Jordan Lyles, once traded in late July, on how O's have handled the deadline

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CINCINNATI – Orioles right-hander Jordan Lyles has personal experience with the MLB trade deadline. In 2019, in a late July deal, he was traded from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee and then helped the Brewers make a run to the NL wild card game.

That deal he said, kind of came out of the blue and he had not been among players rumored to be possibly moving at that time.

This year’s deadline is different for the Orioles.

Different in that, rather than be in full sell mode as a rebuilding team, they are a team currently in contention. There are some rumors out there but just not many involving the Orioles. Who knows what that means for next Tuesday, the day of the trade deadline.

For now Lyles believes the Orioles are doing fine with in dealing with any deadline stress, rumors and/or distractions.

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O's allow three homers as Cincinnati wins big to even series (updated)

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CINCINNATI – After getting his 2022 big league season off to a great start, O’s right-hander Dean Kremer has hit a bump in the road. And tonight, his road got really rocky in the last of the fourth.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan India smoked a two-run homer just over the left field wall to highlight a three-run Reds fourth and they went on to beat the Orioles 8-2 at Great American Ball Park. That evens this series at a win each heading into Sunday’s rubber match game.

The Orioles led 2-0 in the first and 2-1 when the Reds came up in the fourth. Then Cincinnati batters started to produce some loud contact off Kremer, who had allowed four hits through three. With one out, Nick Senzel doubled to left, a two-bagger that was 101 mph off the bat. Then right fielder Jake Fraley dumped a single into left for a 2-2 tie. One out later, India’s seventh homer made it a 4-2 lead. He hit a 1-2 pitch, a 93 mph four-seamer, 366 feet and it just got out. Brandon Drury’s 108 mph double followed, but he was stranded when Tommy Pham grounded out.

The loud contact continued in the Reds fifth when Joey Votto led off with his 10th homer (exit velocity of 108 mph) and it became a 5-2 game. After a one-out single, Kremer was lifted.

Then it got weird.

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O's game blog: Looking for another win in Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI – Tonight, in the second game of this series, the Orioles look for their fifth win in six games, and to move three games over the .500 mark as they play at Cincinnati. The Orioles scored four runs in the ninth last night to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Reds 6-2 in the opener of a three-game series and six-game road trip.

Cedric Mullins’ two-run single to center gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead and Trey Mancini’s RBI single that bounced off the second-base bag made it 5-2. Struggling Ryan Mountcastle came through with a sac fly for the 6-2 margin. Jorge López then pitched a 1-2-3 last of the ninth to cap a night of four scoreless innings from the Baltimore bullpen.

The Orioles bullpen has allowed just one earned run in 22 2/3 innings over the past five games. Here are the best bullpen ERAs in the big leagues:

2.72 – Houston
2.89 – New York Yankees
2.99 – Orioles
3.02 – Detroit

The Orioles have had some nice late-inning comebacks and wins this season, and last night was the latest example. With the victory Friday, the Orioles are now at a zero run differential for the season. They have both allowed and scored 421 runs.

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Hyde updating Tyler Wells and notes on Mountcastle and Vavra

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CINCINNATI – Ryan Mountcastle, who went 0-for-4 with a sac fly in the ninth inning Friday night, is not in tonight’s starting lineup for the Orioles, getting a rest day. At least to start. But manager Brandon Hyde hinted during his pregame media session that there could be something else contributing to Mountcastle’s absence from tonight’s lineup.

“He’s banged up,” said Hyde. “We’re getting to that point now where, he’s got lot of at-bats, lot of games under these guys’ belts, and he’s pretty banged up. Just want to give him a day and hopefully he’s available off the bench today.”

When asked whether Mountcastle is just dealing with “bumps and bruises” or anything more significant, Hyde said “bumps and bruises.”

Mountcastle has just two hits his last 31 at-bats over his past eight games. He has not homered his last 19 games. In 22 games this month he is batting .191/.231/.298/.528. and that is after he posted a robust OPS of .959 in June.

Hyde also today had an update on right-hander Tyler Wells, who went on the injured list after his last start, Wednesday against the Rays, when he gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings.

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O's used familiar script to get the road trip off to a strong start

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CINCINNATI – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had seen this script before. His team’s pitching was pretty good from beginning to end. His team’s offense put together enough quality at-bats late to pull out a win.

This time the Orioles, tied 2-2, needed a four-run ninth inning to beat Cincinnati 6-2 in the opener of a three-game series and six-game road trip.

Now, a year after losing 110 games, the Orioles are 51-49 and at .500 or better at the 100-game mark for the first time since their last playoff season in 2016. And now, as they try to become a surprise playoff entrant for 2022, they are just two games behind Tampa Bay for the final AL playoff spot.

