Orioles win 9-6 to avoid sweep in Arlington

ARLINGTON- The Baltimore Orioles were able to salvage the final game of a four-game set with the Texas Rangers on Sunday, scoring a 9-6 win in order to avoid being swept for the 15th time this season.

Mark Trumbo had a huge day at the plate and got started early with a RBI single off Rangers starter Drew Hutchison in the top of the first scoring Jace Peterson who singled on the first pitch of the game.  After Yefry Ramirez relinquished the lead in the bottom of the first, catcher Austin Wynns clubbed his third homer of the season, a three-run-shot, to put the O’s back in front 4-2.

It was a rough day for Ramirez though who failed to get out of the second inning.  After issuing a lead-off walk to Willie Calhoun to start the second, Drew Robinson doubled to deep right to put runners on second and third with nobody out. A Shin-Soo Choo sac fly cut the lead to 4-3.

Unfortunately for Ramirez, he was unable to weather the storm and would surrender two more hits,two more walks, and two more runs in the inning and left the game with two outs in the frame. Tanner Scott relieved Ramirez and worked out of the situation by striking out Ronald Guzman which kept the deficit at 5-4.

After Jonathan Villar led off the third with a walk, Trumbo delivered the first of his two homers on the day to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead. Scott worked a scoreless third and fourth for the Birds before yielding to Donnie Hart for the bottom of the fifth.

Hart took over protecting a 7-5 lead in the fifth after Villar added a solo shot to his day to extend the Orioles lead. Hart went 1.2 scoreless innings striking out three before Miguel Castro came in to finish the sixth inning.  The Orioles extended their lead to 9-5 in the top of the seventh inning when Trumbo added his second homer of the game, a two-run shot.

Trumbo finished the day 3-4 with 2HRS and 5RBI and Villar reached base in all four of his at bats going 3-3 with three runs scored and a walk. Villar is 8-17 since joining the Orioles via the Jonathan Schoop trade.

Castro pitched a scoreless seventh before turning the ball over to Paul Fry who struggled with his control in the bottom of the eighth inning. After Calhoun flied out, Fry walked Robinson and Choo before throwing a wild pitch to advance the runners. Rougned Odor grounded out to cut the lead to 9-6 and that would close the book on Fry as Mychal Givens got the final out in the eighth.

Givens pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save of the season. Scott took the win for the Orioles to get to 2-2 on the year out of the bullpen. The loss went to Hutchison for the Rangers who fell to 1-2 on the year.

The Orioles (34-78) are off Monday before opening a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays (56-56) on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

Image Credit: AP

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Orioles go into All-Star break on high note with series win over Rangers

BALTIMORE — Despite losing eight of 10 games going into Friday, the Orioles took two of three from the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards to go into the All-Star break on a high note. Following this weekend’s action, the Orioles (28-69) sit 39.5 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox (68-30) in the American League East. The Rangers (41-56) also head into the All-Star break in last place, 22 games behind the Astros (64-35) in the AL West.

The All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The lone Orioles representative is Manny Machado, who will start at shortstop for the AL. Trade rumors surrounding Machado get more intense by the day. Twitter exploded during Sunday’s game when Machado got pulled from the game in the fifth inning, which led many fans to believe that the 26-year-old superstar had been traded. As it turned out, the Orioles pulled Machado from the game due to sloppy field conditions following a 26-minute rain delay.

It’s been reported that the Orioles have received several offers from up to eight teams for Machado’s services. In a tweet sent out on Sunday morning, MLB insider Jon Heyman said that the Brewers, Phillies, and Dodgers have the best offers on the table and lead the Machado sweepstakes. With talks heating up by the day, Machado’s All-Star appearance could mark the last time we see him in an Orioles uniform.

Game 1 (5-4 TEX): Despite picking up a rare series win, the Friday opener did not provide a great start. Starters Alex Cobb and Cole Hamels cruised through four scoreless innings each before both teams scored one run each in the fifth inning. For the Rangers, Joey Gallo belted his 22nd home run of the season. Gallo is tied with Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion for fifth place in the AL for home runs.

In Baltimore’s half of the fifth, Adam Jones led off with a double and advanced to third on a ground-out by Mark Trumbo. Jones would score on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia to tie the game at 1.

Both offenses saw big innings of the seventh, but the Rangers out-scored the Orioles 4-3 in the frame which ended up being the difference. Cobb retired Ronald Guzman via ground-out to open up the Orioles’ seventh, but Robinson Chirinos singled in the ensuing at-bat, ending Cobb’s night. Tanner Scott was called upon, but struggled mightily in his appearance. Scott walked the first batter he saw, Gallo, before Ryan Rua hit his fifth home run of the season to give the Rangers a 4-1 edge. Scott struck out Shin-Soo Choo, but then walked Elvis Andrus, who crossed home on a double by Nomar Mazara, his 16th of the season.

