Series Recap: Orioles disappoint in crucial road series against New York

Prior to this weekend’s series, we said that the Orioles were at risk of being eliminated from playoff contention at the hand of the Yankees. Well, the Orioles’ playoff hopes are certainly done but New York is not to blame.

If you tuned in to the first three games of this series, you know that the Orioles shot themselves in the foot and played some of their worst baseball of the season. There was absolutely no quality pitching and the offense continued to disappear when it mattered most. New York ended up hitting ten home runs while outscoring the O’s 34-16 in the four game series.

Wade Miley set the pace for the entire pitching staff in his start (if you can even call it one) on Thursday. Miley managed to record just one out before being pulled by Buck Showalter. Nothing says “playoff contender” like giving up six runs in the first inning, right?

I wish I could say things got better after Miley’s exit, but the bullpen was simply not prepared to pitch a full game and it showed. Mike Wright tossed 3.2 innings of relief, but surrendered another three runs. Richard Rodriguez came in after that and only managed to get through one inning before giving up back-to-back homers to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. The two bombs added four more runs and capped off the Yankees’ 13-run evening.

Following Thursday’s blowout, the Orioles grabbed an early lead on Friday. Welington Castillo hit a line drive home run into right field to put the O’s up 2-1. This would be their only run production in the game, as the Yankees quickly tied it up and then took the lead.

Gabriel Ynoa received another chance to start on Friday. Compared to the rest of the rotation, he was relatively serviceable. The 24-year-old pitcher made it through a little over four innings and gave up three runs, but only two were earned.

When Ynoa exited the game in the fifth, he left a runner on base but the score was tied 2-2. Miguel Castro entered the game and gave up the lead on a two-run homer. The Yankees piled on four more runs after this and went on to win, 8-2.

Saturday’s starting pitcher was Jeremy Hellickson and his outing went about as well as you would expect from someone with a 6.54 ERA. Hellickson gave up six runs through just three innings of work. By the seventh inning, New York had already accumulated a 9-0 lead and cruised their way to another dominant victory.

Facing a shoutout, the Orioles finally got on the board in the ninth inning when September call-up Austin Hays hit his first career home run. The two-run shot was followed by a balk, but the scoring would stop there.

Another bright spot from Saturdays loss was the return of J.J Hardy. After missing a few months with a wrist fracture, Hardy got to start at shortstop on Saturday afternoon and went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

On Sunday, the Orioles finally came to life and put together a quality game. Ubaldo Jimenez picked up ten strikeouts in five innings of work and only gave up one run. The offense took advantage of this quality outing by Jimenez and provided some run support.

Hays got it started with an RBI single in the second inning for his third RBI of the series and Trey Mancini followed with an RBI double in the third. For the first time in the entire series, the Orioles got a huge momentum-changing hit when Tim Beckham launched a three-run homer in the fourth. Beckham’s 22nd homer of the year put the O’s up 5-1.

The Yankees chipped away at the Orioles lead by scoring two runs in the sixth and another in the eighth to make it a 6-4 game. Thankfully, Zach Britton entered the game with two outs in the eighth picked up a four-out save.

The Orioles played a decent game on Sunday to pick up a win, avoiding getting swept. However, when that win stands as just your second in the past ten games, you have a problem. You simply can’t expect to remain in playoff contention after what happened in the first three games of this series.

The Orioles will return home on Monday for a series with the Red Sox, but don’t expect it to look or sound like a home game. With the Orioles eliminating themselves from the playoffs and the Red Sox currently sitting on top of the AL East, Camden Yards is probably going to be more reminiscent of Fenway Park in this series.

Image Credit: Associated Press

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Series Preview: Orioles enter Bronx with season on the line

I’m just gonna come out and say it, the odds are not in the Orioles favor. Mathematically the O’s are not out of the playoff race but they are on life support and the Yankees have a chance to pull the plug this weekend.

MLB.com has given the O’s a 1.1% chance of making the postseason. If you want a second opinion, FanGraphs has been a little more generous, giving Baltimore a 1.5% chance. With just sixteen games remaining in the season the Orioles cannot afford to lose another series and are realistically going to need a couple sweeps along the way just to stay alive.

Standings Update: The Orioles (72-74) have dipped below .500 again after their recent six game losing streak. The losses have also put the Orioles 4.5 games out of the second wildcard spot. The Yankees (79-66) are doing much better and currently hold a three game lead for the first wildcard spot. New York is not out of the division race though as the Red Sox sit just three games above.

