O's game blog: Albert Suárez faces the Rays in series opener

albert suarez

After Thursday’s off-day, the Orioles return to Oriole Park tonight to begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. It continues a 14-game run of playing all American League East foes.

The Orioles (35-19) are on a 105-win pace after Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox. They won that series with Boston and extended to 18 their streak of series versus AL East opponents without losing one. They are 39-19 (.672) in this stretch of series within the division. The Orioles improved to 5-1 against Boston, scoring 43 runs in those games, and to 9-3 on the year against AL East opponents.

Against a Boston pitching staff that began that series ranked second in the AL in team ERA (3.09) and starting rotation ERA (2.95), the Orioles scored 20 runs in the series on 27 hits with seven doubles, a triple and two homers, and they went 9-for-28 batting with runners in scoring position.

In the six games this season versus Boston, the Orioles have a team batting line of .271/.346/.449/.793. And in 12 AL East games in 2024 they have scored 61 runs with a .723 team OPS.

Winners of six of their past seven games, the Orioles are 19-11 at home and 12-4-2 in 18 series on the year.

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A closer look at the Orioles at the 54-game mark

Hays, Mullins and Cowser celebrate win

Things have not gone perfectly for the Baltimore Orioles in the 2024 season. I just got an in person look in St. Louis at the Orioles being swept three straight amid all the rain delays and they looked bad in doing so. 

But in looking at this team this year, that series was an outlier.

Mostly they play well and win a lot. As of Thursday morning, they are 35-19 (.648) and on a pace to win 105 games at a point 33.3 percent into the season. That would be four more wins than last year.

As of Thursday morning, they have the second-best record in their division, the third-best in their league and the fourth-best of 30 teams in the majors.

Let’s look at the offense: The Orioles are scoring 5.04 runs per game to rank second in the AL and third-best in MLB. So one-third into the long season they rank third. This is pretty good no matter how you slice it. Sure, there will be poor nights and even poor series, like scoring eight runs in three games versus the Cardinals. But it won’t last too long.

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After a very rough start, Austin Hays keeps working to turn it around

hays in dugout gray

Orioles outfielder Austin Hays got off to a terrible start to his 2024 season, there is no denying that. However, as some around Birdland see a player in decline, others might see a player that has produced an OPS that is above the American League average since the 2021 season.

His 2021 OPS+ was 107 or seven percent above the league, the next year it was 105 and last year it was 114 – his best mark in a full year in the big leagues.

He produced a .769 OPS in the 2023 season and the American League average was .729. In four of six months last season, his OPS was .800 or better.

But that OPS number has plummeted this year, a year when he was batting .073 after his first 17 games. Now, back off the injured list, Hays is trying to improve his personal stats while the team continues to win mostly. He has an uphill climb and he knows it with a batting line right now of .164/.225/.205/.430 through 30 games with just three extra-base hits, all doubles.

But before he went on the injured list on April 22 with a strained left calf, he was feeling better at the plate and taking more productive swings. He felt his bat was slowly trending up.

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O's game blog: Corbin Burnes gets the start in the Boston series finale

O's game blog: Corbin Burnes gets the start in the Boston series finale

The last time the Orioles lost an AL East series was April 9, 2023 when they dropped two of three at home to the New York Yankees. They will need a win tonight to keep that run going after splitting the first two games against Boston. 

Since that result with New York, the Orioles have played 17 consecutive AL East series without losing one, going 12-0-5 in those series. That is the longest such streak in team history since divisions were introduced in 1969, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

During this run, five times the O’s needed to win the third and final game of a series, or win the last two games of a four-game series to split it. The most recent such occasion was mid September last year when they lost the first two of a four-game set at home with Tampa Bay and then won the last two games.

They have played the Red Sox four series during this run, going 3-0-1 in those four sets.

During the 17 series, the Orioles are playing .667 ball (38-19) within the division. Last year they went 32-20 in the AL East and this year they are 8-3. That is a combined record of 40-23 (.635) since the start of last season within the division.

