O's game blog: Looking to extend a win streak against Miami

gibson city v SEA

The second half started for the Orioles on Friday night as the first half ended – with the Orioles winning. They improved to 20 games over the .500 mark for the first time this year with a 5-2 win over Miami. Adam Frazier produced his first career two-homer game with three hits and four RBIs in the win.

The Orioles (55-35) moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Rays, who were rained out Friday and plays a day-night doubleheader in Kansas City today.

Tampa Bay won the day portion of the twinbill 6-1, so the O's are now again two games back.

The Orioles are 20 games over .500 before August for the first time since 1997. 

The Orioles have a six-game win streak and have outscored their opponents 49-11 during this run. They have scored 26 runs the past three games. The Orioles have hit nine homers the past two games.

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Jackson Holliday worked through some tough times in June to emerge at Double-A

jackson holliday

BOWIE, Md. - Manny Machado played at Double-A Bowie at age 19 in 2012 and pitcher Dylan Bundy was 19 when he pitched for Bowie that same year. Now Jackson Holliday becomes the next O’s prospect to ascend to Bowie before his 20th birthday.

It’s been quite a run of now nearly 365 days for the kid. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Orioles on July 17, 2022, he is still a few days removed from that one-year anniversary. He started this season playing at Low Single-A Delmarva and moved to High-A Aberdeen playing his first game there on April 25. On July 8, he played in the All-Star Futures Game in Seattle representing the Orioles. And now, six days later he played his first game in the Double-A Eastern League.

Last night in his Baysox debut, Holliday went 2-for-5 with singles in the second and ninth innings.

Bowie lost 8-6, but left fielder John Rhodes hit three solo homers and has eight on the year after producing his first career multi-homer game. Drafted in round three from Kentucky in 2021, Rhodes has a .251 average and .796 OPS in 62 Baysox games. His OPS was .985 in June. This was the seventh three-homer game in Bowie team history.

Holliday began the year ranked No. 12 via MLBPipeline.com and is now No. 1 in that top 100 ranking as baseball’s top prospect. He began the year at No. 15 via Baseball America and is now No. 2 on that list. Cincinnati’s Elly De La Cruz will soon graduate from those rankings, where he is No. 1 and Holliday will move to No. 1 there too.

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O's game blog: Birds host Miami as the second-half begins

o's celebrate

After ending the first half with an impressive five-game win streak, the Orioles look to extend the streak as their second-half schedule begins tonight. They host the Miami Marlins for three games this weekend and then play three more at home to end the homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the third series out of the All-Star break, the Orioles (54-35) will play four games on the road against the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (58-35). The Orioles win streak has seen them close to just two games back of Tampa Bay and the clubs are even in the loss column.

When last seen, the Orioles hit a season-high six homers and scored seven runs in the fifth and six more in the sixth last Sunday to rout Minnesota 15-2 and sweep that three-game series at Target Field by a 24-5 score. They put up 24 runs against the team that began that weekend leading MLB in team ERA and on Sunday was second by one point to Atlanta, 3.55 to 3.56.

The Orioles have been on a hot streak in recent games batting with runners in scoring position. They went 11-for-21 (.524) in three games in Minnesota and are 23-for-52 (.442) in the past five games with RISP.

This surge has lifted the club’s batting average for the season with RISP to .273 which is fourth-best in the AL behind Texas (.297), Tampa Bay (.289) and Boston (.284).

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In Bowie, Jackson Holliday on the move to Double-A

jackson holliday

BOWIE, Md. – On Monday, 19-year-old Jackson Holliday will celebrate the one-year anniversary of being selected by the Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. He hoped to make it as far as Double-A Bowie during this his first full season in pro baseball.

He’s done it. The news was out on Sunday and tonight Holliday, after beginning this year playing 14 games with Low Single-A Delmarva and then moving on to High-A Aberdeen for 57, will debut at Bowie. He’s batting second and playing shortstop against Akron tonight, hitting after leadoff batter Billy Cook and before Jud Fabian.

