O's game blog: Looking for another win at Seattle

kremer

The Orioles' six-game road trip continues tonight as the Orioles (54-31) play at Seattle (47-40) in a matchup of American League division leaders. If the O's get another win there, they will have a series victory. 

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez and three relievers teamed on a two-hit shutout as the Orioles won 2-0 in last night's series opener. Rodriguez went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and four walks while recording eight strikeouts. He threw 104 pitches, three off his season high, and improved to 10-3 with a 3.45 ERA.

In two starts this year versus Seattle he has thrown 12 1/3 scoreless, allowing just three hits for an .079 average against with seven walks to 15 strikeouts.

Rodriguez produced his eighth quality start of the season and the Orioles are 11-4 in his 15 starts.

He is the third O's pitcher 24 or younger to have 10 wins in his first 15 starts of a season:

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Adding more talent: What the O's might do in the upcoming MLB Draft

Enrique Bradfield Jr.

After making their first pick in the top five and twice having the No. 1 overall selection between 2019 and 2022, maybe selecting down in the MLB Draft has become the new normal in Baltimore.

The winning Orioles selected No. 17 with their top pick in 2023 and took Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. This year the Orioles top pick is No. 22 overall. It is their lowest since they selected University of Illinois right-hander Cody Sedlock No. 27 in 2016.

The four players the O’s picked high in the draft starting in 2019 in Adley Rutschman, Heston Kjerstad, Colton Cowser and Jackson Holliday, have all played for the Orioles this season.

This year the O’s have four top 100 picks with selections at No. 22, No. 32, No. 61 and No. 97. The first is their first rounder and the second the Prospect Promotion Incentive pick they got when Gunnar Henderson won Rookie of the Year last year. The third is their second-round pick and fourth will be a third-round selection.

I asked Jim Callis of MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com, how the draft looks in that 20 to 40 range?

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O's game blog: The road trip begins in Seattle

Grayson Rodriguez

After a much-needed off-day, the Orioles (53-31) begin a six-game West Coast road trip tonight at Seattle in a match up of first-place clubs. The trip heads to Oakland starting Friday night. 

When we last saw them, the Orioles were getting blown out 11-2 at home Sunday night by the Rangers. But the Orioles had won the first three games of that four-game series. They finished June going 17-12 and ended a run of 30 games in a 31-day span by going 18-12 (.600).

The Orioles, who lead the majors with 139 homers, were held without one in that game for just the second time in the last 29 games.

Ryan O'Hearn and Heston Kjerstad drove in the O's runs on Sunday as the Rangers outhit the Orioles 13-7.

The Orioles had their best scoring and hitting month of the year in June, averaging 5.62 runs per game and hitting 60 homers. As a team, they batted .273/.333/.513/.847 during the month. 

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Double-A Bowie's Samuel Basallo is named to play in the All-Star Futures Game

Samuel Basallo

Double-A Bowie catcher Samuel Basallo, one of baseball’s top prospects and a shining star of the Orioles international program, was selected today to take part in the All-Star Futures Game on July 13 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex.

Basallo is the only O’s rep in the game set for 4:10 p.m. ET that will be televised live on MLB Network.

Basallo, 19, is ranked as the Orioles’ No. 2 prospect behind Jackson Holliday who played in this game last year. He is rated No. 12 in the top 100 by MLBPipeline.com and No. 18 via Baseball America.

Basallo over 68 games this season for the Baysox, is batting .278/.338/.456/.794 with 13 doubles, 11 homers, 39 runs and 34 RBIs.

He got off to a slow start but produced an OPS of .791 in May and .894 in June.

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The work to develop a young pitcher: Jackson Baumeister excelling at Aberdeen

Jackson Baumeister Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Md. - In the last two MLB Drafts, the Orioles have made 40 combined selections and 25 of them have been pitchers. But none were taken higher up the board than last year’s selection of Florida State right-hander Jackson Baumeister with the No. 63 overall pick.

He is the highest drafted pitcher taken by O's executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias since his initial O's draft in 2019.

Baumeister, 21, was selected with a Competitive Balance Round B pick, selections that were made just ahead of the third round of the draft.

