Cowser and Ortiz heading to Norfolk, Rodriguez beginning rehab at Aberdeen

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The Orioles launched a few more significant minor league promotions this afternoon, including a first-round draft pick’s ascension to Triple-A. To be determined is whether the ripple effect touches the major league roster.

Outfielder Colton Cowser and shortstop Joey Ortiz are moving from Double-A Bowie to the Norfolk Tides. Infielder Darrel Hernaiz is going from High-A Aberdeen to the Baysox.

Grayson Rodriguez, the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball, is starting for Aberdeen on Thursday night after recovering from a Grade 2 strain in his right lat.

Mondays are rarely dull in the minors, even with the lack of games.

Cowser, the fifth overall selection in the 2021 draft out of Sam Houston State, is speeding through the system. He began the year with Aberdeen and is reporting to his third affiliate with a combined .294/.422/.479 slash line in 502 plate appearances, 29 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs and 55 RBIs.

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Poring over present and past Orioles pitching performances

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The Orioles create their own breaks and catch a few along the way. Or at least, it appears that way.

Doesn’t always lead to a win, but it happens.

Going for the three-game sweep yesterday in Houston, they were tasked with trying to beat Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander. The major league leader in ERA and OPS, and tied for the lead in WHIP. A tough matchup, to say the least.

A brief one, too, with Verlander leaving after three scoreless innings with right calf discomfort.

Nothing related to his surgically repaired right elbow or his shoulder. Just his calf muscle.

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Orioles and Astros lineups

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The Orioles are trying for their second three-game sweep in Houston in two seasons.

The rotation has tied a season high with four quality starts in a row, posting a 1.26 ERA during that stretch. The ERA is 2.25 in the last 11 games.

The Astros have been held to one run in the first two games. Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer have combined for 15 2/3 innings, after Jordan Lyles completed seven innings on Thursday.

It really does start with starting pitching.

Only 1 ½ games separate the Orioles from the last wild card spot. But they’re facing Justin Verlander today.

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Orioles bound to beef up bullpen in September

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Kyle Bradish came up with a nice solution Friday night to the bullpen’s recent struggles that raised concerns about its ability to hold up through the rest of the wild card chase.

Stay on the mound for eight innings and don’t allow any runs.

So simple. Why didn’t anyone else think of it?

Dean Kremer ran with the idea last night, holding the Astros to one run in 7 2/3. All it takes is one person to start a movement.

A fresh right arm arrived to the team Thursday afternoon when the Orioles recalled Rico Garcia from Triple-A Norfolk. Rosters expand to 28 players on Sept. 1, which allows them to bring up another pitcher.

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Orioles and Astros lineups (and notes)

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The Orioles won last night and remained 2 ½ games back for the last wild card after the Mariners defeated the Guardians in 11 innings.

Gain ground on two teams ahead of them, with the Blue Jays and Rays losing, but also stay planted in the same spot.

Kyle Bradish tossed eight scoreless innings with only two hits allowed, Dillon Tate struck out Trey Mancini to strand two runners in the ninth, and the Astros fell to 42-19 at home.

The Orioles are seven games above .500 for the first time since May 22, 2017. They haven’t been eight above since May 21.

Cedric Mullins is the designated hitter tonight. Anthony Santander is playing left field, Ryan McKenna is in center and Austin Hays is in right.

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Leftovers for breakfast

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The Orioles wanted veteran starter Jordan Lyles to be durable and dependable. To make each start, push past the middle innings and give his club a chance to win. They sought his leadership on an inexperienced staff.

And they were willing to sign him for $7 million guaranteed with a $11 club option for 2023.

How’s it working out?

“I think he’s exceeded our expectations and what he’s done for us in every way,” says manager Brandon Hyde.

Hyde has gone on record with that opinion multiple times this season, most recently before Thursday’s game.

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Orioles and Astros lineups in Houston

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The challenges keep coming at the Orioles, one after another, contenders leaving them and others waiting right around the corner.

A ninth walk-off win last night is followed by a three-game series in Houston, where the Orioles can visit with former teammate Trey Mancini and try to gain ground in the wild card race.

Last night’s improbable result, a 4-3 win in 11 innings over the White Sox, kept them 2 ½ games back for the last spot.

The Orioles earned their 29th comeback win, the most since 2017, after Kyle Stowers tied the game with his first major league home run after falling behind 0-2 with two outs in the ninth. Anthony Santander singled in the 11th for his second career walk-off hit.

The club has registered three consecutive winning months for the first time since April-June 2016.

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Cossins learned that Rutschman came as advertised

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Jordan Lyles coaxed the double play grounder that he needed last night with runners on the corners with one out in the third inning. Catcher Adley Rutschman jogged to the first base line, gave Lyles a congratulatory pat and maintained a dialogue with him as they walked to the dugout.

Tim Cossins, the Orioles’ major league field coordinator, is watching from a distance this season after relocating from the dugout to the bullpen. He smiles at the mention of Rutschman’s enthusiastic routine. And he’s reminded of the conversations that were held to debate its merits.

The bottom line was this: Changing anything about Rutschman defied logic. Let the kid keep doing it.

