Playoff elimination shouldn't dim the light that shined on Orioles

Brandon Hyde looks on home close

NEW YORK – The Orioles keep trying to win games while hoping that perspective isn’t lost on their 2022 season.

They were supposed to lose 100 games again. At least. They were supposed to curse the new lottery system for the right to pick first in the 2023 draft.

To be in contention for a wild card on the last day of September was a monumental achievement. The final record can’t chop it down.

The Orioles could hit a wall instead of running the table and they’d still be worthy of gushing praise.

The Mariners’ win over the Athletics, past midnight and about 30 minutes into October, eliminated the Orioles from the wild card race. It finally happened, with only five games left.

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Hall earns first save and Orioles keep Judge homerless while guaranteeing non-losing season (updated)

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NEW YORK - The night didn’t belong to Aaron Judge.

The Orioles kept him homerless and savored their own achievement. Modest in comparison to Judge’s pursuit of a 61-year-old record, but hugely important to them.

Manager Brandon Hyde has kept prodding his team to “finish.” It will do so without a losing record.

Jordan Lyles tossed seven-plus innings of one-run ball, the go-ahead run for the Orioles scored on a wild pitch, and they gained their 81st victory by defeating the Yankees 2-1 in the Bronx before a sellout crowd of 47,583.

The Orioles still want to stay above .500, but for now will settle for the first non-losing season since 2016. They won’t know whether they remain in the wild card hunt until the Mariners are done later tonight.

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Hyde hoping Orioles can put Judge's historical homer on hold

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NEW YORK – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is noticing a playoff atmosphere at Yankee Stadium today, with reporters storming the Bronx and temperatures dipping in the 60s. Except the fuss is over Aaron Judge and his attempt tonight to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record.

“What an awesome experience for some of these rookies that we have up here,” Hyde said. “This is what it feels like with the amount of media, amount of people on the field, kind of the October air a little bit right now. It’s a special time to be playing baseball, and for our young guys to be able to experience this type of attention and what it feels like, I think it’s going to be awesome for them going forward.”

The crowd will fall silent as Judge steps to the plate. Phones raised to capture the moment. The collective breath held.

“That will be a first for me,” Hyde said. “I haven’t seen a potential milestone like this. Been a part of a bunch of no-hitters and things like that, which, the place can get quiet and nervous. Some postseason series that are super cool. But not an individual accomplishment like this. I’ve never been a part of anything like this.

“I’m hoping that he waits until next series, but it’s going to be a great environment.”

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Orioles and Yankees lineups

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NEW YORK – A weekend series at Yankee Stadium brings so much baggage to the Orioles.

They could be eliminated from the wild card race. They could surrender Aaron Judge’s record-setting 62nd home run of the season.

This is a unique visit that didn’t turn out as they wanted.

The Mariners won again last night and the Rays lost, leaving the Orioles five games behind the last wild card and with their magic number for elimination down to one. They still need a win to reach 81 and guarantee their first non-losing season since 2016.

The Orioles have lost five of their last six games, including three straight in Boston to close out the penultimate road series of the year.

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Krehbiel: "I'm not mad at anyone but myself"

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BOSTON – Two of manager Brandon Hyde’s most difficult conversations of the season were held this week in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park.

The Orioles optioned relievers Keegan Akin and Joey Krehbiel, placing them on the taxi squad with instructions to stay ready.

Two pitchers who broke camp with the team and lasted until the fourth week of September. Valuable contributors earlier in the summer who became expendable based on the bullpen’s needs and recent performance.

It’s worked out better for Akin. The Orioles recalled him two days later after infielder Ramón Urías went on the injured list with a sprained right knee, and he tossed three scoreless innings Wednesday night.

Krehbiel played catch yesterday and returned to his locker soaked in sweat despite the cool temperatures in Boston. All he’s got are the workouts.

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Tate surrenders late home run and Orioles remain stuck on 80 wins (updated)

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BOSTON – The wild card race remains the primary obsession within the Orioles clubhouse. Until an elimination becomes official, until the magic number makes their aspirations disappear, it will remain their No. 1 goal and why they push so hard through the fatigue and aches and pains.

Of course, there’s also the joy of finishing with a record that isn’t below .500. It hasn’t been done since 2016. And it matters.

The Orioles were denied again the chance to form the handshake line as winners for the 81st time this season. They shuffled back inside the clubhouse today, with bags packed, having lost to the Red Sox 5-3 at Fenway Park.

Kyle Stowers hit a game-tying home run in the seventh inning, but J.D. Martinez cleared the Green Monster with a two-run shot off Dillon Tate in the eighth.

With the conclusion of the penultimate road series of 2022, the Orioles head to New York, where Aaron Judge is waiting, and return home for three games against the Blue Jays that gets them to 162.

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Orioles adjust rotation for Yankees series (and other notes)

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BOSTON – Jordan Lyles has been moved up to Friday night at Yankee Stadium, working on short rest with Aaron Judge one home run away from breaking Roger Maris’ single-season record in the American League.

Lyles was held to two innings on Monday due to the rain.