After two seasons on the Seminoles staff, the Orioles took Baumeister as a draft-eligible sophomore. He did not pitch after that 2023 draft. but he has made his pro debut this year at High-A Aberdeen and is having a solid first season.

Ranked as the Orioles' No. 11 prospect by Baseball America and No. 18 via MLBPipeline.com, he is 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA. In 14 games over 55 1/3 innings he has allowed 37 hits and no homers with 35 walks and 65 strikeouts. He has a .192 average against and 1.30 WHIP for the IronBirds.

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Grueling stretch comes to end with O's playing .600 ball during the span

Ryan O'Hearn

It ended with a blowout loss 11-2 last night, but for the most part the Orioles did a nice job through their extremely demanding stretch of 30 games over 31 days that ended on Sunday Night Baseball.

The team today will have its first day off since June 17 and just its second since May 30.

They played .600 ball during this run, going 18-12. When the stretch began, they were two games out of first place. As it ended, they had gained those two games back and were actually percentage points ahead of the Yankees at .631 to .628.

One reason they did well in this stretch, said veteran Ryan O’Hearn, was manager Brandon Hyde. O’Hearn said his skipper has good feel for when to push his players but also went to pull back a bit perhaps with less pregame work during a difficult stretch like the one that just ended.

“Definitely. As far as early work, batting practice, stuff like that, we’ve had many times when we kind of stepped back and had a show and go (a day with less pregame work). You know kind of taking it easy during the day and when it’s time to play the game you play the game. I think Hyde has a really good feel when it comes to that. He understands guys are grinding with tough games and tough teams and no off-days.

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Irvin struggles again as O's lose series and homestand finale (updated)

Cole Irvin

The Orioles were looking for their third four-game sweep of this season and third in their past 11 series since May 23. But lefty Cole Irvin’s struggles continued tonight as the Birds fell in an early hole and lost big on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”

Irvin allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings as the Rangers scored two in the second and knocked him out during their three-run fourth. The Rangers denied the Orioles the sweep whipping the Birds 11-2 tonight in front of 23,439 in the series and homestand finale at Oriole Park.

The Orioles fall back into a first-place tie with the Yankees after New York’s win this afternoon. Baltimore is leading the American League East by percentage points at .631 (53-31) to New York’s .628 (54-32).

After just their second off-day tomorrow since May 31, the Orioles begin a West Coast swing Tuesday at Seattle and then head for Oakland.

The Orioles went 18-12 (.600) in their run of 30 games over the last 31 days.

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Henderson announces he will participate in Home Run Derby

henderson hr v nyy

Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson told a national TV audience watching tonight’s "Sunday Night Baseball" game on ESPN that he will take part in the Home Run Derby competition during All-Star week in Texas on Monday, July 13.

Henderson was mic'd up on the field at shortstop during the top of third inning and was asked about the Derby.

"I will be doing the Home Run Derby in Texas," he said during the broadcast.

Henderson seems to be a lock to play in the All-Star Game and may be the starting shortstop for the American League. He led AL shortstops with 2,664,120 votes when Phase 1 voting ended. Phase 2 voting is now underway where he will face Kansas City's Bobby Witt Jr. as voting continues to determine the starter at short. He is vying for his first career All-Star Game selection and would be the first Orioles shortstop selected to the game since Manny Machado in 2018.

Henderson began tonight batting .292/.388/.612/.1.000 with 17 doubles, four triples, 26 homers, 73 runs and 58 RBIs. He leads the major leagues in runs and FanGraph’s Wins Above Replacement (6.1) and is tied for second in home runs.

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O's game blog: Chance for a four-game sweep on "Sunday Night Baseball"

Gunnar Henderson

It certainly would not in any way make up for losing three straight last October in the American League Division Series. But the O's have a chance to produce a four-game sweep tonight over the Rangers on the national stage of ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball."

The Orioles (53-30) will end a seven-game homestand tonight that began with two losses but might end with five straight wins.

The Orioles tonight also end a stretch where they will have played 30 games over the last 31 days since May 31. They get another off-day, finally, on Monday. The Orioles are 18-11 (.621) during this stretch.

