in the next inning. The Toronto outfielder had a great series against the O’s this weekend by going 8-for-16 at the plate with two homers and five RBI.

A wild pitch by Tyler Clippard allowed Jonathan Schoop to score in the eighth and once again tie the game up. The score would remain tied at three through the ninth before these two teams entered extra innings for the second time this series.

The O’s did have a chance to take the lead in the ninth by getting Jones and Manny Machado on the corners with one out. However, in the ensuing at bat Jones misread a ground ball and was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice. The mistake may have cost the O’s a chance at a win in regulation but the bullpen continued to be a liability as the game continued.

Mychal Givens came in to pitch the tenth inning and proceeded to get two outs but also load the bases. Luke Maile stepped up to the plate and was quickly fed three balls outside the zone. In this scenario there isn’t a reason to swing and Maile did just that as ball four sailed up in the zone. It wasn’t the most exciting walk-off for Toronto but they all feel the same when you’re on the losing end.

Game 4 (13-3 TOR): Facing their first four game sweep of the season, the O’s were desperate for a win in Sunday afternoon’s finale. Unlike the extra inning thrillers on Thursday and Saturday, the O’s did not hang around with the Blue Jays and found themselves on the wrong end of a 13-3 blowout.

Alex Cobb got the start for the O’s and surrendered nine runs in just 3.2 innings. Cobb has had quite a few awful starts this year but this one stands as one of the worst. The nine runs allowed ties Cobb’s career high and inflates his ERA back up to 7.23. Pedro Araujo entered the game after Cobb and failed to stop the bleeding by allowing four more runs in just one inning of work.

Mike Wright and Darren O’Day combined to close out the final three innings but the damage had already been done. Even in the blowout loss it was nice to see O’Day return to the bullpen after spending most of May on the disabled list. The submarine pitcher struck out two while retiring the Blue Jays on 17 pitches in the eighth.

The O’s offense actually struck first on Sunday with a solo home run by Trey Mancini in the second inning. The Orioles would not get another until the seventh when Schoop did the same thing. The third and final run came later that inning when Jace Peterson picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice.

Up next: The Orioles return home on Monday to open a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. This will be the Red Sox’ first visit to Camden Yards in 2018. The two AL East teams have met twice already with the Red Sox leading the season series 6-1.

Image credit: Baltimore Sun

Orioles look to carry success from Mets series into Toronto as road trip continues

TORONTO — Earlier this week the Orioles (18-41) kicked off their current road trip with a pair of interleague wins over the Mets. Say what you will about the level of competition but the O’s put together two quality wins on the shoulders of some great starts by Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy. The pair of wins wasn’t attractive from an offensive perspective but still good enough for the teams second road series win of the season.

Before I give myself a headache thinking about how long it will take the O’s to win a series outside of Maryland or New York, let’s switch our focus to this weekend’s matchup against the Blue Jays (26-34). Toronto finds themselves at the bottom of the AL East as well, but still seven games above the abysmal Orioles.

It wasn’t long ago when these two teams were trading punches in a handful of exciting matchups. Jose Bautista butted heads with the Orioles pitching staff for years before the rivalry reached its peak with a thrilling extra inning wildcard game in 2016. Less than two years later and things feel a lot more tame. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but fans may be crossing their fingers for some of that excitement and tension to reappear this season as the Orioles continue to become less and less interesting to watch.

Last meeting: The Orioles hosted the Blue Jays back in early April after opening the season with a 4-6 record. They had just taken three of four against the Yankees and were looking to turn their early season woes around. However, Toronto would end up taking the first two games before the O’s could scrap together a win in the series finale. The attendance at Camden Yards during the series was the lowest of the season with an average of less than 9,000 fans showing up for each game.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, June 7, 7:07 pm – David Hess (2-2, 3.47 ERA) vs Jaime Garcia (2-4, 6.08 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Friday, June 8, 7:07 pm – Andrew Cashner (2-7, 5.02 ERA) vs J.A. Happ (7-3, 4.08 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Saturday, June 9, 1:07 pm – Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.63 ERA) vs Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.48 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Sunday, June 10, 1:07 pm – Alex Cobb (2-7, 6.19 ERA) vs Marco Estrada (2-6, 5.29 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Orioles:

  • Jonathan Schoop is just one of many Orioles players in the midst of a slump. The second baseman hit right around .230 in both April and May and missed a good chunk of time due to injury. So far in June Schoop has collected four hits in three games which could signal toward a much needed turnaround. However, Schoop put together similar numbers last month when he went 9/31 with nine RBI’s in his first seven games of May.
  • Zach Britton made his third rehab appearance on Tuesday night and continued to be effective. The O’s reliever worked through an inning and a third, striking out one and allowing no hits. He did hit a batter but never let it come back to bite him. Britton is still on track to potentially rejoin the Orioles next week at the earliest.

Notes on Blue Jays:

  • The Blue Jays expect to get Josh Donaldson back at some point during this weekends series. Donaldson landed on the disabled list at the end of May with tightness in his left calf muscle but is now ready to return to the field. The former American league MVP has hit .270 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI’s against the Orioles in his career.
  • J.A. Happ has arguably been the best starter in the Toronto rotation so far this season. Despite being one of the most consistent members of the pitching staff, his difference between his home and road starts is staggering. Happ holds a 4.91 ERA in seven starts at the Rogers Centre, but his road ERA is just 2.97 in five starts.

Image credit: Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports