O's game blog: Rodriguez against Cole in NYY series opener

O's game blog: Rodriguez against Cole in NYY series opener

The Orioles are back at Camden Yards tonight after going 4-3 on the road trip to Tampa and Philadelphia. They host the New York Yankees for three games before they head to Toronto for a four-game set.

The Orioles (62-40) head into the weekend leading Tampa Bay by 1.5 games for first place. The Yankees (54-48) are in last place in the AL East and are eight games behind the Orioles.

The Birds have lost back-to-back games losing by 4-3 on Tuesday and by 6-4 on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Orioles have gone 6-0-2 in their past eight AL East series, not losing one since the second division series of the year in early April. They are 19-12 in division games, going 5-5 against New York. And they are 17-8 in those last eight series within the AL East.

The last time before this the Orioles went eight straight AL East series without losing one was from April 14 to June 22, 2014 (8), per the Elias Sports Bureau. The last longer such streak was from Aug.1 to Sept. 30, 2012 as they went without losing one for 11 consecutive division series.

Continue reading

The Orioles talk about facing Gerrit Cole tonight in series opener

Ramón Urías throwing in white

It is only 11 at-bats, but in that small sample, the Orioles’ Ramón Urías is batting .455 with a slugging percentage of .909 against Yankees’ right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA) will face the Orioles tonight for the second time this year and for the 12th time in his career. On May 23 of this season he had one of his worst starts of the year against the Orioles, allowing five runs and six hits over five innings. Cedric Mullins and Gunnar Henderson hit solo homers that night.

But over 11 career games, Cole is 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA, a .600 OPS and a WHIP of 0.991 against the Orioles.

Urías is 5-for-11 against the six-time All-Star, who has twice finished second for the Cy Young Award. He has two doubles and a homer against Cole.

“I think for me it is about looking for something up in the zone,” he said this afternoon. “I know he is good at throwing his slider down in the zone and he can get chases with that. For me, looking up in the zone is important and look for mistakes. Every time I see the ball down, you try to lay off. And that is how I have had some success against him.”

Continue reading

With the deadline approaching, how far would O's go for reinforcements?

Tyler Wells exits game

With the trade deadline set for next Tuesday, the Orioles are no doubt checking in on the pitching market. For what it is worth, the pitching staff may be in better shape than some think and yet as they say, you can never have enough pitching.

But for a team that plays .750 ball this year when it gets a quality start, it has been happening with much greater frequency since early June for the Orioles.

In the team’s first 62 games this year, the Orioles got a quality start just 29.0 percent of the time, going 18-for-62 with a rotation ERA of 4.86 in the 62 games.

In the last 40 games, even after Kyle Bradish allowed five runs Wednesday, the Orioles have gotten a QS 55.0 percent, going 22-for-40 with a rotation ERA of 4.02.

It is a nice trend up and again the Orioles are 30-10 this year in their 40 quality starts. Where once the O’s were in the bottom third of the AL in quality starts, now just five teams have more.

Continue reading

Road trip marked by close games ends with back-to-back losses for O's

Ryan Mountcastle

During a road trip where six of the seven games were decided by one or two runs, the Orioles went 4-2 in those six games, which is quite respectable. But they lost the last two, which stings a bit. 

They come home with a series loss at Philadelphia (went 1-2) after their big series win (went 3-1) against Tampa Bay. 

But we should also keep in mind they were tied for first with Tampa Bay when that series began and now, they lead the AL East by 1.5 games. They are 5.5 games ahead of Toronto which currently holds the third AL wild card spot.

But the Orioles have had some problems this year against National League teams. While they have played .644 ball (47-26) against American League teams they have played just .517 ball (15-14) versus the NL.

They have gone 1-2 in series against Atlanta. the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philaelphia.

Continue reading

O's game blog: The series and road trip finale

O's game blog: The series and road trip finale

The Orioles have a winning road trip secured as they take the field in Philadelphia tonight, but they need a victory in the game to pick up another series victory. They’d love to win to erase the memory of their sixth walk-off loss of the year last night. The Phillies scored twice in the ninth to pull it out.

The Orioles (62-39) had a three-game win streak snapped and lost for just the second time in seven games and fourth time in the last 17. They had won nine of their previous 10 road games until this loss.

Tonight, they can extend their AL East lead back to 2.5 games after Miami beat Tampa Bay 7-1 this afternoon.

