Some rotation talk and other notes on season-ending press conferences


When the Orioles went to a six-man rotation late in the season this year it proved to be pretty important. How much so? At his season-ending press conference yesterday manager Brandon Hyde didn't pull punches on it.

Said Hyde: “For me, when we decided to go to a six-man rotation, that possibly was a season-saver. Because I feel like all those guys, that was kind of crunch time a little bit. And, it allowed all those guys to get an extra day. And they showed what they could be like when they were rested, and I think it was the right thing to do for every one of them because they were flying over their innings (totals from the previous year) because they were pitching so well and we needed them. So, for me, that was a huge part of our season, when we made that decision at that point.

“I’m excited about our rotation going forward. I’m not sure what’s going to happen from a roster standpoint, but I know that we have some guys in there that had great experience this year and had really good seasons. And are still really young in their career. Just go back at what Tyler Wells did in the first half. And what he did the last week of the season. Unbelievable. Arguably, our best starting pitcher of the first half, and showed the stuff he had out of the bullpen a couple of years ago.

“Our starting pitching is up and coming. And I think they are only going to get better.”

The extra innings some pitchers threw this year and pitching into October should benefit this group next season, even if they gave up 13 runs in eight combined October innings in three playoff games.

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Hey, Birdland: Sometimes you just get beat

kremer alds 2023

Since Jordan Westburg struck out at Globe Life Field on Tuesday night and the Rangers' sweep of the Orioles in the American League Division Series became final, there have been a few opinions expressed as to why they lost, how they lost and what went wrong.

OK, not a few, but an avalanche of opinions. Just when you think you can’t possibly hear or read another take, there will be one. No shortage of opinions, ranging - in my own opinion - from very possible and pertinent to flat out crazy. Whackadoo territory.

But the thing about a sports opinion is that no one is 100 percent right or wrong or can be proven that. They are opinions and in a social-media, sports-talk, hot-take world, it seems everyone has one. Some express them in interesting ways too.

Theories of why the Orioles lost include:

Not enough playoff experience.

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In postgame clubhouse there was disappointment but also excitement for future

Brandon Hyde

ARLINGTON, Texas - For the Orioles there was sort of a clear theme to their postgame interviews last night after the Game 3 loss to Texas. The Rangers took an early 6-0 lead on their way to a 7-1 win and a series sweep in the American League Division Series.

Proud of a very good season and AL East championship. But also hoping and truly believing this is just the first step for this talented group of players.

They got swept three straight by Texas and the country didn't get to see the Orioles that we saw most of the year. Take the experience and learn from it. Use it as motivation to return next season and go farther.

"We have a lot of guys who have never been to the postseason before. So, this hurts and it's okay to hurt," manager Brandon Hyde said. "It's okay to have this kind of fuel to your fire in the off-season. It's going to take a while for us to get over this a little bit. But I think our guys will come in hunting and hungry in spring training. The guys coming back, especially the young guys, know what this feels like, know what it tastes like, and it sucks. If they did soak it in a little bit, they're going to be better for it down the road."

Outfielder Austin Hays expressed similar sentiments. I asked him when he has time this offseason to look back on the 2023 season, what will come to mind?

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A few quick thoughts as the Orioles lose Game 3 and get swept in the ALDS (updated)


When it went south for the Orioles, it went fast. A 1-0 deficit turned into a 6-0 hole within a span of five pitches in the last of the second inning. The Texas Rangers were on their way to a three-game sweep of the Orioles in the American League Division Series.

After 101 wins and an AL East championship, a team that fought so hard and so well to win the division was out of the playoffs in a span of three games and over a span of four days.

It was a strong year during the regular season for AL East teams. But in the postseason the division is now a combined 0-7 and with no teams left.

Texas beat the Orioles 7-1 for its fifth straight postseason win. It was Baltimore's eighth straight postseason loss.

They may have let the AL West division title get away to end the regular season, but the Rangers have not lost in the postseason and have taken out the O’s and Rays.

