Orioles swept by Angels as Pujols inches closer to special milestone

Game 1 (3-2 LAA): The Orioles started their west coast trip by getting a long-awaited quality start out of Alex Cobb. Through the first month of the season Cobb had been lackluster to say the least but on Tuesday he gave up just four hits through the first five innings.

Cobb quickly retired the first two batters in the sixth before giving up what should have been a double to Andrelton Simmons but a throwing error by Manny Machado allowed the Angels short stop to score the first run of the game.

Luis Valbuena followed that up with a solo homer to make it a 2-0 game. Cobb got out of the inning and ended his night with two runs given up through six innings of work.

The rare quality start was almost completely wasted as the Orioles offense was nowhere to be found for most of the game. Machado picked up a double in the first but that would be the only Orioles hit through eight innings. Trey Mancini broke that streak with a leadoff single in the ninth and Machado hit another double to bring him home. Adam Jones followed with an RBI single of his own to tie the game 2-2.

In the bottom of the ninth Buck Showalter opted to replace Richard Bleier with Brad Brach. Bleier had already thrown a little over an inning but did so on just 15 pitches. As the Orioles best reliever he has been getting a lot of work lately, but Brach isn’t exactly a guy you can be confident about, especially in a tie game. This decision would end up being costly as the Angels quickly loaded the bases for Justin Upton who picked up a walk off single to give the Angels a win in game one.

Chance Sisco had to leave the game early in the seventh inning after colliding with Pedro Alvarez while chasing a pop up in foul territory. Sisco had his eyes on the ball and ran face first into Alvarez’s raised elbow. The hit knocked the O’s catcher down where he remained for a few minutes before sitting up and then walking off the field with trainers. Sisco missed Wednesday’s game but returned to the starting lineup on Thursday.

Game 2 (10-7 LAA): It’s amazing that this game ended up being as close as it was. Manny Machado put the O’s up 1-0 in the first with a solo homer but the Angels went on to score nine unanswered runs between the first and the sixth. Justin Upton continued to cause problems for the Orioles pitching staff by driving in four of the nine runs himself. He would end up finishing the series 5/13 and six RBI’s.

Albert Pujols picked up a pair of hits in the game, including a solo home run, to inch himself closer to the 3,000 hit milestone.

Down 9-1 after seven innings the game appeared to be over but the Orioles mounted a little bit of a comeback in the final two innings to make it a surprisingly close game. Machado pushed another run across in the eighth but most of the work would be done in the ninth. Eduardo Paredes came in to finish for the Angels but ended up surrendering five runs by the time he could get one out. Chris Davis and Trey Mancini both picked up an RBI on a single and sacrifice fly respectively while Jace Peterson continued to make the most of his time with the Orioles by hitting a base clearing triple.

With the best Orioles hitters still due up, a comeback actually looked like a possibility but the scoring once the Angels replaced Paredes with Jim Johnson. The former Orioles closer gave up a hit to Pedro Alvarez but retired Manny Machado and Adam Jones to end the game.

Game 3 (12-3 LAA): Looking to salvage a win the Orioles sent Chris Tillman to the mound on Thursday. That’s not the easiest sentence to type without laughing but in all fairness Tillman was coming off of his best start of the year and has pitched well in two previous starts at Angel Stadium.

Unfortunately none of that carried over to Thursday night’s series finale. Tillman gave up five runs in the first inning and two more in the second without recording an out. Miguel Castro came in to finish the second and pitched into the fourth where he loaded the bases with one out. Mychal Givens relieved him and quickly allowed four more runs on back-to-back hits by Simmons and Valbuena.

To make things even worse, it took the O’s offense five innings to get a hit. Trey Mancini broke up the no hitter in the sixth with a double and Manny Machado followed with an RBI single to bring him home and finally remove the goose egg from the run column.

James Barria was still excellent in his start. After cruising through the first five innings he encountered some trouble in the sixth that ended his night a little shorter than he may have liked. However, Barria gave up just two runs through six innings of work and was very much in line for his second win of the year when he left the game.

Hardly lost in all of this was the man of the night, Albert Pujols. The 38-year-old veteran picked up hit number 2,999 in the second inning with a two RBI double but had trouble getting the elusive 3,000th hit in his next three at bats. Pujols battled Miguel Castro in the fourth but ended up taking first base after getting hit by a pitch. He returned to the plate in the sixth but didn’t find success there either after hitting a pop fly into foul territory.

Pujols got one more chance at reaching the special milestone in the eighth inning but quickly fell behind Darren O’Day with two foul balls and then popped out to right field on the third pitch. The Angels will start a five game road trip this weekend which likely means Pujols will not reach the 3,000th hit mark in front of the home crowd.