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Gunnar Henderson is drawing more walks and talks about why that is happening

Gunnar Henderson

The Orioles' Gunnar Henderson has been piling up some walks lately. In the season’s first 31 games, he drew only eight walks. But in the last 22 games he has 19 walks.

He got walked nine times in seven games on the recent road trip and then drew one walk in Monday’s series opener with Boston.

So what is at work here? Is Gunnar looking to walk more? Are teams pitching around him or pitching him more carefully recently?

“I mean I am getting a little more comfortable taking pitches,” Henderson said Tuesday afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “Probably earlier in the season I was chasing maybe a touch, but, yeah, just kind of really trying to pick out certain pitches and doing well at taking the ones that are kind of close. Ones that I feel I can do damage with, I usually get off a swing. That’s the biggest thing.”

Taking the close pitches that are balls should be a good thing, right?

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O's game blog: Looking for a series win against Boston

Grayson Rodriguez

With an offense that is producing again after a poor series at St. Louis last week, the Orioles have a season-high five-game win streak heading into their game with Boston tonight.

The Orioles (34-18) produced six doubles and a triple in Monday’s 11-3 rout of the Red Sox. They saw six different players in the lineup drive in runs. Nine of them scored and three had multi-hit games as the O's pounded out 13 hits.

This was the team's fifth win this year by eight runs or more. Their biggest win of the season was a 10-run margin, 11-1 at Cincinnati on May 5.

The Orioles improved to 4-0 in 2024 against Boston, and in those wins they have scored seven, seven, nine and 11 runs for 34 total. In the season series they are batting .293 with an .859 OPS against Boston a pitching staff that began this series second in the American League in team pitching with a 3.09 ERA and second in rotation ERA at 2.95.

The Orioles have gone 17 straight series versus AL East opponents without losing one. Another win in this series will extend that number to 18 straight.

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Kyle Stowers talks about his development on the O's farm

stowers v BOS

It was Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis and in the ninth inning, down 5-3, the Orioles were trying to avoid being swept three in a row, something that had not happened in the regular season since May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit.

Kyle Stowers came up as pinch-hitter with runners at first and third and no outs. He lined a 1-0 cutter to deep right. Off the bat it looked like it might be a three-run homer for the lead, or at least get over the right fielder’s head and tie the game. But Lars Nootbaar ran back and made a great catch. Then Cedric Mullins was doubled off first base. We saw a rare sac fly/double play in which Stowers got an RBI but no at-bat. The Orioles got a run, but they lost 5-4 and indeed were swept.

But it was one of a few good swings that Stowers had had in recent days, and those swings might have told us a day like he had yesterday was coming.

Starting in right field and batting seventh against the Red Sox, he went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the O’s 11-3 win. He is back in the lineup tonight as the designated hitter.

Stowers is 4-for-8 his past two games and is 6-for-16 (.375) with five RBIs in nine games since his latest call-up to the majors. Stowers had two doubles yesterday and set a career high for extra-base hits and RBIs and tied his career best with the three hits.

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Swept in St. Louis, O's have not lost since

Kyle Stowers and Jorge Mateo

It might have been a tired team that took the field at Oriole Park Monday to face the Boston Red Sox after a challenging road trip filled with rain delays.

But they looked well rested when hitting.

The O’s posted an 11-3 win in the series-opener with Boston. They are now 4-0 versus the Red Sox on the season, scoring 34 runs and they have won nine of their past 12 against Boston.

The Orioles have won each of their first four versus Boston for the first time in any season since 1967. The best-ever start was an 8-0 in 1960.

Since the O’s got swept in St. Louis they have won a season-high five in a row scoring 34 runs to average 6.8 per game in this streak with 23 extra-base hits and an .838 OPS.

