Hall got the ball Saturday, proving his velocity has come all the way back

DL Hall

Orioles' lefty DL Hall has not thrown too many pitches as a big leaguer. But two he threw against the Colorado Rockies Saturday night, in a scoreless inning, must have had some meaning for him.

He threw one pitch 98.8 mph and another at 98.9. In 17 2/3 career innings, those were his two fastest big league pitches.

It showed that Hall, 24, has his velocity all the way back. He had seen it come together well for him at the Triple-A level in recent games, but to do so in front of a huge crowd and protect a lead Saturday night for the Orioles represented a nice return to the majors for Hall.

“Unreal feeling to be back up here and be with this awesome team,” he said of that outing.

A back issue in spring limited Hall then and when his season began the velocity was not as expected. The Orioles sent him to Florida in mid June to, for a time, pitch less and more work on rebuilding some strength.

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No sweep: Colorado scores in the ninth to beat the Orioles

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The Orioles have not been swept in their past 81 series dating to last year. But today their bid to record their ninth sweep of 2023 came up short.

The Colorado Rockies pushed an unearned run across the plate in the top of the ninth to beat the Orioles 4-3 in front of 30,773 at Oriole Park.

Baltimore's four-game win streak came to an end, and the Orioles are now 81-49 after their 12th one-run loss in 36 such games.

Righty Yennier Cano, who got a save last night, came on for the ninth today, but this time in a 3-3 tie.

Hunter Goodman's grounder went for an infield single and he reached second on a throwing error charged to shortstop Gunnar Henderson. He moved to third with one out and the infield came in. But on pinch-hitter Elias Díaz's hi-chop grounder to third, there was no play at home. The out produced the go-ahead run and what turned out to be winning run. Cano took the loss. 

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O's game blog: Looking for the series sweep against Colorado

mountcastle swinging orange

The Orioles wrap up their series with the Colorado Rockies today looking for a three-game sweep after back-to-back 5-4 wins. They trailed in each game of this series but took the lead in the eighth inning Friday night and in the sixth inning last night. 

The Orioles (81-48) lead Tampa Bay by three games atop the American League East with Toronto 10 1/2 games back, Boston 12 1/2 out and New York 19 games behind.

This season, the Orioles have three-game series sweeps versus Detroit, at Toronto, versus Kansas City, at Minnesota, at home against Miami, versus the New York Mets and at Oakland. A sweep today would give the Orioles their third sweep in the last seven series.

The Orioles have won four straight by a 22-11 score. Over longer stretches, they have won seven of eight, 10 of 13, 18 of 25 and 32 of their past 45 games.

The Orioles recorded their 40th comeback win Saturday, tied for the MLB lead this season (Cincinnati, 40), and their 76 come-from-behind wins since the start of 2022 are second-most behind Los Angeles-NL (81) entering play yesterday, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Pregame notes on Flaherty's return to rotation and Hall's return to roster

flaherty pitching gray

As the Orioles look to sweep the Colorado Rockies today, right-hander Jack Flaherty will return to the mound for the first time since he gave up seven runs in three innings Aug. 15 at San Diego. He is pitching the series finale today on 11 days' rest.

Flaherty is 8-8 with a 4.73 ERA in 23 starts this season and is 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA in three starts and 14 innings as an Oriole.

“I think his command in San Diego was just off, so I don’t think you can put a whole lot of stock into that start. I think the start in Toronto (one run in six innings) is more of who he is. Just couldn’t get anything going in San Diego,” manager Brandon Hyde said before today’s game.

“Jack has a really good pitch, was up to 97 (mph) in Toronto. I like his breaking ball, also. He’s been a starter with a four-pitch mix for a while now. Maybe a little bit of rest will help him and he’ll be pounding the strike zone today.”

This outing has been pushed back by the Orioles as Flaherty said he didn’t “bounce back” well from that San Diego game without getting too much into specifics.

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Yennier Cano gets first save shot with Félix Bautista on the injured list

cano pitching white

On the day the Orioles found out they've lost their closer for an indefinite period, you had to figure this game – played in front of a huge crowd – would be close in the late innings.

Maybe with the Orioles leading by a run late and needing to protect that lead.

Yep.

With Félix Bautista now on the injured list while we await word on just how long he will be out, Yennier Cano got the first save chance in his absence. 

The news about Bautista hit the team hard Friday night and certainly lingered into last night's game.

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O's game blog: Kyle Bradish on the mound in Game 2 versus Colorado

bradish pitching white

After their latest win and latest victory in a close game Friday night, the Orioles can win another series with a victory tonight at home against Colorado.

