Orioles begin post Manny Machado era by getting swept by Blue Jays

TORONTO — After the Orioles traded Manny Machado to the Dodgers on Wednesday, fans and baseball pundits alike knew that the already dreadful 2018 Orioles season would not get any better. That proved to be the case this weekend in Toronto, as the Orioles opened up the “second half” by getting swept by the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Following Sunday’s series finale, the Blue Jays own a 9-1 record against the Orioles this season. The Orioles, now 28-71, have lost 10 straight on the road. With the Royals already taking two from the Twins this weekend, the Orioles again have the worst record in the majors, over 40 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East.

Game 1 (8-7 TOR – 10 INN): The Orioles’ “second half” opener saw the Birds overcome a 7-2 deficit to send the game into extras, but Aledmys Diaz‘s walk-off single in the 10th inning off Paul Fry won it for the Blue Jays.

Dylan Bundy struggled again in his third start since coming off the 10-day disabled list with an ankle ailment. Bundy’s five innings on Friday night marked his longest outing since returning to the rotation, but he gave up five runs for the third time in those recent starts.

Diaz opened up the scoring in the second inning with his ninth home run of the season to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Toronto plated four runs to chase Bundy out of the game. Russell Martin and Randal Grichuk went back-to-back with solo home runs to make it 3-0. After Diaz grounded out, Devon Travis walked and advanced to third on a ground-rule double by Curtis Granderson. Travis then scored on a Teoscar Hernandez sacrifice fly, followed by Grandson crossing home on a double by Justin Smoak.

Before Toronto plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth, the top of the inning featured a two-run home run by Tim Beckham, scoring Renato Nuñez. Nuñez, who made his Orioles debut on Friday, started at third base and went 1-for-4 at the plate. After being designated for assignment in April from the Texas Rangers, the Orioles picked up Nuñez one May 13 and sent him to Triple-A Norfolk. In 201 at-bats, Nuñez hit .289 with 58 hits, 23 walks, and five home runs with the Tides.

After Bundy’s exit, Jhan Martiñez, also making his Orioles debut, pitched the sixth inning and posted a strikeout. He threw 18 pitches, 11 for strikes. Martiñez is in his ninth professional season. He previously pitched in the big leagues for the Marlins, White Sox, Rays, Brewers, Pirates. and Rangers. Prior to his call-up, Martiñez held a 2.78 ERA in 45.1 innings at Norfolk this season.

Mychal Givens followed Martiñez for the seventh inning. Toronto added two runs before Givens recorded the first out. Diaz led off with a single, then Travis belted a triple on a line drive to Danny Valencia in right field, scoring Diaz. Next, Granderson singled, also to Valencia, to bring home Travis. Givens would then retire the side, but the two runs allowed marked the first runs given up by Givens since June 30, where he allowed four runs in a 6-2 loss to the Angels at Camden Yards.

After Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio limited the O’s to two runs in the first seven innings. things began to unravel in the eighth. With two outs, Chris Davis smacked his 10th home run of the season to right-center field, also scoring Adam Jones, who had singled with one out. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons pulled Gaviglio after the Davis homer, ending the right-hander’s longest start of both the season and his two-year MLB career. Gaviglio threw 103 pitches, 71 for strikes, allowing seven hits and a walk with eight strikeouts, also a season and career high.

Leading 7-4 in the ninth inning, Tyler Clippard looked to land his seventh save of the season. The Orioles offense had other plans. Trey Mancini led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch that sailed feet over Martin’s glove, and even the umpire’s head. Two of the next four batters Clippard faced – Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop – belted solo home runs to tie the game at seven. It marked Joseph’s second of the season and Schoop’s 11th.

Gibbons pulled Clippard after Schoop’s homer. Ryan Tepera came on and struck out Jones to end the inning. The Blue Jays got two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth but did not score, sending the game into extras.

After John Axford retired the Orioles in order, Fry came back out for the Orioles’ 10th inning after recording the last out of the ninth. The Orioles got the first two outs of the frame with a Yangervis Solarte ground-out a strikeout from Kendrys Morales, but then Martin singled and Grichuk walked. The bitter end came when Diaz singled to Mancini in left field to score Martin and walk it off for the Blue Jays.

