Chirinos works to be great teammate, saying "It's not about you; it's about the team"

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At 38, catcher Robinson Chirinos is the oldest Oriole and the third oldest catcher in Major League Baseball. He brings experience to his job but also a real enthusiasm about being part of a larger group of players that truly make up a team. There are times in baseball when a veteran impacts a team even without playing a lot.

Chirinos is doing that now for the 2022 Orioles.

Manager Brandon Hyde has praised him often this year: early in the season for his play on the field before Adley Rutschman arrived and bumped him to the No. 2 catcher job, and lately for his leadership and ability to root on and support teammates in a role that he has come to completely embrace.

Chirinos remains a big part of the O’s winning ways, even though the kid sent him to the bench when he arrived in May.

“I thought at some point during the season it was going to happen and knew that when I signed here in the offseason. Knew Adley was coming up and it was a matter of time,” Chirinos said before Wednesday’s game. “I was trying to do everything I could to help the team when I was playing every day. But now in my role, do the same thing, just different. I’m not in the field every day but I know I can impact this ballclub every single day.

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O's game blog: Closing in on another winning month

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After winning three of their last four games and now with a 13-7 record in August, the O's need just one more win to clinch a third straight winning month. That is something the Orioles have not done in six years.

They need one win in the next seven games to clinch another winning month, after going 16-9 in July and 14-12 in June. The Orioles have not had three straight winning months since April (14-9), May (14-13), and June (19-9) of 2016.

The Orioles took a 3-2 lead last night on Ryan Mountcastle’s 18th homer in the last of the first inning. They never trailed in a 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox, which was wrapped up when right-hander Félix Bautista recorded a five-out save. Tonight the Orioles host Chicago in the second game of this three-game series.

The Orioles (64-58) moved six games over the .500 mark last night for the fourth time this season. They are 3-2 on this seven-game homestand, with both losses coming by one run and with their past two wins coming by the same 5-3 score. The Orioles are 36-23 at home for the year and are 18-6 in their past 24 home games.

The Orioles are 18-12 in the second half, and their 40-23 record since June 11 is one of the best in the majors in that span. They are winning at a .635 clip in that time frame, which would produce 103 wins over a full year.

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The O's Jorge Mateo takes a spot among the best shortstops in the AL

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By at least one measure, the Orioles' Jorge Mateo is among the best shortstops right now in the American League. When it comes to FanGraphs.com Wins Above Replacement (fWAR), he ranks third right now ahead of players like Carlos Correa, Bo Bichette, Amed Rosario and Bobby Witt Jr.

Boston’s Xander Bogaerts leads all AL shortstops in fWAR at 4.2, and next is Corey Seager of Texas at 3.9 and then Mateo at 2.8.

“I think it’s always really good to hear that you are in those types of conversations. That is something I want to be a part of," Mateo said today with the help of team translator Brandon Quinones. "To hear your name come up like that and to hear you are doing a good job and you are up there among the best is something I am really proud of and take a lot of pride in.”

In 44 games since July 1, Mateo is batting .294/.342/.538 (42-for-143) with nine doubles, four triples, six home runs, 27 runs scored, 25 RBIs, nine walks and nine stolen bases. On Sunday night his three-run double in the eighth broke a 2-2 tie with Boston. Last night his RBI single in the seventh extended the O’s lead over the Chicago White Sox to 5-3.

Since the All-Star break, he is batting .317/.355/.574 (32-for-101) with seven doubles, two triples, five home runs, 20 runs scored, 20 RBIs, five walks and six stolen bases in 29 games. And his .929 OPS since the break ranks 11th in the AL.

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Tough to scale this mountain: Bautista comes up big again for the Orioles

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The latest save for rookie right-hander Félix Bautista was among his greatest saves of this year. He got save No. 9 last night as the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 in the series opener.

This one required heavy lifting and more blazing fastballs.

Bautista needed to get five big outs and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. He threw one fastball 103.1 mph, making him one of eight pitchers in the Statcast era (since 2015) to throw a pitch at least 103.0 mph.

Since the O's traded closer Jorge Lopez to Minnesota, Bautista is 6-for-6 in save chances with an ERA of 1.74 and 15 strikeouts in 10 1/3.