In the bottom half of the seventh, the Orioles forced Hamels out of the game after the 34-year-old veteran allowed the Orioles to load the bases on singles by Trumbo and Valencia, as well as a walk by Chris Davis. Jose Leclerc relieved Hamels and got the second out of the inning, striking out Trey Mancini. However, Caleb Joseph followed that up with a line-drive to center-field that turned into a base-clearing double.

Despite the valiant effort, the Orioles could not find the fifth run. The Orioles got three runners on over the final two innings, but the Texas bullpen held their ground with Keone Kela picking up his 23rd save of the season. Hamels won his fifth game of 2018, now holding a record of 5-8. Cobb falls to 2-12. Both he and Andrew Cashner have just two wins to show for their 2018 efforts so far.

Game 2 (1-0 BAL): Wearing their special Maryland flag jerseys at a part of “Celebrate Maryland Night,” the Orioles registered their fifth shutout win of the season behind the bat of Jonathan Schoop, who plated Joseph in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly to center-field. Joseph had walked from the lead-off spot and advanced to third when Tim Beckham hit an infield single due to a throwing error by third basemen Adrian Beltre.

Schoop’s RBI led to Martin Pérez‘s fourth loss of the season. The 27-year-old left-hander went seven innings, allowing five hits and two walks with four strikeouts. In his fifth start of his rookie year, Yefry Ramirez went five innings, allowing two hits and three walks with a season-high seven strikeouts. Because the game was tied when Ramirez left the game, the win went to Brad Brach, who tossed the sixth inning and struck out two. Zach Britton, who’s name is also included in trade rumors, racked top his third save with two strikeouts.

During the game, the Orioles announced that Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson will now serve as a special advisor for the Orioles. The announcement was made at the conclusion of the fifth inning when Robinson received a huge ovation as he was shown on the video board in front of over 38,000 fans. Robinson, 81, has had health scares recently but is feeling better as of late. He’s more than excited to re-join the club he played 23 seasons for.

“I’ll be trying to get out in the community and doing some things to try and promote this club and get people to the stadium,” Robinson said. “It’s good. It’s fun. I look forward to getting out in the community and doing some things…I won’t be here every night, but if they need me, they’ll call me and I’ll try and help them.”

Game 3 (6-5 BAL): The Orioles planned on calling up Jimmy Yacabonis from Triple-A Norfolk to start Sunday’s game, but Yacabonis caught strep throat right before the weekend and was too sick to make the start. Chris Tillman‘s name was thrown around as a potential replacement, but Buck Showalter elected to go with Miguel Castro out of the bullpen. Tillman pitched for Norfolk on Sunday and actually performed well. He threw 5.1 innings (100 pitches), allowing two runs on eight hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in a 9-2 loss.

Castro’s day did not go as well as Tillman’s. Castro opened up his first start of 2018 by walking the bases loaded. He struck out Rougned Odor for the first out, but then Guzman plated four runs with a grand slam to right field, scoring Choo, Andrus, and Jurickson Profar. Castro settled down after that and ended up going 2.2 innings on 60 pitches (36 strikes) with two strikeouts. His final line looked a little odd with more runs (4) allowed than both hits (1) and walks (2). Castro’s first start of the season could have gone a lot better, but with such short notice, the plan was never to stretch him out more than necessary.

Before being pulled from the game in the fifth, Machado saw two at-bats and scored both times. He got the O’s on the board with two outs in the first inning with his 24th home run of the season. The Birds put up five runs in the third inning, two coming on a double by Jones that brought both Joseph and Schoop home. Joseph also drove in two via double, and Jones scored when Valencia reached first base due to a throwing error by Profar, playing third.

Choo hit his 18th home run of the season in the seventh inning off Mike Wright Jr., but the bullpen held on as the Orioles won their eighth one-run game of the season. They’re now 8-17 in one-run contests. Britton converted save #4 of his young season, but it did not come without some dramatics. With two outs, Britton walked Choo, who was taken out for pinch-runner Carlos Tocci, representing the tying run. The next hitter, Andrus, doubled to the right-field corner, forcing Trumbo to make a quick turn and hard throw to Schoop. Schoop fired the ball to Joseph, who had Tocci well-beaten at the plate for the final out of the game.

Scott won his first game of the season, pitching parts of the third and fourth innings with two strikeouts. Texas starter Mike Minor took the loss, evening his season record to 6-6. The five-run third inning doomed him, as the left-hander, like Castro, exited after 2.2 innings.

Image Credit: Baltimore Sun

Orioles host Rangers in final series before All-Star break

BALTIMORE — For the Orioles and their fans, next week’s All-Star Break will give everyone a recess from what’s been an abysmal 2018 season. Although the Orioles picked up two wins earlier this week against the surging Yankees, they’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, including a gut-wrenching 5-4 loss to the Phillies on Thursday night.

