Hicks in center field, Akin pitching as opener

akin gray pitching

Aaron Hicks is starting in center field this afternoon, as the Orioles try to clinch the series win over the Guardians.

Hicks is batting sixth.

Keegan Akin is the opener, with Austin Voth working in bulk relief. Twenty-three of Akin’s 24 career starts came in 2020-21.

Adam Frazier is leading off again today. He’s reached base in 20 of 23 games since May 6 and in 24 of 26 starts since April 26.

Ryan McKenna is in left field and batting ninth.

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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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A few notes on one stunning inning and the O's 19th comeback win of 2023


Start spreading the news – the Orioles scored eight runs in the seventh inning to stun the Yankees in the Bronx. The night before they had a 4-0 lead and lost. On this night they trailed by four in the seventh and won.

The eight-run inning was their most in any inning this year, topping the seven in the seventh on May 5 at Atlanta. It is their most in an inning since scoring nine in the eighth inning on Sept, 8, 2021 versus Kansas City. And this was their most runs in any inning in a road game since scoring nine in the seventh inning on April 4, 2016, at Texas.

According to Elias, the Sports Bureau, not the executive vice president, this was tied for the most runs scored in a single inning at the current or original Yankee Stadium in Baltimore team history. They also got eight in the third inning on June 5, 1989.

At 32-17, the Orioles remain three games behind Tampa Bay for the AL East lead, but they also moved back to three games ahead of the Yankees for second in the division.

The Orioles are now 4-12 when trailing after six innings.

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Frazier keeps finding ways to fuel Orioles' wins


NEW YORK – The numbers finally are beginning to match what the eyes have seen from Adam Frazier.

The professional at-bats, the multitude of ways he’s able to contribute. Doing the little things that create big gains for a team challenging for the division lead.

Frazier entered last night with three consecutive multi-hit games, and a six-game hitting streak that raised his average to .255 with a .337 on-base percentage to rank fourth on the team. He had reached base in 16 consecutive games since May 6, the fourth-longest active streak in the American League and eighth in the majors.

His career high was 17 in a row in 2019.

He matched it last night by being a central figure in an eight-run seventh inning that enabled the Orioles to take a 9-5 lead.

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Orioles score eight runs in seventh inning to storm past Yankees 9-6 (updated)

hays and frazier gray

NEW YORK – Bumps were forming on the Orioles’ road trip, which began with a three-game sweep in Toronto. The Yankees hit three home runs tonight off Tyler Wells and appeared in control heading into the seventh inning. A nice margin for Nestor Cortes. Another bad finish for his former team.

The 2023 Orioles don’t want to hear it. They just keep coming. Spitting water and breathing fire.

They sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh and scored eight runs. Adam Frazier hit the foul pole with two runners on base, Gunnar Henderson came off the bench and drove in two with a double to give the Orioles a lead, and a sacrifice fly and two RBI singles followed. Fans booed. It began to rain again.

A club that trailed by four runs suddenly led by four.

It won by three, 9-6, before an announced crowd of 39,455 at Yankee Stadium. It keeps accomplishing what isn’t supposed to happen.

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O's game blog: O's are 7-2 in last nine AL East games as Yankees series begins

kyle bradish gray

The Orioles have won three straight American League East series, going 7-2 against Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto. That mark will get challenged tonight as they open a three-game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees. New York has been playing well lately, and has the best record in the majors since May 2.

The Yankees start right-hander Gerrit Cole (5-0, 2.01 ERA) tonight with lefty Nestor Cortes (4-2, 5.21) on tap tomorrow, so a real challenge is at hand for the surging Orioles.

But the Birds (31-16), who are three games behind Tampa Bay for both the best record in the majors and for first in the AL East, are coming off their impressive three-game sweep of Toronto. Playing in a ballpark where they went 0-10 in 2018, they swept that three-game series, outscoring the Blue Jays 20-10 over 30 innings of baseball in downtown Toronto.

On the year, the Orioles have the second-best record when AL East teams play each other:

.611 – Tampa Bay (11-7)

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What a win: Orioles come back to beat Toronto, 6-5 in 10 innings (updated)


TORONTO – In a game between two struggling right-handed starting pitchers – one coming off a tremendous 2022 season – of course runs were hard to come by for much of today at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

But a few swings proved big, and Toronto catcher Danny Jansen had one. His line drive solo homer to left in the last of the sixth broke a 2-2 tie and provided Toronto a 3-2 lead that would grow to 5-2.