Last Meeting: These two teams last met in the first week of September and the Yankees delivered the O’s their first series loss since August 20. After that pivotal series the Orioles accumulated a six game losing streak that would not be broken until yesterdays game against the Blue Jays.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, September 14, 7:05 pm – Wade Miley (8-12, 4.96 ERA) vs Masahiro Tanaka (11-11, 4.82 ERA)

Game 2: Friday, September 15, 7:05 pm – Jeremy Hellickson (8-9, 5.23 ERA) vs Luis Severino (12-6, 2.96 ERA)

Game 3: Saturday, September 16, 4:05 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.75 ERA) vs CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA)

Game 4: Sunday, September 17, 1:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.03 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (9-10, 3.17 ERA)

Notes on the Yankees:

  • Sonny Gray has been a big pick up for the Yankees but the former A’s starter has not pitched very well against the Orioles. Gray holds a record of 2-3 with an 4.39 ERA in five starts against Baltimore since 2013.
  • Brett Gardner remains a big threat whenever the Orioles and Yankees meet. Despite having a dip in stats since May, Gardner has been a thorn tin the O’s side all year. His .299 batting average, four homers and eight RBI’s stand as some of his best numbers against any team in 2017.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • After getting of to a hot start with the O’s, Tim Beckham has not been producing very much lately. His go ahead homer against Toronto on Tuesday is certainly a highlight but in the last 14 days the Orioles shortstop is hitting .180 with 14 strikeouts and just three RBI’s.
  • Manny Machado saved the Orioles from a sweep the last time these two teams met and he will look to be a deciding factor again this weekend as the teams meet in New York. The Orioles third baseman has only played one series at Yankee Stadium this year, but it was a good one. Machado went 4/12 with three RBI’s and five walks.

Up Next: The Orioles will start their final home stand of the season next week when the Red Sox and Rays come to town. Depending on how things shake out this weekend the Orioles could be playing the role of spoiler for the remainder of the season.

Image Credit: Washington Post

Series Preview: Orioles end long home stand with dual against Yankees

BALTIMORE — Playing at home never seems to be a problem for the Orioles, and that theme carries itself into this week. The Orioles, currently in a 10-game homestead, swept the Mariners last week and split with Toronto over the weekend. The split, although disappointing, still puts the O’s at 5-2 so far this homestand. This week, the Orioles wrap up the homestead with a three-game set with the Yankees, who won their weekend series at home against the Red Sox.

Standings Update: The Red Sox (77-60) man the first-place spot in the American League East. The Yankees (73-63) sit 3.5 games back, with the Orioles (70-67) seven games behind Boston.

Wild Card Picture: New York possesses the first Wild Card spot in the American League. The Twins (71-65) have the second spot. In the hunt, 1.5 games separate the O’s from the slot the Twins currently occupy. The Angels are also 1.5 games back.

Last Meeting: Almost three months separate the last series between the Yankees and Orioles. In a three-game weekend series at Yankee Stadium from June 9-11, the Yankees took two of three from the Birds. The Yankees outscored the O’s in that series, 38-8. New York picked up wins of six, 13, and 11 points. Chris Tillman failed to get out of the second inning, and Kevin Gausman did not escape his fourth frame of work.

This sweep by the Yankees became a six-game losing streak for Baltimore, which turned into a nine-game stretch of 2-7.

Season Series: The Yankees currently own the season series over the Orioles, 7-5. At Camden Yards, however, the Orioles hold the advantage, 4-2.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1Monday, Sept. 4, 2:05 pm – Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.15 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (13-8, 3.94 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Tuesday, Sept. 5, 7:05 pm – C.C. Sabathia (11-5, 3.71 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (8-8, 5.15 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Wednesday, Sept. 6, 7:05 pm – TBD vs. Kevin Gausman (10-9, 4.79 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Yankees:

  • Aaron Judge owns a .475 average against the Orioles this season and a .478 mark at Camden Yards with two home runs. However, since the All-Star Break, Judge is hitting .176. His 37 home runs ranks second in MLB only behind Giancarlo Stanton, but he’s only hit seven since competing in both the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby. Judge leads MLB with 179 strikeouts. Chris Davis ranks fourth with 160.
  • Closer Aroldis Chapman played in three games against the Orioles so far this seasonal going 1-0 with six strikeouts. Baltimore has not scored against Chapman this season in three tries.
  • Both Gary Sanchez (four games) and Austin Romaine (two games) received suspensions for their roles in last week’s altercation with the Detroit Tigers. Both players appealed and will continue to play until MLB schedules hearings.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • In the last week, Welington Castillo is 12-for-24 with four home runs and eight RBI.
  • As a pitching staff, Baltimore’s ERA against the Yankees is 7.79, their highest against any opponent. However, the team is hitting .323 against New York so far this season, their fourth-highest average against any opponent.
  • Over the weekend against Toronto, Jonathan Schoop recorded his 100th RBI on the season; He now owns 101, which is sixth most in both the MLB and the American League. Nolan Arenado leads MLB with 111; Nelson Cruz leads the AL with 103.