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Kyle Stowers drives in four as O's rout Boston 11-3 in series opener

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Maybe it didn’t exactly happen because of this, but it felt like it did. When O’s lefty Cole Irvin pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fourth this afternoon, the O’s held their 2-0 lead.

That generated some momentum and then their offense rewarded the lefty with a quick-strike, five-run inning when they did most of the damage hitting to the off field.

Today the Orioles took control of the game early.

The five-run outburst drew the approval of a Memorial Day crowd of 40,951 at Oriole Park as the Orioles hammered Boston 11-3 to take the opener of a three-game series and six-game homestand.

The good offensive vibes that started for the club during the four-game sweep in Chicago carried back to the East Coast. Today, Ryan Mountcastle had three hits and Kyle Stowers drove in four while Adley Rutschman and Cedric Mullins knocked in two each. 

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O's game blog: The homestand begins against the Boston Red Sox

cole irvin @ CIN

The road trip that featured numerous rain delays and two series sweeps - one that the Orioles won and one they did not - is finally over. Today they begin a week-long homestand that will include three games versus the Boston Red Sox and three against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This starts a stretch of 14 straight games within the American League East. The Birds go to Toronto and Tampa Bay for a pair of four-game series after this homestand at Oriole Park.

Today's game is a matchup between the second- and third-place teams in the division. The Orioles (33-18) are two games behind the New York Yankees while Boston (27-26) is nine games out. Tampa Bay (26-28) is 10 1/2 back, with Toronto (23-29) in last place and 12 1/2 games out.

The Orioles went 32-20 last year within the AL East and are 7-2 this year. That combined record of 39-22 represents a winning percentage of .639. Over 162 games that pace would give the team 103 victories.

The Orioles swept Boston three straight at Fenway Park from April 9-11 in their only previous meeting this season, by scores of 7-1, 7-5 and 9-4. They scored 23 runs on 31 hits and had five homers that series, recording a team OPS of .828 at Fenway Park. The pitching staff posted a team ERA of 2.89 in the three games.

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Lineups for the series opener with Boston (updated)

Adley Rutschman

The Orioles have made it home after their 4-3 road trip to St. Louis and Chicago and now they begin a stretch of four straight series versus American League East opponents.

The Orioles (33-18), two games out in the division behind New York, host Boston (27-26), a club that is in third place but is nine games out. Today these teams start a three-game series and run of 14 games for the Orioles against Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

After scoring just eight runs on 14 hits in three losses at St. Louis, the O's got more productive offense during the four-game sweep at Chicago. They scored 23 runs on 35 hits with eight doubles and eight homers in that series. They went 7-for-25 with runners in scoring position in winning the games by two, two, two and three runs.

Boston won Sunday to avoid being swept at home by Milwaukee. With that 2-1 win, Boston is an major league-best 9-0 on Sundays, by a combined 58-20 score. 

The Orioles swept Boston April 9-11 at Fenway Park, winning by 7-1, 7-5 and 9-4 scores. Baltimore is 39-22 (.639) in the AL East since the start of last year.

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O's activate RHP Thyago Vieira for the bullpen

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Ahead of their series- and homestand-opening game with the Boston Red Sox this afternoon, the Orioles have activated right-handed pitcher Thyago Vieira and optioned lefty Nick Vespi back to Triple-A Norfolk.

On Saturday afternoon the O's sent Triple-A pitcher Garrett Stallings to the Milwaukee Brewers and acquired right-handers Vieira and minor leaguer Aneuris Rodriguez. Rodriguez is heading down to the Florida Complex League while Vieira now joins the big club and will wear No. 40.

Vieira, 31, had a 5.64 ERA, 1.701 WHIP and one save in 16 appearances with the Brewers. He owns a career 6.18 ERA and 1.667 WHIP in 41 games with the Mariners, White Sox and Brewers since making his major league debut in 2017. He pitched in Japan from 2020-22.

