O's pregame notes on today's roster move as Josh Lester arrives


SAN FRANCISCO – The Orioles added infielder/outfielder Josh Lester to their roster today as bullpen lefty Danny Coulombe went on the bereavement list. O’s manager Brandon Hyde expects Coulombe, who has 2.08 ERA in 26 games, to miss only the final two games of this series with the San Francisco Giants. He should return for the Orioles' series at Milwaukee, which begins Tuesday.

As for adding Lester, Hyde said the schedule of upcoming starters the O’s will be facing helped lead them in his direction to fill that roster spot.

“I'm excited for Josh,” Hyde said today in the visitors' dugout at Oracle Park. “He swung the bat so well in spring training for us, off to a good start in Triple-A. We're running into a string of right-handed starters these next handful of games. With the off-day here in a couple of days, we feel like we're in good shape, bullpen-wise, to be able to add another left-handed bat, and the guy is really swinging the bat well in Triple-A, and we're excited to have him.

“We had a lot of options going into the game yesterday knowing we were going to lose Danny. We had three of four scenarios and we had to see how the game played out last night,” he said of his roster, which for now carries 14 position players and 12 pitchers. 

The team moved bullpen right-hander Dillon Tate to the 60-day injured list with a right elbow flexor strain to create room for Lester on the 40-man roster.

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Orioles lineup for Game 2 at San Francisco

o'hearn @ TOR

SAN FRANCISCO - With a 3-2 win in the series opener on Friday night, the Orioles can win their series against the San Francisco Giants with a victory tonight at Oracle Park.

The Orioles (36-21) will again bat Adan Frazier leadoff with Austin Hays hitting cleanup and playing left field. Ryan O'Hearn is in the lineup again too, but this time in right field batting eighth. Ryan Mountcastle, who is 7-for-38 his past 10 games, was off Friday but returns to the lineup tonight at first base and batting sixth.

The Orioles would be 13-5-1 with a series win this weekend. 

For the Orioles

Adam Frazier 2B
Adley Rutschman C
Anthony Santander DH
Austin Hays LF
Gunnar Henderson 3B
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Aaron Hicks CF
Ryan O'Hearn RF
Jorge Mateo SS

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Henderson on go-ahead homer, Cobb on facing the O's and more

Gunnar Henderson black jersey

SAN FRANCISCO – For Orioles rookie Gunnar Henderson, there were reasons to believe he could have a swing like that coming.

One where he hit what proved to be a game-winning homer in the seventh inning in a tie game. One where he did it off the pitcher with the fifth-best ERA in the National League and one that had gone 33 innings without giving up a homer.

One where he produced an exit velocity of 110.7 mph – both the hardest-hit ball by him all year and the hardest allowed by Giants starter Logan Webb, who had an ERA of 1.68 his previous seven starts.

Henderson’s bat has been, slowly at times, trending up. He had an OPS of .740 in May, drove in three runs just a few games earlier and nine of his 17 hits last month went for extra bases. The contact was getting louder more often.

And Webb found out the kid was ready to come through in a big moment.

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Gunnar Henderson hits go-ahead HR in 7th as O's take series opener (updated)

henderson hi fives black

SAN FRANCISCO – With right-handers Dean Kremer of Baltimore and Logan Webb of San Francisco settling into a real pitcher’s duel after both had early trouble, runs were suddenly hard to come by tonight.

But not on one big swing for the Orioles off the bat of rookie Gunnar Henderson in the top of the seventh.

Webb entered the inning having retired 12 of the last 13 batters and the only runner to reach in that span got on not via a hit, but catcher’s interference.

Henderson’s bat has slowly but surely started to come to life and there was more evidence of that tonight. On Tuesday he had driven in a season-high three runs and in May, when his OPS was .740, nine of his 17 hits had gone for extra bases.

Tonight Henderson smoked a 2-1 changeup from Webb over the right-field wall for a 3-2 lead to start the Baltimore seventh. That blast lifted the Orioles to a thrilling 3-2 win in the series opener in front of 27,873 at Oracle Park. The O's bullpen held on late for the win.