But the Orioles would get a massive home run of their own. Ryan O'Hearn's three-run blast to right-center in the eighth off closer Jordan Romano tied this game 5-5 on one swing. The Orioles were 1-for-8 in the game with runners in scoring position until O'Hearn connected.

Romano had allowed just one homer in 18 innings this season, and four over 64 innings in 2022.

O'Hearn, who singled in a run in the second, hit a low-middle 2-2 slider 406 feet to tie the game with his second O's homer.  

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Pregame notes from Toronto on Rodriguez's start, Givens, Frazier and more

Ramon Urias disappointed orange home

TORONTO – Saying he got to see a “master class” at work last night, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hopes right-hander Grayson Rodriguez can pick up today where Kyle Gibson left off Friday. Gibson held Toronto to one run and five hits over seven innings as the Orioles beat the Blue Jays 6-2 to take the series opener.

Now they can win this series today or tomorrow and take another series from an American League East opponent. The Birds are 7-6 in division games this season and 5-2 in their past seven division games, winning series against Boston and Tampa Bay.

Rodriguez is next up to face a strong Toronto lineup, but in two of his last three starts he has allowed six and eight runs. In between those two was his only career start against an AL East team, and he held Tampa Bay to two runs over 5 2/3 innings. So the Orioles know the talent is in there for the rookie, who, despite a 6.57 ERA for the year, has four starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer.

“Well, he got a master class last night,” Hyde said today when asked about Rodriguez pitching today. “Sure he was paying attention to that. A really tough lineup to pitch to, and Grayson is going to go through this. All the lineups he is facing for the first time. He’s getting to know the league and he’s doing a good job preparing. Seen him prepare a lot these last few days for this start today, and he got a great example last night of a really competitive outing.

“Hoping Grayson works ahead in the count and tries to match what Kyle did yesterday.”

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Givens could accompany Orioles to Toronto (plus lineup)

mychal givens

The Orioles are attempting today to win their 11th series before flying to Toronto and beginning a two-city road trip.

Mychal Givens threw his bullpen session today and could be activated by the weekend. Manager Brandon Hyde was going to check on Givens after completing his media obligations.

Asked if Givens could accompany the Orioles on their trip, Hyde said, "It is possible. We'll see how it goes today and make a decision on what we're going to do."

A bullpen with the lowest ERA in the majors at 2.89 is gaining a proven veteran setup man.

"Just adds some experience and a guy that's been in the back end of the bullpen for a while now," Hyde said. "We know what Mychal can do. Looking forward to getting him back."

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

kremer pitching white

Last night, the Los Angeles Angels joined the Tampa Bay Rays as the second team this year to win a series-opening game against the Orioles. The Birds are now 12-2 in such games. The Angels 9-5 win was led by Shohei Ohtani, who gave up three home runs on the mound but hit a three-run homer at bat as part of a 4-for-5 game where he came up a double short of the cycle.

Adam Frazier and Anthony Santander hit two-run homers off Ohtani and Cedric Mullins added a solo shot. In two career starts against the Orioles, Ohtani has allowed nine runs in 12 innings and has given up six homers, including two each to Mullins and Santander. His five runs allowed last night tied his season high.

But the O’s starter, rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, allowed nine hits and eight runs over 3 1/3 innings. That is the most runs allowed by a Baltimore starting pitcher this year. Coming into this series, O’s starters had a 1.74 ERA their previous eight games, allowing two earned runs or less seven times.

The Orioles bullpen allowed just a single run over 5 2/3 innings last night. The Baltimore bullpen has a 1.48 ERA (five ER/30.1 IP) over the last eight games.

Best bullpen ERAs in MLB in 2023

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O's offense trying to pass the test of the Braves strong starters this weekend

frazier hr @WAS

The Orioles offense, while the team has gone 1-1 this weekend in Atlanta, has proven to be a real challenge for one of the best starting rotations in baseball.

Lefty Max Fried took the mound Friday night with a 2-0 record and 0.45 ERA, allowing one run in 20 innings for the season. Right-hander Spencer Strider faced the Orioles last night, entering at 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA.

The Orioles pinned a loss on Fried Friday night but could not quite do it with Strider in last night’s 5-4 loss, a game that turned in Atlanta’s favor on Kevin Pillar’s two-run, pinch-hit homer off Danny Coulombe in the last of the eighth. Pillar, who has a career .704 OPS, is a career .321 hitter with an OPS of .867 against the Orioles. His homer in Saturday's game was his 15th in 92 games against the club.