When it began, the Birds were 35-19 and two games out of first place. As it ends tonight, they began play Sunday 23 games over .500 and leading the AL East by one game. That is now a half-game after a Yankees win today.

Tonight the Orioles look for their sixth series sweep of the year of three games or more and their third of four games. They swept four at Chicago versus the White Sox from May 23-26. They won four in Florida against the Rays from June 7-10. They have three-game sweeps over Boston, Minnesota and Cincinnati.

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O's talk about going 18-11 during demanding stretch of games

Orioles celebrate win

The gauntlet is coming to a close for the Orioles. Starting back on May 31, they began a stretch of playing 30 games in 31 days that ends with tonight’s game versus Texas.

They have gone 18-11 in this span, and 6-2-1 in nine series, even with a five-game losing streak and being swept in Houston. Tonight they could produce their second four-game sweep of this run with an earlier one at Tampa Bay. The run includes series wins over the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Rays and Rangers.

“I think we have handled it really well. Whether we come out 18-12 or 19-11,” Colton Cowser said this afternoon. “I think coming out of this month with a winning record with the opponents we played, especially with one off-day, it is a testament to this team and the depth that we carry.

“I think we talked about it (before it began) but not necessarily who our opponents were. It was, ‘Damn, we’ve got one off-day in June.’ But yeah, I was talking to (James) McCann and he said every year it feels like there is one month to the season and it’s kind of a gauntlet.

“After this stretch, looking at the schedule, we only play four Mondays the rest of the year. Which is kind of crazy to think about. It’s more like a minor league schedule all the sudden. We’ll take it.”

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O's have 60 homers in June as final day of the month is here

santander homer black

The Orioles keep mashing home runs. After hitting two more in Saturday's 6-5 victory over Teas, they have hit 14 homers in their past five games, 29 in the last 13 games with a team OPS of .901 in that span and 60 homers in 28 games this month.

They have homered in 27 of 28 games this month and as of pregame Saturday led the majors with a team slugging percentage of .523 in June. They were second to the Mets in team OPS this month at .857 and were second to the Mets in runs per game in June at 5.75 (with the Mets at 6.43).

Their most homer-happy player this month is Anthony Santander who hit another homer last night. He has 13 in June where his batting line is .274/.325/.670/.995.

Santander said the powerful O’s lineup is helping each hitter in that lineup one through nine.

“It’s great having a deep lineup. It’s awesome,” he said this week. “Over 162 games you can’t have everyone hitting every game. Sometimes we see the bottom of our order carrying it.”

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O's game blog: Looking for another win in series with Texas

Cade Povich

In their first series against each other since Texas swept the Orioles last October in the American League Division Series, the Orioles have beaten Texas 11-2 and 2-1 the last two nights to begin this four-game series.

After losing five in a row to Houston and Cleveland, the Orioles (52-30) have won their past three games.

During the five losses, Baltimore pitching allowed 40 runs with a team ERA of 7.71 and OPS against of .936 in those games. The team ERA increased from 3.13 to 3.40 for the year.

During the past three wins, Baltimore pitchers have allowed five total runs with a team ERA of 1.67 and a .582 OPS. The team ERA is down to 3.34. That ERA ranks first in the American League and is third-best in the majors behind Philadelphia (3.04) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (3.27).

The O's three-game win streak has come by a combined 17-5 score. The Orioles are now 8-11 in one-run games and, after last night, 3-15 when they score two runs or fewer. They are 28-16 at home and 16-11 in June.

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Looking at Urías' good defense, June coming to a close and Cowser's power

cowser goes yard @ BOS

The Texas Rangers were trying to come from two runs down and the wildness of the O’s bullpen gave them a great chance. They had cut the O's 2-0 lead to 2-1 in the seventh inning and a key batter, leadoff hitter Marcus Semien, batted with the bases loaded and two outs.

O’s righty Jacob Webb threw him a 2-2 fastball and he hit it hard toward third base. Ramón Urías, the 2022 American League Gold Glove winner at third base, made a nice play to his backhand side and thew out Semien. The ball was hit 96.5 mph off the bat and Statcast gave it an expected batting average of .530.