Up Next: The Orioles embark of 10-game road stretch. The trip will start in Cleveland for three games, carry over to Toronto for three games, and end in the Bronx for a four-game set with the Yankees.

Image Credit: The Baltimore Wire 

Orioles acquire minor league pitcher from Yankees

BALTIMORE — While everyone waited to see if the Orioles would trade Zach Britton, another deal came out of nowhere on Monday afternoon. The Orioles gave up more international signing bonus slots in exchange for Yankees RHP Yefry Ramírez.

So far, Ramírez has spent the 2017 season with the Trenton Thunder, New York's Double-A affiliate. The 23-year-old pitcher holds a 10-3 record and a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts. Ramírez has never pitched above the double A level, and is not considered a prospect. He could still find himself on the major league roster in a year or two.

This marks yet another Orioles trade that involves international signing bonus slots. The team already traded away slots to the Yankees and Dodgers earlier this year in exchange for minor league relievers. The O's even sprinkled some bonus slots into the Jeremy Hellickson deal on Friday. Either the Orioles have no desire to explore the foreign market, or these slots are the only pieces left in the organization with trade value.

Image Credit: MiLB.com

Series Recap: Orioles swept by Yankees after embarrassing pitching display

Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for the Orioles pitching staff, they go out and surrender 38 runs in three games. That’s not a typo, the O’s actually gave up 38 runs against the Yankees this weekend.

Coming into the series we knew it was going to be difficult to take two out of three from the AL East leaders, but what ended up happening is just embarrassing. Yankee batters went 44/110 with 12 home runs as a collective in the series.

The Orioles actually looked ready to play on Friday when the game started. Jonathan Schoop put the O’s up early with a two run homer in the second inning. However, that would end up being the only offensive production for the Orioles. The Yankees, on the other hand, lit up the scoreboard with eight runs.

Dylan Bundy was able to hold the dangerous New York lineup to just three runs through his six innings of work, exiting the game with a one run deficit. The Bullpen was not as effective. Edwin Jackson made his second appearance of the season and surrendered three unearned runs while Stefan Crichton continued to struggle, giving up two more runs.

The Bronx bombers picked up where they left off at the beginning of Saturday nights game. The first inning struggles continued for Chris Tillman as he gave up six runs to start the game. Aaron Judge got things started with a solo shot, followed by a two RBI single from Gary Sanchez and a two run homer by Didi Gregorius. Chris Carter capped off the inning with a RBI single. To make things even more demoralizing, all six runs were scored with two outs on the board.

Due to a lack of off days, injuries, and general overuse in the past few weeks, the Orioles bullpen has not been as deep as manager Buck Showalter would like. The Orioles just cannot afford to have their bullpen pitch more than four innings a game at this point. However, three more Yankee runs in the second inning forced Tillman out of the game after just 1.1 innings.

Once again the bullpen failed to be effective in any way, giving up a collective seven runs in their 6+ innings of work. After their dominate game two win, the Yankees had already secured a series win but a sweep looked inevitable.

Sunday afternoon’s game started almost exactly like Saturday nights game.  The Yankees scored five runs off of Kevin Gausman in the first inning. A two RBI single by Castro got things started and Gary Sanchez followed with a three run homer to take the early lead.

Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees on Sunday. With Masahiro Tanaka struggling in recent outings, the Yankees decided to move his start to Monday. Despite getting an ample amount of run support, Green was on a short leash and had to exit the game after just two innings. It appears that Joe Girardi had set a strict pitch count limit for Green and he reached it faster than they anticipated.

This early call to the bullpen helped the Orioles crawl back into the game. Four straight doubles by Hardy, Tejada, Smith, and Schoop put the Orioles on the board and cut the Yankees lead to two. Just when things started to turn in the Birds favor, the pitching disappointed once again. Gausman was forced out of the game in the fourth inning after giving up another two runs.

The bullpen gave up another seven runs in relief as the Yankees picked up an easy 14-3 win and a sweep. New York now holds a three and a half game lead in the division. The Orioles are sitting six and a half games back and have sunk all the way into fourth place.

The O’s will hit the road tonight as they prepare to take on the Chicago White Sox in a four game series this coming week.  The last time the Orioles faced the White Sox they were able to pick up a sweep.  Their going to need a similar performance this week if they want to turn their season around by the all star break.

Series Preview: Orioles prepare for another battle with division leading Yankees

It seams like the Orioles are just treading water at this point in the season. They have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games, preventing them from moving up or down in the division standings. That could change this weekend as the O’s prepare to take on the AL East leading Yankees in New York.