Tweak some mechanics behind the plate to improve throwing accuracy. That’s fine. But otherwise, don’t fix the parts that aren’t broken.

Cossins, also the team’s catching instructor, believes that baseball’s former No. 1 prospect came as advertised, and this is a supreme compliment.

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Stowers hits first major league home run and Santander produces walk-off win in 11th (updated)

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A clubhouse that’s started to check the standings while it’s in the thick of a wild card race – likely a majority of players, if not universally – knew exactly where it stood tonight before the first pitch.

The Rays won. The Mariners won. Two teams gaining ground ahead of the Orioles.

The outcomes don’t really matter if the Orioles can’t take care of their own business, which is why they glance at the scores and lock in on their opponent.

Jordan Lyles surrendered a first-pitch home run tonight and cruised into the seventh, where the White Sox tied the game on two soft hits and a throwing error. They scored a run in the eighth against Dillon Tate, again doing damage within the bullpen, and came within a strike of winning in regulation. Of retiring the last 13 batters.

Down 0-2 against closer Liam Hendriks, Kyle Stowers hit his first major league home run with a shot to center field that tied the score. A rookie in his seventh major league game, with three hits in 23 at-bats and none in his last 13, handling some of the business.

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Hyde on Wells, Garcia, lineup, and roster expansion

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Tyler Wells threw his second bullpen session today and keeps making progress in his eventual return from a left oblique injury.

Wells is nearing a live batting practice session to get him reacclimated to facing hitters.

“It’s going very well,” Hyde said. “Threw his second bullpen, feels great after. All positive news from there.”

The Orioles haven’t determined Well’s role after he makes it back onto the active roster. Building him back up as a starter will take longer, which could influence them to make him a reliever.

“We’re still going to work some things out,” Hyde said.

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Orioles and White Sox lineups (and notes)

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The Orioles recalled reliever Rico Garcia from Triple-A Norfolk today to provide a fresh arm for a struggling bullpen. They optioned reliever Louis Head after last night’s game.

The club also optioned reliever Phoenix Sanders after claiming him off waivers yesterday from the Rays. He has three minor league options.

Garcia has appeared in four games with the Orioles and allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. He has a 2.30 ERA in 14 appearances with Norfolk.

The Orioles will try tonight to win another series and move closer to the final wild card spot. They remained 2 ½ games back after last night’s 5-3 loss to the White Sox.

Kyle Stowers is in right field and Terrin Vavra is starting at second base.

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Bautista building case to appear on Rookie of the Year ballot

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The debate over American League Rookie of the Year is boiling down to Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Mariners center fielder Julio Rodríguez. Much of the field is evaporating. They could be one and two, though more than a month of the season remains.

The ballot distributed to qualified members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America holds three names.

Does Orioles reliever Félix Bautista belong on it?

“Yeah, he’s been unbelievable this year,” said first baseman Ryan Mountcastle.

“Absolutely,” said starter John Means.

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Orioles unable to overcome latest early deficit (updated)

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First baseman Ryan Mountcastle made a diving stop of Yoán Moncada’s ground ball tonight and outraced him to the bag to record the out and prevent at least one more run from scoring. Elvis Andrus struck out, and Spenser Watkins caught a break only down 2-0 in the first inning.

On many nights in 2022, that play would launch a comeback for the Orioles. Their starter would get on a roll, they’d string together some hits, and the outcome would strengthen the belief that they have the stamina to stay in the wild card chase.

They still feel that way. Their confidence won’t erode. And Watkins didn’t allow another run. But the Orioles couldn’t push past the White Sox, who kept the lead and won 5-3 at Camden Yards.

Austin Hays slugged a two-run homer off Liam Hendriks in the ninth, his 300th career hit, but a fifth attempt to move seven games above .500 failed, dropping the Orioles to 64-59.

Watkins stranded a runner in each of his next four innings and retired the side in order in the sixth on three ground balls. The White Sox hadn’t cashed in much during this series, leaving 27 on base.

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Orioles and White Sox lineups and notes

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Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is breaking out his reverse-splits lineup again tonight with the White Sox starting right-hander Lucas Giolito.

Robinson Chirinos is catching and Adley Rutschman is serving as the designated hitter. Terrin Vavra and Kyle Stowers are on the bench.

Shortstop Jorge Mateo is batting eighth tonight for the 20th time. He’s batted second once, fifth in three games, sixth in four, seventh in 16 and ninth in 65.

Mateo is slashing .294/.342/.538 with nine doubles, four triples, six home runs, 25 RBIs and 27 runs scored in his last 44 games since July 1, and .317/.355/.574 with seven doubles, two triples, five home runs, 20 RBIs and 20 runs scored in 29 games since the All-Star break. His .929 OPS in the second half ranks 11th in the American League.

Hyde could elevate Mateo in certain matchups, but he doesn’t want to mess with a good thing.

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Orioles claim Phoenix Sanders off waivers (plus notes)

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The Orioles are adding a new reliever to the bullpen, claiming right-hander Phoenix Sanders from the Rays earlier today.

Sanders won’t report before Thursday. He’s filling the vacant spot on the 40-man roster.