The great 2023 season for Holliday, who has become the No. 1 ranked prospect via MLBPipeline.com and No. 2 on the Baseball America list this year and who also recently played in the All-Star Futures Games, continues tonight as he arrives at the Double-A level maybe even faster than he figured on.

But a goal is achieved for him as he arrives at Double-A.

“Absolutely,” he said this afternoon in the Baysox dugout. “I came into spring training as this was my goal for the end of the year. I’ve reached it so now there are new goals. So, who knows what can happen but I’m excited to be here. Time to keep playing and enjoying it.”

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A few O's questions as the second half is set to begin tonight

mateo throws white

As the season’s second half – the post-All-Star break portion of the schedule – begins tonight in Baltimore, the Orioles resume play at 54-35. They are two games behind Tampa Bay for the American League East lead and hold the No. 1 AL wild card spot, leading by five games for that over Houston and Toronto.

Their win percentage of .607 projects to 98 wins over a full season and is their eighth-best win percentage all-time at the All-Star break.

Here are a few questions that will be answered in the second half:

What will the trade deadline look like for the club?

Well, one guess is that the Orioles will be rumored to have their hand in several potential deals. But the Orioles hold some nice cards here. For one, they have the No. 1 farm in the game and several top 100 prospects at higher levels that are already in the majors, are major league-ready or are close. These are the types of players that are coveted around the sport. The Orioles are loaded in what you could call “prospect capital.”

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More on the 100-pitch barrier and pitchers talk about breaking through it

bradish pitches orange

Yesterday in this space we discussed the 100-pitch mark for starting pitchers in big league baseball. It is becoming more and more rare for some to hit the century mark in pitch cout. The Orioles have just 11 games this year where their starter went 100 or more pitches. Yet they still rank 12th in MLB and seventh in the AL as their starters average 88.9 pitches per game.

There are just six teams in MLB that average 90 or more starter pitches per night at the All-Star break and the leader is the Chicago White Sox at 94.1. No MLB team even averages 95 pitches per game from their starting rotation.

The White Sox lead the majors with 33 games with a hurler going 100 pitches or more this year, per Stats Perform. Philadelphia is next with 27 followed by San Diego and Toronto with 25 and Atlanta with 23. At, the O's rank tied for 19th. Colorado is last with just two such games and Tampa Bay has second fewest with five. 

O’s manager Brandon Hyde discussed in this space yesterday the trend throughout the industry where, and he said, “for some very good reasons” teams don’t train pitchers on the farm to throw this many pitches. Some pitchers have to learn to get deeper only when they get to the majors.

“I’d love to push these guys as far as they possibly can go. Yeah,” Hyde said recently. “You know, it’s a lot easier to do when you are up 6-1 than in a 3-2 game when you walk the leadoff hitter in the sixth or seventh inning. Every circumstance is totally different and things change on a night-to-night basis. But I go into a game, excluding Tyler Wells last year, saying I’m going to take our pitcher that day as far as I can possibly go to try and win the game. Thinking that way.”

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A challenge for starting pitchers MLB-wide: The 100-pitch barrier

bradish v MIN

It has become a barrier for starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. A pitch count that reaches 100. We don’t see it very often anymore. Commonplace back in the day, so to speak, not so much anymore.

In fact there are just six teams that average even 90 or more pitches per night from their starters among the 30 clubs in the major leagues right now.

94.1 - Chicago White Sox
92.1 - Houston
91.1 - Washington
91.0 - Toronto and St. Louis
90.6 - Los Angeles Angels

That is the list. No other team averages more than 90 pitches a game from their starters.

The team ranking last is a shocker. It’s Tampa Bay at 74.1. I imagine that's due in part to the Rays' frequent use of openers.

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Round 5 pick showed big tools, plus All-Star, first-half notes and quotes

oriole bird mlb draft

Orioles director of draft operations Brad Ciolek was excited to nab each of the 12 picks the club has made during the first two days of the MLB Draft. The Orioles selected seven pitchers and five outfielders through 10 rounds.

But one player that showed the club especially loud tools and did so in a pre-draft workout at Camden Yards was round five selection, UNC-Charlotte outfielder Jake Cunningham. The right-handed batter and thrower hit .267/.359/.519 this past season with 14 doubles, 11 homers and 41 RBIs. Ranked as the No. 140 draft prospect by Baseball America and No. 147 by MLBPipeline.com, he has hit 29 homers in 146 career college games.

