Looking back at Wednesday's double play defense

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Ryan Mountcastle wasn’t keeping count in his head. Jorge Mateo and Rougned Odor also didn’t know. Three infielders just living in the moment.

Double plays were turned in crisp fashion Wednesday night, but the math was fuzzy.

The Orioles tied the club record with five in a 9-4 win over the Twins. They did so within the first seven innings. It moved from convenient to comical.

Mountcastle stood at first base and waited for the throws, the first coming from Mateo in the opening inning after the shortstop made a basket catch of Carlos Correa’s popup with his back to the infield, spun and doubled off Luis Arraez.

“That play he made was pretty crazy,” said Mountcastle, who wasn’t anticipating a second out.

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Orioles hit five home runs to gain series split (updated)

Orioles hit five home runs to gain series split (updated)

The Orioles concluded their series tonight against the Twins, readied for the Royals to arrive at Camden Yards and discussed the roster move that’s pending. Perhaps straining to be heard over music blaring to celebrate the win and a split.

The 26 players who ate and dressed after a 5-3 victory over Twins, made possible by Austin Hays’ tie-breaking solo home run off Jhoan Duran in the bottom of the eighth inning, apparently won’t stay together. Somebody's got to go.

Left-hander Logan Allen is expected to report after the Orioles claimed him on waivers this afternoon from the Guardians. The rotation lost John Means and Chris Ellis to season-ending surgeries. The bullpen holds nine relievers and will be tweaked to accommodate Allen, with Travis Lakins Sr. the most vulnerable.

Manager Brandon Hyde used four tonight behind starter Spenser Watkins, with Jorge López getting the last four outs and the win. The Orioles hit five home runs, including two by Ryan Mountcastle, who went back-to-back with Hays in the eighth.

Who needs August humidity?

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Orioles and Twins lineups (and notes)

Orioles and Twins lineups (and notes)

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde expects Logan Allen to report to the club on Friday, with the left-hander’s role to be determined later.

Allen was claimed on waivers today from the Guardians and added to a 40-man roster that’s full again. A corresponding 26-man roster move is pending.

“I don’t know much about him,” Hyde said. “(Tony) Mansolino managed him a few years ago. I had heard of him, I have seen him pitch. It’s a left-hander with a really good arm. Was a starter coming up, and I think we’re just going to take a look at a guy with a high ceiling and exceptional arm.”

Most of Allen’s appearances in the minors and 15 of 30 in the majors came as a starter. The Orioles could slot him in the rotation or use him as another left-hander in a bullpen that currently has Cionel Pérez, Paul Fry and Keegan Akin.

“It just happened,” Hyde said. “See what happens when he shows up.”

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Orioles move Rutschman and Hall to Triple-A, claim Allen on waivers

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Catcher Adley Rutschman and left-hander DL Hall made brief stops at Double-A Bowie before heading to the next level.

Rutschman and Hall are joining Triple-A Norfolk Friday in Nashville. Rutschman is scheduled to be in the lineup.

Hall, the No. 5 prospect in the system per MLBPipeline.com, made his only start with the Baysox this morning and was charged with two runs and three hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked one batter, struck out six and again flashed a fastball clocked at 100 mph.

The Orioles kept Hall at extended spring training and assigned him to high Single-A Aberdeen for one start. Hall made seven starts with the Baysox last summer before sustaining a stress reaction in his left elbow.

Rutschman, the top prospect in baseball, is back with the Tides after straining his right triceps early in camp. He went 2-for-4 today and is 11-for-25 with five doubles since leaving Sarasota.

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Lakins at a loss to explain home runs

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The home runs puzzle Orioles reliever Travis Lakins Sr. and do considerable damage to his ERA and efficiency with inherited runners. His confidence and support system are fine, but he sees the numbers, too.

Manager Brandon Hyde praised him for saving the bullpen on the final day in Anaheim, after Chris Ellis left in the first inning with shoulder soreness and no batters retired, an entire game needing to be covered.

Ellis was charged with one run and one hit in three innings, but he entered with the bases loaded and surrendered Jo Adell’s grand slam.

Hyde appreciated how Lakins gave the Orioles two scoreless innings against the Red Sox in Sunday’s series finale and regretted that an attempt to get three more outs from him with a 9-1 lead resulted in J.D. Martinez’s grand slam and a pitching change.

The bullpen shut out the Twins over five innings last night in a 9-4 win. Hyde used Cionel Pérez and Dillon Tate for two each and Jorge López for the ninth in a non-save situation. Lakins didn’t warm.

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Orioles' offense perks up for two innings in 9-4 win (updated)

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The Orioles had lost 16 games and two starting pitchers before tonight. High marks less than a full month into their season.

They won’t run the table after tonight’s 9-4 victory over the Twins at Camden Yards, but perhaps they could avoid more changes to their rotation created by injuries.

The lesser of two long shots.

Chris Ellis was supposed to replace John Means, at least for a while, but he’s done in 2022 after today’s procedure to clean up his right labrum and rotator cuff.