But earlier, even while they fanned 10 times against Strider, one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game, the Orioles battled him pretty hard. He was at 95 pitches and out of the game after five innings.

In two games this weekend, Fried and Strider have a combined 5.73 ERA versus the Orioles.

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O's Adam Frazier on Sunday's big win and the offense working counts so well

walk-off v. DET

At the end of a baseball season, when a team like the Orioles hopes to have enough wins to make the playoffs, victories like Sunday may really seem important. They took a game where they didn’t have a baserunner until the seventh inning and didn’t score until the eighth and they won that game.

Adam Frazier scored the winning run and afterward talked about the importance of turning a potential 1-0 loss into a 2-1 win to sweep the Detroit Tigers.

"Those kinds of wins at the end of the season, they add up," Frazier said Sunday. "That's how you make the playoffs. A lot of good teams can win a series, but to sweep a series is hard to do.”

Frazier pinch-ran for the placed runner at second base to start the bottom of the 10th inning. He advanced to third on a sac bunt and then, with Jorge Mateo batting, scored on a wild pitch thrown by Mason Englert to end the day with the third O’s walk-off win in their past four at home.

“Guy (Eduardo Rodriguez) was throwing a perfect game, so anytime you can steal one like that it means a lot,” Frazier added this afternoon, speaking of the O’s 14th win. “Those little wins where it looks like you might not win start adding up later in the year.

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Orioles' streak of scoreless innings ends at 34 in 2-1 walk-off win (updated)


An overturned call at first base tonight awarded Detroit’s Riley Greene with an infield single in the first inning, before Orioles starter Tyler Wells disposed of the next two batters to strand him. Wells retired 12 of 14 and ultimately 19 of 23, striking out Greene to end the third after allowing a one-out single, and kept adding links to the scoreless chain.

The Orioles were far from a lock to break the club record of 54 innings in a row set in 1974. The chain was bound to snap on any pitch. That's a lot of length. But it sure was impressive while it lasted.

A leadoff walk in the fifth produced nothing. Wells got a popup and 4-6-3 double play. A leadoff infield single in the sixth also was a hollow threat after Cedric Mullins ran down a fly ball in right-center and Adam Frazier caught a line drive and doubled off the runner at first base.

Just another zero. Perhaps a more fitting symbol on the alternate cap.

Wells worked a career-high seven innings and held the Tigers to three hits and a walk, striking out five batters and pounding his glove after getting a ground ball to retire the side in order in his last frame. The streak had grown to 33 and would get to 34.

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O'Hearn on good start with team and more on the latest shutout


WASHINGTON – He didn’t make the Orioles' Opening Day roster out of spring training as he hoped, but Ryan O’Hearn didn’t have too long to wait to make his Orioles debut.

On April 13, for the final game of the home series with Oakland, the O’s called up O’Hearn. The 29-year-old lefty hitter got the start that day, went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs. You have a great memory if you remember the last player before O’Hearn to drive in three in his first game with the team was Jon Knott on April 17, 2007, at Tampa Bay. You have a great memory if you even remember Knott, who played in just seven games in his brief O’s career.

O’Hearn tried to make the club by swinging a hot bat under the Florida sun in March. He hit .375/.444/.650/.1.094 in spring training but began the year with Triple-A Norfolk.

But with the club about to face a series of right-handed pitchers he got the call.

O’Hearn said that based on his career where he has been often trying to make a roster or hang onto his roster spot with Kansas City between 2018 and 2022, he did not get down when he started this season on the farm.

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Kyle Bradish returns with six scoreless as O's blank, sweep the Nationals (updated)


WASHINGTON – The Orioles got one of their starting pitchers back tonight, and it was a welcome sight for them to see right-hander Kyle Bradish on the mound. He was activated off the injured list and pitching for the first time since taking a liner off his right foot April 3 at Texas.

And they got back the Bradish that pitched to a 3.28 ERA in his last 13 starts of the 2022 season.

Tonight, he threw six scoreless innings as the Orioles beat Washington 4-0 to sweep a two-game series by throwing back-to-back shutouts.

O’s pitchers have thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the second inning on Sunday versus the White Sox in Chicago. Their rotation ERA was 6.75 to start this series, but Bradish and Dean Kremer combined for 12 2/3 scoreless innings against the Nationals.

They also saw the home run ball return to their offense tonight, and that was a welcome sight as well.

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Grayson Rodriguez makes solid debut, but Texas wins to avoid the sweep (updated)


ARLINGTON, Texas – With a large rooting section from his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas, in the stands today, Orioles right-hander Grayson Rodriguez made a strong big league debut in his home state. But it didn’t start out great for him. 

