Rookies can play an important role for contending teams during stretch run

Manny Machado will never forget the day that he heard about his promotion to the Orioles. It was Aug. 8, 2012. He was with the Double-A Bowie Baysox and getting off a bus at the team hotel after a game in Altoona, Pa. Machado had just signed an autograph for a young fan when Baysox manager Gary Kendall delivered the news in the lobby. "He ... read more

Zach Britton could walk away with Cy Young Award

Pitcher Zach Britton is focused on helping the Orioles win the American League East, but as he does, he's making a strong case to be the 10th closer to win a Cy Young Award. The last closer to win the award was Eric Gagne of the 2003 Los Angeles Dodgers. The last American League closer to do it was Oakland's Dennis Eckersley, who had 51 ... read more

Expectations for Bundy have completely changed

As the All-Star break approached, the Orioles' plan for Dylan Bundy hadn't changed from the spring: They wanted him to stay healthy for 70 relief innings and compete for a rotation spot next season. Now, that plan is history. Bundy has gone from making an occasional relief appearance to a starter whose electric fastball will be a factor in determining whether the Orioles win the ... read more

Multiple Nationals are staking claims for major NL awards

As the Nationals take aim at winning the National League East, they've got a chance at a repeat winner for NL MVP. And it is possible they could be the 19th team in baseball history to have teammates win the Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season. Could it be Daniel Murphy following Bryce Harper as the NL MVP, with either pitcher Stephen ... read more

Previewing how the NL postseason landscape is shaping up

With less than a third of the season to go, the Nationals are putting it all together and sucking all the drama out of the race in the National League East. The Cubs, leaders in the NL Central who struggled before the All-Star break, have gotten their swagger back. The story line is different with the Giants, who lost their weekend series to the Nationals ... read more

Looking back on Britton's journey to the closer role

Closer Zach Britton's signature sinker came about by accident. As a 19-year-old starter for the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds in 2007, Britton, along with pitching coach Calvin Maduro, was trying out grips that would help him develop a cut fastball. A cut fastball is a faster version of a slider, a pitch that breaks into right-handed batters. Only Britton couldn't get the ball to cut. ... read more

Notes after the non-waiver trade deadline

The Cleveland Indians acquired a game-changing lefty, Andrew Miller, for their bullpen and an outfielder with a dependable bat, Brandon Guyer. The Texas Rangers picked up Jeremy Jeffress, Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy. So as the non-waiver trade deadline rumors end and the dust settles, the Rangers and Indians are the most improved teams in baseball. A couple of months after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat ... read more

Answering some questions as trade deadline nears

As Sunday's trade deadline approaches, here are answers to the top questions in baseball: Question: Now that the Cubs have reportedly acquired lefty closer Aroldis Chapman in a trade from the Yankees, will that make them the odds-on favorite to be the National League champion, and what can the Nationals do to counter the move? Answer: Yes, at this point, the Cubs have the strongest ... read more