"I think the one name that we were excited about getting him where we did - we're actually ecstatic about all these guys - is Jake Cunningham," said Ciolek. "He was on our radar last year at UNC-Charlotte. He is a tool shed. He has double plus raw power in BP. He is a plus runner and one of those guys that has instincts for center field.

"In a workout at Camden Yards leading up to the draft, he was up to 111 (exit velocity mph) with wood. So, we are very excited to get all these guys, but to get Jake where we got him, coming into the year he did battle some injuries, but we were excited to get Jake where we did."

You can take a look at this story posted yesterday for write ups on all the draft picks from Day 2 with a few more Ciolek quotes there as well.

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O's select University of Washington pitcher in round three (updated with quotes)

Mike Elias OPACY suit

As the MLB Draft resumed today the Orioles selected University of Washington right-handed pitcher Kiefer Lord in the third round at No. 86 overall. He is the second pitcher the Orioles have taken among their first four picks to start this draft. 

The O’s have nine picks today in rounds three through 10. Their No. 100 overall pick is a compensation pick for not signing a third-round pick last year in pitcher Nolan McLean from Oklahoma State. He was today selected No. 91 overall by the Mets. 

Last night the Orioles selected Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. with their No. 17 overall pick. They added North Carolina third baseman/outfielder Mac Horvath in round two with pick No. 53. They drafted Florida State pitcher Jackson Baumeister with a competitive balance pick that was No. 63 overall. He becomes the highest-drafted pitcher by overall selection in the now five drafts under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.

Click here for more on the Day One picks.

Here are the O’s picks for today with listed slot amount for each.

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After impressive sweep at Target Field, the All-Star break arrives in Birdland


MINNEAPOLIS – It was just last Tuesday, on the Fourth of July. The New York Yankees beat the Orioles 8-4 and had taken the first two games of a four-game series. After losing two of three last weekend and scoring just three runs in three games versus Minnesota, the Orioles had lost six of their past seven.

The Orioles had fallen six games behind Tampa Bay. Catch the Rays? How about try to hold on to a wild-card spot first. Was the season starting to slip away from the Orioles?

Some in Birdland posed such a question.

It looks like a foolish one this morning. Since that loss the Orioles have won five in a row by a 44-9 score. They hit a barrage of six homers yesterday and won 15-2 against a Minnesota pitching staff that began the weekend leading the majors in team ERA at 3.55 and in rotation ERA at 3.54.

Last weekend in Baltimore the Twins held the Orioles to three runs. This past weekend in Minneapolis they “held” the Orioles to 24.

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O's hammer six homers, sweep Minnesota, reach 54-35 at the break (updated)

Hays and Mullins

MINNEAPOLIS – A day that started out with the Orioles striking out often, ended with them pounding the Minnesota Twins 15-2 today behind a barrage of six homers, a few blasted well over 400 feet.

It was a nice way to say goodbye to the first half by saying goodbye to a few baseballs against the pitching staff that began today with the second-best ERA in the majors at 3.56 to Atlanta at 3.55.

The Orioles hit the break at 54-35 with a five-game win streak and they tie a season-high at moving to 19 games above the .500 mark.

The Orioles' .607 win percentage at the break is the eighth-best in team history at this point of the year.

The Orioles scored seven runs in the fifth inning to lead 8-1 and six in the sixth to make it a 14-1 blowout. The six homers are a season-high, doubling up any game this year save for one when they hit a previous season-high four on June 13 versus Toronto.

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No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday being promoted to Double-A (Mayo & McDermott to AAA)

Jackson Holliday

MINNEAPOLIS – He is less than a year removed from being selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Orioles in the 2022 Major League Draft. And today, as a new draft arrives tonight, shortstop Jackson Holliday is headed to Double-A.

MASNSports.com has learned via a team source that Holliday, who played in the All-Star Futures Game Saturday, going 0-for-1, will play his next game for the Double-A Bowie Baysox moving up from High-A Aberdeen.