Up next: The Orioles will continue their west coast road trip this weekend with a three game set against the Oakland Athletics.

Image credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP

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Series Preview: Orioles begin six-game California trip in Anaheim

ANAHEIM — After picking up just their second series win of the 2018 season over the Detroit Tigers, the Baltimore Orioles embark on a six-game road trip to California. The first three games of that stretch take place in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Orioles end the month of April with an 8-20 record, second-worst in the American League with the Kansas City Royals owning a 7-21 record. The Cincinnati Reds have the worst record in the majors at 7-22. While the Orioles find themselves 13 games out of first place in the AL East, the Angels sit third place in a competitive AL West at 16-12. Three teams in the western division own a record above .500, with the Houston Astros up top at 20-10, and the Seattle Mariners a half game ahead of the Angels at 16-11.

Trumbo set to return: The Orioles will activate Mark Trumbo ahead of Tuesday’s series opener. Trumbo will make his season debut after missing the first month with a quadriceps strain. Joey Rickard was optioned on Monday to make room for Trumbo.

Trumbo’s arrival will bring more pressure on manager Buck Showalter to keep Chris Davis out of the lineup. Showalter gave Davis the weekend off and had Trey Mancini fill in at first base. Trumbo has experience at first base, but has also been Baltimore’s starting right fielder in the past. However, Trumbo is not an about-average outfielder, and is better suited as a designated hitter. But, Pedro Alvarez has excelled in that role this season, and he hit four home runs over three games this past weekend against Detroit. Like Trumbo, Alvarez does not excel in the field. With Trumbo being a right-handed hitter and Alvarez being left-handed, Buck will have his hands full with his lineup full of free-swinging power bats.

In addition to the Trumbo move, infielder Luis Sardiñas will land on the 10-day disabled list with lower-back soreness, while Triple-A Norfolk’s Engelb Vielma will be recalled to add some more depth in the infield. Danny Valencia was a late scratch from Baltimore’s lineup on Sunday due to a hamstring issue. It is unknown if Valencia will join Sardiñas on the disabled list.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Tuesday, May 1, 10:07 pm – Alex Cobb (0-3, 13.11 ERA) vs. Nick Tropeano (1-2, 4.67 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Wednesday, May 2, 10:07 pm – Dylan Bundy (1-3, 2.97 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (0-1, 6.91 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Thursday, May 3, 10:07 pm – Chris Tillman (1-4, 7.03 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Aside from limiting the Tigers to one hit over seven scoreless innings on Friday night, Tillman has allowed at least seven hits in each of his four other starts.
  • Although the Los Angeles Dodgers are four games below .500 and eight games out of first place in the National League Western division, they just lost starting shortstop Corey Seager to Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers were reportedly included in the list of teams who were in talks with the Orioles over Manny Machado last year and over the offseason. If the Dodgers climb back to .500 in the coming weeks, look for the phones to start ringing.

Notes on the Angels:

  • Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani will miss his scheduled Tuesday start on the mound with a sprained left ankle, sustained on Friday. Ohtani’s start has been pushed back to this weekend in Seattle. Even though Ohtani will not pitch against the O’s in this series, still expect him in the lineup as a hitter. In 44 at-bats this season, Ohtani is hitting .341 with 15 hits, four home runs, and 12 RBI.
  • Lifetime against the Orioles, superstar outfielder Mike Trout has hit 15 home runs, which is his highest mark against any opponent outside of the AL West.
  • Albert Pujols needs four hits to reach the 3,000 club. Against Baltimore in his career, Pujols is .244 with 39 hits and six home runs in 160 at-bats (41 games).

Image Credit: The Baltimore Wire

Series Recap: Orioles continue to struggle against Wild Card competition

BALTIMORE — The Orioles endured a 10-game west coast trip without picking up a win. They failed to turn things around over the weekend, dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Angels.

This series went exactly like Baltimore’s previous series in Seattle. Baltimore won the first game, but lost the final two. Out of their last six games, the O’s won two.

The starting pitching struggled all weekend. Jeremy Hellickson and Kevin Gausman, starters on Friday and Saturday, did not get out of the fifth inning. Chris Tillman got a spot start on Sunday, and went the longest out of the three, 5.1 innings. In their three starts, the trio allowed 16 earned runs on 18 hits. Hellickson and Tillman combined for 10 walks.

Game one: Orioles 9, Angels 7 — The Orioles got lucky on Friday when Manny Machado went off. Machado went 3-for-5 at the plate, smacking three home runs for seven RBI. Machado became the hero in the ninth inning with his one-out, walk-off grand slam. Machado hit two grand slams over the west coast trip, giving him three grand slams in the past 13 games.