But the Rangers were turned away.

In a game the Orioles would go on to win 2-1, it was a solid defensive play. And a key one. Actual batting average on the play was .000.

“Yeah. Big play right there,” Urías said in the postgame clubhouse. “Just tried to stay calm. Know the situation and know your runner and I think the main thing is just stay calm.”

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O's game blog: Orioles face Scherzer in Game 2 against Texas

albert suarez

The Orioles are nearing the end of a stretch of playing 30 games in 31 days since May 31. Even with the recent five-game losing steak, the team is 16-11 (.593) in this span with three games left in this series with Texas remaining before Monday's off-day to end this grueling span.

The Orioles have won series in this difficult stretch versus the Rays (twice), Braves, Phillies and Yankees. They split a four-game set in Toronto and lost series to the Astros and Guardians.

The six teams that would qualify for the American League playoffs if the season ended today are the Orioles, Yankees, Guardians, Mariners, Twins and Royals. The Birds are 6-1 in series against those clubs, going 15-7 overall.

In the first game between the Orioles and Rangers since Texas swept three in a row last October in the AL Division Series, the O's won 11-2, hitting four homers. Right-hander Corbin Burnes got the win on the mound, allowing one run over seven innings to now be 9-3 with a 2.28 ERA. He has 11 quality starts in his past 12 games with an ERA of 2.09 over that stretch.

Jordan Westburg's two-run double in the first gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead. Heston Kjerstad hit a two-run homer in the third and Cedric Mullins hit a two-run shot an inning later. The O's got solo homers from Adley Rutschman in the seventh and Colton Cowser in the eighth.

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Lefty reliever Matt Krook talks about joining the Orioles

Matt Kook

As Orioles ace pitcher right-hander Corbin Burnes (9-3, 2.28 ERA) went on the paternity list today, it opened an opportunity for Triple-A lefty reliever Matt Krook to join the team.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Burnes will rejoin the team for Tuesday’s game at Seattle and then they will map out his next start. Today Krook was called from Norfolk to take his roster spot. A player can be on the paternity list for up to three games.

For now, Krook arrives for the first time on the O’s roster. At 29, Krook has spent a lot of time in the minors since being drafted in round four in 2016 by San Francisco.

His first chance at the majors came in four games for the Yankees in 2023 and he allowed 11 runs over four innings, pitching in games in June, July and September.

He was designated for assignment by New York on Feb. 13 of this year and traded five days later to Baltimore for cash considerations. This year at Triple-A Norfolk, he has gone 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 26 games over 26 2/3 innings with 17 walks, 31 strikeouts, a .200 average against and 1.35 WHIP.

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Henderson has added another element to his game this year: base-stealing ability

henderson

The Orioles' Gunnar Henderson has always been able to impact a game with five tools, and the speed element of that is on greater display during the 2024 season.

He might have to pick up the pace a bit in the stolen-base department, but Henderson has a chance to become the second Oriole - Cedric Mullins did it in 2021 - to hit 30 or more homers and steal at least 30 bases in one season.

Henderson is running more this year, is very comfortable swiping bags and now has a manager willing to give him a green light to go more than ever.

He began last night second in the AL in homers (26), slugging (.618) and OPS (1.005), but also tied for 13th in the league with 13 steals. He is 13-for-14 this year after stealing 10 bases in 13 attempts all of last year.

Has he just made a concerted effort to run more this year?

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O's game blog: The series opener with the Texas Rangers

burnes @ WAS

They ended the Orioles 2023 season in the American League Division Series with a three-game sweep. Tonight the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers come to Camden Yards to start a four-game set. The stakes are very different in a regular season game after Texas posted wins by 3-2, 11-8 and 7-1 over the Orioles to advance last October.

The teams are having very different seasons as well. The Orioles (50-30) will reach the season's halfway point tonight and are just one game behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.

The Rangers, who also beat Tampa Bay before last year's AL Division Series and Houston and Arizona after it on their way to the title, are only 37-43 at the 80-game mark. They are in third in the AL West and 7 1/2 games behind division-leading Seattle.

