Twins easily handle Orioles as Birds suffer through third winless road trip

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins outscored the Orioles 26-9 over four games in this weekend’s series at Target Field, including a 10-1 decision on Sunday. Minnesota, now 39-48, came into the series having lost eight of 10, but the Orioles made the Twins look like a team competing for a pennant.

The Orioles leave Minnesota at 24-65, 41 games below .500 and 36.5 games back in the American League East. They still hold the worst record in baseball and are on pace for their worst season ever. However, they have yet to make a single trade or firing.

The stalling needs to end right now. It’s already been long enough, but ownership needs to let the front office free to start building for the future. With Peter Angelos sitting in the top chair of the organization, your guess as to what the Orioles will do is as good as mine.

Game 1 (5-2 MIN): Making just his second appearance for the Twins this season, Aaron Slegers gave manager Paul Molitor a reason to consider giving the fifth spot in Minnesota’s rotation to him. The 25-year-old right-hander limited the Orioles to one run over six innings of work on three hits, one walk, and two strikeouts. The O’s finished the game with five hits, with both of their two runs scored on solo home runs by Jonathan Schoop, his ninth and 10th homers of the season.

The Twins got on the board in the third inning when Jake Cave scored after a fielding error by Baltimore starter Andrew Cashner. Bobby Wilson hit a ground ball to Chris Davis, who was about halfway up the first base line. Cashner ran over to first base to record the out, but Davis’s throw hit his glove and rolled close to the first base dugout. Wilson advanced to second on the play and scored on a single by Eddie Rosario.

The Twins took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning on Logan Morrison‘s 10th home run of the season. It was the final run scored off Cashner, who went six innings after giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.

With Brad Brach pitching in the eighth inning, the Twins plated their final two runs. Morrison singled with one out and advanced to second on a 2-3 (Chance Sisco-Davis) groundout. He then scored on a single by Max Kepler. Kepler scored from first on a double to center-field by Cave. 41-year-old closer Fernando Rodney racked up his 18th save of the season, striking out two.

Game 2 (6-2 MIN): Check out Ian Schultz‘s full recap of Friday’s 6-2 loss.

Game 3 (5-4 MIN): The Orioles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, the only lead they held the entire weekend behind the bats of Manny Machado and Davis. Tim Beckham smacked a leadoff double two right field, then moved to third on an Adam Jones ground-out. Then, Machado grounded out to shortstop Jorge Polanco, allowing Beckham to cross home plate. After Mark Trumbo walked, Davis hit his eighth home run of the season to center-field.

Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson, even with the three-run first inning. earned his third win of the season after going seven innings, striking out nine and allowing nine hits and four walks.

Kevin Gausman retired the side in the first three innings, but started to dwindle afterwards. Minnesota tied the game in the fifth inning with a combination of power and small ball. With one out, Kepler launched his 10th home run of the season to cut Baltimore’s lead to 3-1. Robbie Grossman then hit a double to Jace Peterson in left field, and moved to third on a single by Cave. Following a mound visit, Wilson singled to Danny Valencia in right, scoring Grossman and advancing Cave to third. Gausman then ran into some command issues, walking Joe Mauer and allowing Cave to score on a wild pitch.

After Cave scored, Gausman struck out Rosario and Brian Dozier to end the inning, but the damage had been done and a win would not be possible for Gausman. Miguel Castro came on in relief in the sixth and ran into some trouble right away. Eduardo Escobar led off with his 35th double of the season, and then Castro walked both Polanco and Kepler. The Orioles’ defense forced two outs on ground balls, but Wilson’s ensuing double plated both Kepler and Grossman to lift Minnesota up 5-3.

Despite Peterson plating Schoop on a ninth-inning double, Rodney picked up his 19th save with a strikeout.

Game 4: (10-1 MIN): The Twins scored eight runs in the sixth inning with Dozier leading the way. Dozier doubled to lead off the inning and later hit a three-run home run that gave Minnesota a 10-0 lead. Escobar also hit a two-run bomb in the inning. Mitch Garver opened up the scoring in the fifth inning with a two-run home run that scored Kepler.