Holliday, 19, is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the sport by MLBPipeline.com and No. 2 via Baseball America. He had set a goal to get to Bowie this season and now he has achieved that. 

This move comes with other promotion news as infielder Coby Mayo will move up from Double-A to Triple-A Norfolk and right-hander pitcher Chayce McDermott is also moving from Bowie to Norfolk.

Holliday began this year with Low Single-A Delmarva, but after 14 games there moved to High-A Aberdeen. In 71 games between those clubs, he batted .331/.466/.523/.989 with 17 doubles, six triples, seven homers and 51 RBIs. He controlled the strike zone very well with 64 walks to 67 strikeouts and scored 67 runs with 20 stolen bases.

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O's game blog: Looking to end the first half with a three-game sweep of the Twins

Cedric Mullins home run robbery

MINNEAPOLIS – The Orioles have won their past four games by a combined 29-7 score. And, after a 3-1 win in 10 innings Friday and a 6-2 win on Saturday afternoon, the Orioles can complete a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins this afternoon at Target Field.

The Orioles won the last two games of their series at New York by a 20-4 score and carried that momentum into Minnesota. They are 53-35 for the season and have the American League’s best road record at 27-17. A win today would give them a 5-2 road trip and 54 wins heading into the All-Star break.

The Orioles have three sweeps of three games this season:

* At Detroit April 21-23
* At Toronto May 19-21
* Versus Kansas City June 9-11

Saturday’s win for Baltimore was marked by a six-run top of the second inning. It was a strange game in that the Orioles scored six runs on six hits in that inning, but had no runs and no hits in any other inning yesterday. They went 0-for-24 at-bat outside of the second inning versus Twins pitching.

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Ryan Mountcastle on his return to the O's active roster

mountcastle greets rutschman white

MINNEAPOLIS - It had to be troubling, concerning and maybe a bit scary at times as O’s first baseman Ryan Mountcastle dealt with the impact of vertigo and has not played in the majors since June 8. But he returned to the Orioles active roster today.

While he is not in the lineup, he’s ready to go, feels his swing is in fine shape and is excited to hopefully have this all over with. He said he didn’t have vertigo before this year but believes they got it under control so he can return today to the team.

“This feels like the longest I’ve ever gone without playing (in the majors),” said Mountcastle whose 20-day minor league rehab assignment had one day yet to go. “It wasn’t fun at all. Just happy to be back and feel like a normal human again.

“It was my first time. It hit me in waves. Took longer than I thought, but just happy to be back. Probably like a week or so ago, I felt good. They just wanted to take their time. Came up today and hopefully, I can come off the bench and get an at-bat or two. Feel good, ready to go.”

Mountcastle said this first became something significant for him when the Orioles played in Milwaukee June 6-8.

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O's get on a roll, close first-place gap as first half is about to close

Tyler Wells throws orange away

MINNEAPOLIS - A four-game win streak by the Orioles as the first half is about to end today was a nice response to a 1-6 stretch. Where some feared they could get swept by the Yankees after losing Monday and Tuesday in the Bronx, they are 4-0 since and have outscored their opposition 29-7.

They've won a couple of close games, one in extra innings, gotten four games of clutch hits, had one resounding blowout and one comfortable win and otherwise showed a nice finishing kick. 

They are who you thought they were if you thought that was a solid playoff contender and one with one of MLB's best records. 

Some of Birdland's angst and panic by a few recently was unfounded.

And last night, Atlanta beat Tampa Bay 6-1, handing the Rays a seventh straight loss. The Orioles moved to within two games of first place and the O's and Rays both now have 35 losses. 

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O's big inning, Wells' strong outing lead to win and series victory (updated)

Tyler Wells throws orange away

MINNEAPOLIS – It was unexpected but very welcome. The Orioles got a big inning early in the game against the club with the best team ERA in Major League Baseball. A club they had scored six runs off in four games over the last two weekends.

But their 6-2 victory today over the American League Central-leading Twins was keyed by a huge six-run six-hit top of the second inning. They batted 10 players and five different Orioles drove in runs.