Texas was just swept three straight at Milwaukee by 6-3, 3-1 and 6-5 scores. The Rangers have also lost eight of their past 12 games and are just 8-13 since June 3. The Rangers were 21-16 on May 7, but have gone 16-27 since that point.

The Rangers have also lost six in a row on the road, are 5-16 their past 21 road games and are just 4-10 their past 14 series, home and road.

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Becoming more aggressive at bat, Rutschman took his offense to a higher gear

Adley Rutschman

Orioles' catcher Adley Rutschman was a Silver Slugger winner at the end of the 2023 season. One where he finished with 20 homers and 80 RBIs. But this season his production has gotten better and he’s on pace for 28 homers and 107 RBIs.

He has elevated his slugging and OPS production even as his walk rate came down. Earlier this year it was way down. He’s started to draw more walks recently and maybe that is a result of pitchers be more careful with a hitter who had an OPS of .806 in 2022 and .809 in 2023 and that is now .820. His slugging percentage this season is .470 after it was .445 in 2022 and .435 last year.

To simplify it, Rutschman has been more aggressive at bat this year and his walk rate early on dropped big time. But it's climbing back up now, and he is showing all his talents as a hitter with recent games of two homers and another with five hits.

He is seeing fewer pitches per plate appearance and his walk rate, which was 13.8 in 2022 and 13.4 last year is now 7.4. That walk rate was lower than that earlier this year, but Rutschman, who has walked 25 times this year, has drawn 11 of those in the last 14 games, a span where his on-base percentage is .394.

“I don’t think there was any specific decree to Adley, ‘we need you to do more.’ That is pretty tough to ask a guy who just won a Silver Slugger to do more,” O’s offensive strategy coach Cody Asche said on Sunday. “It was kind of the way the season started (with less walks). Guys do things different for one reason or another, you know, maybe you see guys are attacking you differently and that’s just the way things go.

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O's game blog: Looking to end a losing streak in Cleveland series finale

rodriguez pitching orange

During a five-game losing streak, the Orioles have allowed 40 runs and lost games where they scored eight and eleven runs. So Captain Obvious said the pitching must improve as they host Cleveland tonight in the series finale.

After getting swept once all year - from May 20 to 22 at St. Louis - a loss tonight would secure back-to-back series the O's have been swept. 

The Orioles (49-30) hit the 80-game mark tonight and begin play two games behind the New York Yankees (52-29). At 51-26, the Guardians have the best record in the American League and second-best in the majors behind the Phillies. The Yankees have the AL's second-best record and the Orioles have the third-best.

The Orioles have been outscored 40-23 during the losing streak and their team ERA is 7.71 in this stretch. Baltimore's starting pitchers have gone eight straight games without a quality start. In that span, the rotation ERA is 7.26 with a WHIP of 1.789. O's starters pitched five innings or less in six of the eight games.

In the past four games, O's batters have gone 2-for-24 batting with runners in scoring position. For the year, the O's are batting .262 when hitting with RISP to rank seventh-best in the American League. Their team OPS of .783 with RISP is fourth-best in the AL.

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Will search for pitching lead O's to make a play for Garrett Crochet?

Garrett Crochet

The Orioles losing streak reached five last night with another night of getting a short and ineffective outing from a starting pitcher. Over these five games the Orioles have allowed 40 runs.

With the Orioles and just about every other contending team in the majors in the market for starting pitching, it is natural to think about Chicago White Sox lefty Garrett Crochet.

The Orioles got an in-person look at the hard-throwing strikeout machine on May 26 at Guaranteed Rate Field. They got two runs off him over six innings, but he fanned 11 Orioles that day.

He looks great – both in person and on the stat sheet. He is under team control through the 2026 season so a team trading for him will have him for this year and two more.

That means the trade price may be extremely high. The O’s may have a farm system where they could be a good trade partner with Chicago. Someone I talked to recently who knows the trade winds better than most, thought the O’s could be in the hunt for Crochet in giving up only one of their top prospects. They would not need two of their premier prospects. But yeah, one big name would likely have to go in a bigger package of players.

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