Alex Cobb‘s horrible season continued, as the 30-year-old failed to record an out in the sixth inning after giving up Escobar’s home run and a single by Morrison. Cobb left the game due to a blister on his throwing hand, but Buck Showalter said after the game that it should not stop Cobb from making his next start.

The Twins scored four more sixth inning runs after Cobb’s exit, but it did not matter. The only Baltimore run came in the ninth inning on another garbage-time solo home run by Davis, his ninth of the season.

Up Next: The Orioles return to Camden Yards for an eight-game home-stand, the final stretch before the All-Star break. The first four games of that span take place over three days against the Yankees. A single-admission doubleheader will take place on Monday beginning at 4:05 pm, resulting from a rain-out on May 31. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games begin at 7:05 pm.

Image Credit: Hannah Foslien, Getty Images 

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Orioles remain winless on road trip, fall to Twins 6-2

MINNEAPOLIS-  The last time we saw Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy he was picking up his sixth win of the season in the Orioles 7-5 triumph over the Braves on June 23rd in Atlanta. Bundy was placed on the DL shortly after that victory after he rolled his ankle running the bases.

Bundy returned to the mound for the Birds last night against the Twins and appeared to be rusty, only lasting 3.1 innings while giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits. Bundy, who took the loss to fall to 6-8 on the season, struck out two while walking one in what eventually became a 6-2 loss to the Twins.

The trouble began for Bundy in the bottom half of the first inning. After back-to-back singles from Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario to lead off the frame, Bundy gave up another single to Brian Dozier. Two runs scored on the play as a result of a throwing error by Orioles third basemen Tim Beckham. Two batters later, Jorge Polanco delivered a two-out single to extend the lead to 3-0.

After a scoreless second and third from both clubs, the Twins got back on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. The inning would prove to be Bundy’s last as he surrendered a bunt single to Polanco before giving up a two-run moon shot to Orioles killer Max Kepler to extend the Twins lead to 5-0. Kepler is 6-18 lifetime against the Orioles with four extra base hits.

After a Jake Cave single and a walk from Mitch Garver, Mauer singled to left, scoring Cave to push the lead to 6-0, ending Bundy’s outing early.

The Orioles offense picked up 11 hits on the night with Beckham, Caleb Joseph, Manny Machado, and Mark Trumbo all recording multi-hit games. Beckham could’ve joined Joseph with a three-hit night when he drove the first pitch of the night from Twins starter Lance Lynn deep to center field, but Cave took a homer away for the second consecutive night.

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Caleb Joseph paced the offense last night going 3-4. Image Credit: PressBox Baltimore

Lynn picked up the win for the Twins, moving his record to 6-7 on the season. He labored through six innings giving up one run on six hits, striking out three and walking two. Lynn was a candidate for the Orioles rotation this offseason prior to signing a one-year $12 million agreement with the Twins.

The Orioles only RBI of the night came courtesy of a Chris Davis single in the top of the sixth inning, scoring Machado who had worked a lead-off walk. The single gave the Orioles runners on first and second as Trumbo had followed Machado with a single. But with two on and nobody out, Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play and Trey Mancini followed with a ground out to end the threat.

The Orioles were threatening again in the seventh when Joseph and Beckham picked up back-to-back one out singles. Adam Jones grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Joseph from second base on a throwing error by Logan Morrison. The RBI cut the Twins lead to 6-2.

With runners on first and second and one out, Machado delivered a single to left field but Beckham was gunned down at the plate by Rosario. Trumbo flied out in the next at-bat to end the inning.

The Orioles mounted a minor threat in the ninth with Joseph and Beckham providing back-to-back one out singles but Jones popped out to short and Machado followed by fouling out to first.

The defeat marked the Orioles fourth in a row and with the loss the Birds have dropped 11 of their last 12 games.

Game three of the series is Saturday afternoon at 2:10pm on MASN.

Image Credit: MASN Sports

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