Before Tuesday's game, O’s manager Brandon Hyde said that since that trade, he’s been quite impressed with how the inexperienced Bautista has both done in the closer’s role and how he has handled the ninth inning challenge.

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O's game blog: O's host Chicago White Sox in series opener

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The Orioles have eight games left in August and 41 remaining in the regular season as they host the Chicago White Sox tonight to continue their homestand, which took a detour Sunday night to Williamsport, Pa.

The Orioles (63-58) won that game 5-2 over the Boston Red Sox to win another series. The Orioles are 19-17-4 in series play in 2022. They have lost five of nine games, but over longer stretches have won 12 of 19 and 28 of the last 42 games. They are 35-23 at home.

The Orioles begin play tonight 2.5 games behind for the final American League wild card playoff spot. Minnesota is three games back of that spot, and the White Sox (62-60) are four games behind.

Of the 41 games the O's have left, 26 are against current winning teams and 15 are against teams with losing records. Of the 26 games with the winning clubs, they will play Toronto 10 times, Houston seven times and three each against the White Sox, Guardians and Yankees. Of the games against opponents now under .500, they will play Boston seven times, meet Oakland and Detroit for three games each, and go to Washington for two.

Of those 41 games, they will play 23 at home and 18 on the road. They have 20 games remaining against AL East opponents and actually more (21) outside of the division. Their next 12 games are versus non-AL East opponents.

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The O's talk about the challenge of facing Dylan Cease tonight

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Coming off an uplifting win Sunday that provided the Orioles a series victory, for their next test tonight they open a series against the Chicago White Sox and face one of the best pitchers in the sport.

Sox righty Dylan Cease (12-5, 2.09 ERA), 26, ranks second in the American League and the major leagues in ERA to Houston’s Justin Verlander at 1.95. Cease ranks first in the AL in strikeouts per nine innings at 12.0, third in opponent average at .200 and 12th in WHIP at 1.167.

He faced the Orioles June 26 and was the winning pitcher, going seven innings while allowing one run and four hits and notching a season-high 13 strikeouts.

“It’s always exciting to face the best,” O’s center fielder Cedric Mullins said. “If you are able to come out on top it puts a chip on your shoulder for the next guy you face.”

As he's leading off, Mullins will get the first chance to see Cease tonight. And first chance to start a rally.

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Stowers on Gunnar, plus other notes and another No. 1 farm ranking

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If the Orioles decide soon to make the call to bring top prospect Gunnar Henderson to the major leagues for the first time, they’ll be getting a player who has impressed both prospects analysts and his own teammates.

Outfielder Kyle Stowers, who got his own call to rejoin the Orioles on Friday, has been a teammate of Henderson much of this year at Triple-A Norfolk.

He provided a ringing endorsement of the talents and more that Henderson would bring to the Orioles.

“He is a special individual,” Stowers said before Sunday’s game in Williamsport, Pa. “Obviously, his athletic ability is impressive. But also, how strong he is. You know he is a special talent. What I’ve been impressed with and I’ve been around him since 2019 is every time there is a gap when I see him, he comes back leaps and bounds better than he was before. The rate at which he has progressed has been incredible.

“The first time I was actually on a team with him in affiliate ball (was this year) but just so impressed with the talent and even more so how he handles things. Even though they are not as frequent, when he would have a tough game, he is the same guy. Consistently getting himself ready and his prep work is the same every day. He is always in good spirits, and I think it is things like that that make me believe the sky is the limit for him. He is just a guy you want to root for. Such a good kid and so mature for his age.”

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More on the win in the Little League Classic and Mullins on playing in WBC

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – For the Orioles it felt like and it really was a big game. A chance to shine on national television. The rubber match in a key series versus an AL East opponent. And needing a win to stay within striking distance of an AL playoff spot.

When Boston’s Franchy Cordero hit a pinch-hit homer to tie the game in the eighth, the O’s needed some late-inning magic. They got it with a three-run double off the bat of shortstop Jorge Mateo to beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the Little League Classic at Bowman Field.