Baltimore (80-48) begins play tonight leading Tampa Bay by three games atop the American League East. The Orioles have won six of seven, 17 of 24 and 31 of their last 44 games.

Their 5-4 Friday win over the Rockies improved the Orioles' record to 23-11 in one-run games, and they have now gone 81 straight series without being swept.

The O's have scored 48 runs the last seven games and hit 12 homers their past six games.

Right-hander Kyle Bradish (8-6, 3.03 ERA) will make his 24th start tonight for the Orioles, who are 15-8 in his games this year, winning his last four starts.

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With concern over their closer the O's pull out another one, extend AL East lead

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The anticipation was high and the crowd was roaring. The Orioles were one strike away from their 80th win and Félix Bautista - their All-Star closer - was one away from his 34th save.

This was usually where he blows a fastball by someone or buries a split for a swinging third strike to send Camden Yards into a frenzy.

But this time the game did not end, but Bautista's outing did as Camden Yards went from very loud to very quiet in a very short span.

So for now we wait for further word on Bautista and his arm discomfort. We await word on the tests manager Brandon Hyde said they would do to further examine Bautista.

Before the pitch that put a damper on an otherwise good night, the Orioles did a lot right late in the game to pull out their 80th win.

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O's game blog: The series opener with Colorado

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After the Orioles (79-48) won a series against Toronto – taking the last two games after losing the series opener – they host Colorado to begin a new series tonight. The Rockies are in town through Sunday and the homestand continues Monday versus the Chicago White Sox.

Colorado just lost three games at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Rockies (48-79) have lost four in a row overall and 11 of their past 14 games. They have the worst record in the National League. All three losses versus Tampa Bay were last at-bat losses, and the Rockies have been in the lead or tied for the lead in the eighth inning in each game of their four-game losing streak.

Colorado is 20-46 on the road, 15-22 in interleague games and 14-22 in the second half.

The Rockies are now a season-low 31 games below .500. It's the fifth time in franchise history the club has been at least 30 games below .500, the first time since 2014. The franchise record for games below .500 is 38, when the Rockies were 36-74 on Aug. 7, 1993.

The Rockies have used a franchise record 32 total pitchers this season, one more than the 2019 club’s 31 hurlers. Colorado ranks 29th in MLB with a 5.57 team ERA and is 29th in rotation ERA (5.93) and 27th in bullpen ERA (5.14). Colorado's road ERA of 5.06 ranks 27th in the majors.  

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Increased slider usage has helped Yennier Cano get back locked in for the O's

Yennier Cano

He has been so good for the Orioles bullpen this year, but there was a stretch a few weeks back when right-hander Yennier Cano was more hittable.

Heading into a series in late July with the New York Yankees, Cano went through a 10-game stretch where his ERA was 5.00 and opponents were batting .368 with an OPS of 1.000 against him.

It was then that Cano decided to tweak a pitch mix that mostly has been about two pitches – a two-seam sinking fastball and changeup – and make it now three.

“Think the biggest difference has been incorporating my slider,” he said yesterday with the help of O’s interpreter Brandon Quinones, talking about his recent strong pitching. “When they were hitting me better, I was going through some adjustments to incorporate my slider and then figured some of those things out. Now that I have a much better feel for it and have the slider more down pat, it’s more difficult for the hitters to get a read on me now that that pitch is in the repertoire.”

For the year, Cano is 1-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 0.984 WHIP in 57 games and 61 innings. 

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O's game blog: O's look for another AL East series win against Toronto

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The Orioles are looking for another series win tonight as they host the Toronto Blue Jays to wrap up a three-game series. Toronto won in 10 innings 6-3 Tuesday night while the O’s won 7-0 last night on a four-pitcher, five-hitter.

It started with the starter.

Right-hander Dean Kremer pitched six scoreless on five hits with five strikeouts. He improved to 12-5 with an ERA of 4.31. He has an ERA of 3.06 over his past nine starts. Jacob Webb, Yennier Cano and Shintaro Fujinami finished the outing retiring nine in a row. Webb has thrown 8 2/3 scoreless on two hits with 12 strikeouts in nine games as an Oriole.

AL wins leaders:

13 - Zach Eflin, TB
12 - Dean Kremer & Kyle Gibson, O's, Chris Bassitt, Toronto

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Now fully healthy, 'pen lefty Danny Coulombe is ready for stretch run

coulombe pitches white

He hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since Aug. 5, but they will be thrilled to have one of their high-leverage relievers back tonight. Lefty Danny Coulombe (left bicep tendinitis) was activated off the 15-day injured list and Nick Vespi was optioned back to Triple-A.

