Orioles hit four home runs in Sunday win but drop weekend series to Angels

BALTIMORE — The Orioles (24-59) avoided a winless home stand with an 8-2 win over the Angels (43-42) on Sunday afternoon, but dropped two of three to Los Angeles in a weekend series at Camden Yards. Los Angeles snapped a six-game losing streak on Friday night, and the O’s broke a seven-game losing skid with Sunday’s win. Los Angeles took the season series against Baltimore 5-1.

Game 1 (7-1 LAA): David Hess‘s struggles in the month of June continued in Friday’s opener. Mike Trout, batting second, got the Angels on the board right away in the first inning with his eighth career home run at Camden Yards to put Los Angeles on the board 1-0. Trout returned to center-field on Friday after playing the previous nine games as the designated hitter due to a sprained finger.

While the Orioles offense went quiet yet again, the Angels continued to find success at the expense of Hess. In the third inning, Hess began the frame by hitting Trout. Trout advanced to second on a single by Justin Upton and scored on another single by Andrelton Simmons. Upton made it to third on the play, and scored Los Angeles’s third run when Luis Valbuena grounded into a force-out to make it 3-0.

Los Angeles doubled their lead in the sixth inning. Simmons led off with a two-bagger and advanced to third on a Valbuena single. After Ian Kinsler grounded out, Simmons scored on a fielder’s choice. David Fletcher then brought Valbuena home on a double, allowing Maldonado to reach third base. Maldonado scored on a sacrifice fly by Kole Calhoun.

After Hess intentionally walked Trout, Buck Showalter made the change to new call-up Ryan Meisinger. In 5.2 innings, Hess allowed six runs on nine hits, two walks, and two strikeouts on 84 pitches, 57 strikes. Hess finishes the month of June with an 8.37 ERA in five starts, having allowed five or more runs in four of those five outings.

Meisinger, along with another call-up, Paul Fry, made their major league debuts on Friday night. Meisinger was the culprit of the Angels’ final run of the night in the eighth inning when Maldonado hit his fifth home run of the season. Over 3.1 innings, Meisinger and Fry collectively allowed one run on four hits and three strikeouts. Both arms will be needed in a depleted Orioles bullpen that will likely live on without Darren O’Day for the rest of the season (hamstring surgery).

The Orioles scored their lone run of the game in the ninth inning when Adam Jones singled to right field to plate Trey Mancini. With no outs, Eduardo Paredes retired the next three Orioles hitters on 17 pitches as Manny Machado flew out, and both Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo struck out to make it a 7-1 final. Hess took the loss and Angels starter Felix Peña earned his first win in three starts. He tossed 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Game 2 (6-2 LAA): Click here for Nolan McGraw‘s full recap of game 2.

Game 3 (8-2 BAL): The Orioles’ power bats came alive on a sweltering 94-degree afternoon affair, hitting four home runs over the first five innings. Machado got the Orioles on the board in the fourth inning with a two-run dinger to left-center, scoring Jones in the process. Trumbo hit two solo home runs in back-to-back innings (fourth and fifth). Following Trumbo’s second homer, Davis flew out, but Mancini added a solo shot of his own for the Orioles’ fourth and final home run of the afternoon.

Along with Machado and Trumbo’s fourth inning homers, the Orioles scored two additional runs on a Steve Wilkerson double that plated Davis, and a Tim Beckham double that brought Wilkerson home.

The O’s did not score any runs after the fifth inning, but Kevin Gausman‘s eight-inning start kept any potential Angels threat at bay. Calhoun crossed the plate twice off Gausman – hitting a leadoff double in the first inning, scoring on an Albert Pujols single, and an eighth inning solo home run.

Gausman earned his fourth win of the season (104 pitches, 73 strikes), limiting the Angels to six hits with two strikeouts. He did not allow a walk in his longest outing since Apr. 23 against Cleveland, also an eight-inning performance that actually ended with a loss. Gausman’s season record now stands at 4-6 with a 4.05 ERA. Los Angeles starter Deck McGuire took the loss, lasting just 3.1 innings after allowing five runs on five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. McGuire is the 12th starting pitcher the Angels have used this season, which ties a league high.

Up next: The Orioles embark on their final road trip before the All-Star break, which will be a two-city, six-game trip. First up, the Orioles continue their four-game season series against the Phillies with a two-game tilt at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia leads the season series 1-0 with a 4-1 win over the O’s on June 16. The two teams will meet again on July 12 at Camden Yards for a makeup game stemming from a June 15 rainout. After Philly, the Birds travel to Target Field for a four-game set with the Twins. Minnesota won the Opening Weekend series over Baltimore 2-1 at OPACY.

Image Credit: Express News

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Orioles finish June with 6-2 loss to Angels

BALTIMORE — On Saturday afternoon the Baltimore Orioles dropped a late afternoon game against the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 and extended their losing streak to seven straight.

After almost getting shutout in Friday’s series opener, the Orioles offense struck early on Saturday with two runs in the first inning. Tim Beckham got it started in the leadoff spot with a single to set the table. Adam Jones immediately followed him with a single of his own, allowing Beckham to round second and safely head to third. Manny Machado came up to bat next and battled Tyler Skaggs in a lengthy plate appearance before bringing Beckham in with an RBI single to left field.

The offense slowed down from here but the O’s still managed to push another run across with a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia. That would end the offensive output for the O’s on Saturday evening. The lineup went ice cold, just like the night before, and only mustered three more hits through the next eight innings.

