Baltimore allows six in fourth, falls 9-3 (updated)

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Pitching and defense have been the story of the series for the O’s in Seattle. The first two games, excellence. The finale's 9-3 loss? Not so much.

In the previous two games, the O’s started Tyler Wells and Dean Kremer. Wells entered Monday’s game with a 2.57 ERA in the month of June, and Kremer was even better at 1.71. 

Austin Voth hadn’t exactly been on a similar roll, but was still effective in a small sample size. Voth combined to pitch just 5 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, but the 30-year-old allowed only one earned run while striking out seven in the process. 

In the second inning, the defense started to come back to Earth after a spectacular stretch. Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays collided in the outfield trying to cut off a ball in the gap. Jonathan Araúz committed an error on back-to-back plays, and then Adley Rutschman tried to wait on a swinging bunt down the line that stayed fair. Just like that, three runs came across to score. 

“Thought he threw the ball well,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Just didn’t make a couple of plays behind him that hurt.”

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O's staying in games, thanks to great pitching, defense

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SEATTLE - With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Julio Rodríguez sent a scorcher back up the middle on a two-strike count. The ball ricocheted off pitcher Félix Bautista, and Ryan Mountcastle nearly made a great play to end the inning. 

Instead, the ball got away from Mountcastle, Rodríguez was safe at first, and Jesse Winker drove two runners home in the very next at-bat. Had Rodríguez’s flukey single been an out, the Orioles and Mariners would’ve been knotted at 0-0 entering the top of the ninth. 

Of course, you’re not going to win very many baseball games recording just one hit, which was all the O’s offense was able to muster last night. But the combination of Dean Kremer, Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista kept Baltimore firmly in the ballgame until the very end. 

“We’re pitching better, they’re keeping us in games. The starting pitching has done a great job,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Dean Kremer was incredible last night, Tyler Wells was awesome the day before … Our bullpen guys have done a great job of keeping the game right there.” 

You would have to go back to June 13, an 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays, to find a game in which the Orioles truly felt out of it. Every other game since then, a 14-game stretch, has either been a Baltimore victory or a loss in which the O’s fell by three runs or fewer. 

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After nine-run outburst, offense falls flat (updated)

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SEATTLE – As the city of Seattle should know, defense wins championships.

Wait, sorry, wrong sport. Defense sometimes wins baseball games, as it nearly did tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. The offense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain in a 2-0 loss, in which the Birds mustered just one total hit. 

"We're playing really well defensively," said manager Brandon Hyde. "That's why we're staying in games, pitching and defense is still extremely important, and we've been doing that." 

"I wouldn't be able to do it without the help of the defense," added Dean Kremer. "They're spectacular." 

Entering tonight’s game, Kremer had posted a 1.71 ERA through his first four starts of the season. In the same sample size, Robbie Ray boasted a 1.80 ERA in his previous four starts. They both pitched as their resumés would suggest on Tuesday night. 

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O's look to build on impressive June behind confident Kremer

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SEATTLE – By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the fact that the Orioles have secured their first winning month since Aug. 2017. That’s a really long time. 

What’s been behind that winning month? 

The O’s have gone 14-10 in June, outscoring their opponents 121-96, good for a +25 run differential. The offense has averaged 5.03 runs per game over that stretch, which is third-best in the American League.

Last night’s nine runs showcased just how potent this offense can be. 

“Excited with how we swung the bat last night,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “We did a great job of grinding out a starter, spoiling a bunch of pitches. Even our outs were loud at times.”

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Wells excellent again, offense erupts for nine runs in win (updated)

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SEATTLE - Entering tonight’s game, the Orioles had won six of the last seven games in which Tyler Wells was on the bump. On the other side, the Mariners had won four of the last five games in which George Kirby had started. Unstoppable force, immovable object, etc., etc. 

It was not a pitchers' duel in the 9-2 Orioles victory. George Kirby lasted just four innings, allowing nine hits, seven earned runs and four home runs. 

The Orioles were able to get to Kirby early and often, hitting back-to-back home runs twice in the first four innings. That hasn’t happened for the O’s since Aug. 10, 2017. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle did it in the third inning, and Anthony Santander and Austin Hays didn’t waste any time making it happen once again in the fourth. 

"I thought we took some of our better at-bats of the year those first four innings," said Hyde. "I thought our approach was outstanding. Up and down the order, really good at-bats."

Rutschman got a nice ovation from family and friends for his first at-bat in Seattle. The Oregon State product attended Sherwood High School in Oregon, with the Mariners being the closest big league team. 

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O's look to stay hot with Wells, plus Rutschman's homecoming

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Visiting the Mariners on May 5, 2021, John Means threw nine hitless innings, striking out 12 in the process. 

“We were talking on the way here, last time we were here it was a pretty cool moment,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Great story, and a really, really special day.”

The O’s current starting staff does not include their ace, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April. 

Bruce Zimmermann isn’t in the rotation either. After posting a 2.72 ERA in his first seven starts of the season, the lefty is down in Triple-A Norfolk working on returning to that form. 

The O’s No. 10 prospect, Kyle Bradish, was placed on the 15-day injured list on Friday. Another option off the board. 

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O's plate just three total runs in Tigers' three-game sweep (updated)

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Offense, offense, wherefore art thou, offense? Baltimore’s bats once again faltered in Detroit, this time in a 5-1 loss to the Tigers. The Orioles scored just three runs in this three-game sweep, striking out 16 times today alone. 