The uprising came against right-hander Sonny Gray, a pitcher who threw six scoreless on two hits against Baltimore batters last Sunday at Oriole Park. A pitcher who entered with a 2.50 ERA that ranked second-best in the AL and third in the majors. A pitcher who had given up three runs or less in 17 of 17 starts this year.

So the big inning was indeed unexpected.

But it lift the Orioles' record to 53-35 and they have won four in a row after losing six of seven. They have the best AL road record, which is now 27-17 and have a winning road trip at 4-2 with one game to go.

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

Tyler Wells

MINNEAPOLIS – The Orioles didn't have a huge night on offense or produce some record-setting numbers last night. They used old school pitching and defense to win.

Cedric Mullins made a great catch in center to rob a three-run homer and that helped lefty Cole Irvin continue to turn his season around with 6 1/3 innings allowing one run last night. When the Orioles broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run top of the 10th, it was enough to beat the first-place Twins 3-1 in the series opener at Target Field.

The Orioles are 52-35 and moved within three games of first in the American League East as the Braves beat the Rays, handing Tampa Bay a sixth straight loss. The Orioles are now 26-17 on the road and 3-2 on this road trip. They are 4-3 in July, 5-5 in extra-inning games and 19-10 in series-opening games.

One more win in this series and the Orioles will be 17-9-3 in their series before the All-Star Game.

Minnesota (45-44) had won five of its past six games as the series began. The Twins fell to 26-20 at home, to 14-15 in series openers and 8-4 in extra-inning games.

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Hyde's pregame props for Cowser and Bautista's All-Star hope

cowser debut

MINNEAPOLIS - Colton Cowser has been with the Orioles for four days now and today the rookie will make his fourth start, batting seventh in right field. He has made a strong early impression on manager Brandon Hyde.

"I think he's been amazing," Hyde said pregame today. "Love his at-bats. Looks like he's been doing that for a while up here. Even that at-bat against (Jhoan) Duran last night, you know the call at first base. Just, he hadn't seen 103 mph sinkers before. Spit on some stuff down. Just relaxed throughout that big spot. Been really, really impressed with the way he's handled himself in the dugout. Defense has been really, really solid. I like his energy and he's fun to be around."

Cowser is 2-for-10 to start his big league career with three walks and no strikeouts.

Hyde said the team is discussing now how to set up its rotation out of the All-Star break, but added "we are not going to announce anything any time soon."

Ryan Mountcastle is batting .222 with an OPS of .572 on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk. The assignment will end during the All-Star break. Is there a chance the O's add Mountcastle to start the second half?

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O's win at Target Field marked by the latest great catch by Mullins

Cedric Mullins home run robbery

MINNEAPOLIS – All it took was one remarkable catch. One strong starting pitching performance. One clutch late relief outing. A sac fly, a sac bunt, a clutch double and a few others things for the Orioles to beat a team they often struggle against.

They lost two of three to the Twins last weekend. And while the Twins' record is inferior to the Orioles', they are a first-place team that leads the major leagues in team ERA and had won five of six games entering this series.

But the Orioles got two runs in the top of the 10th on a Ramón Urías double and Aaron Hicks sac fly. Félix Bautista pitched the ninth and 10th, getting his fourth win with a 30-pitch outing.

The win and night made better by the news that the Rays lost for the sixth straight game and the Orioles are three games back, just one in the loss column.

Wasn’t their season heading for a downturn about 10 minutes ago?

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Good start to the weekend: O's beat Twins 3-1 in 10 innings (updated)

Cedric Mullins home run robbery

MINNEAPOLIS – Cole Irvin was not “swirvin” this time. Irvin, who uses that nickname in his Twitter handle, was very much in balance and control tonight and he was setting down the Minnesota Twins with regularity.

His season ERA was 6.32 at game time, but his ERA since his latest return to the Orioles roster June 10 was 3.44 in five games. He gave up two runs in eight innings his last two starts, one rain interrupted. He had shown signs he was getting his act together.

Tonight, in front of 32,724 fans at Target Field in the opener of this three-game series, we saw more evidence.  

Irvin left with a lead but could not get a win tonight.

But the Orioles did.

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