The pitching held up long enough for the offense to show up and the Orioles posted their 23rd comeback win after trailing 2-0 through five innings.

“Our bullpen, we’re down 2-0 and Kyle (Bradish) goes five and we put up zeroes the last four,” said Hyde. “They’ve allowed our offense (to come back), even on nights we’re struggling to be able to stay in the game. We’re dangerous offensively. I still think we can get better offensively. Our at-bats usually later in the game are very good and our bullpen, for me, is the reason. They’ve been great at keeping the score right there.”

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O's score four in the ninth to rally past Cincinnati (updated)

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CINCINNATI – It was another night of good Orioles pitching, but the Birds eventually needed someone to come up with a clutch hit. Tied 2-2 in the ninth tonight, center fielder Cedric Mullins delivered the needed hit.

Mullins produced a two-run single to center to break a 2-2 tie and lift the Orioles to a road-trip opening 6-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the series opener in front of 23,658 at Great American Ball Park.

"I give a lot of credit to our guys throwing and keeping us in games," said Mullins. "You know we had a rough start and Tony came up big to tie the game and I was able to pick up a big hit late. I think it is a matter of staying focused and believing somone will come through."

The O’s were 0-for-9 on the night with runners in scoring position until Mullins drove in his 41st and 42nd RBIs. Righty Buck Farmer was on the mound for Cincinnati to start the ninth in the tie game and walked Ramón Urías. Ryan McKenna pinch ran and scampered to third on a double into the right-field corner by Rougned Odor.

Then after a shallow fly out by Jorge Mateo, Mullins, who was 0-for-4 on the night, singled on a first-pitch changeup. The O's then got some good fortune. Trey Mancini's grounder up the middle hit the second-base bag and went for an RBI single to make it a 5-2 lead.

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O's game blog: The road trip begins in Cincinnati against the Reds

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CINCINNATI – The Orioles begin a six-game road trip tonight that will take them through the trade deadline, which arrives next Tuesday. Tonight, they begin a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park and then they move onto Texas for three games starting Monday night.

The Orioles (50-49) just took three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays winning 3-0 at home Thursday afternoon as right-hander Jordan Lyles and three relievers teamed on a four-hitter. Lyles improved to 7-8 with a 4.56 ERA, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless against Tampa Bay. It was his second scoreless outing of the year and he has allowed just one home run all season over 53 2/3 innings at Oriole Park.

Félix Bautista got the last four outs – three via strikeouts – to record his third save. Over his past eight games, Bautista has thrown 8 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings with one walk to 14 strikeouts. Opponent batters are 0-for-25 against him in this span.

Trey Mancini’s dramatic, two-run, inside-the-park homer gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the Baltimore eighth. It was his 10th homer of the season and first-ever inside-the-park homer. It was the first such homer by an Oriole since Austin Hays at Philadelphia Aug. 11, 2020. And it was the first inside-the-park homer at Oriole Park since Robert Andino did it versus Boston on Sept. 26, 2011.

The Orioles begin this trip having won three of four, four of six and 15 of their last 20 games. They have also won 20 of 30 and 26 of their past 40. The Orioles are 29-19 since June 1 and 43-35 since May 1. They improved to 29-20 at home where they are 12-3 in their past 15 games.

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Brandon Hyde pregame in Cincy on the rotation, Mountcastle and more

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CINCINNATI – As the Orioles begin their latest road trip and look to move two games over the .500 mark tonight, they turn to right-hander Kyle Bradish to make his first big league start in over a month.

Bradish (1-4, 7.38 ERA) rejoins the rotation tonight, coming off the injured list after dealing with right shoulder inflammation. Tonight he makes his first start for the Orioles since allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings on June 18 versus Tampa Bay.

Bradish, who is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two interleague starts, made two rehab outings for Double-A Bowie on July 9 and 14 and pitched eight scoreless allowing just one hit. Last Sunday, in a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk at Durham, he gave up two runs and four hits over 4 2/3 innings.

In those games Bradish threw 36, 66 and 80 pitches.

“Kyle had his last rehab start a few days ago," manager Brandon Hyde said today in the O's dugout. "He feels well, it went good. We have a need in our rotation right now and it allows us to push back Dean (Kremer) a day which I think is a positive. Hopefully Kyle can come back up here in the big leagues and work ahead in the count and throw strikes. We love his stuff and his stuff definitely plays up here. Now it’s about working ahead in the count.”