As you’ll see in the second video, the pie returned after Machado’s heroics.

Machado played an incredible game on Friday night, but he went 3-for-8 with no RBI the rest of the weekend.

Mark Trumbo and Caleb Joseph joined Machado on Friday night with home runs of their own.

Making his first MLB start since April 2016 (Tommy John surgery) Angels pitcher Andrew  Heaney struggled. In five innings (82 pitches/57 strikes), Heaney allowed five earned runs on seven hits. He tallied five strikeouts, but still needs time to become the pitcher of old. The Orioles can relate to a struggling pitcher coming back from injury, like they’ve seen with Tillman this season.

Game two: Angels 5, Orioles 1 — On Saturday night, the Orioles celebrated the 25th anniversary of Camden Yards. The 1992 team, the first to ever play at the historic ballpark, got honored before the game. Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Mussina, Brady Anderson, and Glenn Davis waved to the fans.

The positive vibes did not last long due to Gausman’s bad start, but the Orioles showed some promise early on.

Following a Mike Trout home run in the first inning, the Orioles responded. Tim Beckham got the inning started with a leadoff double. Machado moved Beckham over via single, and Beckham ended up scoring on a wild pitch thrown by J.C. Ramirez during a Jonathan School at-bat.

The scoring play occurred for Baltimore even retired their first batter. After that, the Birds failed to get on the board for the rest of the game.

Trout went on to homer again, and Luis Valbuena also hit two long balls in the game. Gausman fell victim to all four of them.

The two home runs hit by Trout on Saturday gave him three home runs over the first two games. He did not record a hit or an RBI on Sunday.

Game 3: Angels 5, Orioles 4 — The Angels struck early on a second inning solo home run by Kyle Calhoun. In the third, Albert Pujols doubled LA’s lead on an RBI single that brought Ben Revere home. In the bottom of the third, Chris Davis scorched his 19th homer of 2017 to left-center. That would mark the first of two times in the game where the Orioles closed the gap with a tie.

Tillman did toss the longest start of the weekend with 5.1 innings on 99 pitches, but he walked six. After three innings, Tillman already threw 54 pitches. The Baltimore rotation has struggled with pitch counts all season. Sunday’s game displays a perfect example of those issues.

Perhaps Buck Showalter made a miscue by sending Tillman out for the sixth inning. After recording the first out on a Pujols lineout, Calhoun walked. Andrelton Simmons smoked his 13th home run of the season to left field, extending LA’s lead. The next batter, Luis Valbuena, walked, ending Tillman’s day.

Baltimore put together another comeback effort in the bottom of the sixth when Schoop singled to left-center, scoring both Caleb Joseph and Beckham. Trumbo continued the rally, scoring Schoop on a double. With their first series win in two weeks on the line, the Orioles needed to push one more run across, and prevent Trout and the Angels to come back.

Another score never came for Baltimore. It did for Los Angeles. In the eighth inning, Calhoun walked with Brad Brach pitching. Valbuena would also walk after the first out got recorded. With two out, Cameron Maybin got Calhoun home on an RBI single to right field.

That fifth run became all the Angels needed to put away the Orioles. Former Oriole Bud Norris made his second appearance in the series and reached his 20th save. In his two appearances in this series against his former ball club, he did not allow a run and struck out four.

Former Oriole Parker Bridwell went five innings for LA, giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits, a walk, and three strikeouts. In 12 innings against his former ball club this month, Bridwell five runs (three earned) with 12 hits and seven strikeouts.

The loss drops the Orioles (60-64) to four games below .500 for the first time since July 30. The O’s now find themselves four games back in the AL Wild Card race.

Up next: The Orioles remain at home to face another west-coast team, the Oakland Athletics. As of 6:15 EST on Sunday, Oakland (54-70) still sit in last place in the AL West with the second-worst record in the AL.

Image Credit: Carroll County Times 

Series Preview: Orioles return home from west coast trip to face Angels

BALTIMORE — When a Major League Baseball team finds itself right around .500 and in the thick of a Wild Card race, winning on the road becomes more important. Emerging victorious away from Camden Yards brought on a challenge for the Orioles in recent seasons, and it continues to plague the team in 2017.

When the Orioles left for Anaheim early last week, they sat one game below .500. The O’s knew that two of the three teams they faced out west sported similar records with playoff aspirations. That message, although clear, did not resonate on the field. Baltimore failed to win a single series on their trip, going 4-6 down the stretch.