Vieira throws some high-octane fastballs, with a two-seam sinker that averages 96.9 mph and a four-seamer at 97.7 mph. He’s averaging 4.9 walks per nine innings in the majors to go with nine strikeouts. He’s averaged 4.5 walks in 10 minor league seasons.

The Brewers designated Vieira for assignment on Monday. He’s out of options.

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Looking back on a strange road trip that ended well

Ryan Mountcastle

CHICAGO - There were rain delays and even more rain delays. And then there was the threat of more rain. And that will likely continue even today as the Orioles return home this afternoon to face the Boston Red Sox.

Are the raindrops stalking this team?

Enough already.

But a road trip that began with the sweepless streak ending and three straight losses in wet St. Louis moved on to produce four straight wins in sometimes wet Chicago. 

It was an impressive sweep despite Chicago's poor record as the White Sox played hard and gave the Orioles fits for most of the four days. But the O's won all four and produced their first four-game road sweep since Aug. 22-25, 2011 at Minnesota. It was their first four-game sweep of the White Sox since July 6-9, 1995.

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O's game blog: O's try to end the road trip with a four-game sweep at Chicago

westburg and stowers orange

After the Orioles had been swept three straight and lost their sweepless streak in St. Louis, they were hoping things would turn for the better in Chicago. They have but the Orioles have had to work hard to get three wins, each by two runs, against a team with a poor record. 

But by posting wins by 8-6, 6-4 and then 5-3 yesterday, the Orioles (32-18) can complete a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox (15-38) today at Guaranteed Rate Field.

After scoring just eight runs in the losses at St. Louis, the Orioles have scored 19 runs on 29 hits and hit six homers against the White Sox.

The O's were behind 3-0 going to the top of the eighth Saturday when they hit three homers in a span of five batters. The homer explosion put them in front and they won the game. 

Ryan O'Hearn's two-run shot was his seventh and allowed the O's to avoid the shutout. But the next two home run balls allowed them to avoid a loss. Anthony Santander's two-run shot gave them a 4-3 lead and Jordan Westburg's eighth homer, a solo blast, gave them an insurance run.

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Talking about the 2019 O's draft with outfielder Kyle Stowers

stowers swinging black

CHICAGO – In some ways, Orioles outfielder Kyle Stowers will always be linked with catcher Adley Rutschman and shortstop Gunnar Henderson.

That is because while Rutschman was taken with the first overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and Henderson was the O’s next pick, at No. 42 overall. The third selection that year was Stowers, taken No. 71 overall out of Stanford.

The three are close friends and they were the first three draft selections by Mike Elias as Orioles executive vice president and general manager.

“It’s really cool. Definitely was a special draft and just really cool to come up through the system with them,” Stowers said Saturday morning in the Baltimore clubhouse. “Those guys have already made their mark on the league and hopefully I am heading that way as well.”

Rutschman, Henderson and Stowers have pushed each other to be better both on the farm and in the big leagues.

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O's game blog: Right-hander Albert Suarez makes the start in Game 3 of the series with the White Sox

suarez pitching white

CHICAGO – With Dean Kremer going on the injured list Friday with a right triceps strain, the Orioles, at least for today, are moving right-hander Albert Suarez back into their rotation.

In 10 games, three starts this year, he is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA. Over 25 1/3 innings he has allowed 18 hits and just one home run with six walks and 21 strikeouts. He has given up a .198 batting average and .560 OPS.

The team is 2-1 in his three starts. In his first two against the Twins and Angels, he pitched a combined 11 1/3 scoreless on seven hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.

In his last five appearances, all out of the bullpen, he has thrown 5 2/3 scoreless giving up three hits.

Right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde (4-1, 3.10 ERA) will make his 11th start and get the ball today for the home team.

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Henderson hit No. 17 and Rutschman drove in two runs late as O's win again

henderson white

CHICAGO - This time the Orioles endured yet another rain delay, except this one came without rain or even a tarp. The field was ready for play but with the chance of a storm coming, the start of the Oiroles-White Sox game last night was delayed by 41 minutes.