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Trey Mancini's teammates on the player, person, trade buzz and that homer

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Not every day at the ballpark is eventful, and not every day is created equal. Yesterday, for instance. It was a special day to be at Camden Yards, especially in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Needing a win to go over .500, take three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays and go 5-5 in a 10-game stretch versus the Yankees and Rays, the Orioles got one. A 3-0 shutout over the Rays to get to 50-49. Game No. 100 comes tonight in Cincinnati and the Orioles will be, at worst, a .500 team contending for a playoff spot.

But when Trey Mancini lifted a fly ball to right field with Austin Hays on second with one out in the O's eighth, it looked like what could be his last at-bat at home as an Oriole would go down F9 in the scorebook. But right fielder Josh Lowe lost the ball in the sun, it hit him in the face and Mancini circled the bases, beating the relay home for a thrilling two-run, inside-the-park homer.

Just when the O’s needed a big hit, they got one. From Mancini. On Mo Gaba Day. On the anniversary of the day Mancini lost his dear friend two years ago. On the day he caught the ceremonial first pitch from Mo’s mom, Sonsy, on Mo Gaba Day at the ballpark.

It was an amazing Mo-ment.

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O's game blog: The homestand finale

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The Orioles' four-game series with Tampa Bay and seven-game homestand conclude today with an early afternoon game versus the Rays.

The Orioles won the first two games of this series by 5-1 and 5-3 scores, and the Rays won 6-4 in 10 innings last night on Randy Arozarena's two-run double in the 10th. 

Tampa Bay (53-45) ended a four-game losing streak and improved to 24-19 versus American League East teams and to 22-27 in road games. The Rays are now 8-6 in extra innings. This season, 55.1 percent (54-of-98) of Tampa Bay’s games have been decided by two runs or fewer, and they are 27-27 in such games. 

The Orioles (49-49) begin play today in fourth in the AL East, 1/2 game ahead of Boston (49-50). The Rays now hold the third wild card spot in the American League and lead Cleveland by 2 1/2 games for that spot, with the Orioles and Chicago White Sox four games back and Boston 4 1/2 out.

The Orioles fell to 7-4 in extra innings and to 3-1 versus the Rays this year in extra-inning games after Wednesday's loss.

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More with Boras, Guthrie and Rutschman on Jackson Holliday

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You would certainly assume that if Jackson Holliday ever seeks out Adley Rutschman for advice on being the No. 1 overall draft pick, Rutschman will be there to answer any questions he has.

But when he was asked yesterday if he has any advice now for Holliday, you had to figure Rutschman was not going to dispense any just yet. At least not through the media.

“I’m sure he has gotten a lot of advice,” said Rutschman, the Orioles' choice for the top overall pick of 2019, before Wednesday’s game. “He has good mentors around him, so I’m sure they’ve been telling him all he needs to hear. For me, it was just trying to compartmentalize things and not let anything get too much to where I wasn’t enjoying the moment.”

Super agent Scott Boras, who reps the younger Holliday, was also at Wednesday’s introductory press conference, where the O’s presented their latest top draft selection and third 1/1 pick in club history.

Boras said having a father (Matt) who played so long and so well in the majors and a strong family unit is going to serve Jackson Holliday well now as he embarks on his pro career. He is leaving today for Florida and eventually will be playing in games in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League.

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O's game blog: Tyler Wells to the mound as Tampa Bay series continues

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The Orioles have had a pair of impressive wins over the Tampa Bay Rays and can win this series with a victory tonight. It's the third game of a four-game series and the sixth of a seven-game homestand.

The Orioles (49-48) moved ahead of the Boston Red Sox and into fourth-place with Tuesday's 5-3 comeback win. Ramón Urías hit a two-run homer to take Baltimore from behind by one to ahead by one. It was his first career go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later.

Urías has recorded a hit in eight straight games while batting .419/.419/.903 (13-for-31) with three doubles, four homers, seven runs and 10 RBIs during the stretch. The eight-game streak is one shy of his career-high nine-game streak from May 15 to June 29, 2021.

He has hit .397/.426/.707 (23-for-58) with three doubles, five home runs, 11 runs scored and 18 RBIs in 17 games since being reinstated from the 10-day injured list on July 4. Urías has hit safely in 14 of those 17 games with seven multi-hit efforts. Last night, Ramón and Luis Urías of the Milwaukee Brewers became the first brothers to record game-winning RBIs on the same day since Lourdes (TOR) and Yuli (HOU) Gurriel in 2021.

O's shortstop Jorge Mateo has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games with an at-bat since July 10 - including four multi-hit efforts - hitting .342/.359/.632 (13-for-38) with four doubles, two triples, one home run, seven runs scored, three RBIs and three stolen bases during this stretch. He has also hit safely in seven straight games, and 11 of his last 14 games with an at-bat. The O's are 28-22 when Mateo records a hit, 9-2 when he records multiple hits and 16-4 when he drives in a run. Mateo's 24 stolen bases rank second in MLB behind only Miami's Jon Berti (28 SBs).