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O's game blog: The road trip opener in San Francisco

orioles celebrate black

SAN FRANCISCO – The Orioles have made their first trip to San Francisco since the 2016 season and the clubs open a three-game series at Oracle Park tonight. For the Orioles (35-21) it is the start of a two-city, six-game road trip that moves on to Milwaukee next.

The Orioles went 5-1 on their last trip to Toronto and New York but came home and lost back-to-back series for the first time this season. They went 2-4 against Texas and Cleveland.

The Orioles are 18-9 in road games this year and they are 10-4 the past 14 away from Oriole Park. They are a very solid 7-2 in road series, losing only at Boston and Atlanta.

The Orioles are 13-5 in series-opening games but they have lost their past three and in five of the last seven such games.

As they try to improve their series record for the year to 13-5-1 in San Francisco, they face a Giants team that lost two of three to Pittsburgh this week, losing the last two games and is 28-28 for the year. San Francisco began this year at 6-13 but is 22-15 since April 22. And the Giants are 11-5 in the last 16 games coming into this series.

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O's pregame notes on the roster move, Hyde's homecoming and more

brandon hyde walking black

SAN FRANCISCO – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde believes that right-handed reliever Mychal Givens, who went on the 15-day injured list today, retroactive to yesterday, could be back pitching for the Orioles when his IL time is up on June 16.

“I think so, yeah,” Hyde said when asked if Givens could return then. “I never want to put a number on it or days on it, but I think it’s going to just be a couple of weeks hopefully.”

Givens has allowed six runs (five earned) in four innings over six games since the Orioles activated him on May 21 after left knee inflammation. This IL stint is for right shoulder inflammation. Givens has walked six batters and his fastball velocity was down to 91.5 mph on average, two miles per hour off his average from last year.

Givens pitched Wednesday versus Cleveland, faced three batters and got no one out. Hyde said there was no MRI needed for Givens.

“I think he just felt it a little bit after his last outing,” said Hyde. “I don’t know if it’s been a recurring thing. But hopefully he can get some rest and some time to heal that up and help us out when he gets off the IL.”

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Latest challenge for the Orioles begins tonight in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO - Coming off a tough day for the pitching staff and continuing a stretch of games without center fielder Cedric Mullins while beginning a six-game road trip against .500 or better clubs, this is a challenging time for the Orioles. 

And we thought May was going to be the hard part?

The Orioles did fine in May, going 16-12 and that included the 13-9 record in a span of 22 games versus winning record clubs. They more than held their own after a 1-0 March and 18-9 April.

But as they begin a weekend series at San Francisco’s Oracle Park tonight, the Orioles have lost back-to-back series for the first time all year.

They still hold one of MLB’s best records at 35-21, but in case you thought there was ever a time they could lighten up on the gas pedal, there doesn’t seem to be. The Giants are 28-28 and have played better going 22-15 since April 22. Milwaukee is next up and is 29-26.

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A unique trend continued for O's pitching in the Cleveland series


A team that was pretty good this year at winning series and winning rubber match games to win series, took an early 4-1 lead Wednesday afternoon. And they took the lead off right-hander Shane Bieber, a former American League Cy Young Award winner who came into this start with an ERA of 3.04 and nine quality starts.

The early lead would be gone by the top of the fourth, and while the offense would fight back, the Guardians, ranked last in the majors in team OPS and 29th in runs per game, would have their way with O’s pitching in a 12-8 win to take the series.

Cleveland led 11-8 by the end of the fifth inning. To that point, the Guardians were 14-for-29 at-bat with four doubles and three homers. Most of their pitch mashing and heavy lifting was done as they won the series finale.

The O’s staff could use a day off which they get today after a 2-4 homestand with series losses to Texas and Cleveland. It followed that 5-1 AL East road trip to Toronto and New York.

The ups and downs of the big league season.

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O's game blog: Looking for a win in the series and homestand finale

santander swinging white

The Orioles have played eight series this year that were not decided until the third and final game, and they are 5-3 in those games. They play another one today after splitting the first two games of their series with the Cleveland Guardians.

The Orioles (35-20) are 5-2-1 this month in series, and they are 12-4-1 in 17 series for the year, going 5-2-1 in home series.