Spenser Watkins closes out the series Thursday night opposite Chris Archer, and Jordan Lyles, Tyler Wells and Bruce Zimmermann stay in turn this weekend against the Royals. Kansas City is starting Carlos Hernández, Daniel Lynch and Zack Greinke.

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Injury updates on Nevin, Ellis and Wells (and more)

Injury updates on Nevin, Ellis and Wells (and more)

Tyler Nevin avoided the injured list and says he could play tonight if the Orioles wanted him to come off the bench.

Probably won’t happen, but it’s an option.

Nevin exited last night’s game in the sixth inning with right groin soreness and the club planned to re-evaluate him this afternoon after he arrived at the ballpark.

“I feel better,” he said. “A little bit of soreness, but I’m day-to-day. Nothing I’m too concerned about for the long haul, but it’s something to keep an eye on.”

Good news for a team that’s carrying three reserves on a 26-man roster.

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Orioles lineup vs. Twins

Orioles lineup vs. Twins

The anticipated matchup is here. The one fans circled when the starters were announced.

Kyle Bradish makes his second major league appearance tonight, as the Orioles try to win for only the third time in 10 games.

The Twins are starting former Orioles first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy, traded to the Angels back in December 2019 for a four-pitcher haul that included Bradish.

Should be fun.

Bradish allowed two earned runs and three total in six innings in his debut Friday night against the Red Sox. He was extended to 81 pitches.

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Who's left to handle the new outfield dimensions at Camden Yards?

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The ball was hit, it lined up with the corner of the redesigned fence in left field, and an entire ballpark and press box held their collective breath and watched with fascination and maybe a pinch of fear.

Easily entertained? Perhaps. But this was the first time that the 90-degree angle at the bullpen area was going to influence an outfielder’s path to a ball.

Minnesota’s Nick Gordon ran out of room Monday night, went into a hard slide and slammed into it. Rougned Odor raced to third base for his first triple since 2019, the pre-pandemic days. Gordon stayed down on the warning track.

Don’t say he wasn’t warned. That corner didn’t suddenly appear out of nowhere.

Center fielder Byron Buxton made the throw back to the infield and checked on Gordon, who rose to his feet and stayed in the game. No harm done. But it provided an example of how playing left field at Camden Yards brings a unique set of challenges.

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Mancini returns and Nevin exits in 7-2 loss (updated)

Tyler Nevin plate white

Rather than tearing the cover off baseballs and shaking his head on his way back to the dugout, the loud outs and gnashing of teeth providing the soundtrack to his season, Trey Mancini took a much quieter approach upon his return to the lineup.

Mancini reached in the first inning on an infield hit, which also coaxed a throwing error from Twins third baseman Gio Urshela. His bat broke in the fifth on a bloop single into shallow left field that scored Cedric Mullins with the tying run.

The game can seem out of whack and eventually find the proper balance.

Mancini missed the last three games with bruised ribs, but he made it through batting practice and the entirety of a 7-2 loss to the Twins at Camden Yards.

Tyler Nevin wasn’t as fortunate.

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Updates on Mancini and Ellis

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Trey Mancini completed his rounds of batting practice this afternoon, walked back inside the clubhouse and stayed in the lineup.

At least, as the Orioles left the field and the Twins began infield drills.

Manager Brandon Hyde planned on starting Mancini, who missed the past three games with bruised ribs, but there was a final test.

“He feels better,” Hyde said before heading outdoors. “He’s going to take batting practice, which starts here in about 20 minutes, and then we’re going to kind of go from there.

“He wants to be in there, he’s going to give it every effort, like the gamer he is, to try to be in there. But we’re still going to evaluate him after BP.”

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Mancini returns to Orioles lineup

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Trey Mancini returns to the Orioles lineup tonight as the designated hitter after missing three games with bruised ribs.

Tyler Nevin is the third baseman. Anthony Bemboom is catching.

Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann has allowed only two earned runs, though seven total, in 19 1/3 innings in his four starts. He’s struck out 21 batters.

Zimmermann faced the Twins on June 1, 2021 and allowed two runs with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Kyle Garlick homered.

Orioles starters have a 1.72 ERA at home. They’ve held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 19 of 23 games this season.

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Orioles keeping Owings through first mandated roster adjustment

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The Orioles signed Chris Owings to a minor league contract in March after two partial seasons with the Rockies because his ability to play just about anywhere on the field made him ideal utility material.

Owings remains with the club following the roster cutdown for the exact same reason.

Kelvin Gutiérrez was 4-for-28 before heading out the door, with the Orioles designating him for assignment yesterday morning. A move that seemed more predictable with his name missing from the last three lineups.

Gutiérrez was a third baseman on a team that had other options. Owings has done everything except catch and play first base, making his 2-for-18 start with 12 strikeouts forgivable to the front office.

It’s really that simple. Gutiérrez had to hit in order to justify keeping a player who can’t really bounce to other positions. Owings is under a different microscope.

