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 

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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.