Austin Voth is pushed back to Saturday, with rookie Kyle Bradish starting Sunday on regular rest.

“This allows Voth to get an extra day, somebody that we’re monitoring closely,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s thrown a lot of innings so far, so give him an extra day, and Jordan after that, bring him back a day early.”

Judge tied Maris’ record last night while in Toronto. The Yankees are off today.

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Orioles and Red Sox lineups

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BOSTON – The Orioles play their final game at Fenway Park today with Gunnar Henderson at third base and Kyle Stowers in left field.

Ryan Mountcastle, who struck out four times last night as the designated hitter, is playing first base.

Cedric Mullins is in center field and Austin Hays is in right. Anthony Santander is the designated hitter.

Terrin Vavra goes to the bench, with Rougned Odor playing second base.

Mike Baumann stays in the rotation and makes his third major league start. He went four innings and threw 58 pitches while allowing two runs against the Astros.

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Zimmermann waiting for next chance with Orioles

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BOSTON – Bruce Zimmermann got caught in that same emotional web that usually traps backup quarterbacks. Rooting for the success of the people who are blocking you.

The life of a team player ain’t easy.

Zimmermann returned to the Orioles yesterday at Fenway Park as a member of the taxi squad. He’s here but not really here. He checked to make certain that he could talk to the media, since he wasn’t on the roster.

The Orioles haven’t given Zimmermann a start since June 15, his 13th of the season. The Blue Jays hit three home runs. They scored six runs with 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings, and he was optioned the following day.

Zimmermann had allowed 17 homers in his last seven starts and 18 for the season, tied with Miami’s Elieser Hernández for most in the majors at the time. He surrendered 18 runs and 31 hits in 15 innings in June and his ERA rose from 2.72 on May 14 to 5.94.

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Chirinos solo homer is only run for Orioles in latest loss (updated)

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BOSTON – Busting through the tape at the finish line is how the Orioles imagined it, the momentum carrying them into the playoffs under the best-case scenario. That’s what they’re trying to do with tired legs.

The last few weeks of the season must feel like ankle weights.

Manager Brandon Hyde sat Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman tonight against veteran left-hander Rich Hill, conceding how badly they needed a rest, especially with marathon games played in succession. Dean Kremer made tonight’s start on his normal turn after throwing 106 pitches in a complete-game shutout.

The dog days bark the loudest. But the Orioles have tuned out the noise all season and will continue to do so to the best of their ability.

Hill, who turns 43 in March, tossed six scoreless innings, and the Orioles lost again, 3-1, at Fenway Park, with a split the best they can do while trying to shove past 80 victories.

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Notes on Henderson, lineup, Urías, Nevin, Krehbiel, Zimmermann and more

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BOSTON – Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias has described it as “about as meteoric of a season as you’ll see.” The rise of now 21-year-old Gunnar Henderson from Baseball America’s No. 57 overall prospect to No. 1 as the summer months crept toward fall. From minor league stud to major league contributor in a wild card chase.

Henderson keeps leaving an impression on every field and at every level, and Baseball America rewarded him today with his selection as its Minor League Player of the Year.

The youngest position player to make his Orioles debut since Manny Machado in 2012 and the youngest to debut in the majors this season, Henderson hit a combined .297/.416/.531 with 24 doubles, seven triples, 19 home runs and 76 RBIs in 112 games between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk – drawing 41 walks and striking out 38 times with the Baysox.

“It’s just a great honor and I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with the ability to be in this situation and to bless me with these awards that come with this stuff,” Henderson said this afternoon.

“Looking forward to keeping it going after this.”

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Orioles and Red Sox lineups (and roster moves)

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BOSTON – The regular season is down to eight games for the Orioles, and they’re still 3 ½ behind the Mariners for the last wild card.

It’s more like 4 ½ because Seattle owns the tiebreaker.

The Orioles made a flurry of roster moves. They placed infielder Ramón Urías on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain, which ends his season, optioned relievers Joey Krehbiel and Jake Reed to Triple-A Norfolk, and recalled infielder Tyler Nevin, left-hander Keegan Akin and right-hander Beau Sulser.

Akin is replacing Urías, which enables him to be recalled this early after the Orioles optioned him on Monday.

Nevin is starting at third base tonight.

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Stowers wasn't scared of the Green Monster

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Before rookie Kyle Stowers could step inside the famed Green Monster yesterday, he first had to stand in front of it and try to track fly balls.

He did it in batting practice Monday afternoon and later during the game, the grass soaked beneath his feet from a storm that sent the teams indoors after the second inning.

Stowers got his first experience playing left field in Boston, where legends have roamed and others have been flummoxed. The distance from home plate, the narrow strip of dirt that constitutes foul territory, and the areas on the wall that create unusual caroms.

Spring training was the closest that Stowers came to simulating the Boston experience, but he played right field at JetBlue Park, also known as “Fenway South.” Doesn't count except for what he saw.

“I never played left in any of the mock ballparks,” he said. “The closest thing I can say that I’ve done is in Durham. I don’t think it’s quite as high, but same style of wall. There’s definitely a little more strategy with how you play defensively. I was just trying to get as comfortable as I could in warmups, and felt like there were some moments I did a good job of playing left, and some moments that probably could have been a little better.”