The Rays designated Sanders, 27, for assignment two days ago. He made eight appearances this season as a rookie and allowed five runs and 12 hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.

Sanders, who was born in Germany, has registered a 3.35 ERA and 1.151 WHIP in five minor league seasons. He’s struck out 313 batters in 258 innings, walked 71 and surrendered only 28 home runs.

The 2022 season didn’t go smoothly at Triple-A Durham. Sanders posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.367 WHIP in 25 appearances, though he walked only two batters and struck out 36 in 30 innings.

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Orioles release 2023 schedule

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While the Orioles chase their playoff dreams in 2022, they know where they’ll begin the 2023 season and which opponent will be their first at Camden Yards.

Opening day for the Orioles is set for Thursday, March 30 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. A trip to Texas follows before their first home game on April 6 against the Yankees.

The homestand includes three games versus the Athletics before trips to Chicago and D.C.

The last regular season series consists of four games against the Red Sox at Camden Yards, the last on Oct. 1, after the Orioles host the Nationals for two.

The All-Star break runs from July 10-13, after a four-game series in the Bronx and three games in Minnesota. The second half begins with visits from the Marlins and Dodgers.

A new format reduces the number of division opponents, with every team appearing on the schedule.

Other National League visitors include the Pirates on May 12-14, the Reds on June 26-28, the Mets on Aug. 4-6, the Rockies on Aug. 25-27 and the Cardinals on Sept. 11-13.

The Mets series features manager Buck Showalter’s return to Baltimore, his first since the conclusion of the 2018 season.

The Orioles travel to Atlanta on May 5-7, San Francisco on June 2-4, Milwaukee on June 6-8, Chicago’s Wrigley Field on June 16-18, Philadelphia on July 24-26, San Diego on Aug. 14-16, and Arizona on Sept. 1-3.

The longest road trips involve Detroit, Kansas City and Atlanta, an August swing through Seattle, San Diego and Oakland, and a September excursion to Arizona, Anaheim and Boston. Each series consisting of nine games in 10 days.

The Orioles go to Houston and Cleveland back-to-back in September, which repeats their upcoming trip.

All six games against the Tigers will be played in April.

The schedule shows games played on Easter Sunday (April 9 vs. the Yankees), Mother’s Day (May 14 vs. the Pirates), and Memorial Day (May 29 vs. the Guardians).

Times will be finalized at a later date.

 

 

 

Leftovers for breakfast

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Jorge Mateo made his 108th start at shortstop last night, his status as the position’s caretaker long ago established.

But what about 2023?

Gunnar Henderson is baseball’s No. 1 or 2 prospect, depending on the rankings, and his debut is coming. He played second base again last night with Triple-A Norfolk, his fifth consecutive game on the right side of the infield, including two at first base. But he’s a shortstop getting his footing at other spots for roster flexibility with the Orioles – if he is, indeed, promoted in 2022.

Beyond that, he’s always been projected as their shortstop unless Jordan Westburg pushed him to third. Or if Joey Ortiz pushed him to third.

It’s never been about Mateo, but now it must be, because, well, look at him.

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Orioles step up in clutch and defeat White Sox 5-3 (updated)

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Moving away from the American League East doesn’t necessarily feel like a great escape for the Orioles.

They host the White Sox for three games and travel to Houston and Cleveland. Two leaders of their own divisions and a team battling for a wild card spot. Everyone with something to play for during the fourth week of August.

“They’re good,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “No breaks here.”

The Orioles caught one in the first inning tonight when Dylan Cease hung a slider that Ryan Mountcastle turned into a three-run homer to trump Eloy Jiménez’s two-run shot off Austin Voth in the top half. And two more when balls that would have been home runs in past years ricocheted off the top of the left field wall, forcing the White Sox to settle for doubles measured at 405 and 402 feet.

Voth bent a lot without snapping, and the Orioles made the most of a few clutch swings in a 5-3 win at Camden Yards.

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Orioles notes on Wells, Vavra, Henderson, and more

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Tyler Wells threw his first bullpen session this afternoon since experiencing soreness in his left oblique during a July 27 start.

Wells has been playing catch in the outfield. Today marked another important advancement in his quest to rejoin the Orioles pitching staff next month.

“Went well, felt really good,” Wells said. “Just another step in the process that we’ve kind of decided on was, feeling good enough to get out there. Felt really good, no issues, and just pleased with it.”

Wells called it a “normal” bullpen session, with more than just fastballs thrown.

“Today was a good feel day to just move down the mound and get a good feel for it,” he said.

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Orioles lineup vs. White Sox

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The Orioles are 2 ½ games out of the last wild card spot, but they moved ahead of the Twins without playing last night and begin another important series against the White Sox at Camden Yards.

Chicago is four back in the wild card race.

No moves were made today to alter the Orioles’ active roster. All they did was reinstate infielder Jonathan Araúz from the 10-day injured list and option him to Triple-A Norfolk.

If shortstop Gunnar Henderson is making his major league debut this week, it won’t happen tonight.

Terrin Vavra is batting fifth and playing second base. Rougned Odor is at third base.

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