They improved to 63-58 overall and to 12-7 this month to stay within 2.5 games of a playoff spot.

“I definitely think every game is a big game now and we treat it as such,” said catcher Adley Rutschman who singled and scored in the O's two-run first inning. “We wanted to give the kids as good an experience as we could. But once game time started, it was all about the game. I think we have a lot of guys with a lot of maturity on this team that could compartmentalize two things.”

Rutschman was not biting his tongue when a reporter asked him about becoming the face of the team.

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Jorge Mateo's bases-loaded double in eighth lifts O's to win in LL Classic (updated)

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – It was certainly not another breakout game for the Orioles offense like when they scored 15 on Friday, but all wins count the same. And the Orioles got an important one tonight in the fifth annual Little League Classic.

After scoring twice in the first, their offense was dormant until the eighth tonight. Boston pitching then opened the door for a rally, and shortstop Jorge Mateo kicked it in as the Orioles beat the Red Sox 5-3.

The O's came to bat in the eighth tied 2-2 and Matt Barnes walked Ramón Urías with one out. Righty John Schreiber came on and he hit Austin Hays and walked Rougned Odor to hand the O's a bases-loaded rally.

Mateo then smoked a 2-1 sinker down the left-field line for a three-run double. The ball had 101 mph exit velocity and was a huge hit for Mateo, who was batting .287 his last 42 games. 

Hoping to ride out a 2-1 win on the strength of first-inning runs, the O's were tied up 2-2 on a pinch-hit homer by Boston in the top of the eighth.

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O's game blog: O's face Boston in Little League Classic

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – The Orioles officially have a home game tonight versus Boston although they have traveled north to Williamsport, Pa. to play in the Little League Classic.

After a 15-10 Orioles win on Friday night and 4-3 loss on Saturday, the teams play the third and deciding game of this series tonight at historic Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters of the MLB Draft League.

It's the fifth annual Little League Classic.

The O’s trailed 3-0 in the last of the seventh yesterday and scored twice to pull within 3-2 that inning on a Kyle Stowers' RBI groundout and a wild pitch that scored Jorge Mateo. Boston would take a 4-2 lead in the top of the ninth before the O’s pulled back within a run on another Stowers grounder. But that was as close as they got.

The Orioles (62-58) have lost three straight one-run games and are 17-21 in one-run decisions for the season. Overall, Baltimore has lost three of four and five of the last eight games.

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The Orioles talk about their day with the Little Leaguers in Williamsport

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – After their visit earlier today to the Little League World Series site, including Lamade Stadium and interactions with numerous Little Leaguers, the Orioles have moved over to Bowman Field where they are scheduled to play the Red Sox tonight to wrap up a three-game series.

There has been heavy rain in the area this afternoon with steady rain still falling after 4 p.m. today. The clubs are hopeful they will get this one in. For the Orioles, it is a chance to show a national audience on ESPN how much their team has improved this year.

“We haven’t been on the national stage very often, if at all," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "And to be able to have our guys be seen across the country, the only game that is going, I think it’s a big deal for a lot of our players. Lot of those guys have not been in postseason or on Sunday Night Baseball before. To be able to showcase and to be able to have friends and family watch on national TV, our guys will take a lot out of that."

Hyde said center fielder Cedric Mullins, who didn’t play Saturday after fouling a ball off his shin Friday, will be in tonight’s lineup. And he’s leading off in center.

“He’s going to get some treatment here and his foot feels better,” Hyde said.

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O's head to Little League Classic still searching for consistent offense

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If you want to be surprised by a stat, how about this one: In August, the Orioles rank second in the American League in runs scored. That sure seems unlikely but they have scored 90 runs in 18 games, going 11-7 in the month.

But recent losses sure do stand out and many of them came because the offense didn't produce big numbers. Sure there was a 15-run breakout on Friday but it didn't carry into Saturday when Boston's Michael Wacha held the Orioles scoreless over 5 2/3 and the Red Sox evened this series with a 4-3 win.

"We had a tough time getting a rally going against (Wacha)," said manager Brandon Hyde after the game. "Good to see us make a run late like usual but just came up a run short today."