The Yankees are coming off of a series win against the Red Sox, helping them maintain a spot at the top of the division. They are currently up by three games but are certainly aiming to make that lead a little more comfortable in the coming days.

Last Meeting: The Orioles and Yankees have already played three series against each other this season. In these games the O’s hold a 5-4 advantage despite being outscored 60-52 by New York. After their fourth meeting this weekend, the teams will not meet again until September.

Game times & pitching matchups:

Game 1: Friday, June 9, 7:35 pm – Jordan Montgomery (3-4, 3.67 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (6-4, 2.93 ERA)

Game 2: Saturday, June 10, 7:15 pm – Luis Severino (4-2, 2.90 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (1-3, 5.59 ERA)

Game 3: Sunday, June 11, 1:05 pm – Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.55 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.86 ERA)

Notes on the Yankees:

  • Brett Gardner can thank the Orioles pitching staff for getting his offensive production going in 2017. The Yankees veteran is hitting .317 with four home runs and seven RBI’s against the O’s this season.
  • Yankees starter, Masahiro Tanaka has been struggling as of late. In his last five starts Tanaka has given up a combined 35 hits and 27 runs.
  • Its no longer a secret that Aaron Judge is one of the best young players in the game. Judge has been a big threat for opposing pitching all season. With a .330 batting average, 18 home runs, and 41 RBI’s, the Orioles pitching staff will be paying extra attention to Judge.

 Notes on the Orioles:

  • Chris Tillman is in desperate need of a quality start.  After making his season debut in early May, Tillman has struggled immensely. His first start  was a five inning shutout performance that earned him a win.  However, Tillman has given up at least three runs in every start since that season debut.
  • Kevin Gausman has found success against New York so far in his career, going 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 20 games against the Yankees.
  • After taking an MRI on Wednesday, Manny Machado has suffered a sprained left wrist. The third baseman was taken out of Wednesday nights game against Pittsburgh with the wrist / hand injury. Machado missed Thursdays game against the Nationals but is considered day-to-day going forward.

Following their trip to New York, the O’s will head to the south side of Chicago to take on the White Sox in a four game series.

Series Recap: Orioles pick up much needed wins against AL East leading Yankees

After being swept by the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros in consecutive series, the Orioles faced the tough challenge of hosting the AL East leading Yankees early this weekend. To many fans surprise the O’s were able to walk away with a series win and move back within 3.5 games of the division lead.

The Orioles started the three game series against the Yankees with a big win on Memorial day. After losing seven games in a row and finding themselves playing from behind in most of those games, the O’s jumped out to an uncharacteristic, early 3-1 lead by the end of the third inning.

Mark Trumbo brought Joey Rickard home with an RBI single in the first while Jonathan Schoop extended the lead with a double in the third. This would end up being the only offense necessary as Dylan Bundy pitched seven strong innings and held the potent Yankees lineup to just one more run. Darren O’Day pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Brad Brach closed it out in the ninth for his tenth save of the year.

The Bronx bombers would not be held down for long though. The Yankees and their exceptional offense exploded in Tuesday nights game, tagging Chris Tillman for five runs and forcing him to exit after just 2.2 innings. Logan Verrett replaced Tillman out of the pen and gave up three more runs in his three innings of relief.

After five innings the Orioles found themselves down 8-0 and the game was pretty much over. The offense put together three runs through the next four innings, falling very short of a comeback but setting up a rubber match for Wednesday night.

The Orioles offense came back to life in the third game, scoring seven runs off of Masahiro Tanaka. Adam Jones led the way with a three hit game for the O’s after missing the first two games of the series. An RBI double in the third, a three-run homer in the fifth, and an RBI single in the eighth.  Jones’ third hit of the game also marked his 1,500th as an Oriole.

Kevin Gausman was able to battle his way through 5.1 innings of work, surrendering three runs. An inflated pitch count drove him out of the game but the bullpen was able to close out the remaining innings. Mychal Givens, O’Day, and Mike Wright all pitched well and held the Yankees down for the 10-4 win.

Injury notes:

  • Adam Jones was left out of the starting lineup in last Saturday’s game against Houston with hip and ankle discomfort. Buck Showalter said that it was a precautionary move but Jones ended up missing a total of four starts before returning to the lineup on Wednesday.
  • Welington Castillo has been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a groin injury in Tuesday nights game against New York. The injury is being compared to the one that backup catcher, Caleb Joseph suffered last season. Coincidentally, Castillo was sent to the DL exactly one year after Joseph was for almost the exact same injury.  You can’t make this stuff up.

The challenges for the O’s will continue as they prepare to host the Boston Red Sox for a four game series this weekend. With Boston sitting right behind New York in the standings, these four games hold even more weight. The series begins tomorrow night at 7:05 pm.