Andrew Cashner got the start for Baltimore and did his best to make those two runs count. Cashner surrendered just one run in the fourth and finished his night after six innings. This quality start rounds out Cashner’s best month of the season so far. The veteran starter will finish June with a 3.21 ERA in five starts.

Brad Brach picked up where Cashner left off by completing a clean 1-2-3 inning on 17 pitches. Going into the eighth the Orioles maintained their slim 2-1 lead but it was only a matter of time before the inconsistent bullpen broke down.

Mychal Givens got the first out of the eighth but then unraveled by giving up a pair of walks and an RBI double to Albert Pujols. Buck Showalter quickly replaced Givens with Tanner Scott but the rookie pitcher could not stop the bleeding. Scott issued a walk to Andrelton Simmons before Chris Young brought home the go-ahead run with a fielder’s choice. Two more runs were scored in the inning after Scott hit Martin Maldonado with the bases loaded and then gave up a two-RBI single to David Fletcher.

When it was all said and done the Angels had not only come back, but also picked up a comfortable 6-2 lead. As you might have guessed, this lead was very safe through the final two innings and Los Angeles picked up their fifth win against the O’s this season.

The Orioles will finish June with a 6-20 record, meaning their latest incredibly miserable feat is not winning a single game against an American league team all month. The Orioles have also dropped 17 of their last 18 home games as they limped through the half way point of the season with the worst record in the league, 23-59.

Image credit: Gail Burton / Associated Press 

Orioles look to end five-game losing streak against slumping Angels

BALTIMORE — After several seasons of performing much better at home than on the road, the Orioles (23-57) enter their final series of June with more road wins (12) than home wins (11). For the Orioles, wins have been hard to come by both at home and on the road this season, but the struggles at home have been particularly bad.

Look no further than the Orioles’ latest series against the Seattle Mariners, a series in which Seattle swept Baltimore over four games. Both Buck Showalter and Darren O’Day got ejected on Monday, and then O’Day re-injured his hamstring on Tuesday.

That’s a rough two days.

Trailing 5-4 in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s affair, Chris Davis hit a monster three-run home run to give the Orioles a 7-5 lead, only for Zach Britton to blow the save in the ninth when Denard Span hit a game-tying two-run home run. The Orioles went on to lose 8-7 in the 11th inning.

Thursday’s series finale also went into extras tied at 2, and Seattle’s go-ahead run only scored because of a fielding error by Colby Rasmus that delayed Jonathan Schoop‘s throw to the plate.

No matter how hard they try, the Orioles simply cannot get out of their own way. They can’t hold a lead, several pitchers continue to go down with injuries, and through it all the front office continues to hold off on firings and trades that need to start happening fast. Having a general manager with an expiring contract in charge of a rebuild only makes Orioles fans more nervous, but then again Dan Duquette might not even be making the decisions anymore anyway. You wouldn’t know, because we haven’t heard a peep from Orioles ownership all season regarding these issues.

With all of this on the minds of Orioles players, coaches, employees, and fans, the season goes on as the Los Angeles Angels (41-41) come to town for a three-game weekend series at Camden Yards. The Orioles are losers of five straight and own the worst record in the majors, but the Angels have lost six in a row and seven of their last 10.

Following a 2-1 win over the Twins on Jun. 10, the Angels were 37-28 overall. Since then, they have played 4-12 baseball. The Angels come to Baltimore after losing a makeup game 2-0 in Kansas City on Monday, and then losing three straight to Boston at Fenway Park.

A look at the standings: The Orioles now sit 31 games behind the two best teams in baseball – the Red Sox (55-27) and Yankees (52-26) – in the American League East. Out west, the Astros (55-28) have the third-best record in the majors, with the Angles sitting at .500 in fourth place, 13.5 games back. The Mariners (51-31) are 3.5 games behind Houston.

Last Meeting: The Orioles kicked off the month of May by getting swept in Anaheim. The entire series swirled around Albert Pujols, who came just one hit shy of 3,000 in the series finale before the Angels left for a five-game road trip.

The Birds lost a close 3-2 opener before the Angels outscored Baltimore 22-10 over the final two games, including a 12-3 win on May 3.

Last season, the Angels won a late-August three-game set over the Orioles 2-1. The O’s won the opener 9-7 despite starter Jeremy Hellickson allowing all seven Angels runs over 4.2 innings.

Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier, and O’Day held the Angels in check after Hellickson’s exit, limiting the Angels to three hits, one walk, and two strikeouts. Manny Machado plated seven of Baltimore’s runs, including a walk-off grand slam.

Overall, the Angels won the 2017 season series vs. Baltimore 4-2.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Friday, Jun. 29, 7:05 pm – Felix Peña (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. David Hess (2-4, 5.44 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, Jun. 30, 4:05 pm – Tyler Skaggs (6-5, 2.69 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.70 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, Jul. 1, 1:05 pm – Deck McGuire (0-0, 6.08 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.20 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Angels:

  • At Camden Yards, superstar outfielder Mike Trout owns a lifetime average of .278 in 90 at-bats with seven home runs.
  • Two-way player Shohei Ohtani was cleared to resume hitting on Thursday. He has not appeared in a game since Jun. 6 because of a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Mark Trumbo has hit safely in 12 straight games, tying his career-high that was set on Aug. 29-Sept. 10, 2015 while he played in Seattle.
  • Machado’s average at home this season stands at .350 (48-for-137, 13 home runs), whereas on the road, he is 15-for-170 (.265, 7 home runs).

Image Credit: USA Today

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

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