On Friday, the O’s couldn’t cash in on offensive opportunities, stranding 14 runners on base. Yesterday, Baltimore hit the ball hard, but just right at defenders. Eight balls were hit over 100 mph, with four of them having an expected batting average over .500, but no runs came of it. 

Today? The Orioles didn’t fail to cash in, nor did they simply get unlucky. The lineup just didn’t hit. 

Tarik Skubal was dominant, striking out five O’s hitters the first time through the lineup. It was the third-career double-digit strikeout game for Skubal, who struck out 11 Orioles in the game, matching a career high. The lefty was able to go deep into this one, allowing just three hits and not surrendering a run over six innings of work. 

“I thought Skubal was really good,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “We had a tough time making contact against him, and give him credit, he threw a really good game.”

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Fuller, Hyde on hitting improvements this season

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In November, the Orioles hired co-hitting coaches, a pair of 31-year-olds in Matt Borgschulte and Ryan Fuller. 

Borgschulte had spent the previous four seasons in the Twins organization, making his way to their Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul before landing in Baltimore. Fuller, on the other hand, was an internal promotion. 

Fuller joined the O’s in 2019, brought on as the hitting coach for the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds. From there, he was promoted to Bowie in 2021 before earning a trip to Baltimore this year. 

Coming up through Baltimore’s farm system, Fuller understands the importance of keeping hitting philosophies consistent, no matter what level of the organization you may be at. 

Ryan McKenna, recently promoted from Triple-A Norfolk, says that its been helping his development this season. 

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Strong pitching continues, as does struggling offense in loss (updated)

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DETROIT — Like hitting and offense? Boy, do I not have a game for you.

The Orioles, without the prominent bats of Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle, fell to the Tigers 3-0 this afternoon. The two teams combined to ground into six double plays. 

"Obviously they're two huge losses, incredible hitters and guys that you want in your lineup, but at the same time, guys go down on every team," said Trey Mancini. "You have to fill the void and try to keep the line moving."

Baltimore hit the ball hard, but right at defenders. Baseball, am I right? 

According to Statcast, eight balls off the bat of Orioles had an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. Despite gathering just four hits in the ballgame, the O’s had four outs on balls in play that had an expected batting average over .500. That includes two Trey Mancini flyouts to right field, which had an xBA of .840 and .770 respectively. Don’t let Trey buy your lottery ticket this year. 

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Mateo making strides at short, O's juggle roster amidst injuries

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Jorge Mateo bounced around for his entire career. 

In 2016, Mateo was ranked the 30th best prospect in baseball as a member of the New York Yankees organization. The speedster was traded to Oakland in 2017, and was traded once again to San Diego in 2020. 

That year, the shortstop finally made his debut for the Padres. Except, that season, he didn’t play a single game at the position he came up playing through the minor leagues. Mateo played seven games in the outfield, five games at second base, and spent four games as a designated hitter. 

The 2021 season was no different. Mateo spent most of his time in center field for the Padres, and upon being claimed by the Orioles, played mostly second base.

This year, however, Mateo finally got his chance. The pieces fell into place for Mateo to be an every day starter at just one position; shorstop. And so far, the 26-year-old has taken full advantage of that opportunity. 

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O's offense squanders chances, Baltimore falls 4-2 (updated)

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After a bullpen game on Thursday, pitching was not the issue in Friday night's 4-2 loss to the Tigers. 

Brandon Hyde needed starting pitcher Jordan Lyles to eat some innings tonight against the Tigers. In Thursday’s series-deciding victory over the Cardinals, Hyde turned to six relievers to get the job done; Bryan Baker, Keegan Akin, Dillon Tate, Cionel Pérez, Joey Krehbiel and Félix Bautista. 

A long outing from Lyles would give those bullpen arms a much needed rest. The stars were all aligning for that scenario to play out, and for the most part, it did. None of those names appeared in tonight's game. 

"It was great to be able to rest some guys in the back of the 'pen today, coming off a day where we threw a lot of guys for multiple innings," said manager Brandon Hyde. 

In the first, Javier Báez grounded into a double play, approximately the 1,000th double play that the Orioles have turned this year. OK, fine, it was the 41st. That’s still a lot of double plays. Most in the American League, in fact. 

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Rylan Bannon relaxed and "just playing ball"

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After a canceled 2020 minor league season, surely 2021 would be the year that Rylan Bannon made his major league debut. 

In 2019, Bannon flashed every tool the Orioles had hoped to see when they acquired the infielder from the Dodgers in 2018. At just 23, Bannon thrived in 20 games at Triple-A Norfolk. The Xavier product flaunted a .317/.344/.549 slash line, good for an .893 OPS. Defensively, Bannon was versatile, getting reps at both second and third base throughout the year. 

When the 2021 season rolled around, it didn’t appear that Bannon would have to wait long to get a call to the bigs. Demonstrate the same promise at Triple-A that the 2019 season showed, and the promotion would come sooner rather than later. 

Things didn’t work out that way. 

“It was definitely not exactly how I would’ve drawn it up,” Bannon joked.

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Orioles prospects honing mental skills with help from Kathryn Rowe

Orioles prospects honing mental skills with help from Kathryn Rowe
Cedric Mullins' 2021 season was one of the best by an Orioles hitter in recent memory. Mullins, who won a Silver Slugger Award and finished ninth in the American League Most Valuable Player voting, failed to reach base 64 percent of the time and did not record a hit in 71 percent of his at-bats. Pretty great, right? It's easy to forget just how often the best hitters in the game fail to record a hit. That was the outcome in 63.4 percent of the at-bats of Ty Cobb, the all-time leader in career...
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