It just delayed another win and another unique ending. And this time there was no controversial umpire's call. Just a leaping catch at the center field wall by Colton Cowser as the Orioles beat a pesky White Sox team 6-4. 

It seems like they are slowly coming out of their slumping ways on offense, or at least what was an offense that put up just eight runs when they were swept at St. Louis. But now in the last two games here, the Orioles have scored 14 runs on 21 hits with six doubles, three homers and also in going 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position.

On Thursday night in Chicago, the O's saw Ryan Mountcastle get going with a four-hit game and the night also featured two hits by Cedric Mullins and homers by Anthony Santander and Jorge Mateo.

Friday night two players that were struggling a bit recently had solid games in Jordan Westburg and Ryan O'Hearn. Adley Rutschman had the clutch hit late and Gunnar Henderson homered again. 

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

henderson swinging white

After ending the season's first three-game losing skid with Thursday's 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox, the O's look to take two in a row in this four-game series tonight at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Anthony Santander hit a solo homer and Jorge Mateo blasted a three-run shot in a four-run fourth inning as the Orioles opened a 5-2 lead and never trailed after that. The O's had 13 hits, two off their season-high and it was the sixth time this year they've had 13 or more. They scored eight runs or more in a game for the eighth time in the 2024 season.

Mateo hit his homer 434 feet, the longest blast of his career. When he hit seven homers last year he averaged a homer every 45.43 at-bats and had a slugging percentage of .340. This year that average is one every 29.67 at-bats and his slugging mark is now .483. Mateo also walked twice in the game, his first game of the season with more than one walk. He also had two steals and Mateo is the first Orioles player with a home run and two stolen bases in the same game since Cedric Mullins on Sept. 10, 2021 against the Blue Jays.

Ryan Mountcastle, who had been 2-for-25 his previous six games, went 4-for-5 with a double and scored twice. He raied his batting average from .256 to .272. His single in the fourth inning produced an exit velocity of 112.3 mph. This was Mountcastle's first four-hit game since Aug. 3, 2023.

There were 12 balls hit last night at 100 mph or more, eight by the Orioles.

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The lead and game that almost got away, but didn't as O's beat the White Sox

Anthony Santander

CHICAGO – There was nothing easy about it although for a while it looked that it might be. But the Orioles' latest win featured another slog of a night and one that got dicey late in the game.

The Orioles won but other ways to say it are they held off, outlasted or survived their game with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

The White Sox (15-36) had scored two runs or less 25 times this year, or in half of their games, as the Orioles arrived for the series opener.

The struggling O’s offense broke out for eight runs and 13 hits, including two huge homers in the top of the fourth. That seemed like it would be enough, and it was in the end. But barely.

Right-hander Jonathan Heasley, recalled from Triple-A to take the roster spot of injured lefty John Means, pitched a scoreless eighth inning as the O’s led 8-2.

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O's game blog: Looking for some offense and a few wins in Chicago

Grayson Rodriguez

CHICAGO – The Orioles' road trip has taken them to Chicago, where tonight the Birds (29-18) open a four-game series against the team with the worst record in the majors, the Chicago White Sox (15-35).

The Orioles have fallen 3.5 games behind first-place New York in the American League East. The Yankees won this afternoon against Seattle and split that four-game series while the Orioles were getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals by 6-3, 3-1 and 5-4 scores.

That series result ended the O’s run of 106 straight regular-season series without being swept. They were last swept in the regular season from May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit.

Chicago’s start to this season was terrible as the White Sox were 3-22 on April 25. Then they swept a three-game series from Tampa Bay to start a run in which they went 11-8 over 19 games. They are now 1-5 in the past six games.

Their past two series were against AL East opponents, and they went 0-3 versus the Yankees and just lost two of three to Toronto, losing 9-2 yesterday.

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