The American League East as of today:

Tampa Bay, 39-18

Orioles, 35-20, 3 GB

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Aaron Hicks talks about joining the Orioles

aaron hicks diving gray

The last time outfielder Aaron Hicks was an above-average hitter (going by OPS+, where 100 is league average), was the 2020 season. He had an OPS of .793 for the New York Yankees that year, which was 22 percent above league average. But his OPS since the 2021 season is .625, and that is 22 percent below the league norm.

He comes to Baltimore to try and help offset the loss of center fielder Cedric Mullins, on the injured list with a right groin strain.

Speaking to O’s media for the first time today, Hicks discussed his fall off at-bat since the 2021 season.

“It’s been rough, you know what I mean? Felt like I’ve had some good games here and then some bad games. Just about getting into a rhythm for me. Hopefully I get the opportunity to play every single day while Mullins is out and kind of get going to be able to solidify a spot,” he said.

“I’m excited to be here. It’s an exciting young team and excited to help them win. They are definitely young and they’re exciting. They come to play every single day.  

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How pregame training is leading to in-game results for outfielder Austin Hays


During his postgame interview Sunday after he drove in two runs as the Orioles beat Texas 3-2, outfielder Austin Hays noted that his pre-game planning work was paying off during the games.

He is having one solid season for the Orioles. Over 50 games, Hays is batting .311/.354/.506/.860 with 13 doubles, two triples, six homers and 23 RBIs. He ranks fourth in the American League in batting average and 12th in OPS. 

His OPS was .719 last season and now he has gained 141 points on that. Hays ranks in the top 19 percent of the majors in average exit velocity and the top 16 percent in barrel percentage. He's hitting the ball hard and getting quality results. 

This time, in a pregame interview, Hays explained more fully what he meant by that comment on Sunday. And what was coming together so well for him in his pregame work and pregame planning with the club’s hitting coaches.

“Specifically (I was referring to) how the pitcher’s ball moves on his fastball and his offspeed stuff and being able to go into the cage and set the machines up for those exact movements and angles and train what I need to think to be able to attack the ball the right way. In the pregame work, we put together a plan and have a visualization of what the ball is going to look like. Especially if it is someone we haven’t faced before or in a while,” he said.

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O's game blog: Looking to get the bats going against Cleveland

gibson pitches white

During this month of May, the Orioles have twice won series after losing the first game of that series. They have a chance to do it again against Cleveland after losing 5-0 on Monday to the Guardians in a game that took just two hours and 19 minutes. The Orioles were held to just five hits by three Cleveland pitchers in front of 25,249 at Oriole Park on Memorial Day.

Baltimore (34-20) remained four games behind Tampa Bay for first in the American League East as the Rays also lost yesterday. The Orioles were shut out for the fourth time this season, all since May 3 and all in the last 25 games.

The Orioles are now 1-3 on this homestand and are 6-5 over the last 11 games. They went 13-9 in a 22-game stretch of games versus winning-record clubs that ended Sunday. But they lost to the Guardians (24-29) Monday as Cleveland won for just the fifth time in the last 13 games. Cleveland is now 8-10 in series-opening games and the Orioles are 13-5.

The Orioles dropped a third straight series opener and fourth in their last five series after beginning the season 13-0 in the first game of a series. They were shut out for the first time since May 14 versus Pittsburgh. The O’s have lost four of the last five games at Oriole Park after starting the season 15-7 at home.

Cleveland won a series opener away from Progressive Field for the first time since May 1 at Yankee Stadium. The Guardians shut out an opponent for the fifth time this season, the first time since May 22 against the White Sox. Their last team shutout on the road was on April 1 at Seattle, when Cleveland snapped a three-game road losing streak.

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A strong day-to-day approach helped O's get through challenging stretch


For Orioles infielder Adam Frazier, a key reason the club went 13-9 over a 22-game run versus winning clubs is that they never got ahead of themselves. A basic and somewhat boring one-game-at-a-time approach was critical for the Orioles to not only look at the task directly in front of them, but to have success and win key series against teams like the Rays, Yankees and Blue Jays.

“It’s been a good two months for us so far,” Frazier said recently about the club’s solid 34-20 start which has them with the third-best record in MLB. “Just taking it one day at a time really. Being in the AL East, it’s never easy. It’s the only way we can approach it, taking it one day at a time. Just need to play our game, play good hard, sound baseball and that gives us a chance to win every day.