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O's game blog: Facing elimination in Game 3 of the ALDS at Texas

Dean Kremer throws gray

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Orioles must win tonight at Globe Life Field against the Texas Rangers or pack up the bats and balls for the 2023 season. It's Game 3 of the best-of-five American League Division Series with Texas holding a two-games-to-none lead.

The Orioles (101-61) fell behind 9-2 in the third inning Sunday in Baltimore. They rallied, but lost 11-8 after dropping a 3-2 game in the series opener.

This is just the second time in O's postseason history that they have lost the first two games of a series. The other time was in the 2014 AL Championship Series, and they were swept in four in a row by Kansas City.

The Orioles have an all-time postseason record of 52-42 and are 12-10 all-time in playoff series. But they have lost seven straight postseason games coming into Game 3. They are 11-7 all-time in ALDS games.

Texas (90-72) began this postseason with a six-game playoff losing streak, but now is 4-0 this postseason, by a combined 25-11 score against the Rays and Orioles.

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Even with a 2-0 lead it's "all hands on deck tonight" for Texas skipper Bruce Bochy

santander and o'hearn @CHC

ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas manager Bruce Bochy, who still has room on his hand for a fourth World Series ring, was asked today how he would manage tonight’s game. A game in which his team, leading 2-0 in the best-of-five American League Division Series, can close out the Orioles.

He sounded almost like his team was down 0-2 and not up 2-0.

“Well, all hands on deck,” said Bochy, who won championships with the Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014. “I'll start with that. It's a short series. Best out of five. Yeah, we have a game, big game tonight. So, we'll use everybody. I think we've shown that already, and we'll continue to do that.

"Don't have a starter for tomorrow because of what I'm saying now. Bench, everybody, pinch-running situations, they'll all be used if I think it's the right thing to do tonight. That's my mentality. I think it's the team's mentality. Hey, be ready. Bullpen, all of them. Any situation.”

It was around this time last year – on Oct. 21, 2022 – that the Rangers hired Bochy, a winner of 2,003 games, out of a short retirement. He would take over a Rangers team that had six straight losing seasons (and just 68 wins last season) and try to get them back to the playoffs, and it happened right away. Bochy had stepped away after the 2019 season and 13 years with San Francisco. His first World Series win came over the Rangers, in five games in 2010.

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ALDS Game 3 notes with Adley Rutschman, Austin Hays and Nate Eovaldi

Adley Rutschman

ARLINGTON, Texas – Some games are called “must win” but they really are not. But you can use those words for the Orioles tonight. After an amazing season, a surprise (to many) AL East championship and 101 wins, they need one more tonight to force a Game 4 against Texas in the American League Division Series.

In September the Orioles twice lost the first two games of key four-game series, both at home versus Tampa Bay and at Cleveland, and yet won the third and fourth games to split those series. This time they have to do that and one better.

It started on the mound in those earlier games against the Rays and Guardians. In the four wins, O’s pitching allowed zero, four, one and one run.

Catcher Adley Rutschman was asked before Monday’s workout at Globe Life Field about the club’s ability this year to put losses behind them quickly and how they do that?

“I think our team is really process-oriented,” said Rutschman. “So, each game is a new game, and we try to treat it as such. And you know, learn from anything from the day before and then move on. Our guys do a good job of banding together and trying to just focus on the here and now.”

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O's Ryan O'Hearn: "I'm not ready to be done playing with these guys for the year"

o'hearn gray

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Orioles arrived in Texas last night, determined to keep their season alive when they take the field in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday night.

They have lost by scores of 3-2 and 11-8 to the Texas Rangers, a 90-win team during the regular season. A club that lost four of its last six to let the AL West title get away, only to now go 4-0 through the postseason thus far.

The math is daunting for the Orioles.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, in MLB playoff history, in best-of-five or longer series, teams taking a 2-0 lead are 154-25 (.860) in those series. In strictly best-of-five series, teams up 2-0 are 78-10 (.886).

“Obviously, definitely not our two best games we have played. We are capable of much better,” said Ryan O’Hearn this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “You know, it happens, So, it’s time to turn the page and try to figure out how to win the next one and the next one and hopefully we continue to play.