Coulombe has been a great addition for the Baltimore bullpen, going 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 47 games. Over 39 innings he has allowed 34 hits with nine walks to 48 strikeouts and with a 1.103 WHIP.

Late in a long season, getting a few days to rest his arm was not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think the bicep tendinitis thing, it was probably something I only needed a few days for," said Coulombe this afternoon. "But honestly at this point, it was one of those things we felt it was best to give me the 15 days and be ready for the stretch run. I think it’s going to be good. Just really exciting to get going now this last month and a half two months."

Coulombe made one rehab appearance and threw a hitless and scoreless inning with two strikeouts Tuesday night for Triple-A Norfolk.

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A chance tonight for another AL East series win and taking pride in the O's farm

Dean Kremer vs. TOR

The Orioles have now gone 80 consecutive series dating to May of 2022 without being swept in a series. Their win by 7-0 over Toronto last night pushed their incredible streak to 80.

No sweep for the Blue Jays and maybe even no series victory if Baltimore can win tonight.

The Orioles (78-48) are leading the AL East by two games over Tampa Bay and by 8.5 over Toronto. They have won four of five, seven of 10, 15 of 22 and 29 of their past 42 games.

Dean Kremer, now 12-5 with an ERA of 4.31 threw six scoreless on 94 pitches for his third scoreless start of the year. Over his past nine outings, Kremer is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA.

O's starters have allowed three earned runs or less in 21 of their past 24 games. In those 21 games, the rotation ERA is 2.71.

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O's game blog: Looking to even the series with Toronto

kremer v HOU

The Orioles have gone 10 straight American League East series without losing one since April – going 8-0-2 - but they have a challenge to win their current series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

After Toronto’s 6-3 win Monday in 10 innings, the Orioles now need two straight wins to take another division series. The Orioles are now 24-15 for the year in AL East games and are 22-11 during the unbeaten 10-series run within the division.

Brandon Belt’s two-run homer in the 10th off Mike Baumann - who was optioned to Triple-A today - gave Toronto a 5-3 lead. That lead grew to three runs when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled and scored on a wild pitch.

That double was Guerrero’s first extra-base hit this year off Baltimore pitching. After getting three hits last night he is now batting .200 (8-for-40) with a .529 OPS in 11 games this season versus Baltimore, with one double and two RBIs.

Toronto (70-56) is in third place and moved to within 7 1/2 games of the division-leading Orioles. The Blue Jays are now 38-29 on the road and 18-7 in their past 25 road games. They are 12-23 versus AL East teams and 8-7 in extra innings.

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Austin Voth on rejoining the Orioles today

Austin Voth

When last seen pitching for the Orioles in mid-June, right-hander Austin Voth had allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings over a five-game stretch with a .391 batting average against.

That led to a trip to the injured list with right elbow discomfort, and just today Voth has returned to the Orioles' active roster. He was activated from the 60-day IL as Mike Baumann was optioned to Triple-A and Keegan Akin transferred to the 60-day IL with lower back discomfort.

Through his June 13 appearance, Voth went 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA and 1.581 WHIP over 31 innings in 23 games.

He said today he feels healthy and ready to rejoin and help this team.

“For the most part, yeah. Definitely took a little bit longer than I wanted to," Voth said. "But definitely glad to be back.

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For O's Gunnar Henderson ROY talk is nice, playoffs though is the goal

Gunnar Henderson smiling

The Orioles have not had an American League Rookie of the Year since pitcher Gregg Olson won it in 1989. Last year Adley Rutschman finished a distant second to Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez, who got 29 of the 30 first-place votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

But this year Gunnar Henderson is a strong candidate to end a long stretch where the Orioles have not had a ROY.

Their first was Ron Hansen in 1960, followed by Curt Blefary in 1965, Al Bumbry in 1973, Eddie Murray in 1977, Cal Ripken Jr. in 1982 and Olson. If he gets it, Henderson would be the seventh O’s ROY.

Henderson leads AL rookies in baseball-refernce.com WAR at 4.0 and leads among FanGraphs WAR for AL rookies at 3.1.

I asked him in the Baltimore clubhouse before the start of the series with Toronto if Rookie of the Year talk is flattering for him, distracting, or none of the above?

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O's game blog: An AL East series as the homestand begins against Toronto

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They played nine straight games on the West Coast, going 6-3 and tonight the Orioles begin a stretch of nine straight games at home. They will host the Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox for three games each through Aug. 30.

The Orioles (77-47), now a season-best 30 games over the .500 mark, lead the AL East by three games over Tampa Bay, by 8.5 over Toronto, by 11.5 over Boston and by 17 games over the New York Yankees. Tampa Bay begins a series tonight at home versus Colorado.