The loss marks the first of Fry’s young career. The 25-year-old left-hander is now 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings pitched. Axford’s effort in the 10th inning awarded him his third win of the season.

Game 2 (4-1 TOR): After the Orioles notched three hits off Marcus Stroman in the first inning, the offense hit a wall. Two of those three hits (Beckham and Jones) resulted in Baltimore’s lone run of the afternoon. Over the final eight innings, the Blue Jays limited the O’s to three hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Stroman went seven innings for his third win of the season. He is now 3-7 overall.

Two of Alex Cobb‘s first three innings saw the veteran retire the Blue Jays in order, but he unraveled in the fourth as Toronto scored three runs.

Smoak got the inning started with a walk. Solarte hit a grounder to Cobb, who fielded the ball and threw it to Beckham at second base. However, when Beckham received the ball, he took his foot off the bag too quickly, resulting in both Smoak and Solarte being safe. Then the Blue Jays got on the board when Grichuk doubled on a line drive to Joey Rickard in right field, scoring Smoak and advancing Solarte to third. Cobb then walked Morales, who would become the first out of a double play on a ground ball to third base hit by Diaz. However, Solarte scored and Grichuk still reached third on the play.

The third and final run of the inning came shortly thereafter, as Luke Maile singled to center-field, allowing Grichuk to score. In the fifth inning, Hernandez doubled to right field and eventually scored from third on a balk by Cobb. Cobb began his windup but abruptly stepped behind the rubber with his right foot, resulting in home-plate umpire Joe West making the balk call.

Cobb exited after the fifth inning, receiving his MLB-worst 13th loss of the season (2-13 overall). He went five innings, allowing four runs on four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

According to manager Buck Showalter, Cobb could have come back out for the sixth inning, but the Orioles decided to pull him, citing a blood blister on his throwing hand. It’s the second time this season that Cobb has been pulled early due to a blister on his right hand. Apparently, Cobb has dealt with these blisters in previous seasons, and said that he’ll be fine by his next start on Thursday night.

The rest of the game was pretty uneventful. The Orioles only got two base-runners on over the final two innings. After Cobb, Mike Wright Jr., Tanner Scott, and Zach Britton each worked an inning of relief. Scott racked up three strikeouts.

Game 3 (5-4 TOR): After the Orioles struck out eight times over the first four innings, the offense got things going in the later innings, taking a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning. After Solarte’s fourth-inning double off Andrew Cashner gave Toronto a 1-0 lead, the O’s scored four unanswered runs from a Jace Peterson RBI single (fifth inning), Schoop’s 12th home run of the season (sixth inning), an RBI double by Nunez (eighth inning), and Mancini reaching on a fielding error (eighth inning).

As we’ve seen far too often this season, the Orioles extended a lead late only for the bullpen to implode. Between Brad Brach and Scott, the bullpen allowed Toronto to plate four eighth inning runs for their third come-from-behind win of the series.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. led off with a single to right field, but was forced out in the ensuing at-bat that allowed Granderson to take Gurriel’s place at first base. Then Grichuk hit his 13th home run of the season to cut Baltimore’s lead to 4-3. Smoak followed that with a single to third and was replaced by Travis, who came on to pinch-run. Travis would advance to second on a Morales ground-out before Showalter replaced Brach with Scott. Scott would then lose the ballgame when the first batter he faced, Solarte, hit his 17th home run of the season to left-center to give Toronto the go-ahead run.

Aside from Beckham reaching base in the ninth after being hit by a pitch, Clippard got through the inning without any further damage. With a strikeout, Clippard picked up his seventh save of the season. Axford, despite allowing the two Oriole runs in the eighth, received the win.

Up next: The Orioles return to Camden Yards for their first home-stand following the All-Star break. Monday through Thursday, the O’s will host the first-place Red Sox for three games all beginning at 7:05 pm. Then the Rays come to town for a four-game series. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday’s games begin at 7:05 pm, followed by a 1:05 pm start on Sunday.