Time still remains to make a run at the playoffs, but the Orioles need to find consistency. They played some good games out west, but consistency lacked. As the Birds reconvene at Camden Yards, 16 of their next 19 games will take place in Baltimore. Nine of those 16 home games will come against the three teams they competed against out west – the Angels, Athletics, and Mariners. The first team to enter the fray – the Angels.

Standings Update: In the American League East, the Orioles (59-62) come into the weekend with the fourth-place slot in the division, 10.5 games behind Boston (69-51). Los Angeles (62-59) owns the second-place spot in the AL West, 12 games behind the Astros (74-47).

If the season ended today, the two AL Wild Card slots would belong to the Yankees (65-55, four games behind Boston) and the Angels. The Orioles sit three games back in the Wild Card hunt, with the Royals, Twins, Mariners, Rangers, and Rays all ahead of them.

Season Series vs. Angeles: Last week, Los Angeles seized two of three from Baltimore in Anaheim. The Orioles grabbed the first game, 6-2, behind seven solid frames by Dylan Bundy (2ER/5H/0BB/10K). Tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, Manny Machado hit his first of two grand slams of the west coast trip to lift the O’s to victory.

In game two, a 3-2 win for the Angels, it was former Orioles pitcher Parker Bridwell’s turn to toss a seven-inning gem (1ER/6H/4K). L.A. took another win and the series in game three, a 5-1 win in which the Birds got held to just four hits. The Orioles struck first on Welington Castillo‘s 12th home run of the season, but Kevin Gausman lasted just 5.1 innings and gave up four runs (8H/2BB/6K).

Game Times and Pitching Matchups: 

Game 1Friday, Aug. 18, 7:05 pm – Andrew Heaney vs. Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 4.70 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Saturday, Aug. 19, 7:05 pm – J.C. Ramirez (10-10, 4.26 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN, WJZ, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Sunday, Aug. 20, 1:35 pm – Parker Bridwell (7-1, 2.88 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN, WJZ, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Angels:

  • In last week’s series against the Orioles, Mike Trout went 4-for-9 with a home run, three walks, and an RBI. In his career, Trout owns a .288 average and 12 home runs in 160 at-bats against Baltimore. It’s safe to say that his Hall of Fame stock is rising.
  • Cameron Maybin’s 25 stolen bases ranks seventh in MLB, and fourth in the AL.
  • On Friday, Heaney returns to the majors after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July. He only made one start last season before landing on the disabled list. Friday marks his first big league appearance since April 5, 2016.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • Jonathan Schoop‘s 86 RBI ranks second in the AL, and eighth in MLB. He is tied with Khris Davis of Oakland in the AL rankings, Seattle’s Nelson Cruz leads with 96.
  • Bundy’s 12 wins ranks him second on the AL. That ties Bundy with James Paxton (Mariners), Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox) and Ervin Santana (Twins). Chris Sale (Red Sox) and Jason Vargas (Royals) possess 14.
  • Just how amazing has Tim Beckham played for Baltimore? Since joining the Orioles at the end of July, Beckham recorded 30 hits, seven doubles, two triples, four home runs, 10 RBI, and two walks in 62 at-bats. His batting average in an Orioles uniform is .484 and his OBP is .500.

Up Next: The Orioles remain at home for three games against another team they faced out west: The Oakland Athletics.

Image Credit: Sports Chat Place

 

 

Series Recap: Orioles start west coast trip with series loss to Angels

ANAHEIM — With the Orioles working their way back into a heavily contested wild card race every game feels just as important as the last. However, the biggest challenge facing the O’s for the next week will be their annual west coast trip. Due to the major time difference, east coast teams have to play a lot of their cross-country games in the same week or two.

These matchups can make or break the O’s success for the month of August, especially with games against fellow wildcard contenders like the Angels and Mariners.

The Orioles enjoyed some great pitching and offense during Monday nights series opener. The game was closely contested up until the seventh inning when Manny Machado hit a grand slam to put the O’s up by four. Machado’s fifth career grand slam was another shining moment for the third baseman as he continues to heat up. The big hit also gave Machado his 12th RBI in the past week.

Dylan Bundy had a big game on the mound in the series opener as well. The 24-year-old pitcher tossed seven innings while surrendering just two runs. His 10 strike outs also marked a season high. After a rough month of July where he posted a 8.41 ERA, Bundy is back on the right track. So far in August Bundy holds a 1.20 ERA in two starts.

Monday also marked the 26th birthday of Mike Trout. The two-time MVP celebrated the day in style by picking up his 1,000 career hit. Trout was able to come around and score after his milestone hit and then launch a solo homer later in the game. Unfortunately for the Angels these two runs were the only offense they could produce as they went on to lose 6-2.