The road trip started with the Orioles going 3-1 at Tampa Bay and now are 1-1 this series for a 4-2 trip so far with one game left. The Orioles are 8-5 in rubber match games on the season, having not played one since they lost 11-7 in 10 innings to Cincinnati on June 28.

The Orioles are 19-10-3 in series play and are 10-4-2 in road series and 32-19 in road games.

Continue reading

The winning run hits a ninth-inning speed bump, plus other notes

Shintaro Fujinami

The Orioles had played four games on this road trip decided by two runs or less and won them all. Three outs from doing it again, the game got away from them. They lost 4-3 in the last of the ninth at Philadelphia last night.

It was a rare one-run loss, rare road loss lately for this team and a rare disappointing night in Birdland.

Now at 62-39, the Orioles lost Game No. 101 and now their first place lead over Tampa Bay is 1.5 games.

They had been 54-2 this year when leading after eight innings. But this time the club chose not to use busy reliever Félix Bautista and Yennier Cano could not hold the one-run edge. Jorge Mateo doubled clutched on a two-out grounder to short that turned into an infield hit. If he makes that play, the game rolls to the tenth inning.

But during a game they lost, the Orioles may have gained a late-game relief weapon. Right-hander Shintaro Fujinami was excellent getting six outs over the seventh and eighth innings with three strikeouts on just 21 pitches. The fastball was humming and the split was moving. It was something to watch. I would have been tempted to send him out for the ninth.

Continue reading

O's game blog: Looking for a series win in Philadelphia

cowser and urias

For the Orioles, this has been a road trip marked by close wins. They are 4-1 on the trip, winning the four games by a combined five runs after Monday’s 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Orioles (62-38) are playing .620 ball at the 100-game mark they reached last night. They now lead the American League East by 2 1/2 games over Tampa Bay, 6 1/2 over Toronto and 9.0 over Boston and New York.

The Orioles have won three in a row, five of six and 13 of 16 games. They have outscored their opponents 93-57 over the 16 games. They are 8-3 in the second half and have now gone 72 consecutive series without being swept.

In Orioles club history, the six teams that played in the World Series all won 59 or more of their first 100 games. The 1969 team posted the best 100-game mark at 69-31, followed by the 1979 team (67-33) and the 1966 World Series champions (66-34). The teams in 1970, 1971, 1997 and 2023 all went 62-38. The 1983 World Series winners won 59 games. Every O’s team that won 62 or more advanced to the postseason.

Jordan Westburg and Ryan Mountcastle hit solo homers last night, and Colton Cowser notched his first career extra-base hit with an RBI double in the ninth that broke the 2-2 tie. Westburg hit his first career homer and Mountcastle hit No. 12 this year. He blasted a slider with a 112.3 mph exit velocity, and hit the ball 451 feet out over the center field fence. It is the fourth-longest homer by an Oriole this year.

Continue reading

A trio from O's 2021 draft helped Bowie turn its season around (plus O's note)

Cionel Perez

The Double-A Bowie Baysox have a record that is under the .500 mark at 43-47. But they are just a ½ game out of first place in the second half. And since May 19, they have been playing .589 ball at 33-23.

Infielder Coby Mayo was a big reason for that. He had an OPS of 1.027 in 78 games with Bowie until his recent promotion to Triple-A Norfolk. On July 14, the Baysox added shortstop Jackson Holliday, now ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the sport by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com.

But as the Baysox have played better since a slow start, three somewhat unheralded position players with varying levels of success on the stat sheet, have been fixtures in the lineup. Billy Cook, who can play all over the diamond on defense and outfielders John Rhodes and Donta' Williams have all had some nice stretches of play for Bowie. All three are members of the Orioles’ 2021 draft class.

After a slow start – and he was hitting under .200 well into May, Cook’s bat has heated up big time. Baltimore’s 10th-round pick out of Pepperdine in that 2021 draft, Cook posted an OPS of .885 in May, .909 in June and it’s 1.017 in July. So yeah, that bat is hot.

“He started out with some struggles and now he is one of our top offensive producers,” manager Kyle Moore said in a recent interview. “Made some good adjustments. I feel like this staff was doing some of our best coaching earlier when our team was struggling. John Rhodes has done tremendous making some adjustments, Donta Williams, OPS over .800 in June and earlier he scuffled badly.