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O's head to Texas needing a three-game win streak to take the ALDS

Jorge Mateo orange jersey

Next stop Arlington, Tex. That is where the Orioles are headed looking for a win. What they hope is the first of three in a row over the next five days to save their season.

The Texas Rangers ended the regular season losing three of four at Seattle to let the AL West title get away. They were 40-41 on the road this year. None of that mattered as first they took out the 99-win Tampa Bay Rays, winning two on the road. And now they have a 2-0 lead in games in a best-of-five on the 101 win Orioles. Winning two in Baltimore.

In Game 1, the Orioles didn't hit enough. In Game 2 they didn't pitch well enough. Not nearly losing 11-8. The 11 runs allowed is the most they have ever given up in their postseason history, which amounts to 94 games since 1966.

They walked 11 batters and six of them scored and all 11 helped the Rangers to the win.

In the quiet of the postgame clubhouse, Gunnar Henderson who went 2-for-4 with a homer, expressed confidence they have another three-game win streak in them.

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A few quick takes as the O's fall into an 0-2 hole in the ALDS


The Orioles are now down 0-2 in this best-of-five American League Division Series. They had 101 wins in the regular season and won the AL East championship, but after today’s 11-8 loss to Texas, their season will be over with one more loss.

With the Orioles down 11-5 in the ninth, Aaron Hicks blasted a three-run homer off Texas closer Jose Leclerc. He drove in five runs today. But the pitching gave up 11. 

The Orioles have now lost seven straight postseason games since their last win in the 2014 ALDS versus Detroit. The Rangers are 4-0 in the 2023 playoffs. 

The Orioles face a must-win situation Tuesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

A few thoughts on Game 2:

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O's game blog: Looking to get even in ALDS Game 2 at Oriole Park

rodriguez v CWS

The Orioles (101-61), champions of the American League East and the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs, need a win today against the Texas Rangers (90-72) to even the AL Division Series.

Texas used six pitchers Saturday to hold the Orioles to five hits in a 3-2 win in the series opener. Andrew Heaney got the start, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings, and Dane Dunning pitched two innings of relief to get the win. José Leclerc got the last three outs to record a save.

O's starter Kyle Bradish allowed two runs over 4 2/3 to take the loss. The O's six pitchers combined to strike out 16 batters, their most ever in a nine-inning postseason game.

The Orioles have now lost the first game of three straight playoff series dating to an opening win in the 2014 ALDS versus Detroit. They are now 52-41 all-time in postseason games and 11-6 in ALDS games.

Heading into this year's playoffs, Texas had a six-game postseason losing streak. Now they have gone 3-0 versus the Rays and Orioles by a combined 14-3 score. Their pitchers have allowed just the three runs on 19 hits in 27 innings for a postseason ERA of 1.00.

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DL Hall stayed on a roll in Game 1 and the O's challenge vs. Montgomery

DL Hall throwing white

He ended the season getting a lot of big outs out of the Baltimore bullpen, and that continued through Saturday's Game 1 appearance versus Texas.

Late this year, in that relief role, lefty DL Hall looks very much like the top prospect he was coming up through the O's farm system.

In his last seven regular-season games, Hall pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on just three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. In that span, opponent batters hit just .115 off him with a .231 OPS.

Yesterday, in 1 2/3 innings, he did not allow a run or hit while recording one walk and three strikeouts.

For manager Brandon Hyde right now, the plan is simple: Get Hall the ball.

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Bats need to get going after Game 1 loss as O's look to bounce back

hicks white

Orioles fans had waited for their first home playoff game since the 2014 season. The rain that lingered made the wait even longer. But when they got their chance to cheer, it was loud. It was almost deafening at times amid a sea of orange Saturday afternoon at Oriole Park.

The Orioles fans put on a spectacular show. It was electric and special. 

But the O's offense had its issues - a carryover from the end of the regular season - as they lost 3-2 to Texas in the AL Division Series opener.

“It was unbelievable, it was a dream come true to run out there with orange flags being waved everywhere," outfielder Austin Hays said. "An awesome experience. It was electric, loudest ballpark I’ve ever been in. Louder than the All-Star game. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for sure. So I am looking forward to doing it again (today)."