The Orioles have scored just 13 runs in their past seven losses, scoring one, three, two, one, one, two and three runs. 

They have lost three of four games, going without a homer in the three losses but hitting five in the one win.

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O's game blog: Looking for two in a row over Boston

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After their biggest offensive night of the season, scoring their most runs since they got 18 on June 6, 2021 versus Cleveland, the Orioles look for a second win over Boston today at Camden Yards. 

If they get it, they will be 3-1 this year in series against the Red Sox. The O's took two of three at home in late April, went 3-2 at Boston in late May and were 0-1 Aug. 11 at Boston (that one game does count as a series).

The Orioles (62-57) begin play today 1.5 games back of Tampa Bay for the third AL wild card spot with Minnesota just 1/2 behind the Rays. 

The Orioles are now 34-22 at home and have won 16 of their last 21 games at Oriole Park. 

On the mound today for the Orioles will be right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-4, 6.38 ERA), who gave up six hits and three runs over 4 2/3 innings on Monday versus Toronto. In four starts since coming off the injured list, he has an ERA of 4.05, allowing nine earned runs over 20 innings. In that span, he has given up a .253 batting average and .741 OPS.

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Big night of offense carries O's to series-opening win

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If there were any reasons for concern about the Orioles offense - and surely there were throughout Birdland after Thursday's loss - they were washed away for at least one night amid an avalanche of offense.

The O's kept scoring and kept hitting home runs in a 15-10 win over Boston Friday night in front of 33,136 at Oriole Park. The O's set a season high for runs and missed a season high for hits by one, producing 18. 

They tied a season high with five homers as Jorge Mateo, Anthony Santander, Adley Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle and Ramón Urías all connected. The last three hit by Rutschman, Mountcastle and Urías went 422, 428 and 432 feet, respectively. 

Boston pulled within 10-9 during an ugly-for-the-Orioles five-run top of the fifth. But the O's washed away that bad taste by scoring five runs in their home half.

They moved to within 1.5 games of the third American League wild card spot and won for the 16th time in their last 21 home games.

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O's game blog: Jordan Lyles faces Boston in series opener

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The Orioles begin an important three-game weekend series with the Boston Red Sox tonight at Oriole Park. The Birds (61-57) lost 3-2 on Thursday to the Chicago Cubs and they begin play tonight 2.5 games behind Toronto and Tampa Bay for the third American League wild card spot.

The Orioles have lost the past two games, scoring just three runs, and they have scored just 10 runs in their past six losses. But they have scored 41 runs in the last six wins as their offense has been hot and cold lately.

The Orioles were held to six hits yesterday and didn't score until the eighth inning, when they got a Ryan Mountcastle RBI single and a sac fly from Anthony Santander.

After this series the O's end a stretch when they will have played 12 of the last 13 games versus AL East opponents. They are 5-4 in this span heading into the Boston series. 

The Orioles are 25-28 for the year against division opponents and are 15-10 at home versus AL East foes. The Orioles are 8-8-1 in series against the division after going just 3-19-2 last year.

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Kyle Stowers "super excited" to rejoin the Orioles

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For Orioles outfielder Kyle Stowers this almost feels more official this time. He’s been in the big leagues earlier, but this time is added to the 40-man roster and not as a replacement player, his title for the games where he was with the team in Toronto in mid-June.

Stowers, who shared O’s Minor League Player of the Year honors with Adley Rutschman in 2021, may now be in the big leagues for good. He’s batting fifth and starting in right field tonight, and manager Brandon Hyde said he expects to play Stowers a lot.

“I’d say the little stretch was like my debut and this feels more like the call-up. So I’m excited,” Stowers said this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse.

“Super excited. I think it’s a really cool place this team is at, pushing for the playoffs. To get the opportunity to be a part of it and chase after something as special as that, I’m stoked for.

“Yeah, special to play at the home field of the team that drafted you. Although it’s not my debut, it’s my debut here and I’m excited.”

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Austin Hays talks about trying to get his offense going

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At a time when the Orioles offense has come up a short a few times in recent days, perhaps one slumping Bird took a step in a better direction during Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Outfielder Austin Hays talked before the game about adjustments he was making to help his offense, and then a couple of swings he took during the game provided some encouragement.