Continue reading

O's game blog: The series opener with the Philadelphia Phillies

kremer pitching gray

The Orioles road trip continues tonight in Philadelphia, where they play the first of three games at Citizens Bank Park. The Orioles won three of four against the Tampa Bay Rays, winning the three games by four total runs to grab a two-game lead atop the American League East.

The Orioles (61-38), who play their 100th game tonight, were 6.5 games back of Tampa Bay on July 1 and six games back on July 4. So far this month, the Orioles are 13-6 while the Rays are 4-14, and they have gained 8.5 games on the Rays in that span.

With Sunday’s 5-3 win at the Trop, the Orioles improved to 6-3 this season against Tampa Bay and to 6-0 in games decided by two or fewer runs. The Orioles are 15-10 their past 25 games versus the Rays after going 2-27 in the previous 29.

They also gained their first series win at Tropicana Field since June 23-25, 2017.

The Orioles have now won four of five, 12 of 15 and 13 of their past 18 games. They are 7-3 since the All-Star break, and a season-high 23 games over the .500 mark.

Continue reading

Big plays, big games everywhere you looked as O's took series against Tampa Bay

Gunnar Henderson

In some ways it was a familiar script for the Orioles. Big plays, big hits and another big win. In other ways it was different.

Different as in they won a big series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. In recent years they haven’t played very many big series there and certainly have won very many series of any kind.

Going into the 2023 season, the Orioles had lost 15 straight series at the Trop. A place where, from the 2020-2022 seasons, they went 3-18. They had last won a series there June 23-25, 2017. But they take three of four this series and leave there with a two-game lead atop the AL East.

With a 6-3 lead in the season series – and the Rays have won six straight season series from the O’s – they need just one win in four games when these clubs meet in September to win this year’s season series. That would be big for tiebreaker purposes. If these teams are tied for the division lead or any playoff spot when the regular season ends, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head play.

From Aug. 25, 2020, through April 10, 2022, the Orioles were 2-27 versus the Rays. The clubs have now played 25 games since that date and the Orioles are 15-10 in those games.

Continue reading

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

orioles celebrate grey

The Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays wrap up this four-game series today and the worst the Orioles can do is leave with a 2-2 split. This will be the third series against the Rays this year and Baltimore has not lost any of them, winning one 2-1, splitting one 1-1 and leading this series 2-1 heading into today.

Sandwiched around a 3-0 loss Friday where they were held to two hits, the Orioles have two victories this series by one run. In each game they held a lead, got tied late as they lost the lead but went on to win the game. They pulled out Thursday’s game in the tenth and Saturday’s in the ninth.

The Orioles (60-38) now again have the AL East lead by one game over the Rays (61-41).

The Orioles are 2-1 this series, 6-3 in the second half and 11-3 since winning July 5 at Yankee Stadium. The O’s have outscored their opponents 85-52 during this 11-3 run.

The Orioles are 5-3 against the Rays in 2023. They have lost the three games by scores of 0-3, 2-7 and 0-3. The five wins have all come by two runs or less and three of the games were decided by one run. So they are 5-0 against Tampa Bay in games decided by one or two runs and 3-0 in one-run contests.

Continue reading

Notes on another big win, AL East against AL East and Wells pitches today

wells pitches grey

Sometimes you have to win the game twice. Sometimes you have to do it twice within the same series.

Thursday the Orioles lost a two-run lead in the seventh but won the game. Yesterday they lost a five-run lead in the sixth and two-run lead in the eighth and yet won the game.

It is what good and tough teams can do. It is why the Orioles, who were 6.5 games back of the Rays on July 1, lead the AL East by one game today.

James McCann and Jorge Mateo drove in two runs each versus Shane McClanahan early on and late in the game McCann had an amazing sac bunt and Ryan O'Hearn had a clutch hit in the ninth. Once again there were several big plays on defense with Gunnar Henderson again in the middle of it. Cionel Pérez got a huge out and Félix Bautista was outstanding again. 

It's been said this O's team features a roster without a lot of playoff experience. But they are certainly gaining big game experience in front of our eyes. 

Continue reading

O's game blog: Grayson Rodriguez faces Tampa Bay in Game 3

rodriguez pitches orange

The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in 10 innings Thursday night and were held to just two hits in a 3-0 loss last night. So the O’s and Rays are right back where they were and separated by just percentage points when this series started.