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Jackson Holliday from his press conference, and Terrin Vavra set for MLB debut

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The Orioles third-ever No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick arrived at Camden Yards today. But not for good this time. Jackson Holliday, taken No. 1 overall by the team July 17, has signed his first pro contract and will report to the O’s camp in Sarasota, Fla. tomorrow.

He is going to start his pro career playing in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

“I’m very, very excited to start playing,” the 18-year-old Holliday said at today’s introductory press conference that also featured O’s executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and Holliday’s agent Scott Boras. “It’s been a little bit since I’ve been able to compete on the baseball field. So very excited to get down to Florida and get going. This is what I wanted to do as long as I can remember. It’s a blessing to be where I’m sitting right now.”

Holliday got a bonus of $8.19 million, a record for a high school selection. He produced prodigious 41-game high school stats of .685/.749/1.392 with 29 doubles, six triples, 17 homers and 79 RBIs. His 89 hits set a national high school record.

He gets scouting tool grades of 55 or better across the board with his hit tool, running and arm grading out at 60 by Baseball America.

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Two O's vets weigh in on importance of two straight winning months

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The Orioles have not been in the playoffs since the 2016 season and that was the last year they had two straight winning months. That is, until now.

When the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Monday night, they improved to 13-6 in July with six games to play in the month at that point. And following up on June, when they had a 14-12 record, it meant they had back-to-back winning months. Something that had not happened in Birdland since May (14-13) and June (19-9) of 2016.

Two veteran Orioles believe that was very important to this rebuilding, improving club as it takes its next steps back toward contending baseball.

“It’s very significant,” Trey Mancini said. “Especially since August of 2017 was the last time we had a winning month, it certainly has some significance. Like we keep saying, though, it’s not the end-all to have a couple of good months, but it is a very nice step and things are moving in the right direction.

“Being in a playoff conversation this time of year is very exciting, given how the last few years have gone. Something to be really proud of, and I’m very proud of this team. I believe in this team enough to not get too ahead of ourselves or too satisfied. We’re still going to come out every day and play hard and do what we’ve been doing. We know that is what you have to do to be where you want to be at the end of the year.”

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O's game blog: O's face Shane McClanahan in Game 2 of series

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The Orioles, who are 3 ½ games out of the final American League playoff spot, could move over the .500 mark tonight with a win as they continue their seven-game homestand. They beat the Rays 5-1 last night and host the second of a four-game series tonight.

The Orioles (48-48) improved to 13-6 in July with six games left in the month with Monday’s win. So they have a second straight winning month, after going 14-12 in June, for the first time since May and June 2016.

The Orioles are 2-2 on this homestand, 10-2 over their past 12 home games and 27-19 at home for the season. The Orioles went 27-54 at home last year, the worst home mark in the AL. The Orioles are 7-4 in their last 11 AL East home games.

Baltimore has won five of its last seven games against Tampa Bay at Oriole Park since May 20 after losing nine straight at home against the Rays from May 18 to Aug. 29, 2021 and 11 of 12 games at Oriole Park against the Rays from Sept. 18, 2020 to Aug. 29, 2021.

Overall, the Orioles have won 13 of 17, 18 of 27 and 24 of their past 37 games. They are 27-18 since June 1 and 41-34 since May 1.

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After huge college season, Max Wagner arrived in Birdland today

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He ended the season at Clemson as the ACC Player of the Year. But when the year started for the Tigers, third baseman Max Wager, who hit just .214 in the 2021 college season, was not even in the starting lineup. But once he got in, he stayed in.

His big year led him to that ACC honor and to becoming the third MLB Draft selection by the Orioles on the the first night of the draft. They selected him in round two, No. 42 overall. Not bad for a kid from Green Bay, Wis., who had an OPS of just .651 in 2021.

The Orioles announced the signing of Wagner today, officially their third signed selection following Cal outfielder Dylan Beavers (No. 33 overall) and University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian (No. 67).

The club announced this afternoon that it will hold a press conference tomorrow to introduce their No. 1 overall selection, high school shortstop Jackson Holliday.

Wagner talked to O's reporters today in a dugout interview about the amazing improvement he made this year at Clemson.

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McKenna growing his role as key reserve and dugout booster for O's

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Orioles outfielder Ryan McKenna maybe at one time didn’t envision his big league role as it has become. He’s a reserve on this team, but he has grown his role to become something of a super sub while at the same time getting constant praise from manager Brandon Hyde for the spirit and energy he brings to the dugout when he is not playing.