The Orioles were off on Monday after a 12-1 win at Oakland Sunday to complete their seventh three-game sweep of the season. They scored 28 runs in the Oakland series after scoring 17 runs in the first six games of the road trip.

The Orioles are 24-14 on the year against AL East teams. And, since losing their first two division series of 2023, they are 8-0-2 over their past 10, going 22-10 in the 32 games in those series.

They are 8-2 this year and have outscored Toronto 60-31, going 3-0 at Toronto in May, 2-1 at home in June and 3-1 at Rogers Centre in a series that ended Aug. 3.

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Gunnar Henderson on cool bat followed by hot bat heading into Toronto series

henderson celebrates white

It was just recently where Gunnar Henderson went through a seven-game period when he was just 2-for-25 (.080) at bat with seven strikeouts. And it wasn’t that long ago.

From the last game of the New York Mets series on Aug. 6 through three games in Seattle to start the West Coast swing where Henderson went hitless, he had just those two hits, both singles and just one RBI in that span.

But now he is coming off a game where he produced four extra-base hits and is just the 11th Oriole to have four in one game – something that had not been done since Aug. 17, 2008 when Melvin Mora did it.

Gunnar can be hard on himself and noted both his hot series in Oakland and a slower stretch that preceded it when asked about his swing today heading into this Toronto series.

“Feeling pretty good. Had a little bit of a (slow) stretch there. But feeling good at the plate the whole time. Just stuff didn’t fall. But now looking forward to keeping this going,” he said.

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A look at a solid recent pitching run, plus plenty of other notes and stats

Kyle Bradish white jersey

A few stats, thoughts and opinions as the first-place Orioles, a team that has not lost an AL East series since April 9, gets ready to host third-place Toronto tonight. For the O’s it is the start of a nine-game homestand against the Jays, Rockies and White Sox.

* The O’s pitching has been pretty darn good for well over 40 games now. After allowing just one run on Sunday, the O’s team ERA is 3.62 since July 1. And they are 29-15 (.659) in 44 games in that time.

As of Sunday, that was the fourth-best ERA in the AL in that stretch and sixth-best in MLB. And the O’s starters had thrown the third-most innings of any team in that span.

So yeah, pretty good.

And while the team ERA for the year is 4.08 to rank eighth in the AL, it’s much better in this span of games which is over a month and not just a good series or a good few weeks. It’s the kind of pitching they would probably need to win October games and the kind they got in the last two games at Seattle where they beat a hot team 1-0 and 5-3 back-to-back in ten innings.

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Heading home after a series sweep to end the road trip

Kyle Bradish vs. OAK

The Orioles will certainly take some momentum into their AL East series at home tomorrow night against third-place Toronto. 

They blasted Oakland 12-1 on Sunday to produce their seventh three-game sweep of the year. For those that love run differential, the Orioles outscored the Athletics 28-7 over the weekend.

Gunnar Henderson had four extra-base hits to tie a team record and he became the 11th Oriole in club history to have four in one game. His day included a double in the third, triple in the fourth, solo homer in the seventh and another double in the eighth. He drove in a run with that two-bagger when a single would have given him the cycle.

The other Orioles to have four extra base hits in a game were Charle Lau in 1962, Don Baylor in 1973, Dave Duncan in 1975, Cal Ripken Jr. in 1983, Brady Anderson in 1994 and 1998, Will Clark in 1999, Albert Belle twice in 1999, Chris Richard in 2000, Miguel Tejada in 2004 and 2005 and the last to do it was Melvin Mora on Aug. 17, 2008 against the Tigers with two doubles and two homers.

The Orioles went 6-1 in the season series and scored 57 runs versus Oakland pitching.

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O's game blog: Looking to end the road trip with a three-game sweep

bradish and rutschman

The Orioles' West Coast road trip began with an impressive series win at Seattle against a red-hot Mariners team, and they won the last two games of the series in 10 innings. They lost two of three at San Diego, but a win today would give them a three-game sweep at Oakland to end the trip.

A winning road trip is already secured and so is a series win at Oakland. But they will end the trip at 6-3 with a victory this afternoon.

The Orioles (76-47) have a chance to go 30 games over the .500 mark today and take a 2 1/2 game lead over the Tampa Ray Rays atop the American League East. Toronto is 8 1/2 games back with Boston 11 behind and New York 16 games out.

The Orioles scored eight runs in three games in Seattle, scored nine runs in three at San Diego and have scored 16 runs in the first two games at Oakland. They have 25 hits in this series with five doubles, a triple and three homers.

They have gone 8-for-22 (.364) with runners in scoring position this series after going 8-for-34 (.235) with RISP the first six games on the trip.

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