They are tied for first atop the American League East with the Orioles at 59-38 (.608) and Tampa Bay at 61-40 (.604) and two games to go this series.

Friday’s loss snapped the Orioles’ six-game road win streak, their longest away from Oriole Park since an eight-game streak from July 25 to Aug. 13, 2020.

With Thursday's win, the Orioles have now gone 71 consecutive series without being swept. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most consecutive series of at least two decisions (no ties) without getting swept in Orioles history, ahead of 46 consecutive sweepless series from 1971-72. It is the ninth-longest such streak in MLB history, trailing the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals (124), 1906-09 Chicago Cubs (115), 1903-05 New York Giants (105), 1922-24 New York Yankees (83), 1904-1906 Philadelphia Athletics (74), and 1921-23 St. Louis Browns, 1997-99 San Diego Padres, and 2003-05 Atlanta Braves (72).

The Orioles have won 10 of their past 13 games and have scored 79 runs in those games.

Continue reading

See target, hit target: An adjustment that could help Grayson Rodriguez

grayson rodriguez pitches white

The Orioles showed confidence in rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez when they gave him the ball on Monday in the series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They brought the kid back from the farm knowing he would face one of MLB’s best offenses followed by a start against Tampa Bay, which comes this afternoon.

They knew his MLB stats this year showed a 2-2 record and 7.33 ERA. That his ERA when last seen in the majors was 11.14 over five starts in May.

They also knew he was pitching well on the farm, had made solid gains on his control and command and was also hitting 100 mph again when his heater topped out.

Rodriguez allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings in that Monday game against the Dodgers, but the final line included two runs that scored after he left the game. He allowed just one run over the first five innings before he took the mound for the sixth.

It was sure an outing to build on and much better than when he was last seen on the O’s mound.

Continue reading

O's game blog: It's Game 2 for the Orioles and Rays at the Trop

kyle bradish black

With a series-opening win against Tampa Bay under their belts, the Orioles look to make it two in a row tonight to open this four-game series. And they start tonight behind a pitcher on a real roll.

The Orioles (59-37) beat the Rays (60-40) 4-3 in 10 innings in the opener of the series. Colton Cowser’s sac fly to left on an 0-2 pitch scored the go-ahead run in the 10th. And then right-hander Félix Bautista put up a zero to get the win in the last of the 10th. Bautista, pitching for the second day in a row, needed just 15 pitches to get six outs in the victory.

The Orioles are in first place for the first time after 95 games of a season since Aug. 15, 2016. Until last night, the Rays had been in first place (or tied for the lead) in the American League East for the entire season.

The win means the Orioles have now gone 71 straight series without being swept. Baltimore is now 29-17 on the road, 6-5 in extra-inning games, 11-5 in July, 21-11 in series-opening games and 17-9 in one-run games.

The Orioles have now won 10 of their past 12 games, outscoring opponents 79-44 in that span.

Continue reading

A look back at a stirring night of baseball and a take on Shohei Ohtani

Gunnar Henderson swings

What a night for the Orioles.

Big plays, big pitches, big hits and a big win. One that put them in sole possession of first place in the American League East. They did against a Tampa Bay squad that started this year 13-0 and 27-6.

But while the Orioles (59-37, .615) have now won 10 of their last 12, Tampa Bay (60-40, .600) has lost five in a row and 12 of the last 15. 

In July, the Orioles are 11-5 and the Rays are 3-12. Over the past 33 games, the Orioles are 20-13 while the Rays are 13-20. Tampa Bay is 31-33 its last 64 games.

It was a night where there were more than a few stars. Kyle Gibson provided an excellent start. Gunnar Henderson keyed a three-run inning with a hustle triple and played outstanding defense. Ramon Urias played excellent D and made what might have been a game-saving play with his diving stop that ended the last of the eighth. Rookie Colton Cowser, in his 11th big league game, got behind 0-2 but still hit a go-ahead sac fly in the top of the tenth. And the big man, Félix Bautista, who saved the game Wednesday on 12 pitches, got six big outs on 15 pitches in the ninth and tenth. Remarkable to do that with so few pitches, but he's still probably not available tonight.

Continue reading

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

orioles rays

After chasing the Tampa Bay Rays all season – a team that at times early this year seemed uncatchable – the Orioles caught them yesterday. They beat the Los Angeles Dodgers while the Rays lost to Texas and got swept in a three-game series.