McKenna said the cheering for his teammates comes about simply because he wants the team to do well and he wants the teammates he likes so much to do the same. But he is also very focused while on the bench, maybe in the way a manager might be. Hanging on every pitch and trying to note things that could help him later in the game if he does get in.

“I think staying diligent mentally, honestly, is one of the biggest things I’ve focused on,” McKenna said before Monday’s game. “An open communication channel with the hitting coaches has been good. And also, by being in on every pitch when I am not playing – understanding and learning other pitchers and how they are attacking guys, you know, maybe trying to predict what pitches will come or why we are moving guys in the outfield the way we are – just being a student of the game is one of the biggest things.

“I think it is just an emphasis I have put on myself to be disciplined and into the game. Whether it’s a day game or night, 98 degrees, extra innings, or whatever, that is what I try to do.”

McKenna certainly brings a lot on defense and with his speed. But his OPS, which was .559 with a .183 batting average in 90 games last year is now .662 with an average of .255 in 64 games. His OPS plus of 88 is just 12 percent below league average.

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O's game blog: The series opener with Tampa Bay

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The Orioles homestand continues tonight as they host the Tampa Bay Rays to begin a four-game series at Oriole Park. It continues a 10-game stretch with three series against two of the top American League East clubs. Before the All-Star break they lost two of three against the Rays, and coming out of the break they lost two of three to the Yankees with Sunday’s 6-0 loss.

The Orioles (47-48) could get back to .500 with a win tonight. They are 3 ½ games back of the final AL playoff spot. The Orioles have lost four of six, but over longer stretches have won 12 of 16, 17 of 26 and 23 of their past 36 games. 

After going just 1-18 against Tampa Bay in 2021, the Orioles are 5-7 this year. They have gone 1-5 at the Trop but 4-2 at home, winning both series in Baltimore from May 20-22 and June 17-19. The Orioles are 17-23 for the year versus the AL East.

The Orioles are 4-5 in their past nine games against Tampa Bay after going 3-27 in the previous 30. 

Tampa Bay (52-43) is now in third place in the division, ½ a game behind Toronto. They currently hold the No. 2 AL wild card spot. The Rays went into the All-Star break winning six of seven games. That included going 2-1 in the final series at home against the Orioles. But they lost two of three to Kansas City to begin the second half, losing their last two games 6-3 and 4-2, respectively. 

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O's Nick Vespi on return to roster and O's bullpen

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Lefty Nick Vespi returned to the Orioles active roster and bullpen today in advance of the series opener with the Tampa Bay Rays. Vespi has had one strong season, allowing no earned runs at Triple-A all season and allowing six of his eight earned MLB runs in one outing.

In 31 games between Norfolk and Baltimore he has thrown 26 scoreless outings. He has gone 2-1 with an ERA of 0.00, allowing three unearned runs over 21 1/3 at Triple-A, giving up just eight hits with four walks, 28 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.56.

With the Orioles, his ERA was 0.79 after his first nine big-league outings. Then on June 29 at Seattle he gave up six runs in just 1/3 of an inning. It was a major outlier among his games this year.

“You know, to be honest, I wish I knew (what went wrong that one game),” Vespi said today. “I was throwing strikes but things were not going my way. I kept trying to battle and put the team in a good position. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way that day.

“I talk with Holty (Chris Holt) and Holmesy (Darren Holmes) afterward. They put the confidence in my head and said, ‘Hey, you know that is not you. That happened. Whatever. Flush it and get back out there and do what you know how to do.'”

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Jordan Lyles with some props for the 'pen

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The Orioles bullpen, by just about any standard, is having a great year. It’s been one of the best in the majors this season, dramatically improved over the past and a big reason this club is around .500 this late in the year.

The O's bullpen ERA in 2021 was 5.70 to rank last in the majors. Through Sunday's game, the O's ERA in the bullpen is 3.14 to rank fourth.

“It’s been fun to watch,” O’s starter Jordan Lyles said Sunday morning. “I know there were probably a lot of questions coming out of spring training. We had that spring trade where we dealt two relievers (Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser). But guys have just stepped up, and done more than step up. We have one of the best bullpens in baseball and it’s fun to hand the ball over to them every fifth day.”

It is a bullpen that is probably not getting enough credit nationally for the O’s improved play. The team as a whole is getting props, but it seems some are slow to notice that a ‘pen filled with waiver claims is featuring some real gas throwers and getting a lot of outs. And has been all year.

Lyles said all that velocity is important but those pitchers have more than just gas to get outs.

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