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Another homer binge can't rescue Orioles from 13-9 loss (updated)

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BOSTON – Spenser Watkins saved the Orioles bullpen last night by covering 4 1/3 innings after the rain delay. Manager Brandon Hyde could avoid using some relievers for a third consecutive game. A worry he carried into the clubhouse after play was halted.

But what would he do tonight with his starter unable to get out of the third and his long relief options nonexistent?

Let his offense keep mashing. Remember that no lead is safe at Fenway Park. And no pitcher is safe with Anthony Santander standing at the plate.

It didn’t work, but that’s all he had.

Santander hit multiple homers for the third time in four games, his two-run shot in the fourth evening the score. But the Red Sox kept circling the bases, whether through their own effort or with a push from the Orioles, who lost 13-9 to further damage their wild card hopes.

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Notes on Thursday starter, Akin, Urías, Vavra and more

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BOSTON – Right-hander Mike Baumann is the confirmed starter for the Orioles in the series finale Thursday afternoon.

Baumann is on normal rest after starting Saturday against the Astros and allowing two runs in four innings. He’s in the rotation because Tyler Wells went on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

The Red Sox are starting veteran Nathan Eovaldi.

The Orioles didn’t make any roster moves today after optioning left-hander Keegan Akin yesterday and recalling Logan Gillaspie from the taxi squad.

Akin broke camp with the team and lasted until the fourth week of September.

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Orioles and Red Sox lineups

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BOSTON – Ramón Urías has returned to the Orioles lineup tonight as the third baseman, with rookie Gunnar Henderson moving to shortstop.

Urías is receiving treatment for spasms between his neck and right shoulder.

Rookie Terrin Vavra remains on the bench, but his left hamstring is much better and he’s available to play. Vavra felt it grab Sunday while running the bases and came out of the game.

Anthony Santander is the left fielder, and Austin Hays is in right. Rookie Kyle Stowers goes from left field last night to the designated hitter role tonight.

Kyle Bradish is making the 22nd start of his rookie season. He tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts Thursday night against the Astros and will try to bring the same stuff to Fenway Park.

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Leftovers for breakfast

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BOSTON – The Orioles had some lineup intrigue yesterday, withholding it much later than usual to ascertain the health of a couple players. They also announced an unrelated roster move less than an hour before first pitch.

Can’t rush the process.

Reliever Keegan Akin was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk one day after facing a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 11th inning against the Astros and surrendering four runs.  

The club provided some context, passing along that the Orioles needed a fresh arm and plucked Logan Gillaspie from the taxi squad, and it was a tactical maneuver based on certain matchups down the road.

Akin’s performance didn’t influence the decision, though there’s been a noticeable decline.

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Orioles hit five home runs in soggy 14-8 win in Boston (updated)

Orioles hit five home runs in soggy 14-8 win in Boston (updated)

BOSTON – The division standings plastered on the left field wall at Fenway Park don’t offer much information beyond the basics. The records and number of games out of first place. That’s it. Nothing about the wild card chase that consumes the Orioles and often torments them.

They’re ahead of the Red Sox. They’re the better team. Play like it.

Cedric Mullins had a home run, triple and three RBIs after two innings tonight, Anthony Santander hit his 30th and 31st home runs, Gunnar Henderson homered to break an 0-for-16 spell, and the Orioles waited out a 1 hour and 40 minute rain delay to post a 14-8 victory.

The Mariners are idle, leaving the Orioles 3 1/3 games behind the last wild card. They need one more win to guarantee a .500 season.

"Those are two tough losses we had against Houston, but we fought hard the entire time and we feel good about our chances," Santander said. "If we maintain that energy, I think we'll be fine."

Austin Hays hit the Orioles’ fifth home run of the night in the eighth inning, his solo shot to left coming against Eduard Bazardo.

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Orioles lineup vs. Red Sox (Akin optioned)

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BOSTON – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde waited until less than an hour before first pitch to post tonight’s lineup because he needed to check the availability of some players.

“We have a few things going on,” he said earlier today. “Waiting to kind of see how a few guys feel.”

Ramón Urías and Terrin Vavra are on the bench tonight.

Urías is trying to finish out the season despite the occasional spasms between his neck and right shoulder. He took ground balls this afternoon during batting practice.

“He is feeling better today than he did yesterday,” Hyde said.

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Sulser, Gillapsie and Gallagher join Orioles in Boston

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BOSTON – The Orioles begin their final road trip of the season with four games at Fenway Park. They remain four behind the Mariners for the final wild card.

They could be contemplating a roster move. Pitchers Beau Sulser and Logan Gillaspie are in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park, and the lineup card hasn’t been posted.

Infielder Ramón Urías said he should be available tonight and able to avoid shutting down over the last 10 games.

Urías has been receiving treatments for spasms between his neck and shoulder, which forced him out of the lineup and a recent game. He’s prepared to play through them.

“It’s feeling better,” he said. “Still have a little tenderness right now but feeling better and I think I’m available tonight off the bench.”

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