“It’s been a tough stretch for sure. We knew coming into this stretch, we were playing really good baseball, but no one gave us much credit. We were winning games, I guess, people were saying we were supposed to. So, all we are doing is taking it one day at a time. With such a tough schedule, that is the best way to approach it and you’ll have success this way.”

Among O’s regulars, Frazier and catcher Adley Rutschman are the only Orioles to have a one-to-one walk-to-strikeout ratio or in Rutschman’s case better with 41 walks to 31 strikeouts. Entering the series opener with Cleveland, Frazier was at 17 walks and strikeouts.

The 9.4 walk rate was a bit better than league average of 8.5. The 9.4 K rate is vastly better than league average at 22.4 and would be a career-best if maintained. Frazier had a 10.8 K rate in 2021 and it was 12.1 last year.

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O's game blog: The series opener with Cleveland

wells v. PIT orange

After a 22-game stretch of games against winning teams – one where the Orioles went 13-9 (.591) – they play a team with an under-.500 record today, hosting Cleveland (23-29) to open a three-game series at Oriole Park. 

The Orioles' 3-2 win over Texas on Sunday enabled them to take the final game of the series, avoid being swept three straight and avoid their second three-game losing streak of the 2023 season.

The Orioles (34-19) are now 16-10 at home and 15-10 this month. They are 12-4-1 in series this year and 11-2-1 in the past 14 series. They are 5-2-1 in home series and 13-4 in series-opening games heading into another one today against the Guardians.

The Orioles scored just eight runs in the three-game series versus Texas. They had 21 hits over the weekend and went 7-for-20 (.350) batting with runners in scoring position.

During the 22-game stretch versus Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Angels, Toronto, the New York Yankees and Texas they scored 94 runs, producing on average 4.27 runs per game.

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O's went 13-9 in challenging 22-game stretch vs. winning record clubs


Sunday’s game against Texas ended a 22-game run for the Orioles against clubs with winning records. After playing a much softer schedule before this stretch, this span of games showed us the Orioles, who earlier beat some second-division clubs, can beat some good teams too.

With Sunday's 3-2 win over Texas the Orioles went 4-2-1 in the seven series and 13-9 in those 22 games against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Angels, Toronto, the New York Yankees and Texas.

Going 13-9 produced a .591 win percentage, which over a full season, would produce 96 wins. Playing that schedule at a 96-win pace is more than holding your own.

There was an impressive series win over the Tampa Bay Rays where they lost the first game. The 5-1 road trip to Toronto and New York. Even in losing the series at Atlanta to begin this run on May 5, they lost a pair of one-run games in that series, one that went 12 innings.

The Orioles showed the league and any remaining doubters, that they can play with good clubs and have set themselves up to contend for a playoff spot this year.

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O's game blog: Birds try to avoid the sweep in the Texas series finale

Kyle Bradish white jersey

During an outstanding season when they have played .635 baseball and have the third-best record in the major leagues, the Orioles (33-19) have lost only four series. They have not been swept in any of them.

For the latter statement to remain true, they’ll have to beat the Texas Rangers (33-18) today. Texas has won the first two games of this series to move ahead of Baltimore for the second-best record in the major leagues and to have a chance for a sweep today.

The Orioles have not only not been swept in any series, they have not lost the first two games of any series until Texas beat them this weekend by 12-2 Friday and 5-3 yesterday.

The American League West leaders, Texas had lost eight of its last nine games versus the Orioles, going 0-6 in the season series last year, until its win on Friday night at Oriole Park. Per Elias Sports Bureau, this series is just the second time ever that the Orioles and Rangers have met with both teams at least 13 games over the .500 mark. The other time it happened was in August 2016.

With a series win this weekend, Texas is 7-1-1 in its last nine series and 11-2-1 in its last 14 series. Their series record for the season thus far is 12-4-1.

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Once a promising rotation prospect, Mike Baumann is now finding MLB success in the bullpen

Rutschman baumann grays

At age 27 and after two previous seasons seeing some big league time, it appears things are finally starting to click for right-hander Mike Baumann. He was drafted by the club in round three of the 2017 MLB Draft and has been ranked among the Orioles' top 30 prospects coming up through the minors.