In game two the O’s did not fare as well. The pitching matchup made for a great story line with former Orioles pitcher, Parker Bridwell taking the hill for the Angels and newly acquired starter, Jeremy Hellickson pitching for the Birds. Bridwell had some trouble finding success with the Orioles but has certainly been a big part of the Angels rotation since being traded.

On Tuesday Bridwell did his best to make his former team regret that trade. Bridwell threw seven strong innings while giving up just one run. The start earned him his sixth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.00. Hellickson was not quite as effective but still solid in his second start with the O’s. The new Oriole starter gave up three runs and struck out nine in six innings of work.

The O’s trailed 3-1 when Hellickson exited the game but only managed to put one more run on the board in the next three innings. Caleb Joseph hit a solo homer in the ninth and the Orioles fell just short of the Angels 3-2.

Wednesday afternoons rubber match was another closely contested game. The Orioles struck first in the third inning with a solo homer by Welington Castillo but the Angels responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. An RBI single in the fourth was followed by a two run homer in the sixth to give the Angels a 4-1 lead that they would not surrender.

The O’s had a chance to score in the top of the sixth but ultimately came up short. Joey Rickard led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and Craig Gentry entered the game to run for him. With two outs recorded Jonathan Schoop came through with a base hit. Gentry attempted to score from first base but was cut down at the plate to end the inning.

The O’s offense struggled to get on base during the entire game so their scoring opportunities were extremely limited. The Angels pitching staff took advantage of this and closed out the final innings quickly to secure a 5-1 victory and a series win.

The west coast games continue this weekend as the Orioles prepare to play the Oakland A’s in a four game series. This will be the first meeting between the Orioles and Athletics in 2017.

Image Credit: Camden Chat

Series Preview: Orioles prepare to hit the road for west coast trip

It seems like the Orioles might actually turn their season around. After the somewhat disappointing trade deadline, many thought that the O's would continue to be average at best and struggle to finish above .500. However, since the July 31 deadline, the Orioles are 5-2 and look completely rejuvenated.

The Angels are in the middle of the same wildcard race as the O's. Despite dropping their last two games against Oakland, Los Angeles is on the upswing. The Angels have won six of their previous seven games.

Last Meeting: This will be the first of two matchups between the Orioles and Angels in 2017. Their last meeting came during the beginning of July last year. The O's dropped the first game of the weekend, but rebounded to take the next two games and win the series.

Standings Update: After splitting their series against Detroit, the Orioles are back to one game below .500 and currently sit just two games back in a competitive wildcard race. The Angels loom right behind the O's in the standings with a record of 55-57. Because of this, the upcoming series is even more important for both teams.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Monday, August 7, 10:07 pm – Dylan Bundy (10-8, 4.24 ERA) vs J.C. Ramirez (10-9, 4.03 ERA)

Game 2: Tuesday, August 8, 10:07 pm – Jeremy Hellickson (7-5, 4.45 ERA) vs Parker Bridwell (5-1, 3.20 ERA)

Game 3: Wednesday, August 9, 3:37 pm – Kevin Gausman (8-7, 5.15 ERA) vs Troy Scribner (1-0, 4.50 ERA)

Notes on the Angels:

  • Parker Bridwell will be making his first career start against his former team after being traded back in April. The 25-year-old had some trouble finding his groove with the O's. He's quickly made himself a staple of the Angels rotation since the trade. Bridwell sports a 5-1 record and 3.20 ERA in nine starts this season.
  • Whenever you go up against the Angels, Mike Trout is always a player to look out for. The two-time MVP holds a .278 average with 11 home runs and 23 RBI's in 39 career games against the O's. Trout will also be celebrating his 26th birthday during the first game of the series.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • The last-minute trade for Tim Beckham was met with mixed feelings by O's fans, but he has been on fire since joining the Orioles. Beckham holds a .583 average with six RBI's since putting on his new uniform. The shortstop even made himself a part of Orioles history when he hit the franchise's 10,000th home run on Saturday.
  • After acquiring Jeremy Hellickson at the trade deadline, the Orioles had six starting pitchers and needed to move one to the bullpen. Prior to Sunday's game, Buck Showalter decided that Chris Tillman will begin a new role as a reliever. Tillman holds a 8.10 ERA in 15 starts this season and has not won a game since his first appearance back in May.

Up Next: After taking on the Angels, the Birds continue their west coast trip by heading to Oakland for a four game series against the struggling A's. The past few weeks have been full of matchups against other potential wildcard teams, but the A's are stuck in the basement of the American League.