Weather could cause some trouble this week in Baltimore. There’s a 90% chance of rain/storms on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night, and a 50% chance of rain/storms during the day on Thursday, but the evening looks clear.

Image Credit: Baltimore Sun 

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Orioles Head to Toronto to Open Post All-Star Break Play

TORONTO- The Baltimore Orioles will head across the border to start post All-Star break play with a three game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.

It will mark the first game for the club without former All-Star shortstop Manny Machado who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five prospects on Wednesday night.

The Orioles enter the three-game series with a record of 28-69 which lands them in last place in the AL East, 39.5 games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox (68-30). The Blue Jays first “half” of the season was a struggle as well and they will enter the series with a record of 43-52 which is good for fourth place in the division. They sit 23.5 games behind Boston.

Last meeting: The last time that these two clubs met was a series to forget for the Orioles as the Blue Jays swept the four-game set at Rogers Centre from June 7-10. The Orioles are 1-6 against Toronto this season and are just 2-8 over their last ten in Toronto dating back to last season.

In that four-game sweep, the Orioles dropped two extra inning games including a 5-4 decision in the opener that saw Brad Brach squander a 4-1 ninth inning lead to get the game into extras where the Blue Jays would win on a Aledmys Diaz single off Miguel Castro.

The Birds dropped a 5-1 decision in game two of the series with the Jays. This loss accounted for one of their 26 games so far this season in which they have scored 1 or less runs.  Toronto took the third game 4-3 in 10 innings and finished the sweep with a 13-3 drubbing in which Alex Cobb was beaten like a drum to the tune of nine runs on 11 hits over just 3.2 innings.

Toronto leads the all time series 334-293.

dylan-bundy-orioles

Dylan Bundy will look to bounce back in the series opener. Image Credit: CBS Sports

Game times and pitching matchups: 

Game 1: Friday, July 20, 7:07 pm- Dylan Bundy (6-9, 4.35ERA) vs. Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 4.58ERA)- MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, July 21, 1:07pm- TBD vs. Marcus Stroman (2-7, 5.86ERA)- MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, July 22, 1:07pm- TBD vs. J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29ERA)- MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Blue Jays:

  • Happ, who will take the ball in game three for Toronto, is currently the subject of trade rumors with the Phillies and the Yankees reportedly interested. The 35-year-old lefty is likely to find a new home before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
  • Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson has struggled mightily this year for Toronto.  He has played in just 36 games due to various injuries and is hitting only .234 with five homers and 16 RBI on the year.
  • The 2018 Blue Jays offense has been paced by Yangervis Solarte who is hitting .241 with 16 home rubs and 48 RBI in his first year with the club.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Bundy will be looking for his first win since June 23. He will be making his third start since coming off of the disabled list with an ankle injury. In his last two starts since returning from the DL Bundy has given up 10 earned runs over 7.1 innings pitched.
  • The Orioles will be looking for someone to step up at the plate with the trade of Machado. Machado played a part in 113 of the Orioles 345 runs on the season. The team is 29th in the MLB and runs scored and just lost roughly 33% of that already meager production.
  • It remains to be seen who else will be traded before the trade deadline, but the Orioles are expected to be active in trying to move closer Zach Britton, reliever Brad Brach, and the longest-tenured Oriole, Adam Jones.

Image Credit: Associated Press

Orioles swept by blue jays in four game weekend series

Game 1 (5-4 TOR): The Orioles opened up their series against the Blue Jays with a disappointing loss in extra innings. David Hess took the mound and once again gave his team a great chance to win by allowing just one run through six innings of work. Through his first five starts Hess is 2-2 with a 3.07 ERA. Thursday’s start also marked the third straight outing where he gave up one run or less.

Most pitchers would walk away from those three starts with a 3-0 record, but not Hess. Through his first four starts, Hess only received two runs of support per game and that’s obviously not a recipe for success. On Thursday the Orioles lineup actually showed up for their starter and scored four runs. It may have taken them a while to get the offense going but the support was there none the less.