Before players either head home or to Washington, D.C. for All-Star festivities, the Orioles have one more series to play this weekend against another struggling team, the Texas Rangers. Coming into Friday, the Orioles (26-68) still own the worst record in the majors, 39.5 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox (66-29) in the American League East.

The Rangers come into Baltimore with a 40-54 record, good for last place in the AL West. Baltimore marks the final stop of a 10-game road trip for Texas. They began the current trip in Detroit, where they split a four-game series with the Tigers. Monday through Wednesday, the Red Sox swept the Rangers at Fenway Park.

Manny watch: As expected, a number of teams have been in contact with the Orioles inquiring about Manny Machado, who is expected to be traded in a matter of days. A recent article by Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports, seven teams have live offers for Machado sitting on the table, with up to nine teams in the race.

According to Heyman, the Dodgers, Yankees, Brewers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Indians, Cubs, and possibly the Cardinals are looking to work a deal for Machado’s services.

The Yankees’ farm system ranks among the top in baseball, and they could easily put a package together that the Orioles would have to take. However, Peter Angelos has avoided trading with division rivals in the past, and I doubt the front office wants to see Machado in pinstripes 19 times a year. Not to mention that Machado would play third base if moved to the Yankees, a move that the 26-year-old has said he does not want to make.

The Dodgers, Brewers, and Phillies could all use a shortstop, but when J.P. Crawford returns in four-to-six weeks (hand), that problem will be solved. Crawford has been out since June 19 after being hit by a pitch. Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been subject to trade talks all season, and the club likely won’t make a move for MAchado unless they decide to part ways with Russell. The Indians definitely do not have an opening at shortstop with Francisco Lindor in the midst of an All-Star season.

Last meeting: The Orioles went 6-1 (.857) against the Rangers in 2017, their best winning percentage against any team they faced last season. That 6-1 mark included a four-game sweep over Texas at Camden Yards from July 17-20. In that series, the Birds outscored the Rangers 34-11, including 12-1 and 10-2 wins in games 3 and 4.

In that series, Jonathan Schoop went 7-for-16 with nine RBI on a home run, two separate two-run doubles, a two-run single, a one-run single, and a sacrifice fly. Chris Davis finished with six RBI in the second game on a grand slam and a two-run home run. In games 1-3, the Orioles received three quality starts from Chris Tillman, Dylan Bundy, and Kevin Gausman. Each starter went six innings, allowing one earned run.

Game times and pitching matchups: 

Game 1Friday, July 13, 7:05 pm – Cole Hamels (4-8, 4.28 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (2-11, 6.67 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, July 14, 7:15 pm – TBD vs. Yefry Ramirez (0-3, 3.93 ERA) FOX, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, July 15, 1:05 pm – TBD vs. Jimmy Yacabonis (0-0, 7.15 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Rangers:

  • Against Baltimore, 39-year-old third basemen Adrian Beltre owns a .294 average with 127 hits, 27 home runs, and 68 RBI in 432 at-bats. Those stats date back to 1998, it’s amazing that Beltre continues to produce at such an advanced age. This season, he’s hitting .288 with 64 hits, four home runs, and 64 RBI in 222 at-bats.
  • Another ageless veteran, Shin-Soo Choo, is a lifetime .350 hitter at Camden Yards. In 103 at-bats, Choo has tallied 36 hits, seven home runs, and 16 RBI. Against the Orioles in general, Choo is 56-of-202 with 12 homers and 32 RBI.
  • Out of all ballparks Hamels has pitched in, his 8.83 ERA at Camden Yards is higher than his ERA in any other MLB ballpark. In three starts at Camden Yards, Hamels has allowed 17 earned runs on 22 hits (five home runs), nine walks, and 13 strikeouts.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Andrew Cashner (neck) has been placed on the 10-day disabled list for the second time this season after receiving an injection in his neck. Cashner is the fourth pitcher on the opening day roster that’s currently on the DL, joining Pedro Araujo, Darren O’Day, and Richard Bleier. Cobb is also nursing a blister on one of the fingers on his throwing hand, but he will start tonight. Cashner underwent a similar injection during the All-Star break last year, but did not miss significant time. Yacabonis’s Sunday start originally belonged to Cashner.
  • According to reports, the Orioles are also considering calling up Chris Tillman, who pitched for Frederick on Tuesday, tossing 6.1 innings. He allowed six earned runs with three walks and four strikeouts (102 pitches). If he is not called up on Sunday, he will start at Triple-A Norfolk against Gwinnett.
  • Zach Britton‘s name has floated around the rumor mill over the last few days, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies all in the mix. It will be interesting to see if multiple upcoming free agents end up with AL East foes.

Image Credit: Boston Herald