Ryan Mountcastle doubled in the first Baltimore run in the fourth but the Orioles never got the lead or tied the game once Texas scored twice in the top of the fourth.

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A few notes and quick takes on the O's loss in Game 1

Kyle Bradish Adley Rutschman ALDS

The Orioles seemed confident their late-season hitting slump would not carry into the postseason. But for one day at least, it did as the Orioles lost 3-2 to the Rangers this afternoon in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They need a win on Sunday to even this series before it heads to Arlington.

It was a day where their starter went fewer than five innings and the Rangers pitcher that started went fewer than four. But after getting Anthony Santander’s 420-foot homer in the sixth, that pulled them within 3-2, the O’s could not score further and they dropped Game 1.

They scored two runs or fewer in three of their last four regular season games and in seven of the last 11 leading into these playoffs.

The O's held down the highest-scoring team in the league and their pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts. They held Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to one combined infield hit, but they could only get two of their own runs.

Today they hit into two double plays and chased some pitches as Texas used six pitchers to get the victory. 

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O's game blog: Orioles host Rangers in Game 1 of American League Division Series

Kyle Bradish white

In their first playoff game since the 2016 season and first at home since 2014, the Orioles host the Rangers this afternoon in Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series. 

The Orioles have lost their past five playoff games counting four in the 2014 AL Championship Series to the Royals and they lost the one-game AL Wild Card Game at the Blue Jays in 2016.

Baltimore (101-61, .623) won the AL East this season for the first time since 2014. The Orioles ended the year two games ahead of the Rays.

Texas (90-72, .556) lost four of its final six regular season games to end the year tied with Houston atop the AL West. But they lost the tiebreaker and Houston advanced to the postseason as the AL West champs and second seed while Texas moved on as the No. 5 AL seed.

Then the Rangers, after the disappointing end to the regular season, won at The Trop against the Rays by 4-0 Tuesday and 7-1 Wednesday to advance past the Wild Card round to now play the top-seeded Orioles. For the Rangers, they snapped a six-game postseason losing streak and improved to 5-8 all-time in playoff series.

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Texas manager Bruce Bochy on the decision to start Andrew Heaney

frazier w hays v NYY

He may have a career ERA of 7.63 in seven career games versus Baltimore batters and that includes a start this year in April in Texas when he allowed seven runs over 2 2/3 innings, but the Rangers are going with lefty Andrew Heaney (10-6, 4.15 ERA) as their Game 1 starter today.

He will oppose Orioles righty Kyle Bradish (12-7, 2.83 ERA) today at 1:03 p.m. in the opener of the American League Division Series at Camden Yards.

"We looked at a lot of things, but, number one, we looked at how well he's been throwing the ball," Texas manager Bruce Bochy said during his pregame press conference. "We had to win in Seattle. He pitched that game. He threw the ball well. He's our freshest guy. And they're a team that does a lot of platooning. And lefty or righty, they were going to match up. And we felt like he's the guy to go right now."

Heaney made the start last Saturday at Seattle and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless on five hits, throwing 85 pitches. He also threw nine scoreless innings combined over his past four games with three of them out of the bullpen.

Also, while Heaney had that poor start in April against the Orioles, on May 27 in Baltimore he allowed just one run over seven innings to the Orioles.

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Tyler Wells on playoff pressure: "It's controlled chaos"

Tyler Wells throws orange away

Tyler Wells doesn’t remember much about it now. But he once attended a Major League Baseball playoff game. He recalls it was in 2018 and it was at Dodger Stadium. He remembered going with his dad and that “Justin Turner did something cool, but I don’t remember what it was.”

Starting today he can make some of his own memories and take part in an MLB playoff game as the Orioles host Texas this afternoon to start the American League Division Series.

After 101 regular-season wins, the Orioles are three wins from reaching the AL Championship Series, seven wins from reaching the World Series and 11 from winning it.

For Wells, it’s a wonderful and exciting time, and one that was not guaranteed even a few weeks ago. He spent nearly two months in the minors. Coming out of the All-Star break he gave up 11 runs in nine innings over three starts and soon after found himself in Double-A Bowie and later Triple-A Norfolk. He finally returned to the O's active roster Sept. 22 and has thrown five hitless and scoreless innings upon his return to the majors.