He was ranked as high as Baltimore's No. 8 prospect by Baseball America in 2021 and has been ranked every year since 2018.

The debate, at least for now, as to whether he is a starter or reliever is over. The club made the call during spring training to move him into a bullpen role. And his last three outings, all on the Toronto-New York road trip, were scoreless.

He showed good life on his fastball and got some big outs against the Blue Jays and Yankees.

“It really just feels like everything is coming together,” Baumann said Friday in the O’s clubhouse. “Just feel a lot more comfortable in a spot where I can attack the hitters and be more aggressive. Really just not holding anything back. Trusting all the work I have been putting in and that makes it more fun.”

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O's game blog: Dean Kremer faces Texas in Game 2 of series

dean kremer pitches white

After their worst loss of the year by margin - falling by 10 runs to Texas - the Orioles host the Rangers this afternoon looking to bounce back from Friday's 12-2 defeat. The previous biggest loss margin of the year was by 6-0 on May 3 at Kansas City. 

Through the season's first 50 games, the Orioles had played an MLB-high 46 games decided by four runs or fewer. Last night was a rare blowout game they were involved in and they were on the wrong end as Texas scored eight runs in the fourth off right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, who was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.

When the Orioles took two of three from Texas early last month on the road, they allowed just seven runs and 17 hits in three games. But a Rangers club that began the weekend leading MLB by scoring 6.33 runs per game, hit three homers and had 13 hits in last night's win. 

And now that runs per game average for the Rangers is up to 6.44 and they have scored 322 runs for the year. The Rangers have scored 10+ in an MLB-leading 13 games and have scored 5+ runs in an inning 15 times. They rank second in the majors with four or more runs scored in 36 games.

Texas leads MLB with 144 runs in May, along with a .286 BA and .812 OPS. The 322 runs scored are the most over the first 50 games of a season in franchise history, and is tied for 18th-most runs in a team's first 50 games of a season since 1901. The Rangers' season-best +122 run differential is tops in MLB.

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Are O's positioned to be aggressive at the trade deadline? (plus other notes)

Mike Elias OPACY suit

When Orioles executive vice president Mike Elias provided a media update for O’s reporters on Friday, of course, the trade deadline came up. And my question for Elias was are the Orioles well positioned to be aggressive at this deadline if they choose to be?

After all they do seem positioned very well, with the top-ranked farm system in the sport - one which is deep in top 100 prospects and other quality young talent. And a lower payroll creates flexibility to take on some salary should they choose to do that.

“We are definitely preparing all types of scenarios,” said Elias in the O’s dugout pregame Friday. “And they are buy scenarios. I just think the deadline, so much of it that is murky with me, is who the sellers will be? What will other teams try to do? What will the standings look like?

“These extra playoff spots seem to have really changed the landscape and dynamic and the balanced schedule (adds to that). You just see some weird stuff going on in each division compared to one another. So, it is really not clear to me what that is going to look like.

“So we’re just trying to get a clear sense of the type of players that might provide the biggest impact for us, where those players might be coming from. And trying to gauge any likelihood that any of these players might be on the market in some way, shape or form. And then working on the evaluations right now.

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O's game blog: The homestand begins against Texas

rodriguez v LAA white

With a 12-7 record in a 22-game stretch against clubs with winning records, which includes series wins over the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, the Orioles return home tonight as a club playing .660 ball through the season’s first 50 games.

It is a stunningly strong start to a season they hope ends with them in the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season. If the season ended today, they would hold the first American League wild card spot and would indeed be a playoff club.

This challenging stretch started May 5 at Atlanta. The Orioles won the opener but then lost twice by a run to lose that series 2-1. They then went 2-1 versus Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh and 2-2 versus the Los Angeles Angels. They went 3-0 at Toronto and 2-1 at New York. They are playing .632 ball the past 19 games, going 4-1-1 in the six series against quality opponents.

When the stretch began they were 4 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay for the AL East lead, and today they begin play three games back. The AL East standings as the weekend begins:

Tampa Bay 37-15

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