Hays was 0-for-16 over his most recent five games heading into Thursday’s game at the Yard. He was batting .158 with an OPS of .459 his last 16 games.

Then he struck out in the second inning against the Cubs, but then ripped a double into left-center with 104 mph exit velocity in the fifth-inning. He lined to left in the seventh and hit that one 101 mph off the bat. He reached on an error in the ninth. 

“Physically I feel really good. My body’s healthy,” Hays said in the clubhouse Thursday afternoon. “It’s just a matter of trying to get the ball in the air a little more. All the balls I’m hitting hard right now are on the ground. Hard to find holes on the ground. Need to hit more balls on a line. So, I’m working with our hitting guys every day to hit the ball in the air a little more and be on time with the fastball and stay in the middle of the field.”

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O's game blog: Homestand begins with makeup game versus the Cubs

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The Orioles begin a seven-game homestand today, opening with a makeup game versus the Chicago Cubs. They play the Cubs for just this one game today and then host Boston for three and the Chicago White Sox for three more next week.

This homestand includes Sunday night’s game when the Orioles host the Red Sox in Williamsport, Pa. in the Little League Classic.

But before they get that far they host the Cubs today to makeup a rained out game from June 8 at Camden Yards. The Orioles had won the opener of that two-game series 9-3 before the rainout. In July they swept a two-game series at Wrigley Field by scores of 4-2 and 7-1, respectively.

So they are 3-0 against the Cubs by a combined 22-6 score.

Chicago (49-67) has been playing better, winning the last two games of a series at Nationals Park. They have won five of their last seven, and eight of 12 games. The Cubs are 14-10 in the second half and have won four consecutive series. They are 25-33 on the road.

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O's can't complete sweep, now head home for important homestand

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The losses feel more damaging now for the Orioles as Birdland gets used to what it's like to follow a team in a pennant race again. The Orioles' last playoff berth was in 2016.

The Orioles did take the first two games in Toronto as they won a series there for the first time since July 5-7, 2019. They had a chance to complete a sweep in Toronto for the first time since April 2005.

But they saw their first 18 batters retired in order yesterday before Cedric Mullins led off the seventh with their first hit. But even as the Orioles lead the American League in team OPS in August at .778, they have scored just four runs in the last three losses. And they lost 6-1 in the series finale at Rogers Centre Wednesday.

The Orioles come home today to begin a seven-game homestand with a one-game makeup contest against the Chicago Cubs from a Camden Yards rainout of June 8. The Orioles are 3-0 versus the Cubs this year, outscoring them 22-6 in those games.

The Cubs are 49-67 overall, but are 14-10 since the All-Star game. They won the last two games of their series in Washington and have won five of seven and eight of their last 12. The Cubs have won four straight series.

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O's game blog: Looking for a sweep at Rogers Centre

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The Orioles won the first two games of a series with Toronto at home last week but the third game was rained out. They know they will get one in today at Rogers Centre and, after wins by 7-3 and 4-2, the Orioles can complete a sweep of the Blue Jays today.

The Orioles, who went 5-14 against the Jays last season, have won five straight games against Toronto for the first time since winning six in a row from Sept. 28 to April 14, 2017, and for the first time in a single season since posting six straight wins from May 9 to June 26, 1994.

The Orioles are 6-2 against the Blue Jays, going 2-0-1 in three series and will meet 11 more times this season. The O's are 4-2 at Rogers Centre. Baltimore has secured a road series win against Toronto for the first time since July 5-7, 2019 and the Orioles have not swept the Jays in a series of at least three games since Aug. 27-29, 2018 (3-0) and not on the road since April 22-24, 2005 (3-0).

If the Orioles (61-55) get the sweep, they will pass Toronto (61-54) for the third American League wild-card spot. They begin play today two games back of Seattle for the first wild card and 1.5 behind Tampa Bay for the second.

The Orioles have won 10 of 14, 14 of 21, 26 of 37 and 37 of their past 57 games. The Blue Jays have lost three in a row, six of seven and nine of 12 games. Toronto has scored just five runs in this series and just nine over the last five games.

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