Unfortunately, Brad Brach could not hold on to a 4-1 lead. Mychal Givens and Richard Bleier both worked an inning of relief and gave up just a hit each. When Brach came in for the save, he quickly ran into trouble. After getting the first out, Brach walked a batter and then gave up a double to put two runners in scoring position. Randal Grichuk brought them both home with double to make it a 4-3 game.

Buck Showalter opted to keep Brach in the game despite the shaky performance which ended up being a mistake. Brach failed to settle down and walked another batter before allowing a single to load the bases. An RBI single by Kevin Pillar tied the game and Showalter finally made a pitching change. Miguel Castro came in and worked out of the jam by inducing a double play to force extra innings

The pitching change kept the game alive for the O’s but certainly came too late. This is not the first time Brach has struggled this season in the closing role. With wins coming at a premium, Showalter’s decision is definitely confusing.

The controversial decisions continued as Showalter opted to let Castro come back out for the tenth inning. The reliever started the inning by putting two runners on but immediately followed it up with a pair of strikeouts. Castro would not finish off the inning and escape the jam this time though. Aledmys Diaz came up to the plate and delivered an RBI single to left field, completing the 5-4 walk off win.

Game 2 (5-1 TOR): Check out the full recap of Friday night’s game by Ian Schultz.

Game 3 (4-3 TOR): The Orioles played another extra inning game on Saturday and once again suffered the agony of a walk-off loss. It was a slow start for both offenses with only one run being scored in the first five innings. Kevin Gausman and Aaron Sanchez traded punches through their six-plus innings of work before turning it over to the bullpen.

Down 2-0 going into the seventh, the O’s offense finally came to life and pushed two runs across when an RBI double by Chance Sisco was followed by an RBI single by Adam Jones.

The Blue Jays responded with a solo home run by Grichuk in the next inning. The Toronto outfielder had a great series against the O’s this weekend by going 8-for-16 at the plate with two homers and five RBI.

A wild pitch by Tyler Clippard allowed Jonathan Schoop to score in the eighth and once again tie the game up. The score would remain tied at three through the ninth before these two teams entered extra innings for the second time this series.

The O’s did have a chance to take the lead in the ninth by getting Jones and Manny Machado on the corners with one out. However, in the ensuing at bat Jones misread a ground ball and was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice. The mistake may have cost the O’s a chance at a win in regulation but the bullpen continued to be a liability as the game continued.

Mychal Givens came in to pitch the tenth inning and proceeded to get two outs but also load the bases. Luke Maile stepped up to the plate and was quickly fed three balls outside the zone. In this scenario there isn’t a reason to swing and Maile did just that as ball four sailed up in the zone. It wasn’t the most exciting walk-off for Toronto but they all feel the same when you’re on the losing end.

Game 4 (13-3 TOR): Facing their first four game sweep of the season, the O’s were desperate for a win in Sunday afternoon’s finale. Unlike the extra inning thrillers on Thursday and Saturday, the O’s did not hang around with the Blue Jays and found themselves on the wrong end of a 13-3 blowout.

Alex Cobb got the start for the O’s and surrendered nine runs in just 3.2 innings. Cobb has had quite a few awful starts this year but this one stands as one of the worst. The nine runs allowed ties Cobb’s career high and inflates his ERA back up to 7.23. Pedro Araujo entered the game after Cobb and failed to stop the bleeding by allowing four more runs in just one inning of work.

Mike Wright and Darren O’Day combined to close out the final three innings but the damage had already been done. Even in the blowout loss it was nice to see O’Day return to the bullpen after spending most of May on the disabled list. The submarine pitcher struck out two while retiring the Blue Jays on 17 pitches in the eighth.

The O’s offense actually struck first on Sunday with a solo home run by Trey Mancini in the second inning. The Orioles would not get another until the seventh when Schoop did the same thing. The third and final run came later that inning when Jace Peterson picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice.

Up next: The Orioles return home on Monday to open a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. This will be the Red Sox’ first visit to Camden Yards in 2018. The two AL East teams have met twice already with the Red Sox leading the season series 6-1.

Image credit: Baltimore Sun