So while the clubs are even atop the American League East in the games behind column, the Orioles are two games ahead in the loss column and lead the division by percentage points. The Orioles (58-37) are playing .611 ball and Tampa Bay (60-39) is playing .606 ball.

The Orioles, on a pace for 99 wins, have the best record in the American League and trail only Atlanta (61-33, .649) for the best mark in MLB.

The Orioles' 8-5 Wednesday win completed a 4-2 homestand and kept them from being swept by Los Angeles. The Orioles have not been swept since May of 2022 and have now gone 70 straight series without being swept. They became the eighth team in MLB history to go 70 or more series without being swept. Next on the list is the Atlanta Braves, who were not swept in 72 consecutive series from 2003-2005.

Since going through a stretch where they lost six of seven games, the Orioles are 9-2 in the last 11 games, outscoring opponents 75-41 in that span. The O's are batting .288 with an OPS of .868 in those 11 games. The Orioles scored 15 runs against the Dodgers and have scored 52 in the last eight games. At 4.98 runs per game for the year, the O’s rank fifth in the AL. The Rays are second at 5.31 runs per game.

Continue reading

Showdown series at the Trop: Orioles-Rays four-game set starts tonight

Ryan Mountcastle

The year was 2021. Yes, it was that recently. On their way to an AL East title and a 100-62 record, the Tampa Bay Rays went 18-1 against the Orioles.

“That was rough,” Ryan Mountcastle remembered in the Baltimore clubhouse yesterday morning.

That Orioles team would finish 52-110. Tampa Bay wound up outscoring Baltimore by 79 (150-71) on the year - the second-largest run differential against a single opponent in the divisional era (since 1969), behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers’ +82 mark over the San Diego Padres in 1974.

Things are very different now.

After winning nine of 11 games while the Rays have lost 11 of 14, the teams were tied in the standings as of last night. But the Orioles have the AL East lead by percentage points at .611 (58-37) to the Rays at .606 (60-39).

Continue reading

O's game blog: Dean Kremer faces the Dodgers in series finale

kremer orange v SEA

In the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, with pick No. 431 overall, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He would pitch on their watch until July 18, 2018, when he and four other players were traded by the Dodgers to the Orioles for Manny Machado.

Today, for the first time in his career, Kremer will face the team that drafted him. And he will try to pitch the Orioles to a win in this series to avoid a three-game sweep after Los Angeles won 6-4 Monday night and 10-3 last night.

Kremer signed with the Dodgers for a bonus of $147,500 and reported to their rookie league team to make his pro debut on July 3, 2016 for the Ogden Raptors. He was pitching in High-A ball for most of the 2018 season and had just moved to Double-A, where he had made one start, when he was traded to the Orioles. They assigned him to Double-A Bowie, where he went 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA in eight starts to finish up the 2018 season.

Kremer (10-4, 4.59 ERA) got off to a slow start this season. His ERA was 6.67 at the end of April and 5.80 after his first start in May. But he has pitched better lately and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his past six starts. In his first outing out of the All-Star break, on Friday against Miami, he gave up two hits and one run over six innings on 97 pitches.

The Orioles are 13-6 in his 19 starts, winning five of his last six games.

Continue reading

More on the scouting and drafting of top pick Enrique Bradfield Jr.

Enrigue Bradford Jr

When a top draft pick is officially signed and introduced by his new team, as Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. was yesterday by the Orioles, it is a big day for a lot of people. The player of course and his family, the organization and also the signing scout.

Orioles' area scout Trent Friedrich was at the podium yesterday with Bradfield and O’s executive Mike Elias on the big day for the highest draft pick Friedrich has had as an O’s scout. He joined the organization after the 2019 season.

That scout puts in a massive amount of time compiling volumes of information on a player that his club may not even draft. But in this case, they did. Friedrich’s guy was the No. 17 overall selection by the Orioles and this week signed an exact slot bonus amount of $4,169,700.

Bradfield and the O’s second-round pick, UNC outfielder Mac Horvath, who has now also signed, will report to Sarasota, Fla. for orientation and then likely play some games in the rookie-level Florida Complex League. They could advance to join Low Single-A Delmarva before this season ends.

“It’s gratifying,” Friedrich said to put in so much time scouting a player that his club then actually does select and sign. “And to get a special kid like that. To know where our team is now and where it can go with a guy like him with it, it just makes me really excited for the future.”

Continue reading