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Wells cruises early but Orioles can't get the win (updated)

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Following yesterday’s 101-pitch start from veteran Jordan Lyles, the Orioles rotation is shedding the restrictions imposed due to the lockout and shortened spring training. The label with instructions to handle with care is beginning to peel.

Tyler Wells is part of the group but also on his own. He understands that his switch back to starting after missing two seasons and working last summer in short relief carries its own rules. But he hasn’t relinquished total control over his usage.

Get through innings at a rapid pace and stay longer in games. Silence an opposing lineup and keep the bullpen phone quiet.

Wells retired the first six Twins batters tonight on 13 pitches. He recorded the first two outs in the second on only two. The ball never left the infield.

No one reached base until Luis Arraez, Wells’ friend from their days together in the Twins system, lined a one-out single into left field in the fourth. Wells completed five innings at 62 pitches, 46 for strikes, and allowed one run and four hits with no walks and four strikeouts in the Orioles’ 2-1 loss at Camden Yards.

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Notes on Mancini, roster moves, Nevin and more

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Trey Mancini said he’s available off the Orioles bench tonight after bruising his ribs Friday night and being in a considerable amount of discomfort.

Mancini slammed into the right field wall after making a catch.

“I’m just trying to gear toward, if they need me in a big spot, I want to be out there and be able to go,” he said. “The last couple days, I was in a lot of pain. The rib bruise is no joke. Luckily, I feel definitely better today, which is really nice.

“I feel like I can definitely be available if they need me in a spot tonight.”

Mancini didn’t want to broadcast the injury when asked Saturday about his exclusion from the lineup. Meanwhile, he wasn’t available the past two games.

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Orioles and Twins lineups

Orioles and Twins lineups

Trey Mancini is out of the lineup tonight for a third consecutive game as the Orioles begin their four-game series against the Twins at Camden Yards.

Mancini bruised his ribs Friday night while making a catch in right field and slamming against the fence.

Tyler Nevin is batting fifth and serving as the designated hitter, following by second baseman Rougned Odor.

Austin Hays is in left field and Anthony Santander is in right. Jorge Mateo is the shortstop.

The bench is down to three players: Mancini, infielder Chris Owings and backup catcher Anthony Bemboom.

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Gutiérrez designated for assignment

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The Orioles made their final roster move this morning to get down to the required 26 players, announcing that they designated infielder Kelvin Gutiérrez for assignment.

Gutiérrez joined the team on July 3 after having his contract purchased from the Royals, and he became the regular third baseman over the final month. He batted .248/.327/.336 in 47 games but was 4-for-28 in 12 this season.

The last three lineups didn’t include Gutiérrez, who’s out of minor league options, and manager Brandon Hyde confirmed yesterday that the infielder wasn’t dealing with a health issue.

Chris Owings remains with the Orioles despite a 2-for-18 start with 12 strikeouts. Owings can play just about anywhere, while Gutiérrez is mainly a third baseman on a team that has other choices at the corner.

Gutiérrez committed two errors Sunday at Yankee Stadium in his final start.

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Bullpen trying to bring its best in Means' absence

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The relievers didn’t talk about it. They didn’t call a meeting and discuss the responsibilities inherited when ace starting pitcher John Means underwent surgery on his elbow and was done for the rest of the season.

They just knew.

Means wasn’t around to absorb heavy innings and lessen the burden on the bullpen. Instead, the group would have to do more lifting.

As if it’s been on vacation the first month.

Orioles relievers began yesterday ranking fifth in the majors with 93 2/3 innings pitched and handled the last three innings to close out the series against the Red Sox. They recorded three scoreless innings on Friday and 5 1/3 on Saturday to key a 2-1, 10-inning win over the Red Sox.

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Lyles, bullpen and bats combine to give Orioles series win (updated)

Lyles, bullpen and bats combine to give Orioles series win (updated)

A manager uses six relievers to secure a win, he’s going to wish for a lengthy outing from his starting pitcher less than 24 hours later.

Brandon Hyde watched Jordan Lyles strand two Red Sox runners in the first and second innings and leave the bases loaded in the third. Escape acts that should be applauded, but also left him at 55 pitches.

The forecasted rain wasn’t helping, either – 100 percent chance over the next two hours, the gray sky not offering a counterpoint.

A lineout to begin the fourth was followed by a single, walk and 6-3 double play. Fourteen more pitches, but still no runs.

The slithering out of jams ended in the fifth, with Boston scoring on Franchy Cordero’s sacrifice fly after Xander Bogaerts led off with a double.

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Injury updates and pitching matchups

Alexander Wells throws white

Orioles pitcher Alexander Wells has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to miss eight-to-12 weeks.

Surgery isn’t a consideration at this time. Wells will rehab at the spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla.

Wells felt the discomfort in his elbow after Tuesday’s game in New York.

Chris Ellis is still dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder.

“Still seeing some medical people about it,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “but we’ll have some more news about him this week sometime.”

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