“It’s incredibly special. I think it’s just made me a little more grateful,” said Wells. “To share the field with these guys and just enjoy it. It is hard to put into words how much appreciation I have for it.

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Adley Rutschman excited to see the crowds and get the playoffs underway

Rutschman black

The wait is almost over for the Orioles. A young team that went from losing 110 games in 2021 to winning 101 this year. Their first playoff game is set for 1:03 p.m. on Saturday at Oriole Park when they host the Texas Rangers to start the American League Division Series.

O’s catcher Adley Rutschman played his first big league game on May 21, 2022. Before too long, both last year and this year, other young players from the O’s farm were joining him in Baltimore. And a young team was winning and winning a lot.

“To see guys go through multiple years of development, experience that together, see them end up at this spot achieving their dream and their goals is really cool,” Rutschman said today during a pre-series press conference at Camden Yards. “You feel invested in the process and their journey. I’m just excited for these guys. To see their character and they are such good guys, you want to see them succeed. I think that is what makes our clubhouse so close – you have guys that care about each other genuinely. It makes it that much more exciting and better to show up to the ballpark each day.

“I'm super excited. This is a complete blessing to have an opportunity like this to play postseason baseball with a great group of guys in the stadium with an electric atmosphere. So, there's nothing more you can really ask for. The opportunity to do something like this is amazing, you kind of cherish it.”

There is a buzz in and around the city and region in anticipation of Saturday’s game.

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Previewing the Texas Rangers with the former Terp on their radio crew

Bruce Bochy

I first met Matt Hicks somewhere I guess it was in 1985 or 1986 maybe as we were both broadcasting high school football and teams we were covering were going to play each other in the Maryland state playoffs. It was Frederick High of Frederick County on my end against McDonough High of Charles County, the team Matt was covering. 

He was an outstanding broadcaster then and remains that many years later as a radio broadcaster in his 11th year with the Texas Rangers. Matt has broadcast baseball play-by-play for 34 years and from 1989-1994 broadcast the games of the O’s Frederick Keys affiliate.

A Washington, D.C. native who grew up following his hometown Senators until they moved, Matt would later get his baseball fix attending games with friends and traveling to 33rd Street watching the Orioles at Memorial Stadium. He grew up in Prince George’s County, is a graduate of Bladensburg High and is a 1983 University of Maryland grad. This Terp is back in the state where he grew up. When we see each other this weekend, neither of us is covering high school football any longer, but those were fun days too.

The Rangers and Orioles play Game 1 of the American League Division Series tomorrow afternoon. The winner of the best-of-five series advances to the AL Championship Series.

The Rangers are on what amounts to a two-week road trip. Starting Sept. 25, they ended the regular season with three games in Anaheim against the Angels and four in Seattle vs. the Mariners. When they failed to win the AL West on the final day, it was a cross-country flight to Tampa where they would beat the Tampa Bay Rays two in a row, and they landed in Baltimore Thursday afternoon.

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Looking back at the late-season offense and ahead to the Texas series

Cedric Mullins white jersey

When the regular season was winding down for the Orioles, they went through an eight-game stretch from Sept. 15-22 when they allowed nine runs once, seven runs twice and five runs twice. But then their pitching was really rolling in the season’s final eight games, pitching two shutouts in that span and allowing one run or less five times.

But the Baltimore offense was certainly not rolling. They hit just .138 scoring eight runs in the last four-game series versus Boston. In the last 11 games, the Orioles scored two runs or fewer seven times.

But over the long haul, the stats covering all 162 games, this just served to improve the O’s in the pitching stats. Their final team ERA of 3.89 ranks fifth best in the American League. And while their final runs scored per game dipped under 5.00 to finish at 4.98, that is still fourth best in the AL.

And while there are many different stats we could look at to evaluate their pitching and offense, ranking fifth in pitching ERA and fourth in scoring is a pretty good combination, one that led this team to 101 wins.

But should Birdland worry about an offense that scored just 32 runs while hitting only three homers in those last 11 games?

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