After allowing two runs and giving up some loud contact in the Rangers' first inning, he settled in nicely and at times looked very much like what he is: one of baseball’s best pitching prospects. And the pitcher who has gone 25-9 with a 2.49 ERA in 70 games on the Baltimore farm. The pitcher ranked No. 6 in the Baseball America top 100 and No. 7 by MLBPipeline.com.

He struggled as games got deeper in spring training, but not today.

Texas went 2-for-5 against him in its two-run first inning, then just 2-for-14 from the second through the fifth inning.

Right-hander Austin Voth replaced him to start the sixth in a 2-2 tie. But Texas third baseman Josh Jung took him to the opposite field for a two-run shot to right. That blast was enough for the Rangers to go on to win this one 5-2 as the Orioles failed to sweep the series.

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Because You Asked - Wonka

Tyler Wells

The mailbag collected questions in Boston and refused to board a flight to Arlington. Bought a seat for it and everything. Still, no.

That’s fine. I’ll share what I’ve got this morning, in the latest sequel to our beloved 2008 original mailbag.

Because I don’t want to be accused of tampering, I will continue to keep the editing to the bare minimum. Also, the bear minimum, which I guess belongs on a Cubs blog.

And finally, my mailbag runs the bases for free and yours must pay to get thrown out at second.

Do you think it's possible they kept too many players in camp for too long, which made it hard to give the actual regulars sufficient reps? Just trying to find a reason for the complete defensive flop we saw.
I feel like the regulars played a sufficient amount, and Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander got some reps in the World Baseball Classic. I don’t want to blame the conditions in Boston, but the cold, rain and wind presented some challenges. As if the outfield at Fenway Park needs more of them. But there were some botched plays in the infield, too. Maybe just write it off to a bad series.

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Frazier finding gradual gains at the plate

Adam Frazier Mariners white

SARASOTA, Fla. – The little bit of roster uncertainty clinging to the Orioles can’t touch Adam Frazier.

Frazier could get the bulk of the work at second base this season, with chances to move to the corner outfield. The infield’s versatility makes it difficult to declare absolute starters at each position.

How Frazier hit in camp didn’t matter except to the player who put in the extra reps in the cage to swing his way out of his offensive funk.

Frazier was 0-for-9 in his first four turns in the lineup. He’s reached base in seven of the next nine, including two doubles, a home run and three walks, and has struck out only once this spring.

The .182/.270/.333 line that he’ll carry into tonight’s game against the Tigers, with six hits in 37 plate appearances, won’t come close to satisfying him. But the solutions are within reach.

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O's had strong vet leadership last year and 2023 group wants to carry that on

Kyle Gibson White Jersey

SARASOTA, Fla. – Some of them may not have produced big numbers for the Orioles on the field last year, but veteran players like Rougned Odor, Robinson Chirinos and Jordan Lyles all were big for the Orioles young group of players. They encouraged them, they cheered them and at times led them and helped show them how to win.

Their veteran presence – something we hear a lot about in this sport – made a big difference for the 2022 Orioles.

Now a new group of veterans are on the team. They have heard about the group that was here last year and want to pick up the ball where they left off.

Right-handed starter Kyle Gibson, 35, a vet of 10 MLB seasons and 261 career starts, said the O’s young clubhouse has impressed him this spring. He is ready to lead and help where he can, but he also sees a young core group that collectively approaches the game in a very professional manner.

“You know what for having such a young team it just seems like a lot of guys understand the process of getting their work done and the process of being focused during the workouts and getting your reps,” he told me recently at Ed Smith Stadium. “Sometimes you have to do more work as young team because of simple mistakes or mental mistakes that are made a lot. This team doesn’t do that. It’s quick work and in and out because we are getting the job done and are doing it right.

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Orioles don't need to worry about some slow starters

Anthony Santander White Jersey

SARASOTA, Fla. – Do not fall in love with spring training or September stats. Managers have warned us about it for centuries. Or at least since I’ve been a full-time beat reporter in 1997.

The same rule or sage advice applies to overreactions on the negative side. Do not fall out of love.

Here are a few examples, beginning with a hitter who left camp to play in the World Baseball Classic.

Outfielder Anthony Santander
Santander was hitless in 10 at-bats before joining Team Venezuela in Miami. He went 0-for-2 Monday as the first baseman.

Is anyone worried about Santander after six exhibition games? After he hit 33 home runs last season? Don’t be silly.

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